Home News 70-year-old cardboard collector looks for financial support when he goes for cataract...

70-year-old cardboard collector looks for financial support when he goes for cataract surgery

"We are looking for sponsors for his allowance. If you are keen to help, please PM us for more details. Sponsors are welcome to meet him on our next Happy Sunday, 5 Sept," the HPHP community posted on Facebook.

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Singapore — The Happy People Helping People Community (HPHP) posted online about a 70-year-old cardboard collector in need of some financial support during the recovery period after surgery.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Aug 11), the HPHP community posted that one Mr K, who lived alone and did not have any family support, was scheduled for cataract surgery in Sept or Oct this year.

They wrote: “We are hoping to give him allowance money until the end of the year so that he will not have to worry about collecting boxes until he fully recuperates”.

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The HPHP community also added that Mr K will be staying in a hospice after his surgery until he makes a full recovery.

Sharing a video of Mr K dangerously pushing a tall stack of cardboard on the road, they wrote that they were looking for sponsors for Mr K’s allowance. In the short clip, the stack of cardboard was higher than Mr K, leaving him unable to see in front of the traffic. He was also pushing the cart laden with boxes in the middle of the road, slowly.

The HPHP community added: “We are looking for sponsors for his allowance. If you are keen to help, please PM us for more details. Sponsors are welcome to meet him on our next Happy Sunday, 5 Sept”.

Almost immediately, there were about 70 comments of those looking to help Mr K, with some even offering to do food deliveries to him.

In 2015, the then-minister in charge of the Ministry of and Family Development (MSF), Tan Chuan-Jin, posted on his Facebook page about what a group of youth has told him about the lives of some cardboard collectors in Singapore.

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Some of these collectors were doing this “to supplement” what they have, and  “as a form of exercise”, Mr Tan said, referring to the findings by the youth group.

Mr Tan had joined the group – youths from Youth Corp – “to befriend the cardboard aunties and uncles on the streets in the Jalan Besar area.” The youths then shared their findings with the minister.

“The normal perception that all cardboard collectors are people who are unable to take care of themselves financially is not really true,” Mr Tan said.

“There will be some who do this as their main source of income. Some do so to supplement what they have. Some prefer to earn extra monies, treat it as a form of exercise and activity rather than being cooped up at home. They do this to remain independent, so that they can have dignity and not have to ask their families for help.”

He added that “[more] often than not, people make judgements without finding out the facts of the matter, in this instance, the stigma surrounding cardboard collectors.”

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Nonetheless, he said that “for those who genuinely need financial help because they are unable to find other jobs to supplement their income from cardboard collecting, the government will do what it can to help these people.” /TISG

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