Hong Li Ying (SPS)


Stargazing with Home Team News: Meet Hong Li Ying

By Muhammad Farhansyah Bin Musa

From her childhood dream of being a social worker to being an actual Prisons Officer, she plays a part in helping society. This is the story of HOME Awards recipient, Hong Li Ying. Home Team News got to chat with her and discovered more about her dreams!

I can assure you that it is something meaningful and fulfilling. What’s more, you get to contribute to society and play a part in keeping Singapore safe and secure!
Hong Li Ying PHOTO: Singapore Prison Service ©. Reproduced with permission.

HTN: Could you share more about yourself and how you got wind of the HOME Awards back while you were still studying?

I attended a Home Team Career Fair back when I was in my third year of polytechnic studies and it was then that I got to know about the HOME Awards.

HTN: What was your childhood dream? Is it different from what you are doing now (i.e. as a Home Team Officer)?

My childhood dream was to be a social worker. I like to help people in need. Being a Prisons Officer is a little different from what I dreamt of, but in some aspects, there are some similarities as I still find myself helping the inmates in need, putting up referrals with regards to their accommodation or employment issues, etc

HTN: Why did you choose to apply for the HOME Award? Was there any reason for applying for the HOME Award such as the passion to be Home Team Officer?

I was inspired by the Home Team career talk I attended back when I was still studying, and felt that by applying for the HOME Award (Poly), I would have the opportunity to explore how meaningful this job could be.

It was a great opportunity for me to take up a career which is exciting and interesting. At the same time, I would be able to make a difference and contribute greatly to the society.

HTN: How did you feel when you received the news that you were one of the HOME Awardees? Was it a very proud moment for both your family and yourself?

When I received the news, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that I was selected as one of the HOME Awardees. Of course, I was very excited and thankful for receiving such a prestigious award.

I can still remember how my father was so proud of me when he attended my award ceremony day. It was definitely an honourable moment for both my family and I.

HTN: Did anyone inspire you and would you like to say anything to them? i.e. parents, teachers, mentor at work etc?

Definitely. In fact, there are many people around me who inspired me.

I felt that my parents had brought me up well. They didn’t scold or beat me when I did something wrong. They will always reason it out with me. They have a lot of patience towards guiding me on the correct path. Through them, I learnt that violence will not solve any issues and that we would have to be rational. Everything happens for a reason.

My sister is a social worker and although we are always bickering, but I would like to thank her as well. She has inspired me to be more open- minded and to have a gracious heart towards society.

HTN: How do you find work thus far, after your graduation? Were there any poignant moments or encounters that have inspired you?

I enjoy what I’m doing now. I feel that it is a very meaningful and purposeful career.

I had this inmate under my charge a year ago. It was her first time abusing drugs and being sentenced to a prison for drug rehabilitation. She was very remorseful and regretted her actions as she felt that she had brought shame and disgrace to her family. I encouraged her and did my best to help her stay positive and assured her that she would be able to start her life afresh after her sentence. And on her day of release, although I was not the officer who sent her off, she sought help from one of my colleagues to convey her gratitude towards me.

This experience inspired me a lot.

HTN: What do your peers or family members think about you working as a Home Team Officer?

They are proud of me. Some of my friends could not believe that I eventually chose this career as they thought I wouldn’t be able to make it through the training and survive inside the prison. They felt that I would most probably be dealing with people the society would usually look down on.

My family was quite against the idea of me working inside a prison, as they too, had the mentality that it’s not a safe working environment and they were worried about my safety. However, as time passed, they were very accepting and I proved to them that I am well taken care of and it is a fulfilling job.

HTN: Could you tell me how the HOME Award has made a change in your life?

I was very honoured to receive this prestigious award, and it has made a positive impact in my life. I would wish to inspire my juniors or the younger HOME Awards recipients to constantly take pride in their work and uphold the honour of this Home Award.

Through this award, I got to know the ‘HOME Award Family’. We would often share our experience and guide each other along and at times motivate each other.

HTN: Would you continue staying with the Home Team after your bond has ended?

I guess it’s too early for me to comment anything on this. To date, I enjoy working with the HOME team and I am proud to be a HOME team officer.

However, as I am still young, if there’s an opportunity for me to further my education, I would definitely go for it.

And I would definitely return back to the Home Team since this is where I began my career.

HTN: Would you like to give one piece of advice to your fellow juniors who are keen on applying for the HOME Awards?

Go for it if you have the passion or interest in serving the Home Team. I can assure you that it is something meaningful and fulfilling. What’s more, you get to contribute to society and play a part in keeping Singapore safe and secure!

Last Updated on 11 Apr 2015
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