Home Team officers honoured at MHA awards

Singapore Prison Service Superintendent Ong Aik San (far left) received a Long Service Medal, while Singapore Civil Defence Force Warrant Officer Veeramani Prelathan got an Efficiency Medal at the Ministry of Home Affairs Investiture Ceremony yesterd
Singapore Prison Service Superintendent Ong Aik San (left) received a Long Service Medal, while Singapore Civil Defence Force Warrant Officer Veeramani Prelathan got an Efficiency Medal at the Ministry of Home Affairs Investiture Ceremony yesterday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

It is not unusual for former prison officer Ong Aik San to run into former inmates when he is out and about.

One went up to Superintendent Ong, 47, and his family at a coffee shop to say he had not forgotten Supt Ong's advice to him to "ho ho zo lang" (Hokkien for "be a good person") before his release.

"My daughters are amused when people come up to me like that. I hope seeing how I relate to former inmates teaches them how to treat people," said Supt Ong, who yesterday received a Long Service Medal at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Investiture Ceremony.

"There's happiness and satisfaction in knowing these men are willing to come up to you."

Supt Ong has worked for the Singapore Prison Service for 23 years, starting as a senior prison officer.

He is now commanding officer of the Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response Force.

He was one of 627 Home Team officers recognised for their contributions yesterday in a ceremony at the Home Team Academy.

At the ceremony, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam conferred 19 Commendation Medals for outstanding performance; 105 Efficiency Medals for consistent diligence and dedication; 349 Long Service Medals for those with 25 years of service; and 154 Overseas Service Medals.

Warrant Officer Veeramani Prelathan, 42, received an Efficiency Medal for a 19-year career with the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

He was involved in putting out the Stamford Tyres fire of 1997, rescuing workers from the Nicoll Highway collapse in 2004 and going on overseas rescue missions such as the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand in 2011.

While he is happy and honoured to receive the medal, he said his eight-year-old daughter at home was even more excited.

"She cannot wait to try on the medal," said the senior instructor at the Civil Defence Academy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'Home Team officers honoured at MHA awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe