I park my car every Sunday at a HDB block in Lengkok Bahru to attend church services. To my dismay, week after week, I have been seen lots of trash littered all around the block, leading me to wonder if this is the filthiest block of flat in Singapore:
This situation reminded me of what Minister Vivian Balakrishnan often said, that Singapore is actually a 'cleaned city' as opposed to a 'clean city'. If the army of cleaners, most of them of foreign nationalities, are not around, then our little red dot of a nation would drown in heaps of trash everywhere.
Many people are not aware that while our late founder Millard Fuller was famous for championing the cause of poverty-housing by starting and running Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the poor, Fuller was also a strong advocate for environmental cleanliness. Fuller was often seen picking up trash as he walked, making it difficult for journalists to interview him as he would often stop to pick up trash. The children of the Fuller family recall many family activities that included the cleaning of public places via trash-picking. Millard Fuller believed that there is a strong link betweeen tolerance towards trash in public areas, to a poverty-mindset. The breaking of the poverty-cycle includes a mindset that would not tolerate people living in a filthy environment. In a very real sense, if one can tolerate trash, one can tolerate any nonsense in life.
Habitat for Humanity Singapore intends to carry on the legacy of our beloved Founder Millard Fuller, by getting ourselves involved in combating public filth, even as we continue to work to clean up the houses of the elderly poor, and build houses all over this region.
We are starting a new project, aptly named "Unlitter Red Dot", in partnership with the National Environment Agency of Singapore. We want to bring together volunteers to pick up trash in public areas in Singapore.
This is not just a case of providing 'free cleaners' for Singaporeans, but a strong advocacy for public civility. Every participant in Unlitter Red Dot is saying to their fellow Singaporeans that they would not tolerate trash in this little red dot of a nation that we all share. We believe that this would create a 'broken window' impact in Singapore (the theory that a building with a broken window would invite vandals to break more windows; hence a clean environment would discourage littering), and begin the process when Singapore would one day be truly clean, instead of cleaned.
We started off with ourselves, the whole gang of us descending downstairs to clean up the common area in our office building:
Even with such a small area, we collected a couple of bags of trash! So our work is really cut out for us.
So join us! Call us and see how we can work together to Unlitter Red Dot!