Hawker has also been giving recruits discounted ingredients at his stall for years
Mr Tan Bee Seng last served NS close to 40 years ago — but he’s still got the backs of the recruits of today.
The owner of a stall selling chicken rice and noodles in Bedok Food Centre gives NS recruits discounts when they request for extra chicken, char siew and eggs. An extra portion of chicken rice is also always on the house.
In an interview given to The New Paper on Tuesday (9 Feb), Mr Tan revealed that the NS allowance was only $50 per month back then.
This was especially harsh on Mr Tan, as he came from a relatively impoverished background. The $50 allowance from NS was nothing compared to the $300 he earned while working at a battery factory when he was 15.
As a result, he rarely booked out as meals were provided for in camp.
Mr Tan does not want today’s recruits to struggle just as he did, due to an increased cost of living.
He says that his good deeds did not disadvantage him financially, as the cost of the ingredients is low, and he runs the stall on his own.
Besides, there are less tangible rewards. In Mr Tan’s own words:
“Seeing these men come back to say ‘Hello’ after their ORD is a great feeling. It’s like they appreciate me and what I have done for them.
It makes up for what little money I lose.”
Mr Tan’s actions has earned him the admiration of NSmen for years. An NSman has nominated him for the NS Advocate Award for Individuals in 2015, which he won.
Then Senior Minister of State for Defence, Mr Chan Chun Sing, also gave Mr Tan two tickets to watch the 2013 NDP, which Mr Tan gleefully accepted. LTC Dennis Oh presented the tickets to Mr Tan on behalf of Mr Chan.
Good Guy Mr Tan.
We’ll buy chicken rice exclusively from your stall next time to bring you more business okay!
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