I hope to cook for many people, for as long as I can.
"I used to work as a hospital amah at Toa Payoh Hospital, delivering meals to patients. I had never cooked a meal in my life and would always dismiss the idea of learning how to do so. In 1978, I was asked to consider training to be a cook at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). I realised then that cooking would not be such a bad skill to have!
It took seven to eight months for me to learn the ropes. I worked with a handful of other cooks in a small kitchen. Together, we prepared meals for hundreds of patients warded at the Bowyer Block. A lot has changed since then. Now, I am part of a crew of 37 that prepares 1,300 meals, three times a day. The menus are also more varied and complex. I can no longer identify what dishes to prepare based on the colour of the meal orders alone.
I have since picked up some basic English, and learned how to cook Western and other different cuisines. I really enjoy the challenge. I am now 64 years old, but I have no intention to stop working anytime soon. I hope to cook for many people, for as long as I can – at least, as long as SGH would employ me!"
Mdm Lock Kwai Lan
Cook, Food Services Department
Singapore General Hospital
Mdm Lock's story was first published in Singapore Health Sep/Oct 2015.