SINGAPORE - Witnessing an "all-out fist fight" between two gangs while volunteering in a Manila school two years ago "reaffirmed the importance of law and order" to Mr Ryan Lai.
The 19-year-old was one of three recipients of this year's Singapore Police Force Scholarship on Wednesday and now hopes to study law before joining the police.
Together with Mr Tan Kuan Hian and Mr Darrel Long, also 19, he received the award from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the Istana.
Having been a member of the National Police Cadet Corps in secondary school and junior college, Mr Lai recognised that policing offers a "dynamic career that balances both physical and mental challenges".
"It allows me to not only engage with a wide spectrum of society, but also to make a very direct impact on their lives," he added.
Mr Tan, who will study a liberal arts degree in the United States at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, hopes to help those who are "most vulnerable".
"Often, they are victims of crimes who are thus most in need of help, or they may be accused persons who are feeling confused or scared," he explained.
Previously known as the Singapore Police Force Overseas Scholarship, the scholarship is awarded by the Public Service Commission each year to A-level holders with outstanding grades, strong leadership qualities and who are keen to serve in the police force.
Mr Long will study geography at Britain's Cambridge University and eventually hopes to tackle youth crime.
He said: "It is a scary thought that youths our age are out there ... committing crimes and getting themselves into trouble."