Categories
Lifestyle

The Dad life: How to barbecue like a champion

It’s no secret that learning the ways of the barbecue is one of the keys to fully unlocking the powers of being a father. Here are some tips and tricks for a better grilling session.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s safe to say that while many dads are great cooks in the kitchen, far more dads fancy themselves kings of the barbecue pits. After all, many of us have memories of our dad manning the barbecue at family gatherings at chalets – and have grown up to carry on the proud tradition of serving up grilled chicken wings, hot dogs and prawns on disposable plates.

But if you aren’t quite confident of your skill with the grill – or are looking for more ways to wow your hungry audience – check out the following tips and hacks for a better barbecue.

PLAN YOUR BARBEQUE TRIP AND BOOK EARLY

If you want a getaway but don’t want to deal with passport renewal queues or increased airfares, why not book a villa at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok? You’ll enjoy the use of a barbecue pit during your stay, with the added benefit of getting to shower and crash into a comfy bed right after your exhausting stint as chef for the evening.

For a day-only hangout, you can simply book the barbecue pits at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok instead, or retreat to the ManCaves at HomeTeamNS Khatib where you can host family and friends in air-conditioned comfort while you whip up a feast at the outdoor barbecue patio equipped with an electric grill.

Or cool off at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier’s barbecue pit, which comes with five complimentary swimming pool passes when you make your booking – perfect for getting the kids out of your hair while you tend to your ribs.

Gather round your family and friends, plan out which of the HomeTeamNS Clubhouses you’d like to visit, and book your BBQ pits through our new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App!

PREP BEFORE YOU GO

Make a checklist of all the other things you need to bring so that you don’t forget the ice, cups, garbage bags or dipping sauces. Pro tip: bring along a meat thermometer so that you can easily check if food is cooked through. You don’t want your guests discovering that the chicken wings are still raw!

In addition, if you’re extra organised – or have a lot of food to cook and only one pit – you can consider writing out a schedule of when things should go on the grill, in order of how long they take to cook.

For example, when the fire is ready for cooking, immediately place your sweet potatoes or corn wrapped in tin foil among the ashen white coals so that they’ll be cooked through by the time the meat is done. Next, put on thicker items like ribs or chicken thighs, with delicate seafood – such as prawns or sotong – needing only a few minutes on the grill.

This reduces the stress of trying to do everything at once – and your hungry guests will appreciate the efficiency.

START YOUR FIRE RIGHT

You don’t have to throw in the entire box of fire-starters. For a budget hack to starting your grill, stack the charcoal with small, loosely crushed balls of newspaper in between, or place a small charcoal briquette into each hollow of a cut up cardboard egg carton.

Remember, you don’t need a roaring fire to cook with – the best barbecued food is cooked over the indirect heat of ashen charcoal, which is white in colour. The charcoal should pass through the first two stages of black or grey with flames, and white with red-hot interiors before reaching the optimal cooking temperature of around 175 to 190 degrees Celsius.

To cook with a variety of temperatures, divide your grill into a hot zone and cooler zone, with the hot zone having more charcoal underneath. Use it for searing foods like meat patties or lamb chops before shifting them to the cooler zone, where they can continue cooking at a lower temperature.

If you prefer a more convenient way to barbeque without starting a fire from scratch, there’s nothing stopping you from going electric! At HomeTeamNS Khatib, go through a hassle-free barbeque party as you try your hand with electric grills. Just set it at your desired temperature and get cooking!

MAKE IT FINER DINING

While grilled crabsticks and hot dogs are always fun for the kids, sometimes you want something a little more sophisticated.

Aspiring Masterchefs will want to take heed of these handy tips for upping their barbecue game. First off, think herbs. Toss in some basil or sage into the coals to create a pleasant scent that enhances the flavour of the meat. Add extra pizzazz by threading your kebabs on woody rosemary stalks (soak them first so they don’t catch fire). Before you start cooking, try wiping down the grill with half of an onion, which adds a hint of flavour while also cleaning off any old grime.

American-style smoked meats are having a moment in Singapore, but not everyone has access to a smoker – or the hours needed to ensure food is smoked to perfection. For a quick hack, buy a small bag of hickory or mesquite wood chips (available in most supermarkets under the barbecue section), soak them in water for a few hours and place in a disposable aluminium pan.

Cover with punctured tinfoil to allow the smoke to exit, before placing on top of a layer of charcoal. Lay whatever meat you want to smoke above it on the grill, and cover with a metal lid (in a pinch, you can make a DIY tent of tin foil).

While the smoky flavour won’t be as intense as if you used a proper smoker, you’ll still have wings or ribs that have an extra-special kick to them. Don’t forget to rest your meats on a plate covered with tinfoil for five minutes, to allow the juices to redistribute.

THINK OUT OF THE BOX

You can barbecue more than just meat and seafood. After all, more Singaporeans are choosing plant-based foods for both health and sustainability-related reasons.

Try grilling eggplant slices – which goes great with a yogurt dressing – as well as pineapple, watermelon, bananas, feta, paneer or halloumi cheese. Pro tip: barbecue the cheese as a block so it doesn’t dry out, then slice after it’s done.

It’s mango season now, so why not grill up mango halves? Squeeze a lime, sprinkle salt and some chili powder over for an easy Mexican-inspired dessert.

