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Apr 14, 2024

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team member spotlight fall magazine article

The Pillars of Legacy: Honoring The American Club’s Long-Serving Employees

As The American Club Singapore celebrates its momentous 75th anniversary this year, it’s time we shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes who have dedicated decades of their lives to creating a home away from home for Members. Behind the scenes, a group of long-serving Team Members have been the bedrock of the Club’s success, witnessing its growth, transformation, and the countless memories etched within its walls. This feature aims to highlight their remarkable stories, unwavering dedication, and the invaluable contributions they have made to The American Club’s legacy.

From left to right (clockwise): Betty, Ho, Sa’at, Fabian and Satwant

Featured Team Members

Betty Koh – Senior Counter Assistant, Essentials

55 years at the Club

Mention the name Betty, and you’ll immediately be greeted with smiles and warm affection from everyone who knows her at the Club. Betty, a beloved Team Member of The American Club, stands as a shining example of loyalty and commitment, having dedicated an astounding 55 years of her life to the Club. 

Betty’s story began in 1968 when she first joined the Club as a Front Desk Receptionist. From the very beginning, her warm smile and attentive demeanor set the tone for the Club’s commitment to providing exceptional service. It was clear that Betty possessed a special spark and an unwavering passion for her work.

Betty (in purple) and her colleague at the old administrative office
Betty (in purple) and her colleague at the old administrative office

As the years went by, Betty’s role within the Club expanded, reflecting her versatility and adaptability. She transitioned to become the Recreation Manager, where she was responsible for organizing and managing the Club’s various recreational classes. Following her tenure as Recreation Manager, Betty took on the position of Fitness & Leisure Coordinator. In this role, she managed the administrative matters of all the fitness facilities and instructors. 

In a testament to her versatility, Betty was later asked by the then General Manager, Martin Rudden to assist at Energy, the Club’s old retail store selling sporting goods. Although Energy is no longer around today, it was a valuable experience for Betty. It was during this time that she welcomed a new Team Member, Babu, who lacked prior experience in retail. Betty wholeheartedly embraced her role as a mentor and took Babu under her wing. Through her guidance and training, Babu blossomed into the knowledgeable retail guru he is today.

Years later, Energy merged with Closet, the Club’s old laundry center, to form Essentials. Betty found herself stationed at Essentials, where she remains as the Senior Counter Assistant. With her warm and friendly demeanor, she continues to provide exceptional service to Members, always going the extra mile to ensure their needs are met.

Betty in 2023

Over her remarkable 55 years of service, Betty has witnessed countless memories being made within the Club. She has seen Members’ children grow up, get married, and start families of their own. What touches her heart the most is that these Members still remember her to this day, a testament to the lasting impact she has had on their lives. 

One of Betty’s most cherished and unforgettable moments with her fellow colleagues from the Club took place in 2017 when they embarked on an extraordinary eight-day adventure to trek the majestic Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. This thrilling expedition required extensive preparation and determination. Betty, along with her six companions, devoted months of training together at MacRitchie Reservoir to ensure they were physically and mentally ready for the challenging journey ahead. This shared experience of pushing their limits, overcoming obstacles, and witnessing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Himalayas forged an unbreakable bond among Betty and her colleagues, creating memories that will forever remain etched in their hearts.

Betty, her colleagues and Nepalese guides at the Annapurna Base Camp
Betty (third from the left), her colleagues and Nepalese guides at the Annapurna Base Camp

Reflecting on her journey, Betty is amazed at how far The American Club has progressed. From its humble beginnings as a small clubhouse on Scotts Road with just a handful of staff, the Club has transformed into a sprawling 120,000 square-foot space equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and a team of 300 dedicated Team Members.

Betty (in purple) and her colleagues at the Club's annual Employee Dinner & Dance in 1991
Betty (in purple) and her colleagues at the 1991 Employee Dinner & Dance

Her loyalty, adaptability, and passion for her work have left a lasting impact on the Club’s legacy. Betty’s story is a reminder that it is the dedicated individuals behind the scenes who shape the character and success of an organization.

