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Club Buzz

Over the moon

From painting lanterns to indulging in guilt-free mooncakes, HomeTeamNS members and guests were pampered with exciting Mid-Autumn treats.

TEXT: ADLINA ADAM
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

Mid-Autumn Festival at HomeTeamNS was filled with delectable mooncakes and colourful lanterns. As the traditional festival is also known as the “Reunion Festival”, HomeTeamNS members and guests were treated to a mix of fun online and onsite bonding activities.  

RELEASE A SKY LANTERN AT HOMETEAMNS KHATIB

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For the first time at HomeTeamNS, families gathered to release sky lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Some 50 participants had a blast crafting and lighting their own lanterns before taking part in a Digital Scavenger Hunt at HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse.

With lanterns in hand, participants ventured through the Clubhouse – visiting Fitness Workz Premium, Mancaves and T-Play – while competing in different challenges. They scanned QR codes placed around the Clubhouse to download questions and receive helpful hints. Challenges included taking a family wefie at the Identity Corridor and Headgear display at the lobby. A total of S$300 worth of food hampers and Do-It-Yourself (D-I-Y) Minion Snowskin Mooncake kits were up for grabs.

The evening ended on an enchanting note, with families writing their wishes on their lanterns and witnessing the release of a sky lantern at the clubhouse’s roof garden.

“My children and family had a very good time. The event was very well planned and very safe for kids,” shared participant Michel Lam.

HEALTHY MOONCAKES GIVEAWAY AT HOMETEAMNS-JOM FACEBOOK PAGE

In partnership with Chocoelf, an award-winning chocolate brand established in Singapore, HomeTeamNS-JOM organised two contests for members that garnered a total of 132 entries.

Four winners brought home S$288 worth of Sugar-Free Snowskin Mooncakes. The giveaway boxes each contained some of Chocoelf’s best-selling flavours, such as Pure Lotus, Intense Dark Nibs, Osmanthus Green Tea and Strawberry Chia Seeds.

“I find this contest engaging; it reminds me of my younger days when I was told of the story of Chang Er. The prize was awesome too and I like the taste of the mooncakes,” shared HomeTeamNS member, James Goh Ming Sia.

KIDS COLOURING FOR MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL AT HOMETEAMNS BUKIT BATOK

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Some 100 children showcased their artistic skills at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok‘s Colouring contest. Held on-site at the Clubhouse over the course of a week, the young talents coloured various designs like images of mooncakes and lanterns.

Participants with the highest number of votes for their uploaded artworks on the Clubhouse’s Facebook Page stood to win attractive prizes. The winner received a HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok goodie bag, which included a Sketchers bag, shoe bag, tumbler and portable charger.

LANTERN PAINTING COMPETITION AT T-PLAY KHATIB AND BUKIT BATOK

Over at T-Play at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok and HomeTeamNS Khatib, Junior HomeTeamNS members and their families bonded over a Lantern Painting Competition. The competition attracted 50 participants, who showed off their creativity while learning about the Mid-Autumn Festival with their parents and siblings.

Their works of art were posted on HomeTeamNS T-Play’s Facebook Page. Three winners were picked from each T-Play facility and they each received a Premium Art Pack consisting of home craft activity booklets, The Intan’s Peranakan tiles, T-Play stickers, and other art paraphernalia.

Watch this space for coverage of more clubhouse activities, including Children’s Day and Halloween.

Note: All Mid-Autumn Festival events were held before the implementation of Safe Management Measures for the Stabilisation Phase.  

Categories
Close Up

From pain to passion

Putting off that run yet again? Serial marathoner and passionate cyclist WO(2) Bennett Koong has some simple advice for you.

TEXT: ROY SIM
PHOTOS: BENNETT KOONG

“Just do it” isn’t just the tagline of Nike. It’s also the mantra that got WO(2) Bennett Koong, 36, into the habit of running, which he picked up a few years ago. “I was inspired by my sister. She’s two years younger than me but quite a hardcore runner. Sometimes, she goes for a run even before the family wakes up and only returns when we’re in the middle of breakfast.”

WO(2) Koong wanted to join her but often found himself feeling lazy or lethargic. He admits: “Let’s be honest, it’s comfortable to sleep in and not exercise.”

OFF THE COUCH AND ON THE RUN

WO(2) Koong (middle, behind red Power Ranger) participated in the 2011 Standard Chartered Marathon with his colleagues.

But his sister’s determination to keep fit rubbed off on him and soon, he too was pounding the pavement at Bedok Reservoir.

He started with weekly 5 km runs before progressing to 10 km, 15 km and eventually finishing half-marathons (21 km) and then full marathons (42 km). “You just need to get over the inertia and start,” he advises. “Once it becomes a routine, it’s more likely to stick.”

