Serving with Passion
With 16 Ministries and more than 50 Statutory Boards, the Singapore Public Service promises a career rich with opportunities and growth. Meet Nazir and Dennis, two of the 136,000 public officers who work tirelessly to shape and serve our nation.
By Julailah Wahid
Despite his shy and unassuming demeanour, Dennis Liu harbours a patriotic spirit.
The 24-year-old, who graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a Diploma in Integrated Events Management, is currently an International Relations Officer at the Ministry of Transport (MOT).
“What drives me as a public officer is the sense of fulfilment I derive from contributing to the growth and success of Singapore,” quips Dennis.
MOT plays an active role in driving our nation’s development and success through the strengthening of Singapore’s domestic and international transportation connectivity.
As an International Relations Officer, Dennis oversees administrative matters and logistics as well as events and activities organised by the International Relations and Security (IRS) division. From conceptualisation and planning to execution and follow-up, Dennis ensures that all events organised by his division run smoothly.
Beyond that, it is also critical that international events, such as the Singapore Airshow and the Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation held in July last year, are implemented with Singapore’s interests at heart. In addition to helping to boost economic, political and security cooperation with other countries, the success of such events helps Singapore to make substantive contributions for the common benefit of the wider global community in international transport and transport security.
“Be it small-scale meetings or major seminars and conferences, our duty is to extend the warmest hospitality to the foreign delegates and visitors attending our events. To give our guests a unique and positive experience, we pay close attention to details in the areas of facilities management, following through on visitors’ requests and the arrangement of transport to local landmarks,” he explains.
A Rewarding Journey
Within a span of two years, Dennis had a variety of learning opportunities at the MOT. Dennis also got to work with professionals from international organisations and the public and private sectors.
“Working with people from different organisations to ensure the success of these events has been an enjoyable and eye-opening experience,” he says, “The sense of achievement I got from seeing the fruits of our labour is simply priceless!”
Just last year, Dennis even received the MOT Permanent Secretary Commendation Award, which is an accolade that recognises MOT officers who exemplify Integrity, Service and Excellence – the core values of the Public Service.
“This award wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of my Director and colleagues. It serves as a career milestone and certainly inspires me to work at my very best,” says Dennis gratefully.
Call of Duty
Besides public transportation, the Public Service also serves several other functions, one of them being security. Enter Muhammad Nazir Bin Abdul Hamid, who has been with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) for over 10 years now.
Under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the SPS strives to protect Singapore’s peace and security through the safe custody, rehabilitation and aftercare of offenders.
“As a key member of the Home Team, keeping Singapore safe and secure remains our top priority. That said, our duty as Captains of Lives is also to be actively involved in the rehabilitation of inmates. We seek to guide the inmates in their journey of rehabilitation so that they can rebuild their lives and gain a footing in society in the future,” says Nazir.
Right at Home
Nazir joined MHA at a tender age of 22, and has experienced tremendous growth as an SPS officer. Now 32, the Singapore Polytechnic alumnus feels proud to be part of one of the most advanced correctional facilities in the world.
What’s more, the positive and warm culture at the SPS makes coming to work enjoyable. Nazir shares, “Although we are a uniformed organisation, we do not compare ranks. Instead, we work as a team and help each other out. My superiors have always been forthcoming and are willing to listen to feedback and ideas from junior officers. Plus, the SPS organises many activities to promote work-life balance, such as sports, games and even company outings!”
Indeed, it is this supportive and holistic environment that has enabled Nazir to develop as both a professional and an individual. Apart from public speaking, leadership and communication courses, Nazir has attended workshops conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department and Central Narcotics Bureau. Nazir even went on to become a mentor to his junior officers, passing on whatever knowledge and skills acquired from his career.
The Home Team is highly committed to developing its officers. Nazir is one such officer who has benefitted from this. He was placed on the Home Affairs Learning and Growth Opportunities Programme (HALO), a sponsorship programme for outstanding officers to pursue higher education. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Science at Singapore Management University, Nazir hopes that his degree programme will enable him to tackle the evolving landscape and challenges in the Public Service.
After all, the unique work environment at the SPS certainly has its fair share of challenges. Recounting an incident that took place during his time as a Provost Officer, Nazir shares, “During one of our workshops, what began as a regular discussion between two inmates quickly escalated into a heated argument. Thankfully, I was able to intervene and diffuse the tension by listening to and addressing the concerns of each party. Besides being fair and firm in our actions, sincerity goes a long way in building trust between us and the inmates. And it is only with mutual trust and respect that we can work seamlessly with others.”
Although Dennis and Nazir come from different worlds, they both share one common goal – to contribute to Singapore’s peace and prosperity. As Dennis succinctly puts it, “A Public Service career gives you the opportunity to shape the nation and make a positive impact on the lives of Singaporeans. Yes, the work of a Public Service officer can be challenging at times, but it also gives you a sense of pride and fulfilment that can’t be established elsewhere.”