In The Force

Putting others first

Meet Mr Choo Hock Hua, an active 75-year-old who enjoys spreading the word about crime prevention and caring for fellow seniors.


“Singapore is a safe country, but low crime doesn’t mean no crime”, says Mr Choo Hock Hua, 75, a Crime Prevention Ambassador (CPA) who has been volunteering with the National Crime Prevention Council for 18 years.  When asked what his motivation as a volunteer was, Mr Choo said he finds meaning in serving the community. “I see the role and function of the National Crime Prevention Council as a good cause to further enhance the safety and security of Singapore. Joining the CPA programme allows me to help spread the crime prevention message to Singaporeans,” he says.

As a CPA volunteer, Mr Choo helps to conduct crime prevention talks and organise crime prevention exhibitions to educate the community, especially senior citizens. He shares updates about criminal tactics and advises them on simple crime prevention measures to safeguard themselves. “For example, when they receive a suspicious phone call (that they) believe to be a scam, they should practice the: ‘Don’t Panic, Don’t Believe, Don’t Give,’ mantra,” he explains. Mr Choo and his team works closely with Central Police Station officers to conduct chit chat sessions with the elderlies, mostly in dialects. He would share crime prevention messages and distribute crime prevention brochures. The brochures highlight various crimes and their prevention such as online purchase scam, investment scam, impersonation scams and love scam. “I believe that by constantly chit chatting with the elderly, they would remember simple crime prevention message so as to protect themselves from being a victim of crime. In addition to volunteering as a CPA, Mr Choo also serves as a grassroots leader at the Chin Swee Residents’ Committee (RC), a role he has taken in for the past 20 years. He is thus very passionate about caring for the elderly.


Mr Choo giving a gift pack to an elderly resident after the flu injection exercise in December 2021.

CPAs are sometimes involved in non-crime prevention activities as well. During a flu vaccination exercise in December 2021, many senior residents had difficulty getting their shots due to mobility issues. Mr Choo and a team of CPAs, who are also grassroots leaders, visited their homes to assist with the flu shots, which were administered by certified nurses.

They also presented each senior with a gift bag of daily necessities prepared by the RC, which reduce the need for them to venture outside their homes after their injection. “Seeing the residents smile and nodding their heads in acknowledging our efforts made me feel proud and keeps me motivated to serve the community. I will continue to serve the elderly in Chin Swee as long as my assistance is required,” says Mr Choo.


Mr Choo tells Frontline that he intends to continue volunteering with CPA, and strongly encourages others to use their time for a meaningful cause. “Crime Prevention is everybody’s responsibility. It’s like brushing your teeth and washing your face; we need to do them daily,” says Mr Choo.

“Likewise, every day we must look out for one another in our family and neighbourhood. We should be wary of dubious get-rich-quick schemes and online that are too good to be true. This will help protect us and our family from becoming victims of crime.”

Mr Choo also highlights the importance of work-life balance when volunteering. “It is essential to plan ahead and have a contingency plan,” he says. “I am lucky to have a supportive wife and a team of helpful and cooperative grassroots leaders to help me whenever I am involved in CPA activities.”


The Crime Prevention Ambassador (CPA) volunteer was a scheme launched in 2002 by the Crime Prevention Council (CPC). The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting public awareness of and concern about crime and to propagate the concept of self-help in crime prevention.

The Council comprises representatives from the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as from the public sector and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). CPAs help to share and promote crime prevention messages to your peers and also the wider community.

Come and join Mr Choo as a CPA or as a Home Team Volunteer for a good cause today!

Find out more on how you can make a difference in your community and how other MHA volunteers are helping to keep their neighbourhoods safe.


Five fun facts about Total Defence Day

From the origins of this annual commemoration to why it’s even more relevant in present times, amid a pandemic. Here are some key points about Total Defence Day.



February 15 is a special day for all Singaporeans — and not because it’s the day after Valentine’s.

This significant date is when the country marks Total Defence Day, and annual commemoration that serves to remind us that every Singaporean has a part to play in defending the nation against threats, both military and non-military.

While you might have heard the Public Warning System signal sounding throughout the island at 6.20pm sharp every year on this date, how much do you really know about Total Defence Day?

Read on to find out more about its role in nation-building, and how it continues to bring Singaporeans together.


Spectators watching the mobile column that was a part of the 2020 National Day celebrations. A strong military supported by the wider community has been a key tenet of the Military Defence pillar.

