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Kallang resident, 66, spends 8 hours a day picking up rubbish around estate, says it's a form of exercise

Kallang resident, 66, spends 8 hours a day picking up rubbish around estate, says it's a form of exercise
(Left) MP Denise Phua with retiree Looi, who was spotted picking up rubbish during recent a block walkabout.
PHOTO: Facebook/Denise Phua

Five years ago, Kallang resident Looi starting picking up trash left under his block whenever he was free.

After retiring in 2023, he decided to dedicate even more time to keeping the community clean, spending eight hours every day picking up litter around the estate, reported Shin Min Daily News.

The 66-year-old man, who lives at Block 467 Crawford Lane, credited his younger sister as his source of inspiration.

She had returned to Singapore from Hong Kong five years ago to care for their ailing mother and would help clear litter around the block in her free time.

"I'm also a fastidious person and wanted to clean up the rubbish and cigarette butts I see while on my way home, so I joined her," said Looi.

He noted that the high human traffic in the area leads to an inevitable build-up of trash. The estate is located close to Lavender MRT station and several office buildings.

"When I was still working, I could only pick up rubbish from 7pm to 10pm. Now that I'm retired, I have more time and will collect rubbish across two periods — from 5am to 7.30am and from 4pm to 10pm."

Aside from keeping Blocks 466, 467 and 468 litter-free, Looi also helps to return abandoned shopping carts and report public cleanliness issues on the OneService app.

Picking up rubbish has also helped him to keep health issues at bay, Looi told Shin Min.

"The doctor advised me not to stay at home all day as it may increase the risk of high blood pressure. So, I treat this as my daily exercise and my blood pressure is now well-managed."

The retiree told Shin Min that he had once been reproached by others for doing such frivolous activities, and without compensation for his time and effort.

"I was scolded so harshly and I also felt tired, so I'd once thought of giving up," he said. But with the encouragement of his younger sister, Looi decided to continue.

Despite the naysayers, he has met several appreciative residents who praised his efforts in keeping the estate clean. One person had even attempted to pay him as a form of thanks.

"I hope other residents can join me in picking up litter," he added. "Even if they can't, I hope everyone can help maintain the cleanliness of the community.”

In a Facebook post last Friday (June 28), MP for Jalan Besar GRC Denise Phua commended Looi for his public spiritedness.

"The young retiree did it on his own initiative as a good neighbour," she wrote.

"The Crawford area, like many public residential areas in town, is frequented by visitors who are non-residents; not least the patrons of the famed bak chor mee.

"Efforts by folks like Looi do lighten the load of our diligent town council cleaners."

ALSO READ: Man feels 'malu' after seeing woman picking up trash in Geylang with her kids

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