It’s hard to believe that Singapore Airlines (SIA) Senior First Officer Anthony Geow is in his 40s. He looks younger than his years, and he exudes a youthful energy, perhaps the product of a life comprised of pursuing his passions.
“Flying’s always been a part of my life,” Anthony says with pride. “Even in primary school, my science projects would involve things like aeronautics or wing design.” After visiting an airplane cockpit when he was a kid, his love for planes grew from there. Since then, he set his mind to become a pilot one day.
Interestingly, Anthony’s brother, Christopher, is also a pilot with the airline. Although the brothers are opposites of each other in many ways, the passion of flying is something that the brothers share deeply in common, and they look forward to flying together one day.
However, Anthony took a small detour before realising his dream. On top of becoming a pilot, his dream was to fly with the national carrier. Anthony was not able to join the airline immediately after graduating from school, but he wanted to do something that was still related to aviation. So, Anthony joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as a flight engineer for 10 years. Immediately after finishing his service with the RSAF, he went for his dream. “The interview process, for me, was probably scarier than it was for others,” he reminisces. “I wanted it so bad. If I failed, I really didn’t know what would happen.”
Naturally, his experience in the RSAF and the fact that he already possessed a pilot’s licence made him a suitable candidate. But technical knowledge and direct flying experience isn’t all SIA looks for in a potential candidate, Anthony explains. “They’re actually looking for a commander – someone who is confident, while still being open to suggestions and ways to improve. Most of all you need to be an honest person.”
He considers these important qualities a good foundation for pilot training. “SIA believes in nurturing someone from the beginning – fostering a sense of loyalty and camaraderie. Anywhere else in the world would only take you in with years and years of experience under your belt.”
After becoming an SIA pilot, Anthony also got a chance to further another one of his passions. “I’ve always been a runner,” he says, “and a triathlon was something I wanted to do, but I just never got around to it because of my own aversion to swimming.” However, becoming acquainted with colleagues who were triathletes motivated him to go for it. They come together not only for races, but also to raise funds for local charities – such as Club Rainbow Singapore, which works with chronically ill children – donating a dollar for every hour of training.
For Anthony, being a triathlete complements his career as a pilot quite well. He says that the flying schedule actually gives him more flexibility in planning for his training and recovery. Additionally, being abroad enables discovering scenic runs and swimming pools in new cities.
“Being a triathlete has taught me to look at the big picture,” Anthony shares. “We all have our weaknesses, but we can always make up for them either with different skillsets or with extra training. It’s a strategy I adopt as a pilot, too.”
Anthony also believes that sports imparts the important qualities of focus, discipline and time management. “On long flights you have to manage your fatigue. It’s the same in triathlons. You always have to plan around your body’s needs and limitations. You cannot leave things to the last minute.”
As a new year approaches, Anthony’s energy is showing no signs of waning. Not only is he training hard for several upcoming triathlons in 2020, taking place in Thailand, Malaysia and Austria, he continues his journey as a pilot, his twin passions helping him become a better man — stronger, focused and determined.
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