With a passion to pursue a career in the Public Service, Lydia Lau applied for the Defence Merit Scholarship because she was curious about the defence sector. “I was also attracted by the fact that MINDEF allowed me to get exposure to different facets of public sector work, ranging from policy formulation to budget management,” she quips.
Her journey after graduation has been exciting thus far. For the first four years, she was part of the Defence Policy Office (DPO) where she worked with international organisations like the United Nations (UN), and managed Singapore’s defence relations with countries in Northeast Asia. “One of the highlights of my tour in DPO was when I was seconded to the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN for two months, as the MINDEF representative at the annual UN General Assembly. Apart from having the opportunity to safeguard Singapore’s defence interests in the international sphere and interact with diplomats from all around the world, I also thoroughly enjoyed living in a vibrant city like New York City,” she enthuses.
Currently, she manages National Service (NS) policies in the NS Policy Department (NSPD). “Although I have only been in this role for less than a year, this tour has been particularly enriching because I am exposed to a different type of policymaking, one which involves the domestic angle,” Lydia details.
Lydia Lau Herng Hui
National Service Policy Department
Recipient of the Defence Merit Scholarship
Through these responsibilities, Lydia muses that her dream of serving the nation in meaningful ways has been achieved. “In my current portfolio in NSPD, I am also exposed to MINDEF and the SAF’s digital transformation efforts as we look at how we can leverage digital technologies to improve the overall NS experience. Some of the initiatives we are exploring include the use of wearable technology to track national servicemen’s fitness progress, and the provision of information pertaining to one’s In-Camp Training through a mobile application. You can create very tangible impact through your work in MINDEF,” she elaborates with pride.
“One thing I appreciate about MINDEF is the fact that they really trust and empower their people, and are very willing to give us a great degree of exposure, even at a junior level. I have had no lack of opportunities to be involved in special projects outside of my primary portfolio that stretch my abilities,” Lydia shares, reflecting on her time in MINDEF thus far.
As we end the interview, her parting words encourage others to follow in her footsteps. “If you are looking for a challenging and meaningful career that gives you exposure to a wide range of issues, MINDEF is the right place to be at. I have no regrets joining this organisation,” Lydia says.