They joined police force together, won major award together
This year, 3,959 individuals received the Singapore National Day Awards. Of these, over 200 are police officers. ELAINE LEE (firstname.lastname@example.org) speaks to two of them
In 1998, two people joined the Singapore Police Force (SPF) at the same time and were squad mates when they were undergoing training.
And while both officers went down very different career paths after they finished their training, both remained close friends over the years.
They enjoyed a mini-reunion when both received a National Day Award from President Tony Tan last night at the NUS University Cultural Centre. More than 200 officers received awards for outstanding work over the years.
Superintendent Fanny Koh, 40, had a big year last year, overseeing the security arrangements for key events in Singapore such as the 28th South-east Asian Games, the Asean ParaGames, the historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou as well as the SG50 celebrations across the country.
She was one of the officers who went overseas to help identify any dead Singaporeans during the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Supt Koh, who was then deputy head of the Disaster Victim Identification team of the Criminal Investigation Department, led the first team of officers to Phuket.
At a temple that had been converted into a makeshift mortuary, they saw about 2,500 bodies. The enormity of the situation hit her after completing her grim task in Phuket.
"It was only when I came back two weeks later that people started noticing I was a bit more highly-strung than usual," she said.
"It was also then that I realised how life could be so fragile."
After spending two weeks there, Supt Koh, who was a triathlete, was so affected that she could not swim in the open sea for two years.
A veteran police officer for 18 years, Supt Koh received the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) for outstanding efficiency, competence and industry.
Of her busy 2015, she said: "It was definitely very demanding, but I think what kept me going was the support given by the teams I was working with and my family.
"Exercise is also very important. No matter how busy I am, I will still take a minimum of 15 minutes each day to run, cycle, swim or do yoga.
"These exercises not only help me to stay alert, they also give me some personal time of my own as well."
Her good friend, Supt Ho Yenn Dar, 44, joined the SPF on the same day 18 years ago and also received the same medal as Supt Koh.
Supt Ho said: "Every now and then, we still meet up with our mutual group of friends to have meals together."
Married with a two-year-old daughter, he is the head of the operations and training at the Traffic Police.
Supt Ho started out at Tanglin Police Division in December 1998 before moving on to other postings in Police HQ.
As the Police Attache to the Philippines in 2009, he forged a close working relationship with the Philippines National Police and other law enforcement agencies.
One of the more memorable cases he handled was a murder at the SingTel Bukit Panjang Telecom Exchange in 2003 when an auxiliary officer was killed by his ex-colleague
Supt Ho was head of intelligence for Jurong Division then.
He said: "The man eventually surrendered himself at Hong Kah North Neighbourhood Police Post, was convicted of murder and was hanged.
"The case left an impression on us because how often would one have a chance to encounter a gunman, especially here in Singapore."
Supt Koh said of her good friend: "He was like a big brother to us all... he took great care of everyone in the squad."