Born as the youngest of five children, 78 year-old Mr Ng Thian Seng dropped out after primary one as he could not catch up with the pace of learning in school. His father passed on in the same year, leaving his mother to raise five children single-handedly. As a young boy, he worked long hours as a “kopi-gia (咖啡仔)” at the coffeeshop. His only relaxation was the free singing interest group at Redhill Residents’ Committee. He even learned to play the harmonica by himself.
When Mr Ng was in his 60s, his mother passed away. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he had to move into a one-room rental flat with his older brother. During this lonely period in his life, he found new friendship. He met Mr Tan Seng Huat, who was in his 40s, at the singing interest group; Seng Huat became his godson.
As Mr Ng was getting on in years, he found it physically difficult to continue his work at the coffeeshop. He switched to busking with his harmonica at Waterloo Street and the Clementi area, which enabled him to get two simple meals a day. However, in 2014, Mr Ng’s health started failing him. He was diagnosed with hepatitis B and suffered complications from this liver disease; he had swelling in his legs and stomach, and abdominal pain. He could no longer busk and had to rely on public assistance for his daily living. Seng Huat selflessly stepped in and took up the responsibility of taking care of the Ng brothers, who were both in their 70s.
In 2019, Mr Ng was further diagnosed with rectal cancer, which affected the lower part of his body. He has bowel incontinence and needs to be on diapers. He came under the care of Assisi Hospice’s Home Care service in March last year. Our doctors and nurses visit him regularly to monitor and manage his symptoms and care needs. We provided donated items like diapers to ease their financial burden, and helped to improve their living conditions, for example by arranging to clear the bed bugs in their home. Our medical social worker offers a listening ear and support to Seng Huat, who is now in his 60s, and is Mr Ng’s main caregiver. Seng Huat is also assured that Mr Ng can continue to receive care through our Inpatient service should he deteriorate to a stage where Seng Huat is unable to take care of him.
At Assisi Hospice, we provide palliative care for patients that preserves their dignity and quality of life. Patients of any race, faith and financial position are cared for by our team of specialist doctors, nurses, allied health and pastoral care professionals. 51% of Assisi Hospice’s patients are poorest of the poor and means tested to the lowest income level, and are in need of financial assistance. More than half of our patients are cared for by our Home Care team. Our Home Care service is free. Your donation will enable us to continue to provide care and comfort to patients like Mr Ng and selfless caregivers like Seng Huat.