Daphne Chui is about to find out just how far one can survive in a foreign country with no cash and just a small backpack and smartphone.
As part of a social media experiment for Social Media Week, she has been sent to London (10-16 Feb) where she will have to survive on the goodwill of total strangers she comes into contact with on Facebook and Twitter.
During her one-week stay, Chui, who's in her 20s, will have to complete a “task list” that she will only receive once she has arrived on London. All she knows is that it will involve helping out various charitable causes in English capital.
Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore before her departure earlier this week, she said, “"I won't be given any food, accommodation or money. I'm also not allow to accept any money from people, so I'll really have to seek help and interact with people I meet over social media.”
"In other words, while people will be giving me things, I will be reciprocating it by helping others in return."
Chui, who works as a digital strategist, said that just six hours starting her Facebook page specially for this trip, which now has 800 followers in just over a week, she received her first offer of help from a complete stranger. Within 24 hours, she had enough offers to cover her accommodation for the whole week.
Among the offers of help she received was a train ticket from Heathrow airport to the city centre and even an invitation to attend a Valentine's Day speed dating event.
"A lot of people have actually been very helpful in offering food and accommodation. Someone has also offered to get me an Oyster Card (London rail network pass), so it's a lot less nerve-wrecking than I'd initially expected," said the social media junkie.
However, she revealed that even though many offers have poured in, she wouldn't be able to accept any of them until she arrives in London.
"So obviously, they can still choose to withdraw their offers when the time comes," said Chui, who has been sponsored with a Nokia Lumia smartphone, Dr. Martens boots and even a Risis lucky charm.
So with no lack of people wanting to help, what remains her biggest worry?
"Definitely the cold," she said. "It's expected to snow during the week and the temperatures and generally not higher than five degrees celsius. And also because it's so hot in Singapore, the adjustment would be difficult and I'm really not looking forward to it," she added.
However, she said her passion for travel and meeting strangers would stand her in good stead. She said her prior experience in Couchsurfing – in which one literally bunks in a stranger’s couch or room as a way to meet up with more locals while travelling -- has also prepared her mentally for relying on the goodwill of strangers.
"I think this particular social experiment tries to push the boundaries as much as possible. The fact that people have to only help through social media will be testament that social media does work. The hypothesis that I'm trying to test can be proven to a large extent because the people who have been approaching me through social media have not been my friends, but literally strangers," she said.
"Of course, we'll still have to see if all their offers stand true," she added cheekily.
10 items Chui will be carrying with her to London (not inclusive of items she's wearing):
1) Umbrella for the constant rain in London
2) Sleeping bag to sleep in wherever she's being put up
3) Heat packs
4) One litre water bottle
5) Extra pair of shoes (in addition to the pair of boots she's wearing)
9) Day pack
10) Lip balm
Follow Daphne's progress on Facebook and Twitter (@deafknee) and feel free to send her messages of encouragement. You may also keep track of her tweets via the hash tag #CanManSG.
A similar experiment, in which a Londoner has come to Singapore and relies on the goodwill of Singaporeans, is also being held concurrently. He will be sharing his experience this coming Thursday, 16 February at 11am as part of Social Media Week.
Check out the full list of events for Social Media Week.
A clip of a man hitting an office worker – who appears to be an employee under his supervision - has gone viral in Singapore, sparking outrage and calls for the authorities to step in.