Categories
On The Edge

What to do if you click on a suspicious link

What should you do if you’ve unintentionally clicked on a link that could cause you to fall victim to an online scam?

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

By now, most of us are more than familiar with scams like bank-related phishing attempts, fake tech support and investment fraud – the top three most common scams in Singapore. After all, they’ve been highlighted in the news and other media.

But even the most well-informed netizen might still fall for a suspicious link, especially when distracted or tired. According to author and psychologist Maria Konnikova, anybody can be a successful scam target under the right circumstances.

Even if one doesn’t fall for the scam entirely, just clicking on the link could lead to unwanted consequences. In the worst case scenario, losses can occur even without giving away one’s personal details or passwords. Since January this year, over S$7.1 million has been lost in Singapore to tech support scams, in which victims granted scammers remote access to their devices.

So what can you do after you’ve clicked on a link that turns out to be a phishing website, or a suspicious download? There are steps you can take – as long as you act immediately.

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD

If you’ve logged into an Internet banking link that turns out to be a phishing imitation, try to immediately change your password on the legitimate banking app or website. Every second counts in a situation like this, as scammers can siphon out your money in a matter of minutes.

If you’re in the habit of recycling passwords, make sure to change your password everywhere else that you’ve used it. Set up a new, individual password for each app or website. Tools like password managers to help with this. 

SCAN YOUR SYSTEM

If you’ve been duped into installing any apps or programmes, uninstall them immediately.

Next, scan your device with anti-virus software to ensure that the link you’ve clicked on – or the attachment you opened – hasn’t managed to install nasty malware.

Often, scammers may send out e-mails with links that pretend to be for online shopping deals or interesting news articles. These lead to websites which require you to click a download link to view videos or access more content – and thus unwittingly install malware on your device. The malware creates a backdoor that allows scammers to remotely access your computer, collecting passwords, files and information that can be used to steal your money and even your identity.

While you scan your computer, make sure it isn’t connected to the Internet so that scammers can’t access it or infect other devices in your network.

TELL YOUR BANK AND WATCH YOUR FINANCES

If your banking or credit card information has been handed over to the scammers, notify your bank so that they can take steps to safeguard your money.

This can include freezing your accounts and ensuring that transactions are allowed to be processed only when the customer confirms their legitimacy, or notifying the customers of any significant changes in their banking activities.

The Anti-Scam Command (ASC) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Commercial Affairs Department works closely with financial institutions on initiatives like Project Frontier, which enables bank accounts to be swiftly frozen if they are suspected to be involved in scammers’ operations. This has helped in the recovery of over S$200 million for scam victims since 2019, and the ASC is now working to bring on board other bank representatives by the third quarter of this year.

After notifying the bank, it’s best to keep an eye on your accounts and credit cards over the next few weeks. Scrutinise even the most minor transactions to ensure everything is accounted for, as scammers may start with small amounts before working their way up to larger ones.

MAKE A POLICE REPORT

If you’ve lost money to the scammers, file a police report. Even if your money can’t be clawed back, you’ll be alerting the authorities to the presence of a scam – and you might be able to help others in danger of being scammed.

In addition, if the link you clicked on was a fraudulent imitation of a real website or company, let them know so they can warn their customers or clients. You can also report the phishing attempt to the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT).

DOWNLOAD SCAMSHIELD

Finally, download ScamShield to lower the chances of this from happening again.

Developed by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the Government Technology Agency, ScamShield uses artificial intelligence algorithms to filter out SMSes and phone calls that are made and sent by scammers. The AI algorithm catches SMSes that are likely to be spam and filters them into a junk SMS folder while also sending them to the NCPC and SPF to be collated.

ScamShield is also able to compare incoming call phone numbers against a list that is regularly updated by the SPF to determine if the number has previously been used for illegal purposes. If the answer is yes, the call is blocked. To help fight scammers, users can also report scam messages from popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Wechat and Viber using ScamShield’s in-app reporting tool.

Remember, while clicking on the wrong link can happen to anyone, staying calm and taking action can help prevent you from losing it all. It’s also important to be aware of the common scams in Singapore that begin with a click of a link. Here are some tips on how you can verify the links before falling victim to a phishing scam.