It also helps to find out what motivates you to exercise. WO(2) Koong, who works as a retail manager, shares that each run is a chance to reset his mind and clear his head. “That’s why I don’t bring my phone or listen to music. Instead, I use my runs as a time to reflect on the day’s events,” he says.

Keeping fit also helps him in his NS role as the CSM of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s 105C MRTSC. Here, he ensures his division’s operations and in-camp trainings run smoothly. “I encourage my unit mates to run as well. They could see a difference in their stamina and were motivated to run even more. It’s the same satisfaction I got during my full-time NS, helping obese recruits pass their IPPT.” The key, he stresses, is consistency. “Bit by bit, you will get fitter and stronger.”

NEW PURSUITS

What started as a weekly way of keeping fit quickly turned into a passion. “I became addicted to running and would progressively increase my distance. Then I started heading overseas for marathons, going to places like Hong Kong and Putrajaya, Malaysia.”

The experience of marathoning in the Special Administrative Region is one of WO(2) Koong’s favourites, as he recalls the entire city coming out in support of the runners. “It was the longest water stop I’ve ever seen,” he says, adding that it stretched for about 200m.

WO(2) Koong’s passion for running hasn’t gone unnoticed: earlier this year, he was invited to join the REAL® Run Committee. In this role, he works with a team of like-minded NSMen to create and run a fun and fulfilling REAL® Run 2021. The 25th edition is ongoing and will end on Nov 9. “It’s an iconic event and I’m glad to be able to contribute ideas to keep it fresh,” he says.

For example, this year’s edition features two new categories — the competitive Leaderboard run encourages people to clock a 5 km run on Sentosa, while the “sole-mate” run focuses on a non-competitive 5km run at Gardens by the Bay. Participants could complete both runs at their own pace, which help motivate runners to finish the 25 km REAL® Run, which is once again held virtually because of COVID-19.

This principle of keeping things fresh also applies to WO(2) Koong’s workout regimen. The avid runner has now turned his attention to cycling, which he picked up during last year’s circuit breaker period. Although he used to ride alone, he now does it with friends, making trips to East Coast Park and Changi Village. “It’s more fun when you have someone to talk to,” he reflects. “More of my friends have picked up cycling since the pandemic started. It’s true what they say: ‘COVID-19 has encouraged exercise’.”

Sailing has also been thrown to the mix, although WO(2) Koong is quick to add that can’t be enjoyed as spontaneously as running or cycling. “It’s fun, but I can only sail when I have carefully planned my schedule.”

GO AT YOUR OWN PACE

There has been much online chatter about 2.4 km timings lately. Although WO(2) Koong clocks in at a modest 12 minutes, he is comfortable with the pace. “Don’t be too bothered about how fast other people are running. Go at your own pace and work on improving that,” he suggests.

Categories
Shape Up

HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse: A Sports Hub for all

Body or mind, young or younger, HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse offers sports courses for a variety of interests. From aikido to pilates, here are some of the classes you can enjoy on your fitness journey.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

The HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse offers numerous options for members looking to get their game on. Centrally located, the clubhouse is accessible to many.

Enjoy basking in the sun and breaking a sweat? You might want to sign up for the swimming or tennis classes.  If you don’t fancy working on your tan, try the beginner-friendly yoga or pilates classes. Apart from boosting your physical fitness, these activities also help you achieve a positive, healthy mindset.

ACTIVITIES FOR ALL

Aside from the extensive range of activities, courses are usually available at different times, offering members and guests greater flexibility. Whether you are coming from work on a weeknight or dropping by for some family time on the weekends, HomeTeamNS-JOM has got you covered. Here are eight activities that are perfect for the family:

1. Tennis

The court game offers you a chance to tone your body, work on those motor skills and throw in a good cardio workout in one swoop. Smash your way through the week as classes are available every evening. Beginner members pay S$120 (Public rate of S$160) for four sessions, and intermediate players get the same at S$160 (Public rate of S$200).

Sign up for tennis classes here.

2. Aikido

With the meaning “way of harmonising energy”, Aikido is a form of martial arts that focuses on turning your opponents’ own attacks and momentum against them. This gentle approach makes it perfect for kids to adopt. Choose from afternoon and evening classes throughout the week! Members can enjoy the rate of S$240 (Public rate of S$330) for 10 sessions.

Sign up for Aikido classes here.

3. Swimming

Singapore’s sweltering weather makes a trip to the pool the best escape, so pick up some basic skills with the beginners’ class and tone those muscles while you’re at it. There are plenty of slots for your kids, with weekend options from 9am to 6pm. What’s more, members enjoy 12 swimming sessions at only S$224.70 (Public rate of S$278.20)!

