When you think of Rozana Read, the words good vibes and relentless positivity comes to mind.
She has the ability to make you feel comfortable instantly, like you’ve set up a coffee date with an old friend. Easygoing and witty, she takes a carefree approach to life, even through recent challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic has splintered many industries, forcing companies to make difficult decisions like letting go of their beloved staff and crew. Rozana, part-time Retail Assistant at FairPrice Unity is one of the brave individuals weathering this storm.
Rozana used to organise the opening of hotels across Southeast Asia and has worked with names you’re likely to have heard of.
“I love the rush, the pressure to perform. It’s addictive.”
For 25 years, she would travel for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, every month, working on ground and under extreme pressure to train foreign staff, market the hotel and deliver results,
“I love the planning that goes behind it, the whole process of going to a foreign land to open a hotel,” Rozana shared, “In Danang, one of the hotel’s occupancy was at 3%. My boss gave me 3 weeks to raise it to 50% or I can forget about coming back to work. I love the rush, the pressure to perform. It’s addictive.”
Work was upbeat, with never a dull moment.
Life turned 180 for Rozana when the pandemic hit. She came home with news that she only had 4 days left at work. It was devastating but she knew she had to move fast to help her husband support her mother and their two daughters.
She quickly went on a job hunt and was fated with her current position at FairPrice Unity. Working in Unity may not be as colourful as her old job, but she appreciates the opportunity to meet new people albeit of a different clientele,
“When I told my family about losing my job, they were very supportive. My husband said, ‘It’s okay. Let’s just spend less and take this as an opportunity to rest at home,’” Rozana says, “He has always been supportive, even when going overseas for long periods of time was part of my career.”
Rozana is very close to her family, despite not being home often. It’s very clear that Rozana gathers strength from them, and it’s a blessing for her to have a life partner that would go through thick and thin with her. They are very affectionate, always hugging, kissing and bantering back and forth with inside jokes.
Rozana’s mother, in particular, saw the silver lining of her situation the most. It was a bittersweet feeling; she was sad for her daughter but felt happy that she’s now around more often to spend time with her daughters. In the past, the two girls barely saw their mother and spent more time with their father.
It’s quite interesting to see them being very close, especially with personalities on opposite sides of a spectrum,
“They have a Tiger Grandma. She’s strict and particular with them, so I’m much more carefree. I would bring them out to play and all of us would get scolded by her together when we come back,” Rozana laughed, “I’m not the kind to get hard up on grades too.”
Rozana is not putting too much hopes into the tourism industry to improve anytime soon, but if given the chance, she would love to be back at work on her passion.
Right now, she’s grateful that she gets to experience life differently from before and is determined to make the most of it.
Photos by Visual Artist, Lavender Chang