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In The Force

Keeping Singapore drug-free

Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign recognises the devastating impact of drugs on abusers and their loved ones, and aims to garner public support for a drug-free lifestyle. We ask two CNB staff and one Singapore Civil Defence Force NSF why staying drug-free is important to them.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

While the number of drug abusers arrested in Singapore declined by 11 per cent last year, there is a worrying trend: Some 34 per cent of the 2,724 arrested were new drug abusers – and 60 per cent of these new abusers were under 30 years of age.

Given the high proportion of younger abusers, it is important to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, which are most commonly abused in Singapore. These drugs not only harm the health and well-being of the abusers, but they also damage the lives of their families, friends and the community at large.

This year’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) aims to build continued support for a drug-free Singapore, with a DrugFreeSG Light-Up on Sunday, 26 June between 7.30pm to 12 midnight.

Held since 2018, the light-up will see Singapore’s most iconic buildings lit up in the green and white, colours of the anti-drug ribbon, to symbolise Singapore’s support for the drug-free cause and commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – known as ‘World Drug Day’ – which falls on 26 June. This year, the light-up is paired with the DrugFreeSG Pop-Up at Suntec City Tower 3 East Atrium, between 26 June and 3 July.

Said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and President of HomeTeamNS, in a video produced by CNB in support of the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign: “26 June marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs cause to society and serves as a reminder for all of us not to take our relatively drug-free environment here in Singapore for granted.”

AVOIDING THE TRAP OF DRUGS

Mr Samuel Ang Wei Jie is an administrative officer in the Department Technology Office in CNB. He provides an essential service to the functioning of the organisation by handling the on and off-boarding of CNB officers’ accounts.

Having worked as a community engagement officer in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) during his full-time National Service (NS) stint, Mr Ang was eager to join CNB due to the familiarity of its structure.

In addition, CNB’s work resonates with him as he is adamant about staying drug-free. “Since I was young, schools have been emphasising the need to stay drug-free,” says Samuel. “I keep myself away from drugs because I know the heavy consequences that come with them.”

In his view, having the right people around you are just as important as one’s personal resolve, when it comes to steering clear of drugs. “I think many people do drugs when they’re seeking attention or are being influenced by a bad social circle. I would tell them: ‘Don’t fall for the trap – your life is your own, not anyone else’s.”

EARLY PREVENTION FIGHTS ADDICTION

As an NSF Provost in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), SGT1 Darren Goh helps to enforce discipline and assists in running the rehabilitation and regime programmes in the detention barracks.

Having been recognised as an outstanding Provost and an exemplary role model, SGT1 Darren lives out his high professional standards  through his personal life as he takes a resolute stand against drugs.

“Drug abuse causes the abuser to become overwhelmed daily by the temptation of drugs, to the point where he or she is unable to carry out routine tasks such as working or studying. The abuser will be less likely to care or consider the feelings of others. That is why drug abuse can ruin the lives of a lot of people.”

SGT1 Darren believes that drug prevention is the way to go, so that people do not become addicted in the first place. “It is important that people – especially those who are young – stay away from drugs, including things like cough syrup which can be easily purchased. One quote I would like to share with them is this: ‘Work hard to soar high, don’t do drugs to get by.’”

WORKING TO SUPPORT THE DRUG-FREE CAUSE

CNB Community Partnership intern, Dion Lee, hopes to one day join the organisation as a regular officer. The former Ground Response Force NSF officer with the SPF responded to several drug-related incidents that made an impact on him and fuelled his determination to stay drug-free.

Recalling an incident where a man was found lying on the ground, Mr Lee says that he and his partner soon discovered that the man had no pulse and was not breathing.

“It was determined later by a pathologist that the person had passed on due to a drug overdose,” he recounts. “When I conducted a search on him, I found a picture of him and his mother. My heart sank and I thought to myself, how would his mother feel if we were to break the news to her? That is when I realised that drugs do not just affect the abusers, but those around them as well.”

When studying at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, Mr Lee volunteered as an A3 (Anti-Drug Abuse Advocacy) advocate, disseminating anti-drug messages within his circle of friends. “I tapped on what I learnt in school and my previous internships to help create awareness of the drug-free cause and make a positive impact in the community. I believe for every person we reached out to, another person is impacted – and he or she can help in promulgating anti-drug messages too.”

Mr Lee, who is currently tasked with helping to plan the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign, says that the social evil of drugs is something that Singaporeans should not disregard. “I believe everyone has a part to play in keeping Singapore drug-free, and it all starts with me and you!” 

Visit the CNB website to learn more about the DrugFreeSG Light-Up on 26 June, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign.

As part of this year’s Drug Free SG campaign, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is collaborating with HomeTeamNS to educate and encourage members to stay clear of drugs.

Members and visitors at all HomeTeamNS Clubhouses are invited to fold green and white Anti-Drug Ribbons to show support for a drug-free Singapore. The activities take place over the following dates:

  • 19 June to 2 July 2022: HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
  • 1 to 30 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok
  • 12 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Khatib
  • 6 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Tampines
Categories
In The Force

A bigger role in blue: Transitioning from junior to senior SPF officer

SSS (NS) Jason Chua from the Singapore Police Force shares his experience attending a six-week leadership course at the Home Team Academy.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SPF

Like many of his fellow Police National Service Men (PNS men), SSS (NS) Jason Chua was happy to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. In November 2021, he was one of three PNS men who were given the unique opportunity to undertake a six-week leadership course held at the Home Team Academy (HTA) with other regulars from the Singapore Police Force.

This course was specially designed for officers to be promoted to the echelons of senior officers. “I am honoured to count myself as a member of this pioneer batch of PNS men chosen for this leadership course,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

BONDED BY A COMMON MISSION

The course tested each trainee’s physical and mental resilience, and the group bonded quickly.

“Our background and rank — be it Station Inspector or Senior Station Inspector — were irrelevant. We learnt to sync and grow together as comrades-in-arms, holding the special title of Senior Officer Trainee (SOT).”    

The course began with a four-week non-residential intensive academic programme where the trainees studied aspects of the law that were most relevant to good policing, such as the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.

“We were taught by not only experienced course managers but were also privileged to hear directly from seasoned private practitioners who candidly shared their knowledge with us,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

INTELLECTUALLY INTENSE TRAINING

“While it was an intellectually grueling experience, I am certain that all the SOTs were grateful for this academic rigor. After all, with increased scrutiny by the public on the work we do, it is increasingly important for police officers to be equipped with the legal knowledge that would enable them to excel in their job,” he added.

The academic programme culminated in a written examination comprising essays and short structured hypothetical questions that assess the SOTs ability to react to various scenarios and apply the correct police powers. The trainees were graded on the accuracy of their responses.  

“While such hypothetical scenarios cannot replace the real-life action that officers on the ground face daily, we welcomed the opportunity to put our new-found knowledge to practice,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

ENTERING THE FINAL PHASE

According to SSS (NS) Chua, the real fun commenced just two days after the examinations with an exciting two-week residential leadership training stint – the final leg of their course.

Conducted by the Leadership and Executive Training School (LETS) of the HTA, the residential component of the course aimed to develop, prepare and equip police officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to step into the shoes of an Inspector.

“Throughout the leadership course, we undertook various exercises to train us holistically to become an all-rounded leader. From classroom lessons to physical trainings, we were stretched and pushed to fulfil our highest potential. Our physical and mental resilience was tested time and again. Without the encouragement from our instructors and the friendship of our squad-mates, we would not have pulled through,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

The trainees also organised a fire-side chat with Deputy Superintendent of Police, Roy Lim, on the topic of leadership.

“There was no better way to learn about leadership than to hear first-hand from a seasoned and respected leader himself. I found the talk by SUPT (NS) Lim to be candid and forthcoming on what makes a good leader. The tips and lessons SUPT (NS) Lim shared – including how he rose through the ranks –were simply first class!”

SSS (NS) Chua appreciated the fact that lessons were not confined to the classroom. During this final phase of the course, trainees worked in teams, conducted mock briefings and went on outdoor “missions”.

“These exercises required us to apply and put into practice the leadership skills imparted to us during the course, such as communication skills, teamwork and efficiency. The two-week residential component of the course taught me more about myself and what it takes to be a good leader. There is more to leadership than meets the eye. It comes from experience in walking the leadership journey and being humble and learning from others,” said SSS (NS) Chua.

Categories
In The Force

What leadership means to him

SCDF MAJOR (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi on the three leadership values that matter to him as a commander.

TEXT: SCDF / PHOTOS: SCDF

MAJ (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi, 39, enlisted for National Service in 2005 and was posted to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). He completed a 9-month Basic Officers’ Course (BOC) and was posted to the Special Rescue Battalion (SRB) as a Platoon Commander. “As I matured from being a recruit to a commander, the camaraderie, knowledge and experiences gained were invaluable, and it shaped who I am today,” he reflected.

Currently a Deputy Commander of 21 Rescue Unit, MAJ (NS) Rozaiman was also appointed a Company Commander of the Operations Support Company (OSC) in 2019. He also serves as a HomeTeamNS Volunteer in the Audit Committee and was formerly in the Development Committee (North) in 2017.

“As a leader, I strongly believe in achieving three things — empowerment, trust and effective communication.”

MAJ (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi

Under his leadership, his OSC achieved the highest score in logistics management among the RBN units for three consecutive years. MAJ (NS) Rozaiman is delighted with the unit’s achievements and he added that being able to grow professionally together with his team has made him proud to serve as an NSman.

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

“As a leader, I strongly believe in achieving three things — empowerment, trust and effective communication,” said MAJ (NS) Rozaiman. Here are his thoughts on these three key elements of leadership.

Empowerment
“I believe that by empowering my men with tasks big or small, they will in turn take ownership of their work and responsibilities. The art of empowerment also requires you to recognise their achievements by complimenting them. Conversely, for any of their shortfalls, it would be a lesson for all to learn from and to be resolved so we can emerge stronger from it.”

Trust
“I trust my team. At the same time, I strive to earn my team’s trust. Therefore, I make it a point to get to know every one of them and give them the opportunity to get to know me. I believe that when they trust me, they are better able to appreciate my thoughts and decisions. When faced with challenges, they know that they are not alone for I am right beside them, guiding them through thick and thin.”

Effective communication
“I tend to emphasise open communication such as giving and receiving feedback when working with my team. I seize opportunities to solicit their feedback on how we can improve. I make it a point to explain the larger objectives to my team, as well as the constraints and expected challenges. This helps them better appreciate their respective roles and what lies ahead to get things done effectively. This is how I practise effective communication.”

Categories
In The Force

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Mission: The Home Team Volunteer Network

Want to volunteer with the Home Team but don’t know which scheme suits you? Here’s how you can find out the best way you can give back.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

If you feel that it’s time to pay it forward, volunteering with the Home Team is one way to make a difference. Each Home Team Agency plays a unique role and several volunteer schemes are available.

From fighting crime and fires to educating the public and befriending offenders and ex-offenders, there are many ways you can help. The Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN) welcomes passionate, dedicated individuals who want to do their part.

HELPING YOU TO HELP US

If you are unsure which volunteer scheme to sign up for, head to the HTVN website and enter your details on the page. We will analyse your responses and recommend suitable schemes based on your stated demographics, skills and interests, as well as the Home Team Agency you wish to contribute to.

There are five Home Team Agencies to choose from:

  • Singapore Police Force
  • Singapore Civil Defence Force
  • Singapore Prison Service
  • Central Narcotics Bureau
  • Yellow Ribbon Singapore

and skills and interests which include (but are not limited to):

  • Befriending
  • Firefighting
  • Lifesaving, and many more!

Visit HTVN’s website now to find out which volunteer scheme suits you best and be part of the HTVN family!

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

Categories
In The Force

A man in blue with a green agenda

SC2 Sean Sy Yeo encourages everyone to do their part for sustainability and environmental causes.

TEXT: SPF / PHOTO: SPF

Sustainability is a global concern that impacts our collective future. As PUB World Water Day and Earth Hour took place in March, the Singapore Police Force’s SC2 Sean Sy Yeo did his part to contribute to the environmental cause.

Sean currently serves as a Community Engagement officer with the Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre. While his work is demanding, he still finds the time to take care of his vegetable garden and collect rainwater to reuse it for watering plants and washing clothes.  

A MINDSET CULTIVATED FROM AN EARLY AGE

As a child, Sean preferred visiting museums and the zoo – over playing games – so he could learn more about animals. These institutions often feature exhibits about the threats many creatures face, such as poaching and environmental changes that have led to the extinction of several species.

He also learnt that human actions — both direct and indirect — impact other aspects of the ecosystem. For example, deforestation destroys animal habitats (directly) and global warming caused by the release of greenhouse gases leads to environmental changes such as rising sea levels (indirectly). This inspired him to try to prevent the extinction of more species by doing his part to care of the environment.

Sean believes that it takes many generations to reverse the damage inflicted on our planet. His solution to the growing problem? That we educate our young about environmental protection so that they can grow up to become responsible global citizens.

CONTINUING THE FIGHT FOR A GOOD CAUSE

He fondly recalls learning about environmental issues during regular school assembly talks and various learning journeys when he was in primary school. Besides visiting the zoo, he also went to Bishan Park to pick up litter and learn more about the environment through activities hosted by the park (Bishan Park has been adopted by his school, Rosyth School).

When he was a student at St Joseph’s Institution during his secondary school years, Sean was elected by his class to be a Green Ambassador due to his keen interest in sustainability.
He used this position effectively and responsibly to encourage his schoolmates to adopt sustainable practices, such as recycling and reducing wastage of resources like electricity, paper and water.

Sean believes that everyone can and should do their part to help the environment, regardless of how small the act seems. Something as basic as sorting our rubbish and properly disposing in recycling bins can lead to the right step towards sustainability.

Find out how DAC (NS) Mulyadi Ahmad is doing his part for the environment and how organisations like HomeTeamNS are adopting green practices.

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In The Force

Empowered to save lives

With myResponder, SCDF ORNSmen such as Sergeant1 (V) William Lim Wei Loon are always prepared for emergencies.

TEXT AND PHOTO: SCDF

Community First Responders (CFRs) have always played a pivotal role in times of need. Smart solutions like the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s myResponder mobile application (app) significantly enhance their response to emergencies. Launched in 2019, more than 100,000 CFRs have registered with the app. These responders include members of the public, as well as in-house personnel such as the SCDF Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) men and volunteers from the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU).

READY TO RESPOND

“I would have the myResponder app turned on, even at work, so that I could respond to any emergency happening nearby,” shared SGT1 (V) William Lim Wei Loon, an Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) Fire and Rescue Specialist with 1st SCDF Division, who works as a retail supervisor at NTUC FairPrice.

SGT1 (V) Lim completed his full-time National Service (NSF) in 2008 and joined the CDAU as a volunteer firefighter in 2011. “Since my NSF days, I have been trained to be very alert to my surrounding environment, and my first instinct is to always check for any emergency nearby,” he added.

THINKING ON HIS FEET

It was through the myResponder app that SGT1 (V) Lim was alerted to a rubbish bin fire at a void deck in Bukit Batok at about 3am one morning. When he arrived at the location there was neither a fire hose nor an extinguisher nearby.

After surveying the area, he spotted a funeral wake a block away and rushed over to request for assistance to put out the fire. “Whenever I respond to a fire incident, I have to be creative enough to find an effective solution to a problem in the fastest way possible,” said SGT1 (V) Lim. “The people there were very kind and they helped me to extinguish the fire using pails of water from the temporary toilets located outside the funeral hall.”

Besides responding to the myResponder app’s alerts, SGT1 (V) Lim also extinguished a rubbish bin fire near his home two years ago. He was alerted to the blaze after hearing an explosion in his neighbourhood. He rushed to the location but the flames had already spread to a minivan parked nearby.

