Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Home Team Convention 2010: A Role For Everyone

On any ordinary day, Home Team officers are not the kind of people you’d like to see on your door step.

The Police? They appear when a crime has been committed.

Civil defence ambulance crew? They’re there to whisk the injured or dying to hospital.

Immigration officers? Better hide that stash of uncensored VCDs. : )

The irony is that Home Team officers are the ones we turn to when life turns upside down. They are there for extraordinary situations. And when they are summoned, we expect them to be at the top of their game.

This weekend’s Home Team Convention represents the biggest public display of tactics, techniques and technology used by Home Team agencies now and in the near future. Short of an actual incident, one would be hard-pressed to think of another occasion when one can see so many Home Team assets in one location.

The Home Team – which is an umbrella term for security-related agencies under Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs – is rolling out this two-day show-and-tell for good reason.

The underlying message of the convention is how everyone has a part to play in homeland security. Indeed, the event's tagline, "A Role For Everyone", sums up the inclusive, engaging nature of the Home Team in reaching out to the community, in the heartlands and in cyberspace. [This is quite unlike the behaviour of another PR-related directorate, whose focus has been soured by poor leadership]

The watchword from New York City’s ongoing counter-terrorism publicity campaign, “If you see something, say something”, saved the Big Apple from the botched car bombing attempt on Labour Day.

This mindset is just the thing Singaporeans need to adopt because apathy, vigilance fatigue and a heck-care attitude are key allies of terror cells.

Here’s my wish-list for this year’s event:

Police Coast Guard Command and Control Centre: This floating PCG base cum helicopter landing pad is intriguing. It would be great to hear coast guard officers explain the concept of operations for this structure.

Specialised Vehicles: As it's hazardous chasing the Home Team's specialised vehicles on public roads, and as it's a crime when one attempts to take pictures or copy vehicle number plates while driving, one relishes the opportunity to get up close to such hardware. *grin*

MHA’s online presence: At last year’s event, the Home Ministry showcased how it intends to reach out to the online community. A year on, how has this outreach on Facebook and Twitter developed? What are the key thrusts for the near and medium-term?

Casino Regulatory Authority: As both Integrated Resorts are now open, insights into how the CRA earns its pay will be timely, educational and appreciated.

Finally, a word on freebies.

In 2009, the steady stream of visitors who emerged from Suntec City with large Traffic Police tissue boxes helped me find my way to the event. People even went back for seconds, such was the popularity of these freebies.

The organizing committee must’ve known that Singaporeans are suckers for freebies and they hit the nail on the head with the eye-catching (and useful) tissue boxes.

What do they have in store this year? We can all find out soon. :-)


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Boey,

Sorry to hijack this post, but with the passing of Dr. Goh Keng Swee, I think many readers will appreciate if you could dedicate one post to him on his life and his contributions to our national defense.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

Yes, the ex-reporter-cum-independent reporter and casino fella should have lots to say, especially when he has that access. Come on, we want a tribute to Dr. Goh!

Anonymous said...

Tell us about the Malaysian occupation troops then and the British pull out in 1971. Someone needs to tell the Singapore story! You are the hero who can!