You’ve read some stories about the non-academic staff and personnel in law school.. Remember Auntie Tara and how she wakes up at 3:50am every morning to travel to our school? Or perhaps you’ve forgotten it was Suresh Krishnan‘s impeccable culinary skills passed down to the halal food stall chefs in the Summit that blest us with the wonderful Briyani we have today? With the help of the Office of Campus Security (OCS), we present a short and intriguing glimpse into the life of Mr. P. Rachandran. You’ve seen him around. The Senior Operations Manager of Bukit Timah Campus, Office of Campus Security is a 60-year-old Singaporean, and is married with two children and one grandson.
Justified: what is your name, your age and your nationality?
This could well be my first and my last job. I joined NUS in 1975 as a Traffic Warden at Bukit Timah Campus (BTC) before taking on the role of Security Officer in the 1980s when I was transferred to Kent Ridge Campus (KRC). It was where I worked my way up to become a Senior Operations Manager. Throughout my career with NUS, I have been deployed in between BTC and KRC. I am glad to be back here since 2012! ”ƒ
Justified: Can you tell us more about yourself, your hobbies, what you do outside of your work in your free time?
I like to sing! Every Saturday evening, I will be belting out my favourite Tamil songs at the KTV with my wife. Besides singing, I’m a fan of Manchester United and I will not miss their games [Editor’s Note: yay], even if it means staying up late to catch them in action. My favourite player is Robin van Persie. There are many more players whom I enjoy seeing them play, like David Beckham, Ronaldo, Solskjaer and Edwin van der Sar. But they have all retired. During my free time, I serve at Ayer Rajah CC where I am a member of the Community Centre Management Committee (CCMC). I am also the treasurer of the Indian Activity Executive Community (IAEC). It brings me great joy when organising events for the residents. When they enjoy the activities, I feel happy.
Justified: What are some challenges you face as an OCS officer? What keeps you going despite the long working hours and hard work?
A typical day starts in the morning where I make my rounds in the campus to ensure that everything is well. When I return to office, I will brief my men about the daily events and the area of concern in the campus. In our daily rounds, we look out for suspicious activities. At times, we noticed that students tend to leave their belongings unattended and they could be a victim of crime. If you see a crime prevention note on your laptop, it is an initiative from Campus Security to remind you to take care of your belongings. Sometimes, we face difficult customers who do not want to comply with the NUS rules. For example, driving against the flow of traffic, smoking, etc. When our security personnel approach them, they will argue with us. In such situations, we remind ourselves to remain composed and explain to them that they have infringed the University’s rules and regulations. Generally, they accept our explanations and stop what they are doing.
Justified: What can the law students do to support you in your job and work?
We hope the students can play a part in keeping the campus safe and crime free by being our eyes and ears. Please call us if you see anything unusual so that we can make a check quickly. However, while BTC is a very safe and secured environment, please do not throw caution to the wind by leaving your belongings unattended. Last but not least, let’s continue to keep BTC a pleasant place to study and work by keeping it smoke-free!
Justified: If you have life advice for the law students, what would you say?
I like to encourage our students to serve the community. There are many in our society who are under-privileged. From my experiences with the CCMC, I feel that there is a lack of young people coming forward to serve in the social areas. If we have more young people, we can have more refreshing ideas for the community at large. When you graduate and become lawyers, I urge you to provide pro bono services to people who are in financial difficulties or do not know what to do when they are facing legal issues.
We hope you’ve been blessed by Mr. Rachandran’s life and service in our Bukit Timah Campus. The next time you see him hanging around/patrolling, drop a friendly “hello!” and thank him for doing his job well!
Caring for our neighbours is simply befriending them and showing kindness in our normal relationships and the rhythms of daily life. Get to know those who serve us in school, talk to the ladies serving you at the student counter, greet the uncles and aunties selling you a cup of coffee as you would your seniors, strike up small talk with the aunties as they roll their carts through the 3rd floor corridors, ask the Co-op auntie about her life. We promise you, they’ll have much to tell, and they do want to be our friends – if only we’d stop and listen. Let’s learn to bless the people we live alongside, with our time and care, just as the ones who’ve gone before us bless us still, daily.
PS: if you’d like to contribute/share the life stories of any of our staff on campus, please contact one of us below!