Singapore

Bringing the kampung spirit to his HDB flat

Part of a series featuring six ordinary heroes who have made a difference to other strangers’ lives. Their heartwarming deeds are celebrated in the ongoing Good Man Good Deeds Good Rice campaign collaboration between Chinese evening daily LIanhe Wanbao and Tong Seng Produce’s rice brand SongHe. In their name, Tong Seng will donate 500kg of SongHe rice and 60 litres of canola oil to their charity of choice.

Mr Hamzah Osman is the ideal neighbour.

The 49-year-old architectural technician voluntarily pays for and personally decorates his Housing Board flat corridor and elevator lobby for holidays and festive occasions. The handyman also readily helps neighbours whose pipes or lights need fixing.

Mr Hamzah never shuts the door of his flat at Block 700B, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6.

Neighbours often drop by for a chat before heading home. He does not even lock his door if he heads downstairs to run errands, a throwback to the kampung days of the past.

His kampung spirit extends to helping his neighbours with all things big and small.

Mr Hamzah offered to keep vigil for his neighbour's father funeral three years ago, so that the grieving man could get some sleep.

That neighbour is Mr Michael Teo, a 48-year-old assistant manager who has lived on the same storey as Mr Hamzah for 15 years. "Although we are from different races and religions, he and his wife offered to keep vigil for us... Which neighbour would be willing to do that?"

Mr Hamzah said: "They don't have a lot of relatives and we are close to them, so we do what we can to help."

More recently, a neighbour's three-year-old son was trapped in his room and Mr Hamzah was asked to help.

He pacified the crying child through the door and he calmed down immediately, as though Mr Hamzah's presence was enough to reassure the child.

Mr Hamzah said: "I lived in a kampung when I was young and my father was always ready to help our neighbours. When I grew up I wanted to continue his spirit and bring the kampung spirit into the HDB."

Mr Osman's charity is the Bishan Home for the intellectually disabled.

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