Singapore reveals quirky consular requests

Singapore on Thursday urged its globetrotting citizens to avoid misusing consular services abroad, revealing "odd requests" including one man who demanded help to get a refund for bad sex. Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said the number of overseas trips made by Singaporeans had surged to seven million in 2013, compared to 3.6 million a decade ago. "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. In one instance, Shanmugam said a Singaporean sought Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) intervention "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!" Shanmugam said the ministry also declined to intervene when a man 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". "He wanted MFA to investigate this instance and seek justice in that foreign country for the unfair treatment he claimed to have received," Shanmugam said. In another case, a Singaporean man was turned away by consular officers after he implored their help to persuade his foreign girlfriend to divorce her husband, so that 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." The light-hearted post was shared widely, with one Facebook user describing it as an account of "the entitlement mentality of some Singaporeans". The MFA has 49 overseas missions and 30 honorary consuls-general, servicing some of the large proportion of Singapore's 3.31 million citizens who travel regularly. Singapore followed Britain's lead in divulging some of the odder requests filed to its diplomats abroad. In May last year, the British Foreign Office said its embassies had been asked if they could silence a noisy cockerel, order an unfit husband to shape up, and check out the credentials of a woman one man had met online.