Great-grandma, 95, insists on clearing tables at Woodlands coffee shop as she doesn't want children's money

She wants to work until she can't anymore.

Belmont Lay | May 08, 2022, 04:54 AM

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A 95-year-old great-grandmother in Singapore is still working at a coffee shop clearing tables, despite already retiring and having several children who can provide for her.

The elderly woman, Zheng Xuehua, was spotted by Shin Min Daily News, which reported that she has been a common sight at the Block 780 Woodlands Crescent coffee shop.

The thin woman, who is hunchbacked, has been in this line for 14 years, the Chinese daily reported, highlighting that her choice of vocation was not something new or recent.

Came to Singapore from China 75 years ago

Zheng said she was 20 years old when she and her husband came to Singapore from Fujian, China.

She then gave birth to seven children.

However, she and her husband became estranged.

When she was 30 years old, she said she single-handedly brought women's clothing to the kampong in different areas to sell, and raised her children by herself.

But Zheng said she suffered a lot in her early years.


Bored after retiring

After she retired, she claimed that she had nothing to do and was not used to the feeling.

So, she found a job clearing dishes in a coffee shop via the newspaper classifieds.

It was to earn some money for her retirement, she said.

Doesn't want children's money

And it is not as if she does not have familial support.

Zheng explained: "The children want to give me money, but I refuse to accept. They also have their own families to support, which is not easy, so I want to support myself, do what I can, and be self-sufficient."

She said she had been staying with her younger son in Woodlands, which was why she ended up looking for a job in the vicinity.

She then ended up working in Woodlands since then.

Travels 1 hour to work

When her son in Woodlands moved away, she moved in with another son in Toa Payoh, but she did not want to switch jobs.

Owing to the distance, she gets up at 4:30am to catch the MRT train and bus to Woodlands -- a one-hour journey.

She said she is "slow-moving" and "doesn’t want to be late for work”.

She knocks off at 3pm, she said.

However, her legs do not work like they used to before, she said: "I don't know how long I can work for, as long as my body allows it, I will try my best."

Her family have tried to persuade her to quit as they worry about her health and safety, she added.

Claims to have 20 great-grandchildren

Zheng also told Shin Min that she has 20 great-grandchildren.

However, she still insists on working as she’s used to working hard her whole life.

She said it is her duty to bring up her children as a mother, "I don’t ask them for anything in return", she explained.

Top photo via Shin Min Daily News