Close Up Featured

Meet the NSman of the Year 2022

Having patiently led a nursing home through an anxiety-fraught pandemic, LTC (NS) Marcus Lee proves that serving the nation is a life-long affair.



With the transition to DORSCON green, life is gradually returning to normal in Singapore. The wearing of masks on public transport is no longer mandatory. While some may forget just how scary and uncertain the early days of the pandemic were, those who had served on our frontlines would always remember this challenging period.

LTC (NS) Marcus Lee, a full-time Director (Operations) at Thye Hua Kuan (THK) Nursing Home, will never forget the anxiety that came with the pandemic.

“I joined Thye Hua Kuan Nursing Home in June 2021, as I find great meaning in its mission to serve seniors,” explains LTC (NS) Lee, who oversees all facilities and operations within the 285-bed nursing home in Hougang. “I’ve always had a fondness for public service. This role offered that and more.”

LTC (NS) Marcus Lee with colleagues at Thye Hua Kuan (THK) Nursing Home
LTC (NS) Marcus Lee with colleagues at Thye Hua Kuan (THK) Nursing Home

LTC (NS) Lee’s job became more complex during the pandemic, given the potential panic and anxiety that accompanied the spread of Covid-19 in nursing homes in other countries. “Taking cues from such incidents, we were in our own ‘lockdown’ to minimise the risk of an outbreak here at THK,” recalls the 46-year-old.

The dynamic situation constantly challenged LTC (NS) Lee to consider the worst-case scenarios and draw up contingency plans to mitigate them in advance. He credits his eight-year stint as a career officer in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for his strong foundation in contingency planning and emergency preparedness. “I spent my time in the Search and Rescue Battalion (now Special Rescue Unit) and was also seconded to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a staff officer. These postings were instrumental in helping me to strategise for contingencies.”

Despite the constantly-evolving pandemic situation, thinking outside the box was crucial to instilling a sense of normalcy at THK Nursing Home. “We had to be very sensitive to the needs of our residents at all times. We not only have to take care of their physical and health requirements, but also their emotional needs,” says LTC (NS) Lee. Many of the residents had wanted to see their families, but were unable to do so due to the prevailing Covid-19 measures. To get around this problem, LTC (NS) Lee and his team became creative. “We shared roving iPads that allowed the residents to stay digitally connected with their families and loved ones, while minimising their risk from COVID-19,” he recounts.


The stringent precautions had helped THK Nursing Home to remain safe from the virus, until the surge of the Omicron variant in late 2021. “At that time, there was great unease among our staff, as they were concerned about our residents’ welfare,” LTC (NS) Lee explains as he recounted the detection of the first Covid-19 case at THK Nursing Home in October 2021. “At that time, the safety measures required nursing homes to deliver Covid-19 test samples to the laboratory by themselves.”

To allay the concerns of his staff, LTC (NS) Lee volunteered to ferry the samples in his own car. “Of course, I was nervous about how it might affect my family, including my parents,” he shares. “But I had to lead the team by example.” In addition,  LTC (NS) Lee also ensured strict adherence to the infection control measures, such as the donning of personal protective equipment (PPE) and thoroughly disinfecting his car after the journey. He adds, “In situations like this, your team looks to you for guidance and above all, leadership.”

In recognition of his efforts to combat the pandemic, LTC (NS) Lee was awarded the Public Service Medal (COVID-19) 2022. He will also be named the Home Team NSman of the Year at the SCDF Appreciation Dinner in April 2023, to commend his commitment to serving the nation. To LTC (NS) Lee, leadership requires a “people first” philosophy when working with his colleagues. “One important thing that SCDF taught me is this — if you build strong  bonds with your team, you will be able to overcome any challenge together.”

Heroes among us

Introduced in 2007, the Home Team NSman of the Year Award accords greater recognition to Home Team NSmen for their contributions and achievements towards NS. The award ceremony for the Home Team NSman of the Year 2022 Award will take place on 14 April 2023 at the Istana.

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Close Up Featured

A baptism of fire for this Home Team NSF, literally

SCDF NSF SGT1 Jovian Ng has always held an affinity the Home Team, from his stint in the NPCC to his current role fighting fires with the SCDF.



SGT1 Jovian Ng isn’t likely to forget the incident on 6 December 2022, anytime soon. After their morning drills at the Brani Marine Fire Station, his unit was called to put out an engine fire on a vessel in Singapore’s southern waters. It was a staggering mission that took the team two-and-a-half hours to complete.

“It was the first time I had helped to put out a fire,” says SGT1 Ng, who supported the operations as a member of the feeding team that provided hoses to a unit manoeuvring the nozzle.

Days like this are strenuous to say the least – their shift doesn’t end immediately after a blaze is contained. In fact, it continues until the end of the 24-hour shift. Not that he’s one to grouse. “It’s something we do to keep our country safe and I’m glad I have the chance to help.”


SGT1 Ng, who enlisted in July 2021, has always held an affinity for his current role in the Home Team. He had joined the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) as a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) in secondary school, and had initially hoped for a posting at the Singapore Police Force (SPF) during his National Service (NS) days. But he was equally pleased to be accepted by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) instead. “Either way, we’re making a difference to the country,” he says.

