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Dreams Take Flight – SUSS-HomeTeamNS Sponsorship

As part of the Association’s efforts to encourage lifelong learning, the SUSS-HomeTeamNS sponsorship programme seeks to provide our members with the opportunity to pursue their studies.

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This power couple’s relationship is an inspiration to us all

United We Stand – COL (NS) Jorge Lau says he couldn’t have made it as a career NSman without the constant support of his wife, Angie Yee.

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Sacrificing his weekends to make the world a better place

Riding High on Doing Good – SC/SGT Tay Guan Joo, Nathaniel, CE Officer at TY NPC, devotes most of his weekends to community work.

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This strongman champ is a classic gentle giant

Ahmad Taufiq Muhammad has a can-do spirit that gives him the strength to excel in strongman competitions and his work.

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In Good Faith

TEXT: JAMES LEONG
PHOTOGRAPHY: VERNON WONG

I was one of 63,000 SAF NSmen transferred to SCDF after the 1986 Hotel New World Collapse. I was then halfway through my 13-year army reservist cycle. My ORNS cycle ended in 2006, but I resonate with SCDF’s mission to save lives. Thirty years on, I’m still volunteering with SCDF.

My first training as an SCDF reservist was a two-week rescuer conversion course. I got fired up because there was so much to learn and so many friends to make. My eagerness and willingness to learn were noticed, and I was given the opportunity to serve as a senior officer after the reservist officer conversion course. In 2005, I received the SCDF Commissioner award for outstanding performance as the 11th RBn Commander, even though I was then struggling to learn the ropes of commanding a battalion. It spurred me on to do even better.

Once, on the road, a motorcyclist skidded and landed in front of my car. I performed first aid while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Many of my men thought I had knocked him down at first, but when they discovered I was helping him, they were inspired. That taught me the value of the skills SCDF had imparted to me.

I am now a Public Education Instructor with the Civil Defence Auxilliary Unit. I conduct Community Emergency Preparedness Programmes, assist in Emergency Preparedness Day events, and help out at the weekly Central Fire Station Open House. My efforts were recognised with the SCDF Commissioner Award in 2007 and the Outstanding Performance as a Pioneer Volunteer award in 2016.

I hope more people will come forward as volunteers. Many think they need medical certification to keep someone alive while waiting for professional help. That isn’t true. SCDF teaches basic lifesaving skills that can make the difference between life and death.

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Bringing Home Gold

TEXT: CORINNE KERK
PHOTOGRAPHY: VERNON WONG

Fresh from the glory of winning the men’s doubles gold at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August, SC/CPL (NS) Pang Xue Jie’s journey has been about having the guts to go after his dreams. Not only did the national table tennis player put his studies at the Singapore Management University on hold for the sport, he also launched his medal bid just six months before the big competition. Earlier on, Pang had put country before self when he stopped regular training in 2014 to serve NS. Returning to and coping with the intensity of training at the national level was literally a different ball game. Here, he talks about perseverance, coping with pressure, and how NS has helped him chase his dreams.

You set a target and work towards it. When you succeed, it gives you a lot of confidence going forward. 

What made you pick up table tennis in the first place?

My whole family plays table tennis, so it’s a family thing. I started training properly about five to six years old. When I was younger, I was always following my two elder brothers and watching them train. They were in the national youth team. My parents were both national players who met through table tennis.

What made you decide to put your university studies on hold for table tennis?

Not many players were left in the men’s team at that point in time, so there was a very good chance for me to be put at the forefront as a core player. I felt there was still something left in me, and wanted to give it a shot and try it out for at least a few years.

How difficult was that decision?

There was a lot of resistance from my parents, especially my mother, but slowly they accepted it. And after they came around to it, they were very supportive.

What are your personal targets for the coming year?

To get a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in April.

How do you handle the immense pressure that comes not with the sport, but also Singaporeans' expectations?

I don’t think too much about other peoples’ expectations. I focus on the targets and goals I set myself. That’s more pressurising than what others expect of me.

How do you keep yourself going when you feel burned out?

Table tennis started because of my family. It has slowly grown into a personal desire to get better at this game, to be the best in this region, and then to be known on an international level. It’s for personal gratification, really. You set a target and work towards it. When you succeed, it gives you a lot of confidence going forward.

Has NS made things more meaningful for you? How so?

Since every Singaporean male has to undergo NS, one might as well make the most of it. I got to know how the police force works. It’s not easy being a police officer. My friends on the frontline share a lot of interesting stories about stuff they have to deal with, and I’ve come to really appreciate what they do.

How has your NS experience contributed to who you are today?

The discipline honed through training, learning to follow instructions, developing punctuality, your expectations of yourself, others’ expectations of you, the drive to not let others down, and the regimented lifestyle – they remind me that it’s not always about me.

Check out Pang Xue Jie’s behind the scenes footage here!

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Baptism by Fire

TEXT: JAMES LEONG
PHOTOS: DARREN CHANG

Zhang Yousheng’s story

I was into my first month serving as a section commander at Jurong Fire Station when I was called to respond to a fire at Tuas. I saw huge pillars of smoke billowing in the distance. The fire was rapidly spreading and everything was unfolding so quickly. We needed to expeditiously formulate strategies to put out the fire and find new water sources to prevent further escalation, but the large scale of the fire only complicated things. I believe it is only when theoretical knowledge and operational experience come together that one can truly become fully prepared. But more than anything, it is the ability to stay calm that matters.

I am thankful to have my officers and seniors to guide me. I have a lot of admiration and respect for the SCDF because what we do as frontliners is crucial to protecting Singapore.

