This story has been submitted by Ms. Lim and refers to the hoarder at Bedok North.
A young man going home one evening was appalled to see the old lady again. Painfully pushing her supermarket trolley laden with discarded items such as shoes, clothing, pots, tin cans, newspapers, books. It is piled so high that you’re almost afraid it’ll spill over. In his compassion, he stopped and spoke with her and that’s when he realized that she’s a rag & bone collector earning low wages, she’s not eaten, she’s bullied, she hasn’t showered, she’s sickly and she’s homeless.
He took a picture, appealing for help by posting onto his own Facebook. The picture evoked a strong emotions that was stirred by his descriptive account of the encounter and the old lady’s unfortunate situation. Abandoned by family, spurned by society and ignored by government! Of course this went viral on Facebook.
Many people applauded this young man for his action, and volunteered to help him find a home and a job for her as well as buying her food and her favourite coca cola. In the meantime, the press were hounding her, photographing her plight, interviewing her neighbours and published her story with bold words and captivating images of this old lady. In the meantime, her MP, Mr. Lee Yi Shyan stood up and clarified that various government agencies as well as his volunteers in grassroots and PAP have been helping her and being her friend these last 5 years.As the public was gripped by her plight and goaded by others to ACT and not just talk. Many people came and some gawked as they saw the real situation, they did talk to her, show they cared, gave her food and perhaps money and they left. Their conscience balmed that they did do something. And all the time, the RC and PAP volunteers observe quietly from a distance, ensuring that she’s ok. They were the ones, who had formed a community to care for her, taking turns to read newspapers with her, buy food for her, and ensuring that she’s ok while taking her hurling of abusive words when she is frustrated or irritated.The story broke on Monday night and when I visited her on Friday morning, she sat alone at the doorstep of her home, and her face lit up as she saw me. I promised her I’ll see her again after work and I wonder how many people will be there now that the spotlight’s gone.