Tan Siew Hong, Lead Infrastructure Architect, Government Infrastructure Group, GovTech, Singapore

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech Special Report 2017.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?

Building the next-generation data centre to manage and support modernised hosting services.

What technology particularly interests you for 2018?

Intelligent wearables or smart fashion with beacon-like technology which can help to make the clothing more fashionable, environmentally-friendly and useful with controls based on the weather, body temperature, environment and activities. Examples are those wearables that have been specifically developed to provide overall health checks with some forms of intelligence to update the health status directly to the healthcare service providers.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?

The importance of being open to differing opinions, managing constructive criticism and staying positive.

I realised it is important to broaden our connections with management, colleagues and project team-mates both internal and external. They are the ones with unique strengths and capabilities, who instil a sense of unity despite differing opinions and renew our faith or belief in finding solutions to problems, especially those that we never thought existed.

What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?

The greatest challenge for me in 2017 was to ditch my typically demanding, assertive and straightforward attitude. It was really hard for me as I am usually not the typical ‘nice girl’ type of person. When I didn’t agree with my family, friend or colleague on a particular personal or work matter that I had a very strong opinion about, I would get emotional and such disagreements usually led to conflict.

How did I overcome it? I gradually learned to accept that the other party has his own view and opinion that may be different from mine. Agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean that I have to give up my opinion. At the same time, I get to respect and recognise the other party’s right to hold a different opinion and agree not to argue about it so that we can all move on.
I must admit that the people around me have been very patient and understanding which has helped me a lot in making this personal change.

Who inspired you in 2017, and why?

My bosses Lim Bee Kwan, Senior Director of the Government Infrastructure Group, and Jacqueline Lim, Director of Managed Hosting Infrastructure, who have always “walked the talk”. They are not only self-starters, but also exercise great leadership to front all stakeholders and challenges, while creating opportunities for employees to uncover new abilities that we have never thought we are capable of.