SALIMI ZAINI: ENJOYING SUNSETS AND CONVERSATIONS WITH GUESTS AS A BEACH TRAM CAPTAIN AT SENTOSA
Why walk to the beach when you can take the tram? You’re in safe hands when Sentosa Service Ambassador Salimi Zaini is behind the wheels.
“I’m a Service Ambassador at Sentosa. Service Ambassadors are basically there to assist guests with their needs. Some are Train Captains operating the Sentosa Express. Some are ushers deployed at service stations. I’m a Service Captain. I drive the beach tram.
Before I started working at Sentosa – this was about six years ago in 2015 – I was a Fire Safety Technician in the marine industry. My job was to check fire extinguishers and the engine room in ships. I left after some time because the job felt too dangerous for me.
I enjoy driving the beach tram at Sentosa so much more. It's safer and more relaxing. Also, I didn't have to go through any courses as I already had experience driving buses for a private company called Westpoint Transit.
I transport visitors to all three beaches at Sentosa – Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong Beach. My favourite is Siloso. Sometimes I go there during my breaks to relax and play my guitar. I also like to see the sunset when I drive the tram from Tanjong Beach. It's gorgeous!
I love my job because I get to meet all kinds of people. I enjoy talking to overseas guests because I get to ask them about where they’re from. I get to learn so much from them.
There are challenges to this job. For example, sometimes you meet visitors who are not the most polite. Or when you volunteer to help someone but the person doesn’t respond to you and walk away. Drunken guests are sometimes not easy to handle, too. Moments like that don’t make you feel very good.
I am a frontline worker, and it’s not uncommon to face these issues, especially in the age of social media where people can just upload one video, and that's the end of you. Nevertheless, I remind myself to be patient and to take some deep breaths.
That's why break time is very, very important. Sometimes you can be driving the tram for up to three hours non-stop on a hot day, so I like to sit in the air-conditioned room and joke around with my colleagues during break time. It takes my mind off things.
Yes, there have been many good moments working here. I recently received a SentoSTAR award, and it was such a surprise. I really didn’t know what I did to deserve it because I'm just doing my job as I normally would.
Whenever I'm operating the tram, I just make sure that everyone's safety is looked after. Because that is the most important thing. But yes, winning that award definitely motivated me to be even better." - Salimi, 34
By Arman Shah
Arman Shah is a former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in print and online in publications such as Expat Living Singapore, AsiaRooms.com, SG Magazine, and HungryGoWhere.com among others. He now manages The Everyday People, a website featuring people stories and lifestyle content.