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December 17, 2017 Sunday | Last updated on 16/12/2017 6:32PM (Singapore)
 
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Home Team News Home / Features / Meet the Home Team / NS50: Coming Home to Serve the Nation  
Published: 01 Dec 2017 10:23AM (Singapore)
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NS50: Coming Home to Serve the Nation
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National Service (NS) is a rite of passage for every Singaporean son. Having grown up overseas, the time came for Singapore Civil Defence Force Sergeant (NS) Raymond Zhu to return home and serve the nation. But with his twin brother in the Singapore Police Force, he wasn’t alone.
 
By Muhamad Khair Bin Mas'od
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A New Beginning

After spending most of his youth overseas (due to his parents’ work commitments), Sergeant (Sgt) (NS) Raymond Zhu returned to Singapore in 2015 to embark on his journey with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Sgt (NS) Raymond grew up mostly in Hong Kong, and he speaks with a hint of an American-influenced accent, which he picked up while studying at international schools.

profile shot of raymond
For Sgt (NS) Raymond Zhu, the two years with the SCDF was a period of maturity and growth. PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

Though he had to get accustomed to life back in Singapore, he found himself easing through the transition by speaking more Singlish and picking up Hokkien.

“Changing the way I spoke helped me connect better with my colleagues and with the residents I met,” he said. “It wasn’t difficult because I used to live in Singapore when I was younger!”

“It’s still quite tough to hold down a full conversation in Hokkien though,” he confessed, but some phrases he has learnt include simi taiji (“What’s the problem?”), which he picked up from his interactions with elderly patients.

Equipped to Save Lives

Sgt (NS) Raymond served as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Marina Bay Fire Station. During medical emergencies, he was the right-hand man to the paramedics, assisting them in delivering frontline medical help.

A key member of his team, he admitted that his sense of confidence wasn’t something that developed overnight. “You need to clear your head, follow your instincts and know how to improvise,” he said. “During training, you learn life-saving skills step by step, but it can be different in actual cases.”

“The most fulfilling part of my job is to see patients breathe again.”

Work on the frontlines is unpredictable and, in some cases, it can be a matter of life and death. “During one incident, we received a call for a ‘sick person’,” he recalled. “But when we arrived, the guy was already blue and trying very hard to breathe.”

Sgt (NS) Raymond’s training kicked in. “He was having a heart attack and on the verge of collapsing,” he recalled. “Just as we were getting him to hospital, he went into cardiac arrest. We had to start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation immediately.”

Thankfully, the team’s swift action meant another life saved.

Raymond with colleagues
Sgt (NS) Raymond and his fellow SCDF officers after successfully attending to a medical emergency in the Marina Bay area. PHOTO: Raymond Zhu

Not a Doppelganger, Just My Twin Brother!

Home Team officers share a common goal – keeping Singapore safe and secure. Connected by this same bond is Sgt (NS) Raymond and his identical twin brother, Sgt (NS) Ryan Zhu, who served in the Home Team as a Singapore Police Force (SPF) officer.

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Bonded by their sense of service - twin brothers Sgt (NS) Ryan (left) and Sgt (NS) Raymond. PHOTO: SCDF

Sgt (NS) Ryan was a Ground Response Force officer, and his duties included keeping the streets of Clarke Quay and Orchard Road safe.

Mistaking one twin for the other has left Sgt (NS) Raymond’s colleagues confused. “They responded to a call in the central area, where my brother was on patrol,” explained Sgt (NS) Raymond, the older of the brothers. “When they saw ‘me’ in a Police uniform, they actually thought I had two jobs – a part-time EMT and a part-time police officer!”

Sgt (NS) Raymond has since cleared up the confusion, and the brothers have even responded to the same case.

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Sgt (NS) Raymond (left) is the older of the two twins by two minutes. PHOTO: SCDF

Having completed his Full-time NS in August, Sgt (NS) Raymond is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies in biomedical science at the National University of Singapore.

With the ambition of becoming a doctor one day, Sgt (NS) Raymond hopes to attain a Post-Graduate Masters in Medicine and continue saving lives, just like he did in the Life Saving Force.

The story of Sgt (NS) Raymond and Sgt (NS) Ryan was featured in Everyday Guardians, a commemorative book to celebrate NS50. Read it here.

Read more NS50 stories:

My Son, the SPF Officer 

NS50: Father, Engineer and NSman of the Year

NS50: What It Means to Save and Protect Lives

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