Memoirs & Musing

My Fort Siloso

Dear All,

This wil be a very long post.

Today, I have news that will make some happy, some sad, some heartbroken but mostly proud. It is today that I have decided to tender my resignation with Sentosa’s Attractions Management Unit and I am doing so with a heavy heart. This decision has not come lightly to me as this job has played a big part in building who I am today in the 3years and 10months of working here. I am not exaggerating when I say that this place has changed my life.

When I first came on board in 2008, I was known as the ‘Girl from Retail’ or (better yet) ‘The Retail Betrayer’. I was posted to my first attraction – Fort Siloso – which will also be my last. I was shy, timid and was very cautious about the environment and people around. I use to tremble in front of crowds and had trouble studying in school so imagine the fear I had to hide when they told me I had to study the history of the attraction and host/guide. I had to lie and say, “Okay, I would love to!” and smile when really, I was terrified. I needed the job so I had to push myself to do it. Little did I know that that wouldn’t be the only thing I will have to push myself for in the following years to come.

Gradually, I warmed up, became friends and eventually made a new family with my fellow Fortians. I learned to run operations from the back of my hand, learned to tram host and later on learned to guide guests individually and in crowds as big as 40pax despite their age, nationality and views. It was a big achievement to me and a far cry from the timid little girl that I was. With the help and guidance of my Fort 1s (I.C.s) and fellow Fortians, I was able to achieve this. I started out as a part-time staff, signed a 6 month contract and went on to be a full-timer all in just 8 months.

The people that I have met throughout my time here are what made the most impact on me. The laughter and tears that we have shed together under the merciless heat and uphill battles at Fort Siloso. The heavy storms we had to run through and fight (literally). Being the only attraction on the western-end of Sentosa, I have learned to be independant but at the same time learn the value of teamwork. To be vigilant, strong-willed, to take care of myself and most importanty take care of my people because in good times and bad, these are the only people we’ve got until help comes our way. I am proud to say that I have somehow instilled this into my crew (I know you kids know what I mean).

It was much later in March 2010 that I was told to take over as Fort 1. It was something that I saw coming but refused to believe because it seemed crazy. I have never thought or wanted the title because of the big responsibility that I will have to carry and the legacy of my predecessors that I will have to uphold, it all seemed too much for little ol’ me. But it wasn’t a choice for me to make. So I took it to my stride and tried to hold it together the best that I can. I had my fair share of hiccups and countless amount of break-downs. They say leadership is a lonely road but for my case, it wasn’t so. Yes, I have been scrutinized and betrayed but I was also blessed to have a good amount of people who have stood by me through it all. Despite some of the worst shortages that I have had to face, the amount of times I fell sick due to stress and fatigue, the amount of people I have to argue with to put my point across, the ‘bullets’ I had to take, the friends that I had to watch walk away and the role of teacher/guardian/friend I had to play towards my crew. I came into Fort Siloso as a girl and came out of it a woman. This place and its people have made me stronger. So no, I am not exaggerating, it changed me. You have these people to bear witness.

I will like to start of by saying thank you to my superiors for hiring me way back in 2008. You have given me what I’ve called the ‘second chance’ to prove myself worthy. Despite the amount of scrutinizing, badgering and shots you took at me, I know it was only to make me learn, to think fast, to stand on my own feet and to train me to be who I am now. I have you to thank for making me stronger and much wiser and I will always value this gift you have given me.

My heartfelt thank you goes to my I.C.s, seniors and mentors who have taught me through my OJTs, pushed me to be thorough for operations, trained me through hosting, showed me the tricks of roving, guide me through GTs (in both FS and IOS tours) and especially built me up to be a Fort 1. Please know that despite all that has befallen upon us, I will always be greatful for the time, effort and the knowledge you have instilled in me. I will always cherish our friendship and hope that someday you will too.

To my fellow colleagues of AMU – SOTS, IOS, AE, SKY, MER, SND/GSU, Artiste – thank you for giving me and Fort Siloso your utmost help during some of our difficult months and projects. But most importantly, thank you for your encouragement and motivation to carry on during some of my lowest points. Its friends like the people I have met in AMU that made me stay this long.

