The amazing James Cook University at Sims Drive

James Cook University Sims Drive Singapore

Sunday, December 9, 2018

My amazing experiences in sleeping in the street

My dad was a bag maker, which at time he earned only $15 per month in the sixties, when I was few years old he passed away from illnesses.

Left  6 of us, my mom, my 3 sisters, my brother and me to fend for ourselves.

We lived on social welfare and picked cans to sell for a living. Many times we survived on dark soya sauces and plain rice at times with an egg.

Than someone teaches my mom how to cook food to sell. Steaming the glutinous rice and yam cakes 2 hours made the room very hot. The heat didn't dispersed until the wee hours in the morning

The Yong Wah Radio and Electric Service store, which used to be a makeshift  wooden store ran by the mom and her eldest son, I frequently repaired our kerosene stove and tricycle there in the earlier days at Geylang

The pushcart quite similar to the makeshift wooden pushcart, when I was a few years old from Mattar Road to Circuit Road Block 67 pavement to hawk the food, before I went to my primary school

The type of wooden pushcart which I put the foods inside and above it covered it with a piece of plastic

Even after the cooking stopped, the room still hot with the heat generated around.
I usually avoid staying at home due to the heat by sitting in the staircase downstairs for hours watching the days went by, playing Chinese chess at the coffee shop and catching fishes at the Pelton canal etc.

My 2nd sister after married brought her 4 children to come to stay at our one room rented flat. So at night there were hardly any place to sleep.

Every morning 364 days, rain or shine. I woke up early in the morning at 4 am brought the foods down and push the cart from Mattar Road to Circuit Road  to sell. At that time if the estate officers caught us selling foods they might confiscated it.

The heat in the room and worrying about the food been confiscated exacted  heavy toll on my 3 sisters and mom health.

Later we got a stall to rent at Sims Drive. Situation improved a bit. After that I am able to buy a 3 room flat.

                                                      Sims Drive market

Every night after all my neighbors slept at around 11 pm plus I brought the cardboard and a pillow out to the end of the alley to sleep, until 4 am woke up to help to sell the food.

It is not safe sleeping outside at the corridor of the rental flat. There were constant fightings around the area at that time. Sometimes raining and strong winds I moved inner,. At the end of the corridor which the open air were cooler.


After we got the rental stall at Sims Drive every morning 4 am I woke up, brought the food down to the tricycle covered it with a plastic and put my bike on top of it and my mom sitting behind. cycled to Sims Drive food stall.

Rain or shine 364 days I got to cycle it to the stall as the whole family of 10 depend on it, If the tyres punctured I pushed it there.

After unloading it I will cycled to my school in Upper Aljunied Technical School to study after finished the classes cycled back to Sims Drives to bring back the tricycle home.

At Upper Aljunied Technical School

Things begin to improve, A master printer who print the Lianhe Zaobao stayed nearby came to my mom stall, encouraged me to work in Singapore Press Holding.

After I started working one year plus I got the good fortune to buy a 3 room HDB flat at 27 years old, which officially end my journey of sleeping  on the street .

I worked 7 days a week then with the overtimes and bonus to build up the finances and started to invest, which a colleague introduced me a broker at 30, so I am able to afford to buy a flat.

I regular borrow book to read at the mobile library at 10 years old, which came every Wednesday in Macpherson Community Club building up my knowledges and interest in travelling.

To avoid staying at home I train regularly with my ball juggling and cycling which the medias found it interesting and came to record and broadcasted it.
                                                 At the National Library

Subsequently Singapore Press Holdings called me up for the award. And published my story in the internal Newsletter.

                                               Singapore Press Holdings

Macpherson Community Club