The very first Total Defence Day was observed on Feb 15, 1984. The date was chosen as it was the day that Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942. It serves as a reminder that Singaporeans must be united and prepared to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.

While the chosen date is uniquely Singaporean, the concept of Total Defence Day was actually adapted from Sweden and Switzerland, according to the Ministry of Defence. Dating back to the time of the Cold War, Sweden’s Total Defence strategy was meant to ensure that the country could defend itself unaided, with every citizen allocated a role to play. Today, in light of international terrorist threats and ongoing regional challenges, Sweden has revitalised its Total Defence programme, to emphasise resilience in its non-military sectors and citizens. Similarly, after the September 11 attacks in the United States, Singapore’s own Total Defence was adapted to address the threat of terrorism, as well as other non-military crises such as natural disasters, pandemics and economic recessions

Switzerland carries out a nation-wide Security Network Exercise every four years to assess its own readiness. Like Singapore, Switzerland is a small country with limited resources that has to be self-reliant in matters of defence. Its aim for Total Defence is to ensure the whole of society – including educators, the media and food suppliers – can work together to secure the nation’s security objectives.


Safe-distancing measures were put in place throughout Singapore in the wake of COVID-19. The spreading of online falsehoods during the pandemic highlighted the importance of Digital Defence.

The original five pillars of Total Defence are Military Defence, Civil Defence, Economic Defence, Social Defence and Psychological Defence. 34 years later, the sixth pillar of Digital Defence was added to address new and growing challenges online such as malware, cyberattacks, fake news and disinformation campaigns.

As part of Digital Defence, Singaporeans are asked to be secure, alert and responsible online. This means practising good cybersecurity habits, being able identify fake news and instilling digital literacy in themselves and their community.

This was a timely addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic saw falsehoods and rumours spreading online and sparking panic buying, among other concerning behaviours. In fact, it was estimated that six in 10 people had received false information about COVID-19 online in the first few months of the pandemic alone. Digital Defence-related initiatives such as Tech Connect and the National Library Board’s S.U.R.E. work to help Singaporeans become more digitally-savvy and discerning.


Trade has long been one of the cornerstones of Singapore's economy. Economic Defence – the creation of a resilient, globally competitive economy – is in turn a key pillar of Total Defence.

The first five pillars of Total Defence correspond to the five arrows in the very first hand-shaped logo, which was the winner of a Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) competition in 1985, paired with the tagline “There’s a part for everyone”.

The addition of Digital Defence, however, necessitated a change of logo. In 2020, a revamp was announced. The updated version features six arrows pointing upwards to signify Singaporeans working together towards the common goal of protecting the nation, along with the crescent moon and stars from the Singapore flag. This time, the logo was chosen by the Singaporean public, with more than 30,000 people voting for their desired version. And in keeping with the logo, the new tagline is “Together we keep Singapore strong”.


Some might think that Civil Defence is similar to Military Defence, as both focus on protecting the country and Singaporeans. But while Military Defence involves deterring aggression from external sources, Civil Defence is not just about keeping the community safe. It also involves educating the public in rescue work, evacuation, first aid and damage control, so that everyone is empowered to help one another when in need. This allows our soldiers to fight without worrying unduly about their loved ones.

To do this, the SCDF carries out activities in schools, as well as sounding the ‘Important Message’ signal of the Public Warning System. This helps educate the public on the system’s different signals and what they mean. These Total Defence Day school activities include a Civil Defence Lionhearters Challenge, which sees students competing to show their proficiencies in fire safety, basic first aid and even rescue scenarios.


The COVID-19 pandemic was a true test of Singapore’s commitment to Total Defence. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen compared the COVID-19 virus to a war. He pointed out that it too disrupted almost all normal activities and threatened lives and livelihoods.

Since the pandemic’s outbreak, the Total Defence approach has served Singapore well. It prevented the healthcare system from being overwhelmed and has kept the death rate low thus far. The SCDF ferried COVID-19 patients to hospitals and retired healthcare professionals came back to help. The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Economic Development Board ensured supply chains were unbroken and vaccines were secured while members of the public volunteered to assist foreign workers quarantining in dormitories.

Despite the uncertainty of the last two years, Singaporeans have rallied – and with our shared commitment to Total Defence, we will continue to keep Singapore strong, together.


This year’s Total Defence theme is ‘Together We Keep Singapore Strong’ – but what can you do to practice Total Defence in the days leading up to February 15th?

