Pizza Delivery Man
Singaporeans love their food, and their fast food even more so, but we rarely give a thought to the people who make these rushed, often late-night deliveries — most of the time, we just want our food, and we want it now. Fast food stalls and delivery men are a dime a dozen, but Shuk is one such delivery man who would like to shed some light on the nature of his job. Giving a face to the many riders out there, we speak to Shuk and discover that there are quite a few things we didn’t know about what it is like to do what he does.
Shentonista (S): What do you love most about your job, and why?
Shuk (Sh): What I love most about this company is that they provide us career opportunities. In other companies, as a rider, you only do a rider’s job, but here, as a rider, we can also do management jobs. It’s like career advancement.
S: So how long have you been a rider for?
Sh: Nearly two years.
S: How did you start being a rider?
Sh: Initially, back then, I had a double job. It was at a polyclinic, so I was a rider part-time. And then after that I decided to be a full-timer because you can actually earn.
S: Is there something you wish you could change about your job/the nature of your work? What is the most difficult part of your job? Like sometimes riding can be a bit dangerous?
Sh: Just ride safely, lah. I understand that my company has this benchmark of 30 minutes — you have to send the pizza within 30 minutes — but no matter what, safety comes first. And what I want Singaporeans to know is that we give our best to be on time. Sometimes when we are really late they will scold us.
S: So you hope people will be more understanding?
S: What’s the most difficult part of your job, then? Dealing with people? Or riding, and getting there on time?
Sh: Actually nothing’s really difficult, you can just apprehend things professionally.
S: How does a typical workday go for you? Do you work the whole day as a rider?
Sh: It depends, if they don’t have manpower then I will work the whole day. I don’t usually work full days. I can lah, and they would prefer it, but sometimes your body also needs to rest.
S: So you just come to the outlet and they give you deliveries throughout the day?
Sh: Because I’m one of the captain riders here, I supervise them, and other than supervising them, I also send orders myself if they require my assistance.
[Shuk’s teammates ride by the shoot on their way out on dispatch, and tease him, shouting, “Eh, Singapore’s next top model!” But Shuk, good-natured as ever, just bashfully laughs and brushes them off. We see the sense of camaraderie that has been built up among the group of not just riders, but friends.]
S: What’s the most unexpected, thrilling or amazing thing that has happened to you at work?
Sh: When I was working, back then, I would always get compliments from the customers. So far, among all the riders, I have the most compliments.
S: Is it because you’re the most friendly?
Sh: I guess so! (laughs)
S: What do you think are some of the common misconceptions about your job?
Sh: The misconception that people have about being a rider is that you cannot earn with this job, you cannot have a career, you don’t have prospects. But actually it’s not true; you can actually progress.
S: What is one thing you’ve learnt from your job?
Sh: Previously, I was in the police force, so dealing with people should be no issue (laughs), but in the company I learnt a lot of things, like making a pizza, and doing stock counts, inventories, all those others.
S: And do you lead a team of people?
Sh: Yeah, me and one other guy, as captains we help the management and the manager to run the store.
S: Is it difficult to lead people?
Sh: Not really leh, because in this store most of them are Singaporeans, so teamwork should be no issue. And they are very open about it.
S: If you could work as anything at all, what would it be? Why?
Sh: Actually, any job is okay, as long as the pay is good (laughs). But if I could have any job, I’d want to be an actor.
S: Go do it! You can join one of those talent searches on TV.
Sh: Yeah, I want to!
S: Do you have any goals at your current job? Or what do you hope to be able to contribute to your company?
Sh: I’m actually going to further upgrade my studies, for a degree in Management.
S: Oh, so in the future you’d want to work in a more management-related job?
Sh: Not really lah, like what I said, I want to be an actor (laughs). Still acting! Like, certificates and education are just an insurance, you see, so if things don’t go well at least you can still fall back on your education.
S: How do you spend your time off work? What kind of activities/hobbies do you enjoy?
Sh: On my off time I go for a jog, I go out with my friends, I go riding.
S: So you ride your own bike as well? When did you start riding?
Sh: Yes, I do. Ever since I was 18.
S: Is there something that you really like about riding?
Sh: Actually, to tell you the truth, when I was young I didn’t like riding. Because my parents didn’t really allow me to, and they always told me, “Eh, come on lah, don’t be a dispatch rider, it’s dangerous, every day is a risk, you’re on the road, you’re open to hazards,” but here I am (laughs). Eventually I tried it out, and I realised that this is something you can actually earn from also.
S: So are your parents supportive of this or are they still like, “eh, don’t lah?”
Sh: My dad allowed me to get a licence, but my mum didn’t. But you know, guys are stubborn, so I just took the lesson. And after I took it, I said, “Here Mum, look, I already enrolled.” So there was nothing she could do! But she had to give her blessings.
S: If you could dress any way you wanted to for work, what would you wear and why?
Sh: Like my makeover look? (laughs)
S: Do you think it is important for men to be well-groomed, and why?
Sh: Yes. It is important. Personal hygiene and grooming, because if you want people to respect you, you have to respect yourself first, and the way you actually bring up yourself is important.
S: Who are the people in your family, and what do they do?
Sh: Besides my parents, I have three brothers: two older, and one younger. My brother actually has his own business also.
S: Is there someone in your family who inspires you the most? Who is it and why?
Sh: My dad, because he’s working alone and is the sole breadwinner, but he never complained that he had no money, and although he was in pain he never asked us for a massage. He just did his job as a father.
We find Shuk to be exceedingly polite and pleasant throughout the shoot; perhaps these are two traits that make him such a respected and well-received rider. It’s nice to see that Shuk has ambitions both where he is and where he hopes to be, and we won’t be surprised to see him on TV one day with that infectious smile of his.