Not forgetting the Tram Captains, Retail crew from the former Quartermaster Shop, the Combat Skirmish staff, the Tech crew and all the other people who have helped me fix, mend or run the operations in Fort Siloso. Special thanks to Tech 10 – Uncle Baha / Cik Din – for being a father figure to me in my times of need. He was the man responsible for bringing me into Attractions. Thank you Cik Din for the warm milo made with tender loving care and for giving me your advice, for watching out for me, the shoulder to cry on and for helping me throughout the various projects (i.e. Night Tours). Tram Captain Farid, believe it or not, thank you for helping me build confidence when I was still a newbie learning how to host. I still remember the the tips you have given me and I use them even until today. And I always look forward to having Farid as my captain because you always make our day with your jokes. Please take care ok Farid, eat and rest well. Tram Captain Raja, thank you for the advice and for the encouraging words pertaining to my professional and personal life. Its been nice listening to your stories and for believing that I can do more than this.

My biggest gratitude goes to my crew – my Fortians – each and every one of you who have worked at Fort Siloso from Aug ‘ 08 to Jun ‘ 12. These are the people who have seen my struggles and stood by me when bits and pieces of my life was crumbling. These were the people I have tried, as much as my skinny arms could take, to shield. These are the people who have watched me get back up on my feet after my fall. They have watched me grow and I watched them blossom too. Some have gone on to better jobs. Some are serving the nation. Some are travelling the world. Some are still studying. From the day I have stepped into Fort Siloso, I have never met anyone identical to another, everyone is truly different in character, in working styles and very much unique. I have been so blessed to have a strong crew throughout my time as Fort 1. Thank you for always lending a hand without me having to ask for help. Thank you for always giving your best, to smile and serve our guests despite the horrible weather conditions. Thank you for the ready hugs after meetings, the cooking up a storm in the pantry, for forcing me to eat, the dinner sessions at Waterfront, for entertaining my bitchfits and sometimes crazy antics, for attempting to make the office more therapeutic with ‘decorations’ and fishes. But most of all, thank you for making me proud. Its because of these qualities that I see in you now that I know I have done my job well as a Fort 1. I apologise if I have bored you with my naggings, hurt you with my pinching and made you cry with my scolding but its only because I want the best out of you. I love you kids, you people are the closest things I have to children. Continue to always strive and put in your best. Please take care of yourselves and each other no matter what and uphold Fort Siloso the best that you can. Continue being survivors. Once a Fortian, always a Fortian.

Lastly, I would like to add. To the future Fort 1s. No matter who you are or what your background was, take it to your stride and take care of the place with good intentions and the best ability that you can. Fort Siloso is a beautiful place – the welcoming sound of the waves from the stretch of sea, the birds that sing in the evenings, the petals of flowers and love seeds (saga seeds) that fall in the spring and autumn, the magnificent sunset to end the day – its what I look forward to when I go to work everyday. This place means so much to me even on a personal level. It has been my second home for the past 3years and 10months and leaving it really breaks my heart. Its so easy to see the bad things that are happening, you forget to pause and take a look at what you should be thankful for. It was never easy for me being a Fort 1 and it never will be easy. That whole land, that big piece of history and its people who work and visit that place everyday is your responsibility and after you complete each day, pat yourself on the shoulder and tell yourself, “I did it, I survived today”. Be proud because not anyone can do what you have done today. At some point, you are going to meet people who will try to compare you to their time or their ways. But always remember that you are unique and you will bring to Fort Siloso your own touch, face your own dramas, fight your own battles, teach your own crew, make your own achievements, tell your own stories and be your own legends. Remember that you have done your very best, nothing else matters.

I may not have been the smartest, the strongest, the fastest or the best Fort 1 ever but I hope I have touched your hearts or lives in some way like you have all done for mine.

P.S: These are the fellow Fortians I have worked with throughout my time in Fort Siloso. Yes, I stole your pictures from your profile and some from my personal albums (no, I’m not creepy). My apologies if I have left you out, there are so many of you to fit into this collage and to thank, the list is probably longer that this. Please help me tag those that I’m unable to.

My last day should be on 22 Jun ’12.

With that, I now end this chapter of my book and move on to my next.

From the bottom of my heart, I love you, thank you for everything and fairy dusts for all.

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