Categories
Food Spy Lifestyle

The smart snacker’s guide to healthier treats

When the munchies strike, instead of reaching for comfort food that’s deep-fried, greasy or sweet, why not include some healthy snacks in your diet?

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Maybe you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthy — but it’s the Chinese New Year period and the pineapple tarts are calling out to you. How do you satisfy your desire to indulge, without feeling guilty about increasing your cholesterol levels and risk of diabetes?

Rather than avoiding these treats altogether, it’s better to take a balanced approach by including some healthy snacks in your routine. During a long day at work, snacking can take the edge off your hunger to prevent you from overeating at the next meal, and provide a much-needed energy boost if your blood glucose levels fall sharply.

And if you can’t resist the urge, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends maximising nutrients while minimising calories: Choose snacks that are below 200 calories a serving while providing useful nutrients such as fibre.

Read on for game-changing tips on reshaping your snacking habit into a healthier one — without losing any crunchy or sweet satisfaction.

SUBSTITUTES FOR SUGAR, SALT AND MORE

Air-frying snacks uses very little oil but produces a similar taste and texture as deep-frying.

Home cooking is generally healthier than buying curry puffs and samosas from hawker centres and restaurants – but if you’re overly reliant on deep-frying or reaching out for the salt shaker in your kitchen, you won’t be getting any of the health benefits from preparing your own snacks.

If you’re craving hot, crispy fries, try oven-roasting or air-frying (with very little oil) your own sweet potato fries, which offer more Vitamin A than potato fries. Tip: If using an oven, switch it to convection mode, as the dry and hot air circulation allows for crispier edges.

Once your homemade healthy snacks are done, it’s tempting to salt them as heavily as many eateries do. To avoid hypertension (also known as high blood pressure), try low-sodium salt instead, which substitutes the mineral potassium for about a quarter of the salt content. Potassium tastes similar to salt, but has been known to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health instead.

For sweet treats, healthier, less-processed sweeteners can sometimes offer more complex and satisfying flavours compared to plain white sugar. For example, you can mash dates to sweeten cakes or cookies, or swirl honey into yogurt as a simple dessert instead of reaching for the ice cream.

A SYMBOL TO LOOK OUT FOR

Products with the Healthier Choice Symbol meet the Health Promotion Board's nutritional guidelines – signalling that these are healthier food options.

Instead of heading straight for the familiar packaging of old snack favourites at the supermarket, look for a different sign instead: The red-and-white pyramid of the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). This indicates that the product is a healthier option that meets HPB’s nutritional guidelines.

This means that the item generally contains less fat (both total and saturated fat), sugar and sodium. Beneath the HCS’ pyramid symbol, you’ll also find a line indicating the main health benefit of the item. For example, if the snack is a bag of dried apricots, you might find a line stating “No added sugar”, or if it’s a box of crackers, the line might read “Trans-fat free”.

For more sinful options like chips and ice cream, the HCS will indicate if a serving is less than 100 calories or 200 calories. (Before dishing it up, don’t forget to check the product’s nutritional information for how big a serving size should be!).

KEEP IT NATURAL

If reading ingredient labels just isn’t your thing — or perhaps you’re in a rush — there’s an even simpler way to make sure you’re biting into some healthy snacks. As the award-winning science and food writer Michael Pollan wrote: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.”

This means sticking to snacks that are as unprocessed as possible, such as dried or fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables. Try toasting chickpeas in the oven with just a sprinkle of salt, or slicing up mangoes or papaya for an easy snack. For a spicy Mexican-style twist, drizzle lime juice and a light dusting of salt, chili powder or paprika over the fruit.

He also recommends sticking to items that have five ingredients or fewer, as well as items that have a short shelf life. For example, choose buns that are baked fresh with no preservatives instead of those in the bread aisle of the supermarket with expiry dates that stretch days or even weeks ahead. Not only do these long-life options contain artificial preservatives, they’re also likely to be laden with unhealthy sweeteners such as refined sugar or corn syrup.

Whatever you decide to munch on, it’s important to do so in moderation and with an understanding of your body’s needs. Happy snacking!

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Food Spy Lifestyle

Feelgood festive treats for Chinese New Year

From hampers to hotpots, there are plenty of options to help your family make the most of the festive period.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

Holidays are great, though having Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year so close together often has us asking the perennial question: Where’s a good place to eat?

The good news is that organisations like HomeTeamNS offer numerous deals that help make those celebrations a little easier – and more affordable – to plan.

SIAM KITCHEN

We’re all missing Thailand’s mouthwatering cuisine so it’s a good thing we have plenty of authentic options like Siam Kitchen at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse.

This halal-certified eatery’s secret lies with their bona fide Thai chefs, so every serving of Tom Yum or pineapple rice is satisfyingly authentic. HomeTeamNS members can look forward to a Chinese New Year menu for two or five from S$48++, or enjoy 10-per-cent off for other classic favourites on the menu at checkout. Valid from 10 January to 28 February 2022.

SUKI-SUKI THAI HOT POT

Photo: HalalFoodHunt

What’s Chinese New Year without a little hotpot? Indulge in tradition while adding a twist with Suki-Suki Thai Hot Pot over at HomeTeamNS Khatib. From thin slivers of halal beef and chicken to home-made fish paste, as well as a colourful and tantalising array of Thai desserts, you’ll have an Insta-worthy table that tastes as good as it looks. Diners can also opt for a seasonal special of Tomato Soup.

From 10 January to 28 February 2022, HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10-per-cent off their bills at checkout. With lunch buffet sets starting at just S$19.90++, it’s the perfect place to have a casual meal with some hungry friends.

FUJI IZAKAYA BAR

Photo: Fuji Izakaya Bar

Yusheng (tossed raw fish salad) is a lunar new year staple. If you’re looking for an alternative, how about trying the Sashimi Combo Sets starting from S$138.80 at Fuji Izakaya Bar at HomeTeamNS Khatib? You’ll have plenty of fresh fish to bring on the luck, and other optional add-ons like seafood, grills, ramen and rice bowls from their extensive menu.

Want to add a little extra buzz to the outing? Order up some beers or the award-winning “Izumofuji Daiginjo” sake. For all a la carte items from the menu, members enjoy 10-per-cent off at checkout till 3 February 2022.

HEAVENLY WANG

Photo: Heavenly Wang

Over at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse, Heavenly Wang has a festive creation of their own. The “Wang”derful Blossom Bundle, at just S$6.60 (U.P S$7.40) for HomeTeamNS members, celebrates Asia with some distinctive flavours and is available from 5 January to 15 February 2022.

