Sim Lim Tower ice cream uncle, 87, returns to work after 45 days as he was too bored at home

His longest break in 46 years.

Julia Yeo | May 28, 2020, 12:04 AM

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many businesses, with many facing temporary suspension due to circuit breaker measures put in place to contain the virus outbreak.

Many Singaporeans have found their daily lives significantly affected by the outbreak during this period.

However, with the situation in Singapore improving gradually, little signs of normalcy has been peeking through as the country approaches the end of the circuit breaker period.

Sim Lim Tower ice cream uncle back to work

A 87-year-old ice cream seller has returned to work at his usual spot outside the entrance of Sim Lim Tower after 45 days of absence, reported Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao on May 25, 2020.

sim lim tower ice cream uncle Photo via Lianhe Wanbao

Uncle Ng was unable to operate his ice cream stall due to the restrictions placed on non-essential services during the earlier days of the circuit breaker period.

While his manufacturer was allowed to resume production on May 12, he was advised by his boss to continue resting out of concern for his age and susceptibility to the virus.

However, Ng finally gave in and returned to work on Friday, May 22 after being unable to stay at home anymore, claiming that he had nothing to do besides watching television programmes.

Happy People Helping People Community, a community initiative and non-profit that contributes daily meals and an allowance to Ng, also shared that he had returned to work, encouraging customers to go support him if they were living in the vicinity.

"I've been working as a hawker since 1974, I'm used to this lifestyle and I don't find it difficult," Ng told the Chinese daily.

"Unless it's raining, I don't take rest days. This is the longest break I've taken in 46 years."

According to Ng, he didn't even stop working during the SARS outbreak in 2003, in his 20-odd years selling ice cream outside Sim Lim Tower.

Business poor, but still happy

Known by many as a "walking signboard" of Sim Lim Tower, several residents in the area who were familiar with Ng were excited to reunite with their ice cream uncle.

However, with few people leaving their homes and travelling outside of their neighbourhoods, business has been significantly poorer for Ng.

He told Lianhe Wanbao that he expected business to be poor, but it turned out to be worse than expected.

While he usually sold seven blocks of ice cream per day, Ng barely sold three blocks after two days of working at his usual location.

However, despite poor business, Ng said that he was happy as long as he had work to do.

Top image via Suzie Tan/Facebook, Joshua Lee