He's Got The Keys To All the Doors

Long-time staff Mr Abdullah Basiron is well loved by all at Tanjong Katong Girls’ School.

At under 1.5 metres tall, his diminutive stature belies his importance in the daily operations of Tanjong Katong Girls’ School (TKGS).

Since 1973, Mr Abdullah Basiron, or more affectionately known to students as “Dollah”, has worked tirelessly to ensure that the school grounds stay spick and span. The Operations Support Officer is the school’s longest-serving staff. In the last 41 years, he has been a familiar face through generations of TKGS staff, students and even parents.

With his characteristic grin and quick-step gait, Mr Dollah can often be seen (and heard) whistling and jangling his keys – breaking many a monotonous lesson and alerting students to his presence. His job entails keeping the classrooms clean, throwing out the rubbish, watering the plants and locking up the classrooms in the evening after everyone has gone home.

But he often goes out of his way to do more. He often stays back in school whenever there are management meetings in the evening, or for any last-minute matters that require him to be around after closing time.

“The school seems to trust me to get the job done,” he says with a laugh.

The students themselves have benefited from Mr Dollah’s helpfulness too, with both current and former students having only good things to say about him. Ms Dalilah Ghazalay, a student who graduated in 1987, says: “He is well remembered by the Malay Literary, Drama & Debating Society students for helping out when needed, usually to help move heavier props.”

Mr Dollah says he enjoys helping the girls and is happy that many former students still recognise him: “Some have stopped me in the streets to say ‘hi’!”

The cheerful and chatty man is often heard singing as he works. What he likes most about his job, Mr Dollah says, is the environment. “Everyone is friendly and my colleagues are helpful. Plus, the school’s near my house.”

Mr Dollah received his long service award in August this year, and although he’s turning 61 soon, he’s not looking to retire yet. “God willing, I hope to work as long as I can until my services are no longer required.”

The writer, Ami Ismail, is an ex-TKGS girl.

    Sep 1, 2014
    Ami Ismail
    Charles Chua
  • link facebook
  • link twitter
  • link whatsapp
  • link email