Muscles needed to help scrub a house

I am using SCRUB to define the state of the home.

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9 adults from same family.

Matriarch is 90+ years old, children married 60/70 years old
5 or 6 grandchildren aged 20 to 30+ .

Between the grandchildren, there are 6 or 7 babies.
I am not asking who are the parents.

Most of the grandchildren are lunatics.
One suffers from autism.
One just committed suicide recently.

I am not here to judge.
I am shouting out for help, on behalf of Fion Phua (潘迎芬).

Fion Phua urgently need muscles to scrub and paint the house.
Baby cot and beds are infested with bed bugs!
I hate to imagine what is happening to the babies?

We are still talking about Singapore, and this is real life story.
I cannot imagine how bad is the living condition.
We sometimes ask ourselves how can some families fall though the safety nets?

Who is able to stand out and volunteer yourself?

24th Mar from 0700 onwards, Block 37 Circuit Road.
Fion will be coordinating the cleaning efforts.
Please contact her at 9833 3893.

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On the day itself :
– Fion wants me to remind you to wear only old clothes (discard)
– gloves and mask might be recommended
– Do not drive as bugs/fleas might infest your car
– Volunteers are supposed to bath at a public facility

This is not going to be an easy job, otherwise Fion would not be shouting desperately.
It would be kind of you to help pass this message to big-hearted friends.

(At this point of time, Fion is still coordinating all the different groups, so timing might be subject to change )

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Fion Phua is actively involved with volunteering.
Her weekends are spent checking out old rental units, to find out who needs help.
Some call her 女侠 (chivalrous).
I got to see her in action through one of her door-knocking sessions.

What is Bone Marrow transplant?

If you browse through the obituaries, you will quickly realised that people who have passed on, are not necessary Old folks. When we are young and healthy, we tend not to think about illness, suffering or death.

Unfortunately, Cancer and diseases do not discriminate between young and old, the rich or poor. As a parent, we do not wish to see any child sick.

You might have spotted us on Straits Time and 联合早报 Wednesday (27Feb2013). Daddy was helping BMDP (Bone Marrow Donor Programme) to spread awareness about Bone Marrow transplant (骨髓移植).

Ten years ago (before SengkangBabies arrive), Daddy faced a lot of questions and uncertainties. With Mummy’s support, and a wish to do good (做好人), Daddy went ahead to donate his Bone Marrow.

** What Daddy can do today is to share his experience, spread more awareness and encourage more to be donors or volunteers.

The Questions

BMDP’s FAQ page will answer some of our doubts or even clear some myths.
1. What is Bone Marrow?
2. Why do we need to talk about Bone Marrow Transplant?
3. Is it safe to donate your Bone Marrow? Any side effects?
4. How is Bone Marrow extracted ?
5. How long does it take to recover?

More processes can be found at BMDP website. For example :
– what happens after you register?
– how is a Donor selected and how are the tissues matched ?
– how does Transplant requests reach BMDP?

Some traditional folks believe vitality might diminished after Bone marrow extraction.
Daddy went on to have four healthy kids after his donation 🙂

Video : BMDP is giving Hope, creating Miracles

The Numbers

Every day – 6 patients are diagnosed with blood-related diseases
Every Month – 30 requests to find matching Donors
Every Year – 50 Bone Marrow related operations in Singapore

Odds of being the chosen donor – 1 in 20,000
Within the family – 1 in 4

With a larger donor base, the probability of finding a match is higher.
BMDP is targeting 20,000 more donors over next three years.

It costs $150 to tissue-match each new donor.
How much do we need to register 20,000 new donors !

Save life, give Hope, giving back to society, do Good.
Whatever the reasons, all of us have the capacity to HELP.

How can we Help?

Be a Donor, or help as a volunteer during recruitment drives.
Your monetary donations will help to fund new donor’s tissue matching expenses.

BMDP’s contacts :
Email –
Web –
Fanpage –
Phone – 6327 1344

With Jane Prior, BMDP’s president. To quote Jane “BMDP is in the business of Miracles”.

