DAC (NS) Charles Ng, recipient of the MHA National Day Award 2020 (Home Team Volunteers), shares his thoughts on volunteerism, leadership and service to the nation.

TEXT: ROY SIM |
PHOTOS: DAC (NS) CHARLES NG

Align your volunteerism with your unique skill set — that’s the advice DAC (NS) Charles Ng has for those who want to make a difference in the  community. It’s something that the Group Chief Financial Officer of fashion retailer Club 21 has put into practice for nearly a decade now, first as a member of the HomeTeamNS Finance Committee (2013-2015) and then as a member of the HomeTeamNS Board of Governors (2015-present).  Both roles are voluntary.

“Like a Big Brother, Charles makes it his mission to look out for us. For example, when he found out about Dad’s for Life’s perks and activities for fathers, he made sure our NSmen were not left out and opened up doors so that HomeTeamNS could tap on them.”

Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive, HomeTeamNS

A Calculated Move

As a member of the Finance Committee, DAC (NS) Charles used his financial expertise to help HomeTeamNS better manage its finances, including those for the construction of new Clubhouses and the refurbishment of old ones. These projects are close to the 57-year-old’s heart as he has always believed in creating exclusive spaces for Home Team NSmen. “They play an important role in safeguarding Singapore’s safety and security, and deserve to have a space for their loved ones and themselves to enjoy,” he tells Frontline.

Without missing a beat, DAC (NS) Charles adds: “I have always asked myself how I can best make a difference and contribute meaningfully. So when HomeTeamNS asked me to join its Finance Committee, it was a way of using my unique perspective as an accountant to contribute to the organisation.” This sense of duty also led DAC (NS) Charles to take a place on HomeTeamNS’ Board of Governors.

“In this role, I endorse the plans of the various management committees of our clubhouses to help serve the evolving needs of today’s Home Team NSmen,” he explains.

Service as a Serviceman

DAC (NS) Charles’s appreciation for the contributions of Home Team NSmen was fostered during his time as an NSF, where he served as a policeman at the Ang Mo Kio Police Division. “I learnt a lot from those two years — confidence, the ability to think quickly on my feet and, most valuably, the skills needed to be an effective leader,” he recalls of the responsibilities he had to undertake, such as interacting with the public and assisting on various cases.

“Charles always takes on a task with one aim in mind — to do his utmost best. His experience in finance and knowledge of market developments have led to valuable contributions in HomeTeamNS.

Mr Leng Seng Choon, PBM, who worked with DAC (NS) Charles in the HomeTeamNS Finance Committee

These skills came in equally handy as an NSman, when he was made the NS Commander of the same division in 2010. “To lead my men effectively, I had to be a compassionate and active listener and really strive to make a difference in their lives.” Once again, this ethos proved useful when he carried out his most challenging mission yet: preparation for two elections in 2011 — the General Election and the Presidential Election. “We worked tirelessly to ensure that the elections in our constituency went smoothly. I’m glad that my men cooperated and gave their all.”

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