The Yuzu Ham Blossom Toastie combines the savoury with the citrusy. Follow this up with the Iced Osmanthus Pineapple Tea – a refreshing beverage fragrant with floral and fruit.

To enjoy these benefits, just present your HomeTeamNS membership card during billing.

NOEL GIFTS

Photo: Noel Gifts

When visiting someone’s house, it’s always a good idea to bear gifts to offer good tidings. Pick from Noel Gift’s large range of flowers, gifts and hampers suitable for all budgets and receive 8-per-cent off for any Chinese New Year Collection order of S$80 and above.

Whether it’s a spectacular arrangement with tangerines or an abundant arm of symbolic delicacies, you’ll have until 12 February 2022 to pick those goodies for your loved ones. To enjoy the discount, HomeTeamNS members just have to retrieve the promo code from your HomeTeamNS mobile app and use it during checkout from Noel Gift’s website.

GRAND HYATT SINGAPORE

Photo: Grand Hyatt Singapore

Adding some elevated dining to your feasts is now a whole lot easier. Grand Hyatt presents their Lunar New Year menu, with a generous 15-per-cent discount for all HomeTeamNS members till 15 February 2022 with the promo code from your HomeTeamNS mobile app.

Savour the stunning Bountiful Treasure Pot (Pen Cai) and usher in its abundant blessings, or ring in the same with the Sauteed Hybrid Grouper served with mushrooms, snow peas and an XO chili sauce. They even have an option for vegetarians – the plant-based Organic Vegetable and Truffle Yu Sheng.

NOVOTEL SINGAPORE

Photo: Novotel Singapore

Novotel Singapore is finding inspiration from a collaboration between Food Exchange and Ancient Taste (Gu Zao Wei) – a restaurant with a zero-waste precept. You’ll find familiar classics like Shrimp Paste Chicken and Fu Yong Egg on the menu, but the highlight has to be their claypots, available in fish head or a more collagen-filled mix of braised phoenix claws, pork tendons and premium Chinese mushrooms.

If you’re having a party of four to six, opt for the convenient Gu Zao Wei Set. As HomeTeamNS members, receive 18-per-cent off from now till 15 February 2022 and apply your mobile app’s promo code upon checkout.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL

Photo: Mandarin Oriental

If you prefer to place your orders at the same place, check out Mandarin Oriental’s offerings. The luxury hotel has anything from dishes like yu sheng, roasted goose and pork roulade to pineapple tarts and lavish hampers. There’s even Nian Gao (sticky cake) for some traditional blessings. With their elegant packaging and elevated menu, members will appreciate the 15-per-cent discount on all items (except hampers). Enter your HomeTeamNS mobile app’s promo code to enjoy the promotion from till 15 February 2022.

PARKROYAL COLLECTION MARINA BAY

Photo: Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay

The Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay opened to much fanfare, partly because the lauded Peach Blossom restaurant made a welcome return. The hotel has launched an exclusive hamper, Treasure Pot and six-course meal experience on their website

You’ll be able to enjoy a 20-per-cent discount before 30 January 2022 and 15-per-cent discount thereafter until 15 February 2022.

 Email promotions.prsmb@parkroyalcollection.com or call their hotline: +65 6845 1118. Visitors to the hotel enjoy the same discount. Just present your HomeTeamNS card at the promotions counter, which is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm, at the hotel lobby. Order more than S$100 and get a complimentary bottle of Peach Blossoms’ Homemade Sakura Ebi Chilli Sauce worth S$28 – a wonderful way to fire up the festivities.

Be on the lookout for more mouthwatering treats next month and don’t miss out on any promotions! Find out more about HomeTeamNS members’ deals and treats.

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Categories
Lifestyle

The smart reveller’s guide to celebrating Chinese New Year with a roar

From DIY decorations to smart housekeeping hacks and treating the family to delicious meals, here’s how to prepare for your Chinese New Year celebrations without wearing yourself out in the process.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

2022 is off to a roaring start as we welcome the Year of the Tiger — but if you’re feeling more like a sleepy sloth at the thought of spring cleaning, decorating and preparing for the Chinese New Year celebrations, don’t worry. With these tips, the smart reveller can save time, effort and money, while still focusing on what really matters — spending time with friends and family.

WHEN OLD BECOMES NEW

Chinese New Year celebrations are a great time to buy new clothes and accessories. But the endless cycle of consumption is hurting our planet by worsening climate change. And if you’re planning some last-minute shopping, you’ll have to deal with weekend crowds, nightmare parking and long queues. Why not combine the convenience of online shopping with saving the earth, by buying things that are new-to-you?

For example, curated second-hand online clothing and accessory platforms are growing in popularity in Singapore, including ones dedicated to designer labels, streetwear and even children’s clothing. Many items have only been worn or used once, or not at all — and they often come with their original dust bags, boxes and tags.

For household items and furniture, tech-savvy second-hand retailers like Hock Siong and platforms like Carousell offer a wide range of goods in conditions ranging from new and unused to well-loved. Before adding items to your cart, make sure to measure the available space in your home — you don’t want to end up with an oversized dining table that won’t fit through your front door.

Determined not to make any big purchases this year? Try rearranging your furniture instead of buying new pieces. Don’t limit yourself to just items from the same room — if a bedside table works well as a side stand for the sofa, why not? If colours clash or the item looks dated, you can use chalk paint to spruce up old furniture. (This fast-drying paint doesn’t require priming or sanding down of surfaces — perfect for a weekend project with older kids.)

KEEP CALM AND CLEAN SMART

Spring cleaning before your Chinese New Year celebrations may sometimes feel like a mammoth task — but taking a smart approach to it can save you valuable time and energy.

First, declutter before you start cleaning — set aside items in three piles: to sell, to donate and to throw. Arrange for the town council or waste collectors to pick up bulky items, and look for the nearest e-waste recycling point for used electronics. Decluttering makes your home feel more spacious. Besides having more space to manoeuvre while cleaning, there’s also no need to waste time wiping down things you’ve decided to throw away.

Next, draw up a cleaning schedule. To limit procrastination, assign specific chores to each family member and indicate when these should be done. Breaking it down into short, clear steps — declutter, vacuum and mop, then wipe down surfaces — will make the entire task seem more manageable.

If you don’t want the fuss of hiring a home dry-cleaning service for large soft furnishings, try this DIY method: Remove the sheets and sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and — for a nice scent — a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Rub in the mixture, and leave for an hour or two, then vacuum it all up to remove odours and dust mites.

If you’re doing this to your sofa, make sure to remove the cushion covers first, and avoid using baking soda on dark fabric surfaces as it might leave a whitish residue.

