Two of our Security Officers share their experiences working at the migrant worker dormitories and some of their interesting stories in this exclusive Q&A.
As the migrant worker dormitories are gradually cleared of COVID-19, more than 86% of foreign workers can now resume work. Authorities continue to adopt a multifaceted approach to prevent a resurgence of infections in the dormitories that have declared COVID-19 free. The situation may be getting better but we are still not out of the woods. In the midst of optimism, we must continue to stay vigilant and careful.
Following the advice of the government to reduce physical contact, we corresponded with two of our Security Officers, Aghilen and Frank, over the phone to find out how they were doing. Aghilen and Frank were two of the many who have been deployed as Security Officers to guard the migrant worker dormitories during this pandemic period. Despite the stress and anxieties associated with the nature of their job, it was a heart-warming afternoon hearing about how they are doing and the plans that they have moving forward.
So, why did you decide to accept the assignment to work at the migrant worker dormitories even though there was the risk of you contracting COVID-19?
Aghilen (deployed to the dormitories located at Central Singapore): At that time, there really was no special reason. I just did it. Thinking back, I believe it was my way of offering assistance to our community and country during this difficult period of time. I did not dwell on the risks or potential of contracting COVID-19 but my family was indeed worried.
What were some of the challenges you faced while working at the dormitories?
Aghilen: Dealing with the rude residents from the dormitories. To reduce the risk of the virus spreading, no inter-mixing of the residents were allowed. We take quarantine and all other safety measures very seriously simply because they were a necessary evil. However, it can be difficult enforcing such measures among the residents, especially when they try to outwit you and leave their blocks to meet their friends from other blocks. That is strictly not allowed and we have zero-tolerance for such offences – so you can imagine how strong the confrontations could get at times. Other times, the residents will refuse to pay attention when crucial instructions are being given. Finally, the dormitories I guard lies in a No Smoking Zone, yet the residents always attempt to disregard the rule and smoke. At the end of the day, this is part and parcel of my job so I just stay calm.
Frank (deployed to the dormitories located at the North of Singapore): Mine would also be confronting rude residents staying in the dormitories. Many of them were quite restless and curt at times, even though I was just reminding them of what was necessary such as maintaining social distance. At the end of the day, I do not take it to heart since I am aware that some of them have been confined here for months, while others were transferred from other dormitories after they felt better.
If we found the circuit breaker difficult, it could be worse for them. What I do is to strike up conversations with them (while maintaining all necessary safety precautions and rules haha), to show my understanding and solidarity for what they are going through.
Let’s go back to the start. Why did you choose the career path as a security officer?
Frank: I was a regular in the Navy for 18 years before I joined the Security industry. Being a Security Officer is vastly different from my experience in the navy but I chose it because its another way of protecting my country and my loved ones.
Tell me more about what you like about this job that others don’t know.
Aghilen: I think everyone knows what I like about my job haha! Firstly, the company and my manager values and recognises my efforts. Work can be tough sometimes but having a greater purpose and being valued really goes a long way. Secondly, my salary is accurate and they never fail to arrive on time.
Frank: Well, you may be surprised but my absolute favourite would be the security training and exercises such as drills that I have to undergo. Perhaps I’m too used to the regular exercises and drills while in the navy haha! Another thing which my friends may not know, but my family knows would be that I value working with SRS because I have the opportunities to select my deployment site. Whenever possible, I choose those that are closer to my residence so the commuting time is shorter and I have more time to spend with my loved ones.
What are your plans for the future?
Aghilen: I have always planned to bring my career to the next level. I am currently preparing for necessary courses and certifications that are required to upgrade myself to a Supervisor position.
Frank: I have undergone courses and training to upgrade myself from a Security Officer to a Supervisor rank. I am now working towards my goal of becoming a Senior Security Supervisor.
Wow! All the very best and I want to say a big thank you for being the unsung heroes during these unprecedented times.
Aghilen: We are security officers and it’s only right that we do what we do.