Ho Wah Jin – Senior House Steward

49 years at the Club

Mr Ho’s extraordinary 49-year journey with The American Club began when he first started out as a security officer in 1974. He then transitioned to the now-defunct Jackpot Room, where he worked as a money changer. Afterwards, Mr. Ho found himself stationed at the Receiving Office, where he played an important role in ensuring the smooth reception and storage of ingredients and materials for the Club’s inventory. Over the years, his unwavering dedication and commitment caught the attention of the Club’s management, leading him to his current position as the Club’s Housekeeping Team Leader.

Mr Ho at the old security office along Claymore Hill
Mr Ho at the old security office along Claymore Hill

One of the key factors that has fueled Mr. Ho’s commitment to The American Club is the genuine care and support provided by the Club’s management for its Team Members. The opportunities for personal and professional growth, combined with the strong sense of community among staff and Members, have created an environment where Mr. Ho feels motivated to excel in his daily duties and give his best at work.

Mr Ho and colleagues at the Employee Dinner & Dance in 2012
Mr Ho and colleagues at the 2012 Employee Dinner & Dance

Throughout his time with the Club, Mr. Ho has experienced numerous notable moments that have left an unforgettable impact on his life. One such moment was when he received the Employee of the Year award for his contributions in managing and coordinating the entry and exit of vehicles into the Club when the devastating 9/11 incident took place in 2001. From 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. everyday, he diligently collected, organized, and filed the necessary information to ensure smooth and safe operations. This experience demonstrated the Club’s confidence in his abilities. The trust placed in him to handle such a crucial task was a testament to his dedication and reliability.

Mr Ho giving a speech for an award that he received during the 2000 Employee Dinner & Dance
Mr Ho giving a speech for an award that he received during the 2000 Employee Dinner & Dance

Having been a part of The American Club’s journey for so many years, Mr. Ho has witnessed its remarkable growth and transformation firsthand. He recalls a time when the Club was housed in a modest building without the Claymore facility. Over the years, he has seen the Club evolve, adapt, and expand its offerings to meet the changing needs and preferences of its Members.

Mr Ho receiving the General Committee’s Award for Service Excellence at the 2023 Employee Dinner & Dance plus Award Ceremony
Mr Ho receiving the General Committee’s Award for Service Excellence at the 2023 Employee Dinner & Dance plus Award Ceremony

As the Club celebrates its 75th anniversary, Mr. Ho is filled with joy, reflecting on the experiences and memories he has gained throughout his time with the Club. Witnessing the Club’s flourishing growth and becoming a larger institution over the course of its history brings him immense pride.

Amidst the myriad of transformations the Club has gone through over the years, one thing remains constant — Mr Ho’s dedication in his pursuit of service excellence. At the Employee Dinner & Dance plus Award Ceremony in June 2023, Mr Ho received the prestigious General Committee’s Award for Service Excellence. This award stands as a resounding testament to the outstanding level of service that he consistently provides to Members year upon year.

Mr Ho in 2023

Looking ahead, Mr. Ho envisions The American Club’s legacy thriving by nurturing a culture of positive thinking and a determination to excel in all endeavors. He firmly believes that with a willing heart, no obstacle is too difficult to overcome. By fostering a spirit of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication, The American Club will continue to evolve, make a lasting impact, and create new memories for generations to come.

Sa’at Bin Masuki – Assistant Restaurant Manager, The 2nd Floor

44 years at the Club

A cherished Team Member of The American Club, Sa’at has dedicated an impressive 44 years to serving its Members. Sa’at’s journey with The American Club began in 1978 when his cousin introduced him to the Club, where he started off as a waiter at the Manhattan Room. As a young village boy with limited English proficiency, Sa’at faced initial challenges in interacting with Club Members. However, his determination and willingness to learn quickly shone through, setting the foundation for his journey with the Club.

In 1980, Sa’at was called up for his mandatory National Service, putting his career at the Club on hold. Toward the end of his two-year service, he received an offer from the Club to return as a full-time Team Member. Coincidentally, Sa’at was also presented with an opportunity to sign on with the Army. However, his love for the Club made it an easy decision for him. He eagerly accepted the Club’s offer, marking the beginning of his lifelong dedication.