PUT THE KIDS TO WORK

Finally, every good barbecue pit master need helpers. Get the kids involved by asking them to fan the coals or arrange the disposable plates and cutlery. Older children can help by pouring drinks, dishing up desserts and even helping to turn items on the grill (under Dad’s supervision, of course).

Best of all, it’s a great way to spend time together and pass down your dad wisdom to the next generation of barbecue experts.

Categories
In The Force

Keeping Singapore drug-free

Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign recognises the devastating impact of drugs on abusers and their loved ones, and aims to garner public support for a drug-free lifestyle. We ask two CNB staff and one Singapore Civil Defence Force NSF why staying drug-free is important to them.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

While the number of drug abusers arrested in Singapore declined by 11 per cent last year, there is a worrying trend: Some 34 per cent of the 2,724 arrested were new drug abusers – and 60 per cent of these new abusers were under 30 years of age.

Given the high proportion of younger abusers, it is important to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, which are most commonly abused in Singapore. These drugs not only harm the health and well-being of the abusers, but they also damage the lives of their families, friends and the community at large.

This year’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) aims to build continued support for a drug-free Singapore, with a DrugFreeSG Light-Up on Sunday, 26 June between 7.30pm to 12 midnight.

Held since 2018, the light-up will see Singapore’s most iconic buildings lit up in the green and white, colours of the anti-drug ribbon, to symbolise Singapore’s support for the drug-free cause and commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – known as ‘World Drug Day’ – which falls on 26 June. This year, the light-up is paired with the DrugFreeSG Pop-Up at Suntec City Tower 3 East Atrium, between 26 June and 3 July.

Said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and President of HomeTeamNS, in a video produced by CNB in support of the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign: “26 June marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs cause to society and serves as a reminder for all of us not to take our relatively drug-free environment here in Singapore for granted.”

AVOIDING THE TRAP OF DRUGS

Mr Samuel Ang Wei Jie is an administrative officer in the Department Technology Office in CNB. He provides an essential service to the functioning of the organisation by handling the on and off-boarding of CNB officers’ accounts.

Having worked as a community engagement officer in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) during his full-time National Service (NS) stint, Mr Ang was eager to join CNB due to the familiarity of its structure.

In addition, CNB’s work resonates with him as he is adamant about staying drug-free. “Since I was young, schools have been emphasising the need to stay drug-free,” says Samuel. “I keep myself away from drugs because I know the heavy consequences that come with them.”

In his view, having the right people around you are just as important as one’s personal resolve, when it comes to steering clear of drugs. “I think many people do drugs when they’re seeking attention or are being influenced by a bad social circle. I would tell them: ‘Don’t fall for the trap – your life is your own, not anyone else’s.”

EARLY PREVENTION FIGHTS ADDICTION

As an NSF Provost in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), SGT1 Darren Goh helps to enforce discipline and assists in running the rehabilitation and regime programmes in the detention barracks.

Having been recognised as an outstanding Provost and an exemplary role model, SGT1 Darren lives out his high professional standards  through his personal life as he takes a resolute stand against drugs.

“Drug abuse causes the abuser to become overwhelmed daily by the temptation of drugs, to the point where he or she is unable to carry out routine tasks such as working or studying. The abuser will be less likely to care or consider the feelings of others. That is why drug abuse can ruin the lives of a lot of people.”

SGT1 Darren believes that drug prevention is the way to go, so that people do not become addicted in the first place. “It is important that people – especially those who are young – stay away from drugs, including things like cough syrup which can be easily purchased. One quote I would like to share with them is this: ‘Work hard to soar high, don’t do drugs to get by.’”

WORKING TO SUPPORT THE DRUG-FREE CAUSE

CNB Community Partnership intern, Dion Lee, hopes to one day join the organisation as a regular officer. The former Ground Response Force NSF officer with the SPF responded to several drug-related incidents that made an impact on him and fuelled his determination to stay drug-free.

Recalling an incident where a man was found lying on the ground, Mr Lee says that he and his partner soon discovered that the man had no pulse and was not breathing.

“It was determined later by a pathologist that the person had passed on due to a drug overdose,” he recounts. “When I conducted a search on him, I found a picture of him and his mother. My heart sank and I thought to myself, how would his mother feel if we were to break the news to her? That is when I realised that drugs do not just affect the abusers, but those around them as well.”

When studying at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, Mr Lee volunteered as an A3 (Anti-Drug Abuse Advocacy) advocate, disseminating anti-drug messages within his circle of friends. “I tapped on what I learnt in school and my previous internships to help create awareness of the drug-free cause and make a positive impact in the community. I believe for every person we reached out to, another person is impacted – and he or she can help in promulgating anti-drug messages too.”

Mr Lee, who is currently tasked with helping to plan the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign, says that the social evil of drugs is something that Singaporeans should not disregard. “I believe everyone has a part to play in keeping Singapore drug-free, and it all starts with me and you!” 

Visit the CNB website to learn more about the DrugFreeSG Light-Up on 26 June, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign.

As part of this year’s Drug Free SG campaign, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is collaborating with HomeTeamNS to educate and encourage members to stay clear of drugs.

