Sparking Smiles

This police officer clowns around to help the sick.
Jeremy poses in his clown get-up with a hand puppet.
Jeremy poses in his clown get-up with a hand puppet.

Police officers aren’t known to play the fool, but Jeremy Png swears by it.

You see, the 48-year-old, a senior trainer with the Singapore Police Force Training Command, volunteers with the Caring Clown Unit.

The non-profit Caring Clown Unit has 12 regular members. Besides gigs for charitable organisations, they do ward entertainment at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital every last Saturday of the month. Their aim: to bring smiles to young patients in the paediatric wards.

Since 2010, Jeremy has taken on the role of “Dr Mouse”, a red-suited clown doctor in oversized yellow boots. He performs a slew of magic and balloons tricks on every visit, to help the kids “forget their pain and discomfort, even if it is for a moment”.

And being jokers is serious business for the troupe, whose members have been working hard at being funny since 2004. Every clown has to do at least three magic tricks, sculpt at least six balloon figures, juggle three objects or more, and spin a plate.

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For Jeremy, his volunteering stint has rewarded him with many unforgettable moments.

Performing in the paediatric cancer ward was one of them. Since “a little bug or a sniffle” could have serious repercussions, the troupe had to be “absolutely sure” they were physically healthy, and also sign health declaration forms.

“The children were so happy to see us in clown costumes, we wanted to give them the chance to forget they're in a hospital for just one day. That means the world to them.”

A police veteran of 26 years, Jeremy also injects humour into his day job, where he trains senior officers and officer cadet trainees. And just like his clowning stint, Jeremy isn’t afraid to use props and gadgets to make his lessons fun and relatable.

He likens his work to that of a gardener: “to cultivate the learners’ mind by nurturing them with knowledge and allowing growth to occur”.

“I get great satisfaction in making a small difference in someone’s life,” he adds.

This series is part of the PS I Love You campaign. Watch Jeremy’s video on the PSD Facebook page.

    Jun 13, 2018
    Zul Othman
    Norman Ng
    Yip Siew Fei
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