This week was all about familiarization; both on MinDef as an organization and ourselves as an individual and potential leader in the future. The days were filled with departmental visits, attending personal discovery and leadership courses, and the usual fitness training session every evening.
We started our Monday morning by visiting the Directorate of Defence Policy (DDP) which was situated in the main MinDef building. We were welcomed by the acting assistant director Haji Azlan Bin Haji Abdul Dani and the senior research officer Puan Rohaidah Bte Rosli. They presented to us the roles of DDP, highlighting on the "white paper" which comprises the aims and objectives of the national security.
After the presentation, we get to ask several questions and were given a tour around the department. We also get to meet one former scholar who studied in China!
In the afternoon, we went to the Centre of Science Technology of Research and Development (CSTRAD) and met with two former scholars, Vincent and Hamizah. They presented to us about the history, aims, roles and the different research units in CSTRAD. We were then given the opportunity to talk to them casually. It was really great to see the former scholars! They gave us pointers about the university, and how we can enjoy while we are abroad.
Visits covered most of the departments in MinDef, which were stretched to week seventh. Some of the departments were as such, the Directorate of Development and Work Services (DDWS) and the Directorate of Administration and Manpower (DAM).
As we learned more about what role each department play, we started to question the contributions we as an individual could make. Kudos to the Scholarship Department for arranging a three-days personal discovery and leadership course for us! (which has equipped us with the required means to tackle demanding issues and gather one's wits).
Our trainer, Alex Tan, was very warm-hearted and knowledgeable in his field. He introduced his course into a variety of sections—different personalities type (DISC), behavioural training as well as leadership and teamwork.
As we delve deeper into knowing ourselves, we learned to accommodate ourselves to a given task so as to bring about fruitfulness. That is, "who you are naturally is not a reason for who you can't be functionally" – which was a quote that has made a huge impact on me.
While to accustom oneself to circumstances, we accommodate ourselves with a "solution-focused" outlook. Such coaching has given us insights into running effective meetings which proved useful not only in the workplace but in university as well.
That said, I am really grateful to be able to attend the self-discovery and leadership course before university. It will adapt me to understand my lecturers and college mates on a deeper level, as well as to put to use the techniques we have learnt up till practices become habits.
By Saro Hakim & Hong Zi Ling
SCRBAF 2016 Scholars