For some S'porean seniors, need for income means having to leave home for work

SINGAPORE - Cobbler Kay Ching Poh, 70, received his booster shot at the end of last month.

It gives him an increased sense of safety and peace of mind as he continues running his makeshift stall outside Chinatown MRT station.

Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Kay said: "I open every day, from 10am to 7pm. Of course, I'm worried because I'm scared of getting infected.

"But I have no choice, I have to eat. If I didn't need to eat, then I would not keep working."

He added that he had also encouraged many of his family members to get vaccinated as a precautionary measure, in particular his older brother, whom he lives with in their Havelock Road flat.

Delivery driver Kiko Tuscany, 65, has to continue working in order to pay his bills.

He said: "Who is going to help me? I still have my home loan to pay. If I don't work, how am I going to survive?"

About five of the 50 seniors whom The Straits Times spoke to said that they have no choice but to leave their homes in order to make a living.


Mr Kiko Tuscany said he has to continue working in order to pay his bills. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH, PHILIP CHEONG

Mr Mokhtar, who declined to give his full name, said he is aware that he is exposing himself to some risk as a private-hire driver.

The 67-year-old, who drives for Grab, makes sure that his car is constantly stocked with hand sanitiser so that he and his passengers can maintain their personal hygiene.

"The first thing is to take care of yourself because this is your life. Especially if you're driving Grab, and it's for income.

"If anything happens or you get infected, you don't have your income," he said, adding that he does not leave his home other than for work.

Mr Mokhtar, who received his booster shot on Sept 15, said that he prefers to stay home with his family and bond over TV shows.

ST met Mr Loh Boon Khian, 67, outside the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple along Waterloo Street, where he sells tissue paper.


Mr Loh Boon Khian sells tissue paper outside the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple along Waterloo Street. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH, PHILIP CHEONG

"Before the pandemic, when the temple was open, I could earn about $60 every day. I need the money to see the doctor because my children don't give me any money," said Mr Loh, who walks for about 10 minutes from his home in Selegie every day.

Taxi driver Kamaruddin Matsom, 67, took his third Pfizer shot at the start of this month.

He said he did so in order to continue to earn a living. "I'm driving and every day I go out. After that I go back and I have to rest because I'm tired.

"If I want to buy something, I'll go (out) but as long as you keep clean, you don't have to worry about this virus," he said.