In The Force

How my National Service changed my views on lifesaving

A harrowing encounter turned SGT1 (NS) Muhammad Zainal Abidin from reluctant National Serviceman to passionate fire and rescue specialist at SCDF’s Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit.


Like many other Singaporean males, SGT1 (NS) Muhammad Zainal Abidin enlisted for National Service (NS) when he was 18. “Initially, I did not see the importance of serving NS — and I must admit that I was not the most enthusiastic in training,” says Zainal, 30, recalling his experience as a full-time National Serviceman (NSF) with SCDF.

But SGT1 (NS) Zainal then experienced a turning point that would shape a life-long passion. “One day, my fire station crew and I were instructed to help out during a suicide attempt,” he recounts. “When we arrived at the scene, we were tasked to set up the life pack as quickly as we could. As I was not very serious during my training, I struggled to keep up with my colleagues when handling the equipment. Yet there I was, caught in a situation where a life was at stake. Fortunately, it was a team effort and my personal shortcomings did not adversely affect the operations.”

Realising that he could have done more to support his team, SGT1 (NS) Zainal resolved to focus on his NS training and learn as much as possible from veteran SCDF career officers. “After the incident, I realised how self-centred and immature I was,” concedes SGT1 (NS) Zainal. “I decided to put in my utmost effort to do my best in NS. Ever since then, my passion for saving lives has continued to grow.”

After completing his full-time NS stint in 2014, SGT1 (NS) Zainal went on to work as a technician and obtained a diploma in aerospace engineering. He is currently pursuing a degree in psychology. Over the years, he has developed a passion for lifesaving, which led him to join the SCDF’s Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) as a fire and rescue specialist at Bishan Fire Station. “Joining the CDAU was a great milestone in my life. Lifesaving is a noble endeavour and I believe this is something that my son will be proud of,” asserts the father of a 6-year-old.


His son would certainly be able to regale friends with tales of his father’s heroic acts. On the evening of 20 March 2018, SGT1 (NS) Zainal and his crew were alerted to an oil storage tank fire at Pulau Busing. From where he stood, kilometres away from the island off Singapore’s southwestern coast, SGT1 (NS) Zainal could see raging fire and clouds of thick black smoke.

SCDF personnel fighting the oil storage tank fire at Pulau Busing.
SCDF personnel fighting the oil storage tank fire at Pulau Busing.

“The fire was burning on a massive scale when we approached the site in our fire engines onboard a vessel,” says SGT1 (NS) Zainal. “This reminded me of the stories that some SCDF career officers shared from their experience fighting a pumphouse fire at Pulau Bukom years ago. The Bukom pumphouse fire was so intense that one of our emergency appliances was partially burnt.” Bearing that in mind when setting up the ground monitor this time round, SGT1 (NS) Zainal was careful to maintain a safe distance from the raging fire and constantly check on the wind direction to ensure safety.

A total of 31 firefighting and support vehicles, 128 SCDF personnel and Company Emergency Response Team members along with the Police Coast Guard, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Republic of Singapore Navy and the National Environment Agency were involved in the highly challenging six-hour operation at Pulau Busing. “When the Pulau Busing fire was ultimately extinguished around midnight, my crew and I had to stay behind to monitor the site until 8am the next morning,” notes SGT1 (NS) Zainal. “As there were about five of us in my section, we took turns to monitor the site every two hours to ensure that the area remained safe. Such precautions are necessary because re-ignition can happen in oil storage tank fires.”

Despite the lack of sleep after the arduous firefighting mission, SGT1 (NS) Zainal managed to stay alert during the long hours of standby duty. “What I have learnt from my experiences as an NSF and a CDAU officer, is that we must never take Singapore’s safety for granted,” he cautions. “Every time I put on my firefighting bunker gear and lift the rescue equipment, I am carrying not just a heavy physical load but also the weight of responsibility.”