Upon his return, Sa’at assumed the role of Restaurant Captain. Recognizing his hunger for knowledge and desire to excel, the Club sponsored Sa’at for several courses at the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre (SHATEC), further honing his skills.

In 1988, Sa’at’s hard work and commitment were duly rewarded when he was promoted to Assistant Manager. However, his thirst for knowledge remained unquenched, and he expressed a growing interest in the world of wine. Responding to his eagerness, the Club sent Sa’at to France, where he immersed himself in the art of wine-making and expanded his knowledge beyond his wildest expectations.

Sa’at on the cover of the September 1989 edition of The American Club’s printed newsletter
Sa’at on the cover of the September 1989 edition of The American Club’s printed newsletter

Sa’at’s exceptional work ethic and commitment did not go unnoticed. He was selected as one of six service crew members from The American Club to serve dignitaries from all over the world at a private function. He also had the opportunity to serve countless ministers and country ambassadors at The 2nd Floor.

Sa’at’s expertise and steadfast dedication led to yet another promotion, this time to the position of Restaurant Manager. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Sa’at made the difficult decision to step back after a few years. Nevertheless, his commitment to service excellence and passion for mentoring continued to shine through. Sa’at took on the role of a mentor, ensuring that his junior team mates reached their full potential and providing guidance that extended beyond his own responsibilities.

Sa’at on the cover of the October 1997 edition of The American Club’s printed newsletter
Sa’at on the cover of the October 1997 edition of The American Club’s printed newsletter

Throughout his journey, Sa’at has created countless memories and touched the lives of many Members. One unforgettable moment stands out — a moment that highlights the impact he had on someone’s life. Sa’at once saved the life of a Member’s child, an act for which the Member and his child remain eternally grateful. In a touching display of gratitude, the now-adult child mentioned Sa’at during his wedding ceremony held at The 2nd Floor, saying, “It is because of this man that I am standing here today. He saved me from choking to death when I was a kid, and I am forever grateful to him.” Such moments reaffirm the profound influence dedicated individuals like Sa’at can have on the lives of others.

Sa’at in 2023

Sa’at’s exceptional service and genuine care for Members have earned him a special place in the hearts of many. Members frequently request his service when dining at The 2nd Floor, a testament to the trust and rapport he has built with the Club’s community.

A heartwarming thank you note from the Nash kids in 2003
A heartwarming thank you note from the Nash kids in 2003

By a stroke of serendipity, Sa’at found out that his beloved primary school teacher, Mrs. Nathan, was a Member at The American Club. Sa’at was elated when he reconnected with her again at the Club after so many years. Sa’at reminisced about the profound impact Mrs. Nathan had on his life during his formative years. To him, she was more than a teacher; she was a nurturing and compassionate mother figure. Mrs. Nathan stood out among the educators who never wavered in their belief in Sa’at’s potential, consistently inspiring him to strive for excellence. Today, she couldn’t be prouder of the remarkable man that Sa’at has become.

Sa’at and Mrs. Nathan at The 2nd Floor in 2023
Sa’at and Mrs. Nathan at The 2nd Floor in 2023

From a young village boy struggling with English to a confident, eloquent grandfather of five, Sa’at’s transformation is a testament to his resilience and determination. His commitment to service excellence, thirst for knowledge, and selfless mentorship have undoubtedly left a lasting impact on The American Club’s legacy.

Fabian Chua – IT Operations Manager

31 years at the Club

Celebrating 31 years of dedicated service, Fabian’s journey with The American Club began in 1990 when he joined as a part-time waiter during the school holidays — a decision that would shape his career for years to come. After completing his GCE ‘O’ Level exams in 1991, Fabian took on a full-time role as a waiter at Eagle’s Nest, a bustling restaurant that was often packed during lunch hours. Although initially challenging, it was the strong bonds he forged with his colleagues that motivated Fabian to persevere and thrive in the fast-paced environment.

Fabian before leaving home for the Employee Dinner & Dance in 1993

Fabian’s dedication led him to explore various roles within The American Club. He served as a waiter at Poolside Terrace and the Jackpot Room, gaining invaluable experience and expanding his skill set. However, his path took an unexpected turn when he was called to fulfill his mandatory two-year National Service. Undeterred, Fabian returned to the Club in January 1996 and embarked on a new journey in the Finance & IT department as an Electronic Data Processing Assistant. This transition highlighted his versatility and ability to embrace change.

