Ahmad Taufiq Muhammad has a can-do spirit that gives him the strength to excel in strongman competitions and his work.
From My Generation To Yours – appreciation dinner for NSmen on 30 October 2017.
Farewell, Mr Lee, Our NS Champion – Ending the year on a high note with outgoing HomeTeamNS President Mr Desmond Lee, who is also Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development.
The Police Coast Guard is like a big family. We share with and care for one another.
When SSGT (V) Timothy Lim was eight, he started playing table tennis with some older children after church. As he grew up, he also played football, squash, tennis and badminton. He even made it into his secondary school and junior college rugby teams. But he was surprised when he did not qualify for his secondary school’s table tennis team, which prompted him to put his heart and mind into becoming a better table tennis player.
Timothy’s determination and hard work has paid off. To date, he has participated in over a hundred competitions, including the Public Service Inter-Organisational Games, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s
International Games for Seafarers, the ASEAN Civil Service Games (ACSG), and the Asia-Pacific Veterans’ Table Tennis Championship (APVTTC). His achievements include a bronze at the inaugural ACSG in Malaysia in 2015, and an APVTTC bronze as part of the Copytron Table Tennis Club’s Mens’ Team (ages 40-49).
Timothy has served as a Volunteer Special Constabulary for 12 years at Ang Mo Kio Police Division, Traffic Police and Training Command. He is currently with the Police Coast Guard, which he sees as a big family – they share with and care for one another, and are committed to ensuring safety and security of Singapore’s territorial waters. While not training for competitions or out at sea, he shares his passion for table tennis with his close buddies from other Police units.
Maybe one day, there might be a match at sea!
Visit www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg to find out how you too can help keep Singapore safe.
TEXT: SSG (NS) LIM ZI YAO, SHELTER MANAGEMENT PLATOON COMMANDER, 305A MRT SHELTER COMPANY (BARTLEY MRT STATION)
Public Service Week is a reminder of our role in nation building. I was honoured to speak at this year’s NSTI Public Service Observance Ceremony as a representative of my ORNS Unit. I shared the successful completion of our first night exercise – undertaking public shelter conversion at Bartley MRT station. All of us came from different backgrounds and service units, but we worked together as a cohesive team, knowing that our training was paying off. Singaporeans can safely go to work or attend school knowing that we, the Home Team, are doing our utmost to keep Singapore safe and secure.
ORNSmen have commitments such as their civilian jobs. Some of us had duties at work to fulfil shortly after our in-camp training (ICT). Thankfully, our ORNS mates are encouraging and supportive. This extends to hearty meals shared outside of ICT. Our unit’s enhanced role in the SGSecure national movement involves sensitising, training and mobilising the public to deal with terrorist attacks. We have had to enhance our communications skills to perform our tasks eff effectively.
Also, since the omnipresent question is not “if” but “when”, we undertake our tasks with a clear objective and intent. After all, we know that every effort put in today will help to better prepare the public in the event of a terrorist attack. I would like to express my appreciation to all public servants who perform their roles dutifully in serving the nation.
In June last year, as part of the PNS Master Plan, our Land Divisions’ PNSmen were reorganised as Divisional Special Task Forces (DSTF). Making troop-level recalls for training and deployment have strengthened camaraderie across and between ranks, improved command, and increased our LandDivisions’ capacity to fi ght crime and tackle security challenges. Feedback from PNSmen has been positive – being trusted by their TLs strengthens their purpose.
‘D’ Division’s DSTF has directly contributed to a decline in shop theft rates. Its officers have frequently been First Responders, and many ground situations have been handled without Regular support. Crime rates and response times have decreased by 29 per cent from the previous year.
…being trusted by their TLS strengthens (our PNSmen’s) purpose.
One notable case on 7 June was handled by its DSTF 6 during foot patrol at VivoCity as part of Mall Patrol anti-crime operations. A Theft-in-Dwelling complainant approached the officers, who immediately took action. They swiftly located and arrested the suspect, recovering merchandise with similar descriptions to lost/stolen reports by multiple VivoCity shops earlier that day.
At the Geylang Serai Bazaar, where deployment fully comprises PNSmen, the DSTF provides a formal structure in which PNSmen can publicly demonstrate their leadership. SC/SGT1 Muhammad Arithzuan Ahman of ‘G’ Division was leading a patrol in June when he saw two large groups of people approaching each other in a threatening manner. Knowing things could quickly deteriorate, he led his team to intervene. “We saw that things were getting rowdy, so we proactively engaged them and instructed them to disperse,” he says.
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.
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.