Members and visitors at all HomeTeamNS Clubhouses are invited to fold green and white Anti-Drug Ribbons to show support for a drug-free Singapore. The activities take place over the following dates:

  • 19 June to 2 July 2022: HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
  • 1 to 30 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok
  • 12 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Khatib
  • 6 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Tampines
Categories
Shape Up

Work that Dad bod off

Your Dad bod won’t melt away overnight, but it’s not an unattainable dream. We speak to a Fitness Workz trainer for some fitness advice.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

With community restrictions lifting, borders re-opening and vacation season upon us, it’s high time to start working on getting fit to look good in all those travel photos we’ll be snapping. After all, who doesn’t want a summer bod while on that beach holiday?

Alas, achieving a trim tummy is easier said than done.

Ask any fitness instructor and they’ll tell you that losing the gut is one of the hardest goals in exercise. Not only do you need the right kind of workouts – special attention needs to be paid to your diet.

Fret not, as we have you covered. Here are some tips and tricks from a HomeTeamNS trainer to start you on your journey to six-pack abs.

BELLY FAT MYTHS

Before you begin your journey to stripping away that Dad bod, it’s important to understand some of the common misconceptions around belly fat and what it takes to lose or maintain it.

As Fitness Workz trainer Deyna Sabryna shares, a bulging belly is a common area of concern for most people – which means that when people come across a diet or fitness trend that promises quick results, most people jump on it (often to varying degrees of effectiveness).

“A common misunderstanding is that belly fat is just the same as body fat. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is accumulated deep under the skin around the organs,” she shared.

Notably, visceral fat can often lead to health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. This means that choosing the right approach to belly fat loss, backed by health science, is essential to preserving one’s health (as opposed to simply riding on the latest TikTok quick workout trend).

Ms Sabryna shares another misconception that one should “avoid fatty food” in order to avoid a Dad bod. Rather, belly fat occurs due to a variety of factors, which include having an unhealthy diet, inactivity, sleeping patterns and other lifestyle habits.

“Only by making changes in every area and practising healthy lifestyle habits will you be able to shave some inches from your waistline,” she advised.

THE ROAD TO A TRIM TUMMY

One of the first things to recognise when planning a fitness regimen to start shaving belly fat is that one cannot target weight loss at one’s gut.

 “Spot targeting fat is not effective in general. If you are trying to lose body fat, a mix of strength and resistance training, high intensity aerobic exercises and a healthy diet are key,” said Ms Sabryna.

Some of the recommended exercises for those seeking to trim down a Dad bod include strength training aimed at working on your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and so on, as well as cardio training like running, brisk walking or cycling.

Ms Sabryna personally recommends joining a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class, which combines the best of both worlds of strength and cardio training for best results.

For beginners, she adds that it’s also important to start by doing some mobility and flexibility work. This is to help build up one’s range of motion and to ascertain strengths and weaknesses, and can be of particular benefit when working with a fitness trainer.

 “Based on this initial assessment, I will know which part of the muscle that we can start working on. For those in their 40s and 50s, we’ll know that you will need more time to slowly work with as they can be prone to getting injured easily. That’s why we make sure our clients understand the process in order to achieve a goal that will take time and dedication,” she elaborated.

Besides exercising, it’s important to also factor in the holistic lifestyle changes you should adopt.

These include eating regular, balanced meals (don’t skip breakfast!), incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables and high-fibre food into your diet, drinking lots of water and also maintaining a consistently active lifestyle.

CONSISTENCY IS KING

According to Ms Sabryna, by ensuring you maintain your habits in both exercise and diet, noticeable weight loss and muscle changes can come in as few as six weeks.

“Notably, eating a calorie deficit is not important – you will actually need to be eating enough carbs and protein to help repair muscles. People who train and do not address nutrition will have a harder time achieving and sustaining results,” she explained.

Another note of importance is that there isn’t such a thing as a six-pack shortcut.

Ms Sabryna shares that six-pack abs are the result of a very low body fat percentage. It’s when the subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) gets very depleted that you will most likely be able to see your abdominal muscles. This can only be achieved with proper habits and nutrition over an extended period.

As a general rule of thumb, one shouldn’t expect to ditch their Dad bod immediately after starting their new routine. As with many things, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to trimming the tummy.

“There is no shortcut to losing weight. It takes time and dedication in order to achieve your goal. But if you are not quite sure about what exercises help or lack motivation, you can engage in one-to-one personal training, ask a friend to be your buddy workout, or even join group classes,” she said.

When it comes to the latter, Fitness Workz offers a range of programmes that help beginners and veterans alike level-up their fitness game. For example, NS FIT is a holistic fitness programme that offers Home Team NSmen more opportunities to stay active and exercise regularly beyond IPPT-specific training.

Depending on your needs and existing workout preferences, one can either clock NS FIT sessions at physical Fitness Workz Gyms, or sign up for Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) sessions – that sort of flexibility is key to ensuring one can maintain that long-term fitness journey, after all!

Categories
Club Buzz

A Marvel-ous experience for movie buffs

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness played to a packed house of HomeTeamNS members at an exclusive Cathay Cineleisure Orchard screening on 6 May 2022.

TEXT: ADLINA ADAM

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

What better way to enjoy the weekend than to catch a movie with family and friends? Some 344 HomeTeamNS members and their loved ones did just that on 6 May 2022 when they caught the highly-anticipated blockbuster Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard as part of the HomeTeamNS Members’ Exclusive Movie Screening. Tickets were snapped up within 48 hours of their release.

UP NEXT: AN ORIGIN STORY

HomeTeamNS members can look forward to a new movie — one that spotlights the world’s greatest supervillain.