Today, SGT1 (NS) Zainal passionately imparts his rescue and firefighting knowledge and skills to NSFs at Bishan Fire Station. He always reminds them to take their NS seriously – they are, after all, young men entrusted with a noble mission of safeguarding the lives and property of others.


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Close Up

Finding positivity as an EMT instructor after a crushing injury

The glass is always half-full for SCDF (NSF) SGT Marc Loh, despite experiencing a torn hamstring that dashed his hopes of earning a taekwondo black belt.



As an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Instructor with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), SGT Marc Loh is responsible for ensuring that his trainees are prepared to handle medical emergencies in the real world, whether it’s a heart attack or respiratory failure. Judging by their success, it is clear that SGT Loh has aced this task. “I’ve seen my trainees do well for their tests and later win awards within the Force,” says the 24-year-old full-time National Serviceman.

SGT Loh knows how important emergency medical response is, having been on the receiving end of their care back in 2019. “It was a really tough day for me. I had to euthanise my beloved dog and after that, rushed to taekwondo training. It was the last session before my assessment to attain a black belt,” recalls SGT Loh.

Because he had arrived late, SGT Loh’s instructor told him to quickly warm up and get on the mat. After running several quick laps around the school, he attempted a high jump kick and immediately felt something go horribly wrong. “I fell to the floor and wasn’t able to stand up. The EMS team that conveyed me to the hospital went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and reassured me that everything would be okay.”

Doctors later discovered that he had torn his hamstring, possibly because he had not performed sufficient stretches before the intense physical exercise. “As it was a chronic tear, they advised me to hang up my taekwondo dobok (uniform) for good.” And just like that, his three-year journey practising the Korean martial art ended.

He had picked up the sport in 2016, as a student pursuing a diploma in Telematics & Media Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic. “I always had an interest in the martial art but initially shied away from it because of how expensive lessons were. I took the opportunity to learn it in polytechnic, where classes were subsidised.”

SGT Loh’s commitment to the sport is reflected in the strict diet and exercise regime he adopted to stay fit and improve his endurance. “People don’t realise how much of a cardio workout taekwondo is. Plus, we compete in categories determined by weight, so I had to lose four kilos.”

Despite these sacrifices, he prefers to look on the bright side of an unfortunate situation. Even though he can no longer practise taekwondo, he remains grateful for the lessons he gained from it, such as discipline and focus. “I can apply these to other areas of my life.”


SGT Loh tries to share this positive approach to life’s setbacks with his trainees, alongside the technical skills required to become an EMT. He says this opportunity to make a difference in their lives has given him a renewed sense of purpose.

This passion is reflected in his extensive efforts to teach his trainees and help them improve. “It’s one thing to operate medical equipment, such as a defibrillator, but another to teach someone else to use it,” he explains. “As a young trainee without any medical knowledge, I remember struggling to familiarise myself with the equipment. Now that I have the opportunity, I want to emulate my trainers who gave me plenty of support and guidance.” The dedicated instructor even went to the lengths of creating infographics and visual aids to better impart first aid knowledge and skills to his trainees.

This ability to communicate complex concepts in a manner that is easy to understand will undoubtedly come in handy in the next phase of SGT Loh’s life, as he prepares to study software engineering at the Singapore Institute of Technology. His Operationally Ready Date falls on 12 April 2023.

As he looks to an exciting new endeavour, he admits in retrospect, that it was a shame he came so close to achieving his black belt. But if these two years in the Force are anything to go by, his tenacity will soon lead him to excel in new passions. 


“As a trainer, there’s definitely pressure to ensure that our trainees are well prepared to handle real-world emergencies. But it’s all worth it when you realise that the life-saving skills you impart to them may prove useful even after they leave the Force. We also have a chance to build close ties with trainees, since our work isn’t just about regimentation. I find that they learn more effectively when I make the effort to get to know them better and understand their learning styles.”