Categories
Shape Up

Futsal FTW!

Futsal lovers are dusting off their shoes as they hit the courts once again. We speak to a Fitness Workz trainer to find out why and how the sport benefits you.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: MOHAMMAD ASHRAF & NUR ADLINA BINTE ADAM

Futsal is a fan-favourite ball sport that has enjoyed a rapid resurgence with fans flocking to courts to realise long-overdue meetup plans with their usual kakis.

And it’s easy to see why. It is very much an enthusiast’s sport, with fans loving the adrenaline-packed action and the sense of community it fosters.

AN ACTION-PACKED PLAYING FIELD

Futsal’s small field of play makes for fast, action-packed matches.

The defining trait of futsal is its fast-paced, pick-up style nature.

It takes place on a smaller field of play compared to football. It requires constant, short sprints. With smaller teams, each individual player is also generally more engaged and involved throughout the course of a match, compared to football games.

According to Fitness Workz trainer Mohammad Ashraf Bin Jamal, who is a fan of the sport himself, this makes for an addictive, high-intensity game.

“You are constantly sprinting within that small field and keeping pace with other players throughout the game. Because of the small field, players must move quickly.”

While typical football matches take place on a huge field, placing more emphasis on running long distances and the cardiovascular aspect of fitness, Mr Ashraf believes futsal focuses more on agility, acceleration, and speed.

“It is such a fast-paced sport that players must constantly be on their toes, always ready to anticipate the ball at a very close distance between teammates and opponents,” he explained.

SOCCER AND FUTSAL: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

Basic skills like ball control are applicable to both futsal and soccer.

Like football, each player on the futsal field has a specialised role.

There are 5 different positions in futsal – the goalkeeper, two wingers, the pivot, and the defender. Each of these requires a unique set of skills but all roles share the same fundamental skills.

According to Mr Ashraf, starting with the basics is key to getting the maximum enjoyment out of the sport.

“In general, every player should master the basics like ball control, long or short passing and tackling. I feel as a player you should master the basics first. From there, you can then focus on other specific skill sets to elevate your mastery of the sport,” he elaborated.

“Having a good understanding of the basics is very important because it helps the team better communicate and assess the situation on the spot. This places players on the same page, which enhances communication and cultivates a great team dynamic,” he added.

Mr Ashraf notes that one of the best aspects of futsal is how easily the skills translate for an experienced football player. This makes the futsal community a potentially massive one, meaning you’re never quite going to find yourself lacking when putting together a few stacks to organise a pick-up game.

THE LOVECHILD OF FITNESS AND COMMUNITY

It goes without saying that futsal is a fantastic form of aerobic activity.

“Futsal generally improves overall fitness levels if played regularly. For example, improved lung health and increased lung capacity are one of many benefits that you can gain from  just playing futsal on its own,” shared Ashraf.

Moreover, engaging in sports like futsal can also be great for your social and emotional wellbeing, creating positive benefits for one’s mental health.

“Through playing futsal, you can put your communication skills to great use as you coordinate with teammates and socialise with the community. This helps to both foster new bonds with other players, as well as to further develop friendships,” explained Ashraf.

PREPPING FOR PLAY

Fitness Workz trainer Mohammad Ashraf believes that futsal can help one’s general fitness as well as boost social and emotional wellbeing.

Fitness and futsal go hand-in-hand, which means that the game can be a powerful motivator to build up your general fitness as well as to develop physical abilities specific to the sport.

For starters, Ashraf notes that swimming and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are great forms of exercise relevant to futsal to improve overall body fitness.

“Swimming engages almost the entirety of an individual’s body. It also involves a lot of cardiovascular and muscular endurance which can further improve performance in physical activity,” he shared.

At Fitness Workz Premium at HomeTeamNS Khatib, we offer HIIT classes. HIIT classes involve moving quickly from one cardio exercise to the next to keep your heart rate high. This type of training focuses on muscular endurance, agility, speed, power, and cardiovascular endurance. Every physical aspect that HIIT develops is crucial during a futsal match, because an individual’s overall fitness often can make the difference between winning or losing a match,” he added.

