Salam & Nasir at Blk 524 Bukit Batok St 52
Mohammad Fazlul, known affectionally as Salam, and Nasir Khan have been serving residents in Bukit Gombak since they first came to Singapore to work as estate cleaners 8 years ago.
Like most migrant workers, they came here to earn more money to support their families back home in Bangladesh.
They said they have both been fortunate to serve residents of Bukit Gombak who have been generous and kind. Residents would often greet them and ask if they have eaten. During festive occasions, they would also receive gifts of food and sometimes clothes.
Salam said they did not know about CCK Town’s Appreciate Our Cleaners Week held in April, hence, they were surprised to hear from residents that they were among the top 10 winning cleaners.
While they had no expectations of winning any prizes for doing their work, Nasir said such campaigns do help to make cleaners feel appreciated.
‘I Saw How Hard They Worked’
Lawrence Lau, the Goodview Park resident who nominated them, wrote in his nomination entry that he, like many others, didn’t realise how much hard work it takes to keep his estate clean.
It was only since he started working from home last year that he got to observe first-hand the long hours that cleaners like Salam and Nasir silently put in to keep the estates clean.
Therefore, he said CCK Town Council’s Appreciate Our Cleaners campaign was a “great and timely initiative to officially recognise the unsung heroes in our community”. He added it also gave him an opportunity to “express my gratitude and thank them for making our homes a nicer and cleaner place to live”.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Lawrence has asked the Town Council to give his share of the prize ($30 cash vouchers for each nomination) to both cleaners.
Lawrence said, not only did Salam and Nasir carry out their regular estate cleaning duties diligently, they also went out of their way to keep residents safe from Covid-19 by painstakingly disinfecting all the high-touch points in the public areas late into the evenings.
On top of that, he has witnessed them cleaning up the mess caused by rubbish chute or recycle bin fires.
Extending his gratitude to all the cleaners he may not have personally met or know, Lawrence said: “I would like to thank all cleaners in Singapore for ensuring the cleanliness of Singapore and the well-being of all Singaporeans.”
Happy Working in Beautiful Gombak
Even though there are some challenges in their jobs, like dealing with the occasional high-rise littering problems or discarded cigarette butts that cause rubbish chute fires, Salam and Nasir said they have had a good eight-year run serving Bukit Gombak.
Scenic Little Guilin in Bukit Gombak is Nasir’s (left) & Salam’s favourite hang-out spot in the estate after work.
Another plus of working in Bukit Gombak is the beautiful scenery the estate boasts. For both Nasir and Salam, Little Guilin is their favourite spot to hang out.
The serenity of the park draws them to relax there after work. They added it makes for a pretty background too for their daily chats with their families.
Salam, 42, is father to an 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. Nasir, 35, has two sons, aged eight and nine.
In their free time, they enjoy cooking the Bangladeshi food to remind them of the taste of home and having a picnic (during non-pandemic times) at Little Guilin.
They said they are looking forward to sharing the news of their wins with their families after they receive them.
Residents, we know how much all of you love your mums. The number of tributes and photos that we received in May for our Mother’s Day contest was proof of that!
Most of you spoke about the boundless and selfless love that your mothers showered you with, the lessons she taught you, and the sacrifices she made (and continues to make) for you. Some of you also shared that your mums are your best friend.
Here’s what inspired our top 3 winners to pay a special tribute to their mums.
Kelly with her mum, Jasmine
Kelly Kuah (Chua Chu Kang)
Eleven-year-old Kelly decided to take part in the contest not so much for the prize, but because she wanted to take the opportunity to thank her mum, Jasmine Kang.
She took a day to plan and another day to write. After submitting her entry, she gave the tribute letter to her mum on Mother’s Day. Mama Jasmine was touched and proud that she wrote it all by herself.
Kelly shared that she chose to focus on the morals and values that her mother taught her as she felt that is where her mother differs from other mums who focus a lot on academic results.
“She tends to scold me because of my other mistakes, but not because I didn’t score well… I would like to say that I am thankful to my mother for bringing me into this world and for guiding me into the young lady that I am today,” said Kelly.
Highlights from Kelly’s tribute to mum, Jasmine Kang
Even though you taught me about school and how to be a better person, I think that you focus more on teaching me how to be a better person and teaching me good morals. Every time I do something wrong, you will sit down and patiently tell me what I did wrong and what virtues I did not display.
