A woman in a wheelchair recently posted a video on Facebook showing what it is like from her perspective living on a non lift access level in a HDB flat with narrow corridors.
In a four-minute-long video uploaded on 8 March, Facebook user Cocoanna Christian showcases her daily struggles in navigating around her place of residence in Block 906, located along Jurong West Street 91.
According to Ms Cocoanna in her post, she lives on the seventh floor of the building, which has no lift access.
In order for her to access the lift in her block, she said that she would have to make her way to the central lift area by going through the common corridor either on the sixth or eighth floor.
“My daily struggle living in a non lift access level #07. So I need to make my way to the central lift area either by #06 or #08 corridors.”
However, things aren’t as easy as it seems for Ms Cocoanna, given her circumstances.
She noted that her arms often get scratched by the plants that are placed along the corridors. She added that she also has to go through the smell of stinky shoes outside nearly every unit.
What’s more, Ms Cocoanna said that she has to be extra cautious so as to not fall into the corridor drain because there is hardly any space for her to get through with a wheelchair.
“Not easy as my arms get scratched by all the twigs and branches of the potted plants, or smell the stinky shoes outside the unit coz of my height while in a wheelchair. Has to be so careful not to fall into the corridor drain coz the space is so cramped.”
True enough, the video she shared clearly depicts the haunting reality of her every description, as she carefully rolls her wheelchair through both the narrow corridors while trying her best to stay clear of the obstacles – plants, footwears, and clothing rack – that are in her way.
Watch the video here:
According to Ms Cocoanna, the plight of having to go through her very own ‘HDB-obstacles-course’ prevented her from going out much in the last six years since she had gotten sick.
However, she stated that she now has to travel out on alternate days for her blood dialysis treatment.
“And this is why I don’t go out much in the last 6 years since I gotten sick. But now I had to travel out on alternate days for blood dialysis. #CanYouSeeFromMyPointOfView #GottenStayReslient #HDBObstaclesCourse “
For a clearer picture on the layout of Ms Cocoanna’s place of residence, here’s a Google Street image of Block 906 HDB flat.
Netizens ask if she had reached out to her neighbours and local authorities
Under the comments section of her Facebook post, netizens were quick to express their sympathy, and extend their well-wishes to Ms Cocoanna.
A few of them did ask her if she had reached out to her neighbours as well as the local authorities – namely the local town council, Housing & Development Board (HDB), and the Member of Parliament (MP) for her area.
In response, Ms Cocoanna noted that some of the neighbours are nice and accommodating, while some of them just don’t care.
She also said that she wrote to her MP a few weeks back, and visited him earlier on Monday (15 Mar) to speak about her situation. She added that the HDB replied via her MP saying that there is no plan for lift upgrading at her floor.
As for the local town council, Ms Cocoanna mentioned that they did visit the units that had objects unbefittingly placed along the common corridors. She was told that the tenants agreed to make the necessary changes to comply with the standard rulings.
However, as of Wednesday night (17 Mar), she observed very minimal changes have been made along the corridors.
When someone questioned Ms Cocoanna on who is the MP for her area, she replied with a link directed to People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Ang Wei Neng.
No objects are to be placed along common corridors less than 1.2 metre wide; clothing racks also not permitted
According to the ‘Guidelines on Usage of Common Corridor‘ by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), no objects are to be placed along the common corridors less than 1.2 metre wide.
Placement of items such as clothing racks are also not allowed, unless they can be easily folded or removed in times of emergency so that they do not obstruct the escape route.
As in seen the video uploaded by Ms Cocoanna, some residents certainly did not get the memo.