Monday, September 2, 2013

Leading “Double Lives” in a Balanced Way

There is Bruce Wayne and Batman, Clark Kent and Superman, and even Peter Parker has his alter ego Spiderman. These fictional superheroes lead fascinating double lives. Is it far-fetched to think that in reality, we can have an equivalent?

Well, meet Syafizah Binte Safii, an auditor holding the position of an Associate at Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, whose alter-ego is that of a sportwoman par excellence.

Yes, she is also a top level Hockey and Floorball player who graduated from the Diploma in Accountancy & Finance course in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).

Unlike Spiderman or Superman, she does not have a secret identity, but, like the well-known superheroes, she leads a life that we normally perceive to have two different faces to it.

Syafizah has played for the Jansenites Hockey Club, the Parisian Floorball Club, the Pink Flamingoes, and the NUS Titans FC to name just a few. Not only does she defy the stereotype that sports people are all brawn, but she proves that balancing the two contrasting lifestyles is more than possible.

Said the 2010 graduate, “During office hours, I audit listed clients’ financial statement figures. At night, I attend training sessions.”

And how exactly does she balance it? Is there a secret to it?

“I don’t think there is any secret in balancing work and sports. However, it is always important to set your priorities right. At the end of the day, it is about how much you are willing to go the extra mile to make everything work,” said Syafizah. “But no matter how busy I am, family is important as well. They are the ones who provide endless moral support.”

The 23-year-old is living with her parents.

During her studies here at NYP, she managed to successfully balance her studies and sports, thanks to her lecturers and classmates.

She explained, “During my NYP studies, my lecturers and classmates were very understanding and supportive. Whenever I was away for competitions, my classmates would offer to take down notes and my lecturers would offer consultations for me to catch up on lessons I have missed.”

She added, “It was very competitive in NYP’s School of Business Management. Every student strove to be the best in order to qualify for our local universities. It was no exception for me. My results were not fantastic, but seeing everyone around me working so hard inspired me to study even harder. This paid off because when my results were out, there was so much satisfaction.”

Auditing is, in Syafizah’s words, very taxing and time consuming work. This is especially true if the clients are large, financially-complex persons or organizations. But, working for one of the big four accounting firms in Singapore, this is perfectly normal!

Syafizah also organizes her free time meticulously. Her Tuesday nights are spent on floorball training and her Wednesdays on National Physical Training. No doubt, she is made of sterner stuff than most men!

“Nanyang Polytechnic taught me ownership and responsibility. Various situations pushed me to make tough decisions and to stand by them regardless what the outcome. It definitely prepared me for the future in many ways,” she said.

Even under this kind of work pressure and sports commitment, Syafizah manages to set aside enough time for friends and family.

“Since there is no training on Friday nights, I dedicate Fridays to catching up with my friends. Weekends will be for league games and family,” she said.

Syafizah is definitely not your idea of a conventional girl. Indeed, she is a super heroine... well, at least, my super heroine.

By Shawn Dabi, Year 1, Diploma in Accounting and Finance


Shawn composes various sorts of literature, from short stories to this article that you have just read. His spare time is spent on whatever novel he gets his hands on, gymming, listening to symphonic rock, playing video games, and of course, writing. He aspires to be a best-selling novelist and a successful accountant one day.

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