It’s tough and requires both mental and physical resilience, but it brings fulfilment when you know you’ve done your part to help others.

Mohammad Aidil’s story

I was a lance corporal serving my first year of National Service as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) when I received an early call from an expectant mother. Attending to her in the ambulance was surreal because her husband was closely watching her suffer labour pains, but also looking completely calm.When we finally arrived at the hospital, she gave birth on the stretcher before we could even transfer her to a proper bed. The entire experience was made more intense because she only spoke Vietnamese.

I learned from this experience that while my peers in the firefighting vocation help to save lives, assisting to bring a new life into the world is equally important too.

As an EMT, I help the paramedic assess and manage the patient while providing pre-hospital care en route to the hospital.

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The Way We Were- Protecting Our Nation

TEXT: SOL E SOLOMON
PHOTOGRAPHY: FRENCHESCAR LIM
DIGITAL IMAGING: OKTO PIXEL

WALKIE-TALKIE

In the 1970s, traffic police officers used portable radio sets, which allowed staff in the traffic ops room to reach ground officers via a two-way network. This feature could be activated one-to-one or broadcast as a message to many on a talk group, but the network was not encrypted and, thus, not secure. It has since been replaced by a digital-based encrypted system, which provides a secure network for all communications.

WOODEN BATON

The weapon’s design was based on the principle of using “minimum force”, but it was also a symbol of peacekeeping and honour. The baton was used in defence to subdue a target without causing undue hurt, and featured in ceremonial salutes and drills in the 1950s. In 2001, the wooden baton was replaced by a retractable T-baton with an extendable side handle that made it less bulky and more versatile.

POLICE PEAKED CAP

Policemen wore this since 1969 but it felt bulky and stiff. In 1999, enhancements were introduced to make it waterproof and softer to the touch. A reflective side strip was also added to increase a policeman’s visibility at night. The peaked cap remains part of the police uniform and continues to be worn mainly during formal occasions.

WHISTLE WITH CHAIN

Since the early days of policing, the tubular-shaped metal whistle has been used by officers to draw attention to a crime or call for back-up. Better communication technologies have since made whistles lessuseful and they were phased out in 2002.

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The Way We Were- Our Firefighting Heroes

TEXT: SOL E SOLOMON
PHOTOGRAPHY: FRENCHESCAR LIM
DIGITAL IMAGING: OKTO PIXEL

FIREFIGHTING NOZZLES

In 1824, Indian soldiers called Sepoys used nozzles for the first time to fight fires in Singapore. Various sizes of nozzles were introduced in the 1930s to project different water streams used for fighting different types of fire. Today, although the appearance of the nozzles are very different from the past, they both largely serve the same function.

FIBREGLASS FIREFIGHTING HELMET

These were first acquired by the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1959 and used till 1976. They included a rim that protected a fireman’s skull from falling debris. Modern helmets used by the SCDF are made from high-temperature thermoplastics and incorporate a reflective face shield and retractable goggles, enhancing protection for the face and eyes.

CONSTRUCTION BRIGADE FLAG

Active from 1981 to 2002, the SCDF’s Construction Brigade trained men to develop construction skills for emergencies. The flag represents its core principles of courage and strength, and its choice of red symbolises power required in building reconstruction. But it also stands for universal brotherhood and equality. The bricks point to a united and resilient battalion, the yellow shield protects Singapore in its restorative efforts, and the torch represents the brigade as a learning institution.

HYDRAULIC SPREADER

The double coupling system of older spreaders had a complicated locking mechanism, which made it less user-friendly to firemen wearing rescue gloves. Now, the spreader’s unified single male coupling system easily connects to the power unit’s female coupling, thus improving nimbleness and dexterity.

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The Good Ol’ Days

TEXT: JAMES LEONG
PHOTOS: VERNON WONG

I was an Investigation Officer at Bedok Police Division HQ, and my eyes were opened to a world I never knew. My stint gave me a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, as well as the poor. I learned that nothing is what
it seems, and my one year there made me grow up very quickly.

Early days

My earlier days as a police trainee at the OPA were equally meaningful because there is just something special about the vast open spaces. The parade square gave us the freedom to shout drill commands at the top of our voices to the
delight of our drill instructors, and we were even told the students at the nearby Catholic Junior College could hear us!
When I attended the reunion at the OPA in July, I reflected on my entire time spent as an NSF and now as an NSman, and my proudest moment has to be leading 745 NS officers at the 2009 Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC).
Security was at its highest, and I’m glad that I had a part to play in protecting the lives of the delegates and Singaporeans. You see, it wasn’t just about job satisfaction but changing perceptions.

When I attended the reunion at the OPA in July, I reflected on my entire time spent as an NSF and now as an NSman, and my proudest moment has to be leading 745 NS officers at the 2009 Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC).
Security was at its highest, and I’m glad that I had a part to play in protecting the lives of the delegates and Singaporeans. You see, it wasn’t just about job satisfaction but changing perceptions.

Connecting people

Nonetheless, it’s a work in progress. As early as during my PNSF days, PNSmen were seen as disconnected, so I now try to better engage the NSmen so they can feel like assets. My experience working with them at the 2009 APEC and 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics shows that they are truly capable, and as the regular force integrates them more into its operations, things can only get better for them and the SPF. This entire journey has been nothing short of exciting ,and I thank all the men and women in blue. They really are our unsung heroes in their noble pursuit to protect our lives.

The men and women in blue really are our unsung heroes in their noble pursuit to protect our lives.

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Fighting fire- old-school style
Interesting facts about F1