A Changinista Special — Wanderer

Shu, Content & Communications, in the Sunflower Garden of the T2 Transit Hall.
Top from Uniqlo, pants from Comme des Garçons, bag from Al Et Clar.

What’s your usual style, and how is it different from your travelling style?
A hybrid of Japanese grandma and school girl. I usually opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing when I travel, with long sleeves or a cardigan to keep warm on the plane. I’m mostly in pants or long dresses because the last thing you want to worry about is your sitting or sleeping posture.

Favourite spot in Changi Airport:
Immigration. I’ve had the not-so-pleasant experience of queuing for hours at some airports—I think the longest was two hours in Shanghai, during their Golden Week—but here, such incidents are almost unheard of. It makes me proud to be a Singaporean, and I think it paints a picture of Changi Airport and of Singapore as well—modern, clean, efficient, well-planned, and resourceful.

Most memorable trip so far?
It’s too difficult to pick just one, but to me, it’s the little hiccups and unforeseen incidents that end up being the most memorable, not so much the actual place or sight. I remember hitch-hiking in Taichung because I’d missed the last bus; receiving medicine from a kind elderly couple who heard me coughing in Kyoto; and how my father, after getting pick-pocketed in Milan, tried to befriend another Asian at the police station who had also been pick-pocketed, saying that they were in both in the same boat. He even told my brother to lend that gentleman some money. (laughs) My father was very drunk.

Next place you’re going to visit, or that you’d love to visit someday and why?
I was supposed to go to North Korea via Beijing with a friend in April but there’s been a change in plans due to the recent turn of events. Our travel agent kept sending us news of the political situation in DPRK and our parents are quite concerned. I think we’ll be heading to Tibet instead! Oh, and I’ve heard so many amazing things about Iceland from two of my colleagues who went during two different seasons—summer and winter—so that’s definitely a place I’d like to visit too.

If I wasn’t in my current job, I’d love to be:
A full-time nomad (I wish!), tour guide or an interpreter.

What do you like about your job?
I love how human it is. We get to meet all sorts of people, listen to their stories, and get inspired. We learn from all kinds of experiences, good or bad.

Challenges the job brings:
It’s hard for me to tune out, even on holidays. It’s not exactly the healthiest, but that being said, I think it’s never possible to completely separate work and “life”, especially in this hyperconnected world that we’re living in now. Most airlines now offer inflight wifi/ internet and you can even get wifi on the summit of Mt. Fuji!

How do you cope, then?
I try to prioritise and be spontaneous, yet routine. This means that if a friend asks me out for dinner at the last minute, and if I don’t really have much on my plate that night, I will go for it, but make sure we don’t end the night too late so I won’t be worn out the next day. Some people are against bringing work home but I think it’s all about work-life harmony.

Quote I’m living by right now:
A really good friend shared this with me years ago and it stuck ever since—Napoleon Hill’s ‘If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.’ I’m not that ambitious, so I don’t think I actually yearn to do “great things”. I just want to support and help the people around me achieve their dreams.

These photos and this interview were done as part of our pitch for the Changinista project. See all posts from the project here.

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