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Solidarity in Seclusion
30 June 2020

Andrew Ng, HCA’s new Lead for Culture and Organisational Development, takes us behind the scenes of Weekly Shenanigans, a staff engagement initiative which sprung from the circuit breaker period to help the HCA family tide through tough times together.

By Ruth Chua, HCA Community Relations

Every week, amidst the influx of emails in our inboxes, a particular few of them stand out among the rest.

With quirky titles such as ‘Terrific Thursday Tok’ and ‘Saturday Shatterday’, the messages hold an open door to warmly welcome participations and contributions from us.

Devised by Andrew, our new Lead for Culture and Organisational Development, they are part of a series of “devious” fun for the HCA family named ‘Weekly Shenanigans’.

As the name suggests, the activities span across a range of adventurous games and topics. From sharing snapshots of our childhood capers, to mindful exercises and seemingly “mindless” games, we enjoyed getting to know one another beyond our corporate roles. While these activities seem simple and straightforward, a lot of thought and effort go into the planning and execution of these activities.

A photograph of a young Paul Bashyam, gleefully wrapped in his mother’s arms. Presently, he is a HCA Medical Social Worker and the writer behind several of our HCA Connect articles.

“I usually start the ball rolling by rummaging through my own treasure chest of cherished moments,” Andrew explains. “I pick up a photo, think of a smell or a feeling and run with it to its logical conclusion as a theme for the day.”

To instil a sense of comfort and safety in the sharing amongst colleagues, Andrew embraces vulnerability by telling some of his most personal stories.

“I want to start off by sharing about myself because I want to let people know this is a safe space,” Andrew says. “We are interested in getting to know all of you as individuals – living, breathing human beings, not just colleagues and fellow drones in a hive.”

Thus, oftentimes, his posts reflect whimsical yet heartfelt musings, from his inspirational figures, to significant highs and lows in his life.

Featured in this screengrab is a notable Cantonese classic titled ‘The Wind Carries On’ by Leslie Cheung, one of his favourite singers. The song holds significant meaning for Andrew and carries a special place in his heart.

A diehard fan of all things nostalgic, Andrew deems the ‘Tuesday Throwbacks’ as his favourite Weekly Shenanigans activity, where participants share and catch glimpses of one another’s pasts in photographs.

He attributes this to having a foot firmly rooted in the 80s, and the other planted in the future. Furthermore, he loves the invaluable openness and honesty of the sharing, as various colleagues’ yesterdays get unearthed in the process.

“I love how open and honest the sharing has been,” Andrew says. “Seeing all these different aspects and facets of our colleagues’ yesterdays we never knew about: past mentors, former jobs, ex-boyfriends…okay, not that…yet!”

A photograph of HCA Senior Palliative Care Nurse Serene Wong joyfully posing with a couple of parrots. Her previous position as a part-time Animal Training Assistant at Sentosa stemmed from her love for animals.

However, Andrew has had his ups and downs in hosting this initiative as well. For instance, the tight schedules of staff do hamper participation rates periodically, especially among the clinical team. Nonetheless, Andrew expresses his concern for their wellbeing.

“I do hope they find time in between their moments to check out some of the sharing and take a breather or two,” says Andrew.

Additionally, Andrew has also had qualms about making calls and reminders for contributions and participation. “It’s been hard to sometimes request for participation from the people I know,” Andrew admits. “In a sense, whenever I send a reminder or call for contributions, I feel like I might be imposing my own ideas upon them, rather than truly listening to their needs and wants.”

On a better note, Andrew has drawn several meaningful takeaways from his new role. One significant insight is that his dedication to it, is rewarding, as it does not go unnoticed. “People can tell if you’ve put your heart and soul into something,” Andrew says. “And they will give you their hearts and their souls back in return.”

“I truly believe if you hold the space for others to share, they will come to you.”

‘Weekly Shenanigans’ is one of many initiatives that are part of our CEO’s vision to build a vibrant and cohesive corporate culture at HCA – A Serving Leader culture.