It was right after LCE (Lower Certificate of Education - Form 3) examination - end 1971. My father thought that it would be a good idea to go to work and earn some money. He wanted me to be a Caddy at RSGC, but my mother disagreed as the 'bags' are too heavy to carry and the sun, especially in mid-day, would be too hot for me to bear. So he found me a job, through his friend as a contractor worker - building KL Hilton. Building of KL Hilton has reached the 6th floor then! As agreed, for '1 kung' (a 8-hour work day) my wage will be RM5.00.
On my first day of work, I was requested to unload the bags of cement that just arrived. We lined up to receive the cement bags from the lorry. When it was my turn, I bend down halfway to receive the cement on my back. As soon as the cement dropped on my back, I slumped and I could not move, as I did not realise that the cement bag weigh over 20 kg per bag; and I would not be able to carry it. I slumbered, but found my strength, composed myself and carried the cement bags to the designated store area, which was not very far away. We moved and carry all the lorry load of cement bags. There were 5 of us. My other tasks invoved shoving crinkle stones or sand into the cement mixer, adding cement into the mix and move the ready mixed cement to the hoist (goods lift on a crane) for it to be taken up to the top to continue laying the concrete to the building foundation. When we were required to work late, we would jump with joy due the extra money that we could get; where I earned an additional '1 kung' for the additional 4-hour job (2 times rate than normal).
Wages were paid on a 2-weekly basis. I was 'helping building KL Hilton' for about 6 weeks. It was an experience. Whenever I go to KL Hilton (now Crown Plaza Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur) I will tell people whenever I go to the Crown Plaza Hotel; that I used to 'help built this hotel building in 1971'. After the LCE results were announced and school reopens in January 1972, I went back to school, a new place; Cheras Road School - the locals call it "Sekolah Cap Kunci".
I was a contractor worker.
2 weeks ago