I can build better than the youngsters
"The Japanese soldiers asked me to chase a duck. I tried but I lost it so I ran home. They shot through my wooden door, leaving a gaping hole. Lucky I was not shot dead!
I repaired and built the meeting door at the Parliament house in the 70s…Lee Kuan Yew was efficient, he paid my overtime! The spiral staircase at Kallang Cinema, is it still there? I made that too. The boss requested for Teak and paid me a lump sum.
I enjoyed going to bars. I earned a lot, spent a lot. I did not save. Why should I save? Now I don’t have money.
I bet I can build better than the youngsters. I can do it. But companies refuse to insure me because I’m too old. I cannot build anymore.
I carry pens in my pocket not because I write. I seldom write. It’s just a habit. But for now…it’s just to look good.
My wife is not my first love. She is my only one."
Mr Chung Wah Sun was born in 1915 and grew up in Malacca. A carpenter by profession, Mr Chung started as an apprentice during the Japanese Occupation. In his late 20s, he met and fell in love with his wife (now 87). They moved to Singapore after the war. Mr Chung was in the construction industry for over 30 years. He owned a small company specialising in Teak carpentry. Mr Chung built the beautiful doors in his flat by himself 15 years ago, when he was 86.
Text by Adlina Maulod
Commissioned to take portraits of Singaporean centenarians by the Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE) for their recent conference titled 'Are Centenarians the Realisation of Successful Ageing: Insights from a Global Study'.
These portraits also feature as an exhibition together with the conference titled 'SG100: A Celebration of Our Centenarians'.