High risk, zero error, mental and physical pressure… meet five women challenging their mettle to keep us safe from harm.

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SGT Khairina Abdul Hamid Ali

28, Assistant Crew Commander, Police Coast Guard 

Each of us plays a vital role in keeping Singapore at peace - safety should never be taken for granted.

The difficulty of training for the Police Coast Guard is legendary – six months of basic police training is required on top of another three months of intense tactical preparation to safeguard Singapore’s territorial waters. Sergeant Khairina passed these with flying colours to become part of an elite contingent of officers who give their all to strengthen our maritime policing capabilities. She works 12hour shifts patrolling off Singapore’s southern port waters from the Brani Regional Base.

Why did you choose this line of work?

“I love the freedom of the open seas and have a special interest in policing work from young. Choosing to work with the Police Coast Guard of the Singapore Police Force has helped me to achieve both these goals. While it may be risky, we’ve been trained with the appropriate skills and knowledge to ensure our safety on the job is not compromised.”

How do you do your part in keeping Singaporeans safe?

“Each of us plays a vital role in keeping Singapore at peace. Safety should never be taken for granted because that peace can be jeopardised at any time by external forces. As a Police Coast Guard Sergeant, I give my best every day to keep Singapore free of any forms of threats.”

What is the hardest part of your job?

“While I enjoy interacting with seafarers from other countries, it’s a challenge to endure the rough seas and adverse weather conditions that sometimes plague us, especially during the monsoon season. But as Police officers, we are always mentally and physically prepared to face such challenges and can continue to perform our duties professionally.” 

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Station Inspector Poh Ying Ying

35, Ground Response Force Officer, Geylang NPC 

Knowing that I might lose my loved ones if an attack happens, motivates me to safeguard Singapore.

As a Ground Response Force (GRF) Officer, Station Inspector Ying Ying patrols around her designated sector to prevent, deter and detect crimes. When someone calls 999, it is often men and women like her who are first on the scene to assist members of the public in distress. In her 14-year-long career with the Singapore Police Force, she has attended to incidents like neighbour disputes, theft, cases of hurt and many more.

Why did you choose this job?

“It has always been a wish of mine to be a Police Officer, as I get to contribute back to society as well. This is especially true in my current role, as we are the first responders to assist the general public when they call the emergency hotline.”

Do you worry about your own safety during your patrols?

“Every job has its own risks. GRF Officers are all trained, for example in Police Defence Tactics and firearms, to mitigate the potential risk and possible threats involved in our line of work. My team is also close-knit and ready to back each other up in times of crisis when assistance is required.”

How do you do your part in keeping Singaporeans safe?

“Having read about terrorism on the rise around the world, it scares me to think that it could happen in Singapore. Knowing that I might lose my loved ones and the things that I cherish if an attack happens, motivates me to safeguard Singapore. However, it’s a collective effort between the community and the Singapore Police Force to keep Singapore as safe as it is.” 

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June See

30, Air Traffic Control Manager (Systems Planning), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore 

Most passengers are not aware of how much careful planning and coordination is required to ensure the safe and efficient passage of aircraft. 

As an operational Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCO), June ensures the safe and orderly flow of air traffic in our skies. It’s her responsibility to see to it that aircraft maintain a safe distance from one another, respond to pilots’ request to change flight routes and coordinate closely with air traffic controllers of adjacent Flight Information Regions.

Why did you choose this job?

“After completing my undergraduate studies, I knew that I did not want a desk-bound job. I wanted a job that was challenging, dynamic and could provide me with opportunities to learn and grow. My love for travelling and flying motivated me to find out more about possible careers in the aviation industry. After some research, I found the job of an ATCO best fit what I was looking for.”

What do you love about it?

“The job of an ATCO is challenging and it pushes me to constantly upgrade my competencies and skillsets to handle higher traffic intensities and complexities while maintaining the highest level of safety. I love the sense of camaraderie and achievement that comes from working alongside my fellow colleagues. Also, a simple ‘thank you’ from the pilots at the end never fails to make my day.”

Do you think about the people you are helping? What would you say to them if you could?

“Most passengers are not aware of how much careful planning and coordination is required to ensure the safe and efficient passage of aircraft from one airport to another. Being responsible for the lives of others is a very humbling experience. It constantly drives me to do my best. I am privileged to be able to serve travellers around the world in this capacity.” 

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Dr Adriel Rao

38, Consultant Emergency Physician, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital 

The challenge of not knowing what can come through the door is something my training has prepared me to deal with.

Many of us shudder at the thought of having to spend extended periods of time in a hospital but there are some people who actually choose to be there. A Consultant Emergency Physician, Dr Rao faces daily trials and tribulations in the Accident & Emergency department of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. On her off days, she also serves as the Medical Director of Active Global Caregivers, which provides home care services for the elderly.

Why did you choose to pursue this line of work?

“I chose to be an emergency physician because I am drawn to the fast-paced, front line nature of the work. I also appreciate that the Accident & Emergency department is uniquely positioned as the interface between outpatient care and specialised care, which gives us a greater perspective of the healthcare realities on the ground.” 

Did you always want to lend a helping hand to others in need?

“When I was young, I had wanted to pursue a career in teaching because I loved setting mock exams for my little brother at the time. I am thankful that I can still apply my passion for teaching in the medical arena through my involvement as the department lead of National University of Singapore’s medical student education, as well as being an instructor for advance cardiac and trauma life support.”

Do you worry about stress on the job?

“The challenge of not knowing what can come through the door is something that my training has prepared me to deal with. From that perspective, it is deeply fulfilling for me to be able to serve patients well in spite of the many fires burning at any given time. Inevitably, there will be cases when a patient is lost despite everyone’s best efforts. For me, it is especially tough when a young person dies unexpectedly.” 

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Zhang Mengying

31, Staff Nurse, Accident & Emergency Department, Gleneagles Hospital 

It’s my responsibility and duty to care and serve my home in any way I can.

Nurses are often overlooked when thinking of people who put their courage on display on a day-to-day basis, but they are an integral part of the healthcare system. Mengying, who has been with Gleneagles Hospital for seven years, says nurses are often the first point of patient contact. As part of her duties, she assists with emergency cases and gives advice to her patients before discharge.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

“Being a nurse is challenging because no two cases are ever the same. Nurses who work in the emergency room also have to have a great deal of knowledge on all the different aspects of nursing because you never know when you may be called upon to provide specific care to a patient.”

What made you pursue this line of work as a career?

“I wanted to do something that made an actual difference to people’s lives. I enjoy the variety that working in the Accident & Emergency ward of a hospital affords me. The hours are demanding and there are times when it gets so busy that it’s impossible to take a break, but it is also rewarding to see the patients I’ve treated go home pain-free and healthy.”

Why do you love what you do?

“My love for Singapore means it has become my responsibility and duty to care and serve my home in any way that I can. For me, that means helping people through the nursing profession. Healthcare workers are always exposed to the threat of deadly viruses or pandemic diseases that could compromise our health and put our loved ones at risk… but at the end of the day, seeing my patients with a smile on their face ultimately makes everything worth it.”