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June 28
2013年6月28日

我與寂寂無聞的敬業百工

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自從2008年5月加入城大以來,我在校園過的是711式的生活;只要沒有外出公幹,每週工作七天,每天在校工作至少十一個小時。一有機會,就走訪校園內外各個角落。基於這幾年對校內與校園周遭環境的接觸與觀察,我想在這裏把對城大有貢獻,一般又不被認可歸屬於城大的員工,以及學校周邊一些食肆的服務員介紹給大家。

我經常在學校餐廳、學生食堂吃飯,因此熟識一些服務員。

在比較正式的九樓宴會廳裏,服務員會用心了解各種客戶的需要,提供不同的餐飲。有一次,巧遇正在廚房外休息的大廚,與我笑談起廚事來。至於大眾食堂裏面的一些服務員,見面也永遠都是笑咪咪的。

對了,其中有一個經理,她的名字叫咪咪吧,後來因為懷孕而調到其他單位。還有一位定居香港已滿15年的南京姑娘,因為知道我常叫白粥加煎蛋,會選一隻漂亮的太陽蛋,小心地放置在白粥上面,煞是好看。她把簡單例行的工作當作一回事,認真看待,其敬業精神不得不令人佩服。

這些食堂員工、經理、廚師、跑堂、清潔工、採買者,每天安排上萬人次的固定飲食,再加上不定時地在食堂內舉行的聚會、餐會指定的外賣,以及為許多大型節日所準備的餐飲,可以說時時刻刻都忙得不可開交。他們待遇微薄,卻無損他們「敬業樂群」。

我也經常在又一城的麥當勞、肯德基炸雞店果腹。有一天,麥當勞的服務員送我一個蘋果派。我笑著跟她說,這樣會害我的:因為不報告不好;報上去的話,我辦公室的秘書就須拍照存檔,然後把蘋果派放在檔案櫃裏,早晚會壞掉。又有一次,我在又一城的飲食廣場點了幾樣食物,似乎便宜不少,帳房看我似乎有些遲疑,就說,不要擔心,因為城大員工都享有折扣。

有一次在又一城的「喜棧」,我手裏抓著一大把硬幣,一下不知如何支配。收銀員把我手上的錢取過去,扣掉飯錢後,又仔細把剩餘的硬幣盡量湊成較大面額的硬幣或紙幣。他辦事,我放心。後來,這就成了我們交易的方式;卻也從來沒出過差錯。

同樣的微笑還來自玻璃窗後切燒雞、叉燒的燒臘師傅,他的刀工手藝,十分專業利落,又有條不紊,可以令人觀看一陣子;有這樣的敬業精神,如果教書,可以想像會是個好老師。

還有一些令人感動的事發生在肯德基炸雞店。店裏工作的幾位員工,只要我有幾天沒有出現在櫃台前,就會問最近在忙些什麼事,或者是否出差外地了。她們還會主動改變我的點餐方式,因為根據她們的說法,只要依照她們的方式,不僅可以點到我想要的食物,而且能夠更便宜。反正聽她們的指示,就錯不了,因為她們是炸雞店的專家。後來肯德基炸雞店搬離又一城,店裏員工還邀請我去新店用餐。

請注意,這些員工跟我沒有利益來往,對我友善絕對得不到任何好處,也不可能要求什麼好處。

還有,大家一定注意到,城大的花圃永遠是那麼整潔、清新、美麗。前兩年暑假,颱風天的次日,校園內的花草樹木被風雨摧殘得七零八落,斷枝敗葉滿地,不忍卒睹。我還心存疑問,不知到底要從何整修起,但是一天不到,校內的員工及美麗的園丁們就已使雜亂的花圃恢復常態。

我經營過自家的花園,了解要不高不矮地整齊排列幾株花木,又要在栽下後,確保它們能順意成長、開花,不是那麼簡單的工作。這些整修花園的員工,辛苦地彎腰屈身,雖在烈日當空下辛勞工作,卻散發出樂在其中的歡樂,感染了我,相信也感染了其他走過的城大同人。

去年十二月三十一日,香港氣溫急降,清晨攝氏6度的校園中,我發現女園丁專心清洗著中國花園中水塘裏的樹葉。就是她們辛勤完美的工作,才使大樹圍繞的池塘永遠保持清澈透底。今年元月五日,一位保安特別由保安室出來,朝我走來,丟下一句話:「校長,天氣冷,多穿件衣服。」我大概在北國寒地待久了,不畏寒天,衣服穿得也少了點,引起保安的不安。

以上這許多店員、保安、花農、園丁、整修工人、飲食經理、跑堂服務員等,都不是我們城大的常規員工。然而,他們永遠在我們日常工作與生活的周邊,默默努力,接受著微薄的待遇,從事著他們份內的工作。

你說,他們難道不是我們大學進步中一些特別值得推崇、效仿的英雄嗎?

