Keeping his eye on the ball – SCSGT (1) Daren Chan Jia Hao has learnt valuable life lessons like discipline and self-confidence through sports.
TEXT: AUDRINA GAN
PHOTOGRPAHY: TAN WEI TE
ART DIRECTION: FISH CHAN
STYLING: AMANDA TAN
GROOMING: FELICIA NG (YEN ARTISTRY)
As a young child growing up in a household with his parents and younger sister, SCSGT (1) Daren Chan Jia Hao often experienced loneliness. He was shy and didn’t have the courage to strike up a conversation.
“I was an introvert,” says the 23-year-old, who is currently serving his National Service at Jurong East Neighbourhood Police Centre under Clementi Division.
But all that changed when he took up badminton in primary school and, subsequently, modular sports as a co-curricular activity in secondary school.
“Through modular sports, I played a variety, including frisbee, tchoukball, football and touch rugby,” says Chan, adding that his secondary school sports teacher motivated him to pick up diverse sports. “He taught us different sports and sent us for competitions. Even though we didn’t win, he reassured us that we have nothing to lose and would treat us to a meal to celebrate our efforts.”
His interest continued to grow as he picked up basketball when he went on to study electronics engineering at the Institute of Technical Education. He also started playing kin-ball in 2016 after his uncle introduced him to the sport. Next, he got involved with volleyball last year after his supervisor in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) encouraged him to take part in a competition.
Due to his active participation, Chan experienced positive changes in his life. “Playing such a wide variety of sports has helped me to be more flexible and agile in my problem-solving skills. Each time I play a different sport, it makes me stronger as I train for it, and this also makes it easier for me to pick up another new sport,” he adds.
GAINING SELF CONFIDENCE
More importantly, Chan says he feels more confident when talking to people now, as playing all sorts of sports has allowed him to meet people from all walks of life. He has made many good friends through this.
Being part of the Ground Response Force in the SPF, where he does ground patrolling to maintain law and order, has also increased his confidence when he speaks to members of the public.
“During my first day with the SPF, I was quite shy and didn’t dare to speak to members of the public. But my mentor, Staff Sergeant Clarence, taught me how to approach them and handle incidents,” says Chan. “For instance, we have to use a softer tone if a member of the public is feeling depressed after an incident.”
He says his sports journey has taught him many important life skills. “Sports have taught me self-discipline, as we need to train consistently if we want to accomplish our goals,” he explains. He has participated in the National Basketball League and Jammers Basketball League, and served as an assistant coach for the Singapore Kin-Ball Women’s Team for the 2017 Kin-Ball World Cup held in Tokyo.
While dealing with different people and situations, he sometimes comes across members of the public who try to challenge police officers. “These experiences have taught me how to communicate effectively and be assertive as a law enforcement officer,” he says.