Minions 2: The Rise of Gru

Minions 2: The Rise of Gru takes a lighthearted look at the origin story of everyone's favourite supervillain and his Minion sidekicks – Kevin, Stuart, and Bob.

If you’re a fan of Gru and his Minions – Kevin, Stuart, and Bob – brace yourself for the untold story of the world’s greatest supervillain! Witness how Gru (voiced by actor Steve Carell) built his first lair and pulled off his first mission with a little help from his yellow friends. Minions 2: The Rise of Gru will be screening on 1 July 2022, so grab your seats with your family and friends here! Registration closes on 27 June 2022.

Don’t miss these movie screenings! Look out for more information on the registration details on our Facebook page or website.

Did you know? HomeTeamNS members can enjoy 1-For-1 movie tickets from Monday to Sunday, including the eve of public holidays and public holidays at all Cathay Cineplexes! Simply flash your HomeTeamNS membership card or digital membership card, found in the HomeTeamNS mobile app.

Categories
In The Force

A bigger role in blue: Transitioning from junior to senior SPF officer

SSS (NS) Jason Chua from the Singapore Police Force shares his experience attending a six-week leadership course at the Home Team Academy.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SPF

Like many of his fellow Police National Service Men (PNS men), SSS (NS) Jason Chua was happy to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. In November 2021, he was one of three PNS men who were given the unique opportunity to undertake a six-week leadership course held at the Home Team Academy (HTA) with other regulars from the Singapore Police Force.

This course was specially designed for officers to be promoted to the echelons of senior officers. “I am honoured to count myself as a member of this pioneer batch of PNS men chosen for this leadership course,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

BONDED BY A COMMON MISSION

The course tested each trainee’s physical and mental resilience, and the group bonded quickly.

“Our background and rank — be it Station Inspector or Senior Station Inspector — were irrelevant. We learnt to sync and grow together as comrades-in-arms, holding the special title of Senior Officer Trainee (SOT).”    

The course began with a four-week non-residential intensive academic programme where the trainees studied aspects of the law that were most relevant to good policing, such as the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.

“We were taught by not only experienced course managers but were also privileged to hear directly from seasoned private practitioners who candidly shared their knowledge with us,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

INTELLECTUALLY INTENSE TRAINING

“While it was an intellectually grueling experience, I am certain that all the SOTs were grateful for this academic rigor. After all, with increased scrutiny by the public on the work we do, it is increasingly important for police officers to be equipped with the legal knowledge that would enable them to excel in their job,” he added.

The academic programme culminated in a written examination comprising essays and short structured hypothetical questions that assess the SOTs ability to react to various scenarios and apply the correct police powers. The trainees were graded on the accuracy of their responses.  

“While such hypothetical scenarios cannot replace the real-life action that officers on the ground face daily, we welcomed the opportunity to put our new-found knowledge to practice,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

ENTERING THE FINAL PHASE

According to SSS (NS) Chua, the real fun commenced just two days after the examinations with an exciting two-week residential leadership training stint – the final leg of their course.

Conducted by the Leadership and Executive Training School (LETS) of the HTA, the residential component of the course aimed to develop, prepare and equip police officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to step into the shoes of an Inspector.

“Throughout the leadership course, we undertook various exercises to train us holistically to become an all-rounded leader. From classroom lessons to physical trainings, we were stretched and pushed to fulfil our highest potential. Our physical and mental resilience was tested time and again. Without the encouragement from our instructors and the friendship of our squad-mates, we would not have pulled through,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

The trainees also organised a fire-side chat with Deputy Superintendent of Police, Roy Lim, on the topic of leadership.

“There was no better way to learn about leadership than to hear first-hand from a seasoned and respected leader himself. I found the talk by SUPT (NS) Lim to be candid and forthcoming on what makes a good leader. The tips and lessons SUPT (NS) Lim shared – including how he rose through the ranks –were simply first class!”

SSS (NS) Chua appreciated the fact that lessons were not confined to the classroom. During this final phase of the course, trainees worked in teams, conducted mock briefings and went on outdoor “missions”.

“These exercises required us to apply and put into practice the leadership skills imparted to us during the course, such as communication skills, teamwork and efficiency. The two-week residential component of the course taught me more about myself and what it takes to be a good leader. There is more to leadership than meets the eye. It comes from experience in walking the leadership journey and being humble and learning from others,” said SSS (NS) Chua.

Categories
Close Up

Celebrating 25 years of service to the nation

DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah reflects on how the Singapore Police Force has evolved and what keeps him going in his service.

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA

PHOTOS: DAC (NS) MOHAMMAD NURIZHAM SHAH BIN ABDULLAH

A quarter of a century: That’s how long DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah has served in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) — first in Jurong Police Division and now as the NS Commander of the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom). During his time in TransCom, he has seen countless NSmen step up to serve their country as well, with the unit holding one of the highest numbers of NSmen within the SPF.

“As a NS-Heavy Unit, comprising about 80% full-time NS officers, this unique proportion means that TransCom is well-placed to showcase the values which NSmen can bring to the Force,” explained DAC (NS) Shah, 48. “In some ways, the National Service officers run the entire operation,” he added. The regulars play a supervisory role, while most of the NS officers are deployed for foot patrol and is a common sight at Singapore’s public transport networks, from MRT stations to bus interchanges.

