Lily Wang has been in honestbee since August 2015. She’s a passionate advocate of the power of social work and tirelessly applies herself to being a change-maker, providing positive social impact upon all the lives she touches. 

How did you come to work in honestbee and what was it like back then?

I had just returned to Singapore to care for my mother who uses a wheelchair and I wanted a job with flexibility, that I enjoyed doing, and that wouldn’t require me to bring work home. I’ve always loved grocery shopping so I made an appointment to see the head of operations who convinced me to take the role of coordinator due to my experience. Since the company was fairly new, this role really encompassed all kinds of duties including coordination, customer service, and other ad hoc duties.

The hours were long and manpower was limited so we had to multitask a lot. At times, when we were short of deliverers or shoppers, corporate office staff had to step in and fill those roles. Once, during a promotion, there were so many orders and sign-ups that everyone including the engineers were activated to shop at a 24-hour NTUC Fairprice to fulfil the orders. This was great because it gave the engineers first-hand experience of the challenges and pain points of the shopper app so that it could be improved upon.

What three words would you use to describe honestbee?

  1. Crazy 2. Ever-changing 3. Fun. It’s a bit like the Amazing Race (television show), you never know what you’re going to get at each pitstop.

What’s your fondest memory in honestbee?

In the early days, the camaraderie and spirit were the main highlights. I had some fun times with the bees. Before we started our slots, we’d sit down and catch up, and we’d help one another out with large orders. The loyalty, team spirit and bonding was truly beautiful. Sometimes, I would call on shoppers who weren’t on duty but lived nearby just to get help with large orders and they’d gladly help. I’ve also got fond memories with the cashiers of NTUC Fairprice and customers, of course.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy dealing with corporate clients and social welfare groups, and being on the ground. I like that my role touches lives and provides a positive impact.

What do you do in moments when you’re overwhelmed by the job?

Exclaim “God, help! Please send me a miracle!” There are times when I’m in desperate need to get shoppers and deliverers willing to do bulk orders, and somehow, good Samaritans will end up stepping up and helping me.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

I’d probably be involved in social work with the elderly or those with special needs, or I’d be a music or play therapist. Or maybe I’d be a farmer! I love nature, plants and all things organic! I dream of running a resort or retreat centre that grows organic produce.

Can you share about some of the volunteer work you’ve done?

I was in Ulaan Bataar volunteering with “Youth With a Mission”. I taught English and Physical Education in a middle school and started the local Girls’ and Boys’ Brigade as an extra-curricular activity. After that stint, I moved to the northern part of China, near the border of North Korea, to volunteer as a care-giver in a home for abandoned babies and children with special needs.

Who do you admire?

Jesus. There are no words to describe him. I also admire Lee Kuan Yew (first Prime Minister of Singapore). I used to work with his wife, and I admire both of them for their integrity, as well as their healthy and frugal lifestyles, free of branded goods and luxuries. My healthy lifestyle and life journey has been greatly influenced by them.

What’s your fondest childhood memory?

I used to pretend to fall asleep on the couch so that my dad would pick me up and carry me in his arms and put me in my bed.

What do you do for fun?

Fun is seeing the delight on someone’s countenance, knowing that orders have been fulfilled promptly, and receiving thanks for it. I’m usually tied up with work so I don’t have that much time for myself, but if I did, it would be great if I could take my mother on short vacations.

What’s your favourite food?

I’m Hakka (a dialect group) and there is a traditional Hakka dish called Lei Cha (雷茶飯) or Thunder Tea Rice that I’m very fond of. This predominantly vegetarian dish was created in China as the people were very poor. They would put whatever leftover food they had into rice, and mix it with herbs and tea. My grandparents were from China and would often eat this. Nowadays, we eat it as a festive dish during celebrations such as Lunar New Year and birthdays. It’s quite an acquired taste and not easily found!

What are your grateful for?

I’m grateful to be alive, that I can breathe, that my senses are all intact. I’m grateful that my mother is still alive as well. I’m also thankful that I’m gainfully employed and I enjoy doing what I am doing, despite the long hours and hard work lifting, loading and unloading bulky items when we’re short on manpower. I’m thankful for my colleagues and my clients who are faithful to our business despite the fierce competition. The joy of working in honestbee comes from the fact that I’m able to meet so many people – partners, bees, and customers, and make a difference in their lives.