Meet Kanippan – one of very few elevator operators in the country

By: Patrick Beech

Not many of us know what an elevator operator is and what are his duties.

However, for those who have been to Gama Supermarket in market, which is among the oldest in the country, they would have noticed Kanippan Gunasamy, 69.

Kanippan has been an elevator operator for almost 40 years despite him being physically challenged.

He has been working there since 1982 and is able to provide you with full details of the shopping complex to help you get where you want fast.

He lost his right leg to polio several years ago, but this has not deterred him from showing up to work every day.

He is also able to converse in English, Malay and Chinese and is looking to work in Gama for at least another five years.

“The lift has been my second home for decades now. With my physical problem, this job is perfect for me.

“I mostly stay seated in the lift, only getting up to help customers with their trolleys,” said the father of two.

Gama human resource supervisor Ooi Guat Choo said they always had a lift operator.

“It was something the owners wanted from the beginning. We have two lifts and three lift operators who work on shifts,” she said.

“It makes it easier for customers, especially those with children, on wheelchairs or with a full trolley,” he said.