3 min read
Aug. 8, 2022
Reflecting on a "life-changing" work stint at AWS
As two Singaporeans working at AWS in Seattle began their journeys home, they shared how working at AWS led to deep professional and personal fulfillment.
Written by Life at AWS team
Singaporean AWS software development engineer Peh Jun Hao enjoyed a potluck meal with other friends in Seattle on Aug. 9. The potluck meal is a Singaporean party favorite, where all in attendance contribute a dish to the gastronomic spread.
This is the last year Peh is celebrating his special overseas National Day tradition, as he is returning to Singapore in October after working for six years in the city that houses Amazon’s global headquarters.
When asked why he is coming home to Singapore, Peh said it’s because the Build-to-Order (BTO) four-room flat he had applied for five years ago is ready. Applying for BTO flats—public housing that is launched for sale prior to construction—is a rite-of-passage for young Singaporeans who are buying their first homes.
As he is getting ready to leave Seattle, he reflects on what he describes as a “life-changing” work stint.
“I like to ask myself every two years – are there new challenges I can work on? Is there anything more I can learn and do?”
Peh Jun Hao
software development engineer at AWS
Seeking to explore new opportunities, Peh joined Amazon in 2016 and moved from Singapore to Seattle.
“Joining Amazon was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because it’s a huge company with many chances to learn and contribute to different teams,” Peh said. “I like to ask myself every two years – are there new challenges I can work on? Is there anything more I can learn and do?”.
Peh has contributed to three teams in less than six years. First, he worked on merchant platforms for third-party sellers, then he moved on to boost the customer experience for gamers on the Luna Gaming platform.
He now works in the AWS Marketing Response Center team, where one of his responsibilities involves acting as a “bridge” for senior engineers in Seattle to the team in Singapore. He shares business updates and tech developments across Asia and other regions with the U.S. team, which helps AWS align on decisions as a global business to roll out solutions that benefit our customers.
Uplifting work that makes a difference
Just like Peh, his Singaporean colleague Lyanna Lim has spent five years in Seattle in a number of diverse roles. She is currently a senior technical product manager at AWS, where she and her team have worked on transformative deals with AWS’s largest enterprise customers. This includes implementing Database Freedom incentives for customers, a unique program designed to assist organizations to migrate from legacy, on-premises commercial databases to AWS cloud database systems and analytics services, by providing technical advice, migration support, and financial assistance.
“AWS builds technology that advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and creates sustainable solutions. I am proud to play a role in enabling this through the projects that I work on,” Lim said. “We have an impact on underserved markets, nonprofit organizations, government sector, startups, and many more.”
More recently, she cites how AWS stepped up its disaster response in Ukraine by bringing AWS Snowball devices (compute and storage hardware) to help the government secure, store, and transfer data to the cloud.
“Working at AWS is definitely challenging, but rewarding,” she said. “Seeing the far-reaching impact our work has is uplifting, and keeps me hyper-charged and motivated.”
Life as parents in Seattle
Beyond work, both Peh and Lim took on one of the most important roles of their lives while in Seattle: They became first-time parents.
“Giving birth away from home without the usual circle of family support was challenging, but right now I am loving every moment of spending time with Mira and watching her grow.”
Senior Technical Product Manager at AWS
Lyanna Lim and family
Lim gave birth to a baby girl, Mira, in May. “Giving birth away from home without the usual circle of family support was challenging, but right now I am loving every moment of spending time with Mira and watching her grow,” she said.
As for Peh, when his wife – a former marketing manager who accompanied him to Seattle – gave birth to their first child Gwen in April 2018, the new father supported his wife during his six weeks of paternity by churning out hearty, homemade meals for his wife including Singapore staples like chicken rice and Hokkien mee.
Even when he returned to work, he would cook lunch in the morning for himself and his wife. Sometimes, his wife would even bring Gwen—with lunch in tow—to eat together with Peh at work.
“We are able to work at different hours (at AWS),” he said. “Everyone here understands if you need to go off for your kid’s 4 p.m. soccer event.”
What’s the first thing he will do when he returns to Singapore?
“I’d probably enjoy a breakfast of kway chap!” quipped Peh, referring to the Singapore dish of flat rice noodles with pork cuts, including internal organs. “I can cook most other things, but I do miss home-grown authentic flavors!”