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82-year-old man lives in cluttered Henderson 2-room HDB flat with hundreds of cockroaches & fleas

30 volunteers took seven hours on a Sunday morning to help clean up.

Zhangxin Zheng | October 8, 04:30 pm

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Keeping Hope Alive is an initiative that aims to improve the quality of life of less-privileged Singaporeans.

There is nothing fancy or gimmicky about this group of unsung heroes as they help those in need with their daily chores, ensure bills get paid, and even assist the elderly in getting their nails trimmed and houses cleaned.

Some of these beneficiaries might be in dire straits, such as an 82-year-old elderly man who lives in a two-room flat at Henderson road.

Living with cluttered mess & pests

The elderly man’s unit was found to be in an unhygienic state with hundreds of cockroaches, fleas and even centipedes uncovered in his extremely cluttered house.

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Screenshot from Rich Sng’s video.

Here’s how it was before the volunteers helped to declutter the place:

Screenshot from Rich Sng.

The room was so cluttered it was difficult to know where to start cleaning up.

There was almost no space but just a narrow gap for anyone to walk into the house.

Spent 7 hours to clean up

The volunteers spent some time explaining to the elderly man prior to the massive throw-away session the need to declutter.

Only with his consent, recorded in a video, the team of over 30 volunteers then started clearing the mess.

Screenshot from Rich Sng.

Donning masks and gloves, these kind-hearted and brave souls entered the “warzone” and fought off armies of pests with pesticides and cleaning agents.

Screenshot from Rich Sng.

Speaking to the Chinese daily, Lianhe Zaobao, the founder of this initiative, Fion Phua, shared that it is not easy to convince old people to allow them to enter and clean the house.

Phua added that some people accumulated so many things at home because of loneliness and insecurity, while some wanted to sell the items for money.

It is then important to understand their reasons first.

She also emphasised that one should not expect the owner to change their habits immediately.

The elderly would be taught how to organise items and keep them neatly.

The team spent seven hours to finish tidying the house, starting from 9:30am on Oct. 6.

New furniture were also added to the house.

Phua said that the elderly man was very thankful for the help, commended the team for making his home tidier.

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Here’s a post shared by Phua to summarise the day and show appreciation to all volunteers:

Top photo collage from screenshots of Rich Sng’s Facebook video

About Zhangxin Zheng

Zhangxin’s favourite pastime is singing Mulan’s soundtrack in the mangrove forests. She hopes to perfect the art of napping in a hammock in the mangroves without being drowned by rising sea levels.

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