“As I did not want any passers-by to be harmed, I put out the fire with two fire extinguishers that were taken from the nearby coffeeshop before the firefighters arrived. At the same time, I had to ensure that no one was injured,” said SGT1 (V) Lim.

He added: “As a CFR, I am touched whenever a member of the public thanked me for helping him or her through a crisis. That keeps me going as a volunteer with the SCDF!”

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

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

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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.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

“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.

TO THE RESCUE

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.

ENCOURAGING VOLUNTEERISM

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.”

GET INVOLVED

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.

Categories
In The Force

Making 2022 count

NSPI Fredric Kong looks forward to reaching greater heights in the year ahead while reflecting on the lessons learnt in the past year.

TEXT: HOMETEAMNS
PHOTOS: FREDRIC KONG

In 2022, NSPI Fredric Kong will have plenty of opportunities to accomplish his goals as a Company Adjutant in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) – a vocation overseeing a company’s discipline, welfare, administration and training targets.

NSPI Kong aims to inspire and shape the over 500 trainees under his care into motivated, disciplined and competent police officers. He believes that giving the trainees goals and a sense of purpose, as well as making training realistic and enjoyable, are essential. He also hopes to share with them his frontline experiences during an attachment to a Neighbourhood Police Centre.

BECOMING A LEADER

Passing out from the Officer Cadet Course (OCC) as a commissioned senior officer did not come easy. In 2021, NSPI Kong underwent the demanding nine-month course at the Training Command, which required the officer cadets (OCTs) to be versed in general and criminal law, as well as policing skills and procedures on responses to various incidents as a Ground Response Force officer. Given the emphasis on leadership and decision-making, these skills were then tested in a command centre virtual simulation exercise where the OCTs were required to oversee ground forces in response to various incidents.

In addition, the OCTs went through a gruelling 19-day leadership course with the Outward Bound School (OBS) at Pulau Ubin. Upon graduation from the OCC, these newly minted National Service Probationary Inspectors (NSPIs) would then move on to undertake important positions at various departments or specialist units, such as the Special Operations Command (SOC) or the Protective Security Command (ProCom).

TAKING THE LEAD

NSPI Kong believes in the importance of giving trainees goals and a sense of purpose.

In the new year, NSPI Kong recalls what he had learnt from two memorable experiences during his OCC. The first involved months of hard work and long training hours, which culminated in him marching proudly as part of the Police Guard-of-Honour Contingent at the National Day Parade (NDP) – twice – on the 9th and 21st August 2021.

Weeks before the NDP, the participants were balancing rehearsal commitments with their coursework, an upcoming summative criminal law assessment, an Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) and a Stay Home Order (as part of the parade’s safe management measures due to the fluctuating COVID-19 situation).

NSPI Kong, who was the squad’s Vice-Chairman, decided that he needed to take action to help his squad succeed. He worked closely with his squad’s Academic and Sports ICs to implement supplementary programmes to help his squadmates prepare for the assessment and enhance their fitness for the IPPT. NSPI Kong also personally produced mock exam questions and hosted pre-exam review sessions. “The key was being proactive,” he reflected. “That was what made all the difference.”

Now as a Company Adjutant, NSPI Kong wants to continue exercising initiative and enhance training opportunities. He already has several ideas in mind for 2022 and is working with his supervisors to realise them.

IN GOOD COMPANY

The second experience took place amid the choppy waves at the Northern tip of Singapore during a five-day sea expedition with OBS. At the time, NSPI Kong and his team braved an unforgiving downpour while having to maintain a compact fleet formation. However, in the middle of facing the storm, they were rewarded with an unforgettable sight. “I saw that as it grew more radiant, two brilliant arcs of prismatic light – a double rainbow – had emerged from the fog,” he recounted.

These moments with his squadmates made him appreciate and treasure the camaraderie that they had built over the past nine months. Having once been a trainee himself, he hopes the trainees never forget to treasure the moments along the way, even in their short two-year National Service (NS) stint. To make their time in NS rich and meaningful, he is ready to work hard with his team of Field Instructors and Course Managers.

