Swaran Kaur has been driving a van for NUS Science since 2001. After 18 years, she still enjoys ferrying guests, staff and students around campus and to different parts of Singapore.
Swaran especially likes going to the airport to welcome overseas visitors and fetch them to their hotels. The sociable driver often doubles up as an unofficial “tour guide” when visitors seek her advice for the best places to shop, sightsee and sample local cuisine. She has made such a good impression that some of them remember her when she picks them up on their next visit to NUS.
Apart from the occasional breakdowns and flat tyres, Swaran has not experienced any major mishaps during her sorties. She has been lucky that the vehicle usually encountered problems on campus or parking areas – she remembered with a chuckle that the first van she had driven coughed to a stop immediately upon reaching the parking lot in a mall. As the van Swaran drives is maintained regularly by an automotive company in Singapore, she does not have to worry about servicing or changing the huge wheels.
I enjoy driving because I get to go out and this helps me to de-stress.
When Swaran first started her driving job at NUS Science, there were some issues relating to clashing schedules and double booking of her service. She proactively came up with the idea of having a log book to record her jobs and effectively solved the problem. Swaran also manages her time by handling operational tasks in the Science Dean’s Office such as mailing and sending items, sorting mail, preparing for meetings and administrative work, as well as bringing students who are unwell during examinations to the University Health Centre.
What keeps her fired up at work instead of feeling jaded after nearly two decades? The friendly colleagues who are like a family, and help each other as a team regardless of duties, she said. She herself also chips in willingly whenever an extra hand is needed. In addition, Swaran appreciates the variety of responsibilities which sustain her interest. “If you stick to one job and one place, you’ll get bored,” said the enthusiastic multitasker.