Singapore — Social activist Gilbert Goh, along with some volunteers, regularly makes rounds to distribute food and other aid to the homeless in the country, especially the elderly, who have made their homes in the street.
On Sunday (Sept 6), he posted a photo of “the most pitiful homeless person” from the goods distribution carried out the previous night.
The man in the photo had surrounded himself with cardboard boxes for some privacy amid living in the streets. He is the only person to do this among all the people Mr Goh has met during his outreaches.
Mr Goh wrote: “Huddled in one corner and out of sight from the general public, the elderly has been holding out at the same spot for several months as I remember seeing him two months ago in another homeless outreach.
“The corner he chose for himself is dark and secluded and except for the loud roar of motor bike below the busy street, he is literally enjoying a very private personal space of his own.”
The man was already asleep when they got there, but the volunteers woke him gently in order to “pass him a blanket towel and some biscuits to remind him that there are people who still care in this dark cold world”.
He added: “Do something good for Singapore.”
Those commenting on the post were dismayed at the situation of the elderly man.
Mr Goh has been posting photos of visits to the homeless elderly to highlight their plight, thanking the volunteers who accompany him to distribute the help.
On July 31, along with Workers’ Party head and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, Mr Goh was praised by K.F. Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra.
In a lengthy Facebook post Mr Seetoh wrote: “I take a knee in deference and respect to LO Pritam Singh.” Referring to Mr Singh setting aside for donation half the pay increase he will get as Leader of the Opposition, he wrote: “He knows you don’t need $1mn to be a good politician. Some louts criticize him for the wayang … as if politicians need to be quiet about their deeds and plans.”
Mr Seetoh then said Mr Goh, who was a member of the Peoples Voice team that stood in a three-way battle in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in the recent General Election and was the only team to lose its election deposit, “went right back to what he had been doing for years — looking out for the displaced, poor and those off radar folks in our midst”.
He added that Mr Goh goes “floor by floor, door by door and hands out the necessaries. Even to folks that sleep on the floor every night”.
“I followed him at times for the run but after 4-5 floors, i punchek liao. He combs blocks upon blocks every week and if there are kids, he digs deeper into the goodie bags, gives and ask no questions other than if they need anything else.”
In his post, Mr Seetoh shared photos of Mr Goh, as well as of the times they went on food runs. /TISG