Spotlight: Geraldine Ong – Stepping Out In Faith

‘Sweet’ and ‘demure’ were the first two words that came to mind when I met Geraldine in person. However, I quickly found that beneath her sweet veneer lies a tenacious and bold spirit that is not to be underestimated! 

Before graduating from university, Geraldine was offered a managerial role at a new cafe that some members from her church were setting up. Despite it being unconventional for a fresh university graduate with a degree to choose to work in the F&B industry for a starting job, she decided to take a step of faith and heed God’s call. Join us in finding out more about her story!

Hi Geraldine! How did you discover that working in a café was something you wanted to do? Was it a childhood dream?
It was a teenage dream actually. I wanted to open a cafe to call my own one day, but while I dreamt about this, I am also quite a realistic person. I was fully aware that the cafe industry is not a very sustainable one and it is extremely competitive as there are always new cafes popping up. Hence, I was caught in limbo. So when I was offered a managerial position at 5 Little Monkeys at age 21, my first thought was “Sure, why not! I will just do it for six months.”

That was two years ago though! Why did you decide to stay?
My parents were not very supportive at first because they expected me to work in the corporate world. They told me to work there for six months but to look for a real job in the meantime. I heeded their advice but no job caught my eye despite endless scrolling through job offers. I also struggled with comparing myself to my friends. Back then, all of them started off with the basic degree pay, whereas mine was slightly lower.

All the while, I was praying about this dilemma. During the second and third month of prayer, I specifically asked God to give me a clear sign on whether to stay or not after six months. The next day, my prayer was answered! I was in disbelief.


Wow! That must have been a real step of faith. How did you feel when you were entrusted with such a huge role?
That I wouldn’t be able to do a good job. Despite previously working in a couple of part-time jobs, I considered myself lacking in experience for a managerial position. Also, all the cafe staff are older than me – I am the youngest! Hence, I felt that if there any conflicts or complicated issues were to arise, I would not have the wisdom and experience to solve them.

So, what does a typical workday look like for you? I work from Mondays to Fridays, following the typical office hours of 9.30am – 6.30pm. My main job scope is to manage the operational aspect of the cafe, which includes managing the cafe staff, fellow colleagues, and parttimers. Another aspect of my job scope includes running corporate events that are held at our cafe, including the upcoming Kallos Book Launch party! Due to my prior experience as a barista, I also provide training for new baristas with little experience in making coffee. Finally, the last part of my job scope is baking! I am the café’s in-house baker; I get to bake and sell my own cakes and desserts at the cafe.

What do you like most about your work?
It would definitely be the flexibility that my job allows. I am a person who does not really like being desk-bound, so even though I am doing typical “office work” such as handling calls and sales and managing events, my work environment is much more dynamic. Even though the work can be demanding, I enjoy it because I get to move around in the cafe and interact with people!

What would you say make 5 Little Monkeys unique?
My church is actually located at Level 5 in the building! The space that 5 Little Monkeys is currently using was once a staff canteen. However, it was empty for almost a year. One day, a group of church members prayed for the possible start-up of a cafe in that empty space. Soon after, an offer was put up for interested tenants to rent the space to start a cafe or restaurant! Our church took it up and slowly our cafe came into fruition. The purpose was to provide a comfortable and convenient space for church members to hang out and have fellowship after service, as well as for cell groups on Saturdays. We also differ from other cafés because of the large space that we have. We even have an outdoor garden, which makes our cafe perfect for hosting events.

If you could say anything to teenage girls about pursuing dreams that are placed on their hearts, what would it be?
Pray and seek God! I believe wholeheartedly that He provides guidance and the answers you need. Have faith to take the first step – it never hurts to try! A verse that I held close to my heart throughout the whole journey was Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Finally, if you weren’t in this industry, what would you want to do?
I would like to be a tai-tai, so that I can bake every day!

Did you know?

The name ‘5 Little Monkeys’ wasn’t just chosen as a cute and whimsical name that people would remember! It also has a deeper meaning most people don’t know about.

The cafe was envisioned as a space where people can be reconciled with each other, and ultimately for people to be reconciled to God. This theme is taken from Philemon, a New Testament Book, which is also the abbreviated version of the cafe’s name! (Fi-Lil’-Mon … Philemon … Get it?)