HomeTeamNS also offers a Futsal Clinic for younger futsal fans looking to become the next soccer star. These clinics, conducted every Saturday by an experienced coach from the Football Association of Singapore, help give children a head start with an all-rounded learning experience.

Whether young or old, it’s never a bad time to try out a new sport and the futsal courts at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok are a good place to start. You might find that first foray into the futsal field turning into lifelong experiences with a sport you may grow to adore, alongside the friends you’ll make along the way.

Categories
Club Buzz Featured

More movie goodness, now on your HomeTeamNS mobile app

Booking 1-for-1 movie tickets at Cathay Cineplexes just became much easier, thanks to a HomeTeamNS Mobile App update.

TEXT: AUDRINA GAN

IMAGES: HOMETEAMNS

Getting your fill of epic big-screen action with your friends or loved ones just got much easier, with the ease of in-app bookings of 1-For-1 Cathay Cineplex movie tickets.

The update was officially launched at Cathay Cineplex Cineleisure on 15 July 2022, marking a new milestone in the partnership between HomeTeamNS and Cathay Cineplexes.

The event was attended by more than 50 guests including HomeTeamNS President, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is also the Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development; Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS and Mr Chang Long Jong, CEO of mm2 Group.

TAKING SEAMLESS CONVENIENCE TO A NEW LEVEL

From left: Mr Chang Long Jong, CEO of mm2 Group, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, HomeTeamNS President, and Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS at the launch.

Assoc Professor Faishal said HomeTeamNS has been on a digitalisation journey since 2020. “One of the key goals of this journey was to build a seamless and convenient experience for our members as they enjoy the perks and privileges of the HomeTeamNS membership,” he explained.

Ms Eu said she was happy to see the healthy turnout at the event to celebrate HomeTeamNS’ new partnership milestone with Cathay Cineplex. “I’m also pleased that our app is well-received by our members,” she added.

Mr Chang noted that the new movie booking integration with the HomeTeamNS app would allow members to access the movie benefits more efficiently. He said this is part of the company’s efforts to give back to HomeTeamNS members. “After a two-year hiatus, we’re excited to return with a vengeance. We have a line-up of Hollywood, Asian and local movies coming up,” he added. 

A MILESTONE FOR NS, AND A CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP

As a frequent moviegoer who enjoys the big-screen surround-sound experience at the cinema, Assoc Professor Faishal said he uses the HomeTeamNS Mobile App regularly. “This year marks the 55th Anniversary of National Service. It is a significant milestone as we pay tribute to our NSmen for their contributions to keep Singapore safe and secure. We are thankful for corporates like Cathay Cineplexes that have stepped up to support our NSmen,” Assoc Professor Faishal added.

The  HomeTeamNS-Cathay Cineplexes partnership began in 2018 offering members S$3 off Weekend movie tickets from Fridays to Sundays. This was later expanded into a 1-for-1 Weekend only promotion. Currently, members enjoy an exclusive “All-day 1-for-1 Movie Benefit” any day of the week. To date, the partnership has garnered 30,000 1-for-1 transactions, clearly showing the popularity of this entertainment benefit among HomeTeamNS members.

HAMMER TIME

Guests at the event also watched a complimentary screening of the Marvel superhero film Thor: Love and Thunder. Having hung up his hammer in search of inner peace, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is forced out of retirement to take on Gorr the God Butcher, who wants to eliminate all gods. Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) to stop Gorr as mayhem ensues.

Till 31 March 2023, HomeTeamNS members can purchase an all-day F&B Combo at S$5 (U.P.S$9.80) through the app, which includes a regular soda and a medium popcorn.

To book tickets, login to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, go to “Promotions”, and tap “1-for-1 Movie Tickets” under “Marketplace”. Click “Book Now” and enjoy your 1-for-1 movie tickets.

Each member can only purchase one pair of tickets per day. Redemptions are limited and are on a first-come-first-serve basis, while stocks last across Cathay Cineplexes in Singapore. Advanced bookings are also allowed in the HomeTeamNS App, with a standard online booking fee of S$1.50.

Download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to uncover all your membership perks and get first dibs on promotions. 

Categories
Featured In The Force

NS55: Celebrating a 40-year bond and an even bigger brotherhood

As Singapore celebrates NS55, we drop in on the 40th anniversary reunion of the 7th batch of officer cadet trainees from the Singapore Police Force.