For parents and educators, there are activity sheets for children of all ages, from preschoolers to secondary school students. You can download the activity sheets and the Educator’s Guide in order to explore the six pillars of Total Defence alongside your little ones.

To make a difference, contribute your ideas to the Total Defence Sandbox, which is welcoming initiatives to help educate Singaporean youth on the hybrid threats – such as fake news and cyberattacks – that have emerged in our complex world.

And if you’d like to try your hand at seeing how your choices and actions can affect the nation as a whole, check out the Total Defence Interactive Video – a first of its kind game that allows you to ‘choose your own adventure’ in how you approach Singapore’s defence.


Great movies for Valentine’s Day

Set the tone with one of these titles and have a memorable Valentine’s Day with the people who the matter most to you.



Chocolates, flowers and romance are all good, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t necessarily have to be just for couples. It’s also a chance to spend time with the people who matter the most to you, like family and the friends who’ve stuck by you through thick and thin.

Whatever the bond, what’s most important for a Valentine’s Day outing is time well-spent together. Watching a movie may seem dated, but sometimes old-school cool still works best.

Whether you plan to watch a romantic film with your significant other or something the gang or family can enjoy, here are some flicks that are worth adding to your watchlist.


Marry Me*

This one hits home for those of us heavily into celebrities and social media. Kat Valdez, played by Jennifer Lopez, is a reigning Latin pop star who learns via a social media post that her soon-to-be fiance is cheating on her. As she stands on her concert stage having just discovered this news, she spontaneously decides to marry a stranger holding a “Marry Me” sign….

Death on the Nile*

A murder mystery may seem like an odd choice for Valentine’s Day viewing, but this has plenty to offer the family. With its thrills and whodunnit premise, this Agatha Christie classic set on a luxury boat is a panacea for those missing their holidays abroad. Witness Kenneth Branagh direct and play Hercule Poirot – the famous detective – as he investigates a star-studded ensemble that includes screen goddess Gal Gadot.

My Best Friend’s Breakfast*

Can love really be found through another’s stomach – even if it was meant for someone else? A high school boy sends his crush breakfast every day, but the disinterested girl lets her best friend have it instead. This seemingly trivial act leads to misunderstandings, and eventually goes in a way none of these teenagers expect. Based on a true story that unravelled on social media, this heartwarming tale is burgeoning with whimsy and sweet nothings.

*If you’re heading to catch these releases at the theatres, HomeTeamNS members can enjoy 1-for-1 movie treats for screenings at Cathay Cineplexes. Share some love with your movie mate with a special F&B combo of a 22oz drink and medium-sized popcorn at just S$5 (U.P. S$9.50). This offer is available everyday – just present your membership card details at the counters.


If you’d rather chill at home, these streaming options should offer something for everyone.

Valentine’s Day

The title might make it an obvious choice, but the vignettes in this movie are truly a joy to watch for any kind of viewer. There are multiple arcs here that showcase the myriad types of relationships, and the light and easy writing makes this a fuzzy feel-good entry.

Date Night

The mix of mistaken identity and fish-out-of-water events promises plenty of comedic fodder. Throw in the comedic geniuses that are Tina Fey and Steve Carell and you’ve got yourself 90 minutes of enjoyable entertainment, shuttling furiously between slapstick and witty humour.  

Somewhere in Time

This is a timeless classic in more ways than one. The late Christopher Reeve plays the role of a writer strangely drawn to and besotted with a woman from the past. After ridding himself of all things modern, he attempts self-hypnosis to travel back in time – and succeeds. His love for the actress is in full bloom when the unthinkable happens. This one’s for the romantic diehards.

Moulin Rouge

The movie that spawned the classic song Come What May, visionary director Baz Luhrmann infuses genres into a kaleidoscopic spectacle of a love story. Starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in their first singing roles, the beautiful tragedy unfolds as an entertaining, vibrant and moving tale between courtesan and poet.

Warm Bodies

This is Edward Scissorshands for the modern age. In a world infested with zombies, one suddenly finds himself a little more “alive” after meeting a human girl. What ensues is a quirky romantic comedy that seems flippant at first but is actually rich with lovely meaning and the magic of love.

HomeTeamNS members can also enjoy exclusive screenings on selected Fridays to catch blockbusters like Spiderman: No Way Home.

An avid movie buff but yet to go for a movie screening with HomeTeamNS? Keep your eyes peeled for the next invitation or make use of your HomeTeamNS 1-for-1 movie perk and catch the latest release in the theatre anytime!

Here are some other great ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone.