Everyday we struggle a little under the constraining measures of the circuit breaker. We cannot visit shopping malls; they are closed. No dining with friends. Young ones bemoan no bubble tea. And even younger ones cry for their playgrounds. Only when we are done with the complaining, we begin to realise the important stuff that matters has continued as normal.
All around me, Food and Cleanliness is uninterrupted. Supermarkets operate. Hawkers and restaurants continue to feed take-away patrons and supply delivery riders. The condo estate remains clean and litter-free. Even the pathways are swept clear of fallen leaves every morning.
Rather than normal, our cleaners have done more work now compared to the pre-Covid19 days. For instance, the disinfecting frequency has increased to multiple times a day.
Town council cleaner Hassan Rakib, 30, works the same 12-hour shifts daily, but has more tasks to do. Instead of wiping playgrounds and lifts with disinfectants once a day, he has to do so three times a day.
Another aspect would be the increase in take-away rubbish from every household. These include food packaging materials, as well as other online deliveries. Without doubt, our cleaners have been toiling under the circuit breaker; working harder and longer hours.
Beyond the labor, (as a matter of obvious fact) many of our cleaners in Singapore are elderly workers above the age of fifty. The oldest I know is a 81-year old great grandmother. This puts their personal health and safety on the line. They are the most vulnerable group.
Why then are so many cleaners still at their jobs? Income aside, our cleaners have a strong dedication to their jobs. They know how crucial their everyday efforts are in keeping our home city clean and safe.
Have a word with the next cleaner you encounter. You may be surprised by their strive to achieve challenging goals, despite encountering numerous obstacles (which they will be quick to brush off lightly). This show of resilience, cannot be quantified by their humble pay scale.
Only a person true to his job, perceiving his work as essential to the greater community can display such positivity and strength. It is also no wonder that the elders who have been through the nation-building years can take it easier in their strides. They are weak but strong. Their dedication and spirit is admirable. We should appreciate them with smiles and a thankful heart everyday.
Thank you our Cleaners, our Heroes.