RECYCLE RED PACKETS AND RIBBONS

Don’t rush to buy new decorations. Bring out leftover red packets (especially those from previous Chinese New Year celebrations) and get your kids to make lanterns, baskets or even origami fans that you can decorate the house with.

And instead of buying new, pre-decorated plants, why not spruce up your existing plants? Cut out the ‘Fu’ character for prosperity from a red packet and paste it on the plant’s pot (upside down, of course). If you have red or gold ribbon leftover from Christmas, snip it lengthwise for a thinner width and tie festive bows around the plant’s stalks, or around the pot itself if you prefer. Finish off the latter with a giant bow or rosette if you have excess ribbon left.

EASY BREEZY ENTERTAINING

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has highlighted the wastage of printing new notes for red packets every year — most of which end up destroyed due to lack of circulation demand. If sending an e-angbao just doesn’t feel as meaningful, why not compromise with a festively printed QR Gift Card? Recipients can scan the QR code to collect their angbaos. It also saves you the hassle of having to queue for new notes.

When preparing a feast, it’s time to ‘stock up’ – on chicken, pork and seafood stock, that is. You could spend hours boiling prawn shells, fish and pork bones for an umami-laden steamboat broth, or alternatively buy frozen ready-made stock and stash it in your freezer a week ahead. Defrost it in the microwave on the day of reunion dinner and pour into your hotpot. Better yet, why not head out for a meal? Check out the Halal-certified Suki-Suki Thai Hot Pot, at HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse, which offers a crowd-pleasing buffet featuring six soup base options ranging from clear chicken broth to spicy tom yum and rich coconut curry.

Have guests coming over? Replace sugary store-bought drinks with homemade chrysanthemum or lemon barley brews that may offer some health benefits, as well as a touch of nostalgia that guests will surely appreciate. If you don’t feel like turning on the stove, cold brew some Oolong tea and flavour with canned lychees or dried longans for a fruity twist on a refreshing iced drink. Then sit back with a glass in hand and enjoy a relaxing Chinese New Year with your loved ones – just the way it should be.

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Categories
In The Force

Making 2022 count

NSPI Fredric Kong looks forward to reaching greater heights in the year ahead while reflecting on the lessons learnt in the past year.

TEXT: HOMETEAMNS
PHOTOS: FREDRIC KONG

In 2022, NSPI Fredric Kong will have plenty of opportunities to accomplish his goals as a Company Adjutant in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) – a vocation overseeing a company’s discipline, welfare, administration and training targets.

NSPI Kong aims to inspire and shape the over 500 trainees under his care into motivated, disciplined and competent police officers. He believes that giving the trainees goals and a sense of purpose, as well as making training realistic and enjoyable, are essential. He also hopes to share with them his frontline experiences during an attachment to a Neighbourhood Police Centre.

BECOMING A LEADER

Passing out from the Officer Cadet Course (OCC) as a commissioned senior officer did not come easy. In 2021, NSPI Kong underwent the demanding nine-month course at the Training Command, which required the officer cadets (OCTs) to be versed in general and criminal law, as well as policing skills and procedures on responses to various incidents as a Ground Response Force officer. Given the emphasis on leadership and decision-making, these skills were then tested in a command centre virtual simulation exercise where the OCTs were required to oversee ground forces in response to various incidents.

In addition, the OCTs went through a gruelling 19-day leadership course with the Outward Bound School (OBS) at Pulau Ubin. Upon graduation from the OCC, these newly minted National Service Probationary Inspectors (NSPIs) would then move on to undertake important positions at various departments or specialist units, such as the Special Operations Command (SOC) or the Protective Security Command (ProCom).

TAKING THE LEAD

NSPI Kong believes in the importance of giving trainees goals and a sense of purpose.

In the new year, NSPI Kong recalls what he had learnt from two memorable experiences during his OCC. The first involved months of hard work and long training hours, which culminated in him marching proudly as part of the Police Guard-of-Honour Contingent at the National Day Parade (NDP) – twice – on the 9th and 21st August 2021.

Weeks before the NDP, the participants were balancing rehearsal commitments with their coursework, an upcoming summative criminal law assessment, an Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) and a Stay Home Order (as part of the parade’s safe management measures due to the fluctuating COVID-19 situation).

NSPI Kong, who was the squad’s Vice-Chairman, decided that he needed to take action to help his squad succeed. He worked closely with his squad’s Academic and Sports ICs to implement supplementary programmes to help his squadmates prepare for the assessment and enhance their fitness for the IPPT. NSPI Kong also personally produced mock exam questions and hosted pre-exam review sessions. “The key was being proactive,” he reflected. “That was what made all the difference.”

Now as a Company Adjutant, NSPI Kong wants to continue exercising initiative and enhance training opportunities. He already has several ideas in mind for 2022 and is working with his supervisors to realise them.

IN GOOD COMPANY

The second experience took place amid the choppy waves at the Northern tip of Singapore during a five-day sea expedition with OBS. At the time, NSPI Kong and his team braved an unforgiving downpour while having to maintain a compact fleet formation. However, in the middle of facing the storm, they were rewarded with an unforgettable sight. “I saw that as it grew more radiant, two brilliant arcs of prismatic light – a double rainbow – had emerged from the fog,” he recounted.

These moments with his squadmates made him appreciate and treasure the camaraderie that they had built over the past nine months. Having once been a trainee himself, he hopes the trainees never forget to treasure the moments along the way, even in their short two-year National Service (NS) stint. To make their time in NS rich and meaningful, he is ready to work hard with his team of Field Instructors and Course Managers.

A JOURNEY OF LEARNING

NSPI Kong will be pursuing a PhD programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after completing his full-time NS and aims to complete writing one or two research papers during his weekends by the end of 2022. Despite committing most of his time to carrying out his duties, NSPI Kong still makes an effort to further his knowledge in his field of studies.

The keen learner exemplifies the theme of continuous education during NS, which is facilitated to full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) through the NS e-PREP Scheme. This scheme facilitates NSFs’ transition from full-time National Service to further studies or into the workforce by offering a wide range of courses and modules, helping NSFs keep up with their peers.

In his own time, NSPI Kong wishes to uncover the more complex effects of trade and trade policies so that Singapore can link its financial and trading hub status to sustainable economic growth. It would a challenging goal for many, but this does not faze NSPI Kong: “It is no simple endeavour, for sure – but I don’t make my New Year resolutions easy!”

HITTING THE MARK

Besides shouldering his newly assigned duties as Company Adjutant, NSPI Kong has made his personal resolution for the new year — to complete his 2.4 km run in under nine minutes. He believes in continuously pushing his limits with a positive mindset to achieve his goals. 

