Dauntless Heroes
Beacons of Truth & Light
Dauntless Heroes
Yu Khing facing the task ahead at the Swab Isolation Facility
Dauntless Heroes
Daryl and Gabriel
masked and ready
Dauntless Heroes
Kirk Chuan and Daryl
rekindling school ties with a wefie

It has been over 6 months since Covid-19 changed our lives forever. How we interact, work, play and serve the community will not be the same for the foreseeable future and many of us refer to the undefined ‘new normal’. But in spite of the disruption in society and economy worldwide and news of pain and suffering, there have emerged tales of triumph and kindness that have renewed our faith in humanity.

In this article, we bring together the following four ACSians, who put in the “extra” in the “ordinary” serving in the frontlines of Covid-19, to share their experiences with our readers.

  • Poh Yu Khing (PYK), ACSS ‘89, is a consultant in organisational excellence and project management. His mission statement is “ To bring Kingdom into the marketplace, and to inspire Christians to live out their Kingdom calling in the marketplace. “

  • Col Daryl Tam (DT), ACSS ‘89, is a Colonel at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Commander of the SAF Team at the Singapore Expo Community Care Facility.

  • Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Dr Gabriel Cheong (GC), ACSS ‘93, Commanding Officer of 2nd Combat Support Hospital is currently a Resident Physician at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Emergency Department.

  • Dr Wong Kirk Chuan (WKC), ACSS ‘89 is Chief Operating Officer for Population Health at the National Healthcare Group, and concurrently Chief Operating Officer of the upcoming Woodlands Health Campus (WHC) integrated hospital facility slated to open in 2022.

Please tell us about your role in the Covid-19 fight.

PYK: I was volunteering at one of the government-run Swab Isolation Facilities (SIF). It was a hotel in town where the government healthcare sector partnered with the hotel staff to run this facility as part of the covid care response for foreign workers. I was an external volunteer working together with the other people who were seconded from various healthcare agencies.

DT: I was Commander of the SAF Task Group at the Community Care Facility@ Expo, responsible for providing 24/7 medical support to care for COVID-19 patients in Halls 5 and 6 of Singapore Expo. On April 17, we were given less than five days to get ready to provide medical support to over 1,800 COVID-19 patients in the Halls. It was a challenging task, but we worked closely with Woodlands Health Campus and our other partners to begin operations on April 22.

GC: I am currently a doctor in a private hospital emergency department. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 fight, I have been involved in screening for and treatment of Covid-19 patients in my hospital. More recently, I also contributed as part of the SAF effort at Singapore Expo Community Care Facility. As the Commanding Officer of 2 Combat Support Hospital, I deployed elements of my NS unit to the Expo to care for the patients undergoing treatment there.

WKC: When the COVID-19 virus surfaced around end 2019/early 2020, my team and I kept close tabs on the unfolding situation in the world. What seemed like a remote news event occurring overseas soon became a quickly impending local reality, and our emergency preparedness teams continued preparing our response plans to ensure we react swiftly to any changes in needs of manpower resourcing, safety and welfare of the WHC family.

In the meantime, our WHC team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, together with those in support and administrative roles, continued to be deployed within NHG’s hospitals, including Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Many were caring for COVID-19 patients, and supporting screening work at NCID, when the numbers of positive cases climbed. We were eventually tasked to plan and operationalise the clinical aspects of Community Care Facilities (CCF) for patients with mild symptoms and lower risk factors, at D’Resort NTUC and the Singapore Expo.

Dauntless HeroesWhat values that you learned at ACS shaped your heart for service especially at this unprecedented time?

PYK: I think it is the ACS and Christian values of humility and service. In times of crisis, Christians are called to run towards the crisis. In the previous generations, it was Christians that actively addressed problems in society, and one channel that carried the Gospel was mission-based institutions such as schools and hospitals. ACS itself is a mission school preaching the Gospel through education.

DT: The ACS values encompassed by SHIELD (Steadfastness, Humility, Integrity, Empathy, Loyalty and Diligence) are probably the most apt. The SHIELD guards and protects and this aligns neatly with the motto of the SAF Medical Corps, which is to Seek, Save and to Serve. We came together as #SGUnited, as a healthcare community as a shield at the Singapore Expo to Seek out those who needed help, to Save their lives and to Serve the Nation.

GC: ACS impressed upon me the values of Faithfulness and Service. Our gifts were given to us by God, through education and training. We have to be faithful to the gifts that we have received; they were granted to us to serve God and society. Therefore, those with the ability to help, should help whenever they can. No task was too small or too great for us to step forward to help.