Drop an email to enquiries_balestier@hometeamns.sg, to sign up for swimming classes.

4. Karate

If parents and children want to share their experiences and exchange tips during the same session, then the Karate classes are a good option. Lessons happen every Saturday with the kids’ classes going first. Then they can sit back and watch mum or dad have a go. For eight sessions, members only pay S$140 (Public rate of S$170) for Junior classes and S$160 (Public rate of S$180) for the adults.

Sign up for Karate classes here.

5. Pilates

Stretch out and strengthen – that’s what Pilates offers participants. The low-impact activity makes it relatively low-risk for those with creaky joints! Come during Mondays and early Saturdays if you’re new to this gentle sport, and work your way to intermediate classes on Thursdays. Prefer a little more power to your routine? Opt for the HIIT variation, also available on Saturdays. Members pay S$90 (Public rate of S$100) flat for eight sessions.

Sign up for Pilates classes here.

6. Basketball

Scoring baskets isn’t as easy as it looks, and kids who find themselves hitting “nothing but net” will feel incredibly rewarded when they do. Have them practise twice a week with member rates of S$450 (Public rate of S$500) for 10 sessions, and watch them smile when they land those drops.

Drop an email to enquiries_balestier@hometeamns.sg, to sign up for basketball classes.

7. Badminton

It’s one of the games many of us played when we were young. But if you find yourself struggling with your backhand or shuttle control, pick up some beginner-friendly lessons at just S$260 (Public rate of S$320) for eight sessions.

Sign up for badminton classes here.

8. Gymnastics

This sport is gaining in popularity as people have begun to realise how powerful it is at strengthening core muscles. Becoming nimble is an added advantage! There’s no better time to embark on your discovery on the mat (or maybe pommel horse one day?). Members get a hefty 50 per cent off the one-time membership fees for the course.

For more information or to book a slot for gymnastics classes, call 6256 8191 (Balestier).

HomeTeamNS-JOM has more in store for you! Explore other exciting classes and courses to join with your friends and family here.

HAVE FUN, STAY SAFE

You’re here to keep healthy, and we’re here to keep you safe. While soaking in the fun, HomeTeamNS has Safe Management Measures  in place to keep you and your loved ones protected.

Venues and classes have strictly-enforced capacity limits and every participant is screened for their vaccination status. Cleaning and disinfection measures have been stepped up at high-contact points, and hand sanitisers are available around the clubhouse. Navigate your way easily to class with markings and signs that highlight the latest measures. And when it comes to the spaces themselves, every effort is made to maintain hygiene, and facilities like swimming pools are cleaned regularly to keep COVID-19 at bay.

POST-WORKOUT REWARD

You’ve pushed yourself to the max, now it’s time to treat yourself at the eateries in HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse. As they also offer member discounts, you’ll get to spend less but indulge more! Have a hearty finish at Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House, where you’ll find Western favourites served with a fusion twist.

The classics are all here: Generous 200g Australian Striploin Steak, Grilled Cajun Chicken Breast, and for the undecided, a Mixed Grill. If you wish to go for new spins, try the Grilled Salmon Mentaiko or Black Pepper Smoked Duck. If you have a relatively small post-workout appetite, Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House offers reasonably-sized salad and soba bowls that make for healthy options too.

Seafood lovers will enjoy Jom Makan Seafood — the restaurant serves up fresh barbecued varieties.

The setting is kept casual because the focus is on the food, and whether you’re craving crustaceans or fish, you’re in for a satisfying meal at this Muslim-owned business.

Whichever your choice, you know you won’t have to worry about that bill. Members enjoy 15 per cent off their final total, so chow down with glee.

Find out how you and your loved ones can kickstart your fitness journey and spend quality time together at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse

Categories
Shape Up

Home workouts worth breaking a sweat for

From Tiktok to YouTube, here’s how to formulate a plan to get ripped without leaving the house — that you can ramp up over time, too.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, HOMETEAMNS

COVID-19 cases are on the rise. You’re being socially responsible and staying home. With naught else to do, work, snacks and Netflix occupy the day. Life isn’t so bad. But as your belly grows, so will, in all likelihood, the frequency of your significant other’s nagging and the “food baby” jabs from friends. We’ve all been there, and eventually most of us make that decision to get off our butts and get back into shape (or at least a shape that isn’t just round).

Fortunately, the transition from Disney+ to a home workout routine might not be so far off – one just needs to channel that desire for streamed content into more productive avenues, bit by bit.

