Crisis Turned His Life Around

While most in their 60s look forward to enjoying their retirement, Mr. Lim Ah Hock has to juggle supporting his wife, and five children aged 6 to 23. After suffering a stroke a decade ago, the 65-year-old former gangster ditched his past and started working as a delivery driver in the construction industry, but turning over a new leaf proved harder than he expected.

Despite living a frugal life and working a near 7-day week, the sole breadwinner found it tough to make ends meet with his monthly salary of $1,800, forcing him to take on strenuous overnight shifts to earn additional income. Still, his age, and having only a PSLE qualification and the functional impairments caused by the stroke made it impossible for him to improve his circumstances. His 23-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son already took on part-time jobs at eateries, with the former having to put off her university education. While government subsidies cover the family’s rental, conservancy and electricity bills, Mr Lim rarely ended the month with savings. That is, until he signed up for the MWS Family Development Programme (FDP) in March 2017 through a case referral by the Whampoa Community Club.

Within a year of starting on the savings matching scheme at a dollar ratio of 1:2, Mr Lim managed to save at least $3,000 in his bank account by March 2018. He is currently into his second year of the programme. FDP also provides monthly school support for his 14-year-old and 9-year-old children, at $40 and $30 monthly respectively.

“Back in the day when I had the means to lead an extravagant lifestyle, I made it a point to donate to charity whenever I could. Honestly, I feel that the good I’ve put out a long time ago is making its way back to me,” says Mr Lim, whose main concerns now are job stability, and how his family would cope should he pass on.

Buoyed by constant advice and encouragement from his volunteer caseworker Elson Ong, Mr Lim is becoming more positive about his situation than ever. He is also grateful that his children are filial. “I used to feel that I lacked purpose in life. Now at least there is hope that I can save enough for my kids’ education. It is my wish to see my eldest daughter attend university.”

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