News and views from an unique perspective

80 year old Singaporean dishwasher dropped dead at workplace

Posted by temasektimes on September 18, 2012

If you are a 80 year old granny in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong, you will probably either be practising Tai-Chi in the park in the morning, having ‘Yam-Chia’ in a tea-house in the afternoon or watching TV with your grandchildren in the comfort of your home at night.

However in Singapore, you will most likely be sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, scavenging for cardboard or begging for  money outside temples.

One 80 year old Singaporean dishwasher Madam He Jinyu was found dead in the toilet of ABC hawker center in Redhill where she has been working for the last six years.

According to her supervisor, Madam He worked daily from morning till night and only had two days off a month.

“When I saw her yesterday, she was walking unsteadily and appeared pale. I heard she has been having diarrhoea for the past few days,” she said.

It is not revealed how much Madam He is earning as a dishwasher. More importantly, why is she still working at 80 years old when she has children to support her?


86 Responses to “80 year old Singaporean dishwasher dropped dead at workplace”

  1. jf said

    Why should we want to depend on others. This is the best way to go. Suddenly.
    When you only ‘yam cha’ and Taichi, you know you are waiting to die.. Maybe go shopping for casket and ash urns?

  2. Ah Keong said

    Singapore is a really miserable place to live.

    I am stilled puzzled why so many daft foreigners would want to become citizens.

    It is well known that Singaporeans do nothing but work for the party.

    We are worst than slaves.

    Just recently Sakae Sushi said it was willing to pay $3k for dishwashers.

    Only problem was that the job was very physically demanding and the person had to work 12 hours a day for 6 days a week.

    Seems that Sakae Sushi doesn’t want an employee but a slave.

    Imagine 12 hours at work and say 3 hours travelling time to and from work.

    That is a total of 15 hours and leaves only 9 hours left.

    After taking away a few hours of miscellaneous time to do some personal things, you only have about 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

    Just imagine, 5 hours of sleep a day!

    This is just inhumane.

    What are the authorities doing?

    It is not only dishwashers who put in 12 hour days.

    Security guards, cleaners and many other blue collar workers also put in 12 hour days.

    Some even more.

    In the case of Sakae Sushi, can’t they give the job to 2 people working 6 hours a day.

    No human being should work more than 8 hours a day and this should be strictly enforced.

    As I’ve said before, employers in Singapore are greedy, unethical, immoral and inhumane.

    • Pinky said

      Singapore is just a stepping stone, after getting PR or citizen they will migrate to other place like aust or state, u thk they will really want to stay in sg?

    • AntiPigs&Pigs said

      I concur with your last statement, most employers in Singapore are greedy, unethical, immoral and inhumane. They always unethically commented that no local wants to do the jobs and immorally convinced the authorities to allow them to bring in foreign workers to fulfill their wish to greedily take in hugh profits and pay the locals inhumanely low salary equal to those of foreigner.

      • Prodigy69 said

        if you think singapore employers are the worst, try seeing the taiwanese and chinese mainlanders! they are even worse and more unethical!

      • Lenny Fang said

        Boss jailed for dumping dying worker by roadside

        Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012

        SINGAPORE – The employer who left his dying foreign worker by the side of the road in 2010 was jailed three months on Tuesday

        Singapore bosses are the worst. No doubt about it.

      • Naivety said

        Agreed with you fully but our MOM must also do their part to enforce the labour laws as well as rules & regulations strictly…don’t just talk & come out with new rules/regulations but have to enforce them strictly & make sure that errant & unscrupulous employers do not exploit & violate them!

        So far, I see that our MOM just talk only but don’t enforce the rules strictly enough & as a matter of fact, they seem to be acting only as an advisory role & to give recommendations which inturn will encourage errant & unscrupulous employers to exploit the rules & workers further as long as the rules are not being enforced strictly!