Categories
Close Up

Having the right attitude

DSP (NS) Mohamad Syaifudin bin Ahmad Ismail takes his health seriously, having witnessed first-hand the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. 

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA
PHOTOS: DSP (NS) MOHAMAD SYAIFUDIN BIN AHMAD ISMAIL

Even at 36 years of age, DSP (NS) Mohamad Syaifudin bin Ahmad Ismail is an example of a highly disciplined individual.

“Early in my life, I had seen the effects of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle,” he tells Frontline.

At the age of 11, he saw his father suffer a heart attack. Ten years later, he watched his mother battle cancer. Fortunately, both DSP (NS) Syaifudin’s parents beat their ailments and continue to lead healthy lives today. “As a kid, I didn’t automatically link these to poor diet and lack of exercise. But at university where I studied Physical Education and Sports Science, I decided to make a change,” he reflects.

Well-built and toned, the NS Commanding Officer (CO) of Training, Training Command (TRACOM), clocks at least five sessions a week at the gym and complements his physical regimen with a strict diet: Five half-boiled eggs and a cup of oatmeal every morning, followed by grilled chicken breast or salmon with a large serving of roasted vegetables for lunch and dinner. “I do indulge on weekends,” says DSP (NS) Syaifudin, who is the recipient of the SPF NSman (PNSman) of the Year award in 2021.

ADAPTING TO A NEW WAY OF STAYING FIT

Since then, DSP (NS) Syaifudin has been leading a healthy lifestyle but has adjusted certain routines to fit his changing life situation. One of the most significant changes is something we all go through –   ageing. “I love to play football. In my 20s, I could play with teenagers, but these days, it would place a great strain on my body,” says the Physical Education (PE) teacher who teaches at a local educational institution.

In fact, DSP (NS) Syaifudin has sustained three knee surgeries in recent years, all while playing football. “After the latest incident, I decided to call it quits. It was difficult at first because I was obsessed with the game growing up. But it’s something I had to do if I wanted to stay active in other ways.”

This included working out at the gym and going on walks with his family. “Both my wife and I are PE teachers, so we are eager to instil a love for physical activity in our children,” says the father of three, aged six years, five years and four months old. Despite being together for nearly two decades, the couple is passionate about keeping their romance alive. “We do this by going for bike rides and trail walks together, as well as enjoying a quiet meal in each other’s company whenever we can.”

DSP (NS) Syaifudin and his wife are keen to instil a love for physical activity in their children.

DRIVEN TO NURTURE

Such moments of respite are welcome after long days in school, where DSP (NS) Syaifudin is also the Head of Discipline. He reveals that the past two years have been challenging for educators like himself. “PE lessons and co-curricular activities have been adapted so that students can participate safely in small groups, depending on the prevailing safe management measures,” he shares. “Before the pandemic, I would also speak at morning assembly at least once a week, reminding my students of the importance of self-discipline and inculcating good values and habits. But since we can’t gather in large groups anymore, this is now done virtually. More work has to go into continually engaging the students at this time.”

Still, DSP (NS) Syaifudin remains passionate about his work because he enjoys mentoring and interacting with people, both young and old. It’s something that his NS role also allows for. “Most of my batchmates have already completed their NS obligations, but I’m still at it, 13 ICT cycles later,” he says. “I am grateful for this chance to serve and groom the next generation of NSmen and I’ll continue giving it my all while I still can.”

WINNING WAYS

Over the years, DSP (NS) Syaifudin has Received numerous awards and accolades, including:

  • Seven consecutive gold awards for his IPPT (from 2015 to 2021)
  • Director PNS Commendation Award in 2017 for his work organising the HomeTeamNS REAL® Run in conjunction with NS50
  • PNSman of the Year 2021

“I’m very grateful for the positive affirmation from my NS Commander, PNSmen PO, fellow PNSmen and regular officers from the TRACOM, where I serve,” he says. “I could not have done it without the strong support of my wife and family and my school leaders and colleagues.”

Categories
Lifestyle

How to rest, reset and rejuvenate in the new year

To invigorate both body and soul, take things down a notch and practise some mindfulness

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

If the post-holiday return to work still feels like a drag, it might be time to take stock and practise some mindfulness by paying attention to and acknowledging your physical and mental needs.

Whether you crave a retreat into a cosy ManCave (albeit one that’s not necessarily limited to men) or want to sweat it out with a good sparring session, allow yourself the time and space you need to relax and reset. You’ll find yourself calmer, more productive and ready to tackle whatever the year brings.

THE ZEN OF TEA (AND COFFEE)

More Singaporeans than ever are enjoying their caffeine in the form of brewed or specialty gourmet coffees and teas. Instead of sitting down with the same old instant cuppa or supermarket tea bag, why not switch up your morning ritual by brewing loose-leaf tea or investing in a coffee-maker. The latter range from affordable one-cup French presses to precisely-engineered Italian espresso machines with curves like a Bugatti, and similarly eye-popping prices.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer Japanese matcha, Chinese oolong or South Asian-style chai – both green and black tea leaves contain powerful antioxidants that are beneficial to our health. Coffee has an even longer list of benefits, from preventing Parkinson’s disease to having an antidepressant effect. Brewing your own drink from scratch allows you to control the flavour, temperature and sweetness levels to perfection — and might just be the form of creative self-care you need to kickstart a happier, more productive morning routine.

If you’d rather be pampered, let someone else make you a cup of good old fashioned kopi or teh instead, while you sit back and relax at the newly-opened Heavenly Wang Cafe at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Clubhouse.

SLOW DOWN, WORK OUT

A good stretch can relax you like nothing else. HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok offers a selection of yoga courses to ease your way into a healthier mindset.

Hatha Yoga classes run every Wednesday from 8pm to 9.30pm, for a 10-session term. The total fees are S$110 for Ordinary, Associate and Family members, S$120 for Social and Affiliate members, and S$130 for guests.

If you prefer weekend stretches, Hatha Yoga is also available every Saturday between 11am and 12pm. There are eight sessions in total, with fees costing S$95 for Ordinary, Associate and Family members, S$104.50 for Social and Affiliate members, and S$114 for guests.

To take it really slow, turn to Yin Yang Yoga, which combines passively held poses that work on the connective tissues and joints along with the more traditional, stamina and strength-oriented form of yoga. Classes are held every Saturday from 10am to 11am, and the same fees as above apply. Click here to sign up for courses, or email courses@hometeamns.sg to learn more.

