SMOU hopes to serve as a bridge to build up the women network and create a support system among female seafarers.
With this in mind, Young SMOU (YSMOU) organised a get-together with female sailing and former-sailing seafarers on 24 August 2022 at Lighthouse Bistro.
The session provides an opportunity for the members to connect with more female seafarers and to share on their personal experiences.
Having a support system is critical in maintaining one’s mental and physical health. Through such networking sessions, members forge new friendships and also motivate each other through this journey.
SMOU General Secretary Ms Mary Liew welcomed and thanked members for their resilience in keeping the global supply chain moving. She also empathised that the pandemic has brought about its own set of obstacles, and applauded them for persevering and taking the challenges head on. Ms Liew also encouraged them to continue pursuing their career in maritime and shared on the SailMAP initiative – an initiative that the Singapore tripartite partners birthed to award incentives to seafarers who attain their career milestones. She closed by saying that SMOU and tripartite partners will always be here rooting and supporting them in this journey. During the lunch, Ms Wan Fei Fei (Assistant Director of MPA Seafarers Management Department), also helped address concerns that seafarers might have, and shared personal stories she has as a former seafarer while out at sea.
The female seafarers had a great time chatting with one another, sharing interesting encounters and how they deal with certain challenges.
The group set off for a stamp carving workshop after the lunch. As this was their first-time carving stamps, the participants were eager to try their hand at it and were very meticulous, getting through the intricate details in order to get clean lines on their design. Not only were they able to get to know one another through this activity, but each took home a new skill that day.
3rd Officer Mona shared that the female-exclusive get-together session was refreshing and helpful in discussing with other females on the challenges they faced onboard, as well as receiving advice on how to approach and problem-solve them. The stamp carving workshop was something new and she loved that she was able to learn a new skill saying, “as it was my first time attending a stamp carving workshop, it was definitely a challenge. Besides the sail boat, she also carved a lighthouse as a symbol of safety and guidance for safe passage to seafarers. It was also a tribute to Lighthouse Bistro, a place where SMOU members and seafarers can get together to socialise and meet others.
It was also former marine engineer Fei Fei’s first time at stamp carving and she found the process to be very delicate. “The stamp carving workshop was very fun and interactive, and the trainer was very patient in explaining the do’s and don’t’s; I really enjoyed the workshop and it was great seeing the females gel well together”. She joked saying it required “excellent eyesight” as the tools were small in size. She also enjoyed the lunch at Lighthouse Bistro as well as the conversations that she shared with other seafarers.
SMOU is glad to be able to provide a platform for members to meet and share on their sea and shore experiences. The members also found it helpful and appreciated that the officials were able to address most of the questions surfaced. Many were surprised with how well their stamps turned out, and remarked that they are looking forward to the next get-together session.
Young SMOU aims to host more events and workshops, to create an avenue for youth members to meet in-person and get to know each other better.