Repair Kopitiam got a surprise visitor at one of our sessions. Mingling around with the crowd one Sunday morning was a man intrigued by all the activity and action on display. He went around asking questions, first of people from the neighbourhood, then of the Repair Coaches. What, he wanted to know, was all this about? His name is Ang Wei Neng, a Member of Parliament for Jurong.
MP Ang Wei Neng’s surprise visit
“I was with my mother having breakfast at a nearby food court and as we were walking back, I noticed a bustling crowd across the street from us. Intrigued, I walked over and I discovered a scene where a lot of young people were helping a lot of older people repair things from chairs to clothes to electronics. I wanted to find out more.”
So the Repair Coaches walked Mr Ang through the concept of Repair Kopitiam, stopping at each station to explain the mechanics of each and introduce him to members of the team. Along the way, he stopped to chat with participants, enquiring about their opinions and seemingly fascinated by their stories.
“I was particularly taken by a little girl. Her mother had brought her here with a bag full of old clothes that she had outgrown. Now, usually in this case, we would either throw those clothes away or donate them to charities, but this little girl was so attached to her t-shirts that she did not want to part with them. So she wanted to learn how to turn them into pillowcases, so they could always be with her. Standing there looking at this young girl learn how to use a sewing machine with help from your volunteers is a satisfactory sight for a representative of the people like myself.”
Mr Ang then went on to recount a recent story of self-starting spirit that he had heard recently. A man, whose wife now required a wheelchair, had asked the Mr Ang’s council to build a ramp into his HDB apartment entrance, as there were now only impractical steps. After examining the issue, it was agreed to hire a contractor to build the ramp for SG$ 2,000, with the bill footed by the council. However, the man thought the price was too high and the timeframe unreasonable for his burden, so he took it upon himself to build the ramp on his own. And he did it, at a fraction of the cost!
“It is that kind of spirit that I like to see in my community. People who are willing to step in and solve problems with their own initiative! He did it for a lot less than what we were quoted as well! I see a lot of that spirit here today. Especially that little girl. She will leave a lasting impression on me and this Repair Kopitiam is definitely something that I would like to encourage all across Singapore. You guys are doing a very good job here.”