Firm role model to future leadersHe was once "the fierce one" in the Army Deployment Force. Now, 3WO Muhd Hidhir finds a balance between firm and friendly as an OCS instructor.
// Story by Thrina Tham
// Photos by Chai Sian Liang
With his years of experience in the Army Deployment Force (ADF) – a highly trained operational unit that responds to peacetime contingencies and terrorist threats – he used to be one of the fiercest trainers around.
But 3rd Warrant Officer (3WO) Muhd Hidhir is no longer that person.
Now a Platoon Warrant Officer in the Officer Cadet School (OCS)'s Alpha Wing, the 35-year-old takes on a markedly softer approach.
"The tempo in ADF was much more mission-focused and oriented… So when I came to OCS, it took me one to two months to adapt my style of training.
"Now I'm not really an instructor but an educator to the new leaders and trying to be a role model to them."
He must have done something right. Just after taking his first OCS batch, 3WO Hidhir was awarded the SAFTI Military Institute Inspirational Instructor Award in 2022.
Cohesion with the cadets
Not one to rest easily, 3WO Hidhir took feedback from his trainees to improve his teaching style with his second batch of cadets – dedicating more time with them outside of training.
"He has a family back home (but) he would take time out of his schedule to stay back in camp and spend time with us and engage us.
"It was very nice to have that in our journey as cadets," said 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Aw Zi Yann, who was commissioned this June after about nine months of training.
As the only female in her platoon and in the entire Light Infantry cohort, 2LT Aw was initially excluded from some of the boys' bonding sessions.
"It was quite hard for me because I would only see my platoon during training and lessons," said the 20-year-old, who is now a Platoon Commander at 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards.
3WO Hidhir encouraged the boys to include 2LT Aw in their activities and also opened up a common room for everyone to chat and have supper together when the cadets were allowed.
"Because of Warrant Hidhir's efforts, the guys approached me more and I felt a greater sense of cohesion and identity with my platoon," she said.
They call him 'Monster'
Coming from an active unit, 3WO Hidhir emphasises combat skills and fitness in his training. "Before I leave from work, I will always do a small PT (Physical Training) to improve the cadets' weaker points," he said.
He has represented the Singapore Army at the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet (AARM), going on to compete at other Army meets in Australia and Brunei.
Also a fitness enthusiast, 3WO Hidhir was given the nickname "Monster" by one of his commanders when he completed the old Standard Obstacle Course – which included a 700m run down before clearing of obstacles and another 600m run – in 7min 2s. (The passing mark was 9min 14s.)
Keeping his beliefs
In training, 3WO Hidhir often emphasises three beliefs on how a leader should be to his officer cadets – Firm, Friendly and Fair.
"He's definitely a balance between firm and friendly when it comes to work and play; and I genuinely feel that he is fair and approachable to all, especially helping those who are weaker," attested 2LT Aw.
According to 3WO Hidhir, these values were from his ADF training, where soldiers were taught to be firm, friendly and fair to civilians during peacekeeping operations.
"I have applied these beliefs till today. This is how I treat the cadets and also what I teach them," he said.
His proudest moments as a trainer now are watching his cadets commission after 38 weeks of rigorous training.
"The commissioning parade is a day that touches my heart… They are like my younger brothers and sisters and I'm really happy to see them grow," said 3WO Hidhir, who has a six-month old son of his own.
"So I look forward to their commissioning, when they don their ranks. Then, I know that I have trained them well – hopefully, whatever I've taught them will be beneficial for the rest of their days in their unit."