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Be A Guardian: Balancing Heart with Enforcement
For ASP Thng Yi Ren, it’s all about having empathy while maintaining his professionalism.

Home Team News CNB ASP Thng Yi Ren 01
GRAPHIC: Phylicia Poon

Be A Guardian showcases fulfilling career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

Every day, officers of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) come face-to-face with the heart-wrenching consequences of drug abuse – on individuals, families and the community at large. It takes determination to fight drugs, and Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Thng Yi Ren believes that his work doesn’t only entail ground enforcement. For him, it also requires understanding the people he meets while on duty.

Why did you join the Home Team?
I’ve always gravitated towards operational work and being in the field. As such, I thought that a career in law enforcement would be a perfect fit for me. I chose to join CNB because of the operational aspects of the job. The drug situation is best tackled with a combination of good policies and effective ground response.

I joined CNB in 2017 after completing my studies on a Singapore Government Scholarship. I've undergone job deployments at CNB’s Enforcement and Investigations divisions, and am now a Staff Officer at CNB’s Policy, Planning and Research Division, where I get to implement anti-drug policies and measures in a range of areas.

Our work at CNB requires us to be adaptable in order to respond effectively to the situation on the ground. There’s a good balance between the intellectual and emotional aspects of our work, and this offers me the opportunity to grow.

What’s one key takeaway for you from your work as a CNB officer?
For some abusers, when the going gets tough, drugs may appear to them as a last-ditch escape from the challenges they face. Thankfully, Singapore has a supportive rehabilitation system that helps ex-offenders to find their footing in society. For example, CNB has various programmes in collaboration with the Yellow Ribbon Project where ex-offenders receive strong after-care support.

But it’s the ex-offenders themselves who deserve the most credit and support for putting in their utmost to stay away from drugs and get their lives back on track, for a better future.

Home Team News CNB  ASP Thng Yi Ren 02
From ground operations to policy planning and research, ASP Yi Ren is able to gain many different perspectives through his various postings. PHOTO: Phylicia Poon

What motivates you to give your best?
it’s when former drug offenders turn their lives around and stay away from drugs. This is especially so for repeat offenders. It’s extremely heartwarming to witness this change even though it may have taken them a long time to see the light. I’ve even heard former drug offenders say, “I’ll change my life for the better because I have grandchildren now.”

Can you share two qualities that are important for CNB officers to have?

Empathy and objectivity; these two qualities must go hand-in-hand. We may have empathy but also need to maintain our professionalism as officers. If an offender has committed a crime, then he has to be accountable for his actions.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in the Home Team?
When you join the Home Team, you get to serve Singapore. It will benefit you to have an interest in people understand what derails or motivates them, and contribute in various ways to the safety and security of Singapore. There are many opportunities to contribute and for personal growth in the Home Team, but in essence, you need to have an empathetic heart.

Be A Guardian of Our Home
A recipient of the Singapore Government Scholarship (CNB), ASP Thng Yi Ren has a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Psychology from the University of Cambridge and a Masters in Research Methods from the London School of Economics.

Home Team News CNB ASP Thng Yi Ren 03
PHOTO: Phylicia Poon

Keen to become a Home Team Guardian? Visit the MHA Careers Webpage to find out more about Sponsorship and Scholarship opportunities.
- Be A Guardian: Building Up the Home Team 
- Be A Guardian: When Values and Vocation are Aligned 
- Be A Guardian: More than Just Investigations 
- Be A Guardian: At the Forefront of Life-saving Innovation 
- Be A Guardian: The HTX-Files 
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Phylicia Poon
  2. 09 March 2020
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