Karisse Santos Arellano (inset), who works at Changi General Hospital in Singapore. Photos: Google Maps, Facebook/Karisse Joanne Santos.

Karisse Santos Arellano is a young medic who has won a lot of praise since she started working at a public hospital in Singapore – often just for her smile and happy demeanor.

The cheerful 29-year-old Filipina is a phlebotomist. Her job is to simply take blood samples from people – about 40 patients a day on average – but it’s a routine she seems to enjoy.

Arellano is welcomed by patients from different races because she is always smiling and chatting with patients, mostly elderly, according to a Lianhe Zaobao, which published an article about her on Monday.

Asked why she first decided to come to Singapore, Arellano said she used to do medical work in the Philippines but was keen to try a completely new work environment. The city-state’s good public order and security were attractive to her.

She has taken a lot of blood samples since joining Changi General Hospital in 2015, and while her task seems repetitive, the Filipina makes good use of the two minutes it takes to get a blood sample from patients, by interacting with them, especially elderly patients.

“They, especially the dementia patients, might throw a tantrum at the beginning. [But] after explaining the purpose of it, they are more cooperative,” she said.

“I also learnt some Chinese so that I can communicate with Chinese patients better,” Arellano said. “I love chatting with different people so I can understand other cultures.”

The Filipina now considers Singapore her second home. Like a local, she adds heavy spices into Hokkien mee, the popular local noodle dish, and without realizing she now speaks with a stronger “Singlish” accent, according to her family and friends in the Philippines.

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