Juanita Melson, who voiced the original announcements in MRT stations and trains between 1996 and 2008, died after a prolonged battle with cancer. The former radio deejay was in her early 70s.
The Radio veteran has been a programme manager with Rediffusion, one of Singapore's first cable radio stations. However, she was best known for the crisp voice of train announcements.
SMRT's vice-president for corporate information and communications, Patrick Nathan, said that the entire team is extremely saddened by Melson's passing. He noted that her recordings are still played on the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit network, according to Today Online.
"One of our SMRT colleagues who was at a recording with Mrs Melson recalls her friendly nature and her soothing voice. We extend our condolences to Mrs Melson's family," said Nathan, as reported.
Lush 99.5FM DJ Chris Ho also attributed his success to her. "We were at Rediffusion together. She was the English Programme Manager at the time. She was the one who submitted my show to the Australasian Broadcasting Arts & Sciences and I eventually got the Paters Award for Best Asia-Pacific Radio Personality, back in 1987. If she hadn't chosen my programme, I wouldn't have won the award," said Ho, according to the news website.
Gold 905 DJ Brian Richmond said, "She gives you that kind of feeling that she's got this motherly thing about her. I mean, anyone can feel proud to call her a mum. She cares about others and would always ask after you and what's happening." Richmond added that Melson was always seen with a smile and she was very efficient as a programme manager.
Today Online also quoted Musician Mel Ferdinands saying that Melson, being impressed by his great presenting voice, invited him to host a one-hour live programme on-air. "As a part-time presenter, Juanita trusted me enough to handle some high-level interviews with international artistes," said Mr Ferdinands, as reported.
"I'll always remember Juanita for her beautiful voice, her bearing, her kindness and her willingness to always help newcomers to better themselves through her trust and guidance," he added.
Passengers travelling by MRT trains were always greeted by Melson's voice from 1994 to 2008. She almost made all the announcements including those which alerted passengers to closing doors. Before her, the announcements were done by the present announcer, Chan Hui Yuh.