There are also other vocations for the NSmen in TransCom. A handful of them are deployed in the TransCom’s Provost division, which maintains discipline among officers. Some of them serve as trainers within TransCom, equipping fellow men with self-defence and security knowledge. There is also a team that provides administrative support to ensure operations run smoothly, as well as a Community Policing Unit which works closely with members of the public to ensure the success of initiatives such as the Riders-on-Watch (ROW) that taps on commuters to deter and detect crimes.

FINDING THE GOOD

Taken before the Covid-19 outbreak, DAC (NS) Shah is briefing his team during a National Day deployment in August 2019.

Regardless of vocation, DAC (NS) Shah has a simple mantra for his men in maximising their time during their in-camp training (ICT): Positivity. “I look at ICT as a way of looking to improve ourselves,” he said. “It would be a shame if people booked in and just switched their minds off because there’s so much to gain from ICT. Coming back for In-Camp Training also remind my officers of their obligation towards national defence and protecting essential service that serves the community.”

Top of the list is physical fitness. He added that being active in NS has helped him maintain his fitness through the years. “My siblings are around my age, but I’ve seen them grow much more … sideways,” he laughed. “Seeing my men in their late 20s and 30s give it their all during physical training inspires me to do the same. I’m glad that I can still run, even though I’m pushing 50.”

Another often overlooked perk of being an active NSman is career growth. “When you come back for ICT, it’s like a big networking mixer. You’ll be able to cross paths with people from many industries and that can help your career,” explained DAC (NS) Shah, who works in the telecommunications sector.

There’s also the benefit of bonding with the men that you’ve grown up with. “ICT is marked by division competitions, which can be a fun way to show off your talents, be it in shooting, running or even dragon boating.” DAC (NS) Shah recalled how one of his men, who was not very athletic, stood up to proudly represent his unit in a darts competition. “He volunteered because he wanted to give back to his unit and that was heart-warming.”

GROWTH AND GAINS

DAC (NS) Shah (left) with his late parents during his Officer Cadet Graduation Dinner in 1996.

DAC (NS) Shah is a valuable repository of the Force’s history and heritage. Take for example the evolution of the weapons and arms that police officers carry. DAC (NS) Shah candidly shared why each iteration was better than the last. “When I started 25 years ago, officers were issued with a Smith & Wesson revolver, which was changed to the Taurus M85 revolver in 2002.”

He recalled this switch was welcomed by officers because of the laser pointer that came with the Taurus M85, ensuring a more accurate shot. And last year, the standard-issue weapon was changed to a Glock 19 Gen 5 pistol, which can carry up to three times more rounds than its predecessor. It also came with a safety mechanism that prevents accidental discharge.

Changes were also made to the rusty batons that police carried. In 2001, the metallic T-baton was introduced to replace the previous metal baton. The metallic T-baton was then replaced by a lightweight extendable baton in 2019. Apart from improvement to equipment, he also witnessed the transformation of TransCom to deal with the changing operating landscape, expansion of transport network, and competing demand for resources. This includes operationalisation of TransCom Woodlands sub-base in 2019 and the implementation of new initiatives such as empowering NSmen to take on more leadership roles in leading anti-crime rounds and community engagement with ROW volunteers.

Importantly, changes to the Force’s hardware have been accompanied by changes to its software. “Today’s police officers are much more skilled at engaging members of the public. This is especially true for TransCom officers, as we are regularly on the ground and in public spaces. It’s an encouraging sign as we value our partnership with the public.”

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Categories
Club Buzz

School’s out, fun’s in

It’s the June school holidays, take part in these exciting activities and enjoy great promotions at HomeTeamNS!

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

It’s every kid’s favourite time of the year – and the June school holidays are set to be fun for the whole family as well, as you hold your own bowling tournament, discover Peranakan crafts, pose for a family portrait and fold Anti-Drug ribbons together.

With all these activities and promotions to look forward to this month, the HomeTeamNS clubhouses are where your kids will want to spend the June school holidays!

Being a HomeTeamNS member has its perks, even outside the clubhouses. Here are some promotions that your children will want to check out.

LITTLE RANGERS CLUB

If your children are looking to step out of their comfort zones and try something new during the June school holidays, the Little Rangers Club is organising a 1 Day Scuba Diving and Circus Tricks School Holiday Camp on 21 June 2022 for children aged nine and above.

Drop your kids off at Orchid Country Club at 10am and they’ll enjoy a day of fun and learning, as they’re guided through scuba diving in the safety of a swimming pool before spending the afternoon learning circus tricks like juggling the diabolo and spinning plates on a stick.

*Be sure to sign up early as slots are limited. Head over to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to view the promo code. Promo code has to be quoted at point of registration to enjoy offer. This promotion is not valid with any others.

PERANAKAN-INSPIRED PLAYTIME

In collaboration with award-winning local Peranakan Home Museum, The Intan, T-Play at HomeTeamNS Khatib is proud to be part of the National Heritage Board’s annual Children’s Season, which aims to inculcate a museum-going culture in the next generation.

As part of Children’s Season, T-Play Khatib will feature art, storytelling and handmade crafts designed to showcase the rich and vibrant history of Peranakan culture.

On 17 June 2022 at 8pm, settle down and get cosy for an evening of Storytelling with Baba Alvin (S$20 per participant, not inclusive of T-Play entry).

