Helping people is second nature to me and that’s why I enjoy my role as secretary in the Regional Medical Office. Even though I’m not a doctor or nurse, I can still improve people’s lives daily by helping them access medical care. As a result, I was honored to receive the Embassy’s Locally Employed Staff of the Year Award in 2017, an award given at missions around the world to recognize local staff members’ contributions and leadership.
I was born in Singapore and some ask how I got my last name “Raja” – the direct translation in Malay means “king.” My grandmother’s parents, of Malay Muslim royal descent, were King and Queen of Malacca, making my grandmother the Princess of Malacca. When my Indian grandfather flew to Malacca to do business, he met my grandmother, whose parents were against their relationship, but they were so in love that they eloped to Singapore to start a life here. Some Asians, like our family, take on the father’s name as the surname, so when my father was born, he was named “Raja.”
Since I grew up celebrating both Indian and Malay traditions, when I joined the Embassy in February 2013, I connected with the Foreign Service National Association (FSNA). FSNA, led by Locally Employed Staff, promotes cooperation and harmonious working relationships by organizing cultural, sporting, and social activities, such as bowling, musical performances, bake sales, and more. As the newly elected FSNA chair, I plan to collaborate with the Embassy’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee to bring the community even closer together.
One unique idea I’d like to pursue is to apply what I’m learning in Urban Agriculture Technology at Republic Polytechnic and introduce mushroom growing to my colleagues. The Singapore government is encouraging people to grow their own food in Singapore to meet the demand by 2030.
When I’m not studying, my other passion is volunteering. To help colleagues get to know Singapore, I organized several volunteer events with local communities, and I designed a T-shirt for Embassy staff to wear while volunteering as the “Embassy Team.”
I hope to give back as long as I am able, and I encourage everyone to do the same. It is hard work but rewarding, and at the end of the day, if people are happy, then I am happy.
– Roziah A Raja (Rozi), Regional Medical Office