 

Unsung heroes and I

Since I joined CityU in May, 2008, I have led a kind of 7-11 life on campus. When I am not on a business trip, I work 7 days a week and at least 11 hours a day. When I have the time, I go around to explore the campus. On the basis of what I have found out around the campus, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce to you some of the people who, though usually not recognised as employees of CityU, have made considerable contribution to our campus. They are the nameless and unsung heroes.

I often dine in the campus staff restaurant, Shing Hin, and the students' canteen, and I am on familiar terms with some of the attendants working there.

In the relatively formal banquet hall on the ninth floor, the attendants there would take the trouble of finding out the preferences of different customers so as to provide the right kind of food and drink for them. Once, I ran into a chef outside the kitchen, who was only too glad to chat with me about the kitchen things. There is also an attendant working in the general dining section of Shing Hin. She is all smiles whenever we see each other. And, yes, one of the managers who used to work there is named Mimi, but she was transferred to another unit after she got pregnant. Another girl is from Nanjing. She has lived in Hong Kong for a full fifteen years. Because I often have porridge together with a fried egg, she often puts a sunnyside-up egg on top of the porridge, all beautifully placed. She carries out her daily work conscientiously; her dedication to her work is inspiring.

These kitchen hands, managers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, cleaners and purchasing staff are kept busy preparing thousands of meals each day, in addition to the irregular parties held at the dining canteens, dishes and foods that have to be delivered to parties held elsewhere, and many dishes and drinks specially prepared for big important festive occasions. They are busy with their work around the clock. While their salaries are far from handsome, they do not dampen their zeal for work in any way.

I also frequent MacDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, or the other self-serviced and serviced restaurants in Festival Walk.

One day, an attendant at MacDonald's gave me a free apple-pie. I said to her with a smile, "You've put me in a difficult position. You know, I am required to declare all the gifts that I receive. If I declare this apple pie, the secretary in my office has to take a picture of it for the files. The apple pie, too, will go to the file cabinet for safe-keeping, where it will sit and rot sooner and later." Another time, I ordered some food at the food court in Festival Walk, but it appeared that I was not charged for the full price. The cashier, seeing the look of hesitation on my face, said, "Don't worry, for all the staff in CityU are entitled to the same discount."

Several times, I found myself at Food Fest in Festival Walk with a bunch of coins, which I tried awkwardly to count out to pay the bill. The cashier grabbed the coins from me, took out what I owed the restaurant, and changed the remaining coins into notes. With him in charge, to quote a politician, my mind is at ease. Later on, both of us settled on this wordless way of transacting business. I would simply point at the sample dishes displayed in the window, and he would smile, fully understanding what I was trying to say. We need not utter a single word, and yet everything goes smoothly without any mistakes. The same pleasant smile also appears on the face of one of the kitchen hands whose job is to carve out pieces of barbecued meat for the customers. These meat carvers are amazing with their knives; their cutting skill is a sight to behold. With their conscientiousness, I am sure they would be good teachers if they should be asked to teach. The meat carver with the pleasant smiles left Food Fest after he retired at the end of last December.

The helpfulness of the people working at Kentucky Fried Chicken also touches my heart. If I fail to show up there for a few days, the attendants would ask me how I have been, what has been keeping me busy, or whether I have been away for business. They also offer to order the food for me. They say that if I listen to their suggestions, I will have what I would like to eat and at a cheaper price, too. Anyway, I will not go wrong with their expert advice. Later, Kentucky Fried Chicken moved away from Festival Walk and they even asked me to dine at their new shop. Now, please note that there is no exchange of interest between us. By being friendly to me, they do not get anything from me in return, nor would they even think of asking.

In addition, all of us must have noticed how clean, fresh and beautiful the flowerbeds are in CityU. On a day after a typhoon during the summer vacation two years ago, the plants and flowers on campus were blown helter-skelter. With the dead leaves and branches all over the ground, the campus was a sorry sight. I was wondering how long it would take to restore the beauty of the grounds. But within a day, the staff and the gardeners had put everything back together, and the flowerbeds returned to their old glory.

I did some gardening work at home and knew it was no easy job to prune just a few plants to more or less the same height and after pruning, make sure they would grow naturally and come to bloom. The gardeners have to work hard, crouching under hot sun, but they radiate a kind of happiness that touches me, and I believe, others of CityU who happen to walk by them.

On 31 December last year, the temperature dropped precipitously. In the early morning where the thermometer registered 6C, I found the women gardeners dredging the leaves from the pond in the China Garden. That the water in the pond can remain crystalline clear is a result of their hard work. On the fifth day of the New Year this year, a guard stepped out of the guard room, walked up to me and said, "Mr President, it is cold today. Please put on another layer." Perhaps I had lived in the colder climate of the northern land for a long time and do not mind the cold that much, therefore I do not put on as many clothes as other people. That, however, is a cause for concern to the guard.

All the people that I have just mentioned: the shop attendants, guards, flower growers, gardeners and repair workers, managers in the canteens, and waiters and waitresses, are not the regular staff of CityU. However, they live and work right by us. They labour on silently, supported by a meager income, and yet they carry on their duties conscientiously.

They are the unsung heroes who deserve our respect and praises, aren't they?

June 28, 2013

 

 

 

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