A RABBIT HOLE OF INSPIRATION TO GET YOUR BODY MOVING

First things first, you aren’t getting anywhere without a little bit of motivation – so why not add some #fitspo into your daily content browsing experience? TikTok may seem counterintuitive as a platform for fitness inspiration, but there are multitudes of creators on it who find ways to share muscle-building secrets, motivational tips and healthy lifestyle information into the short video format.

With a vast variety of content and creator styles, ranging from exercise coach Antonie Lokhorst to health and wellness guru Kayla Iutzwig, this endless stream has it all. Along the way, you’re likely to pick up a few ideas for a diet or high-intensity internal training (HIIT) routine, and even some knowledge about how best to go about restoring the six-pack you had ten years ago.

On that note, as you take the first step down this road, you’ll want to start off slow and steady – ensuring consistency is key. To develop a habit for exercise, try incorporating short, easy, repeatable and fun elements into your daily regime. A great example is the viral 15-minute TikTok Dance Party workout – a full body, no-equipment cardio workout paired with a hi-energy soundtrack that’ll have your body moving to the rhythm and craving for more.

STRUCTURE YOUR TRAINING PLAN BY LEARNING FROM THE PROS

The next step would be to put together a fitness regimen and stick to it. Now, you could hire a personal trainer or nutritionist, or pay for an online course — but why do all that when you have easy access to a nigh-limitless library of fitness information and instructionals that guide you to the T, all for free?

In recent years, YouTube has been become a veritable repository of high-quality fitness content, made by people from different backgrounds, with varying body types, and who have embarked on different journeys to glory.

Use the site to find information about the kinds of exercises you should do, how you can do them, and everything in between to optimise your sessions. When you’re up for a bit of a challenge, give this 30-minute HIIT workout a try.

This is yet another equipment-free calorie-burner you can do solo or over a Zoom call with friends that’s guaranteed to get your heart pumping with high-knees, fast feet, and star jumps, while strengthening your core and lower body with jumping lunges and planks.

To achieve all your body transformation goals, you’ll also find that meal prep guides, diet plans, and in-depth advice are all readily available on the platform to get you started regardless of your level of knowledge and the physical shape you are currently in.

TRAINING VIRTUALLY WITH THE LADS TO CRUSH YOUR NEXT IPPT

Each of us train for different reasons. For many NSmen, one of those reasons is to prepare for their next Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). Sadly, with it being harder to meet up with the gang at the gym every week, this journey can be a lonely one.

Fortunately, Home Team NSmen can now choose to train and clock in their NS FIT programmes virtually through the Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) programme! Hosted by HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz, VFT sessions are a convenient alternative to help NSmen improve their overall well-being and train for their IPPT.

There are two virtual class slots every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and you can sign up with your bros for one of four programmes which ranges from building up core strength to improving overall muscular power and endurance through total body conditioning. With a new kid on the block, Home Team NSmen can now sign up for the all new Friday session, where they can experience toning exercises (Sculpting60) and boxing movements (Box60).

These VFTs are a great way to punctuate your existing home-based routine with a spot of group exercise, to keep things fresh and your motivation going strong. They’re a great way to get through your 10-session NS FIT training programme and, who knows, you might very well find yourself aceing that next IPPT while hardly breaking a sweat! Not bad for an ex-couch potato, yes?

Prep for your IPPT, or simply improve your overall fitness level, by signing up for VFT. Alternatively, head over to the VFT website for more information on curriculum and class schedules.

Categories
In The Force

Different ways to serve

The SCDF’s Data Analytics Specialist vocation offers a meaningful and enriching National Service that has set these two NSFs on tech-related career paths.

TEXT AND IMAGE: SCDF

Emergency Medical Technicians and Fire & Rescue Specialists are typical examples of vocations associated with full-time National Service (NS) in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
However, there are many other options in the Lifesaving Force — one of which is Data Analytics Specialist with the organisation’s Transformation & Future Technology Department (TFTD). Here, full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are trained to assist in managing projects involving computing and data analysis.

LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde (front) and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail (back) working on their assignments in office.

 

DEDICATED TECH TEAM

LCP(NSF) Tay is part of a team working on an algorithm to support the SCDF’s Inventory Management System (IMS), which enables it to be more proactive and efficient in ensuring its lifesaving inventory is readily available.

“The IMS is an automated system that prompts officers in the Logistics Department that an item requires replenishment. The algorithm aims to reduce the chances of such shortages,” explains LCP(NSF) Tay, who has been working on the project since October 2020 — just four months into his posting at TFTD.

LCP(NSF) Tay adds that programming the algorithm to ensure the efficiency of the IMS requires weeks of academic research, system testing and evaluation.

