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A 'house' for homeless Abu

  • Abu (center) posing in front of “Abu Goes Home” with the artists. Philip Wong in second from right. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • Abu and the “architect” of “Abu Goes Home” Philip Wong. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

IPOH, Sept 30 (Sin Chew Daily) -- The house is both a work of art and a shelter for a homeless man.

Thanks to the artistic creation of a group of artists, homeless man Abu finally has a roof over his head, and because Abu is willing to move into this house, the art creation has since been given a new lease of life.

Abu Goes Home

Tin Alley in Ipoh's old town was in the midst of preparing for the Ipoh art festival in April which would showcase artworks and installations by artists from across the country. Renowned local artist Phillip Wong was the art director of the project.

While preparing for the street art project, the artists found a homeless man regularly loitering in the vicinity.

They spent some time to get the homeless man to talk to them.

Phillip Wong said after talking with Abu for some time, he suddenly had the idea of building a house which he called “Abu Goes Home” so that Abu could move into it. To him, an art creation that also helps a needy person is itself more than a piece of artwork.

“The structure of this wood panel house is very much like the house we used to live when we were very young. A triangular roof, a rectangular wall, two widows and one door.”

Because of his mother's influence, Wong said he was always ready to help anyone in need. To him, helping people couldn't have been a more spontaneous thing to do.

“Our family was poor, but my mother still cooked for other poorer people. I remember when I was in Standard Two, an Indian lady came to my mom for help because she didn't have a place to stay. So my mom offered the rear half of our rented house for her and her family.

“Since young I have been living with this Indian family under the same roof. They were just like a part of our family! I still keep in touch with them today.”

Heart problem

Abu is already 40. He has congenital heart disease. His parents gave him away to a relative when he was very young. Before he became homeless, he used to work as a waiter at a restaurant, but had to stop work due to heart problem.”

Abu's sister, who is working as a nurse at a hospital, pays for all his medical expenses. He is having a good relationship with his sister, but refuses to tell why he has opted to stay away from home.


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