A story from the “Seniors’ Journey: Past, Present and Future” publication from the National Council of Social Service, showing the time and effort and dedication to the family of that generation of Singaporeans.


Prioritising Family

From “Seniors’ Journey: Past, Present and Future”, 2014, National Council of Social Service


Chan Ngot You has dedicated her life to being a housewife and caring for her four children. The 78-year-old grandmother of four shared that she was introduced at the age of 18 to the craft of sarong cloth weaving. “It is really good exercise for the legs and hands!” However, she stopped doing weaving after two years and decided to be an amah.


As an amah, Ngot You had an unusual colleague. She worked side by side with her mother-in-law for the same employer, although they both had different roles. Her mother-in-law would do the cooking, while Ngot you washed, ironed and cleaned. “We got along well; there were no conflicts,” said Ngot You. She stopped work as an amah when she became pregnant with her first child, and decided to be a full-time housewife.


Ngot You took it upon herself not just to care for her children’s needs, but also to cook lunch for her husband and his workers at their garage. “My children are very well-behaved, so it was easy looking after them since birth,” she says, with a hint of pride. However, when the youngest daughter went to secondary school and there was “nothing for her to do at home”, she came out again to work at a steel factory in Aljunied from 1964 to 1968. The factory shifted to another location, and Ngot You stopped working for good to concentrate on her children and housework.