The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Scholarship and Sponsorship Awards are presented annually to Home Team officers to acknowledge their outstanding service and affirm their potential for further contributions to Singapore’s safety and security. Six of this year’s recipients share their passion for their jobs and how they are preparing for greater responsibilities.
Transforming for the Future
Sergeant (SGT) Ashley Andrew
GRAPHIC & PHOTOS: Joash Tan
Interactive Proactive Patrol Officer, Ang Mo Kio Police Division, Singapore Police Force (SPF)
His desire to find ways to make police officers’ work safer and more efficient drives SGT Ashley to be an innovation champion.
How is it like being a second-generation police officer?
My dad was a police officer in the 1970s. He guarded key installations around Singapore after the ‘Konfrontasi’ conflict and the Macdonald house bombing. He would tell me how gang and drug-related activities were rampant in those days, and how crime fighting was largely a manual process. Today, thanks to the contributions by our predecessors, we enjoy a low crime rate, and we are fortunate to be better equipped to fight crime with the help of modern technology.
How will embarking on a degree in Public Safety and Security aid you in your goal of contributing towards SPF’s transformation efforts?
I envision myself contributing towards leveraging technology to improve effectiveness in investigations, patrolling and incident response. I already do this as part of my Neighbourhood Police Centre’s innovation committee, where we explore how technology can enhance officers’ day-to-day operations and workplace safety.
One of our projects, a new light beacon prototype that can be used for deployments and roadblocks, won a Silver award at an SPF innovation competition last year. This course will broaden my knowledge, build my critical thinking capabilities and allow me to develop a macro perspective on the strategies used in fighting crime.
What does achieving this scholarship mean to you?
I have always envisioned what I want to achieve in life, and it has motivated me to strive hard to achieve my goals. When I signed on with the Police Force after my National Service, I told my family that I intend to try for a scholarship. Now that I’ve attained it, my family is very proud, and I hope to contribute more towards safeguarding our home. – By Tham Yee Lin
Self-improvement for Others
Gayathri Raja Rajeswara Sarma
Assistant Director (Correctional Assessment Planning), Correctional Rehabilitation Planning Branch, Psychological & Correctional Rehabilitation Division, Singapore Prison Service (SPS)
To uplift the lives of offenders, Gayathiri is pursuing further studies to broaden her appreciation of social welfare practices.
Tell us about yourself!
I'm a Correctional Rehabilitation Specialist with SPS for the past 10 years. I developed an interest in the field of criminal justice and corrections after attending a module on Correctional Psychology at NUS as an undergrad, so I decided to devote myself to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. Also, being part of the Home Team allows me to be exposed to diverse fields and develop cross-cutting knowledge and skills.
How’s your work at SPS like?
While it can be challenging at times to sustain the motivation of offenders and encourage them to take ownership of their change journey, it is very rewarding to see them putting in the effort to learn new things and make positive changes in their lives. It is also heartening to see ex-offenders out in the community doing well and achieving the goals they have set for themselves. I am doubly touched when the offenders recognise our efforts in their rehabilitation.
What do you hope to achieve by taking up the master’s course?
I hope the Master’s in Social Work will enhance my clinical and supervision skills, which will help me better guide correctional specialists in assessing and formulating intervention plans to rehabilitate offenders. A greater understanding of systemic practices will enable me to conceptualise frameworks and models for more impactful policies and processes within the Home Team. – By Joash Tan
Scaling New Heights
WO (2) Chan Kim Mun
Deputy Rota Commander, West Coast Marine Fire Station, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
Driven to ensure the safety of his frontline officers, veteran firefighter WO (2) Chan is hitting the books after 16 years.
How long have you been serving in SCDF?
I have been with SCDF for 16 years. My interest in SCDF was piqued after learning about the role of an Emergency Response Specialist (now known as Fire and Response Specialist). Responding to emergencies, saving lives and property remains my passion till today.
What’s been your most memorable experience thus far?
That'd be responding as a marine specialist to a fire onboard a large cargo barge berthed at Tuas back in August 2016. The operation was more challenging than I'd expected - my team and I had to climb multiple ladders to access various parts of the ship, and it got much hotter within the confines of the ship's cabin.
It was a well-fought fire and there was a true sense of camaraderie and satisfaction after the firefighting operation.
Why did you decide to take up the sponsorship?
I have always enjoyed learning new things and it's been my dream to attain a degree. I am grateful to SCDF for this opportunity and thankful to my teammates and supervisors for their support. Learning is like climbing a mountain – the journey may not be smooth-sailing, but the view from the top is sweet, and the effort is definitely worthwhile.
What do you hope to achieve with the degree?
My degree course in "Human Factors in Safety" is very relevant to my field of work. I hope my experience over the years will help me better appreciate the well-researched knowledge from the course, to enhance the safety of my officers and make a difference to the lives of those whom we serve. – By Joash Tan
Read Committed to Serve, Eager to Learn (2022- Part 1)
MHA Scholarship and Sponsorship Awards 2022
The Home Team devotes extensive resources and effort to enhance officers’ professional competencies and prepare them for greater responsibilities. These include supporting officers in their academic upgrading. This year, 148 Home Team officers were awarded MHA Scholarships and Sponsorships to pursue degree or postgraduate studies. Read the speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information & Second Minister for Home Affairs at the Award Ceremony