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Fascinated with true-crime podcasts, national bowler pursues career in fighting crime

SINGAPORE — Going by her insatiable appetite for true crime documentaries and podcasts, national bowler Evangeline Foo’s peers had always known of her keen interest in criminal psychology.

Home Team scholarship recipient Evangeline Foo.

Home Team scholarship recipient Evangeline Foo.

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  • National bowler Evangeline Foo, 19, was among 26 students awarded a scholarship with the Home Team on Aug 18
  • The psychology student said her friends were surprised because many Singapore Sports School graduates tend to take up careers related to sports
  • Ms Foo said she was struck by the sacrifice police officers make when they sign up to safeguard Singapore

SINGAPORE — Going by her insatiable appetite for true crime documentaries and podcasts, national bowler Evangeline Foo’s peers had always known of her keen interest in criminal psychology.

What they did not expect was that she would take up a four-year bond and pursue a career in that field. A sports-related career would be much more expected.

The 19-year-old said: “As someone who comes from the Singapore Sports School, it’s not natural to join something in this niche because it’s so different from sports.

“Many people expect us to continue pursuing our sports or take up coaching or management of sports teams.”

On Thursday (Aug 18), Ms Foo was among 26 students who were awarded a scholarship with the Home Team at the Istana. 

She was awarded a civilian scholarship by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the intelligence career track and will join the Home Team in a non-uniformed role conducting analyses and research when she graduates.

The Home Team under MHA consists of several public service agencies such as the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Internal Security Department and Central Narcotics Bureau, as well as a few statutory boards. 

Ms Foo is a first-year psychology student at the NUS College, which is the honours college of the National University of Singapore (NUS). She intends to take up a second major in data analytics, which she said would be useful for her future job.

As a national athlete, she trains with the bowling team three times a week. When she is not training or studying, she can usually be found watching or listening to true crime documentaries and podcasts. 

Of particular interest to her are those about serial killers such as the notorious Ted Bundy, who kidnapped, raped and murdered numerous young women and girls in the United States around the 1970s.

“I find their behavioural pattern very interesting. On the one hand, they can lead completely normal civilian lives but behind the scenes, commit heinous crimes that even their family members may not know about,” she said.

I find their behavioural pattern very interesting. On the one hand, they can lead completely normal civilian lives but behind the scenes, commit heinous crimes that even their family members may not know about.
Ms Evangeline Foo, referring to criminals portrayed in true-crime podcasts

“It’s interesting that they can have such drastic changes in personalities and that’s what draws me to them because I want to find out why they behave that certain way.”

Despite having grown up in a school tailored to nurture young sportsmen and surrounded by peers whose lives often revolved around their sports, Ms Foo said that a turning point for her was around four years ago when some policemen visited her school to conduct a simulated exercise.

In an interview with TODAY, she recounted how the police officers simulated a terrorist attack in her school and students were taught to hide in their classrooms before another group of policemen escorted them safety.

At the time, government officials had said that Singapore was facing its highest terrorism threat since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

The warning came after a spate of recent terror incidents including suicide bombings in the Indonesian city of Surabaya and the five-month-long armed conflict with militants linked to Islamic State in Marawi, a city in the southern Philippines.

Ms Foo said that some of her classmates treated the school-wide exercise as a joke because they thought that a terror attack would not happen in safe Singapore.

Yet, even though it was only a simulation, she was struck by how the police officers responded to their call of duty and rushed headfirst into what, in a real-life scenario, would be danger in order to protect lives.

“I think I took it more seriously compared to some of my friends,” she said.

Ms Foo also said she has never felt that women have a disadvantage joining a traditionally male-dominated field.

That more women are hired to join the police force today shows that their perspectives are valued when it comes to fighting crime, she added.

The young athlete intends to stay with the national bowling team, but she is prepared to give it up after her studies if she is unable to find the time to train once full-time work starts.

“I want to contribute to a cause that is meaningful to me and that I am passionate about and I felt that the policemen that day were really able to show me that keeping Singapore safe is really a priority.”

Related topics

Home Team Scholarship bowling terrorism police Singapore Sports School

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