Sunday, 24 September 2023

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Former officer shares journey of struggle and resilience through the Singapore Police Force

by Fauzella Sahabdin, who posted on her Facebook page

This will be a very long post.

The recent death of Police Officer Raja has affected me. A lot.

It brought up horrible memories of me when I was in Singapore Police Force (SPF).

Memories of which I have buried and refuse to think and speak about it to anyone because it HURT.

I am not STUPID. If I can do a degree at the University of London (UOL), which is a totally new major while in SPF, while pregnant, two days after I gave birth, I am NOT STUPID. But when I was in SPF, I was made to feel stupid because I was new.

I was only 19 when I joined SPF. I hadn’t even graduated from polytechnic then when I started my training. SPF was my first job. Before that, I have never worked anywhere as my dad didn’t find it necessary for me to work.

So SPF WAS my virgin job, and it still is.

When I got accepted into SPF, I was ecstatic. I told myself, I’m gonna work very hard. Im gonna try to make a difference in society and everything else. I was very motivated.

But little did I know, it’s the SPF ground team that needs help. Major help.

It was in SPF I lost my motivation. I lost my self-respect.

I had no clue about the system. I had no clue about working in the team. I was the 2nd girl in the team. The other woman officer was four years my senior. And the most junior officer before me came one year before me.

The first six months I was there was HELL. HELL! It was just insults after insults.

Insults to my education. Insults to my sexuality. Degrading Name-calling.

I was called BITCH by a much senior colleague. I went into the female resting room toilet and cried for a few hours after that. Did he check on me? Nope. Did he apologise? Never!. Did any team leader (TL) step in? NOPE.

I was labelled as stupid. I was labelled as arrogant. Just because I wanted to go back home after my night duty and didn’t want to go breakfast and I wanted to rest. How can I not be tired?

Most of the patrolling work was thrown to me in the name of PROBATE. Yet when I wanted to go home, I was labelled ARROGANT.

Do you want to know that TL told me?

“Fauzellah, I think I know whats the problem. You are just arrogant. The team mates want to go for breakfast, you must join as we were all a team”.

What the TL said isn’t word by word. This is as exact as what I can remember

In all of my shifts, I was put down, insulted, called names, and became the topic of the joke.

Other officers from different teams and Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPCs) heard about what was happening, and they laughed it off because THIS WAS THE CULTURE. They went through it during their time so now it’s my time.

So now you tell me when this is the practice and culture, Where do I run? Where do I go? Who do I complain to? Everyone is practicing the same culture, and no, I don’t want to kena MARK.

In 2008, things changed. Management made some changes. So you see. Previously both TL and Dtls were SI and SSI. Now the Tl must be an inspector, and DTL is now the SSI.

So my Tl was a young Inspector. Inspector Jason Lim Chun Cheng. He was god sent. When he came into the team, everything changed. He was someone I confided in a lot.

He acknowledged everything that was happening. Whenever he sees something was done unfairly, he stepped in. He changed that horrible culture. He couldn’t change the older officers, but he stepped in. Because of his rank, he could.

He is masyaallah. An exemplary leader. Sir, if you are reading this, do know that you have helped me at the most difficult stage in my life.

Sadly, Senior ranking officers stay in their post for about one yr, and then they get transferred to a different post. 1 yr later, he was transferred to CID. When that happened, I was already completing my two years bond. I resigned after a while.

To cut the story short, Deputy Commander Desmond Choo (朱倍庆) who is a People’s Action Party (PAP) MP now. Another god sent! He held on to my resignation and requested that I try out the training branch. He said If after three months I am still firm in resigning, he will accept my resignation. I agreed. He transferred me to office hour Training branch, where I stayed for seven years.

Till today, when I look back and remember this time in my life, I tear up. The hurt is still there, very much. As I am writing this, I am tearing up.

This traumatising experience had made me fearful for my kids. Everywhere my sons go without me, the first thing that comes into my mind is “bully”.

All I can say is.. regardless of who you are, whether you are at the top, respect others. Like you, we are someone’s children too. Like you, we have self-respect and dignity too. You can be the most experienced then, but you won’t be forever. You can be powerful then, but not all your life.

Dont. Don’t drive people to the brink of madness just to feed your ego. Just to show others you are powerful. Dont.

You don’t know what people can do in the name of desperation. Just because you are strong emotionally, others SHOULD be strong emotionally too?

No. Not everyone is like you. Different people are exposed to different challenges in their lives. Hence, they grow differently.

Now I have three sons. Daily I am teaching them not to be you.

With HIS will, I am now one of the top henna artists in Singapore. I am damn good in my job. DAMN DAMN DAMN GOOD in my job. I have so many younger henna artists who have worked with me and want to work with me. I’m in a position where I can be an ASSHOLE if I want.

But I won’t because my parents didn’t raise me to be this way. Our religion didn’t teach us to treat people like garbage. In fact, our religion is all about the way we treat others, especially people who are not on par with us.


Let me be clear about this.

I am not doing this for publicity. Even if SPF is gonna invite me for tea after this, I will not go. I’m very sure numerous people’s rice bowls will be affected, and nope, I do not want that. That is not the purpose of my post.

This write-up is for me to share what I went through as T06099. It is to share with everyone that YES THIS IS HAPPENING BEHIND THE CLOSE DOORS IN SPF NPCS.

Naming people won’t solve the ROOT of this issue. It will only spoil livelihood. It’s the NPC CULTURE AND PRACTICE that needs changing, and this I hope, can be looked into by people who have the power to change things.

If you wish to SHARE this, please do. I pray this post can help those officers who are going through this predicament now to hold on and not do anything rash.

Guys, if you are going through this and you feel that it’s pointless to speak to anyone, resign. Leave. Just don’t do anything rash. You can always get a job elsewhere. But your life, that’s priceless.

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