OPTIMISING RESPONSE TIMES

Working on the Dynamic Resource Optimisation (DRO) is LCP(NSF) Mahadhir, who was posted to TFTD in January 2020. The DRO is a system developed by Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).

It aims to assist SCDF’s Operations Department and Emergency Medical Services Department (EMSD) in making strategic decisions to deploy emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, at different locations across Singapore. Doing so optimises the response times of ambulances to incident sites during an emergency.

“One recent simulation is for the EMS masterplan, which aims to increase the number of deployment locations across the island,” says LCP(NSF) Mahadhir. “The selection of the new deployment locations is based on historical data. Locations nearer to places with higher call loads will be given a higher priority — which means we will deploy more ambulances to that area.”

A VIABLE CAREER PATH

Before his posting to TFTD, LCP(NSF) Mahadhir was still exploring career options. It was during his stint with TFTD that he developed a keen interest in computer science. He is now planning to pursue a degree in computer science after serving his full-time National Service.

“Engineering is gearing towards the use of automated systems and big-data analysis. Python and Excel are vital software skills to have if you want to pursue a career in Engineering or Computer Science. The skills and knowledge we gain here in TFTD help us to think like data scientists, and prepare us well for future pursuits in our studies and career,” says LCP(NSF) Tay.

LCP(NSF) Tay has received a scholarship to pursue a degree in material engineering at the National University of Singapore and plans to subsequently do his master’s degree in data analytics. He adds that serving his NS in TFTD is not only meaningful and enriching but also provides him and his fellow NSFs an added advantage for their future endeavours.

Categories
In The Force

Handmade with purpose

Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) youth volunteer Cheong Yen Ee shares her motivation for volunteering and how she uses her crocheting skills to show her support for ex-offenders.

TEXT: MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
IMAGES: CHEONG YEN EE

Crocheting has been a hobby of Ms Cheong Yen Ee, 22, since 2018 — and she’s so good at it that many of her friends have actually suggested that she start a small business selling her handicrafts. “Yet something always stopped me from pursuing this thought further,” she says. “Deep down, I knew I was doing this for a different purpose.”

When Yen Ee first started her needlework, she remembered looking at her piece of poorly-crocheted fabric and thinking that it looked to be a wasted effort. But she was able to unravel her mistake and slowly, lovingly and meticulously re-stitch the yarn. To her, that moment symbolised a new opportunity, a clean slate, a time to start over. She felt liberated knowing that everyone has a second chance.

CREATING SECOND CHANCES

Yen Ee may not fully understand how hard it can be to make a fresh start in life, but she was eager to help inmates and ex-offenders.

“I’m only 22 and I’m sure they are facing situations that are a lot harder than anything I can imagine. But I believe that the act of letting go and trying again is a collective effort. It is a laborious and tedious journey, but I hope that it will be one that gives hope to inmates and ex-offenders for their future,” she says.

Yen Ee contacted YRP to propose a collaboration with them and was connected to a team of dedicated YRP staff. She has been volunteering with YRP since February 2021.

Through a series of online lessons over the past months, Yen Ee worked with 36 volunteers from Singapore Management University and more than 50 inmates and ex-offenders from the Singapore Prison Service, halfway houses and shelters to teach them how to crochet yellow ribbons. She also created a tutorial video and conducted two Zoom sessions to train an additional 20 YRP volunteers for Project Crochet.

KNIT YOUR SUPPORT

An ex-offender’s rehabilitation journey often involves unravelling what has been done and making a fresh start, just like in crocheting. In a joint effort with inmates, ex-offenders and YRP volunteers, YRP is aiming to create 5,000 Yellow Ribbon Pins for the Yellow Ribbon Crochet Project. These pins will be included in the DIY Yellow Ribbon Packs that will be distributed to partners and the public through various platforms. “We hope to motivate every Singaporean to join the Yellow Ribbon Crochet Project and to show your acceptance and commitment to support second chances with every stitch,” says Yen Ee.

Find out how Yellow Ribbon Singapore can help others gain a second chance.

 

Visit mha.gov.sg/volunteers and volunteer.gov.sg/mha for more information about their volunteer schemes or connect with the Home Team Volunteer Network on InstagramFacebook or TikTok.

Categories
Club Buzz

Levelling up

Back by popular demand, SkillFest makes a comeback during the September school holidays, where junior HomeTeamNS members and friends took away essential life skills through a five-day programme.

TEXT: ADLINA ADAM

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

HomeTeamNS kicked off the second edition of SkillFest on 6 September 2021. Blending fun and learning, the five-day programme seeks to uplift the academic and personal development of children between ages five and 12 through a series of activities. These touched on areas that included L.I.F.E, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), S.T.E.M, Athletic and Hike skills.