New to the yoga scene? HomeTeamNS Khatib will be having a free trial yoga class for members on 28 January 2022 from 7pm to 8pm, at Level 2, Ballroom Foyer! Non-members can also join in the fun at only S$5.

JAM SESSION

Music soothes the savage beast – and in humans, studies have shown that music might be able to soothe cortisol response. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone, as levels of it rise whenever our bodies are stressed. In addition, music can trigger the release of dopamine and oxytocin, chemicals that result in improved mood and sense of well-being.

Whether you’re putting together the perfect Spotify playlist for your work commute or dusting off your old guitar on Saturday night, music is a great way to stimulate your creativity and relax. Best of all, it can be a solo activity – think singing in the shower – or a fun way to connect with friends and family, such as jamming together in a studio.

DANCE YOUR HEART OUT

If you want to get your heart pumping, a full-body workout like Zumba will do the trick. The intense blend of dance moves with aerobic activity set to the thumping beat of Latin-influenced music, will certainly work up a happy sweat.

HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok plays host to Zumba classes every Monday from 7.30pm to 8.30pm and every Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm. There are eight sessions in total. Ordinary, Associate and Family members pay S$90, while Social and Affiliate members pay S$100. Guests’ fees are S$110. Interested in signing up to sweat it out? Click here, or email courses@hometeamns.sg for more information.

FIGHTING FIT

Live out your Bruce Lee fantasies by getting off the couch and signing up for judo and karate classes at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier. Apart from the fitness benefits, you’ll perhaps even discover a lifelong passion for martial arts. Learn more here by checking out the classes under the Courses tab.

Until 31 January, receive S$20 food and beverage vouchers when you sign up. Limited slots are available, so don’t hesitate.

If your new year’s resolution is to pick up Karate as a new hobby, join HomeTeamNS Khatib and their free trial class for HomeTeamNS members! Held on 27 January 2022 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, at Level 2, Ballroom Foyer, be sure to fight your way into the new year. Non-members can also join the trial class at only S$5.

EXPLORE SINGAPORE’S HIDDEN CORNERS

The hamster-wheel of work, home (and for many of us, work-from-home), malls and errands can get dull, especially when you seem to be visiting the same old places on autopilot. Why not open up Google Maps and look for a part of Singapore you haven’t been to? After all, seeing new places (even if they’re in the same country) stimulates your brain and diminishes boredom.

Take in charming black-and-white houses in peaceful Wessex Estate (and stop for a drink at the well-loved Western food institution, Colbar), or admire the dark, Gothic architecture of creative hub The Mill, incongruously set in an industrial estate. If you want to get out in nature, the Japanese Cemetery Park in Hougang is a serene and poignant memorial to Singapore’s early Japanese community, or you can split the cost of a yacht charter with friends to explore the Southern Islands of Singapore.

Wherever you go, make sure you have good walking shoes, an open mind and a sense of adventure.

WORK FROM MANCAVE

If the distractions and noise of work-from-home are eating into your productivity, what about working from a ManCave?

From now until 31 March, the ManCaves at HomeTeamNS Khatib offers an opportunity to work in a refreshing new setting during weekdays. And if you need a break, the ManCaves features game consoles, high-quality audio systems and even a private BBQ patio.

Frontline Digital newsletter subscribers enjoy 50-per-cent off a ManCave booking, which includes the exclusive use of a ManCave for 4 hours during peak periods (weekends) and complimentary WiFi usage among other benefits.

Subscribe to Frontline Digital now! Don’t miss out on any updates on giveaways, news and happenings, and subscriber-only discounts or promotions.

Categories
Club Buzz

The learning never stops

From cohesion programmes with NSmen and SkillFest with junior HomeTeamNS members, learn from our Business Development team how these activities promote bonding, learning, and teambuilding among the young and young at heart.

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

Cohesion activities are a time for teams to come together, learn and grow – whether in a classroom, on a field or even out in a paintball arena. But have you ever wondered what goes into the planning and execution of these programmes?

We speak to Nur’Atiqah Aidah, an Executive Cohesion Accounts Specialist, and Syahmi Azmi, a Business Development and Marketing Executive. Both are part of the HomeTeamNS Business Development Team and they share a passion for ensuring that HomeTeamNS’ cohesion programmes and team-building activities are always fun, memorable and fulfilling.

LEARNING AND GROWING WITH NEW SKILLS

Nur’Atiqah Aidah, an Executive Cohesion Accounts Specialist, who oversees all cohesion and non-cohesion programmes in HomeTeamNS.

Ms Nur’Atiqah oversees all cohesion and non-cohesion programmes across the different HomeTeamNS clubhouses, while her colleague Mr Syahmi Azmi is responsible for SkillFest, the HomeTeamNS Signature School Holidays Programme for junior members aged six to 12 years old.

Says Ms Nur’Atiqah: “HomeTeamNS believes strongly that our forte is in our service. We believe that cohesion programmes and team-building activities provide a different environment for the participants to explore their capabilities and test their strength as a team. These activities challenge their willpower and mental strength, and can provide insights into how they are able to work and cope as a team.”

The HomeTeamNS Business Development team offer clients a variety of cohesion programmes that encourage teamwork while also inspiring participants to challenge their limits.

She adds that the Cohesion Team is very experienced at handling group sizes of anywhere between 50 to 200 people, with 600 participants being the highest number she has worked with, pre-pandemic. (For that, the entire HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse had to be put into service, so that all 600 guests could participate in activities at the same time.) In addition, HomeTeamNS prides itself on being a one-stop centre for all programming-related activities and any other requirements that organisations might have, such as transportation, food and beverage catering, and even customised door gifts.

Syahmi Azmi, a Business Development and Marketing Executive at HomeTeamNS.

When it comes to the little ones, Mr Syahmi says that SkillFest, a popular programme, is designed to introduce and develop lifelong skills in children, such as athletics, social and emotional learning, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). As part of SkillFest, the children get to explore HomeTeamNS’ self-run facilities such as the Adventure HQ, Clip ‘n Climb and T-Play, and do fun and exciting experiments, crafts and sports.

Not to be outdone, the grown-ups can enjoy an eclectic mix of cohesion activities at HomeTeamNS ranging from indoor ones like art jamming and mixology to unusual sports, like water soccer and tchoukball. According to Ms Nur’Atiqah, all activities are developed based on the type of skills that they would like to develop and the different capabilities and ages of participants, as well as feedback from previous participants like NSmen.

“Before COVID, our NSmen would come back to us yearly based on their reservist period,” she explains. “So as a team, we always try to come up with something different and interesting to entice them.”

The activities for children are just as carefully planned. Mr Syahmi shares that programmes like SkillFest are based on important social, learning and physical skills that are meant to help grow character. “The skills developed can then be incorporated into their daily and school life,” he added.

