Even with a myriad of challenges, Madam Jumaah binte Khatib Loran continues to take pride in her job. Her work is not just physically demanding but also comes with expectations.
Madam Jumaah, 64, is a familiar figure at Blocks 405 and 406 in Jurong West Street 42 – she cleans these two buildings with pride. Home isn’t far either – she lives with her husband and 17-year-old son with special needs in Block 403.
Working seven days a week from 7am to 3pm, Madam Jumaah clears the rubbish bins, picks up pet excrement, mops the lifts, and sweeps the common corridors and staircase landings. “I also have to clear the common drains to make sure there’s no chokage,” she said. “Sometimes I have difficulty picking up the refuse bins because they are very heavy. It’s also difficult for someone my age to walk down the stairs to sweep the common areas.”
To help lighten her workload, Madam Jumaah’s husband, Mr Arman bin Supari, who works as a security guard at the National University of Singapore, helps her out when he knocks off from his night-shift duties. Highlighting the importance of maintaining good hygiene and cleanliness in our surroundings, she said: “A clean and tidy environment is vital for our mental well-being.”
Instead of throwing their rubbish in their unit’s refuse chutes, Madam Jumaah noted that some residents often leave their trash next to the common area’s refuse bins. “This is an unhygienic practice. It will help the cleaning staff if residents dispose off their rubbish in a more responsible way,” she said.
In addition to her physically demanding job, she also takes care of her son, who is wheelchair-bound. “He is incapable of even the most basic everyday chores such as feeding himself or washing up. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he soils himself and I have to wake up to clean him. It’s tough, as I have to wake up early in the morning for work,” she added.
Thankfully, Mr Arman has been a pillar of support for her when the going gets tough. “He taught me how to surf the net and watch YouTube videos,” she said. “He has also tried to teach me how to read and write. As a family, we like to hang out at IMM and eat at the potluck restaurant there sometimes. JEM is also one of our favourite places to visit on weekends.”
Having lived in the neighbourhood for a decade, Madam Jumaah noted that the community here is close-knit. “We know a lot of neighbours of different races and chit-chat often,” said the sprightly lady with a smile.