A JOURNEY OF LEARNING

NSPI Kong will be pursuing a PhD programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after completing his full-time NS and aims to complete writing one or two research papers during his weekends by the end of 2022. Despite committing most of his time to carrying out his duties, NSPI Kong still makes an effort to further his knowledge in his field of studies.

The keen learner exemplifies the theme of continuous education during NS, which is facilitated to full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) through the NS e-PREP Scheme. This scheme facilitates NSFs’ transition from full-time National Service to further studies or into the workforce by offering a wide range of courses and modules, helping NSFs keep up with their peers.

In his own time, NSPI Kong wishes to uncover the more complex effects of trade and trade policies so that Singapore can link its financial and trading hub status to sustainable economic growth. It would a challenging goal for many, but this does not faze NSPI Kong: “It is no simple endeavour, for sure – but I don’t make my New Year resolutions easy!”

HITTING THE MARK

Besides shouldering his newly assigned duties as Company Adjutant, NSPI Kong has made his personal resolution for the new year — to complete his 2.4 km run in under nine minutes. He believes in continuously pushing his limits with a positive mindset to achieve his goals. 

Categories
In The Force

Ready player one!

LCP Amirul Haqim Bin Omar, HomeTeamNS’ top-tier e-sports competitor, on why professional gamers and athletes have more in common than you think.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SCDF

While many of us play video games for relaxation, very few are willing to put in the time and effort to test our skills at a competition level. Meet our very own competitive e-sports player and full-time National Serviceman, LCP Amirul Haqim Bin Omar, a Multimedia Specialist with the Corporate Communications Department of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

LCP Amirul started playing video games as a hobby at the age of 20. Since then, his interest has levelled up into a  passionate pursuit. He is also now experimenting with video game streaming via social media to reach out to other e-sports enthusiasts in order to share gaming tips and strategies. 

The 23-year-old is even toying with the possibility of turning pro after his National Service. In an interview with SCDF e-publication Rescue 995, LCP Amirul talked about his passion for e-sports and how being part of the virtual community helped him build real-world relationships with fellow e-sports players.

What is e-sports?

Like tennis, badminton or other sports where players compete against one another, e-sports is competitive sport played on a video game platform. One can play or compete as an individual or as a team, depending on the type of game.

How long have you been a gamer and when did you become a competitive player?

I started competing in e-sports three years ago. Before that, I was only playing video games for fun. I started playing Rules of Survival (ROS) and when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PubgM) was finally made available on mobile phones, I switched to that game. As I constantly topped the Leadership Board in ROS and PubgM, I was spotted by an e-sports team in Singapore, and they asked me to join them. I accepted the offer and now compete in e-sports to see how far I can go.

What is your favourite game?

It has to be both ROS and PubgM. They are player-versus-player shooters, which is my favourite genre.

You had participated in an e-sports tournament in 2020. Could you tell us more about it?

It was the three-week long PubG Mobile Professional League – Malaysia-Singapore (PMPL-MYSG), which was held in Kuala Lumpur (KL) from March to April 2020. Towards the last week of our stay in KL, we were informed that Singapore was going into a lockdown due to COVID-19. Upon hearing the news, all the Singapore players packed our bags and headed home immediately. Despite the mad rush, we arrived before the Circuit Breaker period started and continued the competition virtually from Singapore.

Even with the connectivity issues that we faced while playing the game through local servers, we are proud to have made it to the top three spot in Singapore, thereby giving us a chance to participate in the next stage, which was held in Malaysia.

LCP Amirul (extreme right) and his team won third place in the PMPL-MYSG tournament.

Other than having natural talent, what are some of your tips to win an e-sports competition?

Practice makes perfect. Athletes must spend hours training hard before a competition — just like how SCDF firefighters and paramedics spend months building up their skills and endurance when they compete in the annual Singapore-Global Firefighters and Paramedic Challenge (SGFPC). One needs to have a personal training routine and constantly research how to play better. In addition, it is important to have a resilient mind to handle online criticism, especially when you are a leading player. Like anything in life, so long as you put in the hours and the effort, you will eventually become good at what you do.

