SINGAPORE - Growing up, Ms Cammy Chua was always interested in the uniformed services. This was not surprising, given that her father is a former fighter pilot who constantly impressed on her the importance of security.
Yet, she was still apprehensive when applying for a Home Team Scholarship, as she would have to go through six gruelling months of basic military training and officer cadet school as part of a prerequisite for the scholarship.
"But things kind of clicked in my mind one day. Why should I, even as a girl, shy away from challenges which my future men (subordinates) would face... I wanted to push my limits, I didn't want to shy away from it," said Ms Chua, 19.
On Tuesday (Aug 14), Ms Chua became the first woman to receive the Singapore Merit Scholarship. She was one of 17 recipients who were awarded scholarships at the Singapore Police Force Scholarship and Home Team Scholarship award ceremony at the Istana.
The scholarships are awarded yearly to outstanding students keen to pursue a career with the Home Team, and scholarship holders will go on to pursue undergraduate studies in local or overseas universities.
Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam was the guest of honour for this year's ceremony.
On being the first woman to receive the scholarship, Ms Chua said she hoped this could inspire other girls to step out of their comfort zones. The former Raffles Institution student will study psychology at the University College London in the United Kingdom.
Another first at this year's ceremony was the awarding of the Singapore Civil Defence Force Paramedic Scholarship, which was introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs in April. The scholarship was awarded to Mr Han Ming Xuan, 20, who will pursue Para-medicine at Australia's Monash University.
Other award recipients include Mr Alden Tan and Mr Stefan Liew, both 19, who were awarded the Singapore Police Force Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships awarded by the Public Service Commission.
The two will undergo training at the SPF training command after graduation.
Mr Tan said his interest in the police force was borne out of watching the television series Crimewatch.
But it was a short attachment with the police force that cemented his decision to join the force.
Mr Tan recalled seeing how a police officer took the initiative to personally remove parked bicycles which were blocking the path of pedestrians.
"After a while, his actions created a ripple effect and we cleared a pathway... it made me realise that one guy's initiative could create a chain reaction," said Mr Tan.