Singapore stopover

Missing an international flight should be a real bummer, especially when, instead of celebrating the arrival of a new year with your friends at home, you are on a nine hour flight.

Except on an almost empty plane, I was somehow seated next to an extraordinary human being: Kanageswari Singaram. In an act of pure love, some days before her flight, Kana had bought a New Year’s gift for the stranger she would sit next to on the flight. Me.

It was only in the final 10 minutes of the flight that we actually started to communicate and by the time we hit the terminal we couldn’t stop talking. Contacts exchanged I promised to visit her in Singapore on my next stopover.

Registered Nurse Kanageswari Singaram met me at the airport last week and took days off from her role as Trauma co-ordinator at Singapore General Hospital to show me around the city. It was an amazing cultural experience as Kana shared with me her life, her daily routines, her favourite eating spots and her temple of worship. Wow.

My two days in Singapore included a trip to the zoo (tickets courtesy of her sister), drinks on the 67th floor (tickets courtesy of her friend the DJ) and lining up for almost six hours for a hug from AMMA who just happened to be in Singapore.

If you haven’t heard of AMMA she is known as ‘mother to all’ believing that motherhood, in its ultimate sense, has nothing to do with bearing a child, but with love, compassion and selflessness. She has a simple wish (below) and it was worth every second of the hours we queued to experience a hug from this incredible lady.

Everyone in the world should be able to sleep without fear, at least for one night.Everyone should be able to eat to his fill, at least for one day.There should be at least one day when hospitals see no one admitted due to violence. By doing self-less services for at least one day, everyone should help the poor and needy. ~ AMMA

Kana herself is an incredible human being. After losing her father at a young age she worked hard to graduate with first-class honours as a registered nurse. In order to support her mother and two younger siblings, in addition to her challenging role at SGH, she moonlights as a travel nurse (i.e., she accompanies patients across the globe to their home countries). And that doesn’t stop her from volunteering all over the world with Operation Smile. And no, she doesn’t get paid for that work.

Kana has been saving every cent possible toward medical school which she hopes to begin in New Zealand in 2016. Determined to graduate with honours as a doctor so she can build and open a hospital in Bhutan.

And that friends is what can happen if you miss a flight, smile and say ‘wow I wonder who I am going to meet!’

2 responses to “Singapore stopover”

  1. Rod Sippel Avatar
    Rod Sippel

    Thanks for this Post Melinda.
    Its a wonderful story about a life that to many Australians have little conception of or if they do they choose to ignore it. Congratulations on your meeting with Kana, your life will undoubtedly be richer for this accidental meeting.

    1. mel irvine Avatar

      Thank you Rodney for that. Much appreciated and I know Kana will be thrilled too.