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Club Buzz

Five reasons to book a staycation at East Villa

East Villa at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir offers a getaway that’s closer to home, close to nature and in the heart of eastern Singapore.



If you’re looking to relax in a waterfront villa set amid lush tropical greenery, the good news is that you no longer need to travel abroad to Phuket or Bali. In fact, your tropical escape will only be a short taxi ride away, thanks to East Villa, located at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir.

This family-friendly destination is home to 10 spacious, double-storey villas offering stunning views of the reservoir and its lush surroundings.

Here’s why you’ll want to make it your next family getaway.


Villa sizes range from 144 to 157sqm, which is plenty of space for an extended family or group of friends. The sleek, airy interiors inspired by nature form the perfect backdrop for celebrations, whether you’re having a weekend with the boys or throwing a birthday bash for your loved one.

The villas are also designed with various needs in mind. While the kids race up the stairs to chope their preferred bedrooms first, grandma and grandpa won’t need to worry: All 10 villas have a ground-floor bedroom, and the Deluxe Garden 1 villa is suitable for wheelchair users or those who experience difficulty walking.

Best of all? A booking won’t break the bank, as rates start at S$400 per night (off-peak) for HomeTeamNS members. Bookings for East Villa can only be made through the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, which makes checking in and keeping track of your staycation details ultra-convenient.


Remember those holiday gatherings with your schoolmates at barbecue pits along the beach? While those were plenty of fun, things would quickly go south whenever it started to rain as these pits were usually unsheltered.

That won’t be not an issue here, as each villa has a sheltered barbecue area, that promises fun times with your companions, whatever the weather! You’ll be able to focus on unveiling your inner MasterChef, without worrying about having to move everything in a hurry if the rain comes. For the best experience, be sure to bring a 40cm by 60cm rectangular wire mesh for the BBQ pit, as well as your own grilling or BBQ utensils. No messy charcoal is needed, as the pits are all electric.


The villas are also equipped with console systems, so visitors can take each other on in classic games like Street Fighter 2. It’s a great opportunity to gather up your buddies and relive your best “Hadouken!” childhood moments, or create brand-new gaming memories with your children. And for those who prefer analog entertainment, mahjong sets and tables as well as board and card games are available for rent.


Are you known for misplacing your keycard while on holiday? Have you ever left your hotel room or villa, only to realise that the door has auto-locked behind you… and your keycard is sitting on the table inside? That won’t be an issue here, since guests can access their villa via a QR code generated on the HomeTeamNS Mobile App. You’ll be fine (as long as you’re not known for misplacing your phone while you’re on holiday!). If you have friends or family members joining you for the staycation, simply share the QR code – which is refreshed every 10 minutes, for extra security – and save yourself the hassle of escorting them in.

Villa guests also have four access passes to the Fitness Workz Garage gym and 10 access passes to the infinity pool at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, all of which are accessible via QR codes on the app.


Don’t just stop at the infinity pool and gym when it comes to exploring the Bedok Reservoir clubhouse. After you’re done savouring the unblocked reservoir views from these facilities (and your workout), be sure to check out the other attractions.

These include gamified obstacle course Action Motion – a favourite with adults and kids of all ages – and a host of delicious eateries, including Sri Bistari (a famous ayam penyet joint from Changi Village) and Georges Bar, for good food and music at Bedok Reservoir’s scenic waterfront. Talk about an Insta-worthy staycation!

East Villa bookings are currently exclusive to HomeTeamNS members from till 30 June 2023. Stay tuned for the upcoming booking window for Affiliate members and guest bookings, which will be announced on the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir microsite and the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Facebook page.


Why taking a step back can help you take two steps forward

Setting aside quality time for yourself may sound counterintuitive when you have a packed schedule, but the benefits are well-established.



We wear many hats in life – parent, child, employee, friend or volunteer. With the demands these roles place on our time, it’s no wonder that some people may find it counterproductive to take a step back from their busy schedule to do something they truly enjoy.

