Monday, January 16, 2012

Garbage disposal men with PHD

The daily rubbish collection was done by the Malay men who lived at the Artisan Quarters at P.E.E.
I can always recall the smell from the garbage bins that were collected from each block every other day.
The rubbish collectors were all with the PHD (Public Health Dept), today's Ministry of Environment.

They went around with a special trolley which required two men to work together to push the 4 bins around the estate. The garbage bins were always painted black and were made of metal.

Flats in Blocks 17 to 24 all had rubbish chutes from the kitchen to the ground floor.
I am not sure how the garbage was collected at the Artisan Quarters.
(Were the bins left outside the back door? maybe someone can recall that part)

The worst thing about the rubbish chutes were that they were perpetually infested with cockroaches.
It was never ever fumigated as far as I can recall. It was a really bad unhygienic situation as lots of cockroaches would crawl out into the house and lodge in the kitchen areas. Yucks!

I lived on the ground floor which was worse as there were no such things as plastic bags in those days. Every thing as it was went straight down the chute and many a times would splatter all over the dustbin area making a mess on the ground level. It was cockroach paradise!

I remembered these same rubbish disposal men would also cut the grass as part of the duties.
It was all manual grass cutting in those days. They had a special stick shaped like a golf club which they would swing in circles cutting the grass with an attached metal blade. Ever so often they had to stop to re-sharpen the blade with a sharpening stone they always carried in their back pockets.

Here is a picture from the National Archives showing the implement that was used then.
Picture is from 1947 but the tools were still the same in the 1960s!

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