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  • Habitat for Humanity Singapore

How Uncle Sim taught us to laugh in the storm

We knew 80-year-old Uncle Sim would be a ball of fun the moment he welcomed the team by mechanically waving and calling himself a “Robot”, chuckling at his own little joke.

At first glance, you wouldn’t think that this man with the twinkle in his eye, would be battling sickness and loss. But there he was, standing strong in the face of adversity with his own dash of humour added into the mix.

It was a poignant reminder of why we do the work we do. If restoring Uncle Sim’s bedbug infested house was going to be an important milestone in his overcoming journey, then it was our privilege and honour to serve with all our hearts.

And that was what the team consisting of volunteers from corporate supporter CP Kelco gave during their session on 17 June – hard work from the bottom of their hearts.

Their task was honestly a tedious one – painting the bedrooms of Uncle Sim’s house to (1) beautify the home and cover bedbug spots; (2) kill any remaining eggs which were still on the walls. Yet they fought through the slow-building exhaustion of the work to give their all and it showed in the end outcome.

Uncle Sim had been facing a bedbug infestation in his 3-room flat for a few years. It would have remained a hidden issue if not for the sharp eyes of a Family Service Centre staff who caught a single bedbug crawling up Uncle Sim’s clothes.

Surprisingly, it was only Uncle Sim’s wife who felt the torture of bedbug bites. While his wife would have trouble sleeping, wide-eyed at 3am trying to catch the pesky bloodsuckers, Uncle Sim would sleep soundly like all was well with the world.

Now, he joked, bedbugs were all he was reminded of. Visits to the polyclinics for what he thought would be health check-ups were now opened with, “How is the bedbug situation going?”, to which he rolled his eyes and amusingly remarked, “I guess my health isn’t that important anymore.”

But in all seriousness, ridding Uncle Sim’s house of bedbugs was a crucial step in his battle against worsening Parkinson’s Disease which has already created physical and mental difficulties.

Just last year too, Uncle Sim lost his beloved wife, his constant companion for the last 60 years.

It was a period of much grief for Uncle Sim. “I cried so much until I didn’t have tears left. She took care of me so well.”

The home too was a precious testament to the bond the two shared.

“We decided to BTO for this house just to try our luck. Who knew we would have gotten it on our first try? Lucky us!”

Thank you, Uncle Sim, for sharing your life with us. And for all the goofy moments!

At one point he brought out his precious hiking pole, not the steel ones we see these days, but a literal wooden stick harking back to his Scouts days of old. We all had a laugh when we realised he fit right in with the CP Kelco volunteers holding their long painting sticks! It will be these shared memories which will stay with us when we look back on Project HomeWorks.

And a big job well done to volunteers from CP Kelco, who actually flew in from all over the world to do this together! Thank you for braving the tedium and exhaustion to make an impact in Uncle Sim’s life.

Beyond physical volunteering, CP Kelco, a J.M. Huber Company, has also donated a total of $75,000 USD ($102,600 SGD) which will support over 80 Project HomeWorks homes! This incredible partnership was made possible through Huber Helps, J.M.Huber’s global community engagement and philanthropy program.

We are incredibly grateful for this gift of love which will help us serve so many more homeowners in need.


About CP Kelco: Unlocking Natured-Powered Success®

CP Kelco is a nature-based ingredient solutions company with approximately 90 years of experience working with food, beverage, consumer and industrial products manufacturers worldwide. We apply ingredient innovation and problem-solving to develop customized solutions that leverage our regional insights and meet manufacturers’ goals to address consumer needs and preferences. What sets us apart:

  • Unique Portfolio. Produces extensive range of high-quality plant-based and fermentation-derived ingredients to formulate tailored solutions.

  • Technical Excellence. Offers strong collaboration with a global team of scientists and applications experts, leveraging our regional state-of-the art R&D facilities.

  • Sustainability. Committed to providing responsibly sourced and produced ingredients.

  • Market Insights. Understands market and consumer trends to help customers create relevant and innovative products.

Key product lines include gellan gum, pectin, xanthan gum, carrageenan, diutan gum, refined locust bean gum, microparticulated whey protein concentrate, fermentation-derived cellulose and our latest innovation, NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber. Learn more at

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