WHEN she was 18 years old, Kamisah Atan grew roses and jasmines along the corridor of her family’s flat in Ghim Moh. Her budding green fingers managed to coax such beautiful blossoms out of those plants that they were the frequent target of flower thieves.
Fast forward four decades later, Madam Kamisah, now 60, is still working those green fingers... this time, on the roof of a Jurong East multi-storey HDB carpark. Together with a group of fellow gardening enthusiasts, Madam Kamisah has been sprucing up the sky garden at Block 372A Jurong East Street 32 with flowers, fruits and plants for the last five years under the National Parks Board (NParks) Community in Bloom (CIB) programme.
In fact, the mother of two has been actively spreading the gardening ‘bug’ to her community for over a decade. Madam Kamisah was recognised for her passion and contributions when she was selected as one of the pioneer CIB Ambassadors in 2008. Today, she’s the Chairperson of the Jurong Central Zone D Residents’ Committee (RC) Gardening Club, which has 60 active volunteers.
Although she has moved to Bukit Panjang, Madam Kamisah still takes an hour-long bus ride every day to volunteer at the Jurong sky garden.
“I used to live here from 1986 to 2000, and I know many of the residents and volunteers. So, I chose to continue to look after this garden,” she explained.
A “family” that plants together, stays together: Madam Kamisah (top row, second from the left) with fellow gardeners.
“I enjoy being with them. Whatever we grow, everyone shares the fruits of our labour. Even if we only get a small piece each, we’re happy,” Madam Kamisah said.
A bunch of goodness: Happy friends with their freshly-plucked bananas!
When she’s not tending to the community garden with her friends, Madam Kamisah enjoys cooking and baking.
She’s also a member of the People’s Association (PA) Active Ageing Council (AAC), and helps to organise programmes to support active ageing.
“I always encourage the elderly to come out, have coffee and chit-chat. It beats staying at home, having no one to talk to and feeling lonely. One of my fellow gardeners is starting to have dementia and sometimes she says she won’t join us as she is getting more forgetful. I told her: ‘By staying at home, your dementia will get worse! So, why not join us and head home when you’re feeling tired?’
“When she comes to the garden, she finds that she enjoys herself. It gives me so much pleasure to see her here too,” Madam Kamisah added with a grin.
If you would like to join the NParks Community in Bloom programme, visit www.nparks.gov.sg/cib or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.