Monday, October 27, 2008

working almost ant-like

this morning i visited a food factory in bedok north avenue 4. as i watched the two women at work, folding the chee cheong fun, they reminded me of the ants that had fascinated me the other day.

they were working non-stop, without much communication between the two of them. they could not afford to stop or slow down because the conveyor belt was moving continuously. if anyone of them stops or slows down, the thin sheet of chee cheong fun on her side will have to be 'written off', discarded. the machine cannot be switched off in the middle of the operation.

i asked the boss how long they would have to be at their station. his reply: between six and seven hours. what about toilet break? another worker or the boss himself will have to step in to carry on the folding.

the boss himself had to wake up at 4.00 a.m. to grind the rice grains for making the chee cheong fun dough. it is not exactly a dough as it is in a semi-liquid state before it goes into the machine. he does not believe in using the ready-made rice flour, which would have saved him much time and allow him to get up later.

the machine is able to produce two types of chee cheong fun - the plain type and the one with small bits of vegetables and minced hae bee (dried shrimps). the rolled or folded chee cheong fun are packed in 10s before being placed in a metal box for delivery to the retailers or to some hotels.

the factory also makes chwee kueh but they use plastic receptacles rather than the aluminium ones. long ago, i remember the the chwee kueh maker who lived in the same kampong used the clay dishes. clay dishes would get broken while the aluminium ones would get stolen, especially now when metal is in demand. also the aluminium dishes cost about 22 cents each whereas the disposable plastic dish costs 2 cents only.

the other kuehs made in the factory include normal soon kueh, mini soon kueh, yam cake and carrot cake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi what's the name or address of this chee cheong fun outlet?