Your Colleagues With Superhuman Abilities

These officers seem to be able to do it all, excel at a particular ability or blow others away with their kindness and resilience. Public officers share about their colleagues and bosses who are seemingly superhuman – and super human.
Officers that able to do it all, excel at a particular ability or blow others away with their kindness and resilience.

Winning Entry:

Joanne Khaw, Ministry of Education

I have a male colleague who sits diagonally opposite me. He keeps to himself most of the time, and hardly says a word. I therefore found it quite unsettling when I first saw him snooping around my colleagues’ tables. Sometimes, he’d even return to the same desk twice. I couldn't shake off my misgivings about his motives.

My suspicions peaked when he wished me “Happy Birthday” one day and gave me some chocolate. How did he know my birthday? How did he know I like Royce? This went on – he wished other people too, as though he had memorised everyone’s birthdays.

Then one day, during a casual conversation, I discovered that he had autism. It was then that everything clicked. Memorising our birthdays was his way of making connections and forging friendships. The thoughtfulness he put into remembering those dates was his attempt to show care and create meaningful bonds with his colleagues.

Thank you, Mr P, for sharing your story and for being my friend. My determination of who you were based on appearances taught me a lesson, and your determination to memorise birthdays is truly a superhuman strength.

Thank you for sharing your story, Joanne. You win $100 worth of Klook vouchers so you can treat a special someone to an awesome experience!

My Boss somewhat able to teleport and present for all engagement sessions which are typically weekends or weeknights.

Other Winning Entries:

Zulhaqem Bin Zulkifli, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

I am somewhat convinced that my boss, Dawn, is able to teleport. She spends so much time and effort being present for all the engagement sessions that we officers run, which are typically on weekends or weeknights.

Dawn is able to be present at all of them, even when there are multiple sessions in a single day. I don’t know if she just has excellent time management or if she has a time-turner.

The amazing part is that she still has so much energy despite being in so many places! Honestly, how does she do it?

Sng Wei Theng, Economic Development Board

“Superhuman” typically refers to incredible feats outside the realm of human ability, but I’d like to share a story about my ex-boss “B” who is incredibly kind and humane – a super human, if you will.

This happened at the peak of COVID-19, during which B was overseeing many COVID-related workstreams. Despite never-ending late nights and the inflow of emergencies, B was always optimistic and regularly motivated our team.

He also paid close attention to our mental state and reached out to those whom he sensed were struggling. He took time from his packed schedule to spend an hour or two with team members who needed someone to talk to.

When a team member experienced a personal tragedy, B reached out to the individual, sharing his own experiences and helping him process his grief.

Work can sometimes cause us to feel swept away by the daily grind. But having a boss who makes the effort to connect personally, sincerely and “human-ly” provides us with the stability and security to not only “get the job done”, but to also thrive and grow.

My principal runs on endless energiser batteries.

Gillian Ting, Ministry of Education (Qihua Primary School)

My principal, Mrs Lee Hui Feng, probably runs on endless Energiser batteries. She is at the school gates every morning to welcome students. She walks along corridors to check on their learning and, at times, becomes a relief teacher when manpower is stretched. She connects with students during recess, and quizzes them (with rewards) to keep them abreast of current affairs. She mops the floor when it is wet after heavy rain to prevent falls.

She always has her door open, ready to welcome anyone who wants to drop in for a chat. She never leaves in the evening without waving goodbye to our security guards and students.

Even after all this, she still has the energy to go home and care for her family. And no, I am not describing a young principal – Mrs Lee is going to retire soon! She is truly a superhuman in many ways. For this, I admire and hold her in high regard.

Diana Zhou, Housing and Development Board

Sometimes I look at my Director, Bettina, and wonder whether her superpower was honed from years of experience or if was she given a secret manual.

The best way to describe Bett’s superpower is that it isn’t a skill, but a way of working that enhances everything she touches. The modus operandi of Bett’s superpower is to travel to the outer edges of a problem, work her way back to reveal its parts and connections, then quickly and confidently make the call.

Bett can step into a presentation packed with data and figures, neatly summarise the big idea and decisively move a project that may be on the brink of ruin. Bett’s creative thinking and decisiveness are underappreciated aspects of leadership in the Public Service. As a staff, I love her superpower.

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    Sep 14, 2023
    Ryan Ong
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