And on 24 June 2022 from 7pm to 9pm, learn the delicate art of Manik Beading (S$84 per participant, includes T-Play entry).

NURTURE CREATIVITY THE FUN WAY

Fun-cademy at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier presents a programme designed to hone creative minds and develop essential motor skills in children aged between five and 10 years old. They’ll learn to dance, bake and engage in exciting craft activities – and of course, have fun while doing it all.

The programme will run between 20 to 21 June 2022. From as low as S$330, the passes are inclusive of tea, lunch breaks, and workshop materials. Learn more about the fees and Fun-cademy here.

EXCLUSIVE OUTDOOR SILENT MOVIE SCREENING

Wrap up the June School Holidays with your loved ones at HomeTeamNS Khatib for a FREE outdoor silent movie screening! Exclusively for HomeTeamNS members, sit back and relax on comfortable beanbag chairs and watch a movie from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, on 24 June 2022.

Movie-goers will just have to grab a pair of earphones, their mobile devices, and download & register on the Cinewav app available on Google Play, App Store, and App Gallery before the movie. A promo code to download the movie audio file will be sent through email. What are you waiting for? Register before 22 June 2022 to get your seats!

Visit our website for more information on the movie screening here.

RAISE AWARENESS FOR A DRUG-FREE SINGAPORE

As part of this year’s Drug Free SG campaign, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is collaborating with HomeTeamNS to educate and encourage members to stay clear of drugs.

Members and visitors at all HomeTeamNS Clubhouses are invited to fold green and white Anti-Drug Ribbons to show support for a drug-free Singapore. The activities take place over the following dates:

19 June to 2 July 2022: HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier

1 to 30 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok

12 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Khatib

6 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Tampines

FOR TINY DANCERS

If your child can’t stop moving (even when there’s no beat), they might discover a new passion at the free dance trial classes, held by Dance Theatre Arts. Located at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, Dance Theatre Arts is offering free dance trial classes for hip-hop and tap dancing enthusiasts aged between eight to 10 years old.

The free hip-hop trial class takes place every Wednesday between 5.45pm to 6.45pm, while the free tap dance trial class is on Mondays between 4.45pm to 5.30pm.

To register or learn more about the trial classes, contact 9652 6066 and mention or flash this promotion, which is valid until end June 2022.

PICTURE PERFECT MEMORIES

Capture your kids growing up with 30 per cent off a family photography session at Pierre Ooi Photography Studio, also located at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier.

The discount, which is exclusive to HomeTeamNS-JOM members, includes one 20-inch by 16-inch portrait with canvas and framing, one 12-inch by 8-inch portrait with framing and high-resolution soft copies of two selected images. Normally worth S$388, the package is now available at S$268.

Contact info@pierreooi-photography.com or call 8112 3114. Mention or flash this promotion to enjoy this offer, which is valid until end of June 2022.

CRAFTING A STORY TOGETHER

Little ones will sharpen their listening skills – and get to enjoy a hands-on activity – this Father’s Day, at the Interactive Storytelling and Craft Session with Mrs Eileen Chua at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok.

The event takes place on Father’s Day, 19 June from 10am to 11am. Admission is free, but remember to pre-register first.

BE BOWLED OVER THIS FATHER’S DAY

If your family are competitive by nature, bring them to SuperBowl at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier and HomeTeamNS Khatib this June. This family-friendly activity is also wallet-friendly, since Dads enjoy free bowling on Father’s Day ,19 June 2022.

Make sure to plan ahead as the promotion is only valid on 19 June and cannot be used with other promotions, privileges, discount cards or vouchers. It cannot be exchanged for cash and is non-transferable.

*SuperBowl reserves the right to amend, append or withdraw terms and conditions without prior notice.

GO ON A DURIAN TOUR

Don’t bask in the post-holiday blues once June is over. Instead, book a 1-Day Bekok Durian Tour with HomeTeamNS! You’ll depart from one of the following clubhouses of your choice –HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, HomeTeamNS Khatib or HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok on 3 July 2022.

You’ll head to Bekok, Johor in Malaysia to indulge in a durian buffet and a satisfying lunch of fried beehoon, curry and tropical fruits. There’s also time to shop at Yong Peng Noodles Factory & Yoyo, as well as the shopping malls in Johor Bahru before ending with a sumptuous dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.

Learn more about the tour itinerary and fees here.

Download the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App for the latest promotions and membership perks! 

Categories
Club Buzz Featured

HomeTeamNS Heroes: On the frontlines of customer experience

Meet HomeTeamNS’ Customer Experience Ambassadors, Jessica Leong Hui Yi and Muhammad Hashim Bin Mohamed Yusoff, who make visits to any HomeTeamNS Clubhouse feel like home.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: MEDIACORP STUDIO 3

If you’ve ever asked a question about swimming pool opening hours, or booked a function room at a HomeTeamNS clubhouse, chances are you’ve interacted with one of our Customer Experience Ambassadors (CEAs) – a team of people dedicated to ensure that members and guests have a smooth and pleasant experience.

In addition to assisting visitors in the clubhouse lobby, members’ lounge and function rooms, CEAs also respond to customer queries via phone, live chat and email. But beyond such standard interactions, the CEA team is working to bring a more personal approach to the customer service experience.

For example, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEA Muhammad Hashim Bin Mohamed Yusoff found himself lending a listening ear to HomeTeamNS members, who shared challenging stories about how they were coping during the unprecedented global event.