After every lesson about good morals, you tell me that inside all of us, we have a moral compass that points us in either the right way or the wrong way, and that it is easier to go the wrong way than the right way. You also tell me that you are not going to be with me forever to point my moral compass in the right way, that I need to point my moral compass in the right way.
To me, these lessons that you teach me about morals are more important than the academic ones. They teach me about the importance of being good.
Shreya with her mum and best friend, Rati
Shreya Venkatesharan (Bukit Gombak)
Unlike most teenagers, Shreya keeps no secrets from her mother, Rati Kishore. In fact, she said her mum is her best friend in the world.
There is nothing that she will not confide in her mum. In fact, this 13-year-old said that her friends are aware that if they share something with her, her mum would also get to know about it.
Shreya added what’s so amazing about her mother is that she does not judge. She listens to all of Shreya’s teenage problems and angst, and tells her how to deal with them.
Shreya kept her submission to this contest a secret and read the tribute to her mum 2 days after Mother’s Day. Her mum was touched and said it does not matter whether they win the photo shoot. So Shreya said this win will be the icing on the cake.
Highlights from Shreya’s tribute to mum, Rati Kishore
For me, my mother is special for many reasons. First of all, my mother is my friend… I tell her about my weird teenage crises, and she always listens and helps me through tough times. She never fails to make me laugh either. Always helping me and ready to make sacrifices to see a smile on my face.
My mother is the bravest and most selfless person I know. She deserves the best Mother’s Day ever.
Since the addition of my 2-year-old brother, my mother spoke about how much she wanted to have a family photo shoot. I know that if I win, this will be the best Mother’s Day present she has ever had.
Young Joyce with her mother, Ah Geok
Joyce Wee (Chua Chu Kang)
Joyce was so piqued by the Mother’s Day contest that she rode the lift up and down twice just so she could read more about it.
Coming from a typical non-demonstrative Chinese family, she has never openly told her mum how much she loved her. Neither has she ever written a tribute to her mum. She decided, this year is as good a time as any.
As Joyce had felt unwell recently, her mother invited her to move back to the family home. Joyce said it was ironical to be moving back to be taken care of by her parents instead of her doing so to care for them in their old age.
Her mother has not read Joyce’s tribute as she does not understand English, and Joyce said she is such a cry baby herself that she’s not sure she will be able to read it to her mum without shedding any tears.
Since they last took a family portrait at least a decade ago, she said having one taken now would be timely as her family has since expanded to include her siblings’ spouses and their three children.
Highlights from Joyce’s tribute to mum, Khang Ah Geok
Mum has always been very dedicated to our family and places us above everything else.
When we were young, we were not well-to-do and eating out was always a luxury. I always remembered my brother and I enjoying KFC while mum looked at us lovingly.
To make that happen occasionally, Mum did all kinds of odd jobs at home while looking after three of us, from sewing clothes labels to gluing paper bags or babysitting for neighbours.
When we got to our teenage years, she began saving for our education and started a hawker stall selling ‘kueh’ and had to wake up at 2am every day…
Even when we became adults, our food cravings, wants and needs were almost always instantly granted whenever we casually mentioned them to her…
Thank you, Mum, for your unconditional lifetime of love. You are the best mum anyone could wish for.
Don’t let the pandemic put a damper on your plans to celebrate Father’s Day. Here are some ideas to mark the special occasion safely and meaningfully in CCK Town or wherever you are.
1) Pamper Him with His Favourite Food & Drinks
Dining out is not allowed but you can still wine and dine Dad with his favourite nosh in the comfort of home.
Step into the kitchen to whip up his favourite kopi, eggs and toast for brunch or make a ‘ta pao’ run for his favourite ‘bak chor mee’ from CCK 302 Foodhouse near CCK MRT Station.
2) Go Museum Hopping or Bask in Nature
Take Dad on a date at the rejuvenated Former Ford Factory or check out the virtual tours of famous international museums such as Dali-Theatre Museum in Catalonia, Spain, or the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Take a ramble at the farms at Kranji Countryside to check out ornamental fish, frog, dairy to vegetables farms. Or go “overseas” via virtual visits to the majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona or the world’s biggest natural cave in Vietnam, Hang Son Doong in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
3) Learn Something Fun Together
Sign up for a Zoom workshop to pick up some magic tricks organised by Chua Chu Kang Community Club on 19 June or learn how to play the folk guitar at Keat Hong Community Club. Or grab a craft beer kit to brew your own beer at home with Dad.
