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"Odd requests" to MFA from Singaporeans abroad

A list of odd requests from Singaporeans abroad to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted by Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, has gone viral on Facebook.

SINGAPORE: One man demanded a refund for bad sex, another needed help with his girlfriend's divorce -- these were among the odd requests for assistance that Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has had to deal with from Singaporeans abroad.

Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam revealed this in a Facebook post on Thursday (June 5). In 2013, his ministry handled over 3,000 consular cases. "Many cases are genuine. But sometimes we do get odd requests," he wrote, before recounting some eyebrow-raising examples. 

His list of top five odd requests has earned close to 1,000 shares on Facebook. Many left comments on the post, marvelling at how ridiculous, even "shameful" some of the requests were. 

The list is reproduced below:

1. A Singaporean sought MFA's assistance for a refund after he had gotten illegal sexual services in a foreign country. He wasn't satisfied with what he had gotten. We had to tell him that MFA could not help! 

2. We want Singaporeans to marry and have children. But there are limits. A Singaporean had sought MFA's assistance to persuade his foreign girlfriend, to expedite her divorce proceedings with her husband, so that he could marry her. Not something MFA can do.

3. Did the chicken come first or egg. Answer? The locals.
MFA received a complaint from a Singaporean, who claimed that he was subjected to racial discrimination overseas, because he received a smaller piece of KFC chicken compared to what the locals had. He wanted MFA to investigate this instance and seek justice in that foreign country for the unfair treatment he claimed to have received. We told him we could not do that.

4. Success coach Rob Liana once said everyone has baggage, maybe we should help each other carry it. But sometimes we just have to pay for it. A Singaporean insisted that it was MFA's responsibility to retrieve a kitchen appliance he left behind, in a foreign country, because he had no money to pay for the excess baggage.

5. Likewise, a Singaporean living in Indonesia, requested that MFA ship to him a desktop computer that he had ordered online from the US. We don't do this.

Mr Shanmugam said MFA has to draw the line between what is personal responsibility and what is not. He said officers often go beyond the call of duty to help people, but there are some requests that they simply cannot help with.

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