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Through his actions, Daddy hopes to inspire the kids to do Good and contribute back to society too. Help SengkangBabies spread Bone marrow transplant (骨髓移植) awareness. Bring more HOPE to someone today.

a) You can read about Daddy’s 2002 experience here.

b) For those interested, do a (search Bone Marrow) and you will have an idea of how Bone Marrow can be extracted. The pictures might make some uncomfortable, and please ignore the soup-tulong images :p

c) Did you know that a newborn’s umbilical cord contains rich Stem cells? If you are not banking the baby’s stem cells with a private institution, do consider
Singapore Cord Blood Bank (Public Cord Blood bank).

My first volunteering experience

早安您好, Good Morning, Uncle Auntie, 有人在家吗 anybody home?
Repeat, in Mandarin, Teochew, Hokkien to connect with the residents.

That was how Daddy spend his Sunday morning volunteering at Chin Swee Road. We were knocking door to door, offering assistance, distributing food, and asking who need new mattress.

Since young, 奶奶 has always taught Daddy 做好人, 做善事 (do good deeds).
We help within our own means, 有錢出錢,有力出力 (donate rice or time).

Finding the time to contribute is always challenging. Daddy has always wanted to volunteer, but somehow, there are always some excuses.

**The organiser

Ms Fion Phua has been volunteering for almost 20years. Daddy have heard about her charitable acts through the news, and luxury handbags for rice story.

She is coordinating all the logistics, supply and manpower. Fion will source for donors and volunteers to step forward and make a difference.

In some cases, Fion’s team will even help to top up bus cards and medisave for elderly, or help pay off outstanding utilities bills.

Last Sun, residents get donations of bread, rice, cakes, soon-kueh and even angpows.

** Meeting place and Volunteers

There are three regular spots to meetup, Chin Swee Road, Henderson Road, and North Bridge Road. Most are rented flats. Fion will update upcoming events to volunteers.

Last Sun, there were about 40 volunteers at Chin Swee Road, Daddy notice a lot of newbies. There were also volunteers waiting at the two other sites, we can easily count more than 100 volunteers.

Our individual effort might be limited, but working as a group, we can reach out to more families. It does not matter if we do not know each other yet, just smile and work towards our common goal 🙂

Volunteers will split into two main groups. One will remain at first floor to distribute the food. The second group will comb the floors, door to door, informing residents about food distribution below, and at the same time, checking which units need cleaning up.

As Chinese Lunar New Year is approaching, we even have a freelance God of Wealth (財神爷) distributing sweets and angpow. The senior citizens love 財神爷, and were queuing to get blessings. One of the volunteers even prepared Red bean and Green bean soup for the residents.

** The residents

Most of them are elderly Chinese. Some old folks still have to take of their grandchildren. Some residents are intellectually challenged or handicapped, making it difficult to maintain their home. After a few units, we know those units reeking of urine stench probably need the most help.

Sometimes, the residents just need a listening ear, like this friendly Ah Mah (grandma).

** How can you help?

As Fion always emphasise, Volunteer with a BIG heart.
We need people who does not mind working hard or getting dirty. Just Do it.

More volunteers are definitely welcomed. Guys come in useful when we need to clean the house, as ladies might be afraid of crawlies.

Do not expect any orientation, just smile to your fellow volunteers, if you need help, shout 🙂 Most volunteers are nice and helpful folks.

Currently, Fion is contactable via her Facebook account. Volunteers will help to share her message and events. It is always difficult to reach her on weekends.

In summary, our Objectives are easy to understand but tiring to implement :
– Help the less fortunate
– Make their home more comfortable
– Spread awareness, and engage more stakeholders, be it sponsors or volunteers

** Personal thoughts

– Some families live with two meals per day, not knowing when is the next meal
– Daddy thought it will be good to expose the older and sensible kids to “poor” living conditions in affluent Singapore.
– Avoid bringing smaller kids, as they might pinch their nose at stench, and end up being counter-productive.

– Some residents might get agitated if we run out of rations, or demand for more angpows. We just have to be firm, and explain the situation. Most residents will understand and appreciate our gestures.

– What about those resident who do not respond to our calls?
Do they need help ? Are they ok?

We need more helping hands. Who want to join Daddy next round?
Volunteering is not as easy as step 1,2,3 but everything has to start with the first step. Thank you Fion and team, for making my Sunday so meaningful.

*credit 2nd and 6th photos are obtained with Fion’s permission

** Click for a listing of VWOS in Singapore