Record number of NSmen on NDP 2016 executive committee
Record number of NSmen volunteering on this year's NDP executive commitee
Come National Day, the lives of over 55,000 people will be in his hands.
As co-chairman of the medical committee for NDP 2016, Colonel (NS) (Dr) Kenneth Mak, 50, is responsible for the health of every performer and spectator at Singapore's 51st NDP on Aug 9.
He believes he is more than ready to rise to the challenge, thanks to his secret weapon: his experience as a doctor.
Col (NS) (Dr) Mak is deputy director of medical services at the Health Ministry, and a senior consultant at the department of surgery at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
"(My experience as a doctor) has allowed me to make NDP's medical support more sensitive to the nuances of dealing with patients," he told The New Paper.
"My experience has helped me understand how to treat civilians, especially children."
Col (NS) (Dr) Mak is one of 30 operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) serving on the NDP 2016 executive committee.
This is the first time the committee has included so many civilian members. It traditionally comprises full-time SAF officers.
Brigadier-General Kenneth Liow, chairman of the committee, said he was heartened that so many NSmen had stepped forward.
He added that the expertise from their civilian professions was a major asset in organising a meaningful NDP.
Col (NS) (Dr) Mak believes his expertise will help make the NDP more accessible to Singaporeans who might otherwise be excluded.
"We've made plans to bring in over 2,000 beneficiaries (from organisations such as the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, or Minds, and Pathlight School) to watch the NDP, and many of them have physical challenges," he said.
"I can bring in my insights into (their) medical conditions to allow us to be more prepared to meet their needs."
Fellow NSman Col (NS) Eugene Lam, 51, human resource director at Kimberly-Clark Asia Pacific, found his commercial acumen useful in fulfilling his duties as chairman of the branding and publicity committee.
Actually, the skills he gained from his professional life were useful in helping him make time for his family.
"My work with multinational corporations taught me how to manage my time and make the best use of technology to communicate," said the father of two.
He has held NDP meetings by conference call and Skype in order to minimise his time away from home.
"Of course, you can't eliminate the impact on your family time completely," said Col (NS) Lam.
"Something's got to give; sacrifice is the word.
"But there's something special that happens at NDP. It's in the smiles on everyone's faces. That makes it worth it."
BY THE numbers
The number of operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) serving on the NDP 2016 executive committee.
(My experience as a doctor) has allowed me to make NDP's medical support more sensitive to the nuances of dealing with patients.
- Colonel (NS) (Dr) Kenneth Mak, co-chairman of the medical committee for NDP 2016