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A Day in a Life: Controlling the Skies of Singapore Airlines

International friends!

*Aran Minal has a fascinating job! He’s a flight controller for one of the World’s best airlines – Singapore Airlines. Their national pledge is “… regardless of race, language or religion to build a democratic society.”

Despite the control he has of the skies, Aran l has no control of the inequality that sometimes takes place on the ground…

I wake up roughly at 6am. I live in Buangkok Green, a residential district of Singapore. I get myself prepared to go to work and leave the house about 6.50am to ensure I’m not late for work. Breakfast is essential to have before I start work. I prepare bread and butter with boiled eggs at home if I have time.

If it’s raining badly I take public transport but that takes a lot longer. Motorbike is so much more convenient! It can be dangerous but you have you have to know your environment. I had a close call once with a car. The driver was drunk at night. Luckily I had a quick reflex. Eventually that car hit a lamp-post. These are the disadvantages of using a bike in Singapore. No matter how safe your try to be, if people around our are careless, accidents can happen at anytime.

English: Aerial view of Singapore Changi Airpo...

English: Aerial view of Singapore Changi Airport and runways (centre), located on the right side is the Changi Air Base (East) and its single runway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I reach work about 7.30am. I work at Changi Airport. We won again the best airport in the world. I’ve worked here for two years. It’s a really nice place to work, but I have a lot of responsibility. I’m not exaggerating – I have three computer screens on my desk, which I’m constantly having to check. I monitor every Singapore Airlines flight. Emirates is our major competitor. It’s no longer British Airways or American Airlines.

I’m the only Malay-Singaporean person in my department. In some departments there are no Malays. Once I went for an interview and when they found out I wasn’t Chinese they were like;

“Oh, you’re a Malay.”

Luckily in my job they didn’t ask for Mandarin. I think the main reason why people want you to speak Mandarin is because they want to communicate with Chinese customers. I asked my mum why I wasn’t taught Mandarin in school? We have to learn our mother-tongue. English is the official language. I don’t understand why when I applied for jobs they ask me if I can speak Mandarin. I can speak a little. But they want someone who can speak fluently. This is the discrimination we face. Although it’s not obvious to the world, people like us feel it.

I’m glad to hear that there will be more Malays joining my department soon. You see, right now Malays are getting smarter, getting better educated to stop the stereotype that we are lazy. The racism is still there in Singapore. People know but they just keep quiet. We don’t complain much.

For lunch I have a 1hour break. We have several food courts in and around the airport. After lunch it’s the same routine. Sometimes I have to speak with the passengers if they are complaining. We always try to satisfy our passengers and find a way to say “yes”. It’s part of our customer service.

English: Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412 (9V...

English: Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412 (9V-SPP) landing on runway 02L at Singapore Changi Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main objective for my work is to ensure there aren’t any delays. We communicate with the pilot. Before the flight takes off, we do an AOG (Aircraft On Ground) inspection before the passengers board. A thorough check. If there is a technical problem it prompts to the system. It’s very technical and complex to ensure the plane is well and healthy.

I finish work at 6pm or 7pm. If we have any major problems I’ll finish at 8pm.

For now, yes, I enjoy my work. Lets say after two years I can upgrade myself to another department, I would consider cabin crew because it seems fun. I would love to do the handling the crews. I think that would be something interesting.

After work, sometimes I’ll hang out with my colleges. We have this bond together. I think that’s the best part of a job to have this bond with your team. If I’m too tired I have to go straight home.

I still live with my family. If I want to get a house it’ll be expensive for me. Besides there will be a lot of bills to pay. My mum is like super woman! But I do all my chores and I help her out. I have her recipes so I can do my own cooking.

Overall, I’m proud to be a Singaporean. Singapore is like one big city. We’re quite a rich country in South-east Asia. We are very proud of our food. We are rich in culture because we have a mixed society. We don’t have much flights. These are the things we are proud of. However to have a democratic society, they (the Government) need to change their mind-set. We’re living in a cosmopolitan city, I think it’s totally wrong to pinpoint a particular race. To have a democracy we must follow our pledge. These are the things we want changed.

I go to bed about 10pm. I need to have a lot of sleep. You can’t afford to make any mistakes in this kind of job.

“We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”

2 thoughts on “A Day in a Life: Controlling the Skies of Singapore Airlines

  1. Reblogged this on Travel Making Kai 🙂 and commented:

    I met *Minal during his visit to London in October. When he told me he was from Singapore I was intrigued! From what I’d heard of Singapore, it was pretty much a perfect man-made modern city. Except I got a bigger picture of the situation thanks to Faisal opening up to me about the discrimination he, and other Malay-Singaporeans face. I decided his story is too good to keep to myself!… So I wrote this piece as a Day in a Life.
    Please check out my new student blog: The Educationally Frustrated Student. Enjoy and please comment.

  2. Pingback: Student Life: A minute with 3rd Year BA Journalism Student Laure Fourquet | the Educationally Frustrated student

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