4) Chillax at Home
Bring out the board games or catch a movie at home together. Nothing says you love him more than spending time with him.
Or pamper dad by giving him a massage. Rope the grandkids in to help make it a multi-generational activity.
Put on your thinking cap now to make sure plans. No matter what you have planned, just remember, it’s the thought that counts!
Pay Tribute to Your Superhero Dad
He may not say much, but you know he always has your back. He’s also the rock that you can always lean on.
Who needs comic or cartoon superheroes when Dad is already in your life, fighting to provide you with the best he can?
So, CCK Town, it’s time to shout your love for your Dads, your superheroes, this June!
Send us your photos (with captions) or pay homage to him by sharing why he is a superhero and win an outdoor family photo shoot with Foto-U Studio .
Top 3 most touching or creative entries win.
Email your dedications to email@example.com by 27 June 2021.
See terms and conditions.
Throw your unwanted laptops, batteries and bulbs into dedicated e-waste bins coming to CCK in July 2021.
E-waste, if not disposed properly, can harm the earth.
Do your bit for the environment, and earn rewards at the same time!
What the E-waste Bins Take
Sort your e-waste into these 3 groups :
Mobile, network & computer-related items like small printers, computers, laptops, tablet PCs, desktop monitors, routers, modems, TV set-top boxes, internet network switches, internet network hubs, mobile phones
Household batteries – Types D, C, AA, AAA, AAAA, N, 9-volt, button cell, no rechargeable batteries
Consumer lamps – bulbs only, no fluorescent tubes
Get Rewarded When You Recycle
After throwing your e-waste into the dedicated bins, simply scan the QR codes on the bins to gain points that can be exchanged for rewards.
Rewards include vouchers for shopping, ride-hailing services, food deliveries, bicycle sharing services, beauty products and environmentally-friendly products.
Check out the e-waste website and download the Step Up Sustainability app by ALBA E-Waste Smart Recycling to get more details on bin locations, rewards and more. Through the website and app, consumers can also request for doorstep e-waste collection service (for a fee). In addition, ALBA E-Waste Smart Recycling will also run scheduled collection drives and hold events to educate the public on e-waste.
All e-waste collected is tracked and sent for recycling.
We will keep you posted on more details of the e-waste bin points and rewards system as well as roll-out dates. Meanwhile, be green and save our earth!
CCK Town Council’s inaugural Appreciate Our Cleaners Week was an overwhelming success, thanks to our residents’ enthusiastic response. We received over 80 nominations appreciating the cleaners for their effort and hard work.
CCK Town Council chairman Low Yen Ling said: “We are greatly heartened by our residents’ support and nominations. They took the time and effort to write words of appreciation for our estate cleaners, our quiet heroes who have been doing the essential task of keeping our estates clean.
“This shows that our residents are thankful for the hard work the cleaners have put in. What is even more heart-warming is the fact that a number of residents wish to offer their prizes to the nominated cleaners as well.”
In view of the residents’ keen support of their nominated cleaners, Ms Low said the Town Council will expand the number of prizes to be awarded.
Beyond the 10 prizes of $50 cash voucher for each winning cleaner, all other 72 nominated cleaners will receive a $20 cash voucher, along with a letter of appreciation.
10 residents with best nominations of the winning cleaners also receive a $30 cash voucher each.
