A 94-year-old woman, affectionately known as Popo, is finally hanging up her apron and retiring from her job selling homecooked economy rice in the Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) canteen after July 21, 2022.
The woman has run her food business in the school for 50 years, according to a Facebook post by Fairfield Methodist Schools.
Popo previously sold mee rebus, lontong, tauhu goreng and rojak at Fairfield Methodist Girls’ School at Neil Road in 1972.
She then sold economy rice with various homecooked dishes such as potato rice with chicken, luncheon meat, vegetables and eggs at Fairfield Methodist (Primary) at Dover Road from 1983 until now.
Even though she will stop cooking, she will still be manning the drinks stall from time to time, the Facebook post added.
Popo's ties with the school runs deep.
Her daughters had attended Fairfield, and even today, her great grandchildren are also part of the Fairfield family, the post added.
When asked about her long service to Fairfield and her secret to staying on, she said: “I’ll never work at any other school. The people here are so kind... and that’s my life philosophy - kindness begets kindness.”
Popo, which is "grandmother" in Mandarin, has been at the school for so long and her presence preceded everyone, that people do no not know her real name.
What is known is that she has singlehandedly fed generations of pupils.
An ex-student of the primary school, who is now 19 having graduated in 2015, told The New Paper that her own mother was in the school when Popo was selling food there in the 1970s.
Popo would let students owe her money if they are short on cash.
And she does not ask for repayment.
Popo would also remember the order of students.
Daughter running stall as well
A Tiktok video, posted by alumnus Kelvin Koh, said Popo has been serving at the school for more than half a century, and that her daughter has been assisting her for over 30 years.
Koh, a father of five, had returned to the school to photograph the canteen vendors.
The TikTok video has been made private at the school's request.
TNP reported that it spoke to people in the school and they all confessed they did not know Popo's real name.
The school only revealed that Popo and her daughter declined to be interviewed.
It also could not be confirmed if the daughter would continue to operate the stall to sell the same food.
Top photo via Fairfield Alumni Facebook