They are roses among train captains
She is one of just seven female train captains working for SMRT. It is no wonder, then, that Sugvendar Kaur Pritam Singh, 52, wears her uniform with pride.
Ms Kaur, who has been a train captain for 23 years, said: "There are so few of us, but we are special because we work in a man's world. We are the roses among the thorns."
Ms Kaur and her co-workers are the trains' "drivers". Along with SMRT's 550 train captains, they are responsible for operating 141 trains on the north-south and east-west lines.
While these trains operate on a signalling system that automatically determines their direction and speed, there are instances when train captains have to engage the manual mode, which lets them decide when the trains start and stop.
Train captain Haziqah Uthumanshan said these instances include days when it is raining heavily and when the signalling system is down.
Train captains are also the link between the control stations and passengers, facilitating communication in case of issues such as train breakdowns.
Miss Haziqah, 24, said: "You have to always be alert and able to adapt because you need to know what to do when things happen."
Unlike Ms Kaur, Miss Haziqah became a train captain just six months ago.
When asked how she felt about working in a male-dominated environment, Miss Haziqah, whose fiance is also a train captain, said she enjoys it because of the people and the nature of work.
"Many of my friends are guys and I am used to it. Being a train captain brings together my interests in engineering and transport," said Miss Haziqah.
My children are proud of me. They tell their teachers, who get excited and then curious, as not many people know that there are female train captains like us.Madam Leong Suat Yee
But there are difficulties associated with the job.
Madam Leong Suat Yee, 43, atrain captain of 15 years, said the schedules can make it challenging for her to find time for her children, who are six and 10 years old.
Train captains typically work one of three nine-hour shifts. They have to sometimes work weekends too.
In order to cope, she has enlisted the help of her mother-in-law to watch over her children when she is at work.
But Madam Leong is quick to add that her children are pleased with her job.
"My children are proud of me. They tell their teachers, who get excited and then curious, as not many people know that there are female train captains like us," she said.
The three women agreed on another job difficulty - toilet breaks, a problem all train captains face, regardless if they are male or female.
When they operating the trains, these captains typically spend around three hours in the driver's cabin. They have to keep an eye on the track while ensuring the safety of their passengers.
While most stations have a toilet just for them at the platform, train captains cannot take too long as it would disrupt the schedule and cause passengers to be late.
As Miss Haziqah puts it, there is only time for an "in and out job".
"There's no time for big business, only small and quick ones," she said with a laugh.
But Ms Kaur said these difficulties are small compared to the satisfaction of doing well in a male-dominated job.
"We're outstanding. If a man can operate, why not a lady? We have equal rights," she said.
Although it has been 23 years, Ms Kaur still feels passionate about her job - the knowledge that she is helping people every day keeps her from running out of steam.
"I feel like I'm married to my job. It's something I truly enjoy," said Ms Kaur, who is single. "There is no better feeling than knowing that you are responsible for thousands of people to get to where they need to go."
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