Pushing limits to achieve a first

(From left) Ms Cammy Chua, Mr Alden Tan and Mr Stefan Liew at the Istana yesterday, where they were among 17 recipients who were awarded scholarships to pursue careers with the Home Team.
(From left) Ms Cammy Chua, Mr Alden Tan and Mr Stefan Liew at the Istana yesterday, where they were among 17 recipients who were awarded scholarships to pursue careers with the Home Team.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

First female to get Home Team's Singapore Merit Scholarship did not shy away from army training

Growing up, Ms Cammy Chua was interested in the uniformed services. Not surprising, given that her father is a former fighter pilot who impressed upon her the importance of security.

Yet, she was still apprehensive when applying for a Home Team scholarship, as she had 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.

Yesterday, she became the first female 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 careers with the Home Team.

Recipients will go on to pursue undergraduate studies in local or overseas universities.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam was the guest of honour at this year's ceremony.

On being the first female to receive the scholarship, Ms Chua said she hoped this would inspire other girls to step out of their comfort zones.

And even though she struggled to cope with some army exercises, such as a four-day field camp where she carried extra baggage and had minimal sleep, she said it felt amazing being able to push through it all.

The former Raffles Institution student will study psychology at University College London in Britain.

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 included 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.

Mr Tan will study economics, statistics and data science at Yale University, while Mr Liew will pursue liberal arts at Yale-NUS College.

Mr Tan said his interest in police work came from watching crime television series Crimewatch.

But it was a short attachment with the police force while he was in school at Raffles Institution that cemented his decision to join the force.

He recalled seeing how a police officer took the initiative to remove bicycles 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," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Pushing limits to achieve a first'. Print Edition | Subscribe