According to Ms Nur’Atiqah, the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenging period for the Business Development Team as 95 per cent of their cohesion and non-cohesion programmes were on-site. In true HomeTeamNS spirit, the team rallied and quickly adapted, picking up new digital skills, acquiring new software and even honing their soft skills in order to deliver the reformatted programming online, via their laptops. Mr Syahmi adds that when on-site programmes were allowed again, the team then had to come up with additional COVID-19 safety initiatives on top of the existing government-recommended measures, to assure parents that their children could participate safely.

MEMORIES AND BONDING, FOR A LIFETIME

The Singapore Police Force’s Central Division (A Div) has engaged HomeTeamNS to run team-building and cohesion programmes for their PNSmen on multiple occasions. According to their feedback, not only were the customised activities very well-received by participants, the PNSmen also came away having built a strong camaraderie with each other – a successfully met objective.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that participants meet their objectives, safely and with maximum fun,” says Ms Nur’Atiqah. “These objectives can vary from simple ones like building bridges within a new department, to understanding how a department can function better across different management levels.”

Participants can also gain once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like when HomeTeamNS collaborated with the 3rd Div Singapore Civil Defence Force Division HQ to conduct a hands-on fire safety lesson. “Participants experienced using a fire extinguisher to put out an actual flame,” recounts Mr Syahmi. “HomeTeamNS also has a new Paintball Arena, and paintball has been incorporated into SkillFest. We devised a target shoot challenge, where participants experience shooting both static and moving targets under the close supervision of a specialist.”

Another recently-added activity is Pedal Go Kart, available at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok. “Go Karting has always been a popular request by our clients and NSmen,” says Ms Nur’Atiqah. “So we have created a racing route over at our Adventure Centre. Instead of pedalling it alone, participants have a relay system. Once they finish the route, they have to head over and hand the Go Kart to a team member to finish the given number of rounds.”

These fun-filled activities are not just a good time for all – they are opportunities for participants to go beyond their comfort zones to challenge themselves, make new friends and develop themselves further than they thought possible. As one happy parent wrote in his feedback after a rock climbing activity in SkillFest September 2021: “My son was able to climb to heights that he had never ventured to previously. This really amazes us as our children are able to realise their own potential, which they have never explored before.”

Check out HomeTeamNS’ wide range of customisable cohesion programmes and activities here, and visit the HomeTeamNS website and Facebook for the latest updates.

Categories
Club Buzz

A season to be jolly

HomeTeamNS members had a ho-ho-holly jolly time at the clubhouses during the December holidays, as they immersed themselves in festive activities like lucky draws, crafts, and contributing care packages to the needy.

TEXT: ADLINA ADAM
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

FIFA 22 TOURNAMENT AT PLAYPEN BUKIT BATOK

PlayPen hosted its first and largest FIFA 22 Christmas Tournament on 18 December 2021 from 10am to 4pm. Some 24 participants pitted their skills against each other for bragging rights to be the best e-footballer. The tournament consisted of three stages – Group Stage, Knockout Round, and Grand Final, and was open to all age groups. 

With entry fees starting at S$35, the tournament included guaranteed FIFA 22 match play sessions and a S$10 meal voucher to Éla, a Halal Greek Restaurant at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok. Participants also stood a chance to win a Nintendo Switch OLED console in a virtual lucky draw.

HomeTeamNS would like to congratulate George, Sabri, and Ignatius – the FIFA 22 Christmas Tournament’s top-three finishers. The top three won an Xbox Series S (worth S$459), a S$100 Premier Football Voucher and a S$50 Premier Football Voucher respectively.

“This is a great initiative by HomeTeamNS! Kudos to the PlayPen team for organising this tournament. I hope there will be more similar tournaments in the future!”, shared HomeTeamNS member Sabri Daud, who finished second.

PlayPen plans to accommodate more members in future tournaments. Stay tuned for information on upcoming events on Laser Quest’s Facebook Page or our website.

CHRISTMAS WINTERLAND AT HOMETEAMNS BUKIT BATOK

From a Winterland Snowy Experience to Winter Craft sessions, 325 HomeTeamNS members and their loved ones had an enjoyable time at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok during the December holidays.

Winterland Snowy Experience

Who said you can’t experience snow in sunny Singapore? HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok found a workaround to our tropical climate by setting up a cosy air-conditioned tent by the swimming pool that offered a magical experience. Families had a blast playing in the “winter” wonderland, courtesy of the cool air and artificial snow foam.

“We love how interactive the Christmas activities are, especially the Snowy Experience!” shared HomeTeamNS member, Jerome Ng.

Winter Craft

Back by popular demand, Winter Craft sessions made a return this Christmas season at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok on 26 December 2021. With well-loved options such as Sand Art and Slime Making, the craft sessions were open to all.

Missed out on these exciting activities? Catch up with HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok for a Feng Shui Talk during the upcoming Chinese New Year period. Look out for the event details on the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Facebook Page or on the HomeTeamNS website.

CAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS AT HOMETEAMNS KHATIB

It’s the season of sharing! HomeTeamNS Khatib rallied members and guests to contribute Care Packs and Play Passes to two beneficiaries – Tak Takut Kids Club by 3 Pumpkins, a community space for children, and the Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (SWAMI) Home, a voluntary welfare organisation that provides integrated nursing home care services to the elderly.

The care packages consisted of daily essentials such as toiletries and groceries, while the Play Passes admitted the children for play time at Adventure HQ and T-Play. A total of 123 contributions were made by HomeTeamNS members and guests, which brought smiles to the beneficiaries.

Members and guests who contributed gifts were treated to a Christmas carnival organised by HomeTeamNS Khatib on 11 and 12 December 2021. Some 180 members and guests played Minute-To-Win-It games, jumped around at the Bouncy Castle and received a Merry Bag inclusive of a gelato voucher from Jewel Cafe.

A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS AT HOMETEAMNS-JOM BALESTIER

Craft and Lunch with Santa

In collaboration with SmartArtz Studio and Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House, 20 members and 10 guests of HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier created their own Gingerbread House Craft as a pair and had a hearty Western meal with Santa Claus on 19 December 2021.

Help Santa Lose Weight

After all that Christmas feasting, Santa is sure to have gained a pound or two. HomeTeamNS members were tasked to help Santa lose weight, either by eating a healthy meal at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier eateriesJom Makan Seafood or Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House, or by completing simple workouts – 20 Jumping Jacks or 30 Squats!

Members were spoiled for choice for healthy meal options, including Seafood White Bee Hoon and Stir-fry Garlic Kang Kong from Jom Makan Seafood, and any dishes containing Chicken Breast or Salmon Fillet from Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House.

Christmas Craft-A-Land and Gift DIY

At the Christmas Craft-A-Land event on 18 and 19 December 2021, 177 HomeTeamNS members and 156 guests participated in various fun station games and activities including Candy Cane Hook, a Christmas Quiz and Walk, Find & Snap.

Candy Cane Hook participants were tasked to transfer Candy Canes from one bucket to another; while for Walk, Find & Snap, contestants combed the clubhouse to find Christmas-related items and take photos for a chance to win prizes.

Eight lucky winners walked away with prizes worth S$550 across the two-day event, with one grand prize and three consolation prizes given out each day.

Missed out on the fun? Don’t fret! Keep fit with HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier and receive S$20 food and beverage vouchers when you sign up for Judo and Karate classes, from 1 to 31 January 2022.

SPIN & WIN AT FITNESS WORKZ

In the spirit of giving, members who signed up for the six-month or 12-month memberships at any of Fitness Workz gyms between 20 to 31 December 2021 got to spin the wheel and walk away with prizes. A total of 69 members signed up for the gym memberships and received free gifts such as an Under Armour backpack, smoothie blender, ab wheel roller and suspension trainer.

“I thank the trainers for presenting me with this gift. It is not all the time you get to win something. The suspension trainer allows me to add something different to my current workout!” shared Muhamad Sallehan Bin Zainuddin.

Wish to work out as a group? Look out for the promotions for group classes on the HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz Facebook Page.

SANTA’S LUCKY DIP AT T-PLAY BUKIT BATOK

Between 11 and 25 December 2021, T-Play members who booked a slot at T-Play Bukit Batok were entered in Santa’s Lucky Dip. Three lucky winners won a 2D1N Villa Staycation at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, a Junior Bicycle Set (inclusive of a bicycle, helmet, and elbow and knee pads) or a two-hour Console Game Time at PlayPen and three Laser Quest Missions (for two people each) at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok.

The winners were announced through an interactive Facebook Live session on 26 December 2021 on T-Play’s Facebook page. T-Play Bukit Batok also encouraged online viewers to be among the first five to like, share and comment on the post to stand a chance to win T-Play Art Packs.

Missed out on all the fun? Stay tuned for more clubhouse activities and events coming up next month! Check out the HomeTeamNS Official Facebook Page or website for the latest updates.

Categories
Lifestyle

New year, new state of mind

To be your best self in 2022, make it a point to refresh, recharge and embark on new challenges

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

Multi-tasking is a skill that many of us have honed to a fine art – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when working from home became a norm. Singaporeans are used to wearing several hats, often all at the same time: Hardworking employee, caring spouse, loving parent, filial son or daughter. On weekends or after working hours, we often turn into houseproud cleaners, private-hire drivers, accomplished chefs or food da pao maestros for our families. There’s no denying that despite our best intentions, we sometimes take on too much and are exhausted instead of being rejuvenated by our personal commitments.

As such, it is important to set aside quality time for yourself to prevent burnout – after all, work is a known source of stress in Singapore. The pandemic has also changed our perceptions of work-life balance. In a 2021 survey by Oracle, more than half of the respondents reported feeling a loss of control over their futures and personal lives. Over 90 per cent of respondents also said that the meaning of success had changed for them.

Taking time off to focus on your own needs can not only reduce stress, but restore your inner equilibrium and even improve creativity – making you not just a better professional, but also a better partner, parent and person. Here are some tips on how to incorporate ‘me-time’ into your daily routine this new year.

INHALE, EXHALE

Yoga sessions don’t have to involve signing up for classes or heading out to a studio. You can buy a mat and do short yoga exercises from YouTube in the comfort of your own bedroom or living room, during your lunch break or before you head out to the office.

Yoga’s benefits are not just physical. Learning to breathe, which is one of yoga’s most important aspects, can help you to relax mentally and even sleep better. Some practitioners have reported feeling more energetic and alert, as well as having improved moods. Just holding a pose for five to 15 minutes can help to clear your mind and give you a much-needed time-out during a busy day.

For something that can be done anywhere and doesn’t require a mat, turn to meditation. When you’re waiting for the train, standing in line to buy dinner or getting ready for work, you can try taking deep, slow, intentional breaths to clear your mind.

In addition to reducing stress, meditation can help to control anxiety, enhance self-awareness and increase one’s attention span. You can use apps like Headspace to learn how to meditate or get tips on exercises aimed at improving sleep, creativity or focus.

WRITE IT OUT

With so much going on in our lives, just getting through the day can be a challenge. Journalling can help sort out your thoughts, feelings and priorities, helping you to understand yourself and others better while at the same time, organising the never-ending flow of ideas, people and events in your head.

Whether you choose to write in a fancy leather-bound notebook, on scrap paper or on the Notes app of your phone, studies have found that journalling can lead to a host of benefits, including improved sleep, better self-esteem, greater intelligence, a stronger immune system — and even faster wound healing! While you are unlikely to turn into Wolverine from the X-Men, taking a few minutes at bedtime to write about your day is a great way to unwind, relax and over time, create a record of your own self-development.

LET IT GO – LITERALLY

Living in an untidy environment is known to be stressful for people. It’s hard to find the things you need, and you don’t have enough space for all the things you have. In comparison, decluttering your home can resolve tension, reduce anxiety and even boost your confidence.

With Chinese New Year coming up, many households in Singapore are going through an annual spring cleaning. But you don’t need a special occasion to declutter.

If the task seems intimidating, home organisation guru Marie Kondo recommends going by category, not location, to make it easier. Instead of tackling one room at a time, choose a category of item – for example, clothes – and spending a few hours during the weekend discarding items that no longer spark joy.

If you can’t bear the thought of throwing them into the garbage, you can consider selling good-quality items on online marketplaces like Carousell, or donate them to good causes such as Books Beyond Borders, Junk To Clear and the other organisations listed here. You might make your item’s recipient very happy while also creating a more comfortable, spacious home for yourself.

CONNECT WITH YOUR CIRCLE

The benefits of friendship are manifold. Besides preventing loneliness and reducing stress, friends give us a sense of belonging, make us feel more confident and resilient, and even improve our physical health – studies have shown that older adults with fulfilling social lives are likely to live longer.

Still, keeping up with friends or extended family members can be tough when everyone is so busy. Some may also live overseas or have work schedules that make meeting up difficult.