We hear that there is a thriving e-sports community in SCDF!

Yes! The e-sports community in SCDF is known as the SCDF E-Sports League (SEL) and there is an SCDF e-sports team at the Sports & Recreation Guild of Home Team (SPRIGHT). Through competing, I got to know some players who are also SCDF personnel. That was how I noticed that there is a combined e-sports team known as Aventus Sovereign Gaming (AvSG), which consists of Police and SCDF officers. AvSG is, in fact, one of the top scorers in the region.

What do you like most about being part of the e-sports community?

I enjoy making friends within the community. Besides competing against our opponents, we also get to foster friendships with them through the virtual interactions. Some of us have become so close that we even share life stories and personal experiences. It is amazing how online multiplayer games like PubgM can connect players of various ages and walks of life. Such human connection, though virtual, is still important, especially when we try not to step out of our homes unnecessarily due to COVID-19 restrictions.

What are your future e-sports plans?

Moving forward, I plan to step out of my comfort zone by making it into a Malaysian e-sport organisation. Doing so will enable me to know their gaming style and expand my boundaries while perfecting my gaming skills.

Categories
In The Force

Family on the beat

Helping the community is just one of the reasons why this family serves as Citizens on Patrol volunteers.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

Ten years ago, Mr Prabodh Kumar Rai, 54, senior security officer and grassroots leader in Bishan Zone 2 RC, started volunteering for the Citizens on Patrol (COP) programme.

COP is a volunteer scheme launched in 1999 by the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Residents patrol their neighbourhoods and alert the SPF when they observe suspicious activities or persons, as well as engage the community on crime-prevention measures.

In 2016, his wife, Mdm Jasvindran Devi, and daughter, Ms Mitashah Rai, joined COP after witnessing his passion for keeping their neighbourhood safe. “We decided to get involved too, as we get to interact with the community, share our knowledge and raise awareness of crime prevention,” says Ms Rai, 19.

Initially, Ms Rai was not familiar with the COP scheme and did not know what was required of a volunteer. However, after participating in a few patrols, she felt empowered to contribute more. “It made me realise the value of being a volunteer and how I can spend my time wisely by giving back to the community. I also get to share crime prevention advisories with fellow residents,” she explains.

It was also the perfect opportunity for the trio to bond amid their hectic schedules. “Volunteering for COP gives us the opportunity to come together as a family while serving the community. It also made us better understand and appreciate my dad’s volunteer efforts over the years,” says Ms Rai, now working as a nurse in SGH Eye Centre. To juggle between COP duties and their respective work and academic responsibilities, the family members cross-check their schedules against the upcoming patrol dates and arrange their patrol duties accordingly.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES 

The volunteering journey has not however always been a smooth one. Over the years, Mr Kumar and his family have experienced their fair share of challenging situations — and people — during their patrols around Bishan Park.

They have had to deal with parkgoers who breach safety rules such as cycling at prohibited areas, smoking and creating a public nuisance after 10.30pm. “We tackle such situations by sharing information and explaining to the parties involved,” says Ms Rai. “If they fail to understand or cooperate with us, we will then call the nearby Neighbourhood Police Centre for support.”

ENCOURAGING VOLUNTEERISM

The family shares with Frontline that they would continue with their COP commitments. They also encourage other families to come forward to give their time. “It is important to advocate volunteerism as volunteers play a key role in helping raise awareness for the cause and the organisation,” adds Mdm Devi, 55, a housewife. “In this case, for COP, we play a part in ensuring the safety and security of the community we live and work in.”

“Volunteering helps build closeness among family members and helps anyone pick up competencies in areas such as learning how to handle tricky situations calmly and honing their critical-thinking abilities”, notes Mr Kumar, who adds that “volunteering demonstrates the importance of giving back to the community as well”.

Find out more about how you can make a difference in your community.

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