Growing From Crisis:
Responding As One Public Service

Stepping Up To Serve

Public officers went beyond their call of duty to help Singapore fight the COVID-19 virus.
The Singapore Armed Forces gave out Velcro tabs to officers who helped with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 operations to mark the behemoth joint effort in 2020.
The Singapore Armed Forces gave out Velcro tabs to officers who helped with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 operations to mark the behemoth joint effort in 2020.

A Shared Experience

For married couple Karthikayen Jayasundar and Rianne Karthikayen, their work in the COVID-19 efforts brought them closer.

In April 2020, Karthik was seconded from the Health Promotion Board to join the Emergency Preparedness and Response division under the Ministry of Health (MOH). He worked the night shift for five months, providing care and support to the people undergoing quarantine.

“Taking on a leadership role was quite daunting as the only other time I had leadership experience was in the Republic of Singapore Air Force, during my National Service. But after a month, I got the flow of things and grew comfortable in my role,” he shares.

Unlike Karthik who was assigned to his role, Rianne volunteered for hers. She served as the Team IC in Information Operations under the MOH, and her duties include managing the movement of infected persons to and from various facilities and assisting in repatriation cases.

“As a young and able-bodied person, I felt it was my duty to join the national effort and contribute however I could,” she says.

While both of them found working at the MOH intense and tiring, they agreed that the support and camaraderie from their colleagues made the work lighter.

“Our team lead would treat us to McDonald’s, and we would help each other get bubble tea to keep our spirits up,” Rianne quipped.

And although she and Karthik didn’t work in the same team, their shared experience proved invaluable as a source of support and comfort to each other.

Karthik and Rianne with a letter of appreciation from Karthik’s night shift teammates on his last day of helping with COVID-19 operations.
Karthik and Rianne with a letter of appreciation from Karthik’s night shift teammates on his last day of helping with COVID-19 operations.

“Public service work is quite unique. If you haven’t done it, you might not understand why certain things function as they do,” Karthik shares.

Thankfully, he and Rianne could understand the challenges and the emotional toll that came with their work and advise each other on navigating certain work situations.

“I’m grateful we got to experience this together,” Rianne says.

Supporting Swab Operations

WO1 Edil Fitri bin Sayani from the Singapore Civil Defence Force also went beyond the call of duty and volunteered to assist and lead swabbing operations outside of his work hours. He frequently steps up to ease his colleagues’ workloads and fill manpower gaps when his colleagues were serving quarantine orders. For his efforts and relentless service, WO1 Edil was awarded the Exemplary Service Excellence Award at the COVID-19 Public Sector Transformation Awards.

  • POSTED ON
    Jul 6, 2022
  • TEXT BY
    Jinny Koh
  • PHOTOS BY
    Karthik
    Rianne
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