    • Daft Peasant said

      i tink gahment sector and high post manyzer can enjoy 8 hrs a day……i tink now most of us work 8.5 / 9 hrs a day liao……in fact some even work 10 hrs a day, 6 days week……

    • Zee said

      “As I’ve said before, employers in Singapore are greedy, unethical, immoral and inhumane.”

      I can’t believe this comment actually gets support. Would you mind opening up a business and create ethical jobs for others to take? I’m dying to join.

      While I agree with you that employers should be ethical. I hate your sweeping statement to kill off everyone and portray job creators as the ultimate evil.

    • Oriley said

      singaporean slaves. no more singhapore sling. chinapore mandurs.

    • I Not Stupid said

      1) Just recently Sakae Sushi said it was willing to pay $3k for dishwashers.
      2) Only problem was that the job was very physically demanding and the person had to work 12 hours a day for 6 days a week.
      3) Seems that Sakae Sushi doesn’t want an employee but a slave.
      4) Imagine 12 hours at work and say 3 hours travelling time to and from work.
      5) That is a total of 15 hours and leaves only 9 hours left.
      6) After taking away a few hours of miscellaneous time to do some personal things, you only have about 4 or 5 hours of sleep.
      7) Just imagine, 5 hours of sleep a day!
      It is not humanly possible to be working 12hrs a day, 6 days a week. As you wrote only 5hrs sleep. If you are young, fit and healthy you may 1st day. If you work 2nd day you will feel very tired. If you work 3rd day you may collapse. It is not possible to work 12hrs x 6days, with 5hrs of rest per day. As the CEO, SS whether he can? If he can many S’poreans also can. If he cannot, foreign workers also cannot. That CEO is mean, greedy and exploitative.

    • Ah Huey said

      Sakae Sushi pays $3000, but bulk of its $3000 goes to its own employment agency, who deducts their commission and pays them $1500. In this way SS says its helping Chingaporeans. Boycott the joint

  3. Piratetoon said

    Why is she still working? – This question must be directed to our beloved Govt.
    Is she drawing 3K per month or more. This must ask Mr Foo the Sushi man

  4. Mike Lum said

    Go in peace…

  5. To be fair said

    She could have died from fatique. But what do you expect the elderly in Singapore to do for survival? In the future, the elderly might even have to “upgrade” before given a $500 cleaning job. We have a government who reserves the reserve for themselves, who will tell you there’s no free lunch for the elderly, the handicapped and the poor. What they wanted is to grow the economy “their” way no matter how it impacts the average folk. Growing the economy for who? Not for you and I, the commoners. For themselves as they are the employers. Don’t think that with a better GDP, you and I will enjoy better life. Its the other way round. You gain inflation and lose your jobs.

    • Naivety said

      Very well said & this observation seems to be very true indeed!

      The signing of various FTA & CECA agreements with numerous foreign countries seemed to benefit more towards the other foreign parties instead of benefitting Sinkapor itself.

      Infact, the FTA & CECA agreements will pave the way for more FTs & Foreign Workers to come to our small island in search of jobs & to find work here in Sinkapor thereby depriving & displacing many native Sinkaporeans of decent jobs!!!

  6. Safe Haven said

    80 yrs old have to work from morning to night (assume 10 hours) is a pathetic sight. Young people may not even do that? There is something to ponder when you are old in this country (without money)….*sigh*

  7. Poon said

    It pains my heart to read this article…so sad :((

    Rest in peace now, por por!

  8. “Work until u collapse” is the national call of our MM. So our good old loyal dishwasher has answered his call 2 the last alphabet.
    May she RIP now that she’s completely free of worldly concerns and worries.

  9. spotlessleopard said

    will the sushi man Foo donate some money to this unsung hero of the people?

  10. richard said

    RIP poor old lady,at the age of 80 years old she should be retire 20 years ago.
    Still working for daily 3 meals in singapore island.Can u see malaysia,thailand,taiwan,others part of asia country doing this job at the ages of 80yrs old the only country is singapore,because cost of living is very high .How do our gov do thier part we must plan for our future now,

  11. JG said

    Govt : We must never ever, ever, ever go down the “slippery slope of socialism” !!!

