Family resisted clean-up

ASSISTED: The 91-year-old flat owner with her daughter (right) and a social worker (left).

For two days, the family were uncooperative and hysterical, stopping the cleaners from clearing their rubbish.

But on the third day, the 20-year-old son had a sudden change of heart. He told his mother that he didn't want the hoarded items anymore.

From then on, the clean-up process became easier, said Mr Chua Kian Meng, 57, chairman of the Citizen's Consultative Committee of Potong Pasir.

The mother and son were known to roam the neighbourhood for items they thought had value.

During the clean-up, items such as newspapers dating back to the 1990s, four guitars and many pots and pans were discovered.

It took five contract workers working eight hours daily over almost five days to clear the flat of more than 10 tonnes of trash.

Last Friday, the flat was sealed and fumigated. On Saturday morning, about 10 grassroots volunteers helped with the final touches to the flat.

They bought four 1.5 litres of disinfectant and two bottles of detergent to clean up the flat.

Before the professional cleaners used a spray-jet to wash the flat, the volunteers, including their MP, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, used scrapers to scrub the filth and cockroach eggs from the grey walls of the flat.

Mr Chua, who has been volunteering at Potong Pasir for the past 15 years, knows the family well.

He intends to continue to monitor the situation and ensure they do not return to their old ways.

"It is important that they realise that hoarding is wrong and will affect the hygiene of the family."