Read the full transcript of Mr Giam's podcast (Part 1). Listen to the full episode here.
"My name is Giam Yong Hua, I am 65 years old this year. I picked up Carpentry when I was at Changi (Prison). I’m pretty good at it.
We made antique furniture in there. Carving was done by another department, after which they would send the pieces to us for assembly. We assembled things like cabinets, which they would sell once completed.
There was once I had a big cut on my hand, and the police officers were shocked because there was a lot of blood. They sent me to Changi Hospital. But all they did at the hospital was to wrap up my wound and I came back. I became more careful from then on.
We woke up at about six in the morning. I would then wash up and meditate, before heading down for bread and hot tea for breakfast. We also used to be able to smoke cigarettes before reporting for work. Now they don’t allow smoking anymore.
Working hours were from 8am to 5pm. Lunch time was from 12pm to 1pm.
Once we receive the materials, we would identify what we were making and discussed how to assemble. Sometimes it would involve us using a saw to cut the wood pieces evenly, so that it could be a complete, beautiful piece of furniture, just like the chairs we made recently. Sometimes, we also used machinery to get the shape of the wood piece we wanted. Because it’s automated, it’s very easy to maneuver."