Labour Day, or May Day, is celebrated in almost every country in the world, including Singapore, even though the celebration may be more “Hurray for the off-day!” that students and professionals in Singapore get, than anything else. Surely you enjoyed the public holiday this year, even though it fell on a Thursday instead of a Friday (bye-bye long weekend). 1st of May, in actual fact, was intended as an observance and salutation to the mark of solidarity amongst workers! As part of our website’s launch and our monthly features of People of Singapore, Shiok! is proud to honour the resilient backbone of our Singaporean economy, for the month of Labour Day. Public servants, kindergarten teachers, construction workers, casino croupiers, army regulars, SME owners, property agents and hawkers, all of them have contributed to build Singapore to what we are today. Some are more recognizable in public, some have ultra glamourous titles, while another group may perform hard labour in this searing Singapore heat all day long, but that does not mean that there should be a distinction when it comes recognizing their contribution to our economy. Shiok! wants to salute all of them as a collective for this Labourious month of May! We have reached out to meet our Singaporean workforce and find out more about them: Madam Tan has been selling eggs more than 40 years, and has set up shop at this same market for 32 years now…That is a longer time than most of us have been in this world! Other than market closures, you will find her at the stall selling her wide variety of eggs daily from 6.30am, truly a warrior in our economy. Chatting with her in hokkien, she shared with us that 20% of her products are still produced in Singapore, so next time you are at a market, remember to request for some local farm eggs or you can find her at the Marine Terrace Wet Market! Zainul is the Chief Security Officer of a local country club in Singapore, and he takes pride in his work to safeguard the place and premises for all the members. While he readily admits that being a security guard is not a glamorous job, Zainul pointed out that there is room for advancement within this occupation, and he has risen to the top by virtue of his “ahem” virtues. We salute Zainul for his honest and hardworking professional ethics, coupled with a knack for man-management. When asked what he would like to share with us, Zainul told us, “Many Singaporeans look down on us security guards, simply because we undertake a low-paying job. The truth is there is so much more to our line of work…” We see security guards everywhere everyday, at work or at home, but we often overlook them and what they do. Let us acknowledge their contribution the next time we meet them! We met this jovial chap during suppertime at a 24-hours hawker centre over frog porridge. Edmund is a bar manager at a popular live-band establishment, and he belongs to the group of workforce attending to the graveyard shift. Supper is part-and-parcel of his daily routine because of his hours. His breakfast is at noon, his lunch is in the evening and he only can have his dinner by the time he ends past 3am. Think you have it bad? Spare a thought for our graveyard shift comrades next time! Felicia, a local artist who used to be a secondary school teacher, focuses many of her work with communities such as schools and hospitals around Singapore. During a candid discussion, Felicia shared with us that many in society have a stereotype that art equates to painting, which is not favourable for her and her peers. How so? She explained to us that she would put a lot of effort, time and money into an art project, only for the piece to not be categorized as “art” because it was not a traditional painting. Nonetheless, Felicia is not discouraged and during the week she is involved in teaching art to youths at risk, and she even spends her weekends to teach special needs kids! This is one lady that has our respect! To view her portfolio or any upcoming events she is involved in, do drop by www.felicialow.com. We met Steven in Clarke Quay where he runs a F&B outlet in the heart of Singapore’s entertainment district. Steven, being married to a Korean Singaporean, ventured into this industry 2 years ago and opened his restaurant bar BOSSBarBQ as a sideline, but now spends most of his time at the venue because his hands-on personality. He often interacts personally with his customers and even have drinks with them because he enjoys making new friends. Clarke Quay being Clarke Quay, attracts a huge crowd of tourists every week and each time Steven gets to meet new international friends, he is always profusely sharing with them how great Singapore is! We witnessed Steven in action first hand during one fabulous night’s out! Visit them at 3C River Valley , #01-04 Clarke Quay or take a look at their website to have a look at what they have to offer! Have you ever tried dance aerobics? Now try K-pop dance aerobics! This unique and increasingly popular dance fitness class is the brainchild of founder and Chief Instructor Maddy, who paired her passion for the Korean music wave with her previous day job as a fitness instructor. Who says the creative and innovative are all congregated at Block 71? Maddy is not only creative and innovative, she is bubbly and active, bringing the joy of fun K-pop fitness workouts all throughout Singapore heartlands, as she gives her weekly classes at Community Centres all over! Drop by their website to find out more!
Mira, mother of 4, is a dedicated and loyal receptionist at her company, having worked there for over 10 years now. Her job requires her to answer phone calls in a professional manner, something which she has done admirable in the past decade. Mira shared with us that she enjoys her job greatly because she gets to interact with new people on a daily basis, something that she regards as a perk of her job. Having worked at her company for a long time, she knows almost every staff by name and treat everyone like her own family. Mira takes care of everyone’s welfare and when staff have to work overtime, she will order food in for them! Wouldn’t it be great to have such a loving colleague?
Being a cat whisperer, many people think that Rebecca Ho can train cats to follow commands. In actual fact, she is a cat behaviourist, meaning that she provides consultant services to rectify behaviourial problems such as inappropriate elimination and aggression. In addition, Rebecca’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to open a bed and breakfast for felines, so next time you go on vacation, let your kitty have a staycation! We would not mind being a cat for a day just to stay at www.lingcat.sg!
We believe that People make Singapore Shiok! and we will continue to share many of their stories with you from here forth. In the meantime, let us revel in the good ol’kampong spirit and celebrate our very steady pompipi workforce!