Hotels honour staff who were tops in service

In her 27 years working at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel, Madam How Aye Choon has never taken a single day's holiday and had only a handful of sick days.

Even at 68 years old, she is not afraid of rolling up her sleeves - even if it means cleaning up a sick guest's vomit, which she once had to do when a Japanese guest threw up in his room.

"If my hand or leg aches, I will still try and work slowly," said the housekeeping supervisor.

Yesterday Madam How, who has worked in the hotel industry since 1981, was among 68 hotel staff presented with "employee of the year" awards by Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office, Mr Heng Chee How.

The awards were given out at a productivity seminar held at Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, organised by the Singapore Hotel Association, National Trades Union Congress and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union.

The annual awards, first launched in 1985, encourage hotels to recognise deserving employees. All the winners were nominated by their hotels.

(Clockwise from left) Mr Sri Jivan Rajaratnam, Mr Khamis Abu Hussain, Mr Goh Jeow Hong and Madam How Aye Choon were among the winners of the "employee of the year" awards.
(Clockwise from left) Mr Sri Jivan Rajaratnam, Mr Khamis Abu Hussain, Mr Goh Jeow Hong and Madam How Aye Choon were among the winners of the "employee of the year" awards. PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The oldest award recipient was 85-year-old technician Goh Jeow Hong, who has been working at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay for the past 15 years. " I am old but I will not retire any time soon," he said.

The youngest was 19-year-old Sri Jivan Rajaratnam, who began as a waiter at Copthorne King's Hotel Singapore, but has risen to the rank of captain in just two years.

Another winner, Mr Khamis Abu Hussain, works as a bellman for The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. He joined the hotel 19 years ago and is, today, a familiar face to regular guests.

STILL GOING STRONG

I am old but I will not retire any time soon. '' 

MR GOH JEOW HONG who, at 85, was the oldest recipient of the award.

On one occasion, when an Australian couple asked Mr Khamis for recommendations on nearby islands worth visiting, the 63- year-old not only planned an itinerary to Batam for them, but also surprised them by welcoming them at the pier on the Indonesian island so that he could show them around as a tour guide.

Mr Khamis said: "I do it because I love my job."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Hotels honour staff who were tops in service'. Print Edition | Subscribe