What Public Officers Are Thankful For In 2020

COVID-19 has made 2020 an unusual year. From seizing opportunities to spending more time with loved ones, public officers share what they are most thankful for.

Although 2020 has been a challenging year, public officers remain thankful for several reasons.

Winning Entry

The Chinese call a crisis 危机 (“wei ji”), where 危 refers to precarity and 机 refers to opportunity. In other words, a crisis is not just as a precarious situation but also an opportunity to bounce back.

At the start of the circuit breaker, I panicked about working from home as I had no access to the design software that I usually use in the office. My supervisor, however, told us to take this opportunity to learn and upgrade ourselves. I went online to find free tutorials on design, listened to talks by design professionals, and even took a virtual tour to the Louvre Museum. My colleagues and I also engaged in discussions to reflect on what we have learnt.

As I’m not a digital native, it was amazing to see how my doors to the world opened magically with a click of a button. Having worked for more than 30 years at the Ministry of Education (MOE), the circuit breaker period changed my whole mindset towards digital technology and exploration. I am now more confident about using online resources and tools to aid my design work.

While the crisis is not yet over, I am glad that I managed to stay on the bright side of life and seize opportunities to improve myself and bounce back stronger.

Ang Lay Guan, Ministry of Education

Congratulations, Lay Guan! You win Klook vouchers worth $100 to supplement your SingapoRediscovers vouchers!


Other Winning Entries

From being grateful for working with a resilient team to having extra time to spend with family, public officers share their most thankful moments.

Amid the unrelenting work required of us, I’m grateful for my COVID-19 Telemedicine Operations Team’s ability to find light-hearted humour and keep our spirits up.

Despite initial limitations – e.g., a much leaner team size than you’d expect, the decision to all work from home (unusual for Ops teams) – we persevered in facilitating easy access to telemedicine and mobile medicine for all migrant workers, and all suspect-COVID patients.

The pandemic was a true test of resilience for us Public Service officers. Reflecting on 2020, I’m proud and thankful to say that the cherished camaraderie, supportive team spirit, and (in all seriousness) the WhatsApp sticker packs we created for ourselves were what fuelled our determination to keep persevering in the fight against COVID.

Candy Gan, Ministry of Health

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I am grateful during this pandemic that I can work from home and have extra time to spend with my 10-year-old girl, who is growing up so quickly.

Working from home also allows me to have a new morning routine to exercise and have morning walks and deeper conversations with my husband. Sometimes we get so caught up with our day-to-day obligations, we hardly have time to sit back and listen to our inner voice.

I am also grateful for my own resilience, especially with the added work and family responsibilities during the circuit breaker. I realise how important it is to take care of my mental health by exercising daily, meditating, getting vitamin D from the sun so I can sleep well and giving myself the space I need.

During this time, my daughter healed from her chronic hives allergy. After going to specialists for three years with no results, perhaps her miraculous recovery is due to eating healthier home-cooked food. Her academic result has also improved significantly with my husband and me now taking turns to teach her at home.

After watching Mummy work from home, my daughter told me she wants to be a public officer when she grows up and contribute to Singapore.

Anna Djong, National Council of Social Service


As a recent graduate (Class of 2020), I was very worried about finding a job in these uncertain times. I’m thankful that many opportunities were still available, with some employers stepping up recruitment efforts specifically for fresh graduates.

If not for the pandemic, I might not even have heard about many of these opportunities, including working at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). So despite all that is going on, I’m thankful that I learnt about MTI’s job opportunities and that I came here for my first job out of university.

On a lighter note, many of my friends studying overseas decided to fly back to Singapore to tide over the pandemic situation. This made it easier to catch up with them (and get them to buy souvenirs back for me). If not for this, I would probably have to wait for years before they came back.

Jacelyn Yap, Ministry of Trade and Industry


I am thankful that the Public Service has embraced online platforms more than ever for events and ceremonies. I have been able to be part of many events that I usually would not be able to participate in.

The Change-of-Command Ceremony for our Commissioner of Prisons used to be an exclusive event that not all officers in the department would have been able to witness. But because of safe distancing measures, a virtual live event was held, and everyone was able to witness this – similarly for many other events. Never before were we given the chance to listen and participate in these events. Now, we are only one click away!

Nur Azkiya Ahmad, Singapore Prison Service

Giving back to the community is an enriching experience

If you could rally your colleagues to give or volunteer for a cause (outside of work), what would it be and why?

Send your entry to psd_challenge@psd.gov.sg

The most creative entry will receive a prize worth $100. All other entries published will win vouchers worth $30 each. Entries may be edited. Please include your name, agency email address, agency and contact number.

All entries should reach us by February 5, 2021.

  • POSTED ON
    Dec 7, 2020
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