TEXT: BENEDICT THAM
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

In 2007, the 7th batch of Officer Cadet Trainees from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their National Service enlistment. Since then, this group has been organising reunions every 5 years. The easing of safe-distancing measures enabled them to celebrate their 40th anniversary reunion recently at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Clubhouse.

As Singapore celebrates NS55, we gatecrashed their reunion to find out what National Service means to them and why they still keep in touch.

RUNNING BEFORE DAWN

The reunion kicked off with several NSmen sharing fond memories of their Officer Cadet Training (OCT) course like their pre-dawn runs.

“Our commander, Sri Kanthan, instilled a lot of fitness and discipline in us. We used to go for runs before sunrise, and he’d lead us. We would run around behind the Old Police Academy and we would all run in our various squads. Oh, it seemed like a never-ending run! You didn’t know when the run would end. Once it did, you’d feel very tired, but also very good!” shared Mr Richard Koh, 60. Mr Koh was one of the reunion organisers.

FORGING UNBREAKABLE BONDS

From left: Mr Gerald Chew and Richard Koh were members of the reunion organising committee.

Over lunch, the NSmen listened to more speeches and watched video presentations by those who were unable to attend, and caught up with one another. Mr Gerald Paul Chew Cheng Huan, 58, who was also part of the organising committee for this year’s reunion, elaborated more on the unbreakable camaraderie forged amongst the ex-trainees.

“We bonded, not only within our own squad, but also between each squad (the trainees were grouped into four squads). We knew what everyone else was doing and tried to help each other. Even during our operational roles (when we were posted out), we would still call each other for advice on handling cases.”

STAYING IN TOUCH, OVER A VARIETY OF CHANNELS

Mr Chew added on with how the ex-trainees kept in touch with one another after their NS stint. “The collective experience forged in the early years of NS bonded us and helped us to stay in touch even throughout university and reservist life. In addition to WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram and individual calls, we continue to find more creative ways to stay in touch.”

After celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2007, the ex-trainees set up a WhatsApp group and even invited their previous instructors to join. They still congratulate each other on their birthdays, job promotions and other life milestones. Their former commander, Sri Kanthan, who is in his 70s now, continues to inspire his ex-trainees. He sends the group inspirational messages every morning in addition to maintaining his overall fitness.

CELEBRATING AN EVEN BIGGER ANNIVERSARY

Mr Yap Shao Peng, Assistant Commissioner of the SPF, found this year’s reunion to be a “happy and touching affair”.

As the 7th Batch of Officer Cadet Trainees gathered for their 40th anniversary of NS, Mr Yap Shao Peng, Assistant Commissioner of the SPF, who makes it a personal goal to attend every reunion found this year’s reunion a “happy and touching affair”. As their reunion coincided with the celebration of NS55, Mr Yap also explained how such cohesion events improved the morale of NSmen.

“NS55 is about acknowledging NS, the contributions of NSFs and NSmen to Singapore. Us getting together today, and other cohesion events, helps to reinforce the notion that NS is an essential institution in Singapore; the fact that we can gather after so many years shows that we cherish NS. NS lives on through these reunions!” he said.

Categories
Club Buzz

On the road to Kluang and Bekok

Road trip enthusiasts, rev up! HomeTeamNS’ Auto Adventure Interest Group is back with an exciting weekend getaway up to Kluang and Bekok, Johor.

TEXT: NUR ADLINA BINTE ADAM

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS & SHUTTERSTOCK

HomeTeamNS’ Auto Adventure Interest Group (AAIG) is hitting the road again after a two-year hiatus. Founded in 2004 with the aim of bringing together HomeTeamNS members who are petrolheads, AAIG has organised numerous road trips to Malaysia including Terengganu and Cameron Highlands.

Previous trips by HomeTeamNS AAIG members included this one to Bintan in 2017.

This time, AAIG members will be exploring Kluang and Bekok in Johor on Sept 3 and 4, 2022 via a guided drive. The journey to Kluang will begin at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse at 6am. It’s the perfect weekend getaway up North to take a break from all the hustle and bustle!

SIGHTS TO BEHOLD

Kluang offers visitors a cool, rustic vibe and access to scenic spots like Mount Lambak, pictured here.

