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Ex-Con Sleeps at HDB Stairwells for Years but Won’t Accept Charity Because He Has “Backbone”

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Yang Wenjie has been sleeping at the stairwells of HDB blocks and bus stops for the past 4 years.

No sleeping bag needed – only the clothes on his back.

His latest midnight haunt – the stairwell of a block of flats in Banda Street.

Every day, Yang seeks out public toilets to wash up and do his laundry.

As for personal items, he lives them with a close friend for safekeeping.

Yang path to vagrancy began with his incarceration at the age of 33.

He was days away from marrying his pregnant fiancee when he got into a fight and wounded a person.

That got him 8 years in the slammer.

His fiancee got an abortion and married another man during that time.

That prison sentence did little to curb Yang’s primal instincts.

After he was released, he found a job as a security guard, but was again jailed for a similar offence.

By the time he was released, he was 55 years old.

His mother had died by then.

Yang’s uncle sold off the HDB flat which the family lived in, gave Yang a bag of clothes and S$500 and told him to “make his own way”.

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Since then, Yang has been wandering Singapore looking for places to rest his head.

He says friends have offered him money, but he refuses to accept any of that because as a man, he must have “backbone”.

Instead, he relies on S$300-a-month government welfare handouts.

Recently, on the brink of desperation, Yang thought of suicide.

But there’s a silver lining to this tale.

Yang decided instead that he should turn his life around.

He found a job as a carpark cleaner, and has since applied to lease a rental flat from the HDB.

“I’m determined to end my wanderer’s lifestyle,” he says.

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