In honor of Father’s Day 2021, we’d like to introduce you to this father/son duo at the embassy.
Arsad: I helped build this embassy in 1992, laying the foundation, brick by brick. My position was a “runner,” supporting operations, handling permits, collecting various tools for onsite working teams, and liaising with other companies. I also read the blueprints and worked side-by-side with people from neighboring countries, along with retired U.S soldiers. Did you know this site was once a British solider camp, with traditional white colonial buildings? After the embassy building opened in 1994, I learned of a vacancy in the U.S. Commercial Service office, and I have been working with them since 1996 in various capacities such as setting up trade shows, driving VIP visitors, and working closely with the head of the Commercial Service.
Ashrul: Thanks to my dad, who told me of an opening at U.S. Embassy Singapore, I joined the mailroom about 1.5 years ago. Every week, I go to the airport to pick up diplomatic mail sent from the U.S., which we refer to as “the pouch.” I then sort it all and create a system for people to receive their mail. Prior to this, since finishing National Service, I worked as a courier for international firms like DHL and I was a driver in the army. I really enjoy this type of work because it’s outside, moving around, and I never saw myself being desk bound.
Arsad: Growing up, my son and I had a great relationship, rarely fighting, but like any normal family, there are always good times and bad. It is important to find something you like to do. Most of my previous jobs have been for American companies. I worked for General Motors for 10 years and really enjoy working for large companies. I especially like the mindset of American companies, as they trust their employees.
I’m most proud of my two grandkids. My granddaughter, Aryana, is six years old and my grandson, Aamyr, is six months old. I spoil them. That’s what granddads are for! I also have another son, Nazri, who is a part-time administrative assistant and lives at home with my wife, Sania, and me.
Ashrul: Working with my dad is nice because we see each other regularly, however, neither of us interfere with the other’s job. As long as there are no complaints, my father is happy! We drive to work separately, me in my car, and my father on his motorbike.
Arsad: We love bowling together. My son recently won the embassy’s bowling competition, with a score of 200. We are both on different teams, usually bowling twice a week before COVID, and sometimes with former colleagues from different departments to stay connected.
Back in the 60s families were quite large. My wife is one of eight siblings and I’m one of five. Although we are Singaporean, our families are originally from Indonesia.
Ashrul: My mom was more strict when we were growing up and did most of the scolding, but when my dad opened his mouth, you knew you did something wrong! Now, my mom cooks all kinds of food for our family to enjoy and my wife, Sameem, is a fulltime supermom.
Arsad: Mainly, my son and I are like friends. We rarely have disagreements. I’m going to retire soon, maybe in another three years, and then my son can carry on the tradition of working for U.S. Embassy Singapore.
-Arsad and Ashrul, Humans of the Embassy