If the above statement describes yourself, you’re not alone. A 2019 survey by Sentosa Development Corporation revealed that 50 per cent of the participants felt stressed at the prospect of doing nothing, while three in 10 actually admitted they did not know how to relax.

Here’s why you need to make the time to truly unwind – for the sake of your mental health and furthering your personal relationships – and some suggestions to get you started on your journey to a more relaxed you.


Talk of work-life balance is now a staple topic, because it has been shown to benefit employers and employees. Breaks have been proven to boost productivity while preventing burnout and high stress. By activating different parts of the brain away from the prefrontal cortex (which helps with analytical thinking), it relieves decision fatigue, aids learning, boosts long-term motivation and even stimulates creativity.

The potential result of not taking that rest can be devastating. Burnout can take a long time to recover from and may result in a prolonged aversion to work. If you are seeing changes such as work cynicism, difficulty in concentrating, sharp mood swings and social withdrawal, you might be at risk and should mitigate it soon with rest.

Start with short breaks watching something light-hearted – animal videos are a good starting point. A Time article suggests five to 10-minute breaks work the best. Next, start drawing boundaries to keep your evenings and weekends work-free (this includes not texting colleagues about work).


A sporting activity is another option. Replacing a cerebral action with one that engages your motor skills gives rest to the former, and the resulting dopamine from exercise is a nice reward as well.

Going to the gym has become popular for this and outlets are available across the island. HomeTeamNS has Fitness Workz gyms that open as early as 7am at every clubhouse, and includes equipment and classes to help you kickstart your fitspo journey. Swimming is another activity that’s available at all clubhouses. It’s low-impact and refreshing, and the infinity pool at the new HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir clubhouse offers stunning views of nature.

If you’re with colleagues, why not have a game of badminton? It’s easy to pick up and requires minimal equipment, and the multi-purpose hall at the Balestier clubhouse is a great option for after-work sessions.


Yoga combines the best of mental rest with physical activation and has been shown to lower the resting heart rate, increase endurance, and improve blood oxygenation, combining to deeply relax and rejuvenate the mind and body.

One can ease into the practice at any HomeTeamNS clubhouse. Hatha yoga is one of the earliest forms to be introduced, while Yin Yang alternates working on your connective tissues and joints with muscular strength and stamina. Move up to more dynamic movements with Pilates, or just enjoy a variety of practices with Yoga Inc at the Bedok Reservoir clubhouse.


Singaporeans love a good staycation, and being in a different environment can set a person at ease. Our island offers a plethora of hotels at various price points to suit any budget, but if you’re looking for more space, renting out a villa might be better.

West Villa at Bukit Batok includes kitchens, barbecue pits and even outdoor picnic benches to enjoy a balmy afternoon out on the green. Over at Bedok Reservoir, there’s East Villa – newly-built with waterfront views. Plan a Netflix marathon on the smart TVs, or geek out on gaming consoles that are available in the living rooms. You can also rent mahjong sets, board games and cards.


Spending quality time with your family and loved ones – where everyone is focused on having fun instead of school work or groceries – is a good way to reconnect and recharge.

Splash out with your loved ones at Singapore’s first integrated indoor waterpark, Aqua Adventure which will open soon at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, or pit yourselves against the obstacles at Action Motion. For a more relaxing option, hit the lanes at SuperBowl or StarBowl at the other three HomeTeamNS clubhouses at Balestier, Bukit Batok, and Khatib.

Do your children dream of becoming singers? Then the Jewel Music Box KTV at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier and Khatib clubhouses offers plenty of fun for the family. Whether scoring some points or hitting those notes, every outing will be made rewarding as you take that well-deserved break.

Find yourself some “me time” to enjoy the value of a good break at HomeTeamNS clubhouses.

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Club Buzz

Smart, sustainable, and sure to please

The HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir clubhouse isn’t just surrounded by greenery – it’s also a green building, with digital features that enhance the visitor experience.