The born leader credits his time at NPCC and later, his polytechnic student group, for shaping his career path. These experiences led him to SCDF, where he is an NSF Section Commander and a Navigation Specialist. In the latter role, he is responsible for assisting and operating the navigational equipment aboard firefighting vessels.

Because of his natural leadership abilities, SGT1 Ng was selected as part of the first batch of NSFs who attended the Port Limit Steersman Course. The course equips participants with the knowledge and practical skills to steer marine vessels through various ports. With this certification, SGT1 Ng can go on to work in the marine sector, although he tells Frontline that he has no current plans to pursue this option. “After I (reach my) ORD (Operationally Ready Date), I’ll be heading to Canada to study finance and economics,” he shares.


SGT1 Ng is an avid runner who used to compete in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m events as a student.

But it’s not just marine and firefighting skills that SGT1 Ng will take away from his NS stint. He believes that his time in service has also honed his people skills, specifically through his appointment as an NSF peer support leader who oversaw the wellbeing of his peers. Furthermore, the 22-year-old has grasped several important principles related to leadership. For example, he says he understands that different personality types are partial to varied leadership styles. “So it’s important to learn how each person works instead of just commanding them straight away,” he adds. Such lessons were gleaned through spending time with his charges, from physical fitness activities to more social interactions.

An avid runner, SGT1 Ng particularly enjoys opportunities to bond with his men through fitness activities. “There’s something about a run that builds a bond with a leader and his men, as you feel like you’re all doing something together as equals,” explains the former track and field school team member. “My events were the 400m, 800m and 1,500m races,” he recounts, adding that he continues to run leisurely every week.

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It has been 10 years since SCDF assumed marine firefighting duties from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. The Force has led numerous enhancements since then, including the introduction of state-of-the-art fireboats and the construction of new marine fire stations.

The fire SGT1 Ng and his teammates fought is by no means the first time the SCDF has been called to fight maritime fires. Looking back on 30 May 2022, the SCDF was called into action when a boat that was docked at Marina at Keppel Bay caught fire. The fire was extinguished after about one hour with assistance from a water monitor from the Maritime Port Authority.

Close Up Featured

Complex problems don’t faze this HomeTeamNS Children’s Education Award recipient

Math whiz and HomeTeamNS Children’s Education Award recipient Mohamad ‘Afif Bin Mohamad Satari overcame personal challenges during the pandemic and still found time to serve the community.



On 8 December 2022, HomeTeamNS commemorated the achievements of its members’ children at the HomeTeamNS Children’s Education Award (CEA) ceremony held at Cathay Cineplex Cineleisure. The CEA recognises the efforts of primary- to tertiary-level students and aims to motivate them in their educational journey through bursaries. Among this year’s 80 recipients is Mohamad ‘Afif Bin Mohamad Satari. The 20-year-old is the only son of Mr Mohamad Satari Bin Sumar, a Home Team NSman who served his National Service (NS) with the Singapore Police Force in 1980.

‘Afif performed outstandingly in his General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-Level Examinations in 2021, despite setbacks experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. His first year in Raffles Junior College was marked by Home-Based Learning, which entailed late-night discussions with peers and a lack of physical interaction with his tutors. As a result, time management was crucial for ‘Afif, who had to juggle lessons, homework, discussions and revisions, while getting ample rest. Thankfully, he overcame those hurdles. “Of course, I could not have done it alone. This was only possible through the support of my family and peers, as well as the guidance of my tutors, which I am forever grateful for,” he said.

Academics aside, ‘Afif has proven to be an all-rounded student with a heart of gold. As a member of his school’s guitar ensemble, he and his teammates participated in the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation, where they earned the Certificate of Distinction. On top of his achievements, ‘Afif also devotes time to giving back to the community. In total, he’s spent 43 hours volunteering as an orientation group leader as well as participating in community club programmes.

“I was taught from a young age to always give back to the community, especially the less fortunate. It feels good when I can make someone’s day better and put a smile on their faces. The little things I do could be of great help to others,” he shared.


Mohamad ‘Afif Bin Mohamad Satari (centre) has received tremendous support from his parents, Mdm Sarimah Ali (left) and Mr Mohamad Satari Bin Sumar (right), in his academic pursuits.

‘Afif’s outlook in life is inspired by his parents, Mr Satari and Mdm Sarimah Ali. “We’ve always advised ‘Afif to respect others, regardless of age. Even now, we remind him to stay humble and reflect on his roots. He should remember all the support he has received and pay it forward,” shared Mr Satari.

The family comes from a humble background. Tutored by his mother, ‘Afif received financial support for his education through scholarships and bursaries, including HomeTeamNS’ CEA. “The CEA has definitely been a great help especially during COVID-19, and we appreciate the book vouchers and monetary award that we’ve saved for his tertiary education,” said Mr Satari.

With the support of his nurturing parents, it’s perhaps unsurprising that ‘Afif would excel in his studies. The couple encouraged his interest in science and mathematics, the latter for which he grew a fascination as a toddler. From playing with clothes pegs, blocks and an abacus, the young boy progressed to learning simple addition, subtraction and multiplication from Mdm Sarimah.