The two-day, one-night Kluang-Bekok Drive, will feature shop-till-you drop stops as well as chances to take in Malaysia’s natural beauty.

Coffee lovers can enjoy the aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans at the Kluang Coffee Powder Factory, and sip Television Brand coffee. The factory was founded in 1966 by Mr Goh Ting Tor at Jalan Mersing, with the aim of uniting family and friends over a cup of quality coffee.

Members in search of retail therapy will enjoy the shopping break at AEON BiG Kluang, before resting and recharging at Merdeka Hotel, Kluang for the night. Bekok Town’s famous street art will also offer numerous Insta-worthy moments.

Adventurous members will enjoy the visit to the Gunung Lambak Water Park/Recreational Park and Bekok-Takah Pengkoi Treehouse and Waterfall. Escape the heat and humidity by taking a dip in the natural pool surrounded by diverse green foliage and soak at the cooling waterfall!

Wind down at the Hakka Heritage Gallery at Bekok – where visitors can take in the area’s rich cultural heritage and historically significant vintage and antique artifacts.

ALL SET, AND READY TO GO

Touch 'n Go cards can be purchased at selected convenience and petrol stations.

Before you head out, ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months and that you have a valid Touch ‘n Go card. New Touch ‘n Go cards are available at selected 7-Eleven and Cheers stores, and Caltex, Sinopec, Shell, and SPC petrol stations island-wide.

For AAIG members who are also HomeTeamNS members, the trip is priced at S$180 (inclusive of accommodation and entry to the attractions on the itinerary). Associate, Ordinary, Family, and Social HomeTeamNS Members, and the public can also join the trip at S$230 and S$250 respectively.

For more information on the trip fees and itinerary, do check out our website. Interested members can register for the trip here. Slots are limited for this trip and registration closes on 26 August 2022.

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Categories
Featured Shape Up

It’s time to give yoga a try

Yoga can benefit anyone looking to develop flexibility, strength and serenity. Here’s how you can get started.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

If you think yoga is only for the young and flexible, think again. These days, people of all ages and fitness levels are up for its physical and mental benefits, including top football players like Ryan Giggs (who released a yoga DVD), Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It’s a growing trend all over the world, including in Singapore, which has seen numerous studios set up shop and a profusion of different styles to suit every preference: hot yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and even yoga blended with high-intensity interval training.

Whether you’re a gym addict or a couch potato, yoga is accessible, relaxing, and easy to incorporate into your lifestyle – and you don’t even have to squeeze yourself into leggings (unless you want to). Here are some of its benefits, and how you can try it out for yourself.

STRETCHING TOWARDS A STRONGER, HEALTHIER BODY

All that stretching and posing helps to build and tone muscles. After all, it takes real physical effort to hold a plank pose or a dolphin push-up.

When it comes to strengthening your back muscles specifically, it’s yoga’s time in the spotlight. Many poses hone the spine’s flexibility and strength, providing increased blood flow to spinal muscles and encouraging growth. Studies have even shown that Hatha yoga can assist with spinal cord injury recovery – although if you have an existing back issue and want to take up a new form of exercise, it’s always best to check with a doctor first.

But what if you’re looking to bulk up? According to research, it can be combined with your existing weight-training routine to improve muscular strength, through relying on exercise science principles. These include progressive overload (going through different poses to place tension on your muscles), mechanical damage (holding poses for longer periods) and metabolic stress, which occurs when you engage in more challenging poses.

Professional athletes in sports ranging from basketball to American football have attested to yoga’s ability to extend their careers and assist in rehabilitating injuries. But you don’t have to be a National Basketball Association star to enjoy the benefits. In a study of male college athletes, it was found that regular yoga practice increased flexibility and balance, and could potentially optimise athletic performance, with positive health outcomes that included lower blood pressure, enhanced muscle torque, handgrip strength, and delayed muscle soreness.

Another major benefit is pain relief. Yoga has been shown to help numerous chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, migraine, lower back pain, and osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine. According to studies, it helped to improve sufferers’ mobility and daily function.

