The Man Behind The Forklift Coin Trick

Operating heavy machinery takes finesse, but one man takes it to the next level. A video of him using a forklift to pick up a 20 cent coin from the floor and transferring it into a container, posted on Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing’s Facebook page, has chalked up nearly 83,000 views and 1,000 likes in just under a month. Impressed netizens lauded the forklift operator for his “hole in one” trick, with some saying “Wow”, and others commenting that that “Singapore’s got talent”.

In reality, the smooth moves are not a trick, but an activity designed for students who take a course in forklift operations at the NTUC LearningHub – also known as LHUB.

The man behind it is Mr Ronald Khoo – a trainer with more than 20 years of experience under his belt. He came up with the coin exercise about 10 years ago when he realised that students learned best by applying technical know-how with practical skills.

“I hope that I can impart all these skills, the correct attitude and knowledge so I can make training and learning fun,” Mr Khoo said.

Typically, students will exert some pressure on the coin using the fork, in order to flip the coin onto it. Then, students will have to control the speed of the lever in order to move the coin to the edge of the fork, before it can be deposited into the container.

During a demonstration for Channel NewsAsia, Mr Khoo took it up a notch. Instead of using a 20 cent coin, he used a 10-cent coin – and successfully deposited it into a water bottle, with a much smaller opening. “Yes!” he would shout after each successful attempt, complete with a fist pump.


The aim of the exercise is to help trainees adapt to different types of situations and cargo. “After coming up with this activity, I feel that when participants go back to the practical aspect of their job, subconsciously, they are able to do the job,” he said with pride.

He also has another exercise called the “Figure 8”, which involves picking up a crate with a ball sitting atop a cone, and then wending around obstacles. Mr Khoo said a “Japanese master” taught him the exercise when he first started as a junior trainer in 1993.

“This trains us on speed control, on the position of the vehicle, and on the correct time to turn the steering wheel,” he revealed. “It can also train a participant with no driving knowledge on how to turn left, right, and how to make a U-turn.”

“If you use the old-school methods of teaching, they may feel bored. This will make it fun and enjoyable,” said Mr Khoo, adding that he has also trained ex-offenders, who find this approach useful.


Mr Khoo’s colleagues said he is always jolly and incredibly passionate about his job.

Describing himself as a “humble kampong boy” who was “born next to a drain”, Mr Khoo said his passion stems from a driving instructor whom he felt did not teach him in a way that was applicable. As a result, he needed to take 10 driving tests before obtaining his licence. From then on, he wanted to be a teacher, so others would not have to endure the same agony.

“My mum said no, you come from a humble village background, you don’t have a chance to become a teacher, especially if you don’t study hard,” he said. “I don’t like studying. When I study, I get a headache.”

Despite not completing his O-levels, Mr Khoo said Workforce Skills Qualifications courses gave him the opportunity to become a trainer. “I enjoy doing all of this because I partially take it as a passion, and partially I fulfilled my mum’s dream for me to be a teacher,” he said.

“I am grateful to everyone who supported my training. It makes a difference in my life,” Mr Khoo said. “When my students go out there, they can earn a living, so I feel even better.”

As for the praise for his skills on Facebook, Mr Khoo said it was unexpected. He also did not know that the video was a hit to begin with.

“I don’t have Facebook,” he admitted, followed by a huge belly laugh.



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