10 Winning Cleaners & Their Exemplary Acts of Service
Alias Bin Wahid (Chua Chu Kang)
“Mr Alias Bin Wahid is friendly and positive, and very diligent in his work. He also keeps a look out for our kids when they play at the void decks and common areas. We are always happy to see him on our way home.” — nominated by Keung Xi Zhen
Anamul Hoque (Keat Hong)
“2 years ago, my son was at the void deck bouncing a basketball when it accidentally rolled into the drain at the carpark. Mr Anamul was nearby and quickly came over to help my son retrieve the ball. We are grateful to him for going the extra mile to help us. It might be something small, but his kindness in reaching out to help others leaves an indelibly good impression.” — nominated by Luda Polujnikoff
Hasan Mahedi (Hong Kah North)
“I’d like to thank Mr Mahedi for his diligence in maintaining our block’s cleanliness. I’d mentioned to him only once to clean the railings of my block (whenever he does the block washing) because they are always covered with dust. Since then, he would do that without fail.” — nominated by Ong Chee Eng
Mafuz (Keat Hong)
“Even though there is a language barrier between us, Mafuz would respond as soon as we reached out to him for help or whenever we highlighted a specific area to clean. He is patient and would respond without fail or any expectation of reward.” — nominated by Lee Yen Soon
Mohd Azmi (Hong Kah North)
“I have seen Azmi cycle around the estate, picking up rubbish along the way… During my Stay Home Notice, he was kind enough to go the extra mile to pick up the rubbish I left outside my door every day.” — nominated by James Cheng
Salam & Nasir Khan (Bukit Gombak)
“Besides ensuring our estate is well taken care of by working long hours, I have witnessed both gentlemen going the extra mile, especially during (last year’s) Circuit Breaker period, where they painstakingly applied disinfectant on all the high touch points, sometimes late into the evening, from 1 elevator to another. This was on top of their routine such as sweeping the floors, clearing the rubbish, clearing fallen leaves, etc.” — nominated by Lau Pong Kiat
Ong Chin Hing (Keat Hong)
“The common space outside my unit looks even cleaner than my home! … On certain days, the (lift lobby area) will be filled with clutter by inconsiderate residents. My heart goes out to Mr Ong as he has to clean up the mess created by ungracious residents. Without Mr Ong, my block will have to live in a dirty and unhygienic environment.” — nominated by Lee Kaixin
Jamadi Bin Meron (Brickland)
“I really appreciate Uncle Jamadi’s work as without him, our blocks would be dirty. Every morning as early as 5am, I would see him start his task of cleaning our area (sweeping etc). He is friendly too, we would exchange greetings whenever we bump into each other.” – nominated by Nur Atikah
Wong Yow (Bukit Batok)
“Even on Sunday, which is a rest day, I see (Mr Wong) walking around the common areas below the block to clear unsightly trash left by residents if he comes across them.” — nominated by Nyoe Teng Choon
Look out for stories on some of these winners coming your way!
Uncle Nonyo learning to play hopscotch with the children cheering on.
Hopping to the children’s encouragement, estate cleaner Mia Nonyo gingerly balanced himself on one leg and made his way across the hopscotch course before finally reaching the dustbin to throw his trash.
Then cheers erupted! Uncle Nonyo, whom the PCF Sparkletots pre-schoolers addressed as uncle to show respect, successfully tackled his first hopscotch game.
Uncle Islam playing snakes and ladders with the PCF pre-schoolers.
On 21 April, instead of spending their morning cleaning their respective blocks, estate cleaners Mia Nonyo and Islam Tarikul joined a group of Kindergarten 2 kids from PCF Sparkletots @ Chua Chua Kang Blk 123 for their learning activities.
Through the games of hopscotch, snakes & ladders and maze, which were set out at Block 123, Teck Whye Lane, the children learnt about the importance of not littering.
They also got to play teachers for the day as they taught Uncle Nonyo how to play hopscotch.
Little reporters interviewing Uncle Islam about his job as an estate cleaner in CCK Town.
Pretending to be little reporters, the children got a chance to interview Uncle Islam about his job and learnt more about e-waste and proper e-waste disposal from CCK Town’s e-waste PRS (Producer Responsibility Scheme) operator, ALBA E-Waste Smart Recycling Pte Ltd (ALBA).
To reinforce their learning, ALBA sponsored 40 sets of board games on eco-friendly activities to be given to the children at PCF Sparkletots @ Chua Chua Kang Blk 123.
The activities on 21 April were jointly organised by PCF Sparkletots @ Chua Chua Kang Blk 123 and CCK Town Council under the auspices of the town’s Appreciate Our Cleaners Week.
Yue Qiao Tong Phoebe presenting a box of 70 handmade mask lanyards for all the town’s cleaners to Uncles Islam (in black mask) and Nonyo to thank them for their work. Behind her (from left) are Chean Wei Xian, Fang Jiamin Jolene and Leo How Bo Ren.
Rounding off the fun-filled morning, the children presented Uncle Islam and Uncle Nonyo with a handmade mask lanyard each.
Islam and Nonyo showing off the handmade gifts that had been thoughtfully made by the PCF children.
