Dad's volunteer UN missions spurred him to join police force

Assistant Superintendent Mohamad Fazlin Mohamad Kamal was inspired by his father, Station Inspector Mohamad Kamal Abdul Rahman, who has served in the Singapore Police Force for 41 years, to join the force.
Assistant Superintendent Mohamad Fazlin Mohamad Kamal was inspired by his father, Station Inspector Mohamad Kamal Abdul Rahman, who has served in the Singapore Police Force for 41 years, to join the force.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

The father-son relationships in two families extend beyond the confines of home and into their jobs in the Home Team. The Straits Times finds out how they inspire one another at home and at work.

When Assistant Superintendent Mohamad Fazlin Mohamad Kamal was young, he was in quiet awe of his policeman father.

His father, Station Inspector Mohamad Kamal Abdul Rahman, 58, who has served in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for 41 years, would occasionally take him to his workplace at the Old Police Academy.

During the police carnivals held there, the young boy would gaze in awe at the displayed police assets and also watch proudly as his father performed with the police band, which he joined in 1982.

Station Insp Kamal is now a chief musician and leads the trumpet section.

And when he was older, ASP Fazlin, 32, read in the newspapers about the United Nations peacekeeping missions his father went on as a police volunteer.

Through these, he saw how his father was contributing to the international community, and knew that he, too, wanted a job that would add meaning to his life and let him help the wider community.

This desire led him to join SPF after stints working at a bank and as an air traffic controller.

Station Insp Kamal recalls that when SPF called for volunteers to take part in a UN peacekeeping mission in Cambodia in 1992, he decided to respond as he had seen news coverage on conflicts in many parts of the world, including South-east Asia, and saw how many suffered.

He underwent a rigorous selection course conducted by the SPF Gurkha Contingent and embarked on the mission the following year.

 

He went on to take part in four more peacekeeping missions in the role of UN troop column leader. During missions, he was given six days off after every month of duty. He would work two or three months without a break so that he could save up his days off to go home.

While home, he spent as much time as he could with his family, jogging, eating and shopping together.

ASP Fazlin shared that when he was young, he felt a mix of respect for and slight fear of his father, who was firm but fair, and imparted values such as respect for authority and doing the right thing even when no one was watching.

These are things ASP Fazlin hopes to teach his 18-month-old son in time to come. As he raises his own child, he better understands the rationale behind his father's disciplining and appreciates that it was done to keep him in line.

He admires his dad for making it on his own, in spite of a rough upbringing as one of 10 children surviving on a meagre family income. He is grateful for his father's hard work and sacrifice in providing for the family, and ensuring his four children all receive a tertiary education.

This was something Station Insp Kamal was set on doing, saying it is hard to move up without qualifications.

For his Father's Day message, ASP Fazlin said: "I've never held it against my father for being away for so much of my childhood because I'm aware he was overseas at work and my siblings and I would not be where we are today if not for the sacrifices he made. I hope that I will make up for all the sweat and tears that he has shed in raising me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Dad's volunteer UN missions spurred him to join police force'. Print Edition | Subscribe