“Mathematics is a very wide-ranging subject. It can involve an abstract concept like pure mathematics, or be applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering. I love to slowly unravel the answer to difficult questions and puzzles. The process is very satisfying and at times mind-boggling,” explained ‘Afif.

As soon as he reaches his Operationally Ready Date (ORD) as a platoon medic for the 8th Battalion in the Singapore Infantry Regiment (8SIR), the scholarly adolescent will be furthering his studies at the National University of Singapore’s College of Humanities & Sciences.

As he looks towards a new phase in his educational journey, he advises his peers to always believe in themselves, against the odds.

“Never let failure be a setback to future success. Always remind yourselves yourself that it is just another challenge. Look back on a seemingly impossible hurdle that you once overcame and tell yourself that you can do it again. It is important to realise that you are not alone in your journey. Your family and friends will be there for you in your time of need, and you can rely on them for anything.”

More than 2,600 children of HomeTeamNS Ordinary Members have benefitted from the CEA since its inception in 2004. With CEA, we hope to reward and celebrate families, and encourage students to excel academically. For the latest updates on the applications, visit our website or Facebook page.

Close Up Featured

Protecting communities round the clock

Cybersecurity matters: How DAC (NS) Ng Sy Jang keeps communities safe, through his National Service role in the Singapore Police Force and his full-time job.



Security and safety are big themes in DAC (NS) Ng Sy Jang’s life. By day, he serves as an IT Security Researcher at DSO National Laboratories (DSO), Singapore’s largest defence research and development organisation. But the 49-year-old’s efforts to keep Singapore safe don’t end there: He also does this as the NS Commander for the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Crime Investigation Department (CID).

DAC (NS) Ng’s journey with SPF began in the late 1990s, when he signed on following his National Service (NS). It was an exciting time as technology was quickly changing the way they operated. He explains how the widespread presence of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) has been a gamechanger: “Back then, if we wanted to catch a loan shark runner, we would have to wait at the victim’s home to catch them in the act. But we don’t need to do that anymore, since we can rely on CCTV footage to help us.”


Technology has also made it easier for the public to reach the police. For instance, the SMS 71999 Service allows members of the public who require emergency assistance to text the police when it is not safe to call ‘999’ or when they are unable to speak. Police reports can also be easily filed online.

But with the advancement of technology comes the risk of cybercrime. The SPF reported 22,219 such cases in 2021, a 38 per cent increase from 16,117 cases in 2020. These cases include online scams and cyber extortion, which can affect both civilians and the SPF.

“Cybersecurity is a matter of concern for everyone, both inside and outside of the Force. It’s important that we follow good tech practices, such as changing our passwords regularly, so that we do not fall prey to such crimes,” advises DAC (NS) Ng, whose full-time role in IT security gives him an edge in understanding tech issues. “At work, we have the tools and know-how to find out what different kinds of malware do and how best to detect and thwart them.”


In his present role as NS Commander of the CID, he leads over 160 NSmen, more than half of whom are in its disaster victim identification group. “In the event of a mass casualty event, these men will assist the regulars in identifying victims using dental records and fingerprints,” explains DAC (NS) Ng. “The current NSman batch is being trained to learn how to carry out their duties and how to handle and identify bodies and body parts.”

Four members of his team were involved in Exercise Mayday, which concluded in June 2022. This exercise simulated a plane crash, with dismembered “bodies” lying around. It trained DAC (NS) Ng’s men to react to such situations and taught them how to handle body parts with care, so that they could later be used in victim identification.

“During a mass casualty event, families will report missing loved ones to us and provide certain identifying traits — a ring or mole, for example, which will be keyed into a system. This will then be matched against the body parts found to help us speed up the process of identifying victims,” explains DAC (NS) Ng.

He admits that some might find the task challenging but says that the unit’s focus on team spirit and collaboration helps get the job done. “All the unit’s leaders try to build rapport with the team and lead by example so we can ensure mission success. It’s an unenviable but necessary task.”

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DAC (NS) Ng shares tips on maintaining good cybersecurity:

  • Don’t share your password and ensure it’s long enough and unique.
  • Don’t click on links from unknown sources.
  • Don’t download apps from untrusted sources.
  • Do be more vigilant and aware of tactics used by scammers.
Close Up Featured

Meet the SCDF NSman who’s rock climbing to new heights

LTA (NS) Khairul Asyraf Khan Surattee discovered rock climbing in his late teens but and he hasn’t looked back since.



To better understand how much stronger LTA (NS) Khairul Asyraf Khan Surattee became after he started rock climbing in junior college (JC), just look at his pull-up record. While he used to do six pull-ups, that has since swelled to 30, he says.

But the 27-year-old didn’t pick up the sport to gain muscle or physical prowess. He just thought it would be an interesting sport, he recalls. “Like many other boys, I grew up crazy about football. I would play every weekend with my father and I thought I would naturally go into football during JC.” But he found out early in his time at Serangoon Junior College that he was in one of the five schools that offered rock climbing as a co-curricular activity. “I thought, why not just give it a try?” he says.

That began a decade-long love affair with rock climbing that continued through his National Service stint, during which he served at Tampines Fire Station. He remains with the 2nd SCDF Division as an NSman, serving as a Deputy Company Commander in the 21 Rescue Unit. Rock climbing was also a passion when he enrolled in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to read accountancy and business – he even became the president of NTU’s mountaineering club.


His rock climbing adventures had been confined to man-made spaces like climbing walls and boulder parks. Having gained confidence in his abilities, LTA (NS) Khairul began venturing into rock climbing at natural areas. “Most local climbers would know about the climb at Dairy Farm,” he says, referring to a quarry in Singapore that offers climbs of up to 28 metres.

He has also travelled to Southern China to climb. His most memorable climb was during his university days when he competed in the Overall National School Bouldering Championship “V Division – Boys Team” event and was crowned champion twice.


When asked about what drives his passion for the sport, LTA (NS) Khairul points to its unique blend of mental and physical effort. Contrary to popular belief, climbers don’t just climb to the top—they follow different routes and paths that can differ dramatically in difficulty.

“You may have to figure out how to make it from one point to another, even on a rock wall. That’s a lot of problem-solving and split-second decision-making, which is thrilling,” explains LTA (NS) Khairul, who works in the digital content and strategy arm of a global bank.

It’s no wonder then that he defines a “good climb” as one filled with challenging routes. But he adds that although it may seem like a solitary sport, rock climbers also benefit from having supportive friends. “I still meet a few friends whom I started climbing with in university every few weeks to climb for a few hours before we catch up over dinner. It is a great way of keeping our friendship going.”

And it’s not just old friends who brighten LTA (NS) Khairul’s experience. “The rock-climbing gyms I go to are buzzing with positivity; people are always cheering one another on, even amongst strangers,  and this creates a really warm environment for everybody to climb in.”

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“I’ve had nine years of injuries because of rock climbing,” jokes LTA (NS) Khairul, who was recovering from a wrist injury when we spoke. “I’m still not fully recovered yet, so I can’t wait to heal and get back to climbing.” Here are some tips for avoiding an injury if you decide to pick up rock climbing as well:

  • Warm up
  • Know your level (and stick to it). Don’t be too ambitious on your first attempt.
  • Rest sufficiently between attempts.
  • Climbing works very specific muscles, and many common injuries are caused by muscular imbalances. Finish every session by training the opposite muscles—good exercises to consider include push ups and reverse wrist curls.
Close Up

The dashing hero

HomeTeamNS REAL® Run participant, 57-year-old Kalaichelvan Ramachandran, has been ‘going the distance’ since he was a teenager and has inspired his children to take up the sport too.



Running is not just Mr Kalaichelvan Ramachandran’s lifelong hobby – it is also a passion that he’s proud to have passed down to his three adult children, who took up the sport when they were still young.

Mr Kalaichelvan, known as Kalai, started running cross-country races in secondary school. During his National Service stint, he continued to take part in marathons. Today, he runs twice a week for leisure, going up to three or four times when he is in training for a specific event – such as the HomeTeamNS REAL® Run, which he has taken part in an impressive 25 times.

With the physical race having taken place on 8 October 2022 at Gardens by the Bay, REAL® Run is currently holding a 10km Virtual Run for those who missed out on the earlier physical event.

The REAL® Run 10km virtual run 2022 allows participants to complete the given distance at their own time, pace and running route between 25 October 2022 to January 2023. All that’s needed is to register for the run – the last day to do so is 31 December 2022 – and send in a screenshot of your running app showing the date, time of run and the distance covered. Finishers receive an exclusive The North Face T-shirt and a 20-litre canvas bag, worth a total of S$59.


Mr Kalai and his daughter Divyaa after completing their events at the Yellow Ribbon Run 2012.

As a young man, Mr Kalai found running to be a rewarding hobby as he enjoyed beating the goals he set for himself: “Each time I clocked a new personal best, I wanted to keep improving it.” Now a spry 57, Mr Kalai – who works in the freight forwarding industry – has seen how running has enriched not just his own life, but also strengthened the bond between him and his children, two boys aged 25 and 19, and a girl aged 23.

Mr Kalai first introduced his children to running by enrolling them in age-appropriate races.

“They enjoyed running with other kids, so they looked forward to the events,” he recalled. “They wanted to run in order to keep fit. That’s the lesson I want to pass down to them – that running helps you lead a healthy lifestyle.” Running also helped him to maintain focus as a parent, despite all the pressures of daily life: “Running is a form of relaxation for me. On days that I am particularly stressed, I go for a run so that I keep my frustrations away from my kids.”

Mr Kalai has since ran in several events with his children, including a full marathon with his older son and two Yellow Ribbon Races with his daughter. Each event he and his children participate in creates new opportunities for bonding, he says. “Knowing that my kid is running in the same event as me is inspiring,” he reflected. “If we have an event together, I remind my children to train for it, and we run together a few times before the event. On the event day itself, although we may not be running side by side, we go down to the event together and return home together.”


Mr Kalai at REAL® Run 2004, where he represented Central Police Division during his National Service stint.

One of Mr Kalai’s favourite runs is the HomeTeamNS REAL® Run, which he participates in alongside his friends from a wide array of backgrounds and races. “When we used to train for REAL® Run races in Sentosa, a few of us from different walks of life would meet to have breakfast together on a lorry that was driven by one of the runners,” he reminisced.