My teachers were the perfect examples of these values. Although their roles laid with providing an education, they saw their responsibility as extending beyond that. So, they applied their skills to teach as well as to nurture and care for me as I was maturing. I learnt about God in church, but my teachers showed me how to live a good Christian life. Even as I served at the Expo, these same teachers were praying for the safety of my men and I when they read of our deployment. With examples such as theirs to follow, I could do no less but to serve.

WKC: I learned the value of commitment, discipline, teamwork and loyalty from my teachers and friends at ACS. Now in my professional life, and certainly during this challenging Covid-19 period, I see how so much I have learned at ACS has moulded me. During my time at the Community Care Facility at the Singapore Expo, I see these ACS values at work and it is inspiring to see the dedication and teamwork demonstrated by each and every one, whether as a doctor or nurse, operations manager, or security personnel.

Dauntless HeroesMany people think of you as ‘dauntless heroes’; defying convention and danger to serve the community. What phrases in our ACS anthem best describe your experience during COVID-19 and why?

PYK: The second verse of the ACS anthem reminds us that our founding fathers were from different backgrounds (China, India, etc) ... but our hearts, our hopes, our aims are one, no discord e’er will sever. The foreign workers in Singapore have made Singapore their home and they are one of us. They have helped build Singapore and we need to take care of them as well.

DT: When we first started operations, the main challenge faced by the team at Expo was dealing with a situation that we had not trained for, a situation that we had to quickly adapt to. Supporting a Community Care Facility and caring for COVID-19 patients was not a task that we had trained for. We were not trained to manage and treat thousands of patients infected with a very contagious disease. But on March 1 every year, as we sing our school anthem in our hearts, we are reminded to “stand together for the cause” and to save our Island of the Main. This was an unprecedented crisis of a generation, even beyond SARS. We needed to be on the frontline, together with our healthcare partners, to serve the community by helping our patients get better.

GC: I do not see myself as a hero. I was blessed with an education in ACS that prepared me to serve and to do so safely. Nonetheless, these are phrases that resonate most with me during this fight. “A beacon of truth and light” - we may be small in number but our contribution lights the way and keeps others safe. “Our Hearts, Our Hopes, Our Aims are One” - it was a trying time for the country, and we all need to work together, to push together towards a common goal. Our hopes lying on the grace of God, for protection and strength, to face this challenge.

WKC: For me, I would say the ‘God save our land and Heaven bless’ reminds me of God’s faithfulness and protection during these uncertain times. Many times, when we were putting together our team, equipment and plans for the COVID-19 response, I could not help but wonder how things were falling into place so quickly! As a result, I am often reminded to keep thanking God for His guidance and strength, and his interventions!

Dauntless HeroesWhat advice do you have for young ACSians who want to make an impact on society?

PYK: Seek God, dream big, but start small. Start looking for opportunities to make a difference to someone’s life today – one life at a time. Through your life experiences, God will slowly reveal what is on His heart for you, where He is calling you to make a difference, and what expertise, and most importantly character traits, that He is moulding within you in order to be of service to people and society.

DT: To all the young ACSians who are about to make an impact on society, remember that you do not and will not walk alone in your journey. As ACSians, our hopes, our hearts, our aims are one. No discord e’er will sever. There is and always will be a community of like-minded ACSians out there ever willing to lend a helping hand or a listening ear.

GC: Be faithful and patient. Work hard to equip yourself with skills so that when God grants the opportunity, you will be ready and prepared to answer His call, to serve in the place that He has chosen for you.

WKC: Recognise that it takes a family of like-minded people to serve effectively. The CCF at Expo was set up in a record time of five days to support the national efforts to manage the situation at the workers’ dormitories. Many organisations, agencies and volunteers from private to public sectors stepped up to contribute to this massive effort with manpower, equipment or resources. This would not have been possible without teamwork and a shared passion to serve.

Please share a bible verse or two with us that has provided comfort to you in this unprecedented period of Covid-19?

PYK: Zechariah 7:9-10 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. Jeremiah 29:7 – But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

DT: To keep me going, I lean on Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

GC: Psalms 46:1: “God is my refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble” never fails to encourage me in times of darkness.

WKC: One of my favourite verses which I carry with me, is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Very often when I am faced with issues, I do not fully know the answer to, I turn to this verse and say a prayer, and then carry on.

There are many more stories to tell and many ACSians who will continue to inspire us to aim higher and do more for the community. Should you have individuals who you may want to share the stories of, please let us know at

Ms Joy-marie Toh
MGS ‘89 and ACJC ‘91 Long-time friend of the above ‘89-ers

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