A MEDITATIVE MINDSET

Slow and calming hatha yoga and nidra yoga can calm your mind and help you to focus on your breathing, instead of chasing anxious, jittery thoughts. In a study of insomniac elderly, twice-weekly yoga classes and daily home sessions were found to improve sleep duration and quality.

Yogic breathing, known as Pranayama, has long been thought to have health benefits. The controlled breathing techniques in yoga are said to reduce stress, improve concentration and focus, and even boost one’s immune system. Some studies have even found that breathing practices can help dispel symptoms of mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit disorder, and depression.

Absent-minded people can benefit as well. (Just make sure to remember what time your class starts.) In an experiment conducted by a professor at an American university, participants of a single 20-minute yoga session displayed improved speed and accuracy on tests of their memory and inhibitory control. Overall, they were better able to maintain cognitive focus, as well as learn and remember new information.

GETTING INTO YOGA

If you want to give yoga a go, don’t feel compelled to rush out and purchase brand new gear. All you need to start is loose, comfortable clothing and a yoga mat, which offers a safe, non-slip and cushioned surface to practise your poses.

Any flat, empty space can be used – your balcony, living room or bedroom floor are all suitable surfaces for your mat. Once you’re set up, you can rely on YouTube tutorials or other online resources for a beginner’s guide to basic yoga poses, such as the child’s pose, downward-facing dog, and tree pose.

However, part of yoga’s appeal lies in its sense of community. Working out with others can help to motivate you and keep you going, even when your muscles are burning. Attending a class is a great way to make new, like-minded friends as well.

HomeTeamNS makes yoga affordable, accessible, and fun, with regular classes across the island. Stretch it out in hatha yoga at HomeTeamNS Khatib, Balestier and Bukit Batok, or find balance through yin yang yoga at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok. Check out the available classes here – and get ready to move into a healthier body and mind.

Categories
Club Buzz

Celebrating National Day with a bang

The National Day Parade (NDP) returns to the heartlands – and if you didn’t get a ticket this year, head down to HomeTeamNS clubhouses to celebrate with loved ones at a live NDP screening.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

August 9 marks Singapore’s 57th year of independence – and the festivities are back full-scale, after two years of quieter celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you haven’t managed to secure tickets to the National Day Parade, you can still bask in the Singapore spirit elsewhere. Watch the fireworks at Gardens by the Bay East, take part in National Day game challenges and lucky dips at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, or have a dance party with your favourite K-pop hits at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier.

Dress up in red and white, bring your family and friends and get ready to celebrate our nation’s birthday with HomeTeamNS!

PICNIC AT GARDENS BY THE BAY EAST

2019 was the last time HomeTeamNS members celebrated the nation’s birthday at the Picnic by the Bay. Covid-19 meant that the event took a two-year hiatus, but it’s back with a bang this year.

Don’t feel like experiencing National Day indoors? Head out to nature and enjoy a Picnic by the Bay instead, complete with a fantastic view of the National Day Parade fireworks show. This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as from 2023 onwards the parade is scheduled to move to The Padang from its current location at The Float @ Marina Bay.

Register early online to enjoy free gifts and snacks, as well as access to carnival games and a bouncy castle. HomeTeamNS members will also receive one free picnic mat, so while the kids are at play you can sit back and watch the National Day Parade streaming live on a big screen.

To make the most of your picnic experience, wear comfortable clothing to keep cool, bring water bottles, sunglasses, umbrellas and a power bank for your devices – after all, you won’t want to miss Instagramming the fireworks.

WHERE: Gardens by the Bay East, Promenade Lawn

WHEN: Aug 9

TIME: 5pm to 9pm

COST: S$15 per person

HAVE FUN AND CHILL OUT AT HOMETEAMNS-JOM BALESTIER

Choose between taking it easy or sweating it out this National Day at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, with its duo of celebrations guaranteeing fun for all.

From 10am to 11am, celebrate with a slick K-Pop dance routine at K-Pop Dance like the Stars! – a dance fitness session headed by KpopX fitness coach Kelvin Toh. Expect not just the latest K-pop hits, but also upbeat National Day songs to get you in a festive mood.

