Ex-convicts spruce up home of needy man for Chinese New Year

28 Jan 2020, The New Paper

He has not had visitors to his flat for Chinese New Year since his elderly mother died four years ago. But last week, Mr Koh Hock Choon opened his doors to about 20 guests, including Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who also tossed yusheng with Mr Koh, wishing him good health and prosperity for the new year. A beneficiary of the Jamiyah Halfway House’s Community Outreach and Development Department, Mr Koh, 52, who is single, had his home spruced up for the first time since he moved into his Toa Payoh flat 22 years ago.

Mr Koh’s two-room rental flat was given a new look with a fresh coat of paint, newly installed lights, two ceiling fans, a water heater, a new refrigerator and new furniture. The home makeover project, called Project Happiness, is now in its fourth year. This year’s edition is sponsored by Tan Chin Tuan Foundation and Cosy Cool and organised by the Jamiyah Halfway House (Darul Islah) as part of its community outreach engagement programme. Six residents of Darul Islah took part in the week-long spring cleaning.