On March 28, 2021 (Sunday), Shin Min Daily News reported “Private Hire Driver Chua Boon Delivered Timely Help and Warmth to Migrant Workers.
In the early days of the outbreak, private hire drivers put their own safety behind to raise funds for masks and disinfectants, and personally delivered these supplies to the foreign workers dormitory in Punggol.
When the pandemic struck last year at the largest infected cluster at the S11 Punggol foreign worker’s dormitory, one person single-handedly carried boxes of masks and disinfectants, and cast the boxes from one side of the fence over it, to deliver “timely help” to the migrant workers. When the media reported this scene, it aroused much discussion. It turned out that there were two other men helping at the scene, including 43 year-old private hire driver Chua Boon from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After he received a message from a migrant worker seeking help through WeChat, he launched the Singapore Care and Share Donation Group and sent out appeals for help. 200 people in the group responded by donating masks and other anti-pandemic items.
Chua Boon and his team drove to collect the items all over the island. Sometimes they had to travel to more than 20 places a day. Even if it was just one box of masks, they worked tirelessly travelling back and forth.
Chua Boon, who had been collecting more than a dozen boxes of supplies, soon faced a problem. They couldn’t deliver the supplies to the migrant workers. They finally decided to “take the risk” to contact the migrant workers in the dormitory, and then placed the supplies outside the dormitory fence.
Looking back on those days, Chua Boon said frankly he felt uneasy. As the pandemic was spreading fast in the local area, many people were worried of the risk of contamination in the course of donating, so they placed their items at the elevator entrance for them to retrieve.
Though knowing this was a high-risk task, the two volunteers and Chua Boon did not hesitate to turn back. Chua Boon said: “The big goal is to let them know there are still people who care for them.”
Chua Boon revealed that he was also worried about being infected due to close contact, and he dared not return home for fear of infecting his sister and her three children living together. He chose to sleep overnight in his car. When he was 17 years old, he met with a car accident while riding his brother’s motorcycle. He was sent to the hospital with his right leg fractured. He went three operations. Due to the need for rehabilitation, Chua Boon stopped school for one year and spent half a year in and out of the hospital during this period. What he saw in this period had a profound impact on him.
“In the hospital, the patient next to me was a 13-year-old boy who had both feet amputated, but he remained optimistic. These memories disturbed me very much.”
As a result, Chua Boon always thought of helping others, including orphanages in Malaysia early on, donating supplies, etc., or helping the disadvantaged such as the disabled.
His dad’s eagerness to help others also rubbed off Chua Boon. In the past, beggars came often to his house to beg. As long as it was within his ability, he would give them some money. His dad never refused.