From 11am, it’s time for a pool party with National Day Super Soaking Fun! Taking place at the kids and recreational pool, the event features a water obstacle course, fancy floats for rent and National Day Challenges for all members of the family to take part in. Hungry? Splash out on a poolside meal with a variety of food and beverage options available before diving back into the water.

WHERE: HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier

WHEN: Aug 9

TIME: K-Pop Dance Fun & Fitness 10am to 11am, Fun & Chill 11am to 8pm

COST: Prices range between $3 to $10 per person per event, depending on membership status. View the prices of entry here.

HOMECOMING AT HOMETEAMNS BUKIT BATOK

There’s no place like home – HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, that is – where the National Day Homecoming event will be in full swing on Aug 9.

Dress your family or your friends in red and white and get your face painted in matching colours before having your photos taken for the photo wall. Kids will want to check out balloon sculpting, fun National Day game challenges and lucky dips for a chance to win ice cream and other tempting prizes.

When it’s time for lunch or dinner – or you’re just feeling snackish – survey the array of promotions and special menus at the food and beverage outlets, from favourite fast food to fancy family-dining options. Then at 5.30pm, make your way to the auditorium on Level 3 to watch the National Day Parade.

As a bonus, the first 300 HomeTeamNS members to register will stand a chance to redeem a free goodie bag. Auditorium seats are limited, so don’t forget to register early to avoid disappointment – and to get a front row view of the parade. Happy National Day!

WHERE: HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok

WHEN: Aug 9

TIME: Lobby activities 11am to 5pm, NDP Screening 5.30pm to 8.30pm

COST: It’s free! Click here to register.

Categories
Lifestyle

The five best spots to catch the National Day Parade fireworks

If you’re an avid fan of pyrotechnics displays, here’s a handy guide to the five best spots to catch the National Day fireworks.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Whether you’re five or 95, fireworks are always a special sight. For many Singaporeans, they’re also a much-anticipated highlight of the National Day Parade (NDP) every August 9th. This year’s celebration is extra-special, as it marks our return to regular NDP programming since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re planning to catch the fireworks live this year but missed out on parade tickets – and don’t feel like forking out on a five-star hotel room with a view – check out our list of the five best spots to watch the annual spectacle in the sky.

BAY EAST GARDEN AT GARDENS BY THE BAY

The quieter end of Gardens by the Bay has become a bit of an open secret among National Day fireworks enthusiasts. Popular with joggers and cyclists during the rest of the year, Bay East Garden becomes alive with families and children on August 9.

With sprawling green lawns looking out on Marina Bay, you’ll want to bring along a picnic mat and some provisions while waiting for dusk to fall and the fireworks show to begin. Bonus: you can park conveniently at the Bay East Garden Carpark and take a leisurely stroll to the waterfront area.

Gardens by the Bay East will also host HomeTeamNS members to a National Day Picnic by the Bay, at the Promenade Lawn, on Aug 9 from 5pm to 9pm.

Priced at S$15 per person for admission, members can take in the spectacular live fireworks up close at Marina Bay and watch a livestream of the National Day Parade on a big screen. Registered guests can enjoy exciting games, free gifts and snacks (for all registered guests).

JUBILEE BRIDGE

There are four bridges to the left and right of The Float @ Marina Bay, but only two are reserved solely for pedestrians. Nevertheless, they’re all popular venues for fireworks-watchers, so be sure to get there early to ‘chope’ your spot.

While the Helix Bridge is closer to The Float @ Marina Bay, its twinkling array of DNA-inspired lights can be distracting – especially if you’re peering through them. For a barrier-free, pedestrian-only area with ample space for large groups, the Jubilee Bridge across the river can’t be beat. Not to mention, its design was inspired by the water spray of the Merlion – a fitting symbol for an event in celebration of Singapore.

MARINA BAY CRUISE CENTRE CARPARK

For those who drive and have family members who can’t walk too far (or don’t want to jostle with crowds), here’s a little hack: go up to the third storey of the carpark at Marina Bay Cruise Centre for a view of the fireworks over the downtown skyline.

According to those in the know, lots 85 to 89 are where you’ll want to be. The only downsides are that you’ll have to go into the Cruise Centre itself to use the toilets, and there are no dining options – so if you tend to get peckish while waiting, remember to bring a snack and drinks.