“Listening to them and sharing some kind and supportive words like ‘take care and stay safe’ are my way of expressing to them that they’re not in this alone. It’s rewarding when you know you are able to make someone’s day with these simple gestures. One thing’s for sure – it certainly made mine.”

HomeTeamNS Customer Experience Ambassador Muhammad Hashim Bin Mohamed Yusoff

GIVING VISITORS A WARM HOMETEAMNS WELCOME

According to Jessica Leong Hui Yi, the most rewarding thing about being a CEA is the opportunity to build bonds with regular HomeTeamNS clubhouse visitors.

“When we see them, they sometimes greet us even before we can greet them,” she says. “It feels like they’re coming home.”

Ms Leong, who joined HomeTeamNS last January after graduating from Murdoch University in September 2020 with a Bachelor of Business Hospitality and Tourism Management Marketing, enjoys the fact that she gets to meet people from different walks of life as part of her job. And far from having to repeat a rote customer service script, she is able to engage members on their preferred terms to ensure that they are satisfied.

“When I meet different members, I try to see if they want a quick answer to their question or if they’re looking for a longer conversation about how they can best experience our clubhouse,” she explains. “As part of the team that represents the face of HomeTeamNS, we try our best to contribute to a better customer service experience in every way.”

Mr Hashim, who also joined HomeTeamNS last year in June, recalls how Ms Leong assisted him with a challenging customer situation during his second week on the job. A customer had brought her children for a day out at the swimming pool, but did not have the required membership. With Jessica’s help, Mr Hashim was able to resolve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction.

As a father of two children himself, Mr Hashim has a soft spot for families who are spending time together at the clubhouse.

“Seeing them having a good time at the clubhouse makes me feel that I’ve accomplished my task,” he says. “Our job is to bring the members’ experience up to a whole new level, which is very rewarding.”

Now that social-distancing regulations have eased, both Ms Leong and Mr Hashim are looking forward to reconnecting with HomeTeamNS clubhouse visitors and raising the bar for members’ experiences even higher.

MORE THAN A SERVICE TRANSACTION

Even as the number of visitors ramps up, the CEAs are determined to maintain the warm and personal aspect of the HomeTeamNS customer service experience.

As observed by Ms Leong: “Many members are now more willing to leave home, step out of their comfort zones and explore the clubhouse. To make things easier, we have different channels to reach out to them like the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App. When you make a facility booking, you’re experiencing time spent with us, whether via the live chat or emails, phone calls or meeting us on site. It’s not just a transactional purchase – we try to interact with customers using a human touch.”

She adds that as a CEA, she hopes to continue to get to know visitors better and work with them to ensure their HomeTeamNS clubhouse experience is engaging and pleasant.

For example, when helping a visitor to book the pool facility, instead of just telling them to download the app in order to make the booking, she prefers to chat with them about their desired purpose. “Understanding where they are coming from – such as an elderly visitor who wants to bring their grandkids for a swim – makes the process much easier for them. I can also explain the perks of going digital and how they can reconnect with us in a faster manner, thus enticing them to give it a try and truly catering to their needs.”

Ever the family man, Mr Hashim says that on his off days he plans to bring his kids to Khatib Clubhouse more often, as they enjoy visiting T-Play. “HomeTeamNS has facilities for teammates, friends and families, and Khatib Clubhouse recently celebrated its first anniversary and there are lots of perks to enjoy for both members and non-members. So feel free to come to our clubhouse – we have lots to offer you guys!”

Categories
Lifestyle

Have passport, will travel

With international travel slowly becoming the norm again, what do you need to know before you book your ticket abroad? What happens if you fall sick overseas, or your flight is cancelled due to changing border controls?

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s time to dust off the passport, wheel out your suitcase and look for your winter jacket: overseas travel is back after two years of strict border controls, no thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Air passenger traffic was up 18 per cent in April compared to a month ago, and Singapore expects it to be restored to 50 per cent of pre-COVID passenger volume by the end of 2022. In the meantime, cross-border bus and taxi services between Singapore and Johor Bahru resumed in the beginning of May, after the land border was reopened for fully vaccinated travellers in April.

Travelling in the age of COVID-19 can be intimidating and confusing, but if you take some simple precautions, you can have a relaxing, stress-free vacation overseas. Read on to find out what they are.

RENEW YOUR PASSPORTS EARLY

Revenge travel – a term for pent-up travel demand after the restrictions caused by COVID-19 – is very real. Demand is so great that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority  announced that Singaporeans who are renewing or applying for their passports will have to wait at least six weeks – a two-week increase from April’s four week-long processing time.

If you’re planning to head overseas soon, make sure to check that everyone’s passports have at least six months until expiry. Otherwise, you might find that your trip is over before it’s even begun.

BUDGET AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY

With rising oil prices and the challenges faced by the airline industry during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that growing demand for plane tickets has been met with higher prices.

If you’re planning a trip, it’s best to start early and keep an eye out for promotional deals, non-peak flight dates and alternative airlines. To save money, you might need to be a little bit more flexible with your dream itinerary – for example, by flying with a budget airline or even choosing a different destination.

You could also consider visiting places that can be reached by land or sea. Instead of heading to Bali, consider spending a long weekend at a Bintan villa in Indonesia. If you’re trying to beat the heat, consider driving to Genting or Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.

BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH COVID-19 COVERAGE

What happens if you catch COVID-19 during your vacation? Or worse, just before your flight is due to depart Singapore? While travel insurance has been a standard purchase for many vacationing Singaporeans, it’s now more important than ever.

Look for a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19-related expenses, such as clinic fees and hospitalisation overseas, as well as flight cancellations, delays and extra accommodation costs if you are quarantined or unable to board your flight. It might cost you a bit more than a standard travel insurance, but it’s worth the peace of mind.

PACK YOUR OWN SUPPLIES

Even if the country you’re travelling to has lifted their mask mandate, you should still bring along your masks just in case. After all, while planes have air exchange systems that can filter the COVID-19 virus, other forms of transportation, such as trains and buses, do not. You might want to wear your mask while on the airport shuttle to your hotel, or in crowded places.

In addition, bring along a few Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits and a thermometer. If you start to feel feverish or unwell during your travels, you can test yourself in your hotel room instead of having to Google for nearby clinics (and you might find it difficult to locate an English-speaking doctor, if you are travelling to non-native English speaking countries). Knowing if you really did catch COVID-19 will help you to figure out your next step. Do read up on the COVID-19 protocols of the country you are in, to find out how long you will be required to isolate, or whether you need to undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

PREPARE YOUR DOCUMENTS

When travelling, the immigration authorities will want to see your notarised vaccination records, so make sure to download them from HealthHub and save them in your phone. If you’re travelling with your spouse and children, save copies of everyone’s vaccination records. Consider printing them out in case you lose your device or run out of battery.

Do check if your destination requires any contact tracing or health app, such as Malaysia’s MySejahtera app or Indonesia’s PeduliLindungi. You’ll probably have to fill in a health declaration form, such as Australia’s Digital Passenger Declaration, before departure. This can be done online or via the identically-named app seven days before your flight. Sorting all this before you leave can save you a lot of time at the airport – leaving you free to enjoy your first international trip since the pandemic. Happy travels!

Categories
Featured Shape Up

Fighting fit for National Service

Enlisting for National Service soon? We talk to a Fitness Workz trainer to find out how you can improve your conditioning to be in the best possible shape for NS!

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: FITNESS WORKZ

If you’re about to enlist for National Service (NS), it’s understandable to feel some trepidation over what lies in wait over the next two years. After all, NSmen are trained rigorously to ready themselves to defend our country – an important duty which calls for the requisite level of physical fitness.

Even so, with the right mindset and plan in place, you can place yourself on the right track to emerging from NS stronger in both body and mind, while having had the best experience possible – and we’re here to guide you through that!

EXPECTING WHAT TO EXPECT

Some of the challenges NSmen can typically expect to undergo include adjusting to new living environments and routines, hours of demanding physical training sessions, and a range of intensive physical activities which call for a high level of fitness.

According to Mr Muhammad Danish’aizat Bin Kamsani, a fitness trainer at Fitness Workz, setting realistic fitness goals is one way to stay on track and motivated before enlistment and throughout the NS journey.

“This gives you a framework through which you can achieve milestones. Achieving your fitness goal can be rewarding and being fit ahead of enlistment can reduce the risk of injury during basic training,” he shared.

So, how does one structure that fitness plan?

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

As a rule of thumb, it is ideal to allow yourself around a year to prepare for NS – this allows plenty of time for you to train at a measured pace and condition your body before enlisting.

Mr Danish’aizat recommends hitting the gym three days a week for the first few months, then ramping up the frequency to five weekly sessions as you progress.

“Always aim for improvement every week and try out new training styles. Having a few gym kakis can also help you stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals,” he advised.

Of course, not everyone may have the luxury of time to spend a full year of training. For instance, if one only has a month to prep before enlisting, Mr Danish’aizat recommends focusing on improving cardiovascular health and muscular endurance for the best short-term gains possible.

“This can help you to be mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming training sessions,” he explained.

THE ROAD TO GETTING FIGHTING FIT

When it comes to the exercises, our fitness trainer notes that focusing on strengthening your pectoralis and abdominal muscles before enlisting will translate into the greatest benefits for your NS journey. Again, tie these back to goals you wish to achieve.

For example, training yourself to run the 2.4km under 13 minutes will improve your cardiovascular fitness – which can not only help with the 2.4km run itself, but also a wide range of physical activities you can expect during NS.

Fun fact: Incorporating additional exercises to develop your shoulders, arms, back and legs can also improve your overall cardiovascular health! Doing so will also enhance your holistic strength, allowing you to tackle the physical challenges that come with NS more easily.

FITNESS FOR LIFE

Apart from fitness training, Mr Danish’aizat recommends maintaining a balanced, healthy diet to complement your training while also mentally preparing yourself for lifestyle changes during NS.

“Simply replace vegetable oil with olive oil, choose baking or air-frying over deep-frying. Try to prepare your own meals as much as possible or pick healthier options when you eat out. Getting used to eating healthy will also make it easier to acclimatise to a new healthy lifestyle upon enlistment,” he explained.

Through it all, the fitness habits picked up during NS will be helpful long after your stint is complete.

“Fitness does not stop as there is no limit to it. Continuing to live an active and healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of illness and improve your mental health! Each new day is a new opportunity to improve yourself – take it and make the most out of it,” Mr Danish’aizat advised.