HISSOC internship interview #4 – SPF internship

Remember Nishta, Emmaline and Meiling who shared with us their internship experiences during the December holiday? Yes! HISSOC is back after the long summer holiday to share with you more interesting internship experiences that our fellow History majors had done.

First up in this series of internship experiences, we have Nishta! If you have followed us, you would have known that Nishta was interning with the Singapore Police Force last year December. This holiday, she continued with the project she was working on previously and saw it to fruition. Read on to find out more about!


1.    Why did you decide to go back to SPF again for internship and continue with the project you were previously working on? How was it same/different from your previous stint in December last year?

The boring answer is: applicants were required to commit two consecutive term breaks. But really, I wanted to go back and continue to work on the project we had worked on in December, and I was excited to take on new responsibilities as well. I was also looking forward to working with the team at the Heritage and Social Responsibility Branch again!

The internship term suited me greatly because I am a person who takes time to warm up and learn the ropes. So, that’s how I ended up spending four months (in total) as an intern at SPF. This stint turned out to be hugely different from my first one! It was a lot more exciting, fast-paced and challenging.

My workstation :)

2.    Tell us what you did this time round for your internship

In line with Singapore’s golden jubilee celebrations, SPF – like many other organizations – paid tribute to the pioneer generation. In the early years of Singapore’s nationhood, these pioneer police officers were the ones on the ground, facing dangerous situations and tough judgement calls as they strove to keep Singapore safe. They even put their lives on the line in order to fulfill their duties. It was lovely to have been a part of a committed team that made sure these stories were not forgotten.

I was mainly involved in research, drafting articles, editing and the coordination of efforts for a publication that featured 50 pioneer police officers – Setia Dan Bakti: 50 Stories of Loyalty and Service. Besides this, I was also roped in to help in the preparation for the event – the SPF SG50 Pioneers’ Appreciation Nite. It was during this event, which was held at the newly revamped Capitol Theatre, that the pioneer police officers received a copy of the publication and also enjoyed the movie, “1965”. It was quite cool to see many of the pioneers I had read about in real life at that event!

Apart from the publication and event, sometimes, I was assigned some other research tasks and assignments, which were also pretty interesting!

Preparing the seats for the VVIPs at Capitol Theatre

3.    How did you feel seeing the pioneer police officers during the event?

Honestly… I was a little star-struck, haha! It was really nice to see them enjoying the programme and catching up with their old friends. I was delighted that I managed to strike conversations with some of them!

Stacks of the publication ready to be given out! :)
Stacks of the publication ready to be put into the goodie bags and given to the pioneer officers! :)

4.    What have you learnt while working on your projects?

I remember that when I was given some writing tasks on my first week back on internship, I took quite a while because I was overly cautious. Eventually, I learnt to be more flexible and to simply give it my best shot… and wait for the feedback, before re-writing it or handing it over. Also, I was very fortunate that my supervisors were so diligent and talented, and I’ve learnt a lot from working with them. Particularly, that you can continue to hold yourself to a high standard even in the working world. But, you need to know where to draw the line as well!

I think I’ve learnt a lot from listening to the stories of the retired police officers as well. I was struck by the way they stood their ground valiantly even in the most fraught situations. So many of these retired police officers remain so humble about their accomplishments… It was pretty amazing to see how they’ve aged gracefully, and how they still stand by their convictions many years later.

The pioneer officers mingling at the Capitol Piazza. Many of them caught up with their old colleagues and reminisced their good old days in the Police Force.

5.    I understand that this is your first experience in the working world. How has this internship experience shaped your perception towards going into the workforce in future?

Something that really struck me was the importance of teamwork. The project I was working on required the coordinated efforts of different groups of people – oral history interviewers, transcribers, photographers, videographers, researchers, layout artists, writers, editors… and of course, the pioneers themselves! I think everyone made a valuable contribution to the project and it was really humbling to see everyone so dedicated to the project… how people helped one another – even when they were very busy! When I enter the workforce, I must always remember to be like that as well.


6.    Any thoughts about joining the Police Force? Haha.

I get asked this question a lot! Well, I would say… it’s definitely a consideration. Growing up, I have always wanted to be a teacher though!

Inside Capitol Theatre and ready to watch the movie "1965".
Inside Capitol Theatre and ready to watch the movie “1965”.
Being interviewed by mm2 Entertainment after the movie.
Being interviewed by mm2 Entertainment after the movie.

7.    With respect to our discipline – History, were there occasions in which you felt that you were able to apply what you have learnt in school during the internship?

Definitely! I think my previous semester was a definitive one for me as a History major. I’d read modules that challenged me on many levels. As part of HY2259 (The Craft of History), we went through the grueling process of researching for, many rounds of refining/ re-scoping and writing a “mini-thesis”. The skills and insights I’d gleaned from this module significantly influenced the way I approached the research and writing process on my internship. It was great that the people I worked with also set a high standard for historical accuracy and authenticity.

Reading HY3214 (History of Strategic Thought) and HY3246 (History of Muslim Southeast Asia), under Prof Brian Farrell and Prof Michael Feener respectively, inspired me a lot too. Their approaches and discussions related to historical inquiry were always at the back of my head as I went about my work as an intern. As a case in point, Prof Farrell always encouraged us to grapple with big questions. At almost every single tutorial, he would problematize the issues further – and I never left his class with any easy answers, just more questions.


8.    Tell us more about your internship partner – Jing Jie.

I think Jing Jie’s internship experience was quite different from mine, especially since he had a different project and also served his National Service in the force. He was quite sporting and readily agreed to play a supporting character on Crimewatch, which was filmed during his first week of internship! He was also great at engaging children who came to visit the Police Heritage Centre (PHC) during the Children’s Season. As one of his main projects involved primary research, he had to go through many reels of microfilm, photos, videos and old publications. Throughout the research process, he was meticulous, patient and analytical – which are important qualities for History majors!

My internship partner, Jing Jie, and I at a Home Team event to celebrate SG50 and honour the pioneers.
My internship partner, Jing Jie, and I at a Home Team event to celebrate SG50 and honour the pioneers.

To get an e-copy of the Singapore Police Force publication – “Setia dan Bakti”, please click this link.

If you wish to know more about her internship experience, feel free to email us at communications@nushissoc.org


Published by hissocnus

The National University of Singapore (NUS) History Society is a student-run organization that aims to encourage an interest for history among NUS students and members of the public. Its members include all History majors and other NUS students interested in history. Regular projects that aim to engage NUS students include writing and editorial opportunities at the Society’s publication Mnemozine, career development programmes as well as welfare activities. NUS History Society is a student society under the Office of Student Affairs, National University of Singapore.

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