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HERStory: Empowering Others to Succeed

Be inspired this International Women’s Day by two of our female officers who empower others to succeed with passion and empathy.
IWD ICA SPS Cover 01
GRAPHIC: Fadli Riduan

Regardless of their roles in the Home Team, female officers contribute equally as their male counterparts. CI Asyika from ICA and Cherlynn from SPS share with us how they empower their teams for success and advocate second chances for inmates and ex-offenders. 
Fuelled by Passion
Checkpoint Inspector (CI) Nurul Asyika Binte Jaafar
Watch Duty Officer, Tuas Checkpoint, 
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA)

Her motivation to keep our borders safe and secure drives CI Asyika to strive on during challenging moments.

IWD ICA CI Asyika 02
PHOTOS: Joash Tan

Tell us about yourself!
I have been in service for 16 years. I am currently a Watch Duty Officer at Tuas Checkpoint, assisting my Team Leader in the running of checkpoint operations. This includes active deployment of manpower to areas which require more support depending on the traffic situation as well as monitoring incidents. 

What’s been your most challenging experience?
The handling of COVID-19 operations at the checkpoint was definitely a challenging but memorable experience. Due to the rapidly changing border measures, my team and I had to adapt our processes quickly. It was trying in keeping up with the new measures, but as frontliners, we had to push on and adapt quickly to prevent importation of the virus into the local community. 

IWD ICA CI Asyika 03 
At the frontline, we also faced difficult travellers who are confused and find it hard to comply with the new border control measures. During such incidents, officers continue to remain professional and explain to travellers the need for such measures. Our training and past experiences come in handy in these situations.  

How do you stay on top of challenges?
Effective and clear communication is key in ensuring everyone in the integrated operations room is aware of their roles and the developments that go on throughout the shift.  

For example, when an incident occurs, not only do we have to monitor the developing situation, we need to also update frontline officers on the ground for their assessment and necessary action. 

IWD ICA CI Asyika 04

Underpinning this is definitely the close rapport we have built up among the team members. I am glad we have a nurturing environment here where we take time to guide the younger officers to grow the team’s capabilities collectively.

What drives you to excel every day?
Whenever I read about how ICA has successfully thwarted smuggling attempts at the checkpoints in the media, I often reflect upon how my team and I had also done the same in stopping similar smuggling attempts. This makes me feel proud of the work we do. When I end my shift, I know I have played my part in contributing to the safety of our borders and kept Singapore safe.

– By Elaine Lee

Advocating Second Chances
Cherlynn Ng Zeying
Correctional Rehabilitation Specialist, 
Psychological and Correctional Rehabilitation Division,
Singapore Prison Service (SPS)

Change is a journey and not an end goal for Cherlynn, who empowers inmates and ex-offenders with positivity and empathy.

IWD SPS Cherlynn 05

Share with us what you do!
At work, I help to enhance the throughcare rehabilitation efforts for inmates.

I run the Integrated Criminogenic Programme, where I conduct group counselling sessions to inspire inmates to work towards change and equip them with skills for emotional regulation and problem-solving.

I also conduct training for SPS staff and rehabilitation partners to brief them on the content and delivery of the programme.

Having been in service for a decade, what has been a significant change that you’ve observed?
My goal of encouraging positive change in inmates has not changed since day one. 

What I’ve observed and feel heartened is that more people from all walks of life – ex-offenders, students, members of the public – coming together to champion second chances for a more inclusive society. This is a testimony to the efforts we’ve put in: engaging a variety of external stakeholders and expanding our public awareness through platforms such as the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run. 

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Counselling in session. PHOTO: SPS

What has been a main challenge to your rehabilitation work?
Addressing the prejudice in the public eye is often a challenge, and I also have to convince the inmates to give themselves another chance to change. 

You sound like an eternal optimist. What contributes to your resilience?
I credit my experience in the aftercare sector for giving me opportunities to see first-hand the harsh realities and real struggles that inmates and ex-offenders go through in their rehabilitation and reintegration journeys.

I had a case of a female ex-offender who had limited access to social support systems, but with great determination, she managed to find stable employment and a home.

She has been an inspiration to motivate me to help more inmates and ex-offenders to turn their lives around for the better.

– By Phoebe Leow

Written by

Elaine Lee & Phoebe Leow


3 March 2023

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