Singapore—Mr Yee Jenn Jong of the Workers’ Party recently highlighted the situation of what he called Singapore’s Hidden Communities—or those who live on the margins and may easily be forgotten by others.
Mr Yee wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday (Mar 27) about an older woman living in Eunos Crescent who, he said, was living in an “impossible condition”.
When he and the other WP volunteers at Marine Parade visited her, they were surprised at the squalor of her surroundings.
The woman had scalded her leg and hand with hot water and was unable to walk, and therefore needed help rather badly.
However, when they arrived, he wrote that they “found the house in a terrible and unlivable mess”.
The WP politician scheduled helpers from among Marine Parade volunteers to clean the woman’s house, finding out on that a Catholic welfare group had already begun to clean the woman’s home after someone had reached out to them as well.
The mess was so great that the Catholic volunteers could only clean the woman’s bedroom, and then they needed to leave as they still had other tasks.
The WP team then cleaned the home for the next three-and-a-half hours.
“We had to dig and scrape the floor of the living room and kitchen which had paper and cardboards fused with the floor. After scraping off as much of the paper off the floor, then we could flush off the dirt.
“We killed off several hundreds of cockroaches. Behind the doors and fridge, fat lizards would jump at us. The smell was so unbearable at the start we were literally choking as we went along,” Mr Yee wrote.
All photos are from Mr Yee’s Facebook page.
All in all, the team was able to collect ten big bags of rubbish from her apartment.
Later, the town council sent a cleaner to clear out the corridor of the building, in response to the WP team’s appeal.
Mr Yee added, “Even the cleaner was stunned with the mess, took pictures and called his supervisor to come and help.”
After the hard work of all the volunteers, Mr Yee pronounced the apartment as habitable, although he acknowledged that there is more work yet to be done.
“I shudder to think how an old lady could be living in such a state for so long. Glad to see the Catholic group coming here too and thankful for the help of our volunteers who were not deterred by the smell, cockroaches and sheer mess,” he wrote.
Acknowledging that her problem cannot be solved overnight, he wrote in a later post that he will be linking up the community, volunteers and other such groups to ensure that care will continue to be extended to the woman, so that her home will not return to the state it was in when the WP volunteers saw it.
On Mar 29 (Monday), in an update to his post, Mr Yee said that the HDB and the Marine Parade Town Council responded “very quickly”, fixing cracks in the ceiling and a hole in the garbage chute.
Additionally, pest control had arrived to take care of the infestation problem, courtesy of the Catholic group.
The woman’s employer also sent people to go with the woman to get medical treatment.
Mr Yee wrote, “We have received many offers for help. Thank you very much. Will activate only those really essential to her and will also have neighbourhood volunteers monitor her situation periodically.”
Follow us on Social Media
Send in your scoops to firstname.lastname@example.org