Even if it’s just a breezy text message or a quick phone call, reaching out to them can help to reaffirm your closeness and strengthen your bond. If you want to meet in real life but have conflicting schedules, try suggesting an early morning run or a weekend late-night supper. You could also combine family time with friends, by meeting at a HomeTeamNS clubhouse for a quick coffee catch-up while the kids get to know one another over board and console games at PlayPen or play time at T-Play, the Transportation and Peranakan-themed indoor playgrounds.

After all, catching up with an old friend gives you the opportunity to connect with someone who accepts your flaws and quirks without question, knows how to make you laugh, is comfortable enough to be completely honest with you, and has seen you grow into the person that you are today.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

From rock-climbing to cross-stitching to public speaking, there are plenty of things you haven’t tried yet. Why not make 2022 the year you take up a new challenge?

Doing something new and different can open exciting doors, such as discovering a lifelong hobby or embarking on a career transformation. It’s also been known to sharpen your thinking skills, keep you from getting stale and boring (or being bored) and help you grow as a person

To conquer your fear of the unknown, start small. For example, if you want to learn how to cook, choose a simple recipe to follow that doesn’t require a lot of kitchen equipment or complicated techniques. If you prefer to be guided, check out the huge variety of courses and activities on offer at your nearest HomeTeamNS clubhouse – there’s something for everyone, and you can sign up with friends or family as well.

From time to time, it’s good to hang up your multiple hats and concentrate on your own fulfilment and growth – for the benefit of your loved ones, as well as yourself. As we enter 2022, make this the year that you choose to focus on you.

Categories
Lifestyle

Looking ahead to a new year and a new waterfront clubhouse

After a year as HomeTeamNS President, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim shares his insights and what he’s looking forward to in 2022.

TEXT: MELODY TAN
PHOTOS: MEDIACORP

Taking on a new position – whether you’re starting a new job or heading an entire organisation – is often a challenge. For Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, assuming the presidency of HomeTeamNS in 2020 was made more challenging as it took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assoc Prof Faishal, who is Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, said that his appointment in HomeTeamNS so far has been rewarding, and offered him valuable insights. “I was able to witness the resilience and strength of our HomeTeamNS staff and volunteers first-hand, as they overcame obstacles and adapted to the ever-changing landscape to continue engaging our Home Team NSmen,” he recounts.

He shared how HomeTeamNS had adapted existing programmes for the safety and well-being of members by going online, while still maintaining a sense of camaraderie.

For example, HomeTeamNS was one of the first event organisers to introduce the Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) for Home Team NSmen and bring the physical REAL® Run onto a virtual platform. During the circuit breaker period, with the closure of gyms, the HomeTeamNS crew at Fitness Workz took their strength and conditioning classes online. They also used social media to share useful content about fitness and exercise for members to incorporate into at-home training programmes.

“I strongly believe that it’s the journey we take together that matters,” said Assoc Prof Faishal. “I am heartened to see our members, volunteers and staff working together to tackle the challenges and becoming more united as a result.”

A CLUBHOUSE THAT’S ALSO A WATERFRONT HAVEN

Looking ahead to 2022, one highlight for HomeTeamNS is the opening of its Bedok Clubhouse. The only reservoir-fronting clubhouse in Singapore, Bedok Clubhouse boasts an array of new concepts for members and their families.

Some exciting facilities include an indoor water adventure that will house Singapore’s first two-storey indoor water playground with a high-element water obstacle course. The clubhouse will also have ManCaves (a hangout space that includes amenities like complimentary WiFi, a built-in kitchenette with a fridge and karaoke system) with reservoir views and an infinity swimming pool!

“Close to one-third of our members reside in the east,” Assoc Prof Faishal said. “With the opening of Bedok Clubhouse, they will finally have a clubhouse nearer to them which they can enjoy. We at HomeTeamNS can get to know them better, too – and we certainly look forward to that.”

Assoc Prof Faishal in front of a scale model and artist rendering of the HomeTeamNS Bedok clubhouse, which is set to open later in 2022.

Assoc Prof Faishal added that the Bedok Clubhouse will allow the association to enhance its cohesion programmes for Home Team NSmen with new activities. Home Team NSmen can look forward to a wider variety of water activities, such as dragon boating when the new clubhouse is ready.

To make full use of the facilities, members can book the clubhouse’s Waterfront Villas for a staycation with their families. Situated on a forested hill overlooking a tranquil waterfront, these villas will be perfect for a temporary escape from the urban bustle.

“On top of bringing our NSmen together for NS-related events and activities in the Bedok Clubhouse, we hope that they will also build new memories with their loved ones and their fellow NSmen in this new clubhouse. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, celebrations – the list goes on,” said Assoc Prof Faishal. He also hinted at more clubhouse features to be announced. “We’ll reveal them at a later time – stay tuned!”

HOPES FOR THE NEW YEAR

In a reality reshaped by COVID-19, Assoc Prof Faishal acknowledged that he misses the face-to-face interactions with HomeTeamNS members.

In a reality reshaped by COVID-19, Assoc Prof Faishal acknowledged that the one thing he misses the most is face-to-face interactions with HomeTeamNS members.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I enjoyed seeing our members bond over various activities with their friends and family at our clubhouses,” he said, adding that he enjoys having dinner with his family at the numerous eateries across the four HomeTeamNS clubhouses. “I hope that the COVID-19 situation will improve so that we can have more opportunities to interact in person and enjoy more physical activities together.”

For now, Assoc Prof Faishal treasures any chance to meet up with volunteers and staff in person. “I enjoy the interaction and learning, and yes – we do have fun producing videos, exploring the new clubhouses and getting to know members better.”

As part of his mission as HomeTeamNS President, Assoc Prof Faishal intends to continue recognising and celebrating the contributions of Home Team NSmen.

As part of his mission as HomeTeamNS President, he hopes to continue building on the organisation’s values of recognising and celebrating the contributions of Home Team NSmen on a larger scale. He plans to achieve a deeper understanding of NSmen’s and members’ evolving needs and coming up with useful programmes and initiatives.

“Members can look forward to us stepping up our digitalisation efforts,” he added. “These include the new mobile app launch, implementation of an A.I. (artificial intelligence) chatbot online and self-help kiosks in clubhouses. With the new clubhouses and the continuous upgrading of our current clubhouses, we will also bring in more new members and continue building an active membership base.”

Besides expanding the HomeTeamNS family, one of Assoc Prof Faishal’s resolutions for 2022 is “to continue to recognise the efforts and contributions of not just our NSmen, but also their families. My hopes are that members and NSmen will be proud of being part of our big Home Team family, that the shared spaces we have built will be well-used and cherished, and that HomeTeamNS will be the club of choice for our NSmen.”

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