Tackling the day's catch... before 10am

When most people are in bed at 2am, Mr Marcus Phang's day is just beginning. The 28-year-old quit his job in the entertainment industry to become a fishmonger in March 2017, selecting and cleaning the best fish to sell at the wet market.
Fishmonger Marcus Phang (left) leaving Jurong Fishery Port with his selection from the day's catch, before packing and distributing the fresh seafood to three wet market stalls. He is one of five Singaporeans featured in Before 10am, a mini video ser
Fishmonger Marcus Phang (left) leaving Jurong Fishery Port with his selection from the day's catch, before packing and distributing the fresh seafood to three wet market stalls. He is one of five Singaporeans featured in Before 10am, a mini video series that zooms in on people who get most of their work done before 10am.ST PHOTO: SAMUEL RUBY RIANTO

At 2am on a Sunday, most people would either be sound asleep or making their way home after a night out.

But for Mr Marcus Phang, his day is just beginning.

The 28-year-old fishmonger, who works in a friend's family seafood supplies business, will head down to Jurong Fishery Port to pick the best of the day's catch.

He then packs and distributes the fresh seafood to the business' three wet market stalls in Jalan Bukit Merah, Hougang and Toa Payoh.

He is one of five Singaporeans featured in Before 10am, a mini video series that zooms in on people who get most of their work done before 10am. The five-parter debuted on Tuesday.

Mr Phang quit his job in the entertainment industry and became a fishmonger in March last year because he wanted to try something new.

"I thought that being a fishmonger was a very easy job to do," he said. "But after joining this trade for quite some time, I realised that it was not... because of the unusual hours that we work and the work involved."

He mostly tends to the new stall in Jalan Bukit Merah as he is trying to build its customer base.

His days are long and the work is non-stop: sorting fish into different containers; cleaning and chopping the fish; and interacting with customers all morning without a break.

The busiest time for him is between 7am and 10am, which he calls his "most crucial hours". Work usually ends at noon.

Although the father of one laments that he does not get to spend much time with his family, he does get some sense of satisfaction from his job.

"My favourite part is when we count the money at the end of the day, because we can see how much we have accomplished."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2018, with the headline 'Tackling the day's catch... before 10am'. Print Edition | Subscribe