While he finds the virtual REAL® Run – first held in 2020 – to be slightly less interactive compared to a physical race, he still embraces the challenge of completing the 10km on his own: “It has proved to me that running can be done anywhere and at any time. I find it rewarding that I can still run together with my friends for this event.”

When he is not training for events, Mr Kalai enjoys the social aspect of running – and has also started doing good with every step. “I am currently a member of a social running group known as the Thaarumaaru Runners, which is known not only among the Indian community but by many Singaporeans too.”

Originally founded in 2017 to encourage fitness among the Indian community, the Thaarumaaru Runners have expanded their activities to include helping others. “We are also a socially responsible group, as we have done fund-raising events,” he shared.

Besides connecting him to people, running has taught Mr Kalai more about his own strengths and resilience. Despite a slipped disc in 2010 that took him out of action for a year, he is proud to say that he is still capable of running long distances, while maintaining his previous timings. “I have realised that any injuries can be recovered from with good rest. They don’t have to hold me back from continuing in the sport after I recover,” he said. “I also feel that as an active person, we recover quicker from injuries in comparison to less active people.”

If Mr Kalai’s lifelong love affair with running has inspired you to participate in the HomeTeamNS Virtual REAL® Run for the first time, he has some useful tips for newcomers to the event. “When planning the route to run, try to follow those that offer the most realistic experience – including tarmac, beach and trail terrain. Also, form groups with friends who have the same interest, and run together.”

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Close Up

How National Service laid a strong foundation for Zheng Ge Ping’s later success

Zheng Ge Ping’s National Service stint with the Home Team shaped his positive outlook in life and equipped him with lifelong skills that served those around him well.



With his cheerful and approachable disposition, Mr Zheng Ge Ping, 58, has built many lasting friendships since he joined Mediacorp in the 1980s.

“Even though I’m 58, I still feel young at heart. I’m able to communicate well with the younger generation, who see me as an approachable person instead of an old uncle. Just like how I treat my son and daughter as my friends, I’m also able to work well with younger colleagues,” said Mr Zheng.

Mr Zheng credits his excellent interpersonal skills to his National Service (NS) stint in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in 1982. “SPF made us grow and see things from a different perspective as we faced the public and attended to new cases,” said Mr Zheng.


When shooting police dramas, Mr Zheng's NS background allows him to help the production team ensure that police procedures are depicted accurately.

For instance, when handling family disputes as a police officer, he learnt to be impartial and listen to everyone’s stories instead of jumping to conclusions or making a quick judgement about a person or the situation. “When we are young, we tend to be very blunt and vocal. It’s better to listen first and think twice before saying anything,” Mr Zheng explained.

The interpersonal skills he picked up at SPF also served him well when he entered the entertainment industry, which is known for being people-oriented. “During a shoot, there are many people from different departments who are involved so I used what I learned at SPF to understand people and their different perspectives,” said Mr Zheng.

His NS background also came in handy when he was filming police dramas – he was able to help the production team ensure the police procedures in the script were accurate. He further adds on “And I always feel proud to be in uniform. It’s as though my relationship with SPF has remained till this day!”


Mr Zheng was able to apply the skills he learned from SCDF on set, to assist those in need.

During the last two months of his NS stint, Mr Zheng was transferred to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), where he picked up medical and first aid skills. He realised the importance of these skills when he was mobilised for the Hotel New World collapse rescue efforts.

In various occasions, he was also able to put them to good use during his acting career. “Once when we were filming in Pahang, one of my stuntman broke his elbow. I helped to put on a wooden splint for his elbow and straighten his elbow before the ambulance arrive,” shared Mr Zheng.

He further shared that having acquired those skills in the SCDF also impressed on him its importance during emergencies.


A still from Deleted, in which Mr Zheng plays a Malaysian police officer.

In his upcoming movie entitled “Deleted”, Mr Zheng plays a Malaysian police officer whose daughter has been kidnapped by a human trafficking ring. His pursuit of the traffickers causes one of them to be grievously hurt and he was jailed for his actions.

Mr Zheng said the original plot that he co-wrote with one of his directors was meant to narrate the story of an undercover police officer.

But after speaking to nine NGOs, Malaysian police officers and an ex-Interpol police officer, Mr Zheng and the production team decided to revise the plot. “Human trafficking is actually a very serious crime outside of Singapore. So, we want to raise more awareness on this issue,” said Mr Zheng.

As a fitness enthusiast, Mr Zheng works out regularly, which helped prepare him for his role in the movie. “I trained rigorously for my role, and I also watched my diet. I performed my own stunts and I sustained several injuries, which was inevitable. We wanted to make the movie look real,” said Mr Zheng. 

All in all, he felt that the efforts were worthwhile as very few police action movies are being produced in Singapore, and it also raised the spotlight on human trafficking.

HomeTeamNS Exclusive Movie Screening will be screening Deleted on Nov 4 at Cathay Cineplex Cineleisure. 

An avid movie buff? Download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to enjoy the 1-for-1 movie tickets perk at Cathay Cineplexes all day, every day!

