For the past eight years, Singapore Police Force (SPF) Overseas Scholarship recipient Mr Shaun Lim Yung Shen had watched none of the popular law enforcement dramas in recent years, be it on local or international television.
Clearly, it wasn’t the action scenes of these law enforcement dramas that had inspired Mr Lim of his desire to be part of the Singapore Police Force.
A three-day stint at the neighbourhood post in Bukit Batok in June 2011 did.
“When we walked past a McDonalds’ outlet, the officers saw a few teenagers whom they hadn’t seen in the area before. So, they immediately went to check on them and made them take out their identification cards,” said Mr Lim, clearly impressed by how the Police Officers were so familiar with their patrol area.
“I felt that the Police officers are so intimately connected with the community... that got me thinking that this is the kind of career I want,” shared the avid sportsman who enjoys rock climbing and just returned last week from a hike at Mount Kinabalu.
Mr Lim graduated with an International Baccalaureate from the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and will study liberal arts for four years at Harvard University starting August 2012.
“I have not found another profession that will allow me to meaningfully serve my country while simultaneously challenging me to grow as a person,” added the 19-year-old, who is the second of four children of a Singapore Polytechnic research engineer and kindergarten teacher.
Mr Lim received his scholarship award from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Mr Teo Chee Hean at the Istana on Saturday, 11 August 2012, alongside fellow recipient and platoon mate Mr Ng Li Ki.
From strangers to platoon mates, and finally as good friends and fellow recipients of the prestigious SPF Overseas Scholarships, Mr Lim and Mr Ng are both heading for distinctive education.
The awards will provide them an immediate connection to individuals from diverse backgrounds with exceptional personal qualities and experience, and to opportunities for participation, growth, and contribution to the country and community.
After completing their studies, both men will serve a six-year bond.
The SPF Overseas Scholarship was first awarded in 1979, and previous recipients include Education Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat, Commissioner of Police Mr Ng Joo Hee and Director of Singapore Prison Service Mr Soh Wai Wah.
19-year-old Hwa Chong alumnus Ng Li Ki is headed for Oxford University in September 2012 to read philosophy, politics and economics for the next three years.
Inspired by the many stories told to him by his father, who had once been policeman in the 1980s, Mr Ng had told a friend at the age of 13 that he was going to be a police officer.
Mr Ng also counts his attachment experiences with the Kampong Java and Bedok divisional headquarters as what really propelled him to make the decision to join the SPF.
“The experience really opened my eyes. I realised that there is a lot more to Singapore than what a lot of people perceive,” said Mr Ng, Singapore’s Representative at the 2010 World Youth Scrabble Championships.
“My dad also shared that as a policeman you see things that others take a lifetime to experience... it changed him and he developed a different and refined perspective of society,” said Mr Ng, whose father is now a load officer with the Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS).
Mr Ng’s mother is a teacher at an enrichment centre, and he has a younger sister.
“Also important is the idea of the wider social good and the role that an effective police force plays in facilitating that outcome. There is a sense of honour and duty in ensuring that, which is something I would like to live by,” said Mr Ng.