As an air stewardess at Scoot, Lieutenant (LTA) Cindy Loo used to work in the skies and travel to many different countries almost every day. However, she gave it all up in 2021 to pursue her aspirations of becoming a soldier.
A Girls' Brigade member during her secondary school days, LTA Loo had always been fascinated with uniformed groups.
Her interest in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) grew when she participated in the 2010 National Day Parade as part of the Girls' Brigade marching contingent.
Reminiscing fondly, she said: "While we were up there reciting the Pledge, I felt a great sense of national pride and duty. It was really a surreal moment being able to celebrate your nation's independence, and I also felt the importance of protecting our country's sovereignty."
Following her calling
Although she became an air stewardess with Scoot in 2018 after completing her degree in business management at SIM – RMIT University, her aspirations of joining the military never faded.
The 26-year-old eventually followed her calling and took a leap of faith, ending her three-year stint as a flight attendant and joining the SAF as a Regular.
Not all was smooth-sailing – she initially had difficulties transiting from the civilian to military life, especially in adapting to the tough physical demands.
"Jumping straight into a military career which is fitness-focussed was quite challenging, but (I pulled through) with the help and guidance of my peers and instructors who really pushed me and helped me," she elaborated.
Her experience as a former flight attendant had helped her become an effective team-oriented person, which proved especially useful during her Officer Cadet Course (OCC).
"Everyone sees things in a different light, so you cannot be fixated on your own views. You need to have an open mind and always be receptive to feedback, and this helps when you are leading a team," she explained.
LTA Loo also noted that the challenges that she faced during the rigorous 38-week course helped her to grow as a person – from developing physical resilience and mental fortitude to being able to adapt to changes rapidly.
With pride and honour
On 10 Sep, she was among 203 cadets who were commissioned as officers that day. Of the graduands, 135 were from the Singapore Army, one from the Republic of Singapore Navy and 67 from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Reflecting on her journey in becoming an officer, LTA Loo said her biggest takeaway were the friendships forged and strong camaraderie with her platoon mates.
"During training, we pushed each other and utilised each other's strengths to tackle the different scenarios we faced… The memories of undergoing these difficult situations together will always be held dear to my heart."
She also hopes her story will inspire others to sign on. "(Being in the Army) is a fulfilling and purposeful career. It will be riddled with challenges, but you will come out a stronger person."