His passion: Happy guests

His passion: Happy guests

He shines the shoes of businessmen, unpacks (and re-packs) the luggage of discerning travellers, and draws their bath for a living.

On a bad day, Mr Matthew Chng, a university graduate, even has to endure flak from hotel guests who feel that the service is not up to par.

But the 25-year-old butler at St. Regis Singapore takes great pride in his work.

It takes an eye for detail and a desire to always put the guests' needs first to be a good butler, he says quietly.

A group of more than 30 butlers serve a total of about 300 rooms at the luxury hotel.

Says the soft-spoken man: "I've been in the service line ever since I was 16, taking on banquet and other roles in the food and beverage industry.

"If doing these things contributes towards leaving a good impression for the guests, it's all worth it.

"For me, it's a passion to see the guests being happy, to see their needs being fulfilled."

Mr Chng's parents and girlfriend, an HR executive, were not thrilled about his job choice initially.

"My girlfriend had her reservations because of the shift work, which means I work hours which are not as regular as some other people," he says.

His parents also voiced their concerns.

"My parents didn't pressurise me to be a lawyer, but they did ask me before I took on this job: 'Are you sure you want to go into this?'

"I guess they were expecting me to get an office job after graduation, settle down and just be a typical Singaporean."

His passion for the job convinced them, he says.

"I've always been in the service line since I was a teen, and they know that I always enjoy myself serving people and I'm passionate about it."

"I'm pretty thankful that they're very supportive now," adds Mr Chng, who dreams of opening his own cafe one day.

While his designation brings to mind images of Alfred Pennyworth - the tireless valet, confidant and father figure to comic character Batman - Mr Chng says his job carries with it plenty of hard work.

"Once, I had to pack the suitcases of guests in five different rooms, who were part of a family.

They were staying on different floors, and there were about 20 people in total.

"It was quite a challenge," he recounts with a chuckle.

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