NGOs offer aid to old man after viral social media post

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds

BELAIT

NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations (NGOs) have come to the aid of a senior citizen living alone in Kg Jabang whose struggles went viral this week in a widely shared post on social media.

The plight of 80-year-old Paul Wong, who walks over a kilometre with a cane in hand in the sweltering mid-day sun to Seria town everyday for lunch, was first spotted by a passer-by on National Day who offered him a car ride.

Soon after, the driver shared his encounter with Paul on social media, highlighting the alleged absence of support from the 80-year-old’s four children, who are currently overseas.

Similar to many residents in Jabang, Paul has no direct electricity or water supply, and lives in a dilapidated wooden stilt house built without permit on government land.

Kwong Wai Siew (KWS) association's chairman Koo Kong Loi together with the TTK four-wheel-drive association have spearheaded aid efforts so far, installing a small solar panel at Paul’s house yesterday which now provides electricity to three new light bulbs. Both organisations have also donated basic living supplies.

Paul however, was modest when interviewed yesterday, claiming he was sufficiently supported by his monthly pension of $250 and by a local eatery in the heart of Seria town which has been offering him free meals everyday for over a year.

“I do have a weakness in my legs, so walking to Seria town takes me about an hour and a half, but I can manage,” said Paul.

He also defended the support given from his children, saying they have previously paid for him to fly to Singapore to receive medical treatment for his leg.

KWS’s chairman has notified the Mukim Consultative Council (MPM) of Seria of Paul’s plight, which he maintains is precarious given that the 80-year-old lives unsupervised, with a medical condition, in a dilapidated house without any neighbours in direct sight.

“We have suggested to the MPM and Paul for him to be moved to the government barracks where he can have neighbours, or to the Seria old folks home where he can be directly looked after,” said Koo.

Paul welcomed the suggestion to be relocated, but wants to wait until one of his daughters, currently residing in New Zealand, returns home next month.

“I will have to wait and see for my daughters future living plans, whether it is in Brunei or New Zealand,” he said.

Paul has three other children who are living in Singapore.

The Brunei Times