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Lunchtime Catch-Up with Azmi Mahmood, EXCO Member of AREU

In his free time, Azmi Mahmood loves to play golf. With several competitions under his belt, the humble soul still doesn’t quite call himself a professional golfer.


Azmi works at the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC). Boasting one of the largest memberships in Singapore, Azmi has been at SICC for more than 20 years—and perhaps this is also where he hones his chops at the game.

Brother Azmi Mahmood on the Singapore Island Country Club Golf Course

A familiar face in the country club, Azmi often wears a chirpy yet somewhat reticent look on his face. It is difficult to not to see why. At a time when country clubs in Singapore are seeing lesser memberships, country clubs, like SICC, are attempting to woo younger folks with new and modern proving offerings, beyond its prestige value.


While SICC has since redesigned its golf course, upgraded its tennis courts, and even opened a new clubhouse that boasts a virtual reality room, employees too need to upgrade to pander to the new direction.


For Azmi, who is an executive council member of the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU), this means he needs to be ready to upskill and help out whenever he can. Fortunately, the union has availed resources for him and his colleagues to diversify their skillsets to remain relevant (and thus, employable), enabling them to have the competitive advantage in the workforce.


As the country club transforms to new demands, so too must its workers. Because of folks like Azmi, also the 2018 Comrade of Labour recipient, who has aided his peers in his capacity as a union leader, SICC is lucky.


Over lunchtime, AREU’s content team caught up with Azmi, as he recounted his journey with the union. Read the full interview below.

Who would you like to play against one day?

Azmi Mahmood: The legend, Jack Niklaus! He’s the reason why I am with SICC.

How long has it been since you were part of SICC?

AM: For more than 25 years.

Who introduced you to AREU then?

AM: Brother Robert Teo, who was the SICC Branch Treasurer when AREU was under SISEU previously, before the formation of AREU.

Was it easy?

AM: There were some challenges understanding what unionism entails. I had help. 

Did you mean mentors?

AM: In a way, yes. I am grateful to have Brother Feng Liong and Brother Kuan Beng, both leaders in their own right, helping me get acquainted.  Our AREU Trustee, Sister Hui Fong and Council of Advisor, Brother Desmond Choo’s leadership also had a profound impact on me.

Azmi Mahmood driving the buggy at the Singapore Island Country Club

What’s it like working for the union in your free time?

AM: Empowering.

How so?

AM: You get to solve challenges and problems other workers face. There’s a sense of purpose doing so.

What skills are required for the job as a union leader? Why?

AM: Empathy because you’ve got to step into the shoes of other people. Most importantly, it’s being able to work as a team. You cannot work alone; you have got to collaborate with other people too. This very skillset has helped me resolve disputes and bridge gaps.

Having accumulated so much experience at work and within the union body, what are some advice you can give to youths?

AM: Building strong relationships with your colleagues and the management. Empathy and camaraderie go a long way.

That’s very true.

AM: But more importantly, you have got to do everything from your heart. In order to serve, it has to come from your heart.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

About AREU


AREU is one of the 58 affiliated unions of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). Formed in 2010, AREU is a progressive union that serves the workers in the attractions, resorts and entertainment sector in Singapore.

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