How long have you been a dancer?
Close to 30 years – I’ve been dancing since I was six years old. I started out practising ballet but ventured into Latin ballroom dancing when I was eight, and have specialised in it ever since.
How long have you been flying with SIA? Tell us what motivated you to sign up as a cabin crew.
A little under 14 years. I was drawn to the lifestyle – you get to travel to so many places and meet different people. Later, I realised that there is a lot more to the job than that. We are given opportunities within the company to grow and further our education. A wide variety of courses – including those teaching language, culinary and leadership skills – are offered to cabin crew.
Do you still dance competitively?
I represent Singapore in international competitions in places like Paris, Taiwan and Blackpool, and was crowned South-east Asia champion several times. I take part in up to 11 competitions in a year. Dance was my passion even before I joined Singapore Airlines, and I’m grateful that I can still continue with it.
How do you balance dance with work?
My first priority is flying. I schedule my classes around my work roster, and train when I’m well rested. On a good day, I can dance for up to five hours. I’m part of a group of cabin crew dance enthusiasts. During weekly classes, we learn various genres of dance from one another and form bonds as friends.
In what ways has becoming a cabin crew changed your life?
It has made me more aware of my surroundings, as well as my strengths and weaknesses. When I first started flying, fresh out of school, things were not exactly smooth. My seniors spent a lot of time and effort coaching me to be the best cabin crew I could be.
What’s your favourite part of being a cabin crew?
I love meeting people. You get to interact with people from all walks of life, who may have different expectations. Once the aircraft doors are closed, I have to utilise whatever resources I have to meet or exceed these expectations. It can be challenging, but we make do with whatever we have to create memorable trips for passengers.
Which is your favourite destination?
London. There’s so much to do there. You could watch a play or musical, or visit the museum and other historical places. You don’t have to travel far for the various attractions within the city either.
What is your favourite thing to do when you land at a destination?
The very first thing I do is find good food. It doesn’t even have to be an expensive restaurant. I have a thing for duck rice in London.
Do you train when you’re travelling?
I attend dance classes overseas. Within the dance community, we know of instructors all over the world. I’m trained by top instructors in places like London and Melbourne.
Also, thank goodness for gyms in hotels – most of them are fantastic! Some of them have nice warm-up areas where I can do my stretches and practise my dance moves. On longer trips, I make a conscious effort to visit the gym twice a day.
What is the one item you always bring with you on a long-haul flight?
I have a whole list of items, but the most essential would be my mobile phone. The moment I’m checked into a hotel and have Wi-Fi access, I text my loved ones to tell them I’m safe.
How does your commitment to dance relate to your commitment to service onboard?
In dance competitions, we have only one shot, and that translates to making a good impression onboard the aircraft. We do the best we can from the get go.
On another note, because I’m working in a confined area, I have had to waltz my way around – like when a passenger suddenly reaches across the aisle and I have to move quickly to avoid knocking into him or her. Having a dancer’s reflexes certainly helps me do my job.
PHOTOGRAPHY: VERONICA TAY
STYLING: GRACE LIM
HAIR: ANN / ATHENS SALON
SHOES: JIMMY CHOO
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.