Clementi busker overcomes adversity through music
He busks up to eight hours a day, crooning evergreensat a dimly-lit corridor in Clementi Avenue 3.
Mr Nordin Mohd Syed, 68, has been using a wheelchair for 44 years after damaging his spinal cord in a work-related five-storey fall in 1973.
It was a frustrating time for him as he went through six months of intensive rehabilitation at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
"When I started using the wheelchair, I kept falling off. Once, I even tried to get off to climb the staircase and fell backwards," Mr Nordin said.
His brothers had to take turns carrying him up and down four flights of stairs at their block.Things got better after a year or two when his doctor referred him to SPD, which was known then as the Society for Aid to the Paralysed. SPD describes its focus as "helping people with disabilities (to) maximise their potential and integrating them into mainstream society".
Mr Nordin joined a band of disabled musicians as their guitarist. Their gigs included a minister's birthday party and performances with Malay pop-rock icon Ramli Sarip.
"Performing with the other musicians improved my mental state and made me happier," he said.
Mr Nordin, who quit as a foot reflexologist to busk full-time in 2007, will be performing at the SPD Ability Walk 2017.
The 3km walk at the Chinese Garden on Aug 27 aims to raise $200,000 for programmes to enable the disabled to be more independent.
"I just want people to enjoy my music," he said, adding that his repertoire will include Malay, Chinese and English oldies.
Ms Loi Boon Lee, senior director of Community Partnerships at SPD, said: "Mr Nordin has come a long way, and for him to volunteer without hesitation to perform during the walk shows how much he values the community.
"It is encouraging to see such optimism and care, despite the many challenges in his life."
SPD Ability Walk details
WHAT: SPD Ability Walk 2017
WHEN: Sunday, Aug 27. Flag-off at 8amWHERE: Chinese Garden
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION (closes July 31)
Individual: $35Child (5 to 12): $15
Buddy (two people): $66
Group: (10 or more): $25 each
Register at spdabilitywalk.spd.org.sg
Online donations at www.giving.sg/spd/spd_ability_walk_2017