For Appreciation Week 2013, teams of writers looked into the lives of 4 special individuals who contribute to our daily school lives – people we may not always notice. We hope this encourages you to show your appreciation for the perhaps less-noticed staff members around the school; they may not be significant in their own right, but they definitely make a significant impact on our school lives. In our final instalment, we feature the 7-11 store uncle, Aung Bo Win.
By Ashley Wee (13A01A), Leong Yee Ting (14A01C) and Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)
Photos by Wesley Chioh (13A03A)
Anyone who has patronised the 7-11 will remember Mr Aung Bo Win’s warm smile. Since coming to Singapore in 2011, the Burmese national has been working at RI’s 7-11 store, serving up delicious waffles and tirelessly operating the store in the evenings until 9PM.
Recently, we decided to speak with Mr Aung to find out more about his life and his work. “This is my first job in Singapore,” he said. “I am happy to be here.” At 26, Mr Aung arrived from Magway in Burma through an agent, and was employed by his boss, who owns the 7-11 in RI. A typical work day for him begins at 7AM, when he fixes up the machines that dispense mashed potatoes and Slurpees!
“Waffles are the most popular (amongst students),” he told us. Indeed, walking past the store is an experience in itself, because of the delicious smell. “They also come and buy a lot of drinks,” said Mr Aung with a smile. “I like them all.”
Unfortunately, he will be leaving RI’s 7-11 outlet soon. “I’m going to move to an outlet in Novena, because my boss wants to move there,” he told us. “They won’t be closing this down; other people will come and take over.” Mr Aung’s absence will certainly be missed – a school-wide effort to collate farewell messages for him met with much success.
After spending 2 years here, Mr Aung’s feelings about Singaporean food are neutral, but he does miss the food in Myanmar. To satisfy his cravings, he goes to Peninsula Plaza with his friends every weekend. Indeed, Peninsula Plaza has been named ‘Little Burma’ for a reason – not only does it feature a diversity of Burmese curries, stir-fries, soups and noodle dishes at various food stalls and restaurants, but it is also home to Burmese beer shops, convenience stores and even a library. It is thus not hard to see why Mr Aung goes there every weekend – not simply for the food and friends, but also for an environment as reminiscent of home as you can find in Singapore.
Like most other Burmese, Mr Aung is religious, and you may also be able to find him at a temple on his off-days. As for the rest of the time, Mr Aung calls his home in Singapore a rented flat at Toa Payoh.
Mr Aung also enjoys soccer as a hobby and follows the Spanish La Liga. “Spanish clubs have very good players,” he said, laughing. Some of his favourite players include Christiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid FC and Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona.
So, what’s next for Mr Aung?
One of his plans includes getting married back home. “But I don’t have a girlfriend now,” he said, laughing. We asked him what else he would be doing when he returned home in search of his perfect girl.
“Me? I want to open a doughnut shop,” Mr Aung tells us with a wide smile on his face. After 7-11 at Novena, he plans to return to Myanmar at the end of the year to set up a family doughnut shop with his elder brother. He hopes to learn the tricks of the trade from his brother, an “expert in doughnuts”, who currently works at a doughnut shop back home.
With his amazing 7-11 waffles a testament to his skills, our mouths water at the thought of a freshly-glazed doughnut from his shop.
Appreciation Week featured this story and more at a mini-exhibition in the canteen and ended today. We hope you enjoyed the staff features this week! Appreciation Week may have ended today, but this doesn’t mean the appreciation stops – we hope you take the time to show your appreciation for those around us who contribute to make our school lives so much better.