I applied for the Local Merit Scholarship in 2010 as I was keen to build a career in law enforcement and resonated with CNB’s anti-drug mission. I was awarded the scholarship and after graduating from university, I started work as a CNB officer in 2015 during its period of transformation in response to the changing drug operating landscape. Across the world, a wave of alternative drug control policies was gaining traction, which stood in stark contrast with Singapore’s zero tolerance against drugs. Locally, there also appeared to be a softening of attitudes towards drugs amongst the younger generation, and the proportion of new drug abusers arrested who were under 30 years old remained significant. The modus operandi of drug offenders was also evolving in tandem with technological advances. The CNB that I had just joined was rapidly evolving on various fronts to tackle these challenges.
In response to the evolving operating landscape, CNB adopted a new mission statement – to Enforce, Educate and Engage for a drug-free Singapore. Whilst enforcement has always been and will always be CNB’s sharp edge, the bureau needed to inculcate the mindset in each and every officer that education and engagement were equally crucial in the fight against drugs. Whilst I had expected myself to be mostly out in the field conducting ground operations when I joined CNB, I was pleasantly surprised at the numerous opportunities for me to educate and engage.
For example, early in my career, I was actively walking the ground as part of the “Dadah Itu Haram” (“Drugs Are Forbidden”) campaign. We engaged barbers, riders, hawkers, owners of food establishments and various other stakeholders to come together in the fight against drugs. The response was overwhelming, and we saw many willing volunteers coming forward to contribute to the anti-drug cause.
I conducted outreach efforts concurrently whilst performing my role as an Investigation Officer. I spent the day in the office recording statements, reviewing the evidence and preparing the case for court trials. In the evenings and on weekends, I was walking the ground trying to expand the “Dadah Itu Haram” network. The hours were long, but I truly enjoyed the work as I understood that the responsibility to enforce, educate and engage rests in every CNB officer. For our efforts, the “Dadah Itu Haram” campaign secretariat was awarded the Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achievement Award in 2018, which was a great encouragement to the team. The campaign also attained the Citizen Engagement Excellence Award at the 2020 Public Sector Transformation Awards.
Fast forward several years later, I continue to be resolutely determined in our anti-drug cause. I am now in Enforcement ‘E’ Division, in charge of the overall running of anti-drug enforcement operations in my unit, overseeing the urine supervision regime and engaging stakeholders to advance CNB’s anti-drug cause. The work is multi-faceted, and I look forward to tackling any challenges that may arise. This is a lifetime career if you are passionate in keeping Singapore drug-free!