18.35 Activism - Young Union Leaders
One Platform, Many Opportunities

Wearing a blue dress and seated with her arms at her side, Youth Executive Sherry Tan from the Young Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (ySMOU) shares her wishlist for her youth members this year.

“I hope that we can bring more young people together to get to know each other.  When they are out at sea, it can be very lonely and tiring. By knowing more people in the same situation as you, the youths can rely on each other for support and ySMOU wants to be in a place to foster that relationship.”

Recalling her start, Sherry did not set out wanting to become a unionist.

“I initially didn’t think or imagine myself being in a union, and ever since I’ve started working here however, I feel that the union is similar to being in a family. The closest I had in contact with some aspects of a union was in school when I served in the Student Union. Essentially the core of being a unionist is to listen to the feedback of others, helping them and doing better.”

Among all the activities she has embarked on since joining the union, Sherry finds that the dialogue with the Prime Minister this year stood out significantly. She shares that it was most memorable not only because of the exposure at the event, but also when meeting different people she saw things and situations from different perspectives.

And in all these, Sherry credits Young NTUC for bringing different unions and people together through the various events in the year. The invaluable knowledge and networking built through these interactions helped her to better plan her events as she hears from the experiences of others.

“I think it is important to come together as fellow unionists to share more information and helping each other, in working together, both sides get the share of the pie,” quips Sherry while making a gesture of helping with her hands.
She adds that her self esteem also increased after going through courses held by the union and emphasises that being a unionist does not only develop one’s work abilities but personal attributes as well. Being able to care and share for her members also helped her translate the same values in caring for her colleagues.

When asked if she had any advice she would like to share with unionists, she smiles and replied thoughtfully. “Being able to plan, prioritise and hence manage your time well is very important. Work at times can be overwhelming and by taking a step back and planning your work well, you can definitely execute what you need to and achieve good results!”

And if this entire unionist journey can be summed up to one word, what would that word be?

With that, Sherry replies with a wide beam, “Rewarding, I would use the word rewarding”.