DAY 1: L.I.F.E SKILLS

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Participants were introduced to the four pillars of life — Leadership, Initiative, Friendship and Empowerment — through an assortment of activities conducted at HomeTeamNS Khatib‘s Adventure HQ. The children were first divided into small groups, after which they used their leadership, physical and creative proficiencies to overcome various obstacles. Highlights included activities that improved physical coordination, as participants solved mysteries in the Fossil Labyrinth; built team spirit by conquering the Urban Climb; and strengthened muscular endurance and agility while navigating through the Ninja Course.

DAY 2: SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) SKILLS

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Held at the Peranakan-themed T-Play at HomeTeamNS Khatib, Day Two of SkillsFest taught participants how to express their emotions appropriately through art and emojis. The activities were infused with aspects of Peranakan culture — from a creative twist of ‘Baba Says’ that tested the reflexes and control, to a cooking session that included a blind taste test of spices.

As they immersed in the world of the Nonyas and Babas, the children learnt how they could self-manage positive and negative emotions. They also had a blast during the playground playtime, where they indulged in imaginative play, fostered teamwork skills and made new friends.

DAY 3: S.T.E.M SKILLS

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Participants spent the third day of the programme refining their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) skills through unique and fun gameplay at HomeTeamNS Tampines’ Clip ‘N Climb and Laser Quest.

Who knew that climbing up a rock wall (at Clip ‘N Climb) could teach one about Newton’s law of gravity? And at Laser Quest, scoring as many points as possible when striking laser lights on targets helped participants understand the mechanics behind the laser device.

The children also embarked on an Eco-Trail at Our Tampines Hub’s Eco Garden to learn about solar technology and how the slightest efforts in improving the natural environment can create a positive impact in the long run.

DAY 4: ATHLETIC SKILLS

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Geared up for a sporty day, participants tried out various physical activities at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok’s Fitness Workz and Adventure Centre, and learnt about the value of strength, speed and coordination.

The children were pumped up as they tested their limits on the climbing rope course and rock-climbing wall, and sweat it out at the Fitness Junior Masterclass workout. With a focus on speed and coordination, the futsal clinic gave participants tips and tricks on how to win a match.

DAY 5: HIKE SKILLS

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The attendees turned into happy campers and adventurers at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Clubhouse on the last day of the programme. They learnt various outdoor skills such as tent-pitching, setting up a fire for cooking, map and compass reading, and administering basic first aid.

The activities were designed to cultivate effective teamwork and leadership skills among the participants, as they relied on one another to pitch a tent as a team. At the same time, first aid skills were taught to impart the knowledge of how to react in emergency situations.

Participants were then brought to Little Guilin for an exciting hiking experience, where they put their map and compass reading skills to use, and led their teams through the scenic park.

Missed out on all the fun? Stay tuned for the next edition of SkillFest coming up during the November and December school holidays! Check out the HomeTeamNS Official Facebook Page for the latest updates.

Categories
Food Spy

Ice-cold ways to beat the heat

These shops are the reason why there’s never a bad time for ice cream in Singapore.

TEXT: RAYMOND TAN

The bad news: Singapore’s weather typically ranges from warm to … well, warmer.

The good news: That’s great if you’re an ice cream lover.

Gone are the days when your only options for frozen desserts were mass-produced supermarket treats. Over the past decade, homegrown ice cream brands have proliferated all over Singapore, and there is now a wide variety of ice cream shops in Singapore with different niches and specialties. We suss out some of the best ones to check out.

BIRDS OF PARADISE

Photo: Raymond Tan

Birds of Paradise quickly shot to fame when it opened in Katong in 2016. It has since opened a second outlet in Jewel and even garnered a recommendation from Michelin Singapore. They are the only ice cream concept that specialises heavily in botanical-inspired flavours, using spices, herbs and even flowers, as ingredients for their frozen treats.

Their bestselling flavours are the light, floral White Chrysanthemum and the fruity-minty Strawberry Basil. We recommend ordering your ice cream with a cone instead of the cup – their cones are thyme-infused and hence, extra fragrant.

Just a warning, though: Expect extremely long queues on the weekends.

CREAMIER

Photo: Raymond Tan

Sometimes, less is more. Creamier doesn’t really bother with newfangled or esoteric flavours, instead keeping to more tried-and-tested favourites. But their classic flavours are done perfectly. Bestsellers here include Earl Grey Lavender, Salted Gula Melaka and Blue Pea Vanilla. Their Roasted Pistachio flavour is a must try – creamy, nutty, and sweet without being cloying. Get your ice cream with their fluffy and fragrant waffles.

