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20 minute read

Career Confessions: Grit, Gratitude and Gumption Helped Him Overcome His Physical Disability

His physical disability may have forced him to change careers, but Mr Hussen Bin Abdul Wahab didn’t allow his medical condition to bring him down. Instead, he took on the challenges in his stride, especially with the help of Aetos Security Management, which he dubs as his “second home”.  

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As he came into the room wheeled in by his wife, Rodziah Binte Ismail, Mr Hussen Bin Abdul Wahab comes across as a friendly, easy-going person. He smiled at the Workipedia by MyCareersFuture team and casually introduced himself and the work he is now doing at Aetos Security Management.

Mr Hussen is an amputee and has been working as an administrative assistant with the security company since February 2021. But this isn’t a company he’s recently worked for since his physical disability. In fact, Mr Hussen casually revealed that Aetos Security Management is practically his “second home” because he’s been part of the company since 1988.

“Most of my time is either at home or at Aetos,” he shared. “The treatment that they’ve given me has been very good. That’s why I’m still with Aetos.”

He started out as an auxiliary police officer, where he was on the ground guarding Singapore’s Changi International Airport. He described how Aetos was previously specialised in airport duty, so he was mostly doing aviation security in the beginning.

“Until I fell ill due to my diabetes, which resulted in my left leg amputation just above the knee,” he revealed.

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He was first diagnosed in 2003 with diabetes but was able to keep his condition under control and perform his auxiliary police officer duties. However, in 2020, while the world was battling the COVID-19 pandemic, his condition took a turn for the worse, and he had to amputate his left leg.

“So that’s where the challenges in my personal life started. I was, most of the time, in and out of hospital until my hospital leave was exhausted.”

He was unfortunately unable to work for about six months and was put on no-pay leave. At the time, his family was also facing challenges from a double retrenchment – his wife and eldest son were let go from their jobs due to the poor economy brought about by the pandemic.

Thankfully, Mr Hussen was rehired by the company in February 2021 when things settled down post-surgery. However, he was no longer able to perform his groundwork responsibilities because of his physical disability. With assistance from SG Enable’s Hospital-to-Work Programme, Mr Hussen was given the new job role of admin assistant and could successfully transition back to work.

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Aetos also assisted in making the workplace more accessible for Mr Hussen. The company applied for a Job Redesign Grant in December 2020 to modify the workplace to make the office more wheelchair friendly, including toilet facilities.

As Mr Hussen initially did fieldwork, there were some challenges with moving into computer work. Aetos then sent him to attend basic computer courses to learn new skills in the Microsoft Office suite of programmes. His current supervisor, Mdm Soh Yan Yim, has also been very patient and understanding in helping him to learn the ropes.

Ultimately, it’s because of his wife’s support, as well as her willingness to bestow her own IT knowledge, that has been the most help.

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Mr Hussen was also blessed with many good people in his life.

During the months he was unable to work, some of his long-time colleagues-turned-friends found out about his predicament. They sought assistance from HR and Aetos’ CEO Alfred Fox to start crowdfunding, from management to his peers, to help him in repayment for his years of service to the company. Altogether, they managed to pull together about $15,000 to assist Mr Hussen and his family.

“We survived on the money [my wife] got from retrenchment. At the same time, we survived on the crowdfunding by my friends and bosses. That’s why I’m really touched,” Mr Hussen expressed to the Workipedia by MyCareersFuture team.

He turned to his wife jokingly mid-interview, “Crying?” The room chuckled, but no one questioned if she was – because who wouldn’t be in their shoes?

“I would like to give my gratitude to all these good people at Aetos,” he continued, the emotion thick in his voice. “Especially DSP Mustapha Kamal, ASP Mazseni Sain and ASP Normarith Sabtu, and also Mr Josephus Chng and Mr Fox for their full support and trust until the present day.”

“I’m quite touched and thankful to all these good people, including all my friends.”

“I will remember this and treasure it for the rest of my life,” he said.

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