“Four legs in a toilet cubicle…” is among one of many incidents shared by an unassuming yet heroic personality in our midst. Meet Mohd Fadzil Mahmud, a Safety and Security Supervisor at The Centrepoint. Fadzil has been patrolling the grounds at the mall for almost 28 years. He has an impressive track record, having received many commendation letters, as well as a gold award in 2006 for excellent service throughout his career. Along with that, he has accumulated some amazing stories while on patrol.
Fadzil, bagged a gold award for excellent service and received a gold pin, which he proudly wears on his tie daily.
How did your journey at Frasers Centrepoint Singapore begin and what inspires you every day?
I started as a Security Guard at Centrepoint Shopping Centre (as it was known then) on 15 January, 1990. I found out about the post through the newspapers, applied for it and was lucky enough to get the job. I learnt the ropes quickly from my peers and also my first Supervisor, Robert Ng, who used to be based at the then Centrepoint Shopping Centre but is now the Facilities Manager at Alexandra Point and Alexandra Technopark. He taught me a lot of things, from handling issues to managing shoppers.
The Centrepoint has definitely evolved through the years and I have grown alongside with it. I must say that I’ve learnt a lot and still enjoy what I do everyday. As I am passionate about my role, I look forward to attending relevant courses to learn new skills to upgrade myself and apply what I have learnt while on the job. I think improving my skills is important so I can better manage situations. These days we need to be extra alert and vigilant to be even more effective in our role as security personnel.
My current Supervisor is Seto Chee Keong and he has been very supportive. Now 59 years of age, I feel I have had a fulfilling time, mostly because my colleagues have always been very helpful and caring. Also as a team, we work hard together and actively help each other out whenever we can. This only makes me want to stay on and continue to be part of the team.
How would you describe your role?
As a Safety and Security Supervisor, my job is to be constantly alert and on the look out for any signs of trouble. My key objective is to keep the mall safe for our patrons and tenants. I have received a few commendation letters and a gold award for service excellence and some of the stories are very interesting! I think I was always just at the right place at the right time.
For instance, one morning while doing my usual rounds, I noticed something you don’t see everyday – four legs in a toilet cubicle! Suspicious, I decided to wait and soon two men in their late twenties emerged carrying two shopping bags in each hand. I suspected they were shoplifters. When I questioned them, they panicked and ran, pushing me aside as I was standing at the washroom entrance. I ran after them to level one and did not have time to call for assistance. The culprits were about to open the exit door and escape but with a loud voice, I shouted at them to stop and they did. I then quickly called my colleagues to assist and the police soon arrived to arrest the men.
In another incident we apprehended a man who was taking upskirt photos. The police confiscated two mobile phones with evidence of the images. My colleagues and I were also commended for apprehending the suspect.
There are many instances when you have to think and react quickly, especially when we face mall patrons who misbehave. There was once in May 2005, when the staff at Cold Storage contacted the security team for urgent assistance. An intoxicated man was aggressive when the staff tried to stop him from leaving the store without paying for a few items he hid in his pockets. I was unsure of the exact situation so I told our team to call the police. I began talking to the man in a calm manner to distract him and gain his trust. Knowing that the police would arrive soon, I tried to prolong the conversation and even managed to sit him down. Thankfully the police arrived and arrested the man. I was glad that nothing serious happened and patrons, tenants and staff were not harmed.
Which story is the most memorable to you?
I have many stories but this particular one still touches my heart. It happened in June 1995 one morning when I found a handbag left in a phone booth. I brought it up to the security control room and showed it to my then Supervisor, Robert Ng. He advised me to contact the British High Commission to get in touch with the owner of the handbag. It turned out that the owner of the item was an elderly British lady who was departing for home that day with her husband.
When we met the elderly lady to return her bag, she was in tears because all the contents in her bag were intact, especially a ring that was very important to her. It really made our day that we were able to return it to the rightful owner.
How do you feel about your heroic actions?
In most of these incidents, I happened to be alone and had to act quickly. We usually work in pairs and are trained to look out for suspicious-looking characters. At times we may put ourselves in harm’s way but that is the job. Although we are not armed, we try our best to make sure the building is safe from crime and also ensure the security of shoppers, tenants and staff.
What is your philosophy for a happy life at work and at home?
For me, being in the safety and security team is all about teamwork. It is also about speaking openly and maintaining good communication with each other.
My philosophy for a happy life is that we should relax and not be so stressed. It is also about thinking positively. When I open my eyes every morning, I am always grateful for the new day ahead, and the life I’ve had so far.
I am happily married with two kids. My eldest daughter is studying at the National Institute of Education, while my son is at the Nanyang Polytechnic. These are my two favourite gold medals!
Explore The Centrepoint and other malls here