DOPA DOPA

Photo: Raymond Tan

The flavours at Dopa Dopa are often on rotation, but the one that we almost always end up going for is Roasted Pistacchio, which is appropriately nutty. Their Hazelnut ice cream is also delicious – if you find it too sweet, wash it down with one of the many flavours of tea they offer, preferably with something light and floral like Osmanthus.

Dopa Dopa offers the option to have your ice cream wedged in the middle of a croissant so if you’re not in a rush, ditch the cup or cone and get your ice cream fix in the form of a sandwich.

ISLAND CREAMERY

Photo: Island Creamery

Local flavours can be luxurious too. Case in point: Island Creamery’s many distinctly Singapore-inspired concoctions. Their signature Mao Shan Wang durian ice cream stands out from other durian ice creams with its creamy texture, rich flavour, and unapologetically durian-esque fragrance. The durians used in the recipe are sourced from a well-known store in Ghim Moh and are very fresh – hence the strong aroma. Other must-try locally inspired flavours include Chendol – coconut ice cream sprinkled with red bean, pandan jelly and swirls of gula melaka –  and Teh Tarik, made with freshly brewed black tea blended with evaporated milk.

BUTTERKNIFE FOLK

Photo: Raymond Tan

If you’re looking for nostalgic flavours such as Milo Dinosaur or Teh Tarik, you can’t beat Butterknife Folk. Of all the ice cream shops on this list, none offer as many local flavours – more than 40! – as them. The gelato specialist serves an eclectic range, including savoury and boozy creations, but we recommend you try one of their uniquely Singaporean flavours, such as Ondeh Ondeh, Rojak, and – wait for this – Chicken Rice, which contains dark soy sauce and chicken rice chili swirled into the gelato base.

THE HUMBLE SCOOP

Photo: The Humble Scoop

Going local is the name of the game at The Humble Scoop, a modest ice cream parlour tucked away in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre. The ice cream here is all homemade and many flavours feature a local or nostalgic element. Popular flavours include In-Kueh-dible, a salted coconut and gula melaka creation; Cereal Killer, which is made with cereal and milk; and Milo. There’s also a range of sorbets available, including guava with sour plum.

KIND KONES

Photo: Raymond Tan

Kind Kones’ frozen treats are perfect for socially-conscious diners. They’re made without dairy, eggs, refined sugar, preservatives, and additives. Their entire array of ice cream is vegan-friendly; some are even keto-friendly. They even offer gluten-free options.

Their flavours are rich and robust, and certainly don’t come across as “diet ice-cream”. Stand-out flavours include the Keto Chocolate Sorbet, Coffee Chocolate Fudge Swirl, Pandan Gula Melaka, and Passionfruit Sorbet. Have your ice cream together with a vegan brownie for the ultimate guilt-free indulgence.

MOOSH SOFTSERVE

Considering how airy and light soft-serve ice creams are, it’s easy to dismiss them as mild, unsatisfying versions of their creamier and heavier cousins. Moosh Softserve breaks all the stereotypes of soft serves.

Light in texture but big on flavour, their soft-serve ice creams make for a satisfying cold treat. At any time, Moosh Softserve offers four to five flavours of soft serves, and bestselling ones include Ondeh Ondeh, Nutella Brownies Cheesecake, and Smores (pictured). Their soft serves are embellished with a generous toppings, such as marshmallows and cookie crumble, for added texture and fun.

UDDERS

This homegrown ice cream franchise is one of the brands responsible for bringing about Singapore’s  ice cream renaissance in the early 2010s. They have an array of unique flavours, such as the boozy Baileys & Bourbon, the locally inspired Champion Chendol, and the decadent Snickers Mars Honeycomb Vanilla. Have your ice cream together with their uber fluffy, ultra-crispy signature waffles, and you’ll find yourself in dessert heaven.

FAT CAT ICE CREAM BAR

Just as its name suggests, Fat Cat is a shop that wears its mischievous heart on its sleeves. They’re one of the most adventurous and experimental ice cream parlours in Singapore, with a wide variety of flavours that range from classic (Chocolate, Vanilla) and alcoholic (Butter Beer) to local-inspired (Durian) and floral (Osmanthus Honey).

Many flock here to try their smoked ice cream flavours, such as Hay & Honey and Smoked Peppermint, which have a savoury element to them. The ice cream bar is also well-known for their pillowy-light charcoal waffles, which can be crowned with toppings of your choice, including salted egg yolk custard sauce and maple syrup.

