A boss who went out of his way to help his workers

Slaying of S’pore businessman in Jakarta

THERE is little wonder that 500 workers lined up to donate blood to Singapore businessman Mark Wong, who was hacked by a sickle-wielding robber outside a bank in North Jakarta.

He was a man who cared for their welfare and went out of his way to help them.

But the workers’ efforts proved futile. Mr Wong, 55, died on Wednesday, two weeks after he was attacked.

Most of his staff at his canning factory here, PT Jasa Lestari Mandiri, had nothing but praise for his management style.

Mechanic Hero Fitrianto, who had taken a two-hour bus ride from Bogor to Jakarta to donate blood, said: “He really looked after our welfare and took time to get to know us. There was no barrier between the boss and us.

“We heard he was in need of blood, and many people here did not think twice about donating their blood.”

Sales manager Abdul Rachim, who had known the businessman since 1972, noted that the workers’ response bore testimony to the strong bonds that had developed over the years.

“He was very open and went the extra mile to help his workers when they had problems,” he said.

He added that Mr Wong had given all his workers a pay rise only last month because he was concerned that they would not be able to cope with rising living costs caused by the economic downturn.

Factory worker Suporno, 37, was one of those who said that his basic wage increased by more than 10 per cent last month. He now gets about Rp320,000 (S$145) a month.

He said: “That helps me feed my wife and three kids. He was very aware that we were going through hard times.”

He said that Mr Wong had made his rounds every evening and kept up-to-date with their professional and personal lives.

He once visited the food stall near the factory to see if the workers had enough money for a proper lunch and dinner.

He even told factory supervisors to provide them with milk, chocolate wafers and instant noodles throughout the day.

“I don’t think many would have gone as far as he did for us,” said Mr Suporno. “We will miss him for sure.”

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