CARDBOARD collecting isn’t exactly a dangerous activity, but at least three people have died from doing just that over the last two years.
Yesterday (March 30), Madam Poh Ah Gin became the third fatality when a taxi reversed into her at high speed at a carpark in Bedok North Street 2. The 78-year-old was collecting cardboard when the taxi driver lost control of the vehicle while reverse parking and rammed into her twice, killing her.
In November 2014, an 86-year-old woman who had also been collecting cardboard was run down after walking into the blind spot of a bus in Marsiling Lane. Madam Ching Guan Eng was dragged for a short distance, and her trolley and stash of cardboard were stuck under the bus. The coroner ruled her death as an “unfortunate traffic misadventure”.
25 years a cardboard collector
She works 16 to 17 hours a day and earns barely $10. At night, she sleeps on cardboard under a carpark ramp.
Passers-by would think she is single, lonely, poor and homeless. But in reality, Madam Ye, who is in her 70s, has a husband, four children, a grandchild and a HDB flat in Sembawang.
Why does she collect cardboard and sleep in a carpark then? She told Youth.SG in Mandarin: "This is how I get by. I don't want to be a burden to people, I don't want to be waiting for my children's next pay cheque or take for granted that they will give me an allowance."
A grounds-up campaign to raise awareness about old cardboard collectors
Happy People Helping People Foundation (HPHF), a grounds-up movement which reaches out to the old and homeless is starting a campaign to raise awareness about the old cardboard collectors in Singapore.
Pointing out that there were 3 accidents resulting in deaths involving older cardboard collectors in Singapore, the group feels that the government can do more to reach out to such elderly people.
In a Facebook post the group said, “If they can deploy civil servants to catch smokers, to catch litterbugs, to catch road offenders, can’t they deploy civil servants to reach out to these seniors and offer some assistance?”
Cardboard auntie, 78, killed by reversing taxi at carpark
Despite her advanced age and having money, she insisted on collecting cardboard.
So much so that she had been a familiar sight in her neighborhood for more than 20 years.
But tragedy struck yesterday afternoon when Madam Poh Ah Gin, 78, was looking for cardboard behind a coffee shop at Block 123 next to an open-air carpark at Bedok North Street 2.
Cab tragedy: Cardboard auntie gave away what she collected
It was her daily routine to head out for a late lunch after 2pm, usually at the coffee shop next to her home in Bedok North.
After her meal, 77-yr-old Poh Ah Gin enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood, sometimes collecting cardboard boxes to recycle to pass time. This was what she was doing on Tuesday evening when the driver of a Comfort taxi reversed into her twice at high speed.
The accident took place behind a coffee shop at Block 123 in Bedok North Street 2. Madam Poh was killed instantly.
ELDERLY WOMAN KILLED WHILE COLLECTING CARDBOARD ON PAVEMENT
An elderly woman was killed after a taxi reversed into her at high speed at a carpark in Bedok North Street 2 on Wednesday (Mar 30).
Madam Poh Ah Gin was collecting cardboard behind a coffeeshop at Block 123. Madam Poh was single and lived alone. She was pronounced dead by paramedics on scene. She was 78-yr-old
A 64-year-old taxi driver lost control of his Hyundai Sonata. The cab mounted the kerb and crashed into her twice. Police said that the driver has been arrested for causing death by a negligent act
Elderly woman killed after taxi reverses into her in Bedok North carpark
A 78-yr-old woman was killed after a taxi reversed into her at high speed at a carpark in Bedok North Street 2 on Wednesday (Mar 30).
Madam Poh Ah Gin was collecting cardboard behind a coffeeshop at Block 123, when a 64-yr-old taxi driver lost control of his Hyundai Sonata, mounted the kerb and crashed into her twice. Police said that the driver has been arrested for causing death by a negligent act.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said it was alerted to the accident at 3.15pm and dispatched an ambulance. The woman, who was single and lived alone, was pronounced dead by paramedics on scene. When The Straits Times arrived at about 6pm, the taxi had halted to a stop in front of a maroon car and silver van, which were both badly damaged by the impact. A lorry and two other vans parked behind these vehicles were also damaged.
Hazards being a Cardboard Picker
Picking cardboard boxes on a sunny day can be grueling.
It can also be dangerous work.
Two women - 86-year-old Madam Ching Guan Eng & more recently, Madam Tan Powi Kim, 62 - were killed while making ends meet as cardboard collectors.
'Cardboard auntie' who was knocked down by school bus was in driver's blind spot: Coroner
An 86-year-old woman who died in November 2014 after she was struck by a school bus in Marsiling Lane had been collecting recyclable items such as cardboard & cans as "a pastime" and "exercise", a coroner's court heard on Friday.
Mdm Ching Guan Eng was pushing her trolley across the road towards the parked bus, when she probably encroached onto its path just as it was moving off.
And the driver might have been unaware that she was in his blind spot on the front right side of his bus, State Coroner Marvin Bay said.
BMW driver who knocked cardboard collector down didn't apologise or help
For 10 years, the elderly couple worked rain or shine on weekends to collect cardboard, earning under $1,000 a mth.
She did it, said her son, to stay active & to accompany her husband.
They would drive their lorry to various sites and pick up recyclable materials. It became routine.
Elderly woman killed in Collyer Quay accident
A 61-yr-old woman was killed when a BMW ploughed into a lorry on Saturday (Feb 20) morning.
Her 68-yr-old husband was also injured in the accident, which happened at around 6.50am along Collyer Quay, near the OUE Link Bridge.
According to Shin Min Daily News, the couple had been collecting cardboard in the area, as was their habit every Saturday morning.
Students' research on cardboard collectors draws flak
They embarked on a 6-month project to try to understand the needs of old folk who collect cardboard for a living, in an attempt to help them.
Instead, the group of students faced a torrent of criticisms online as if they had "committed atrocities & transgressions of the worst nature", said team leader Koh Cheng Jun yesterday.
The attacks started after Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin posted on Facebook on Saturday that he had visited cardboard collectors in Jalan Besar with some of the team members.
Let's do more to support elderly cardboard collectors
I was staring at the scene where the body of Mdm Zheng Yuan Ying, 86, lay pinned under a bus on Wednesday morning.
She was killed while making her way to a cardboard-collection point in Marsiling Lane
It is a grim reminder to me that a job, even as mundane as collecting discarded cardboard, comes with risks.
Have you ever Spoken to a Cardboard Uncle or Aunty?
They shared with me that they were surprised by their own findings! The normal perception that all cardboard collectors are people who are unable to take care of themselves financially is not really true. There will be some who do this as their main source of income. Some do so to supplement what they have. Some prefer to earn extra monies, treat it "as a form of exercise" and activity rather than being cooped up at home. They do this to remain independent, so that they can have dignity and not have to ask their families for help.
Collecting Cardboards from "a form of exercise" to "protecting our environment"
Saw 70 year old Mdm Lim from Blk 235 struggling to move 32kg of old newspaper for recycling. Good thing we ran into her and helped her with the load. Found out that with her bad knees and unsteady gait, she actually fell and had a slight bruise on her forehead just before we came across her. Fortunately she wasn't severely injured. Asked why she expended so much efforts to recycle these items, she insisted she wanted to do her part "to protect our environment." Her single-mindedness towards a worthy cause is deserving of a salute! Advised her to not over exert and to let us know in future when she needed help with these items. Thank you, Mdm Lim, for being an inspiration and a role model!
Collecting Cardboards "a form of exercise" & "protecting our environment"
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