  12. oute said

    Stop all the committee work, and asked the law makers to go and take a walk aroound the estate, and decide on what to do.

    Hopefully, they will give away one month of their $16,000 allowances to the old folks, doing cleaning etc…

    Do they dare to do it or just “dont bother.”

  13. hihihi said

    if an 89 yrs old still fit to work as an MP, why 80 yrs cannot work as dishwasher?

  14. ro77aRo said

    Such situation happened in every countries in Asia. No less in Singapore.

    But to write that in general that the world of 80 years old here suffers and died while the old in other countries enjoys themselves is absolute stupid. Using one stick to hit all the boats based on one case does not make it credible editorial. It is sensational reporting.

    Such thing happened every where.

    Report truly.

    • Oriley said

      80 year old people in europe get to stay in proper old folks home financed by the retirement savings they acquired when they were working. it may not be a fancy five star old folks home but they get good beds, get medical help and served meals. in chinapore it is pure slavery. singapore slaves.

    • jamie said

      It might be true this situation happens elsewhere, but does that make it the right thing to do?
      we pride ourself as a developed country so lets not degrade ourself back to a level that is not fit to be called first world.
      even if this is just a one off case it is one too many. just imagine the person involved is one of your parent.
      so lets do our part for those whose parents are still around us to appreciate their presence and love them like its their last day with us everyday.

  15. Lucinda Goh said

    My auntie, aged 77 recently passed away, working till the day she died as a hawker. We often asked her why she has to work when she was alive. She said she had no choice because all her children are also struggling to make ends meet with today’s high cost of living and a pathetic low pay.

  16. ying said

    There is nothing wrong working at 80 years old, its good to be independent, The issue here is, if shes unwell, y didnt the supervisor took note and get her to see a doctor instead of allowing her to continue working?

    • Oriley said

      probably the employer is a chinese or a taiwanese = heartless.

    • jamie said

      you are right the supervisor should have been more pro active if he/she finds something amiss, there is also nothing wrong to be working at 80 if one deems him/herself fit enough an want something to make life more “fulfilling”.
      the more pressing issue is why is she allowed to work from morning till night for 28 out of 30 days a month?
      what happened to basic labour law to protect blue collar workers?
      is this kind of hours even humane for an 18 year old, let alone an 80 year old lady?

      RIP madam.

  17. GaanMaro said

    It’s hard to imagine such tragic things in modern day Singapore. Some old bloke painted an entirely different picture when he wrote ‘From Third World to First’. In reality, it is a completely different scenario. RIP Madam He.

  18. Why The Prince and Princess didnt have the chance to see this, instead seeing uncle practicing Tai chi and void deck.

  19. Oriley said

    haiyaa, what do you expect of heartless singaporeans la… no wait. it is now Chinapore right?

  20. Oriley said

    The question now is. what are YOU all gonna do about it? blog and whine about it or really get out there, create awareness and make a change?

    Most of you, hah, knowing singaporeans, would just buat tak tau and say ‘ not my problem, why give a fuck’

    Yes, you should give a fuck. Imagine if that 80 year old is your mom, granny or lord behold. you in 50 years time.

  21. alexa said

    LKY still working at 89 so he expect his people to do that way. One day he may die in his toilet just like this old woman. RIP aunty. =(

    • Daft Peasant said

      He go to the toilet to pang sai, after pang-ing he wipe his buttocks…… Later he stand up and wear his under wear and trousers, when he wanna turn around to push the flush button, he slipped and fell down!! His head go inside the toilet full of shit!! He is unconcious and then drowned to death by his sai and sai chwee……

    • Ah Beng said

      All Singaporeans are fervently praying for his speedy death. Then its Happy Hours.

  22. Commando Pants said


  23. solaris8899 said

    really feel sad for this po po….

  24. Joni Siah said

    Feel saddened to read this news report. I wish the government would do more to help all the poor elderly in our country. It’s a shame that someone at 80 still has to work this hard for a living.

