But letting go is not.

I spent several weekends in August tidying up old PCs and other computer hardware, hopeful that it would benefit some people.

One laptop went to a needy family. That was easy, because it’s a small laptop (a Netbook, to be exact.)

There were two other needy families who wanted computers, but never came. The pile of old computers remained uncollected in my parent’s office for over two months.

The dateline I gave was 31st October, so mid November we loaded all of them to the back of the car and drove them to the Salvation Army only to be rejected because “Windows XP is too old.”

These are perfectly working computers that I cleaned up, re-installed the OS, packed neatly and labelled the hardware specifications.

I felt a little discouraged, so I tried advertising them again on Facebook. This time, 3 more pieces of hardware reserved, pending collection.

I still have 2 computers and a bunch of old monitors, keyboards and network switches.

Drove to Funan Center and dropped monitors, keyboards and network equipment off at the information counter where they provide e-waste recycling.

Old hardware at Funan lift lobby
Above: Old hardware at the lift lobby at Funan Center

I drove the last 2 computers to office where I intend to keep them for a bit more, or perhaps place notices on the lift doors to see if anybody wants them.

Just as I was unloading the computers from my car, a foreign worker who cleans the trash at the office building saw me placing the computers on a trolley. His eyes lit up as he approched me.

“This. Throw?” he asked, pointing at the computers.

“Ya. If you want, take them — all working,” I said.



He pushed the trolley to the back of the refuse area where I saw some old furnitures and a HUGE server (something like a massive IBM blade chassis). He unloaded my computers, then returned my trolley.

I hope he’ll find good use for them.

I’m still puzzled why Salvation Army would reject these perfectly working computers. I know they try to sell them for money as it is logistically not worthwhile to transport them to third world countries, but they could have given them out for free at the thrift store too. Maybe they have insufficient manpower; I feel for them because I get upset every time I see the pile of junk people leave behind at the outdoor donation bins.

Salvation Army is not a recycling facility.

Nevertheless, a good lesson learnt here is that things are easy to buy, and never easy to let go. I’m trying to be a minimalist because I value my personal space more than anything else. Space is expensive and precious, especially on this tiny island.

Think before you buy.

P.S. People asked why I never offered to deliver the computers to the needy families since I drive. I don’t believe in giving to laziness. I worked my ass as a student carrying computers and computer parts on the bus to and fro my home and Sim Lim Square as a kid, and I don’t believe they can’t drop by and pick up a CPU on a bus. I will give for free, but at the very least they will have to come get it.