In The Force

Different ways to serve

The SCDF’s Data Analytics Specialist vocation offers a meaningful and enriching National Service that has set these two NSFs on tech-related career paths.


Emergency Medical Technicians and Fire & Rescue Specialists are typical examples of vocations associated with full-time National Service (NS) in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
However, there are many other options in the Lifesaving Force — one of which is Data Analytics Specialist with the organisation’s Transformation & Future Technology Department (TFTD). Here, full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are trained to assist in managing projects involving computing and data analysis.

LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde (front) and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail (back) working on their assignments in office.



LCP(NSF) Tay is part of a team working on an algorithm to support the SCDF’s Inventory Management System (IMS), which enables it to be more proactive and efficient in ensuring its lifesaving inventory is readily available.

“The IMS is an automated system that prompts officers in the Logistics Department that an item requires replenishment. The algorithm aims to reduce the chances of such shortages,” explains LCP(NSF) Tay, who has been working on the project since October 2020 — just four months into his posting at TFTD.

LCP(NSF) Tay adds that programming the algorithm to ensure the efficiency of the IMS requires weeks of academic research, system testing and evaluation.


Working on the Dynamic Resource Optimisation (DRO) is LCP(NSF) Mahadhir, who was posted to TFTD in January 2020. The DRO is a system developed by Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).

It aims to assist SCDF’s Operations Department and Emergency Medical Services Department (EMSD) in making strategic decisions to deploy emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, at different locations across Singapore. Doing so optimises the response times of ambulances to incident sites during an emergency.

“One recent simulation is for the EMS masterplan, which aims to increase the number of deployment locations across the island,” says LCP(NSF) Mahadhir. “The selection of the new deployment locations is based on historical data. Locations nearer to places with higher call loads will be given a higher priority — which means we will deploy more ambulances to that area.”


Before his posting to TFTD, LCP(NSF) Mahadhir was still exploring career options. It was during his stint with TFTD that he developed a keen interest in computer science. He is now planning to pursue a degree in computer science after serving his full-time National Service.

“Engineering is gearing towards the use of automated systems and big-data analysis. Python and Excel are vital software skills to have if you want to pursue a career in Engineering or Computer Science. The skills and knowledge we gain here in TFTD help us to think like data scientists, and prepare us well for future pursuits in our studies and career,” says LCP(NSF) Tay.

LCP(NSF) Tay has received a scholarship to pursue a degree in material engineering at the National University of Singapore and plans to subsequently do his master’s degree in data analytics. He adds that serving his NS in TFTD is not only meaningful and enriching but also provides him and his fellow NSFs an added advantage for their future endeavours.

In The Force

Handmade with purpose

Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) youth volunteer Cheong Yen Ee shares her motivation for volunteering and how she uses her crocheting skills to show her support for ex-offenders.


Crocheting has been a hobby of Ms Cheong Yen Ee, 22, since 2018 — and she’s so good at it that many of her friends have actually suggested that she start a small business selling her handicrafts. “Yet something always stopped me from pursuing this thought further,” she says. “Deep down, I knew I was doing this for a different purpose.”

When Yen Ee first started her needlework, she remembered looking at her piece of poorly-crocheted fabric and thinking that it looked to be a wasted effort. But she was able to unravel her mistake and slowly, lovingly and meticulously re-stitch the yarn. To her, that moment symbolised a new opportunity, a clean slate, a time to start over. She felt liberated knowing that everyone has a second chance.


Yen Ee may not fully understand how hard it can be to make a fresh start in life, but she was eager to help inmates and ex-offenders.

“I’m only 22 and I’m sure they are facing situations that are a lot harder than anything I can imagine. But I believe that the act of letting go and trying again is a collective effort. It is a laborious and tedious journey, but I hope that it will be one that gives hope to inmates and ex-offenders for their future,” she says.

Yen Ee contacted YRP to propose a collaboration with them and was connected to a team of dedicated YRP staff. She has been volunteering with YRP since February 2021.

Through a series of online lessons over the past months, Yen Ee worked with 36 volunteers from Singapore Management University and more than 50 inmates and ex-offenders from the Singapore Prison Service, halfway houses and shelters to teach them how to crochet yellow ribbons. She also created a tutorial video and conducted two Zoom sessions to train an additional 20 YRP volunteers for Project Crochet.


An ex-offender’s rehabilitation journey often involves unravelling what has been done and making a fresh start, just like in crocheting. In a joint effort with inmates, ex-offenders and YRP volunteers, YRP is aiming to create 5,000 Yellow Ribbon Pins for the Yellow Ribbon Crochet Project. These pins will be included in the DIY Yellow Ribbon Packs that will be distributed to partners and the public through various platforms. “We hope to motivate every Singaporean to join the Yellow Ribbon Crochet Project and to show your acceptance and commitment to support second chances with every stitch,” says Yen Ee.

Find out how Yellow Ribbon Singapore can help others gain a second chance.


Visit and for more information about their volunteer schemes or connect with the Home Team Volunteer Network on InstagramFacebook or TikTok.