Could you share more about yourself and how you got wind of the HOME Awards back while you were still studying?
I wanted to join the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) after completing NS. I enjoyed the regimental lifestyle and was looking for a new challenge. I only have three 'O' level passes. I knew I had to upgrade myself if I want to join the SPS. Hence, I enrolled in ITE. I graduated from the ITE in April with a Nitec in Tourism and a Higher Nitec in Passenger Services. Now, I am pursing a diploma in Supply Chain Management in Republic Polytechnic.
I constantly kept myself updated through Home Team News and when I came across the application for HOME Award (ITE), I knew it was my golden opportunity.
What is your childhood dream? Is it different from what you are going to be (i.e. a Home Team Officer)?
I never had a dream because I was idling my time when I was young. I came across an advertisement while going to school. The words “Passion is key” is something I always remind myself. Regardless of the circumstance, always show passion in what you do. You can achieve better results if you enjoy what you do and the best way to achieve that is to have passion.
Why did you specifically choose to apply for the HOME Award?
To be a Home Team officer, I understand some of the traits one must possess responsibility and integrity. I hope to join the Singapore Prison Service, as I would like to help rehabilitate offenders back into the society. I feel this can only be achieved if they believe in themselves. I hope to inspire them to believe in themselves first and then take small steps, just like the way I have. My personal message to them is to “have patience with all things first but first of all with yourself.” (Saint Frances de Sales)
How did you feel when you received the news that you were one of the HOME Awardees?
I felt a massive sense of achievement. My family was so proud of me. I could have given up anytime but I chose to strive on. The road I took was a really bumpy one. There were many instances people told me I was far too old and was simply wasting my time. Some even said I would suffer if I sign up with the Singapore Prison Service, as the salary is very low. However, I told them that I was never planning to join the Home Team for money. I never allowed their words to get in my head for I have always remained focused and striving to be better.
Is there anyone who has inspired you?
My mother and brother have always been there for me. In the past, I did some things that I was not proud of but they never once gave up on me. They even supported my decision to upgrade myself after I completed NS.
I am also thankful to my course manager, Ms Stephanie Low. She inspired her students to do well with her constant support and caring nature.
Ms Elaine Tan, my class advisor, for her dedication. The best way to thank her is to keep upgrading myself. She is my pillar of support. I have seen her go beyond her call of duty to help students regardless of the situation. Therefore, I dedicate this award to her, as I know this would not have happened without her support.
Have you met anyone from your future department yet? If you have, what is your impression?
I met a Senior Prison Officer when I was at a job interview at Changi Prison Complex. Being alert at all times is an important aspect of the job. I was surprised to find out that each officer handles more than 10 inmates while on duty. This information was useful to me as it gave me an overview of what to expect in the future.
Mr Desmond Yong is another officer who has always been there for me. I always make it a point to update him on my academic progress. He is one person I would like to thank for providing more information on the HOME Award (ITE), which allowed me to progress on to the polytechnic under a scholarship by the Home Team.
Could you tell me how the HOME Award has changed your life?
I used to party every weekend. This award has helped me to be a more focused person – both in my studies as well as being active. Now, I would rather spend my weekends at home resting or go for a run. I do go out sometimes but usually over the weekend or during the school holidays. Receiving this award has enabled me to be a braver person when it comes to facing challenges.
Would you like to give one advice to your fellow juniors who want to apply for the HOME Awards?
What could I do when I put on the uniform?
“Remember, your attitude, (not your aptitude), will determine your altitude.” (Zig Ziglar)