A total of 70 lanyards were lovingly handmade by the children of the Teck Whye branch to be given as tokens of appreciation to estate cleaners.
Besides giving the children a chance to play their part in recognising and appreciating the hard work of the cleaners in the estate, Centre Principal Rahimah Rahwi said: “This initiative is aligned with PCF’s aim of inculcating in our children important values such as gratefulness, empathy and civic-mindedness. This is also a valuable opportunity for us to raise awareness and teach the children about the importance of recycling, sustainability and proper waste disposal.”
Check out the more than 1,000 ribbon ‘ketupats’ handmade by residents of Bukit Gombak lining Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 and soak in the festive atmosphere.
The lights and decorations are put up on 11 April to mark the season of Ramadan and the lead-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri and is the first such event in the western heartlands of Singapore.
“This beautiful light-up is a symbol of hope and love after a year of battling the Covid-19 pandemic. It lifts up all our spirits. The sparkling lights also demonstrate the shiny resilience of our residents and multi-racial bonds,” said Ms Low Yen Ling, Grassroots Advisor to CCK GRC and Minister of State for Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth.
The effort to deck out Bukit Gombak with lights and festive decorations was led by the Hillview Community Club Malay Activity Executive Committee and the Bukit Gombak Traders’ Association.
Ms Low, who is also Mayor for South West District, said: “This ground-up initiative by our Malay residents and Bukit Gombak shopkeepers show the warm multicultural ties and ‘gotong royong’ spirit in our estate.”
If you don’t want to make the trip down to Geylang Serai, why not just pop over to our own little ‘mini Geylang Serai’ at Bukit Gombak for your Hari Raya shopping.
Whether you are looking for yummy snacks and delicacies or decorations or fashion items, the shops at Bukit Gombak Neighbourhood Centre will surely have something that suits your needs.
In the spirit of giving back to the community, the Bukit Gombak Traders’ Association also donated $6,000 to Ar-Raudhah mosque, which went towards gift packs comprising daily essential items for 300 beneficiaries.
“We hope this inaugural effort will strengthen our multiracial community bonds, and boost the unity and resilience of our Bukit Gombak family,” said Ms Low at the light-up. Joining her at the event was fellow Grassroots Adviser to Chua Chu Kang GRC, Mr Gan Kim Yong, who is also Minister for Health.
Mother’s Day is around the corner. Need some ideas on how to treat the woman in your life who is on call 24/7, never takes a vacation from her job nor calls in sick (aka Mum)?
You don’t have to look very hard. There is plenty to do in CCK Town.
For the active mum: Choose from the smorgasbord of classes available at your closest Community Club. Pick Zumba to get her blood pumping, alternatively opt for Chinese ink painting or pop guitar to let off some creative steam.
For the nature-loving mum: Hit one of the amazing nature trails that CCK Town is blessed with. Go bird or ‘buaya’ (crocodile) spotting at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, Singapore’s first Asean Heritage Park, or visit Little Guilin in Bukit Batok for that ‘overseas’ vibe. There is also Kranji Reservoir, a hidden gem shared by the CCK calendar photo contest winners last year, and Bukit Batok Nature Park and Bukit Gombak Park.
For the heritage buff mum: Take a trip to Kranji War Memorial, which is also Singapore’s State Cemetery, and home to the graves of our first and second presidents, Yusof Ishak and Benjamin Sheares respectively.
For the foodie mum: Treat her to some yummy chows. Can’t go to Santorini now, no worries. You can still treat mum to some fabulous Greek food at Ela, the new Greek restaurant located at HomeTeamNS in Bukit Batok or check out IG-worthy café Hey Sugar Block 818, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1. Finally, the ever-popular Lot One mall has no shortage of good eateries.
Pay Tribute to Mum and Win a Family Photo Shoot
Go one step further by expressing your love for Mum by writing her a tribute (one to 300 words) or submitting a photo with caption.
Share just why you think she is so amazing and why you love her so much.
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, 9 May 2021.
Three winning tributes will be selected. Each winner will win an outdoor family photo shoot with Foto-U Studio.
See terms and conditions.
This April, kids of CCK Town will show everyone that nobody is too young to do his or her part in showing appreciation to people around us.
PCF children put their finishing touches to the games
As part of CCK Town’s Appreciate Our Cleaners Week activities which kick off on 19 April, preschoolers of PCF Sparkletots @ Chua Chua Kang Blk 123 will be playing games, interviewing cleaners and making gifts to show the cleaners their appreciation.
