Singaporean chef and beach owner explains why he became a cleaner to help others

Singaporean chef and beach owner explains why he became a cleaner to help others

We continue our cleaner series with cleaning partner Philipe Chew. Even though he has only joined Helpling for 3 months, he already is a top rated cleaner here. In this article, the humble entrepreneur shares a little about his restaurant, which he sold to buy a beach in Palawan, Philippines at the age of 55. He also talks about his passion for cooking, his road to recovery from cancer and also his main focus of helping people in different walks of life.

Hi Philipe! Tell us more about yourself

I’m a father to three lovely kids- 2 sons and 1 daughter. I’m currently a cleaning partner with Helpling and have been working with Helpling for close to 3 months ever since I underwent an operation to remove a tumour growing in my left arm.

In 2004, I left for philippines to open a Singaporean Claypot Restaurant at Bohol but sold the restaurant off when I returned to Singapore in 2010 to buy a beach in Palawan. I briefly lived in Sacramento, California from 2008 to 2009 to accompany my wife pursue her Physiotherapist career and that was where I learnt how to make tacos from scratch.

What were you doing before you joined Helplingchef cooking

Before I joined Helpling, I was working as a Head chef at a renowned hotel until my operation, where I helped out at Avondale, an International school located at Tanglin, as a school cleaner for 1.5 months.

What are you hobbies?

tacos on table

The reason I became a cook is because of my love for cooking. I worked at cafes and restaurants for many years to learn the different cooking techniques.

Why did you choose Philippines for both your restaurant and private beach?

That’s because my wife is Filipino. Furthermore, I’m very interested in learning more about the country and culture.

How did you hear about Helpling and why did you choose to work with Helpling?

I learnt about Helpling through a FB advertisement. I really liked the concept of Helpling, that I could plan my own schedule and pick the jobs I want.

At the point in time, I was looking for a job to help build up physical strength after my operation and also give back to society to those who need help. Beside that, I always had a respect for people working in the cleaning industry. Have lived overseas for 15 years, I noticed that the cleaning industry was a recognised and respected service.

More importantly, as Singapore is headed towards the ageing population, I believe this industry will grow, due to the shortage of foreign labour and more older people looking for work.

Tell me more about the operation you underwent.

Before I discovered about my tumour, I was nicknamed “popeye” because of the huge lump I had on my left arm. However, it was indeed an 8cm long cancerous tumour that the doctor told me I had for at least 5 years! I then underwent an operation to remove the tumour.

Have you fully recovered?

In 2015, we detected another 5cm lump, which was dangerously close to my bone and so underwent my second operation to removed the lump together with a part of the bone. I have since fully recovered, and I even mountain bike everyday to work!

What was the most memorable experience working with Helpling?

I come into all jobs with lots of compassion and with the mindset that I am going to bless and help them. So there was this house that I had to clean, it was in the worst condition that I have even seen/cleaned before. It was infested with maggots and files. Not only that, there were food left for weeks, grime and dirt on the floor, and clusters of hair everywhere. I nearly turned them away but decided that this house needed major assistance- if I did not help, who would? It turns out that the homeowner was jobless at age 60. He undergone 2 heart bypass surgeries and was taking care of 2 mentally disabled sisters, hence he was unable to cope with the mess. Needless to say, I felt so happy when I finally cleaned up the house.

You mentioned that one of the reasons you joined Helpling was because you wanted to help others, can you elaborate more?

Most people work from early morning to late evenings, hence, leaving them with no time for housework. I want to help these people by lessening the stress they get from housework, and allowing them more them with their loved ones.

Cleaning tips?

Being a certified NEA cert holder and also being a chef, I believe that cleanliness starts with a clean kitchen. Most people do not bother cleaning the drying area where water drips to the tray, causing it to rust. So it is important to clean the rust with an iron mesh.

Another area that people tend to overlook is the sliding glass panels and windows. Always clean the running rails as they are always covered with dust and dirt.

Find out more about some of our other Helpling cleaning partners here! Interested in joining Helpling cleaners team? Visit our cleaning jobs page.

Stephanie is an avid traveller who loves to explore new places and embrace different cultures. Being a huge fan of the sun, sand and the beach, you will always find her at one of the beach destinations during her off days.

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