18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
Broadening Horizons

Story by Gurmeet Singh, Labourbeat

Many clichés may reflect a lack of original thought but there are a few that need a revisit every once in a while, because they ring true. Like this one.

“The one thing that motivates me to go on is the satisfaction I get from helping my fellow workers. Although it may sound cliché, that is one thing that pushes me forward to continue serving in the Labour Movement,” says 29-year-old Vincent Loke.

A pharmacy technician at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), Vincent first encountered the Labour Movement experience about 5 years ago when he attended the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union’s (HSEU) Quadrennial General Meeting.

“I started out by observing others from behind the scene. As time went on, I began to make friends with lots of union leaders and industrial relations officers. And I've forged memorable friendships with them,” said Vincent.

New Experiences

Currently the HSEU-SNEC branch secretary, his most memorable early experience was the time he was tasked to plan a team bonding event for his union’s youth wing.

It was then that he realised his interest in event planning. Since then, he has always looked forward to planning activities for his branch and union.

Becoming a member of Young NTUC has also helped him experience fresh perspectives on work and life.

“I believe I still have a lot to learn and I'm glad my peers are all so kind to show me the ropes around the committee. Joining the bigger family of Young NTUC has broaden my perception of the working world around me.

“As I’ve been working in healthcare since my graduation, I don't have much knowledge of how other industries in Singapore are progressing. And also, how the younger worker is reacting to the changes the whole Labour Movement is working towards to,” said Vincent.

Role of the Labour Movement

Being a youth leader in the committee has allowed him to learn more about the issues faced in other industries and also share on how to deal with employment conflicts.

When asked about the role of the Labour Movement in relation to youths, he said: “There are bound to be labour disputes, no matter at which point of time. With the Labour Movement in Singapore, youths will have a better environment to work in. This works in a unique tripartism model that Singapore is very proud of.”

Youths Facing Challenges

His advice to youths facing challenges in work and life today – “Believe in yourself and give your 100 per cent. You may not get results immediately, but your effort will surface as time goes.”

On destressing, he advised youths to do something he or she likes and spend at least once a week on it. Work is never ending, so don’t just focus on it because balancing it with personal life is also very important.

Personal Pursuits

And what keeps Vincent happy and occupied when he is not dispensing medication and assisting patients at the Singapore National Eye Centre?

“Going to sing in karaoke, finding good food around town and travelling during my free time. I will try to go overseas at least once a year to experience the life and culture of a foreign country.

“By travelling, I get to see how youths overseas cope with their lives and what their priorities are.

As a parting shot at this interview, he confessed that he was easily contented.

“Being able to have a home-cooked dinner after a day of work is all I need to get recharged,” he shared.