“I was a very shy person back in school. A teacher shared her feedback one day and said I needed to be more open. My friends even suggested I joined camps because that would make me more vocal; so, I became a freelance instructor.
That experience made me a more confident person. It also helped develop my ability to control a group’s attention. I had to learn how to communicate with teachers and students well, and that came in useful when I started working as a Fort Siloso guide four years ago.
Fort Siloso in Sentosa is Singapore’s last preserved artillery fort. Working as a guide was a whole new challenge for me. I didn’t have much knowledge; but, because I can pick things up fast, I was able to learn its history and the names of the different exhibits quickly.
Every year since then, I’ve had to constantly adapt and learn new things, especially after being promoted to Senior Officer under the Environmental Management department. My job is to curate and run programmes that touch upon preservation, maintenance and outreach.
I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in any one area but Sentosa has made me a well-rounded guide. And that’s the impression that I want to give! I want people to see me as someone who knows all about the natural, heritage and wildlife sites that this island has to offer.
Job perks? I think having access to places that are not readily available to the public just yet. For instance, I got to explore the different southern islands and talk to different teachers, professors and experts about these locations for a tour that we are planning to offer to the public.
And the things you see here are different from the things you see on mainland Singapore. Here, you get to see hawksbill turtles that come to lay their eggs and dolphins that swim around our coast. It’s very cool.
Ever since I took on this role, I have been more environmentally-conscious and concerned about sustainability. I wouldn’t have actively read up on plants, birds or animals generally in the past, but now, I’d be intrigued to click on posts about saving the earth.
Sentosa takes sustainability very seriously, and if there are kids or students out there who want to know more about that, I’d encourage them to join one of our programmes.
I’m not expecting anyone to make a complete lifestyle change, but if they saw how beautiful our marine wildlife is here, they’d be in complete awe and understand why we should all be taking small steps towards saving these creatures.
One of my favourite moments is when teachers write back to say that they enjoyed our programmes. Even though they knew what they signed up for, they still managed to learn something amazing and new.
I host tours every week so this job can get quite repetitive. Knowing that someone took time to compose an email really brightens up my day. It’s very validating.” – Suki
Interview by: Arman Shah