Others turned up noses, but she cleaned him up

Others turned up noses, but she cleaned him up
Mr Tan tucking into chicken rice Ms Noriza (centre) had bought for him and Madam Lee on her visit to their flat yesterday. On Oct 7, Ms Noriza helped to clean Mr Tan, who had soiled his pants in Toa Payoh.

She was just 18 when her parents died.

So when Ms Noriza A. Mansoor saw Mr Tan Soy Yong covered in faeces in public, she rushed to his aid, wanting to do what she never managed to do for her parents: clean and care for him.

"I didn't get the chance to clean up and care for my own parents, so I did what I could for Mr Tan," said Ms Noriza, 49, a bedsheet promoter.

The incident took place on Oct 7 at the FairPrice supermarket at Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

Ms Noriza, who was on duty, noticed shoppers grimacing at a "fishy" stench.

She found Mr Tan, 76, with dried faeces on his shorts, legs and slippers near the checkout with his wife, Madam Lee Bee Yian, also 76, who was in a wheelchair.

Ms Noriza grabbed a pail of water and used tissue paper to clean him up. She also bought a new pair of shorts for Mr Tan.

Ms Noriza, who speaks some Hokkien and Mandarin, spoke to him calmly. She said: "Tears rolled down his eyes... He said nobody had helped him before."

A passer-by, currency trader Goh Rong Ren, 32, helped pay for a cab ride while Ms Noriza accompanied them to the foot of their flat in Potong Pasir.

Mr Goh, through a friend, contacted The New Paper to highlight the good deed. The story ran on Monday.

Her story has since gone viral online, with many netizens praising Ms Noriza for her kindness and empathy.

Ms Noriza, a divorcee with five children aged 10 to 25, said she will continue to look out for the elderly couple.

"I will continue to reach out to the couple on my days off. I think they need someone to talk to and cheer them up."

When The Straits Times visited the couple at their flat, the flat's floor and walls were soiled with faeces, with the stench wafting through the common corridor.

Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin said the Citizens Consultative Committee there has been helping the couple. They are also helped by welfare groups.

Mr Tan, a former cleaner, said they have a son and daughter who both work overseas.

Speaking in Hokkien, Madam Lee said she washes his shorts twice a day but has no strength to do more or clean the flat.

"Whenever we eat out, he will soil himself. It's embarrassing and people avoid us at the coffee shop because of the smell."

melodyz@sph.com.sg


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