A kindly elderly man operating by himself in the Hougang and Sengkang estates is finally being recognised for his selfless, behind-the-scenes deeds over the years to make basketball games more enjoyable for those in the neighbourhood.
A Facebook post put up on Dec. 7 identified Uncle Chen as the one who goes around by himself quietly setting up old-school metal nets for the basketball hoops out of his own volition and pocket.
What nets do
Although it might not seem like much to those who don't play ball games, the presence of nylon netting or metal nets make a difference in playability at the outdoor court.
The net essentially guides the basketball downwards after it goes into the hoop, which then saves time retrieving the ball as it won't bounce out of the court in all directions -- a time-saving feature during fast-paced games.
Nets also help as a feedback mechanism, as basketballs shot through the hoop without nets sometimes look from a distance to be air balls that have missed, even when they sailed straight through the rim without a sound.
Lastly, having industrial-looking metal nets look really cool, like you're playing in the real hood.
Moreover, nets are usually the first parts of a court's basic equipment to be damaged through consistent wear and tear, as a result of being repeatedly struck by the basketball.
According to the post, Uncle Chen has been at this for many years now.
It takes him about an hour to get one net done, and he has to lug around a ladder of his own to do it.
These days, Uncle Chen hawks cold drinks to make some money, and his presence is highly welcomed during hot and sweaty games under the sun.