Leading the carnival life

Ms Linda Aziz will be at the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival giving visitors tips on how to score at the various games.
Ms Linda Aziz will be at the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival giving visitors tips on how to score at the various games.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Games manager Linda Aziz travels to theme parks and carnivals all around the world to do research for work

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Those going to the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival should look out for Ms Linda Aziz.

The 46-year-old games manager will be there giving visitors tips on how to score at the various games. Some involve shooting a ball through a hoop, using a ball to knock down pins or tossing rings onto bottles. Take her advice and you might walk away with prizes, such as a plush Star Wars or Toy Story character.

The Singaporean has worked at more than 30 carnivals in the last 15 years, in places such as Hong Kong, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Every few months, her job as a games manager at carnivals takes her to a different city and she relishes being able to travel, meet new people and experience different cultures.

The Stamford College graduate, who has a diploma in business management, worked in many other jobs before deciding the carnival life was for her. She has been a Pizza Hut crew member, an assistant restaurant manager at eateries Delifrance and Billy Bombers and a floor supervisor at a former bar and restaurant at Chijmes.

In 2002, she worked part time at a carnival in Woodlands and when it was time for it to pack up and move to Hong Kong, she went with it.

  • BOOK IT / PRUDENTIAL MARINA BAY CARNIVAL

  • WHERE: The Promontory, 11 Marina Boulevard, and Bayfront Event Space, 12A Bayfront Avenue

    WHEN: Till April 1, 4 to 11pm

    ADMISSION: Free. Credits for the rides and games start at $4 and can be purchased on-site or at http://marinabaycarnival.sg

With a business partner, she now co-owns a company which supplies toys that are given out as prizes at carnivals and provides the structures, equipment and decorations used to set up the stalls and operate the games.

While her job has taken her all over the world, it has also brought her home a few times, such as during the i Light Marina Bay event in 2016 and the Christmas Wonderland event in 2014.

At the Prudential Marina Bay Carnival, her staff operate 29 games stalls at The Promontory and Bayfront Event Space.

There, everything to do with the games stalls falls under her - from training staff and ensuring the stalls operate well to putting up the decorations.

Her late father was a security guard and her late mother was a housemaid. Ms Linda, who is in a relationship, has 11 siblings, including half-siblings, in their 40s to 60s, who work as shop assistants, seamen and yoga instructors, among other jobs.

The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival has received more than 250,000 visitors in its opening week.

1 How did you get into the carnival world?

I was working as a server in a restaurant and bar at Chijmes when one night, a group of customers came in. They told me they were going to organise a carnival in Singapore and that I should visit it when it opened. I eventually went to see the carnival and was wowed by its energy and sense of fun. Boldly, I asked if they were looking for part-timers and, as it turns out, they were. The rest is history.

2 Where do you get the toys from?

All the toys for this carnival are bought overseas and we start buying them a few months before the carnival opens. Most are from suppliers in Britain, although some also come from Hong Kong.

3 Any tips on acing carnival games?

Every game requires skill, so if you are a basketball player, you will likely be good at games that involve throwing balls into hoops. I guess you do need some practice to get such skills. But if anyone wants a few pointers, they can ask me. I will always be at the carnival.

4 What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part is being able to give a unique experience to people that they cannot get anywhere else. When a young kid wins a game, the smile on his face is something that words cannot describe.

The least favourite part of my job is the long hours. I work about 11 hours a day and am always at the fair during opening hours. Sometimes, I am there even when it is closed to handle administration or stock-take.

5 How do your family and friends feel about your job?

My late parents were very supportive of what I do and were thrilled that I get to travel with my job. This also makes me happy. My team travels to theme parks and carnivals all around the world regularly for research - finding out which games are popular and how they are organised.

6 Since you are away from home for long periods of time, do you miss Singapore?

I do. My family is here and I am thankful that this time, the carnival is here is for a longer period. This gives me more time to spend with my family.

Singapore also seems to change every time I come back. There seem to be more and more buildings and everything seems increasingly modern.

7 Would you ever consider leaving the carnival world for a regular job?

Oh no. I love my job. It lets me travel as we are only in one place for a few months at a time. And I like a nomadic lifestyle because it opens my mind and lets me meet people from other countries and cultures.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who brings joy to the lives of others. I hope I provide carnival visitors with some entertainment, good memories and an experience of a lifetime.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2018, with the headline 'Leading the carnival life'. Print Edition | Subscribe