18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
Helping Others: Priceless

A noble sense of righting wrongs and serving others underlie Chanelle Zhuo Miaozhi’s service in the Education Services Union (ESU). The chairwoman of Young ESU, who is also an exco member in ESU and a member of its women’s committee, joined the ESU in 2009 and has never looked back since.

“After I joined ESU, I realised it wasn't just about outings and activities,” Chanelle explains, “I can't believe that unfair treatment and other grievances actually exist in a big organisation.” The 33-year-old mother of 2 believes that the union’s existence is vital particularly in bigger organisations which have more employees. “Every worker are entitled to employment rights and most of them are ignorant about this. The union can guide them if they have any issues at work.”

In fact, it is her desire to help people that has seen Chanelle through her various roles in ESU. “The satisfaction of being able to help members is priceless. She cites her valuable experiences learned when participating in negotiations for the union’s Collective Agreement, Reemployment policy, salary review and performance bonus with management. When I know that what we’ve done for our members makes a big difference, I feel motivated and it turns into passion,” says an emphatic Chanelle.

As such, Chanelle’s plan for Young ESU is to strengthen its foundation by engaging with ESU’s young members and having them be personally involved so that a newer generation of members can step up to lead. And she knows this is no easy task.

“It is difficult to get our young members together as they have their own commitments and other factors which deter them. However it’s through activities and platforms provided by Young NTUC that bonding and the building of new friendships can be created, awareness is raised and new blood can be identified,” adds Chanelle.

Working as a secretary to a team of Infectious Diseases Specialists in the National University of Singapore, with most staff serving both the education and healthcare industries, means that Chanelle needs independence, resourcefulness, have the ability to handle different types of people and regularly think out of the box. She strives to organise interesting and affordable activities for members. Already in the pipeline are positive social engagement activities that would help young members to prioritise work-life balance, improve their happiness and to seek personal development – which is something close to Chanelle’s heart as a health and nutrition buff.

When asked what her motto in life was that inspired her amidst the busyness, Chanelle said, “We learn from failure, not success. Life goes on, be optimistic.”