"Indus’ Unsung Heroes Part 1: Tok Mat, Kak Mas and Nabiel”
The COVID-19 storm impacted the lives of many Singaporeans and Tok Mat’s is one of them. Like many others, he experienced a loss of income and often felt dejected—but despite this, his family's generosity remained intact.
For years, mosques in Singapore have distributed porridge during the fasting month of Ramadan. This has become a significant tradition, with many eagerly anticipating the delivery of porridge at their local mosque.
During the pandemic’s due to social distancing measures, however, the distribution of porridge, prayers, and assemblies of any kind were severely restricted at all mosques. Yet, this did not deter Tok Mas, his wife Kak Mas, nor their son Nabiel. With their neighbours, they utilised the government's solidarity stipend to prepare and distribute porridge on their own. All through the month of fasting, they distributed 50 packets of porridge to their neighbours on alternate days. This included cooking and packaging the porridge, as well as sending it to their neighbours' homes.
"I felt sad on the final day of Ramadan because I didn't know whether the same chance would be granted to us the following year," Tok Mat said. COVID-19 turned out to be a gift in disguise for Tok Mat's family. The family was able to conduct this family project and give back to the community while spending quality time together!
Indus Unsung Heroes Part 2: Sukma
Sukma came to live at the Indus Road estate in 2006. She immediately fell in love with it, comparing it to her kampung back home in Indonesia. She was inspired by the community's culture of neighbours helping neighbours, as she could always rely on them to help her when she needed. Sukma aspires to do the same and return the favour however she can.
During the pandemic, Sukma started making meals for her elderly neighbour, whose wife was unable to return to Singapore. “When I discovered his clothes were soiled, I helped him clean them,” Sukma said. Despite her busy schedule managing her Rempeyek business during Ramadan, Sukma continued to lend a hand to her neighbours during the circuit breaker period while adhering to the safe distancing measures.
She would go to the community centre to collect food packages: one for her neighbour and one for herself. She would leave his food package at his door. Sukma loves helping her neighbours and, in turn, it is their kindness that keeps her going.
""What I do, I do in good faith. I am not interested in recognition. It is between me and God,” Sukma asserts.
Indus Unsung Heroes Part 3: Aunty May and Husband
The elderly, especially those that live alone, has a special place in Aunt May's heart. She was especially concerned about the well-being of her elderly neighbours when the Senior Activity Centre at her block was shut down due to COVID-19.
She has been serving bento dinners to her 25 senior neighbours since April, when she enrolled them in the food bento programme through a VWO. On days when the food bentos could not be delivered, Aunt May and her husband would take the initiative to prepare their homemade ‘bee hoon’ and sandwiches for these seniors. She did it out of concern for their safety should they go out to buy dinner alone at night.
"I will continue to provide meals to my neighbours for as long as I am able to. And if I am unable to do to myself, I will rely on my granddaughter or other neighbours," Aunty May explains.
As shown by Aunt May, a huge and kind heart sails over the furious storm of COVID-19!