Nothing is Kept Locked Forever: Locksmith Lam Kong Soon

How long have you been doing this?
It has been 18 years now and I’ve been based here for 3 years. I moved around a lot over the years. It isn’t an easy job.
When did you decide that this would be your career?
I left school when I was 12 years old and the first job I ever had was as a tailor. I had this friend who was working behind the shop and he was a locksmith. So I learned from him for about 3 years before I decided to set off on my own. It wasn’t easy because the government was strict about licensing. That’s how I started off—working from a van going from house to house, offices to offices to make a living.
What’s the biggest challenge in your profession?
Learning about the different brands of keys in the market is ever challenging. Each key has their own make and I need to make sure I am up-to-date with the latest kind of keys out there.
So what makes a good lock?
People make a common mistake when buying locks. Bigger is not always better. Some of these big locks are made from really poor materials.
What has been your most memorable experience?
When my make-shift store caught fire about 3 years ago. I came to my store one morning and saw only the remains of it all burnt and charred. Apparently a kid threw his cigarette butt and my store caught fire. I lost about $10,000. I also caught people attempting to break into the drawers of my store. I am a locksmith, of course they couldn’t steal anything.
How does one make a living from being a locksmith?
A day at a time. I make about $2,000 to as high as $3,000 a month. Enough to feed myself and my children.
Can you open just about anything?
Yes, I can. Nothing is kept locked forever.