COOLMAN FROYO

Image: Coolman Froyo

From the signature all-time-favourite parfait to a scrumptious Nut-Tell-Lah Waffle, chill out with Coolman Froyo on a sunny day, and enjoy 20 per cent off your desserts! Refresh your palate with their amazing variety of smoothies, milkshakes, fruit juices and frozen yogurt.

To unlock the promo code, download the HomeTeamNS mobile app, then download the Coolman Froyo app to place your order. Don’t forget to enter the promo code before making your payment! This promotion is valid till Dec 31, 2021.

Don’t miss out on HomeTeamNS promotions! Get first dibs on our Amazing Treats, from dining to wellness.

Categories
Lifestyle

Scaling new heights at Adventure HQ

Run, climb, hang: We talk to an Adventure Specialist to discover how you can prepare to be the GOAT at Adventure HQ

TEXT: NICHOLAS TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

If you’re planning a visit to Adventure HQ at HomeTeamNS Khatib, it’s only natural to want to make the most of your time there. This involves being able to confidently tackle its many challenges! 

No fear, we’re here to help with some insider info on what it’ll take to be the king of the hill at Adventure HQ. Who knows? You might just find this as a fun catalyst to the start of a new fitness journey!

THE DEMANDS OF A TRUE ‘NINJA WARRIOR’

Adventure HQ's Urban Climb allows Adventurers to explore natural competitiveness and love of adrenaline in a safe environment.

For starters, expect plenty of moving about at Adventure HQ; you’ll be in for a good cardio workout. That’s not all – mastering the various stations also requires the use of practically all your major muscle groups.

Take rock climbing at obstacles like the Urban Climb, Rock Wall and Boulder, for instance. According to Mr Syahmi Azmi, an Adventure Executive at Adventure HQ, these activities can help you burn up to 900 calories in an hour, activating your forearms, back, shoulders and core leg muscles.

Each rock-climbing wall features sport climbing ‘routes’ that range from being highly accessible for beginners to satisfyingly challenging for wall veterans – giving regulars a clear progression of one’s skill and strength over multiple visits.

Mr Syahmi says each of the venue’s attractions tests your fitness level differently.

 “Adventure HQ helps one develop flexibility, strength and mental resilience in a safe, enjoyable and gratifying way. It’s a great way to exercise without you even realising it!” he said. 

 With this in mind, you might want to start hitting the treadmill and getting some strength training done before heading down. These might be the deciding factor in impressing your peers on the big day. Just drop by Fitness Workz (Premium) at HomeTeamNS Khatib, while you’re at it!

MASTERING THE ART OF THE ADVENTURER

Sky Venture includes 16 obstacles spread across a two-tiered, 15m-high course.

Mr Syahmi emphasises that it isn’t all about strength and endurance when it comes to conquering obstacles at Adventure HQ. Well-developed flexibility, agility and balance also remain key assets to securing those bragging rights.

“When an Adventurer is too stiff, the next rope or hand-hold may always feel out of reach. Successful Adventurers should be able to stretch, reach and climb nimbly over any tricky obstacles,” he said.

This comes into play at attractions like the Adventure HQ kaleidoscopic installations, which test one’s balance and agility. These include feats like navigating narrow beams 15m off the ground at Sky Venture or scaling the Sky Scraper climbing installation at Urban Climb.

Train up with exercises like yoga or pilates which can help boost flexibility and balance. They also promote the development of more supple muscles for the trickier obstacles at Adventure HQ.

Don’t forget to warm up before diving headfirst into the fun with friends and family! To get your blood pumping and muscles primed, start your session with some light cardio and stretching.

GOOD, CHALLENGING FUN AT EVERY TURN

Adventure HQ’s Rock Climbing section features eight climbing lanes offering varying levels of difficulty – and a challenging full-body workout.

With all that prep work out of the way, it’s just as important to remember to embrace the exciting experiences and explore each attraction while you’re there.

For those looking to one-up mates, check in at the Urban Climb with a buddy. Go head-to-head in a timed run up the Speed Wall and live out your best Olympic sports climbing fantasies.

Other than that, experience a unique ride that you won’t find anywhere else with Adventure HQ’s Roll Glider, Singapore’s first and only indoor aerial rollercoaster. Strap up and get a thrilling bird’s eye view of Adventure HQ as you zip overhead in your descent. That is, if you dare to look down.

For those who want something more relaxed but don’t want to give up on the thrills, check out Singapore’s longest 14m Indoor Spiral Firemen Slide. It also has 6m and 8m versions connected to the Adventure Trail to warm up on before taking the plunge. Simply sit at the top, push off and experience that feeling of adrenaline and freedom reminiscent of childhood adventures.

Enjoy the great outdoors, indoors, at Adventure HQ.