Meticulous and cheery despite his disabilities

No empty shelves at Cold Storage Heartand Mall when he is around. Mr Sin also mentors part-timers on how to improve displays.
No empty shelves at Cold Storage Heartand Mall when he is around. Mr Sin also mentors part-timers on how to improve displays.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Often seen unloading goods onto the shelves with a cheery demeanour, 51-year-old Mr Sin Yew Hock is a familiar face at Cold Storage's Heartland Mall branch.

An employee there for the past 18 years, he often mentors part-time workers and advises them on how to improve the displays.

All this is done in his capacity as a section leader, despite being hearing and speech impaired since birth.

 
 

Although he has up to Primary 5 education, he has proved to be a fast learner. "He can assemble the store fixtures from scratch just by looking at diagrams," said deputy store manager Jurry Muana. "When we upgrade our equipment, he catches on very quickly."

Known affectionately as "Ah Aik", which embodies the sound of his laughter, Mr Sin communicates with hand gestures or by writing in his notebook. When he is unable to communicate with customers, he directs them to his colleagues.

Ms Donna Ang, 61, a fellow section leader and colleague of 15 years, said: "He is very meticulous. When there are empty shelves, he replenishes the items almost immediately."

Sales assistant Peh Yew, 62, added in Mandarin: "We love to be around him as he always cracks us up with his facial expressions."

Outside work, Mr Sin enjoys visiting his friends and sightseeing around Singapore. He lives with his sister and aunt. He is one of 30 people with special needs or disabilities working at Cold Storage.

The company recently topped a supermarket consumer satisfaction survey conducted by Singapore Management university.

Asked how he feels about working at Cold Storage, Mr Sin beamed widely and gave a big thumbs up.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 01, 2016, with the headline 'Meticulous and cheery despite his disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe