Categories
Lifestyle

The smart reveller’s guide to having your (log) cake and eating it too

Instead of crash dieting because you feasted a little too much, why not eat, cook and exercise smarter during festive periods?

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Whether it’s New Year’s or Lunar New Year, most of us are happy to lift restrictions on our diet celebrating these festivities. It is the season for feasting after all.

Well, according to some studies, the weight gained during festive periods – even if only lasting a few weeks or so – is unlikely to be shed over the course of a year. With some all-day festive binges clocking in at an excessive 6,000 calories, it’s not surprising that researchers have observed a weight gain of 0.4 to 0.9 kg among adults during the end-of-year holiday season.

We often believe that giving in to temptation now and dieting after will help get us get back on track, but going on an extreme weight-loss regimen can be unhealthy. Crash diets can weaken your immune system and lower your metabolism, causing future weight gain. If attempted too often, they can also result in cardiac stress, raising the likelihood of heart attacks.

Instead, practising moderation and maintaining your exercise routine during festive periods can be key to making sure you don’t need to punch extra holes in your belt. From watching your intake, to cooking healthy meals and continuing to exercise, here are sensible ways to eat, drink and be merry.

TIP 1: WATCH WHAT YOU EAT (AND DRINK)

As the saying goes, prevention is always easier than the cure. While no one’s expected to abstain from their beloved grandparent’s cooking or an annual festive lunch with friends, there are ways to cut the calories while still giving important meals and events their due.

Stick to single helpings at gatherings – the extra bowl of rice might be tempting, but it’s worth 250 calories. And if you repeat the process too often, the calories will add up – just 7,700 excess calories can result in 1 kg of weight gain.

Be mindful of your choices. Look for lighter options on festive menus at restaurants. For example, choose the grilled salmon instead of roasted pork knuckle for your main, and skip the bread and butter on the side. If you have a sweet tooth, consider sharing a dessert instead of ordering your own – you’ll still get to enjoy a bite of cake, without feeling overly full at the end of the meal.

Watch the drinks as well, since alcohol consumption is linked to weight gain – after all, one gram of alcohol is the equivalent of seven calories. Instead of chugging beer, wine or cocktails throughout the night, consider switching to carbonated water flavoured with some raspberries or orange slices for a festive twist. Bonus? No morning-after hangover.

TIP 2: TAKE CONTROL BY COOKING

Instead of meeting at restaurants, offer to cook your friends a meal or do a potluck gathering. Not only is it easier on the pocket, you also will have more control over the amount of fat and sugar you end up consuming.

With some small adjustments, festive meals can still be tasty while including healthier choices. Roasted potatoes or macaroni and cheese are both popular comfort food, but you can choose one out of the two and swap in a bright, zesty garden salad for the other. Sprinkle some cranberries over the salad to add colour and if you are including meat, use cooked, shredded turkey breast instead of processed ham slices.

If you need to bulk up the meal to accommodate hungry guests, try adding veggies instead of more meats and carbs. Roasted pumpkin or sweet potatoes make for a crowd-pleasing side dish, or you can cook green beans in boiling water and toss them with a little butter, rice vinegar and toasted nuts.

When it’s time for dessert, rather than plating up both cake and cookies for guests, substitute them with fresh fruit. For a fancier take, you can macerate strawberries in balsamic vinegar, a small amount of sugar and pepper (yes, pepper) and let sit for 10 minutes before serving alongside the cake. 

TIP 3: MAKE EXERCISE PART OF YOUR ROUTINE

It’s too easy to fall into sluggish habits during the festive season. With the focus on meeting family and friends, it can be tempting to let your usual workout or morning jog fall by the wayside.

One way to maintain some form of exercise is to make it part of your festive holiday schedule. If you’re shopping at Orchard Road, ditch the car or private-hire app and brisk-walk from mall to mall to burn off calories and stimulate your metabolism. Bring the family along, so the kids can soak up the festive atmosphere in town while getting some exercise as well. Wear comfortable shoes and breathable clothing, and pack an umbrella in case it pours.

If you’re too busy for your regular workout, do short exercises at home. You can work out with resistance bands if you have a set, or simply do a quick set of squats or planking – there are plenty of resources online. Is the weather stopping you from heading out for a run? Take the stairs in your building for a vertical marathon of your own.

Finally, instead of meeting up with friends for drinks in town, ask them to join you in sweating it out at the gym (but be mindful of safe-distancing requirements). If you prefer to be outdoors, organise a group run along the Marina Bayfront or Singapore River. You get to bond and enjoy the scenic sights while staying healthy. Plus, running with friends can be a great source of motivation and encouragement.

With these tips, you can celebrate festivities all-year-round, guilt-free!

Start the new year right by kickstarting a healthy lifestyle alongside friends at HomeTeamNS’ Fitness Workz gyms.

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Lifestyle

Following through on your new resolutions in 2022

Unsure of following through on your fitness goals or other new year’s resolutions? From getting in shape to taking on a new hobby, HomeTeamNS can help make some of your 2022 goals a reality.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG
PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

New Year’s resolutions can help us set goals and foster aspirations as the calendar resets. But these well-intentioned resolutions sometimes fall by the wayside as life and the daily grind take over. With a little bit of help however, you can hit these goals and step up a gear in 2022.

FIND YOUR FITNESS

Fitness goals are a common element of the New Year reset but are also one of the toughest to fulfil. Signing up for a fitness programme can help you stay motivated as you’ll be in an environment with like-minded individuals.

With well-equipped gyms at Balestier, Bukit Batok and Khatib, a Fitness Workz membership can help you maintain your fitness mojo, thanks in part to their personal trainers who can guide you on your journey.

Fitness Workz Khatib’s three-session personal training trial offers a taste of a customised workout programme. Members who want to up their buffness game can sign up for packages of five, 10 or 20 personal training sessions. Buddy packages offer an extra discount – and you’ll also have the added benefit of a gym buddy to keep you honest.

PRECIOUS BONDING

With boundaries between work and leisure constantly blurring, it’s become more important to carve out quality time with loved ones. Crawling through a simulated cave maze in the dark may sound like a Halloween activity, but the challenge cubes at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok offer a unique experience for the family. Everyone in the group will need to work together to navigate and escape the maze – and go home with some unique stories to tell.

Alternatively, the entire family can reach new heights together at HomeTeamNS Tampines’ Clip ’n Climb. This climbing theme park offers imaginative climbs aimed at a variety of ages and skill levels, making it a great bonding experience.

If you prefer more relaxed memories, the Villas at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok is a great option for everyone to entertain themselves, yet still regroup at the end of the day. With two bedrooms and plenty of space to hang out, you can tap on the available game consoles, boardgames and barbecue pit to plan a fun itinerary during your staycation. The PlayPen also provides a wider selection of console and board game options.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

One way to discover your reserves of inner strength is to put yourself out of your comfort zone. Adventure HQ at HomeTeamNS Khatib, is only too happy to help you push your boundaries, in a safe way.

This four-storey, 2,800 sqm indoor adventure centre offers an obstacle course that will up your fitness level  – up to four storeys to be exact. Start with small sections if you’re warming up, and when you’re ready, go for the full round with stations such as Sky Venture, Climbing Haven, Sensory Adventure Trail, and Firemen slides. Think Squid Game without the penalties!

If you’d like a first-person-shooter experience in the flesh, TactSim offers fun airsoft action in immersive environments that are regularly updated. Duke it out with your friends and family and test you leadership and communication skills and ability under pressure.

BALANCE IT OUT

The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of “me” time to help maintain one’s mental health. Every HomeTeamNS clubhouse has a lounge for members to spend some time alone or with loved ones. HomeTeamNS Khatib’s ManCaves are another great option, thanks in part to features like smart TVs, karaoke system, game consoles, built-in kitchenette and an outdoor BBQ patio with an electric grill.

HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier offers other exercise programmes like Pilates that target one’s balance, core strength and mobility. It’s a mindful exercise routine that one can easily maintain with sessions at the clubhouse.

NEW YEAR, NEW SKILL

Learning a new skill or hobby is one way to discover more about yourself in the new year. HomeTeamNS clubhouses offer courses year-round, with sessions such as Karate, Judo and Tennis lessons at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier. Visitors to the clubhouse can also enter their “New Year, New You” lucky draw – just register at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse Lobby from 1-31 January.

You’ll also find Aikido, Yoga and Wing Chun courses at Bukit Batok, as well as some Hoop Fitness and swimming classes at Khatib. The clubhouses are all equipped with bowling facilities, for members looking to become a kingpin of a different kind. Keep an open mind, don’t set artificial limits on yourself and you could find a new hobby that offers plenty of enjoyment as it benefits your health.

Make your resolutions known in 2022 and you may just be able to find fellow members you can pursue your goals with. At the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse for instance, members can share written resolutions either on their Christmas tree at the lobby or online on their Facebook page till 3 January.

HomeTeamNS clubhouses are great destinations to assist you on your journey, and you can always keep yourself updated with their events and activities by subscribing to their newsletter, or visiting their website or official Facebook page.

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Club Buzz

Setting sail on Family Day

All aboard! HomeTeamNS Family Day is back and this time, members and their loved ones will be heading for a holiday on the high seas.

TEXT: ADLINA ADAM
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

To celebrate our Family Day, HomeTeamNS members and their families will be embarking on a revitalising Sea-nic Getaway with Royal Caribbean International from 14 to 17 February and 14 to 17 March in 2022. About 127 members and their families turned up at HomeTeamNS Khatib from 12 to 14 November 2021 to book exclusively-priced cabins for their getaway.

A visitor taking on the Ninja Warrior Course at Adventure HQ.

HomeTeamNS Khatib also welcomed the members and their loved ones with an exciting assortment of activities on the booking day, such as DIY photo frame, guided tours around Adventure HQ, T-Play Khatib, and Mancaves with activities catered at each location.

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To sweeten the deal, each member received S$30 worth of promo codes to selected HomeTeamNS facilities. Members who also signed their family up for the HomeTeamNS Family Scheme received additional perks of up to S$50 worth of HomeTeamNS vouchers, in addition to membership freebies.

‘SEAS’ THE DAY

A cruise holiday is the perfect time for couples and families to unwind. With fun activities such as rock climbing and bumper cars, world-class dining, and enjoyable live entertainment, members will be spoilt for choice on what they can do onboard Quantum of the Seas!

ONWARD FOR MORE WHOLESOME FUN

With the overwhelming response to the February and March cruises, HomeTeamNS is exploring the possibility of bringing members out on its Spectrum of the Seas Cruise with Royal Caribbean International in October 2022. Watch this space for more information!

Look out for the latest updates on Sea-nic Getaway on HomeTeamNS’ Facebook Page. For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS events and activities, subscribe to our newsletter, visit our website or official Facebook page.

DO YOU REMEMBER?

The last Family Day outings were held in 2018 and 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. On both occasions, HomeTeamNS organised a fun day out at Universal Studios Singapore. Some 5,000 members attended each of the event.

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Close Up

Braving the storm

Learning to make the most of the hand that life has dealt him, SGT (1) Muhammad Hairul Anwar Bin Rahmat found purpose in sailing.

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA
PHOTOS: SGT (1) MUHAMMAD HAIRUL ANWAR BIN RAHMAT

SGT (1) Muhammad Hairul Anwar Bin Rahmat enrolled for National Service in February 2020. While he had studied marine engineering as a polytechnic student and served an internship as a crew member on a vessel from late-2018 to mid-2019, the thought of returning to sea when he started NS had been furthest from his mind.

This was due to a tragic loss while he was serving his internship.  

“While I was at sea then (in 2018 and 2019), a close relative passed away. I wasn’t able to make it back for the funeral. And this really affected me. After my stint ended, I decided that I would no longer pursue a life at sea.”

BACK ON THE HIGH SEAS

SGT (1) Hairul and his teammates are a close-knit group, having gone through Basic Rescue Training just as Singapore entered its circuit breaker.

Life however, had a different plan for SGT (1) Hairul. Shortly after enlisting into the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), he was posted to the Marine Division, West Coast Marine Fire Station (Station 81). As SGT(1) Hairul’s role involved marine firefighting and rescue, he had little choice but to head out at sea again.

This time, he found even greater meaning from sailing. Earlier this year, SGT (1) Hairul’s team received a call for medical assistance from an anchored vessel in the southwest of Singapore. “The adrenaline kept us going as we set out to rescue the crew member, who had fallen off a ladder and was immobilised,” he said.

As the team suspected that the crew member had a spinal injury, they were extra careful while transferring him from the anchored vessel to the SCDF’s Rapid Response Fire Vessel (RFV). “Everything that I had trained for was put to use. I’m glad that we successfully conveyed him to shore and, subsequently, to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.”

DISCOVERING HIS PURPOSE

Training sessions include the national servicemen donning full fireproof suits as they learn to tackle various scenarios.

The experience validated all the months of training he had undergone. “The physical parts were manageable but the real challenge was the scenario training,” he recalled. During these sessions, trainees don full fireproof suits, with boots that weigh up to three kilograms, and work through various scenarios. Each session can last a few hours and give SCDF trainees a taste of the situations they are trained to work in.

Unlike previous batches, SGT (1) Hairul and his teammates did not just have to grapple with the rigours of training; they also had to deal with training during the early days of a pandemic. (He began his service in February 2020, just as the world was seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases.) “This was even before the virus had a name! But we knew something major was happening,” he recalled.

Needless to say, during his Basic Rescue Training (BRT), Singapore went into a circuit breaker to curb the rapid growth in infections. While the rest of the country shut down, training inside the Civil Defence Academy continued with proper safety protocols and procedures. Many lessons were conducted virtually and the health of recruits was closely monitored. “It was a surreal experience, but we knew training had to go on. We are frontliners and the country needs us,” said SGT (1) Hairul. This motivated him to push harder in his training, even the parts of the training in which he found challenging.

When asked about the greatest lesson he’s learnt over the past two years, he was quick to answer, “Things always happen for a reason. You may not always know why, but just make the most out of these experiences.” SGT (1) Hairul is determined to make the most of his National Service (NS), given that his Operationally Ready Date (ORD) is fast approaching.

He confessed that he is dreading the date a little as he has grown very close to his unit. “I spend so much time with these people; sometimes even more than with my own family. We eat together, sleep together and train together. They have been my rock through this experience and I will definitely miss them.”

Not one to be down for too long, he is already planning activities to fill up the final months of his National Service. “We’re quite an active bunch so maybe we’ll attempt the Coast-to-Coast Trail. Hopefully, we’ll be able to play football soon as well.”

The Coast-to-Coast Trail is a 36 km trail that runs across Singapore, linking Jurong Lake Gardens in the west, to Coney Island Park in the north-east.

When the time comes to say goodbye, SGT (1) Hairul is confident that he will have no regrets. He will also have his sights set on his next milestone: A marine engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). “I want to show others that they don’t have to doubt themselves. Here I am at 26, pursuing my degree. I’m a living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.”

LOOKING TO 2022

In the coming year, SGT (1) Hairul hopes to complete a marathon, preferably with his mates from his unit. He is training hard for it, clocking regular runs through the park connectors around his Choa Chu Kang home. “I also want to shore up my marine engineering knowledge before I start school and maybe even gain some onshore experience.”

Categories
Lifestyle

Celebrate the season with surprise feasts for your loved ones

Big house parties may not be on the cards for this year-end period, but you can still spread good cheer by sending out festive treats to those near and dear.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, HOMETEAMNS

Social-distancing measures mean that group sizes are still relatively limited, but it still is possible to experience the spirit of the season through gifting.

And since we’re in Singapore, the good news is that  one can never go wrong with food! HomeTeamNS has plenty of eateries and partners offering delicious fare waiting to be packed and delivered. You’ll not only treat your recipients to some fantastic meals, you’ll also support these businesses, many of which are locally-run.

FESTIVE HOSPITALITY

The Mandarin Oriental is offering a discount on a variety of festive goodies like its log cake.

If you’re looking to add some frills, there are festive hotel treats coming at a bargain for HomeTeamNS members this season. Full of traditional favourites, these seasonal menus will transform any home dining area into the scene of fairytale feast in the blink of an eye. From Plump Turkey Roasts to Snowy Loaves of Stollen (a traditional German fruit bread), these lovingly-prepared dishes will surely prove a satisfying way to celebrate the holidays for your loved ones.

A good place to start is the Mandarin Oriental. Members enjoy a 15-per-cent discount on the hotel’s Christmas menu. The variety here makes for choice pickings. There’s a Chocolate Yule Log Cake and even a whimsical Mushroom Pastry to dress up the spread. And don’t miss out on the Snowy Mountain — a winter-scape made possible with yogurt ganache and almond sponge.

ACROSS THE GLOBE

HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 1-for-1 deal on Knock Knock Cafe's pastas.

Not everyone needs turkey and ham for their holiday feasts. Instead, why not take the opportunity to savour the flavours of cuisines from around the world?

Get a taste of Italy with some familiar twists at Knock Knock Cafe. Other than the classic Seafood Carbonara and Creamy Mushroom, you’ll find some local influences in their Umami “Laksa” Seafood Pasta and Just Like Grandma’s “Hae Bee Hiam” Aglio Olio w Tiger Prawns. HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 1-for-1 deal on their pastas, so pick these and your takeaway order will be twice as nice.

Recently opened at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse, Orchid Live Seafood serves fresh seafood delights.

Alternatively, travel Down Under with some Australian Premium Lobster from Orchid Live Seafood at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse. If you’re gift-hunting for avid cooks, consider sending them one of Orchid’s luxurious Southern Australian Premium Lobsters. These are going at half-price for members. You get to choose from other fresh seafood options, or even a fine selection of stir-fry classics as well.

Siam Kitchen brings Thailand's fiery, flavourful dishes to HomeTeamNS Khatib.

And for some regionally-inspired revelry, Siam Kitchen brings the fiery, flavourful dishes of Thailand to the table. Also located at HomeTeamNS Khatib, the eatery has designed seasonal sets starting from S$59.90++. You can expect all the must-haves to evoke the wonderful cuisine of Thailand, with Half Butterfly Chicken replacing those turkeys and a Phad Thai Lobster as the “ham”. There’s even a colourful Christmas Thai Chendol to keep the mood merry.

If you're looking to cook up a global culinary storm, online gourmet store World Gourmands is serving up good options and deals.

Looking to internationalise your home-cooking menu? Online gourmet store World Gourmands is offering a S$10 discount on a minimum spend of S$50 (for the first 500 redemptions), valid till Jan 31, 2022.

HOME FAVOURITES

HomeTeamNS members know that their clubhouses offer good food. But you can bring the experience into your home by ordering takeouts from these well-loved dining establishments. Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier serve up fusion items, with soba bowls and teppanyaki fare alongside burger sets and pasta. They’re adding a twist to the season in the form of a complimentary small log cake with every order above S$40 in a single receipt, so you can have the best of both worlds this December.

If you think Japanese food is best paired with beer, then Fuji Izakaya Bar at HomeTeamNS Khatib has got a promotion for you. Accompany your ramen and yakitori items with crisp Asahi Dry at S$15 and the Dry Black at just S$18.

Sometimes, the best way to prepare seafood is by grilling or stir-frying accompanied by the right sauces. Jom Makan Seafood is well-known to Balestier Clubhouse visitors and their many oceanic dishes will be a delight to receive this season.

HEARTY DELIGHTS

It's hard to say no to fried chicken, especially when great deals are available for HomeTeamNS members.

Fried chicken quite possibly rules the comfort-food roost anywhere you go, and the pressure-cooking experts at KFC are ready to give you plenty of soul food. Their Variety Feast Bucket will satisfy a family of four easily.

The KFC 8pcs Chicken Variety Feast for 4 consists of eight pieces of chicken, 12 nuggets, 5 Hot & Crispy Tenders, and 3 medium whipped potatoes for only S$39.95! HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 20-per-cent discount – just display your membership card upon payment, for dine-in and takeout. Also on the menu are their popular seasonal Marshmallow Chocolate Hazelnut Egg Tarts to end the meal on a sweet note.

If it's Western fare you're after, the Co-op has your taste buds covered.

The Co-op at Tampines has an established menu of Western fare, with items well-suited for the year-end festivities. Rack of Lamb, Tomahawk Steaks and Roasted Cajun Chicken will fulfil your protein needs, while Truffle and Polenta Fries or Calamari will accompany your mains nicely. Sweets are available too, with Tiramisu, Chocolate Lava Cakes and Smooth Panna Cotta. Members can enjoy the delicious offerings here at 20-per-cent off, so feel free to add on a few more treats for your recipient.

Hungry? Take your pick and feast your heart out with any of these restaurants! Find out more about HomeTeamNS members’ benefits. For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS events and activities, subscribe to our newsletter, visit our website or official Facebook page.

Categories
Lifestyle

Christmas gifting in the new normal

Even if gatherings remain small this festive season and it’s still a challenge to meet everyone in person, you can still pamper family and friends with gifts that they’ll love.

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

Safe-distancing measures are still in place but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue the tradition of gifting this Christmas. More than ever, finding a way to continue spreading festive joy safely is just the type of thoughtful gesture we need as we look forward to a better 2022. 

Arranging for a gift to be delivered to a friend or loved one may not be the same as giving it yourself, but it’s still a great way to let others know that you’re thinking of them. In fact, since household visits are currently limited to five unique visitors at home and many are still unable to meet loved ones living abroad, the recipients may appreciate your resourcefulness and kindness even more.

TOYS FOR TECH-SAVVY TYPES

After a year in which many continued to work from home, lifestyle and tech-related gifts are a good bet to put a smile on loved ones’ faces.

Whether for Zoom meetings or enjoying your favourite playlist in the evenings, unwrapping a new pair of headphones or a portable speaker on Christmas morning is likely to bring year-round cheer. For that keen gamer in your life, a new gaming mouse or keyboard can make all the difference between dominating the virtual battlefield or resigning yourself to digital defeat.

Logitech

From now until 31 December, enjoy S$5 off when you spend S$25 on Shopee’s Logitech official store. If interior design cred matters to your recipient, the POP Keys + Mouse bundle deals are available in fun colour options like Blast Yellow and Heartbreaker Rose.

Bose

If movie nights (complete with popcorn) are a regular thing in your home, complete the home cinema experience with a sleek new Bose soundbar (who says you can’t buy gifts for yourself?). At the Bose online store, HomeTeamNS members get 10 per cent off selected products and 20 per cent off Twin Bundle Deals – like the Bose Portable Home Speaker bundle for S$1,038.40 (usual price: S$1,298) and a SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker for S$286.40 (usual price: S$358).

Shure

Shure headphones and earphones offer serious sonic quality, whether you’re blasting your favourite tunes while out on a run, watching a movie or attending another Zoom meeting. Treat yourself, or the audiophile in your life, at the Shure online store, which is offering 10 per cent off storewide as well as a free vacuum flask from now until 31 December.

HAMPERS AND GIFTS TO SHARE THE JOY

While some may think hampers offer limited options, Christmas in the new normal has seen companies offer a range of gift baskets and hampers with a surprisingly diverse choice of goodies to suit any budget and personality.

From non-alcoholic chocolate treats to a lavish array of festive tipples and gourmet snacks, both children and grown-ups will be tempted by the offerings from Humming and Noel Gifts.

Humming

From festive floral arrangements to indulgent baskets of fine wines, Humming’s Christmas Collection has something for everyone. A minimum spend of S$80 on gifts or hampers entitles customers to a 10-per-cent discount until 31 December. 

Noel Gifts

Friends and family might be far from us, but not forgotten. Noel Gifts is able to deliver a range of hampers and gift baskets to loved ones in Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Australia, Hong Kong and beyond. Local customers enjoy next-day delivery. HomeTeamNS members will get to enjoy 10 per cent off all Christmas gifts and hampers, capped at S$20 and valid until 31 December. 

Hurry and shop till you drop! HomeTeamNS members can login to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to reveal the promo codes for all the exciting treats above. Simply click on ‘Benefits’ to reveal the code. Happy shopping!

Categories
Lifestyle

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for festive fun

Looking for fun family activities during the festive period? From a DIY snowman-making lesson to a Clip ‘n Climb session, HomeTeamNS has plenty to offer.

TEXT: HOMETEAMNS
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, HOMETEAMNS

Wherever you are, whomever you’re with, one of the best parts about the festive season is reconnecting with family and friends. While safe-distancing measures may limit the number of household visitors you can receive, there are still many activities in Singapore that one can do with the people who matter the most to you.

And perhaps best of all, with organisations like HomeTeamNS organising so many activities, members will be spoilt for choice looking for ways to spend fun, quality time with their loved ones!

CHRISTMAS IN PERANAKAN LAND

What happens when Christmas is given a Peranakan twist? Visitors to T-Play Khatib on 25 December can find out for themselves. Take in the Peranakan Art Gallery, a showcase of Peranakan-themed craft sessions by HomeTeamNS members, or pose for a picture with jolly old Santa at Santa’s Peranakan House. Burn off some calories during the hour-long Joget-Joget sessions, and join in a T-Play Christmas Sing-A-Long from 7pm-9pm.

SANTA’S LUCKY DIP

From 11 to 25 December, participate in our lucky draw at T-Play Bukit Batok and you could win great prizes, including a two-hour Console Games Marathon session, Laser Quest Missions, 2D1N Villa Staycations and junior bike set.

CHRISTMAS ORIGAMI

Good news adventure lovers! Santa’s making a special Christmas Day appearance at our HomeTeamNS Tampines. Snap and print a picture with him after an adrenaline-filled session at Clip ‘n Climb or Laser Quest, and try your hand at creating a piece of Christmas origami.

CHRISTMAS WINTERLAND

HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok is creating its very own Christmas Wonderland from 20 to 31 December; the exciting festivities include:

Snowman building session (20-31 December, Lobby A)

It may not snow in Singapore but that doesn’t mean you can’t design your own snowman, with a little ingenuity and craft supplies.

Winter craft (26 December, 11am to 2pm, Lobby A)

Exclusive to members, explore your creativity and see what you can create with sand art and slime.

Santa surprise (26 December, 12-2pm, Clubhouse grounds)

You may not realise this, but Santa’s always ready to flash those pearly whites and pose for a photo op with families, so have your smartphone or camera handy when you spot him.

Winterland Snowy Experience (24-26 December, 11am-6pm)

Who says you can’t experience snow near the equator? Limited to a maximum of 5 people per group, head to the open area next to the swimming pool to experience snow, Singapore-style!

CAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS

Tis’ the season of giving! Treat yourself and someone else to a little holiday cheer. Help HomeTeamNS Khatib by contributing care packages filled with daily necessities, or play passes to T-Play and Adventure HQ to the beneficiaries – Tak Takut Kids Club by 3 Pumpkins, and Sunshine Action Welfare Mission (SWAMI) Home residents. 

Here’s one for those who aren’t camera shy! From 1 to 26 December, snap a wefie or selfie by the festive Christmas tree located along the main throughfare at HomeTeamNS Khatib and you could win vouchers. To enter, like and follow HomeTeamNS Khatib on Facebook, then submit your best snaps via the comments section.

 

HAVE A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!

HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier is pulling out all the stops to spread festive cheer! From 1 to 31 December at 10am-8pm, check out the fun-filled activities and redemptions:

Help Santa lose weight!

Even Santa appreciates the importance a balanced diet! Enjoy a healthy meal at our F&B outlets or complete simple workouts to earn rewards and help Santa shed some pounds!

Christmas gift-making

Learn how to make a handcrafted Christmas gift for that special someone in your life!

Member’s delight

HomeTeamNS or JOM members are entitled to a special gift at the clubhouse.

F&B Christmas treats

Get a complimentary small log cake with every order above $40 in a single receipt at Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House.

For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS events and activities, subscribe to our newsletter, visit our website or official Facebook page.

Categories
In The Force

Ready player one!

LCP Amirul Haqim Bin Omar, HomeTeamNS’ top-tier e-sports competitor, on why professional gamers and athletes have more in common than you think.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SCDF

While many of us play video games for relaxation, very few are willing to put in the time and effort to test our skills at a competition level. Meet our very own competitive e-sports player and full-time National Serviceman, LCP Amirul Haqim Bin Omar, a Multimedia Specialist with the Corporate Communications Department of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

LCP Amirul started playing video games as a hobby at the age of 20. Since then, his interest has levelled up into a  passionate pursuit. He is also now experimenting with video game streaming via social media to reach out to other e-sports enthusiasts in order to share gaming tips and strategies. 

The 23-year-old is even toying with the possibility of turning pro after his National Service. In an interview with SCDF e-publication Rescue 995, LCP Amirul talked about his passion for e-sports and how being part of the virtual community helped him build real-world relationships with fellow e-sports players.

What is e-sports?

Like tennis, badminton or other sports where players compete against one another, e-sports is competitive sport played on a video game platform. One can play or compete as an individual or as a team, depending on the type of game.

How long have you been a gamer and when did you become a competitive player?

I started competing in e-sports three years ago. Before that, I was only playing video games for fun. I started playing Rules of Survival (ROS) and when PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PubgM) was finally made available on mobile phones, I switched to that game. As I constantly topped the Leadership Board in ROS and PubgM, I was spotted by an e-sports team in Singapore, and they asked me to join them. I accepted the offer and now compete in e-sports to see how far I can go.

What is your favourite game?

It has to be both ROS and PubgM. They are player-versus-player shooters, which is my favourite genre.

You had participated in an e-sports tournament in 2020. Could you tell us more about it?

It was the three-week long PubG Mobile Professional League – Malaysia-Singapore (PMPL-MYSG), which was held in Kuala Lumpur (KL) from March to April 2020. Towards the last week of our stay in KL, we were informed that Singapore was going into a lockdown due to COVID-19. Upon hearing the news, all the Singapore players packed our bags and headed home immediately. Despite the mad rush, we arrived before the Circuit Breaker period started and continued the competition virtually from Singapore.

Even with the connectivity issues that we faced while playing the game through local servers, we are proud to have made it to the top three spot in Singapore, thereby giving us a chance to participate in the next stage, which was held in Malaysia.

LCP Amirul (extreme right) and his team won third place in the PMPL-MYSG tournament.

Other than having natural talent, what are some of your tips to win an e-sports competition?

Practice makes perfect. Athletes must spend hours training hard before a competition — just like how SCDF firefighters and paramedics spend months building up their skills and endurance when they compete in the annual Singapore-Global Firefighters and Paramedic Challenge (SGFPC). One needs to have a personal training routine and constantly research how to play better. In addition, it is important to have a resilient mind to handle online criticism, especially when you are a leading player. Like anything in life, so long as you put in the hours and the effort, you will eventually become good at what you do.

We hear that there is a thriving e-sports community in SCDF!

Yes! The e-sports community in SCDF is known as the SCDF E-Sports League (SEL) and there is an SCDF e-sports team at the Sports & Recreation Guild of Home Team (SPRIGHT). Through competing, I got to know some players who are also SCDF personnel. That was how I noticed that there is a combined e-sports team known as Aventus Sovereign Gaming (AvSG), which consists of Police and SCDF officers. AvSG is, in fact, one of the top scorers in the region.

What do you like most about being part of the e-sports community?

I enjoy making friends within the community. Besides competing against our opponents, we also get to foster friendships with them through the virtual interactions. Some of us have become so close that we even share life stories and personal experiences. It is amazing how online multiplayer games like PubgM can connect players of various ages and walks of life. Such human connection, though virtual, is still important, especially when we try not to step out of our homes unnecessarily due to COVID-19 restrictions.

What are your future e-sports plans?

Moving forward, I plan to step out of my comfort zone by making it into a Malaysian e-sport organisation. Doing so will enable me to know their gaming style and expand my boundaries while perfecting my gaming skills.

Categories
In The Force

Family on the beat

Helping the community is just one of the reasons why this family serves as Citizens on Patrol volunteers.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

Ten years ago, Mr Prabodh Kumar Rai, 54, senior security officer and grassroots leader in Bishan Zone 2 RC, started volunteering for the Citizens on Patrol (COP) programme.

COP is a volunteer scheme launched in 1999 by the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Residents patrol their neighbourhoods and alert the SPF when they observe suspicious activities or persons, as well as engage the community on crime-prevention measures.

In 2016, his wife, Mdm Jasvindran Devi, and daughter, Ms Mitashah Rai, joined COP after witnessing his passion for keeping their neighbourhood safe. “We decided to get involved too, as we get to interact with the community, share our knowledge and raise awareness of crime prevention,” says Ms Rai, 19.

Initially, Ms Rai was not familiar with the COP scheme and did not know what was required of a volunteer. However, after participating in a few patrols, she felt empowered to contribute more. “It made me realise the value of being a volunteer and how I can spend my time wisely by giving back to the community. I also get to share crime prevention advisories with fellow residents,” she explains.

It was also the perfect opportunity for the trio to bond amid their hectic schedules. “Volunteering for COP gives us the opportunity to come together as a family while serving the community. It also made us better understand and appreciate my dad’s volunteer efforts over the years,” says Ms Rai, now working as a nurse in SGH Eye Centre. To juggle between COP duties and their respective work and academic responsibilities, the family members cross-check their schedules against the upcoming patrol dates and arrange their patrol duties accordingly.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES 

The volunteering journey has not however always been a smooth one. Over the years, Mr Kumar and his family have experienced their fair share of challenging situations — and people — during their patrols around Bishan Park.

They have had to deal with parkgoers who breach safety rules such as cycling at prohibited areas, smoking and creating a public nuisance after 10.30pm. “We tackle such situations by sharing information and explaining to the parties involved,” says Ms Rai. “If they fail to understand or cooperate with us, we will then call the nearby Neighbourhood Police Centre for support.”

ENCOURAGING VOLUNTEERISM

The family shares with Frontline that they would continue with their COP commitments. They also encourage other families to come forward to give their time. “It is important to advocate volunteerism as volunteers play a key role in helping raise awareness for the cause and the organisation,” adds Mdm Devi, 55, a housewife. “In this case, for COP, we play a part in ensuring the safety and security of the community we live and work in.”

“Volunteering helps build closeness among family members and helps anyone pick up competencies in areas such as learning how to handle tricky situations calmly and honing their critical-thinking abilities”, notes Mr Kumar, who adds that “volunteering demonstrates the importance of giving back to the community as well”.

Find out more about how you can make a difference in your community.

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
In The Force

To inform and protect

Community Engagement officers play an essential role in driving the SPF’s partnership efforts.

TEXT SPF
PHOTOS SPF

Operating at the heart of our community, the Community Engagement (CE) Officers’ policing work involves liaising with the wider public. Their aim is to actively educate and raise awareness on illegal/unlawful activities through Crime Prevention exhibitions and road shows, house-to-house visits and advisory posters in our neighbourhoods. In addition, they partner with external stakeholders to organise school talks and Citizens on Patrol (COP) activities.

Citizens on Patrol is a volunteer programme where members look out for and report suspicious activities, as well as promote crime prevention measures in their community, to jointly create a safer living environment.

   

To achieve greater effectiveness in their engagement efforts, CE Officers are trained to develop both service-oriented skills and mindsets. The training improves their communication skills and helps them establish strong rapport with the public.

CE is one of many vocations open to Police Full-time National Servicemen (PNSFs) such as SC/CPL Nur Hakim Hazrin from Foxtrot Division. Here, he shares his enriching journey serving the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the public as a CE Officer.

STAYING ADAPTABLE

Due to COVID-19, CE Officers’ engagement efforts have gone online. While this necessitated new processes, SC/CPL Hakim and his colleagues have adapted and successfully organised various virtual activities. These included training COP volunteers and crime prevention talks for pre-schoolers.

   

SC/CPL Hakim conducting virtual training sessions for the Citizens on Patrol programme.

STAYING POSITIVE

One of the most challenging work experiences SC/CPL Hakim faced was when he had to engage a handful of uncooperative scam victims. They expressed little to no interest when he advised them to sign up for the Community Alert Service (CAS). This made it demoralising and difficult for SC/CPL Hakim to communicate with them.

However, with constant practice and support from his colleagues, SC/CPL Hakim adopted a positive mindset, allowing him to perform his duties more confidently.

For instance, if he makes a mistake while handling a complaint from the public, he keeps his chin up and learns how to handle such situations better in future. This gives SC/CPL Hakim added confidence when performing his duties.

With the increasing number of scams, CE Officers strongly encourage the public to subscribe to the Police Community Alert Service (CAS). Subscribers receive free alerts about the latest crime trends and advice on crime prevention measures. By keeping updated through CAS, members of the public will become more vigilant and less likely to become victims of crime.

STAYING INSPIRED

SC/CPL Hakim strongly believes that the work he does is meaningful and worthwhile, and he was able to learn public speaking, improve rapport-building skills and achieve a service-oriented mindset. Being further inspired by the CE Officers’ framework of volunteerism, SC/CPL Hakim goes the extra mile and volunteers during his free time.

An active volunteer at the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre (AMKFSC), he recently befriended seniors at AMKFSC. This gave him a better understanding of older residents. He also hopes his newfound knowledge will enable him to better assist them during his policing duties.

CE Officers work closely together with the community to help maintain a safe and secure living environment for all. The vocation also goes to show that PNSFs can contribute to frontline policing effort in various ways, and that the work they do is just as essential as that done by any other frontline police officers in safeguarding Singapore.