Mr Tan Kwang Cheak has taken over the reins as Chief Executive Officer of Agency for Integrated Care from Dr Jason Cheah at the start of this year. mosAIC caught up with KC to find out what are his thoughts about his time in AIC so far, and about the sector.
1. You prefer people to call you KC. Why is that so?
Since I started work, my friends and colleagues have called me KC, because my name, Kwang Cheak, is not as easy to remember or pronounce. Over time, I have gotten used to being called KC and in fact, my parents are probably the ones who still call me by my name. I do have a preference of people calling me KC or Kwang Cheak instead of a formal designation or title. My belief is that we are all working together for a common purpose and it can help to bring us closer together over time.
2. Before AIC, you spent time in the public service (Ministry of Education, Defence), private sector (McDonald’s) and in public healthcare (MOH Holdings). What drew you to join AIC and the Community Care community?
I spent 12 years in the public service, working on a diversity of functional areas - policy, planning, operations and HR. I am grateful to the service for developing me and offering me different opportunities to grow and learn, as well as contribute to the public purpose of helping Singapore and Singaporeans.Moving out to the private sector and McDonald’s have been important for me in terms of my personal development and understanding of how businesses work and how to build a great workplace and culture over time. It will always be a special brand in my heart.But having spent parts of my career in public, private and non-profit sectors, I have grown to learn that what motivates me is the purpose of the work and the shared goals and values of the organisation and teams that I work closely with. I have been drawn to the value proposition and goals of AIC and the Community Care sector, since I worked in MOH Holdings. I decided to join because I believe that the work that we do and what we put in place is instrumental in helping our seniors live and age gracefully at their homes and in the community, which is what all of us would like. It is not only a purposeful vision but one that I believe will help contribute towards our societal values and fabric towards our next 50 years as a nation.
3. You have joined AIC as its Deputy CEO for a year and a bit. Tell us your most memorable experience with the Community Care sector.
I have many memorable experiences over the past year – whether it is to visit our partners and see the strong passion and great work on the ground, or to visit our seniors with our Silver Generation Office staff and volunteers to engage them directly and see their needs. I also had the opportunity to be on home visits with our providers, assess cases with our CCMS colleagues and to stay a night at one of our nursing homes.All these have helped me to understand the work and focus of our sector, appreciate the challenges and opportunities and help believe in the purpose of our work together in the Community Care sector. I would like to do more, engage more and understand more going ahead.
4. Tell us something about AIC you’re proud of.
I am truly proud of my colleagues in AIC and our collective sense of purpose and passion to help our seniors and work with our partners in the sector. It is rare to see this so strongly in an organisation (and I have been to many) and this has underpinned our strong foundations and will continue to drive us, as we work to build a caring, cohesive, collaborative organisation moving forward
5. How do you plan for your own ageing? What do you hope for in your golden years?
I hope to be happy, age well and be able to do the things I enjoy doing – jogging, volunteering, reading and travelling - and to be with my wife, family and friends. I want to do so in my home where I have stayed now for the past 10 years, and in the neighbourhood that I am familiar with. I want to be able to think ahead and plan my own future needs and plans, if I do need care, and be empowered to take care of myself, together with my wife. This is my hope.
6. What’s your biggest wish for all elderly in Singapore?
I hope that we will all be able to live well, age gracefully and with dignity and be enabled and empowered to live our golden years together with our family and friends as far as possible.
7. What’s your New Year resolution?
At the personal level, I would like to stay positive, take care of my family and health well. At the professional level, I will seek to listen, learn and lead, and continue to work hard for the purpose of AIC and our seniors.