Games like Hopscotch, Maze and Snakes & Ladders have been set up in the void deck of Block 123 Teck Whye Lane, next to PCF Sparkletots, to teach preschoolers that trash and recyclable materials belong in the rubbish bins and recycling bins respectively.
These retro games, designed by the Town Council and supported by PCF, encourage the children to keep their environment clean and green, and by doing so, appreciate the work done by the estate cleaners too.
To help them understand the work a cleaner does, the children will also be interviewing CCK Town cleaners to find out more, and creating handmade tokens of appreciation to be presented to the cleaners.
This inaugural Appreciate Our Cleaners Week event is organised in conjunction with NEA’s SG Clean Day on 25 April.
CCK residents, do your bit by showing appreciation and nominating your estate cleaners today!
Stand to win:
- $50 cash voucher (for the cleaner)
- $30 cash voucher (for the nominating resident)
Click here for more details. The closing date is 30 April 2021.
In a first, CCK Town Council is launching an Appreciate Our Cleaners Week on 19 April, in conjunction with the Public Hygiene Council’s SG Clean Day which falls on 25 April.
All across CCK Town, cleaners like Ismail (pictured here) work quietly behind the scene to keep our estates clean. Read on to find out more about this Keat Hong cleaner.
This month, you’re invited to nominate and recognise your estate cleaners for their service.
Show Your Appreciation to Cleaners
The top 10 submissions will win prizes for both the nominating resident and nominated cleaner.
Each cleaner will receive a $50 cash voucher and each resident a $30 cash voucher.
- Sending in your words of appreciation or sharing heart-warming stories of your experience with a CCK cleaner (no word limit), or
- Submitting a photo of OR with the cleaner you wish to nominate and share in your caption why he should win.
How to participate
Send your entries to CCK Town Council by Friday, 30 April 2021 via:
Do remember to give the name of the cleaner and the block and constituency he works in, as well as your name, address and contact number.
To help you identify your cleaners and know more about them, we’ve posted in the lift lobby notice board posters of the cleaners in your block.
CCK Town Council is also partnering the community to hold activities to appreciate the estate cleaners, We’ll keep you updated.
Send in your nomination and appreciate the cleaners in our CCK town!
Going Beyond the Call of Duty
Clean the estate, check. Retrieve valuables, check. Fight fire, check. Ismail, 30, has done all these and more, going the extra mile for the past 4 years in serving residents of Keat Hong estate to the best of his ability.
Ismail, a Bangladeshi, supervises the group of cleaners for Blocks 476A to 476D, 483 to 486 and 487 to 490 at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5, in Keat Hong estate.
He first came to Singapore 8 years ago when his family needed money following a crisis. The oldest of three children, Ismail, who was in his second year of college studying accountancy, dropped out of school to support his family.
His favourite part of the day is meeting the children in Keat Hong who greet him every morning. Unlike his peers who had some residents shun them due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Ismail is thankful for the friendly residents who continue to greet him and show appreciation for his work.
Ismail has been commended for a variety of good deeds, including putting out a fire recently. He singlehandedly pushed a burning recycling bin away from residents’ cars to save them from damage and put the fire out. He earned praises from residents and the police for his brave and quick-thinking act.
Always ready to go the extra mile, Ismail has also searched rubbish bins at odd times of the day to help residents retrieve valuables such as mobile phones, car keys or even wallets discarded by accident.
On why he goes beyond the call of duty, he said: “I understand the pain of losing something precious. I want to do whatever I can to help my residents avoid that. Even if I get dirty, I can always clean myself up after the search.”
Also, Chua Chu Kang is like his second home. Majority of the residents treat the estate cleaners well, dropping by to check on them when they noticed someone’s absence or even giving them food, clothes or shoes, Ismail added.
In his free time, Ismail enjoys cooking, reading, watching Bollywood movies and meeting members of his family who are in Singapore.
His second brother joined him here in Singapore 3 years ago. The 25-year-old also works as an estate cleaner in Tampines. The brothers meet on their rest days and make video calls home to catch up with their parents and youngest brother whom they are putting through school.
Doing his job well and keeping the estate clean makes him happy, Ismail said. Though there exist challenges which sometimes make his job more difficult. For example, dealing with litter, bulky items left at the void deck, or smouldering cigarette butts that pose fire hazards.
