The Military’s Pride and Joy
The Ministry of Defence Singapore (MINDEF) possesses a team of supremely capable Defence Executive Officers (DXOs), who are the perfect complement for working in tandem with the superior firepower of our military. The effectiveness of this cooperation can clearly be seen in the continued peace that people of Singapore continue to enjoy.
By Edmund Wang
Cheerful and exuberant 26-year-old Joy Wong is more than just a pretty face. As a Media Relations Officer, Joy plans and ensures the fluent execution of the publicity plans for events both big and small – from the Officer Cadet Course Commissiong Parade to the annual celebration of our nation’s independence, Singapore’s National Day.
Of Passion and Dedication
It was clear that from a young age, Joy’s interest lay in communications. As a child, she was an avid listener of others’ stories and their life experiences. A staunch believer in the timeless saying, ‘Knowledge is Power’, Joy strives to perform her best in the realm of mass media.
“If I’m to draw an analogy, I see every individual as a book – a collection of interesting chapters that makes for an absorbing read. For me, simply hearing about their stories would not suffice. By sharing their tales, I want their stories to inspire, educate, excite and enlighten. No other line of work allows me to do that, which is why mass communications and I are a perfect fit,” Joy says, flashing a megawatt smile.
Interestingly, Joy learnt about the promising career path of a DXO at one of MINDEF’s recruitment talks. Joy describes it as a “blessed coincidence” as she was immediately intrigued by the prospect of becoming a DXO after learning more about the SAF and the countless stories they have to tell.
Joy is also certain that her course of work as a media professional will enable her to contribute to the defence of Singapore. She elaborates, “As the subject of Defence requires extremely specialised knowledge, I see it as my goal to ensure the publicity plans I execute events and the interviews I help facilitate give the public a good glimpse of SAF’s efforts in keeping the country safe.
Above and Beyond a Desk-Bound Job
The fast-paced environment that Joy works in pushes her to continually improve and better the Joy of yesterday. Not only does she strategise and coordinate media plans on an everyday basis, she also does the preparatory work for multiple events concurrently. Joy has thus learned to be sharper and more efficient than ever and her ability to prioritise and multi-task has improved by leaps and bounds.
“My preparation work typically includes formulating publicity plans, writing news releases and fact sheets, identifying potential interviewees and pitching stories to the media! As I work closely with the media, keeping abreast of current affairs and the latest developments is a must. This helps me keep up with the talk of the town, and react accordingly,” explains Joy.
Working with the military also has its perks, and for Joy, she has certainly enjoyed the opportunity of travelling to foreign lands and experiencing their cultures the most. She believes her memorable overseas deployment to Exercise Wallaby in Australia last year and her unforgettable trip in 2011 with the SAF Military Band to Brunei for the International Military Tattoo exemplify the adventurous nature of her vocation.
“At Exercise Wallaby, I opened my eyes to the delicate intricacies of military operations, and was thoroughly impressed. I had the chance to watch our infantry soldiers in action, as well as how they persevered on despite fatigue and challenging weather conditions.
“I was heartened to witness utmost commitment and dedication from our soldiers – not only by the Regular and Full-time National Servicemen, but also by the Operationally Ready National Servicemen. I knew I had an obligation to convey our soldiers’ competency and professionalism to members of the public,” says Joy, beaming.
Her stay in Brunei for the International Military Tattoo too was also an eye-opener. Joy learnt about the history of military bands, and the important role they played in boosting the morale of the soldiers during battles - things she would not have discovered, were it not been the exposure she was granted on these overseas trips.
A Catalyst for Personal Growth
Not only is she more well-versed in military matters, Joy now has a better understanding of the purpose of National Service and the importance of the SAF’s mission.
“I’ve gained confidence in articulating myself. I also take a lot of pride in the work that I deliver as I find it really meaningful. I am more adaptable to unforeseen circumstances too, and have learnt to take things in stride and work around to make things happen,” Joy reflects.
Her valuable experience that comes from the assessment of media coverage and the strategising of publicity plans has helped Joy in learning how to analyse trends and identify areas of interest to the media and the public.
“I also picked up time-management skills, which essentially means prioritising and balancing work with personal commitments. Even though I get unbelievably busy during peak periods, I’ve learnt to make it a point to spend time with my family and friends,” Joy adds.
Joy hopes that her efforts will help members of the public understand the importance of having a strong military, inspire their confidence in the SAF, and affirm their commitment to national defence. On a more personal level, she hopes to be eventually able to take up a management role where she can play a key part in mentoring and developing communication specialists who can help make a difference to the SAF.
For aspiring Media Relations Officers, Joy believes those who marry their passion in national defence and media relations work with their never-say-die and can-do spirit will excel in her field of work. “My profession is ideal for those who are media-savvy, mission-focused and articulate,” Joy concludes, flashing her trademark grin.