I don't eat at hawker centres

I don't eat at hawker centres

If there is one thing her job has taught her, it is to avoid hawker food if she can help it. Mrs Lim is a cleaner at a food centre in the eastern part of Singapore, and she says she cannot abide by the state of cleanliness.

Or lack thereof.

There is hardly enough time to rinse out the cloths they use, which means the same piece of fabric not only wipes off the food scraps from the table and the mess on the trays, it also cleans off bird droppings.

"I've been working as a cleaner for so long, I don't eat at hawker centres any more," says the feisty 65-year-old widow - who has been a cleaner at the hawker centre for the last two years.

Her meals are packed from home.

"Most of the hawkers are always in a rush so the utensils are never washed properly."

"Other times you see bird droppings on tables, it's just not clean enough for me. I'd rather bring food from home to be safe."

To be fair, the cleaners try their best to make sure that their cloths are cleaned as often as possible, but once peak hour hits, they'd rather let the cloth be dirty than get yelled at for being slow.

Mrs Lim has been "disgusted" when customers leave their table in a mess after eating, she confesses.

The former production operator started working as a cleaner four years ago.

For $800 a month, she spends eight hours a day cleaning after customers.

The work, she says, is back-breaking.

Every day, she scrambles from table to table, clearing used plates and trays as quickly as possible.

Occasionally, she has to deal with rude patrons who complain that she is "too slow".

While initially hesitant to tell her story when approached, the slight woman eventually agreed to speak to The New Paper On Sunday "just to share my experience".

"The job is difficult already, I spend my time here pushing a trailer going from table to table separating the plates from the halal and non-halal stores."

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