Getting to know Rasidah  
Management Assistant Officer, Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases

Industry Experience: 20 years of Secretarial, Administration experience in various MNC’s including banking, telecommunications, architecture and media.

The Insider (TI): Why secretarial and administration?

Rasidah Rahman (RR): Being in this job means I am in a service position. My role is to make other people’s jobs easier, and this is usually no small task. Secretaries and Assistants have a long list of duties all their own to which they add the needs of their boss and sometimes their boss’ other clients. Without a talented  secretary, and capable assistants, most offices would simply fall apart. I love organizing and planning. It puts me into contact with diverse group of characters. I have met bosses of varying traits and expectations. It can be quite challenging at times, but what is life without challenges and risks? Being in this line has thought me to be more flexible and to be firm when there is a need to. I have also learned that often times, we tend to forget that listening is a very important skill. I strive to be an active listener so that I can understand what people want, execute my work efficiently, and reduce instances of miscommunication.

This is my motto in my line of duty:  Stay organized and detail-oriented; perform tasks quickly and efficiently; display a positive image for the company and smile throughout the day.

TI: If you were to give an analogy for what you do …

RR: Depending on task assigned, I could be the “caterer”, the “party planner”, or the “travel agent”.  There is no fix routine in my scope of duty as it really depends on what project I am involved in. On some days its feels like 24 hours a day is just not enough, but thankfully these kind of days are not common!

TI: Things that put a smile on my face are…

RR: (1) Running my fingers through centuries old artifacts, (2) Seeing the sun set in a quiet countryside & (3) Seeing the smiles of street children during my travels and being humbled by the fact that they could be so happy despite the adversity they face daily.

TI: A typical day would be …

RR: Wake up at 6.00am, and cook for my 2 teenagers, Harits and Sarah. Prepare them for school and then head to the office. The first things I do in the office are to clear my emails, return missed calls, and catch up on pending issues with my PIs. . Lunch hours are fun because I get to catch up with colleagues. The afternoons generally see the bulk of document-amending, so there’s not a lot to report here. The last half hour of my day is for putting together a to-do list for the next day and marking off those jobs that I have actually managed to finish. This not only allows me to feel that I have achieved something that day, but also allows me to think about the next day clearly.

TI: I wouldn’t trade places for the world because…

RR:There is such much to live for! Specifically I have been blessed with:

My parents

I'm thankful to be the daughter of two very loving, supportive people. My father is gone now but never forgotten and always loved. I know how much he adored me and how much my mom does, too. My parents enabled me to experience many things, regardless of how much they sometimes worried. They gave me everything they possibly could ... and even some things they probably couldn't.

Being a nice person

I'm hardly perfect, but it's good to know in my heart that I'm a kind person. I'll never intentionally hurt anyone. I don't believe in being mean. I hate to see anyone cry and love to see people smile. I  genuinely appreciate and care about people. Being able to laugh when the going gets tough.


Not an easy job, and not enough pay. I'm especially thankful for some of the great ones I've had.

The kindness of strangers

I love it when someone I don't know smiles at me or says or does something nice. The hard times: Because they've made me stronger and wiser, and the good times even better. Harits and Nursarah, my children for inspiring me in life and telling me I am the best MOM in the whole wide world!

Celebrating Hari Raya as a family

TI: Any tips you’d like to share with us…

RR: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”  Seneca 

Rasidah at Cleopatra's Beach, Egypt