In this series of “Know Our Gardener”, join us as we have a little chit-chat session with our maintenance guys, getting to know their different personalities, perspectives and some of the challenges they face on site.
For this month’s story, we talked to Jahangir, the man-in-charge of landscape maintenance at Land Transport Authority project sites.
Jahangir first came to Singapore in 2011, he only was 21 years old then!
“Do you remember how you felt when you first came to Singapore?”
J: First time coming to Singapore, I was very nervous because my father & mother say “You study first. After you can go and work” But I no listen, I just come to Singapore.
Despite his parent’s words, Jahangir saw better opportunities here in Singapore and left Bangladesh. He has worked in a few different jobs before entering VG 3years ago. He is now approaching his 4th year with us!
Since then, Jahangir has been maintaining the landscapes at LTA for over 2years. He now has 6 men under his wing. The maintenance works include grass trimming, watering, tree pruning, fertilising & soil loosening. On top of the general landscape works, the team also does maintenance for a 7metres tall green wall.
One of the challenges for the team is working under the mercy of the sun.
J: Sometimes our hands and faces will become red.
With this experience, the team will take the opportunity to start the rooftop works in the morning till lunch hour when there is no rain as the sun is less harsh and using the straw hat provided.
The biggest challenge for Jahangir is ensuring that everything runs smoothly. There is a significant amount of work for each site to be done due to the large areas.
Jahangir recalls a more challenging time when the team only consisted of 5 men to maintain the landscape at LTA. Often, there was not enough time to rest. A typical day starts at 6.30 am, after washing up and preparing for the day, the team would leave the office at around 7 am where he drops off the rest of his team at their designated site before he starts work at a different location by 8 am.
J: Now is better because we have one man more. And there is less jam on the road due to COVID
Allowing enough worker for landscape maintenance can make a big difference in the entire outlook of your landscapes. Having sufficient manpower also allows them to work more efficiently to achieve and exceed you or your our client’s standards.
With a project of this scale, Jahangir and team rely on experience and scheduling to pace themselves. Having maintained LTA for over 2years, he now handles and manages the workload much more efficiently.
Though work onsite may end at 6, he still has the rest of his team to pick up before they all head back. Then, it all depends on the traffic if they got to rest on time or later. On good days, they can arrive back at the office between 6.50 pm to 7.10 pm. Otherwise, they would reach latest by 7.30 pm.
Jahangir then shares that he faces less jam ever since we experienced COVID-19.
“Talking about COVID, how did you feel during this period and the circuit breaker?”
J: I feel its ok, I just continue working. Just normal follow everyday working. Circuit breaker time, all Singaporean worker cannot come out, I only go outside. So ok no problem.
Our maintenance team was kept busy during the circuit breaker period, carrying out maintenance works for essential services. Jahangir shares with optimism that he does not feel scared. He trusts that if he has taken good care of himself – eating nutritiously, having a strong and positive attitude/mindset as well as following the safety precautions closely, there is nothing to worry.
The initial challenge that Jahangir faced during that period was adapting to the new living environment (when they were relocated from the dorms). Adapting to new sleeping arrangements and sharing limited toilet cubicles among the project and maintenance team. To make the new living quarters more liveable, the guys even improvised an outdoor shower! After more than a month, Jahangir expresses that it all feels normal now. He only misses being able to cook. Aside from that, not much has changed other than becoming more prudent about personal hygiene and precautionary measures.
“COVID-19 aside, can you share with me what you think is your greatest achievement in VG?”
Pausing for a few seconds, Jahangir shares passionately, what makes him most happy is that
- his men approach him when there is something that they don’t understand
- he can teach his men how to work, methods to do it easily, quickly while delivering quality works
- his men understand and accept his guidance
Jahangir shares that there were many times where he learns from them too. Over time, they have built up mutual respect where they listen to one another.
As we continue to work remotely, it is more important than ever to keep in touch, having means to communicate our feelings, struggles and staying connected. We can all do with the reminder that nobody walks alone and that we are in this together.
At Vertical Green, we are committed to transforming spaces to a greener, healthier & happier environment. We are more than happy to listen and understand any challenges that you may face in greening up your space. Talk to us today!