    • True BLUE Sinkie said

      At least the old lady drop dead and died smoothly and peacefully. I would like to see LKY choking on on a fish ball or his own saliva and die a slow agonizing death, the way he progressively destroyed his opponents

  25. seah said

    you guy think a dish washing jod pay 1 to 2k for 10 to 12 jod,you will be surprise if you make a surrey and ask around.i did ask they told me around 700 hundred.those with what they call better heart Boss pay a hundred more.

  26. Tauuri said

    RIP Madam He. How could the children live with themselves letting their mother work herself to death. Some people say that old people want to work to pass the time. But is this really true? If this is the case, how come we don’t see many old folks working in China, HKG, TWN or KR?

    • Naivety said

      Because in those countries, the old & aged folks are well taken care of by their respective governments as they have social safety nets inplace such as unemployment benefits, free medical care, etc etc unlike the Wicked & Evil Regime in Sinkapor!

  27. Pai Sei said

    when ur time is up, u have to go…u had to go lor….whether u r rich or healthy…haha

  28. Adam said

    Sometimes I feel as parents we have great financial burden to support our school going children. We are left with nothing after paying insurance and bills. Until medical and welfare for elderly are made free, the elderly in Singapore who are not as fortunate as our supreme leader will have to continue to work till they collapse.

  29. True BLUE Sinkie said

    The PAP wants us and old people to continue working so that we all drop dead at work, much earlier that it should have been. Save on welfare $$$$$ for these people to pay the million-dollar ministers.

  30. xxx said

    i know an old cleaner personally. she is in her mid 70s working as cleaner in shopping mall. her pay after deducting cpf is only 600. she has no children and lives in a rental flat with her (unmarried) sister who has cancer. she is still working cos she has diabetes and the medical bills had wiped out all her savings. now they are living from day to day eating the most simplest meals. her working hours are inhuman, considering her plight. 12hr shift with one rest day every 2 weeks. each morning, she alights at the only coffeeshop in her working area to tabao 2 packets of bee hoon (70cents, one for breakfast, the other for lunch), and walks to the mall she is working at.

    we should CSI out all these cleaning contractors which suppressed all these elderly and poor to profit their own pockets.

  31. Annette said

    well hav you ever thought y sakae hav to go to such extend. foreign labours are cut by the government across the board but they didnt realise that singaporeans are unwilling to work dirty jobs (eg dishwashing in retail, kitchen staff, trash cleaners in cleaning company) and employers are suffering not able to find staff , higher property prices, rental cost higher taxes, thus they hav no choice but to giv an extra load to the existing staff. y the policy did not cut down on foreign expats and give the local graduate chance to move to a higher level rather then to restrict on hard labour foreigners.

    • To be fair said

      Q: Will the govt do something to restrict the foreigners from doing our PMET jobs?
      A: Oh, we have reduced the number of menial workers by increasing the levy.
      Here, you witness the master illusionist at work.

  32. No Future said

    As that man and his ideas said before: S’pore is not a welfare country, we practise workfare – you work till farewell (die). Our MIWs also said: we must respect the poor, they got dignity to die on toilet bow than accept our money. They keep reminding us Nordic countries system is not going to work in S’pore. But at least you pay high tax and able to enjoy retirement, the country will take care of you when you are old and sick. Do you find it strange that we pay so much to our ministers and they said we are supposed to take care of ourselves, we are using our own money to buy MediSave, MediShield, MediXXX to protect ourselves so that we don’t burden the country!

  33. The other side of the coin said

    I worked in Shanghai for 5 years, and spent another 2 years in Hong kong! Practicing taichi in the morning? yam-Cha? STAYING AT HOME WITH COMFORT?!?!

    Obviously not worldly enough to know what’s going out there. Because almost every week (sometimes even twice a week) when I was in China/HK, I read similar sad stories in the news.

    I think we should be asking why aren’t the children taking care of this poor 80 years old, instead of blaming the garmen on her misfortune.

    RIP Mdm He.

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