At 92, she's McDonald's oldest employee

Madam Goh Gwek Eng finds cooking french fries the most challenging as it can get very hot near the fryer.
Madam Goh Gwek Eng finds cooking french fries the most challenging as it can get very hot near the fryer.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The wrinkles on her face may indicate her age, but her eyes give nothing away. Bright and full of life, it is hard to believe that Madam Goh Gwek Eng is McDonald's oldest employee.

The 92-year-old, who lived through the Japanese Occupation, has been working at the fast food chain for the past 18 years.

With five children, 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, Madam Goh was kept busy as a housewife for a large part of her life.

 
 

"Now that most of them are working or have their own families, the house is very quiet," said Madam Goh.

When the boredom became too much, she sought help from a granddaughter who found her a job at a McDonald's outlet at Bedok Interchange in 1998. The restaurant is 20 minutes' walk from her home.

At McDonald's, Madam Goh's years of experience in the kitchen came in handy.

She picked up the skills with no difficulty, and became adept at preparing anything on the menu.

On the challenges she faces at work, she said "frying fries is the most difficult, as I get very hot from standing in front of the fryer".

Fortunately, help is available.

She said: "My colleagues help me when they see me carrying heavy things or when I can't keep up with orders." Though her job may be repetitive and physically draining, Madam Goh enjoys what she does as it keeps her active.

"I plan to keep working for as long as I am healthy," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 01, 2016, with the headline 'At 92, she's McDonald's oldest employee'. Print Edition | Subscribe