Cleaners who found abandoned baby in Bedok North bin given award, vouchers

(From left) Mr Shamsul Kamar Mohamed Razali, executive director of the Centre for Domestic Employees; Mr Shamim Patwari and Mr Mostafa Kamal, cleaners from Bangladesh who found the baby; Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC
(From left) Mr Shamsul Kamar Mohamed Razali, executive director of the Centre for Domestic Employees; Mr Shamim Patwari and Mr Mostafa Kamal, cleaners from Bangladesh who found the baby; Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC); and Mr Bernard Menon, executive director of MWC. The two cleaners were presented with the first MWC Commendation Award and each given $500 worth of FairPrice vouchers on Thursday.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The two cleaners who found an abandoned baby boy in Bedok North earlier this month have been recognised for their deeds.

Mr Shamim Patwari, 24, and Mr Mostafa Kamal, 37, were each given a certificate of recognition, as well as $500 worth of FairPrice vouchers, on Thursday.

Chairman of the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC), Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, presented the first MWC Commendation Award to the Bangladeshi cleaners at Block 522 Bedok North Avenue 1.

Mr Yeo said the initiative was inspired by The New Paper's coverage of how the two cleaners saved the life of the baby, who had been abandoned in a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3.

He also cited other instances where migrant workers went out of their way to help others.

In 2015, a foreign worker climbed to the second storey of a Housing Board block to save a toddler whose head was stuck between the rails of a drying rack.

Mr Yeo said: "Such deeds should not go unnoticed, and we feel that the purpose of this award is not only to reward such noble individuals but also to inspire others to emulate such deeds.

"This is not the first time we have read about migrant workers who have gone the extra mile to help others."

Mr Yeo, who also heads the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE), said Thursday's ceremony was the first and will be part of a longer initiative to recognise more migrant or domestic workers who go beyond the call of duty. He said the CDE will also start a similar initiative for maids soon.

 
 
 

Mr Shamim and Mr Mostafa, who spoke to The New Paper through a translator, said they were honoured to receive the award.

Mr Shamim said he did not expect anything and did not even tell his family members in Bangladesh about the incident.

The two cleaners intend to use the vouchers to buy food for family members back home.

Mr Shamim said: "We have done something good and saved the life of a baby. We hope that this will encourage more people to help others in need.

"I am glad we managed to contribute back to society by helping the police. But I think it is fate that saved the baby because sometimes, there is so much rubbish that it would have been impossible to hear his cries."

The Straits Times first reported the incident on Jan 7 after the baby was found in the rubbish chute bin that morning in a blood-stained plastic bag which was tied up and lying among bags of rubbish in the bin.

He had no visible injuries and was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital. He was reported to be in stable condition on Tuesday.

Apart from making their rounds on every floor of the block, the authorities also contacted owners of vehicles parked at the open-air carpark near the block to ask for footage captured by their in-car cameras in the search for the baby's parents.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 25, 2020, with the headline 'Cleaners who found abandoned baby given award, vouchers'. Subscribe