3 short stories from Monday’s MPS

1) Old lady 92. Son committed suicide last year. One son blind. Other children living separately. Grandson brought her to appeal on some HDB matters as the son staying with her abandoned her and left for Indonesia with his mistress. Can settle this I’m sure. She lives alone and when I asked for our volunteers to visit and see how to help, grandson said that she refuses to ask for help as she wants to be independent. Spunky gal she was. Can tell that she has a really robust spirit. Tks to the grandson. I think he’d be visiting her when he can. We’d do too.

2) Uncle came to see me for a letter to help him with medical. Has detached retina and went for Op this morning. Detached retina is a serious matter. I remembered when it happened to my mom. I told him that we will send him to hospital. Protested and said no need. Finally conceded. Lo and behold, this morning he left slightly earlier so that he doesn’t trouble our guys. Naughty but again, solid spirit 🙂

3) Resident has been bullying his downstairs neighbour repeatedly. Spitting, throwing water, oil. Soiling her laundry. Vandalizing her letter box. Poor woman was distraught and at her wit’s end. Police, HDB, my grassroots went to see him. He admitted but they got an earful of abuse. Challenged HDB to evict him. When notice was served, he threatened to go to the media.

I saw him last week to make a point and to see if we should give him a chance if he was prepared to behave. Seemed to reluctantly agree.But he went to the media. Told them about his previous cancer condition. Struck a sad forlorn pose in the photo. Wife in the background was smiling though. I have met her a few times. She is a nice lady and I feel sorry for her for being dragged in. And to top it off, he continued to harass the lady below.

Asked to see him this recent Monday. Recalcitrant and hostile. Threatened to go to the media again to demonstrate his homelessness. We actually have options for him especially for this type of cases as we know they have no home. But no apologies nor indication of being prepared to change. For his wife’s sake, we should provide an option still. I’d wait to see how he wants to play this game.

These days, some residents threaten to go to the media if they do not get their way. And media obliges. As does social media. In all stories, I have realised that there is another version, or two. Not easy to discern.

The range of lessons learnt, is quite instructive for all of us, and not just our young volunteers.To all of you helping out, really appreciate you guys for being there every week and during our outreach and to go that little bit extra. Thanks!

   Tan Chuan-Jin


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