No Holds Barred

A member of SPEAR shares his experience of working behind bars and being a Captain of Lives in SPS, one of Singapore’s premier employers.

By Joyce Lin

Whenever Yeo Bo Li tells people that he works behind bars, their first reaction is to ask why.

The 23-year-old made the choice to work in the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) a year ago when he was still in the army.

A friend encouraged him to take up the challenge when he chanced upon an SPS advertisement in the newspapers.

He was initially apprehensive at first. “I remember visiting Changi Prison before I joined and looking at the outside of the prison walls, thinking I would never want to come here,” admits Bo Li.

“But now I know that I want to carve out this path in correctional services for my future career.”

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MHA: The Right Home

On the lookout for a meaningful profession that helps impact lives? The MHA may just be the right home for you.

By Nabilah Husna A. Rahman

Nestled in the thickset of Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is a plethora of organisations working to service society and uphold the nation’s laws and decrees. Two of them are the Singapore Police Force (SPF), and the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) – source of the celebrated tagline ‘Captains of Lives’

The scholarships offered by the MHA are coveted by many, though only those with unstinted zeal for the various professions manage to attain them.

For two scholars from SPS and SPF, their journey through the mounds of the public sector began with the scholarship – and it has yet to end.

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SPS: Captain Reformer

Life in SPS is not all about breaking secret codes and investigating cases. It also involves cultivating the growth of inmates.

By Tang Pin-Ji

The ability to make a difference to others’ lives in a supportive uniformed organisation – that’s Alvin Tan’s idea of a career.

Inspired by the tagline “Captains of Lives” that appeared in a recruitment ad for the Singapore Prison Service (SPS), and having researched into the agency’s core mission and objectives, Alvin made the decision to pursue a career there. Due to the nature of the job, he had to undergo a series of selection tests and interviews conducted by a panel of experienced officers to assess his suitability for the organisation.

Today, as a Senior Personal Supervisor of Cluster B in Institution B1, Alvin regularly interacts with inmates to find out if they have any personal issues and finds ways to assist them. He also tries to help the inmates to cultivate good habits, while ensuring they adhere to a certain level of discipline.

Says Alvin, who has been in SPS for almost three years, “I’ve always believed in this statement: ‘one successfully reformed inmate, one less threat to society’. We are here to protect society by helping them reform.”

In carrying that out, Alvin has to be firm and impartial to inmates when it comes to enforcing the dos and don’ts of prison life.

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SPS: Transforming Lives

Unlike what is often depicted in the movies, the role of a prison officer transcends calling inmates by their assigned numbers, brandishing of batons and enforcing regimens.

By Eugene Lim

While ruminating on the purpose of his life after completing his NS, Kok Weng Chew arrived at the conclusion that he existed to make the world a better place. Therefore, he opted to read Civil Engineering at the National University of Singapore, as he felt that “constructing safe and secure buildings” would enable him to fulfil his destiny.

During his industrial attachment, however, Weng Chew had the opportunity to witness the realities of life as a civil engineer and quickly realised that didn’t motivate him. Further introspection told him why. “I wanted something with closer engagement with people. I wanted to be able to affect change in them and make their lives better,” he recounts.

Upon graduation, Weng Chew joined the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) as a Rehabilitation Officer. “As a prison officer, I am able to shape lives and make things better for the inmates as well as their families,” he shares. Eight years on, he has risen through the ranks and is now a Deputy Superintendent.

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MHA: Heartland Heroes

Singapore is renowned as one of the safest cities in the world. Every day, Singaporeans are able to live, work and play in an environment relatively free of crime, civil strife, and terrorism.

By Tan Yan Shuo

This is testimony to the effectiveness of the Home Team, the collection of departments and statutory boards under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a multifarious team that watches over our city like a guardian angel, and is staffed by countless dedicated individuals – our heartland heroes.

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA)
Concerned about cigarette smuggling? You might want to thank SSG Herwan Bin Pani, who once detected 4,800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes in a 20-foot container that was falsely declared as containing furniture. With his keen eye, quick wits, and professionalism, Herwan achieved the ICA Commissioner’s Outstanding Award for two consecutive years in 2005 and 2006.

“I chose to be an ICA officer as the job fills me with pride and a sense of professionalism,” he says. “I enjoy being at the first line of defence, safeguarding our borders and doing my part in protecting our country.”

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