World

Minister posts Singaporeans’ quirky consular requests

PTI Singapore | Updated on June 05, 2014 Published on June 05, 2014

Singaporeans can be a demanding lot when it comes to consular services making “odd requests” including a man asking diplomats to convince his foreign girlfriend to quicken her divorce so he could marry her.

Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said officers from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) will go beyond the call of duty to help Singaporeans when they encounter difficulties abroad, but there are limits to what they can do.

“We handled over 3,000 consular cases last year. Many cases are genuine. But sometimes we do get odd requests,” he said in a Facebook post.

The minister then disclosed some of the more unusual requests that consular officers had to deal with.

In one instance, Shanmugam said a Singaporean man asked officers to convince his foreign girlfriend to quicken her divorce proceedings so he could marry her.

“We want Singaporeans to marry and have children. But there are limits,” wrote Shanmugam.

“We have to draw the line between what is personal responsibility and what’s not,” he said.

In another request, a man asked the ministry to intervene and demanded an investigation over alleged racial discrimination while overseas.

The man had claimed he received a smaller piece of KFC chicken compared to what the locals had, Shanmugam said.

“He wanted MFA to investigate this instance and seek justice in that foreign country for the unfair treatment he claimed to have received,” he said.

The minister also cited another bizarre request in which a Singaporean asked for help to get refunds for unsatisfactory, illegal sexual services.

The number of overseas trips made by Singaporeans had increased to seven million in 2013, compared to 3.6 million a decade ago.

Singapore has 49 overseas missions and 30 honorary consuls-general, servicing about Singapore’s 3.31 million citizens who travel regularly.

Published on June 05, 2014

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