Enkaier “Inkara” Jiaerken
Inkara would definitely describe herself as adventurous when it comes to food – a passion she’s been able to indulge in during the nearly three years she’s been flying with Singapore Airlines (SIA).
“I like surprises,” she reveals. “So when we go to different destinations, I am more than happy to try the local dishes.” When she’s not working, Inkara does like to keep things simple. “Nasi lemak is definitely my go-to comfort food and when it comes to my favourite place, it would probably be the local food court in Tampines. It has everything Singaporean. There are just so many options to choose from and it’s so convenient!”
Working as cabin crew does mean working irregular hours, which is probably why Inkara loves to catch up with friends over brunch when she has some time off. “I tend to wake up late on my days off, so brunch is perfect and the city has so many choices,” says the social work graduate. “Also, the food looks great in photos and it’s not hard to find a super relaxing place to eat good food and catch up with friends.” Two of her favourites are Common Man Roasters and PS. Café Harding Road.
And, since becoming cabin crew, her friends no longer have to wait ages for her to show up. “Thanks to work, I am more disciplined and punctual,” she says with a laugh. Inkara also feels that it’s made her a much better communicator, and more confident when talking to different people in a range of situations. “Sometimes you have to be firm, sometimes you have to be gentle,” she elaborates.
This newfound flexibility also ties into her choice of a dish that characterises her personality. “I think it would have to be rojak,” she admits, referring to the spicy fruit and vegetable salad tossed in a sauce made with black prawn paste and topped with chopped peanuts. “I am a mix of things to different people – a daughter, a sister, a friend and cabin crew.”
Edmond admits he never set out to be cabin crew. “I went along to the interview with a friend to give him support,” he says. “I never really seriously considered it as a career option until I was actually offered the contract!”
That was six and half “wonderful” years ago and he has no regrets. “I love my job and the lifestyle. I don’t bring work home so I can just switch off and enjoy my time off,” he says. “It’s also great to be able to have 48 hours in a city to explore and to see new things.”
That includes finding new restaurants and bars to enjoy, both overseas and when he’s on leave in Singapore. “For me, the ambience of the bar is the most important thing,” he explains before going on to list 1Altitude, Loof and Mr Stork among his favourite Singapore spots. “I like to be outside on a rooftop under the stars.”
When it comes to food, despite the chance to taste dishes from all over the world with his job, he admits that he does sometimes miss the flavours of home. “When I get back from a long stint overseas, I just have to have any kind of soupy dish for my Chinese stomach,” he says with a laugh. “The first thing I do after I land is to I head straight to the kopitiam (coffee shop) at the airport!”
The fashion shoot he did for SilverKris is not the first time Edmond has had a special food-related assignment from the airline. He had the opportunity to attend a festival celebrating Singaporean food in London along with Hawker Chan – his go-to for soya sauce chicken rice at home – in 2018.
“It was an amazing experience and I got to eat a lot of chicken rice,” he recalls, before enthusing over the extra assignments that give him the chance to work with other departments. “These jobs give me a better understanding of how the airline works. It helps you realise how all the different teams are working together to achieve the best results.”
A shorter version of this article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine