The time I was accused of invading my neighbours’ privacy

Updated: Feb 10

A booming voice interrupted my interview. I had gone to my ward’s meet-the-people session to suss out the sort of problems people bring up to their MPs. Mind you, I wasn’t eavesdropping. I was outside the childcare centre where the session was being held, talking to a resident about his difficulty obtaining Singaporean citizenship for his wife.

“Where are you from?” the imposing figure demanded.

I’m an NUS student journalist interviewing residents for a project.

“Do you know what you’re doing is against PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act)?” he said as he glared down at me.

You and I both know that’s not true.

“Don’t you think you should have come up to me first before you speak to my residents?”

(Yikes. “My’’ residents? ) I introduced myself to a volunteer earlier, maybe he hadn’t told you? And I don’t think the residents need to seek permission before they speak to me. Besides, isn’t this a public space?”

He told me I should have introduced myself properly and I returned to interviewing the residents. Next time I’ll just get an official letter from my Professor stating my intentions. Or maybe, I’ll just find someplace where the people are friendlier.

Daryl Choo

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