5 tips on healthy living and keeping fit

Mr Zheng embarked on his body transformation regime in his 40s. He wanted to stay healthy and keep fit, which was also crucial for his acting career. His perseverance and healthy body image inspired many people to follow in his footsteps. He shared some of his healthy living and fitness tips with Frontline:

  1. Workout on alternate days. You can target different muscle groups, such as the abs, chest and shoulders, on different days.
  2. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down. Before you start working out, warm up your body and muscles with a light jog or some dynamic stretching. Cool your body down with a good post-workout stretch.
  3. Rest days between workouts reduces the risk of injuries, helps in body system and muscle recovery as well as muscle building.
  4. Eat clean on your rest days. Eat more eggs, chicken and other meat, and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and sodium.
  5. Do not go to extremes, and moderation is key. Mr Zheng shared that intensive and prolonged clean dieting can sometimes affect one emotionally. Intensive workouts without proper guidance and system can also result in injuries. Do consider engaging a certified personal trainer if one wishes to kick-start a serious workout regime.
Close Up

A lasting legacy of service, for the SCDF, family and country

Inspired by his parents and spurred by a sense of duty, LTA Dev S/O Subramaniam’s policy work is helping to leave a lasting impact for future NSFs.



The audience at the 25th Rota Commander Course (RCC) Commissioning Ceremony was decked out in a sea of colours. But one audience member stood out in his well-starched No. 3 uniform: 1WO Subramaniam of the Republic of Singapore Air Force beamed with pride as he watched his 20-year-old son Dev become a commissioned officer of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Two months on, LTA Dev still remembers the day vividly. “Tears welled up in my eyes as my dad buttoned the Lieutenant epaulette on my shoulder,” he recalls. “I became more emotional when he saluted me.” The moment was even more special since 1WO Subra had once challenged LTA Dev before his enlistment to the SCDF. “He challenged me to get selected for the RCC course when it didn’t seem likely that I would, since my PES (Physical Employment Standard) status then was B2.”

An NSF’s PES status is assigned based on their medical condition. It is one of the considerations that determines their vocation during NS.


LTA Dev still vividly remembers his father pinning on his epaulettes after his commissioning parade.

LTA Dev overcame the fitness hurdle, determined to do his best. “Being an only child, I’m very close to my parents; I owe a lot to them,” he explains. His mother gave up a career as a legal secretary for one in the real estate sector. This gave her the flexible hours she needed so she could care for him while his father served in the Republic of Singapore Air Force for the past 33 years. It’s from the latter that LTA Dev gets his fierce patriotism and determination to excel. “My mother has also been a tremendous cheerleader through it all.”

Their support was crucial during the RCC – a rigorous, seven-month programme designed to inculcate critical leadership qualities and lifesaving skills in SCDF officers who will take on frontline duties. LTA Dev remembers booking out exhausted, both mentally and physically. During those times, his parents’ unwavering confidence in him kept him going. “They would say: ‘If there’s anyone who can do it, it’s you’.”


LTA Dev appreciates the wider impact his work will have on fellow NSFs.

Over his two years in the Force, LTA Dev has attended many other courses, from the Section Commander Course to the Fire Fighting Course. But he maintains that the RCC is the most enjoyable. “Each training course has a unique focus: The Fire Fighting Course naturally focuses on the hands-on aspect of civil defence, while the Section Commander Course emphasises on leadership.” LTA Dev enjoyed the RCC’s emphasis on seeing the bigger picture and public presentation skills. “I also loved that we were training with different people, including female officers and regulars. The experience taught me how to interact with people from all backgrounds.”

Those lessons come in handy in his present role in the Office of the Director of the Civil Defence Academy (CDA), where he works closely with the facility’s director, AC Alan Chow. LTA Dev supports the unit when it hosts visits from foreign delegations, most recently from Brunei and Japan. He also helps with training audits and works closely with the CDA’s discipline and safety branches.


Does he miss being at the frontline? “Many people have asked me that before and I definitely miss the thrill of lugging a 64mm-diameter hose up a stairwell or scaling the side of Marina Bay Sands,” he shares. “But since young, I’ve been very drawn to administrative work, so I am passionate about my current role.”

This passion also stems from being able to see the impact of his work. “While you’re leading a section or supporting operations, your ability to make an impact is limited to those immediately around you. But supporting the policy work of the CDA allows me to leave a lasting legacy,” he says, referring to his current efforts to improve the code of conduct for instructors in the Academy.

LTA Dev is in the final stretch of his NS journey. Within the next year, he’ll be an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, working towards a law degree. The four-year programme will likely challenge him, but LTA Dev is sure that no matter how hard things get, he’ll be able to count on his family for support and motivation.

“They’re my everything!” he says.


When the going gets tough, LTA Dev advises fellow Home Team NSmen to think about their motivations for wanting to succeed. “I wanted to finish RCC more than I wanted anything else and that boosted my morale.”

Close Up

The call to serve

Three generations of SCDF NSmen, including one serving his full-time National Service, discuss what drives them to excel in the Force.


The harrowing images of Ukrainians crouching for safety and shelter in Kyiv’s subway stations drives home the importance of the Public Shelter and Resilience Unit within the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The commander of this Operationally Ready National Service Unit is LTC (NS) Lee Boon Keat, who was named NSman of the Year in 2019.

