SINGAPORE -It started from a childhood wish to stop bullying among his peers, and today 20-year-old Chua Hao En, who will become a police officer next year, is on the way to making things right.
The Republic Polytechnic student was one of the 52 polytechnic students who on Saturday (April 21) received awards from the Home Team, as part of its efforts to attract talent.
He won the Home Team Diploma (Merit) Sponsorship, which is given to polytechnic students with strong academic results who have displayed leadership qualities.
Another three students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) also received awards.
They come with an annual allowance and pay for their tuition fees. Polytechnic graduates and ITE graduates have a bond period of four years and three years respectively.
They will go on to join one of the Home Team agencies like the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Singapore Prison Service.
Mr Chua, who is in his third year of studying engineering design with business, will join the police after graduation.
"It's a dream career, not like any desk-bound job... and I can protect my family and friends," he said. "My brother, who's a police officer in Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre, also influenced me deeply to join this career."
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, who gave out the awards at a ceremony, said while the Home Team has been successful in ensuring Singapore's safety and security, more work lies ahead.
"Our environment is getting much more complex," she said. "Terrorism as a threat to Singapore has probably reached the highest level unseen in recent times. Transnational syndicated crimes, such as online scams and trafficking of drugs are more prevalent."
She added that the Home Team "will be under strain from the increase in workload".
Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs, said that Singapore will adopt technologies such as unmanned vessels and robots. It will also pool resources across the Home Team and improve coordination.
The Home Team will continue to invest in its officers and provide attractive career pathways, she added.
Over the years the Ministry of Home Affairs has given out a total of 524 Home Team awards to polytechnic students and 40 awards to ITE students.
Mr Muhd Danial Muhd Reymie said winning the Home Team ITE Sponsorship award will motivate him to study harder, do well enough to secure a place in a polytechnic.
The 22-year-old marine engineering ITE student will be posted to the Singapore Police Force, where he was posted during his National Service (NS).
"NS was an eye-opening experience where I saw things happening in Singapore that the general public would not know about," he said. "When I assisted a mother to find her missing child, it made me feel like I achieved something because I could help people."
Another award winner is Ms Manzurah Roshan Mohammed Ibrahim who will be joining the Singapore Civil Defence Force as a paramedic next year. She developed an interest in first-aid in the St John Ambulance Brigade, her co-curricular activity in secondary school.
The 19-year-old, who is in her third year of social work studies at Nanyang Polytechnic, said: "I'm interested in job that is challenging, and being a paramedic requires you to be always on-the-go, and I want to play a part in saving people's lives."