“If there is less littering, then we can do our jobs very fast and then we can do more also,” he said. Always helpful, Ismail has been spotted giving residents a hand to move heavy items and putting back fallen street banners on his own accord.
“It is only human nature to help when you see someone in need,” he said.
The Choos’ favourite ‘pak tor’ spot in CCK Town is right at home in their four-room flat in Teck Whye!
For date night, there is nothing more romantic and relaxing for Josiah and Denise than to kick back their heels, tuck into a good meal (delivered to their doorstep) and pick a good show on Netflix after putting their 11-month-old daughter, Jenica, to bed.
This way, they can unwind and have some couple time, and also be available to tend to Jenica if needed.
“It is the best place to have a date. We don’t even need to go out physically,” said Denise. Killing two birds with one stone!
Their winsome photo entry, which shows the couple carrying their baby in matching outfits in front of their home, garnered the most likes in CCK Town Council’s Valentine’s Day photo contest.
The Choos won a pair of Natureland spa vouchers which they hope to use for massages to unwind all the knots in their backs that they have earned as new parents.
They got into the habit of enjoying their “me-time” at home when they were jet setting cabin crew. Whenever they were back in Singapore, all they wanted to do was to stay home for some much-needed R&R.
Even though Josiah still works as a cabin crew, Denise has since become a personal assistant. Then with Jenica born shortly before the Circuit Breaker period last year, staying home became the norm.
And with the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, the couple prefers to spend time at home together, except for the occasional grocery or shopping jaunts to Lot One shopping mall nearby. Home is a four-room flat that the Choos share with Denise’s mum and brother.
Living with the family has been a boon, said Denise, especially since everyone has been working from home. It means that not only has she been able to bond more with little Jenica, but she also has more help from her husband, mum and brother.
Denise said: “Home is where we really spent a lot of our time since last year, and it’s a very comfortable place for us.”
Every year, organisations and individuals all over the world pledge to turn their lights off for an hour at the end of March to mark Earth Hour.
This global grassroots movement, started by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), aims to increase awareness and spark global conversations on protecting nature, fight climate change and ensure our own health, happiness, prosperity and even survival.
This year, let’s go beyond turning off the lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on 27 March 2021 and practise some of these green tips to save the Earth. And if you’re working from home, these eco-friendly measures will help you save some money too!
5 Tips to Save the Earth (and Your Wallet)
1) Eliminate Energy Vampires
Did you know that your electrical appliances such as televisions, TV set-top boxes, speakers and microwave ovens continue to suck power on standby mode? Switch them off totally when not in use and you can save an additional $25* a year.
And leaving your storage water heater on after your shower can further bump your annual electricity bill up by an additional $110*!
Switch everything off at the power source when not in use and voila, you would have just saved yourself $135* a year.
2) Keep It Cool at 25°C
Using a fan instead of the air conditioner to keep cool can save you about $400* a year.
If you must use the air con, set the temperature no lower than 25°C for maximum energy and cost savings. For example, you can save $15* every year simply by raising the temperature from 22°C to 25°C. .
Or enjoy the best of both worlds by running the air con for about an hour, and then switch to using the fan to stay cool. This hack will save you $340* a year!
3) Save Those Precious Drops
Ask for a free water saving kit from PUB and save as much as 5% from your monthly water bill.
Each kit comes with 4 water thimbles for taps and 2 for showerheads.
Each thimble has 3 and 4 holes, which help regulate your tap and showerhead’s flow rates and cut down on water waste.
4) Turn the Computer Off When Not in Use
If you are not using your computer for more than 30 minutes, turn it off! Mother Earth (and your wallet) will thank you for it.
Case in point: leaving a 300W desktop computer switched on overnight for 8 hours will cost you $240* a year.
5) Use the Thermos Flask
Need a hot drink as a pick-me-up? Instead of using an electric air pot to keep your water on a constant boil, why not switch to a vacuum flask instead? This simple move alone will save you $300* a year.
*Cost calculated based on electricity cost of $0.27 per kWh of electricity.
Tips are adapted from National Environment Agency & PUB
What’s up, CCK? – Check out what’s ‘growing’ in Chua Chu Kang in this series that uncovers little known facts about your neighborhood.
188 trees from 4 tree species, which can grow locally, were planted in Choa Chu Kang Grove as part of a reforestation exercise on 22 November 2020.
Start keeping your eyes peeled to be the first to discover the fresh biodiversity that these reintroduced tree species, all native to Singapore, will attract to your neighbourhood.
You will also have something rare growing in your hood as all the 4 species planted are not commonly found elsewhere in Singapore and are at risk of becoming extinct here without help.
Find the trees here.
We will have our first-ever street tree planting exercise along Choa Chu Kang Central on 20 March 2021! Sign up here.
Watch this space to sign up for other upcoming tree planting exercises in CCK.
A quick lowdown on these endangered trees:
- Nicknamed island lychee, the fruit of this tree looks like a longan but tastes like a lychee. Its seeds can also be eaten too. Roasted or boiled, take your pick.
- Its bark, according to the Malays and Indonesians, can be used to treat sores and wound infections.
- It can grow up to about 20 storeys tall and has white to green-yellow flowers.
- Known also as nipis kulik, you can recognise this shrub through its deep blue or dark purple flowers.
- There are less than 250 of this specie left in the wild.
- Its leaves can be eaten like a vegetable but its fruits, though edible, are generally tasteless.
- This tree, also called the sentul, is another one which can grow up to 20 storeys high.
- Its pinkish-yellow, yellowish-green or white-yellow flowers are fragrant and bear ball-shaped yellow or brownish fruits which resemble the langsat on the outside but look like the mangosteen on the inside. You can eat the fruit raw or use it to make marmalade, candy or fermented beverages.
- Various parts of the tree are also used in folk medicine recipes to treat various ailments such as diarrhoea and fever.
- If you see trees with trunks that are orange, grey or white, chances are, you’ve spotted the river tristania. Check if it has tiny white flowers.
- This tree can grow up to about 12 storeys tall.
- But don’t try to eat anything from this tree as its fruits are not edible.
Parents, are you looking for something interesting and educational to do with your children this March holidays?
Get your kids to fill up this quiz for a chance to meet Water Wally & Sally in an educational NEWater tour. There are 20 sets of 4 tickets up for grabs.
Location: NEWater Visitor Centre*
Date: 20 March 2021
Time: 9am and 10.45am
*Visitors must be aged 4 years old and above
This exclusive tour is organised by CCK Town Council and PUB to mark World Water Day 2021. Observed internationally on 22 March, World Water Day highlights the importance of freshwater.
See & learn how NEWater is made
Recycled water, known as NEWater, is Singapore’s third national tap to cushion the nation’s water supply against climate change and move Singapore towards water sustainability.
The NEWater plant recycles treated used water into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water.
There are currently five NEWater plants supplying up to 40% of Singapore’s current water needs. By 2060, NeWater is expected to meet up to 55% of Singapore’s future water demand.
NEWater tour participants can experience what it is like to be a water molecule and be transformed into NEWater.
Kids will get to learn how they, too, have an equally important role to play in conserving water and ensuring Singapore’s water security.
Get water smart together with this quiz
Do this easy quiz with your kid and get water smart together! Clue: It’s based on PUB’s 5 W.A.T.E.R. tips which can be found at https://www.makeeverydropcount.gov.sg/save-water/
Send your answers by email to email@example.com by 10 March 2021 to win a chance to meet Water Wally & Sally at the NEWater tour in March!
Sign your kids up for free perks with PUB’s Water Wally & Sally Club
Let your children ages 1 to 12 learn all about saving water and how to use this precious resource responsibly with PUB’s new kids’ club.
Through books, videos, interactive online games and more, club members learn about the importance of water conservation and how to use it wisely.
Membership is free and members will receive an exclusive welcome pack, invitations to special events and activities with mascots, Water Wally and Water Sally. The welcome pack includes 3 special edition books on the adventures of Water Wally and Sally by local author Adeline Foo — best known for The Diary of Amos Lee . Aimed at pre-schoolers, the storybooks chronicle Water Wally and Sally helping their animal friends overcome challenges caused by the misuse of water and other resources. These stories are a great and fun way to teach your kids about water sustainability.
Members also receive a membership card which can be used to redeem extra perks, including discounts to indoor playgrounds like Kidztopia and Amazonia, children’s bookstore My Greatest Child, enrichment lessons in speech and drama, dance, taekwondo and more. See this list for full set of privileges and find out more about the club here.
Join Wally and Sally by signing up now.