At the service of the President

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03 Nov 2022 | PEOPLE

At the service of the President

// Report by Thrina Tham

// Photos by Chai Sian Liang

English 华文

Meet two newly appointed Honorary Aides-de-Camp and find out more about these Singapore Army personnel who serve Singapore's highest office.

CPT (NS) Ibrahim (far left) accompanied by his wife (far right) with Madam Halimah and Mr Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee, after receiving his HADC certificate of appointment.

As an Honorary Aide-de-Camp (HADC) to the President, Captain (CPT) (NS) Ahamed Ibrahim will take on additional duties on top of his professional work and In-Camp Training (ICT) obligations.

While the role "is pretty daunting for a first-timer", the 31-year-old is "up for the challenge to serve the country in a unique way".

Tackling new challenges is nothing new for CPT (NS) Ibrahim. He recalled his first ICT call-up as Officer Commanding of the Headquarters Company in a Singapore Infantry Brigade in 2018 – where he took on a command role for the first time, while participating in his first Brigade-level exercise.

"There was plenty of unknown territory to navigate around during that call-up. Fast forward three ICTs, and I've learnt a lot and grown into my role with the Brigade," he said.

CPT (NS) Ibrahim will assume his HADC role on top of his professional work and ICT obligations.

President Halimah Yacob appointed 102 HADCs at the HADC Appointment Ceremony & Appreciation Function on 2 Nov. CPT (NS) Ibrahim was among 23 newly appointed HADCs this year.

HADCs support full-time Aides-de-Camp in organising and assisting at official events, such as visits by foreign dignitaries and functions, such as the Istana Open House, when people can enter the Istana grounds.

They are drawn from the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force, and assume this role on top of their professional work.

In her welcome remarks, Madam Halimah commended the HADCs for volunteering their time and service amid changing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They work quietly in the background to ensure that the State functions and events run smoothly. At the same time, they act as the ambassadors of the President's Office as they play a front-facing role interacting with guests and visitors in the Istana," she said.

Madam Halimah appointed 102 HADCs in a ceremony on 2 Nov, where she thanked the HADCs for their time and service.

She added that she was pleased to host the ceremony, which is the first one with the full HADC corps physically present since the COVID-19 pandemic. A small-scale ceremony was held this February.

When asked on how he balances his professional job as a Demand Operations Lead at an AdTech (advertising technology) company with his HADC duties, CPT (NS) Ibrahim said: "It comes down to communication to my bosses.

"Fortunately, I have a supportive circle of people around me – from my wife, family, friends and colleagues, to my NS superiors – who make it simpler for me to manage my time."

CPT Ng (right) receiving her HADC certificate of appointment from Madam Halimah.

Fellow new appointee CPT Ng Li Bing, 31, agreed that having an understanding superior helped her to commit better to her HADC role.

As a Curriculum Development Officer at the Guards Training Centre, she manages the curriculum and courses for trainees, as well as ensures the qualification of her trainers. Most recently, they conducted a training at Exercise Wallaby 2022 for Light Strike Vehicles.

CPT Ng (first row, centre) with her platoon after a three-day exercise as part of the Officer Cadet Course in 2019. [Photo courtesy of CPT Ng]

While CPT Ng is a guardswoman, she said that her toughest days were not during her gruelling Guards Conversion Course back in 2011.

Instead, it was as an Officer Commanding at the HQ 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade last year, when she was also involved in organising the National Day Parade (NDP) Show.

"NDP training often ended late, then I would settle my work tasks like administrative work and preparation work for my next company intake till late," CPT Ng explained.

Despite having to put in extra hours, the guardswoman said she does not mind spending holidays serving her HADC role.

CPT Ng (first row, sixth from left) with fellow HADCs at the Presidential Garden Reception this July. [Photo courtesy of CPT Ng]

Since her appointment this May, CPT Ng has served over a few weekends and evenings including the National Day Reception, Nurses' Day Reception, Presidential Garden Reception, and Deepavali Open House most recently on 24 Oct.

She said: "I see so many people who are also spending their weekends and holidays to come over and do their duty, and we share with one another about our jobs and experiences. It's a different kind of 'break'!"

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