Fabian receiving his lucky draw prize from the then General Manager, James DiRenzo, at the 1999 Employee Dinner & Dance

Throughout his time at the Club, Fabian has worn multiple hats within the Finance & IT team, demonstrating his aptitude for learning and adaptability. From Income Auditor and Cashier Supervisor, to playing a vital role in automating the Club’s accounting and membership processes. Fabian was also instrumental in the Club’s transition from manual cash registers to advanced point-of-sale systems, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency.

While Fabian now primarily works behind the scenes, his impact is felt by Members who still recognize him from his days as a waiter. Their warm greetings and waves serve as a testament to the lasting impression Fabian made with his exceptional service. Reflecting on his journey, Fabian is humbled to be part of The American Club’s growth and transformation. He vividly recalls the days of pen-and-paper order taking, witnessing the Club’s transition to state-of-the-art point-of-sale terminals and online platforms. Moreover, he cherishes the evolution from handwritten accounting entries to a centralized automated system that effortlessly records expenses across outlets.

Fabian in 2023

Among the myriad of memorable experiences, one project stands out for Fabian — the implementation of a special network during the Club’s redevelopment. This network connected the Club to the off-site pool at Bukit Merah Swimming Complex, enabling Members to enjoy seamless internet access as they would within the clubhouse. Such endeavors exemplify Fabian’s commitment to enhancing Members’ experiences and embracing technological advancements.

Bukit Merah Swimming Complex served as an off-site location for Members to continue their aquatics lessons and recreational swimming during the Club’s redevelopment phase

Throughout his tenure, Fabian has also nurtured the talents of his junior colleagues in the Finance department, who have gone on to broaden their horizons in other organizations. His willingness to share knowledge and expertise has had a lasting impact on their professional development.

In 2022, Fabian (first from the left) received the prestigious General Manager’s Award for Excellence
and the 30 Years Long Service Award

Looking ahead, Fabian envisions The American Club continuing to be the most utilized and cherished Club in town. His commitment, passion for learning, and dedication to excellence have contributed to the Club’s success and earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and Members alike.

Satwant Kaur – Grillhouse Kitchen Cook I

30 years at the Club

Satwant’s journey with The American Club began in February 1993 when she joined the Club, embarking on her first job overseas. Hailing from Malaysia, she could not have fathomed that this would be the start of a three-decade-long career at the Club in Singapore. With unwavering loyalty and dedication, Satwant has remained committed to the Club and plans to continue working until her retirement.

Satwant started out at Poolside Terrace, now known as Grillhouse, where she took on the role of a Kitchen Helper. Through her perseverance and hard work, she gradually transitioned to various other F&B outlets within the Club, including Eagle’s Nest, now known as Tradewinds. Satwant’s hard work and talent propelled her upward through the ranks, leading her to her current position as Cook I at Grillhouse.

Satwant in 2023

Throughout her time at the Club, Satwant has acquired a vast amount of culinary skills and knowledge. Recognizing her expertise, the Club entrusted her with the task of mentoring Grillhouse kitchen trainees from the school-work attachment program. Satwant finds immense satisfaction in witnessing these trainees grow and develop into fully-fledged cooks under her guidance. Her mentorship not only enriches the lives of these aspiring chefs but also leaves a lasting impact on the Club’s culinary team.

When asked about her remarkable tenure, Satwant attributed her longevity to the sense of camaraderie she shares with her fellow Team Members, who have become like family to her. The support and bond she has formed with her colleagues have played a significant role in her decision to remain dedicated to her job. Additionally, Satwant emphasized the Club’s exceptional welfare and benefits, which have made her employment experience truly amazing. In her own words, Satwant firmly believes that The American Club is the best place she has ever worked at.

Satwant (second from the right) and her team mates at Grillhouse
Satwant (second from the right) and her team mates at Grillhouse

As the Club commemorates its 75th anniversary, Satwant feels privileged and honored to be part of this significant milestone. Her dedication and commitment to excellence exemplify the Club’s core values and have set a high standard for future generations of staff. 

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