career transitioner/ restarter

HALIMAH BEE LAY TAN

Healthcare Assistant

(In her 60's)

 

Her story (as shared by her nominator)

Halimah Bee Lay is grit, resilience and inspiration. She was raised by a single mother and gave up her studies so that she could support her family financially. Because of this, she didn't graduate from high school. Her childhood dream was to be a nurse. Of course, this never happened but despite all the obstacles and challenges that she had to overcome like navigating living abroad (at a time when there was no internet!), when the 1997 financial crisis hit and she had to become my family's sole breadwinner, she successfully landing her first job as the Executive Personal Assistant to C-Suite Executives.

 

She always puts her best foot forward. When her family returned back to Singapore and even to this day, Halimah Bee Lay was at the receiving end of much discrimination - as someone who doesn't have any formal education background and who intentionally chose to be a stay-at-home mum during her children’s early childhood years.

 

Now, at the age of 60 - she has chosen to follow her heart and make her dream a reality.

 

Her ability to rise above the discrimination, naysayers and ageists that don't see the potential in her to make a meaningful difference while making a living. Her love for learning and her fearlessness towards rolling up her sleeves and getting the work done well. Her ability to turn pain into purpose. She is LOVE IN ACTION.

 

In October last year, her mother passed away from a stroke. It was an incredibly traumatic experience for her. With the encouragement from her children, Halimah Bee Lay decided to realise her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. Her childhood dream of nursing surfaced alongside her worries about how she may be passed over with her lack of credentials (she has been out of the corporate life for decades to focus 100% on her family).

 

Fast forward to today, Halimah Bee Lay is undergoing a Healthcare Assistant course and leads with excellence each day. She is already learning on the job, being placed at hospitals to care for the elderly and enjoying her ability to use empathy, love and kindness in the workplace. It's a full circle moment as she remembers not too long ago that she (with her mother) was in a hospital environment and knows all too well that what Singapore's healthcare needs is a revolution of the heart. Caregivers, healthcare providers and assistants who are walking examples of love in action, everyday.

 

In her words:

Greatest achievement

To know that at my age, I can stay relevant in society.

 

Biggest challenge thus far

Yes, qualification and age discrimination since 2002 when I came to Singapore.

what judges say

Incredibly challenging switch with the lack of experience, education and facing discrimination, at her age. A real inspiration!