Home Team celebrates 50 years of NS with book

Special Constable Corporal Nabel Al Masri (centre) chatting with foreign workers. His fluent Bengali helps him connect with the workers, making it less intimidating for them to approach the police for help
Special Constable Corporal Nabel Al Masri (centre) chatting with foreign workers. His fluent Bengali helps him connect with the workers, making it less intimidating for them to approach the police for helpPHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Commemorative tome will be given to NSFs, schools, libraries

When he makes his rounds at the dormitories in Woodlands East, Special Constable Corporal Nabel Al Masri, 23, is welcomed by crowds of Bangladeshi workers.

The full-time national serviceman's fluency in Bengali has not only made him popular among the workers, it has helped bridge the communication gap between the workers and law enforcement.

As a result, Woodlands East Neighbourhood Police Centre, where he works, has seen more workers come forward to seek help.

"Sometimes, they share problems not related to crime and it is meaningful that I am able to help then," said Cpl Nabel recalling an occasion when he helped about 20 workers facing employment-related issues file a police report.

The officer from the Community Policing Unit came to Singapore from Bangladesh with his parents when he was one, and became a citizen in 2005. "I see the language as an asset, and it gives me an advantage to help others," he said.

Cpl Nabel's story is just one of many in the Home Team NS50 Commemorative Book - Everyday Guardians: 50 Years Of National Service In Singapore's Home Team - launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a dinner reception at the Istana yesterday.

The dinner was held to round off the year-long Home Team NS50 celebrations. Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli were also present.

Written by Mr Koh Buck Song, the book traces the evolution of NS in the Home Team. It will be distributed to Home Team full-time national servicemen (NSFs), schools and public libraries.

Over 900 Home Team NSFs, NS pioneers and their families were at the dinner at the Istana Lawn .

PM Lee also presented the NSF of the Year award to 10 men from the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for outstanding performance and conduct during NS.

Sergeant (NS) Danial Matin Zaini, 21, received the award for his service as a field instructor to the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps during his time with the SCDF. He taught cadets skills such as fire safety and first aid.

The undergraduate, who reached his operationally ready date (ORD) in March, said his experience with the cadets has helped him to hone his teaching skills .

"I was inspired to be a teacher by the good teachers I had in secondary school," he said.

Another award recipient, Inspector (NS) Billy Lian, 22, whose ORD was in June, served as an event security officer. The executive in a trading firm helped to plan and execute key events last year, such as the funeral of former president S R Nathan and the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.

In a Facebook post last night, PM Lee thanked all Home Team members. He wrote: "Beyond rewards and recognition, what is truly priceless is your contribution to keeping our home safe and secure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Home Team celebrates 50 years of NS with book'. Print Edition | Subscribe