This year, 16 HTX officers (or “Xponents” as we call ourselves), received National Day Awards recognising their contributions and service to Singapore.
May Ong Bee Leng, Director, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Centre of Expertise, received a Public Administration Medal (Silver) for her outstanding efficiency and competence.
May has led the CBRNE team on multiple fronts in Singapore’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic from wastewater testing to conducting human testing at the borders.
“It was a steep learning curve as we had no experience with clinical samples testing at the national level,” said May on the CBRNE team co-developing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits with an industry partner and HTX being granted a six-month Ministry of Health (MOH) Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics (PHMC) exemption to support border swab analysis of travellers at the various checkpoints – a vote of confidence in the team’s work and ability.
“The journey was tough and there were moments when we could not see the light. But if we had not gone through this journey, we would not have known that we could do it. We were able to perform in a scope that is beyond that of CBRNE and step up in the national fight against COVID-19,” she said.
May Ong, Director, CBRNE Centre of Expertise at HTX (Photo: HTX/ Michelle Lim)
May and her team are also working on leveraging technologies such as sensors in the detection of hazardous materials. eNose – or electronic nose – is an intelligent chemical sensor that is capable of detecting anomalies in the air.
May says she has found her calling in homeland security, and leveraging on science and tech to support Home Team Departments to operate more effectively and efficiently. “My personal goal is to be ahead of the threat curve. It is an ambitious goal, but I want to set a high bar for myself when it comes to keeping Singapore safe and prepared against threats,” she said.
Another Xponent, Lim Beng Hock, Senior Deputy Director of Immigration & Checkpoints Capability Sustainment team, received a Public Administration Medal (Bronze). Beng Hock, who joined the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2002, currently leads the Ops Systems team maintaining the information and communications technology (ICT) systems for Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), such as NRIC, passports, and checkpoint systems.
System sustainment is much more than just system maintenance, and a function that is evolving. “The flagship project ‘Tech Sustainment Centre’ that is part of Home Team Sustainment Centre will not only have the capabilities to streamline operations support, but also have the capability to support pre-emptive maintenance via data analytics,” Beng Hock said. “This will revamp how system maintenance and operations support are done efficiently and effectively."
For Beng Hock, supporting MHA operations through technology is very meaningful. “Although the workload is heavy, the culture of working together to solve problems is something I enjoy very much,” he said. “We work hard and also play hard through various activities organised by the Healthy Lifestyle Committee.”
The cycling enthusiast enjoys building and upgrading bicycles, and helped to organise the HTX Annual Cycle events in 2021 and 2022. “I found it very fulfilling when many fellow HTX colleagues, including HTX senior management, joined the event and had fun,” Beng Hock said.
Beng Hock (extreme right) with fellow Xponents including CE Chan Tsan (in red) during the HTX Cycle 2022 event. (Photo: Lim Beng Hock)
Eight Xponents were also recognised for their long service of at least 25 years in the public service.
“I feel honoured and grateful for the recognition,” said Ang Chwee Leng, Deputy Director, Enterprise Group, a Long Service Medal recipient. “Over the next few years, I hope to build great enterprise IT products for HTX and the Home Team, and to have the opportunity to be a mentor to the younger staff.”
List of HTX National Day Awards 2022 recipients (Photo: HTX/ Joanne Leong)