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This Commander thinks you may have what it takes to be the next SPF leader

Helping Home Team NSmen realise their full potential is what really matters to DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe.
SPF veteran DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe helps to groom Officer Cadet Trainees (OCTs) in the Force.

Helping Home Team NSmen realise their full potential is what really matters to DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe.

BY KEENAN PEREIRA

Officer Cadet Trainees (OCTs) in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) undergo a rite of passage as they are groomed into leaders — a two-week stint at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) on Pulau Ubin. Here, their physical and mental capabilities are strengthened through a series of outdoor adventure challenges, under the guidance of a chief mentor.

SPF veteran DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe has helped to train various batches of Home Team NSmen under the programme, which he believes to be an excellent vehicle for personal growth. “I’m a great believer in instilling leadership skills,” explains the Deputy Commander (NS) of ‘A’ Division.

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (fourth from left) at the Real Run 2023.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (fourth from left) at the Real Run 2023.

Earlier in the year, the committed leader even managed to attend his cohort’s first day of OBS training despite the fact that his 85-year-old mother had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a fall. “I’m grateful that my two younger sisters were around to bring her to the hospital, so I could still go to OBS. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything serious,” says DAC (NS) Lok.

The 52-year-old is an ardent advocate of leadership training, which he says he did not experience as a rookie officer in the 1990s. “Trainees these days are taught to map out different scenarios, so they are better prepared to handle potential challenges,” he explains. “Such challenges are common in ‘A’ Division, where we handle events such as the New Year’s Eve countdown at Marina Bay and the Formula 1 Grand Prix,” he adds.

THE MARK OF A LEADER

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (third from right) believes in instilling leadership skills in Home Team NSmen.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (third from right) believes in instilling leadership skills in Home Team NSmen.

Leadership training extends far beyond contingency planning and logistical competency. Central to the OCTs’ National Service (NS) experience is their indoctrination in SPF’s core values of courage, integrity, loyalty and fairness. And DAC (NS) Lok is convinced that these qualities will eventually lead to gravitas in professional settings. In fact, the sales director at an IT company has noted potential employers’ keen interest in his SPF association. “They see my service as a sign that I can be trusted and have a good chance of attaining success,” he asserts. “They also tend to be quite curious about what life is like for those in blue,” said the single professional.

Excelling in his duties in the Force entails having a close and well-functioning relationship with his Commander, DAC (NS) Patrick Fung, who is three years his senior. This bond, according to DAC (NS) Lok, is rooted in trust, communication and support. “Both parties should also be willing to learn from each other,” he shares. He is particularly inspired by his superior’s ability to lead by example.  “Mr Fung is one of the few commanders in his 50s who can still clock in at under 10 minutes for his 2.4km run. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s my goal to emulate his success,” says DAC (NS) Lok. It also helps that the experienced leader is armed with a wealth of knowledge that guides the parameters within which his teams operate. “Mr Fung explains guidelines and laws in an easy-to-understand manner, which makes us better policemen.”

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (far right) with his fellow Home Team NSmen.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (far right) with his fellow Home Team NSmen.

A LONG AND REWARDING JOURNEY

At present, DAC (NS) Lok wants to play his part in nurturing the next generation of leaders at SPF. For those looking to claim the mantle, he advises that going the extra mile is crucial when it comes to climbing the ranks. “We are preparing for succession planning in the ‘A’ Division NS team. For Police National Servicemen (PNSmen), it’s not just about capabilities but we also recognise those who have the commitment to serve and grow as leaders, despite the other hats they wear at home and at work.” This may involve enrolling in the Volunteer Extension Scheme for PNSmen to serve beyond their statutory age.

Continued service in the Force might seem like a daunting-task, especially if you consider the mandatory 10-year Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) training cycle for most NS men. But DAC (NS) Lok encourages his younger colleagues to look at the bigger picture, beyond their obligatory duties.

“It might seem quite siong (tiring) during the first 10 years because that corresponds with the period where you may be starting a family or trying to make it big at work. However, once things settle down you might have more bandwidth to give back,” he says. “It’s very rewarding to know that you can continue to serve Singapore even in your later years.”

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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