LTC (NS) Lee’s team from the 2nd SCDF Division oversees the use of buildings like MRT stations to serve as public shelters in a crisis. Their work focuses on the eastern fringes of our city state, in areas such as Bedok, Mountbatten and Dakota. We ensure that the shelters provide sustainable protection for shelterees over 2 weeks. The shelters are self-sufficient, with air filtration, ventilation, and even water supply,” he explained. Getting our humble MRT stations up to the task involved numerous learnings from countries such as Switzerland and United Kingdom, which have such shelters.


LTC (NS) Lee is the regional managing director for a digital experience platform, a role he has held for five years. That, together with his family commitments (he is married with four children), might make it seem like there’s little time for his NS obligations.

The 44-year-old is however determined to balance all three roles. “As a leader at work, home and in my NS unit, I want to lead by example,” he tells Frontline. He is especially committed to NS, because as he puts it: “Being called to serve Singapore is a privilege. It’s one thing to be competing in the rat race for your own benefit, but another to give your time and energy to the greater cause of protecting your country.”

Reflecting on his two decades of service, LTC (NS) Lee naturally has several stories to share. One that he specifically remembers drives home the important role that each and every personnel in the SCDF plays, a message he would like to share in conjunction with NS55.

“It involved a rescue operation when I was attached to Changi Fire Station,” he said. “A woman was standing precariously close to the top floor of the airport carpark which is a few storeys above ground.” As a Rota Commander, he was responsible for ensuring that the woman was safely rescued. With the aid of the entire team, the rescue operation went off without a hitch, but his Section Commander suffered a cut to his face. “It goes to show how dangerous such operations can be and how determined our men are when they are deployed to assist those in need.”


CPT (NS) Mohammed Iqbal Bin Abdul Halil (left) strives to connect the men under his command. Photo: CPT (NS) Mohammed Iqbal Bin Abdul Halil

It may have been more than 15 years ago, but CPT (NS) Mohammed Iqbal Bin Abdul Halil still recalls the profound impact that his commander had on him. “COL Wesley Lim was the Commander of the fire station that I was posted to then and he inspired me with his leadership style,” shared CPT (NS) Iqbal, 36. “He had a very distinctive style of running the fire station and he respected all of us.”

CPT (NS) Iqbal tries to emulate that style as the current Deputy NS Commander of Bukit Batok Fire Station. “He taught me to be a good leader and I applied what I learnt  in my role,” he explained. Like COL Lim, he strives to connect with all his men on a personal level to understand their challenges. “I constantly ask them about their wellbeing and how their development can be improved.” This has led to several improvements. For example, some had found it difficult to remember all the firefighting and hazardous materials procedures before their in-camp training. To tackle this, CPT (NS) Iqbal and his team instituted a learning day, where personnel can be brought up to speed on these procedures before their deployment. “It is very meaningful and enriching to be a part of this process,” reflected CPT (NS) Iqbal, who is an executive at Resorts World Sentosa.

He is also passionate about fitness and regularly rallies his men to complete and do well for their IPPT tests. As a working adult himself, he understands the challenge of maintaining one’s fitness amid other responsibilities. He puts this experience to good use by devising programmes that champion fitness for NSmen.

His fondness for problem-solving is one reason that he has decided to take up an NS leadership position. “I enjoy being in this leadership role because I get to use my experience to shape the way we approach NS. As an NSman myself, I know how my daily life is affected by call-ups and IPPT, but I can provide valuable feedback to the unit. In some ways, I am like a bridge between the Force and my NSmen. I want to make the experience better for my NSmen so that they enjoy coming back and are reminded of our purpose in doing so.”

That purpose, he says, is to save lives. As a firefighter, CPT (NS) Iqbal has been constantly at the frontline and responding to many emergency calls. But one operation that stands out in his mind was: Being called to put out a blaze in Bukit Panjang in 2011. “We were trying to rescue 10 people from a corner unit of the block. I had to work with teams from different fire stations to help bring those people to safety. All our planning and training over the years went towards saving those people and I’m proud we did just that.”


CPL Kashfy Ilxilim Bin Zulkarna'in serves as an ambulance medic, responding to calls in the area around Bishan Fire Station. Photo: CPL Kashfy Ilxilim Bin Zulkarna'in

Before enlisting in 2020, CPL (NSF) Kashfy Ilxilim Bin Zulkarna’in had a perception that NS would be a waste of two years of his youth. But as he approaches his Operationally Ready Date (ORD) this November, his perception of National Service has changed dramatically. “I’ve come to appreciate the role we all play in defending and safe-guarding Singapore,” the 20-year-old remarked.

That realisation was sparked by his vocation as an ambulance medic at Bishan Fire Station, where he was posted to last year. For up to 12 hours a day, CPL Kashfy would be responding to emergency calls. These shifts begin with performing a full check of the ambulance and its equipment to ensure that the crew  is ready to attend to all emergencies happening that day. These emergencies will range from motor accidents to cases of people getting injured in Singapore’s forests and nature reserves.