STADIUM RIVERSIDE WALK AT SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB

If you want to watch the parade as well as the fireworks, head over to the OCBC Square and Stadium Roar at the Singapore Sports Hub for a live telecast – almost as good as being there yourself. To add to the festive atmosphere, the Sports Hub will also be handing out NDP Packs and old-fashioned local snacks on a first come, first served basis.

Once the parade is winding down, make your way to the Stadium Riverside Walk for a breezy, relaxing view of the fireworks. Talk about having the best of both worlds!

ESPLANADE ROOF TERRACE

There are plenty of fancy rooftop bars and restaurants in the vicinity of The Float @ Marina Bay, but if you’re not in the mood for cocktails (or their hefty prices) and just want a high vantage point, the Esplanade’s roof terrace will fit the bill.

While waiting for the fireworks to begin, admire the manicured landscaping and watch the sunset from the sculptural circular bench. If you change your mind and decide you want a drink, there are numerous cafés just a level or two below. But don’t stay away too long – you’ll want to be in prime position when the fireworks go off! 

There’s so much more in store for you this National Day. For more happenings with HomeTeamNS, check out our website.

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Categories
In The Force

TransCom: Keeping the public safe on the move

From assisting vulnerable elderly to using high-tech methods to catch criminals, the Public Transport Security Command ensures the safety of Singapore’s public transport network.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Every day, there are over five million rides taken on MRT trains or buses, as people travel between work, school, home and play.

As public transport users in Singapore, we are used to high bus frequencies, convenient sheltered linkways, clean buses and MRT cabins. We are also used to safety: Many commuters are familiar with the sight of officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) patrolling our transport nodes such as the MRT stations and bus interchanges.

What commuters may not know is that besides daily patrols to deter and detect crime, TransCom officers are trained to deal with a range of cases in their line of duty, which includes responding and managing security incidents in the public land transport system, as well as non-security related incidents such as assisting persons in distress.  

CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY

Earlier this year, on 2 January, four TransCom officers responded to a call for assistance at Tampines West MRT station.

An elderly man with dementia had been found – but with no identification on him, it would be close to impossible to help him return home. This is not an uncommon occurrence: According to the Agency for Integrated Care, on average, eight elderly people with dementia go missing every month in Singapore, with many of them being discovered at bus interchanges or MRT stations.

SC/CPL Audi Prasanto, SC/SGT Muhammad Shaheed Alam, SC/CPL Mohamed Hamza Al Waqar and SC/SGT Hamdan Afiq tried to engage the elderly man but he was wary of them. The officers were patient when engaging him and even played simple games with him to gain his trust.

The elderly man eventually opened up to the officers and shared his personal particulars. The information provided by the man enabled the officers to reunite him with his family, who were happy to see their loved one safe and sound at home again. In this case, the officers showed empathy, professionalism and care while fulfilling their job to reunite the elderly man with his family.

At TransCom, 80 percent of the officers are full-time Police National Serviceman (PNSF). Majority of them are deployed to conduct deterrence patrols to protect Singapore’s land transport system against crime and terrorism. They are trained to work closely with public transport operators to manage and diffuse any security threats that might surface during emergencies.

ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF CRIME

In addition to basic policing skills such as criminal law and police powers, TransCom officers receive training in public transport security to prepare them for the unique operating terrain. Those with leadership potential, are groomed and entrusted to be Group Leaders (GLs) where they are given the opportunities to lead, conduct ambush operations to catch suspects of crime and manage incidents like any regular officers. They are also equipped with other non-lethal equipment such as the Taser.

TransCom leverages technology such as CCTVs and data analytics to enhance our policing efforts in solving crime. On the evening of 10 February this year, the police were alerted to a case of voyeurism on a train heading towards Pasir Panjang MRT station, where a man had allegedly taken upskirt photos and videos of a female commuter.

While CCTV has been around for a while, newer technologies such as data analytics can serve to greatly enhance policing efforts in solving crime. Piecing together evidence from CCTV images and data mining, TransCom officers were able to establish the identity of the man and arrested him within 12 hours of the report.

With the public transport network expanding progressively in the coming years, TransCom continue to evolve their operations and work closely with partners and community to strengthen police presence in our transport network and raise the security awareness of the community.