“I got bullied by gangsters when I was younger. I got sick of it so I joined the Police Force,” shared 74-year-old Gregory. “Everyday I had to fight with them, sometimes up to seven gangsters at a time. I had to train myself to fight.” He joined the Police Force at the age of 18 and started out first as a detective. He later got recruited for the Riot Squad for one year and then got transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department to catch gangsters. “It was a dangerous job. Sometimes they would take out a knife or gun at you but I wasn't afraid as I was trained to be brave.”
The father of two, who also has an adopted child, worked for the police for six to seven years after which, he resigned as the pay was low, as he earned $219 a month. He had met someone in the tourist line and started working at a shop that sold watches, cameras, radios and jewellery to tourists. The pay there was more than twice as much as his previous pay and over the span of 30 years, he worked at other shops as well.
Full of various nuggets of life stories, the grandfather of eight shared that he married a woman from Malaysia who he “pitied” as she was in Singapore, all alone. After marrying her, he learned she had two children and he decided to adopt the youngest child who was three at the time so she could live in the Republic. After 12 years of marriage, the couple divorced but he told her he wanted the responsibility to care for the children.
He was also a regular blood donor. Despite his parents’ insistence that donating blood would make one die, Gregory still went ahead. At 18 he started donating his blood and over the years, has donated over 100 times. He said that the hospital at the time needed blood and he wanted to help people. He feels: “If you do good things, you [in turn] get good things.”