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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.



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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

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.



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.”


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.”


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.’”


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
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.



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.


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.


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.


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!

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