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A Top NS Men in Singapore Polytechnic

A Top NS Men in Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

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A Top NS Men in Singapore Polytechnic

  1. 1. A Top NS Man in SP During National Service, and currently as an NS Man, Major (NS) Muhd Faizal has put out fires, saved a boy from attempted suicide and managed MRT Civil Defence shelters for war time evacuation. At SP, he counsels students, giving career advice and encouragement. Whatever the role, Muhd Faizal bin Abdul Kadir has always had this guiding principle: Being clear that his work will positively impact another person. As an Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Counsellor at DSS, Faizal advises students on matters like career choices, further education options, and other ECG- related areas like university application. Together with five other ECG teammates, he also conducts workshops such as resume writing, organises career talks and fairs, and offers career interest profiling for visitors during Open House. "In our most recent Open House, we helped raise the personal awareness of visitors by helping them discover their strengths, personalities and interests and how these translate into what they can do in future," Faizal says. Counselling is a relatively new part of Faizal's life, and a big shift from where he once started out. "Earlier in my life, I always thought about how I could help my parents retire earlier," Faizal shares, laughing. "My mom has been a cleaner for many years, and my dad is a security guard, and I wanted to support them well.“
  2. 2. A Top NS Man in SP "I tried various jobs through the years: a freelancer doing 3D animation, an IT trainer, and even the owner of my own start-up. But it was only as a trainer that I realised I liked connecting with kids and teaching them, and that there was always something to learn from the students I taught." Faizal started lecturing at ITE, and after a few years, he came to SP in 2006 to teach Digital Animation. As he interacted with his students, he realised there were more and more instances of students getting depressed. "At that time, the most I could do was to listen to their problems," he says, "but I started thinking, 'How would things be different if I had the expertise to counsel them?“ Faizal with his youngest brother at his commissioning parade for becoming a full-time NS man officer.
  3. 3. A Top NS Man in SP He eventually answered his own question, taking up a part-time Master in Counselling in UniSIM and completing it in 2013. In 2014, the Ministry of Education started recruiting ECG counsellors as part of the SkillsFuture initiative. Faizal answered the call and joined the ECG Team in 2015. He says: "Connecting with the students is what I enjoy most about the job. Some students visit us with worries that they are "doomed" or ill-equipped for their future. By talking with them about their interests and evaluating their situation, we guide them to look at things more objectively, with confidence.“ Faizal's demeanour is that of a mild-mannered, patient man. But his calm exterior belies an exciting life in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), a life full of incredible milestones. Faizal is currently the Head of Operations for the Shelter Battalion, which maintains the operational readiness of Civil Defence MRT shelters in the eastern part of Singapore and is responsible for keeping shelterees safe during emergencies. His contributions in leading the 400-man battalion are so extensive that he was awarded the MHA Home Team NS Man of the Year Award and the SCDF Commissioners Commendation Award this year. Faizal in his No 2 Mess Kit.
  4. 4. His Personnel officer, Major Chng Lip Ern, Head of 2nd Division Personnel Branch, says: "Always approachable to his men, Major (NS) Faizal's people management style is deeply rooted from his patient and mild-mannered personality. His unconditional positive regard for the ORNS men he leads made them realize how important their roles are in NS and this approach was so effective that it has substantially reduced disciplinary issues. He ranks amongst the very best of our ORNSmen not just at 2nd SCDF Division, but at Force and even Ministry level.“ This exceptional passion for NS reservist work stems from his early days as a full-time NS man officer at the Bukit Timah Fire Station. He remembers two cases in particular: One, an attempted suicide on Valentine's Day, where he saved a boy, who had just broken up with his girlfriend, from jumping off a high floor in a HDB. The other, the rescue of a female rape victim found at Bukit Batok Nature Reserve who, unfortunately, fell into a coma and passed away a few weeks later. Only one of these two incidents had a positive ending, but both remind him of the importance of the job: "In Civil Defence, the situations are real-time. If you fight a fire, it won't be a simulation. The passion to save a life is very real too. Sometimes, cases like the rape victim we found are really tragic and hit us hard, but in this line, you can see that what you do matters to others." Faizal (back row, fourth from left) with firefighters from the Bukit Timah Fire Station A Top NS Man in SP
  5. 5. A Top NS Man in SP Faizal shares his perspective on leading NS men: "I try to empathise with them. I can imagine that most NS men come to reservist feeling sian (unenthusiastic)… so what would make them be active? That's my approach to it. I focus on explaining how their NS really matters to people, so that they'll be motivated." When not safeguarding the nation or counselling students, Faizal spends his time at home. "One of my two sons has autism, and he gets restless if he's stuck in the house for too long. He needs to be engaged in outdoor activities, so we'll always be out at the parks, hiking or swimming as a family."​ Faizal with his wife and two children.
  6. 6. www.sp.edu.sg Singapore Polytechnic 500 Dover Road Singapore 139651 tel. (65) 6775 1133 fax. (65) 6870 6189
  7. 7. www.sp.edu.sg Singapore Polytechnic 500 Dover Road Singapore 139651 tel. (65) 6775 1133 fax. (65) 6870 6189