Witnessing these incidents was a sobering experience for CPL Kashfy, as it made him realise how important SCDF’s Emergency Medical Services are. “There was one incident I’ll never forget,” he said. “A woman had gotten into a traffic accident and was badly injured.” The crew sprang into action to save the woman and she eventually survived. “Our lifesaving training comes in handy every day. It makes such a big difference in the lives of Singaporeans and their families, who are desperately in need of help.”

His team’s quick thinking and nimble responses were especially useful during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. CPL Kashfy’s team was deployed to help out in other parts of Singapore including Pasir Ris and Jurong.

“Calls were coming in so frequently that we barely had time to take a breather. That kind of workload day in and day out can take a toll on you.” Still, he adds that he is glad he was able to play such an important role during a national crisis. “It is not something I would have been able to do if I had not been serving my NS.”

Now that his NS journey is coming to an end, CPL Kashfy is looking forward to his enrolment to the National University of Singapore to pursue a degree in computer engineering. There are also many years of continued service in the SCDF as an NSman. However, he is certain of one thing: “I’ll be doing something meaningful to help Singaporeans.

Close Up

Celebrating 25 years of service to the nation

DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah reflects on how the Singapore Police Force has evolved and what keeps him going in his service.



A quarter of a century: That’s how long DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah has served in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) — first in Jurong Police Division and now as the NS Commander of the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom). During his time in TransCom, he has seen countless NSmen step up to serve their country as well, with the unit holding one of the highest numbers of NSmen within the SPF.

“As a NS-Heavy Unit, comprising about 80% full-time NS officers, this unique proportion means that TransCom is well-placed to showcase the values which NSmen can bring to the Force,” explained DAC (NS) Shah, 48. “In some ways, the National Service officers run the entire operation,” he added. The regulars play a supervisory role, while most of the NS officers are deployed for foot patrol and is a common sight at Singapore’s public transport networks, from MRT stations to bus interchanges.

There are also other vocations for the NSmen in TransCom. A handful of them are deployed in the TransCom’s Provost division, which maintains discipline among officers. Some of them serve as trainers within TransCom, equipping fellow men with self-defence and security knowledge. There is also a team that provides administrative support to ensure operations run smoothly, as well as a Community Policing Unit which works closely with members of the public to ensure the success of initiatives such as the Riders-on-Watch (ROW) that taps on commuters to deter and detect crimes.


Taken before the Covid-19 outbreak, DAC (NS) Shah is briefing his team during a National Day deployment in August 2019.

Regardless of vocation, DAC (NS) Shah has a simple mantra for his men in maximising their time during their in-camp training (ICT): Positivity. “I look at ICT as a way of looking to improve ourselves,” he said. “It would be a shame if people booked in and just switched their minds off because there’s so much to gain from ICT. Coming back for In-Camp Training also remind my officers of their obligation towards national defence and protecting essential service that serves the community.”

Top of the list is physical fitness. He added that being active in NS has helped him maintain his fitness through the years. “My siblings are around my age, but I’ve seen them grow much more … sideways,” he laughed. “Seeing my men in their late 20s and 30s give it their all during physical training inspires me to do the same. I’m glad that I can still run, even though I’m pushing 50.”

Another often overlooked perk of being an active NSman is career growth. “When you come back for ICT, it’s like a big networking mixer. You’ll be able to cross paths with people from many industries and that can help your career,” explained DAC (NS) Shah, who works in the telecommunications sector.

There’s also the benefit of bonding with the men that you’ve grown up with. “ICT is marked by division competitions, which can be a fun way to show off your talents, be it in shooting, running or even dragon boating.” DAC (NS) Shah recalled how one of his men, who was not very athletic, stood up to proudly represent his unit in a darts competition. “He volunteered because he wanted to give back to his unit and that was heart-warming.”


DAC (NS) Shah (left) with his late parents during his Officer Cadet Graduation Dinner in 1996.

DAC (NS) Shah is a valuable repository of the Force’s history and heritage. Take for example the evolution of the weapons and arms that police officers carry. DAC (NS) Shah candidly shared why each iteration was better than the last. “When I started 25 years ago, officers were issued with a Smith & Wesson revolver, which was changed to the Taurus M85 revolver in 2002.”

He recalled this switch was welcomed by officers because of the laser pointer that came with the Taurus M85, ensuring a more accurate shot. And last year, the standard-issue weapon was changed to a Glock 19 Gen 5 pistol, which can carry up to three times more rounds than its predecessor. It also came with a safety mechanism that prevents accidental discharge.

Changes were also made to the rusty batons that police carried. In 2001, the metallic T-baton was introduced to replace the previous metal baton. The metallic T-baton was then replaced by a lightweight extendable baton in 2019. Apart from improvement to equipment, he also witnessed the transformation of TransCom to deal with the changing operating landscape, expansion of transport network, and competing demand for resources. This includes operationalisation of TransCom Woodlands sub-base in 2019 and the implementation of new initiatives such as empowering NSmen to take on more leadership roles in leading anti-crime rounds and community engagement with ROW volunteers.

Importantly, changes to the Force’s hardware have been accompanied by changes to its software. “Today’s police officers are much more skilled at engaging members of the public. This is especially true for TransCom officers, as we are regularly on the ground and in public spaces. It’s an encouraging sign as we value our partnership with the public.”

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