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ME2 Winnie Lai Yu Fen

Weapon Control Systems Supervisor, RSS Steadfast
What intrigued you about a career in the Navy?

To be honest, the competitive starting salary was what drew me to the Navy at the start. However, as I progressed within the Navy, I grew to love the work I do and I have not looked back since.

What do you do in your current appointment?

My role is to teach and guide the Weapon Control Systems Operators on board on how to operate the systems so as to ensure that the ship remains operationally ready when called upon.

Share with us what you studied and how the knowledge acquired at school has helped you in your career with the Navy.

I started with a Higher NITEC in Electronics from ITE Balestier before moving on to pursue a Diploma in the same field at Temasek Polytechnic. The engineering knowledge I acquired at school has helped me better understand the complexities of weapon control systems handling and made assimilation into the Navy a lot easier.

What is it like being a female in a male-dominated environment?

In terms of physical strength, I may not be as strong as my male counterparts but they are always very willing to help me. After several years in the Navy, I have also grown to understand that in the Navy, adopting the right attitude matters more than anything else.

How has your character grown since you joined the Navy?

I am a quiet person by nature and I started off my career not feeling very confident of myself. Since joining the Navy, the various opportunities given to me to take charge and lead people has helped me become a more confident person who is able to speak up for my crew when required and lead my department for missions and operations.

What is your proudest achievement in the Navy to date?

A few years back, I had spotted a surface target during my watch out at sea. I immediately surfaced it to my Chief Weapon Control Systems Expert and with his approval, fired at the target. I felt an immense sense of satisfaction when we hit the target successfully.

What are some of the most exciting/ meaningful missions that you have embarked on?

One of the most exciting missions that I have participated in is Exercise Carat, an annual multilateral exercise conducted by the United States with several member nations of ASEAN and South East Asia. We completed the firing exercise successfully and it remains a very fond memory for me after so many years.

What are some of the most interesting experiences in foreign countries that you have encountered while you were on overseas deployments?

I received a last-minute order that we were to escort a Shell tanker back to Singapore because of the possible threat of small boat or sampan attacks during her transit back to Singapore. My department was asked to prepare our Typhoon rounds and we scrambled to ensure that we were well prepared for this escort. It was my first overseas deployment experience and definitely one that I will not forget for a long time.

What is one thing that you think is most unique about the Navy?

I would say the Navy family spirit. All my ship crew are not just colleagues; they are my friends too. I truly treasure the friendships I have forged in the Navy.

What keeps you motivated in the Navy?

I am very lucky to have made so many friends in the Navy who will guide and lift me up when I encounter problems at work or in my personal life. They are the people who make me feel that I want to come to work every day and to continue serving in the Navy.

What advice would you give to anyone who is considering joining the RSN?

To excel in the Navy, you must be humble so that you can learn from others and adopt a positive attitude towards the challenges that may come your way.

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