HomeTeamNS clubhouses have become known for catering a variety of activities for its members. For instance, HomeTeamNS Khatib is known for being an urban retreat and the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok has become popular for its family friendly-facilities. HomeTeamNS Balestier is known as a sporting haven while the brand-new HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir is rapidly carving out a name for itself as a waterfront haven.

Known for its first-in-Singapore facilities – like Aqua Adventure – and stunning villas for memorable staycations, the clubhouse is an idyllic retreat set amid the expanse of the Bedok Reservoir waterfront.

Still, there are two things even more impressive about HomeTeamNS’ latest clubhouse. Like HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse, it is known for its commitment to sustainability, and its innovative smart features. Visitors to the Bedok Reservoir clubhouse might not notice all of them, but these little details add up to a seamlessly enjoyable clubhouse experience that also aims to keep Singapore green.


The Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark certification recognises buildings that have been built and designed with sustainability in mind by having climate-responsive features and a healthy indoor environment, in addition to being energy and resource-efficient.

As a new public sector building, the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir was required to attain a Green Mark Platinum status – an achievement it shares with HomeTeamNS Khatib and attained with the help of energy-efficient light fittings and smart lighting systems with motion sensors that detect when an area is less populated, so lighting usage can be automatically reduced.

In addition, the clubhouse was built with low-carbon and Singapore Green Building-certified products, with an eye to supporting Singapore’s Green Plan 2030. Solar panels are on the pipeline and will generate enough electricity to power two per cent of the building’s energy consumption.

Inside the building, all water-related systems were designed in compliance with the PUB Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme Rating requirements, ensuring that water usage is kept as low as possible – even with an in-house three storey-tall indoor water adventure centre.

Investing in these measures enabled Bedok Reservoir clubhouse to reach energy savings of over 30 per cent, as well as fulfil the other criteria needed to achieve BCA’s Green Mark Platinum award.


Notwithstanding the cooling waterfront of Bedok Reservoir, the weather can get pretty warm. Visitors will want to take shelter from the heat at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, where common areas like the lobby are naturally ventilated and large overhang balconies provide shade for those on lower floors.

Within the clubhouse grounds, visitors are surrounded by lush greenery, over half of which are plants native to Singapore. They’re maintained by a rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation system for easy, sustainable upkeep. 

In addition, the blue and green clubhouse roofs consist of high solar reflectance index (SRI) building materials. SRI roofs are able to reflect solar heat more effectively than those built with traditional roofing materials, allowing the building to cool down by emitting absorbed solar heat to the surrounding air.

Even the walls are part of the keep-cool mission: HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir’s façade walls consist of building materials with low thermal transmittance, while the glass has a low emissivity coating.

These materials and coating ensure that the building doesn’t absorb as much heat into its interior, thus having the double benefit of cooling down visitors while lowering energy consumption.


If you’ve always wanted to live out your video game fantasies in real life, Action Motion is where you want to be.

The digital active experience arena has a score-tabulating gamifier system that adds up your wins in real-time as you move through the arena, conquering the multi-level obstacle course, net maze and more. With every tap of your wristband, your total score – including timings – is added to the leader board in the arena, taking competition to a whole new level.

Still keen for more digital fun? Action Motion also has Augmented Reality (AR) bouldering walls and an AR trampoline, which combine motion capture and projected graphics to make things more interesting. For example, the AR-enhanced bouldering activity invites you to slap images of bubbles projected onto the wall in order to pop them and score points.


Never fear losing your room (or villa) key again and having to pay a fine, because at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir’s East Villa, the key is in your phone.

More precisely, it’s a QR code that appears in your HomeTeamNS Mobile App when you check in, allowing you to gain access to your villa without fuss. And if your family or friends arrive later, you can add up to four guests for every booking – so they can use their own accounts to access the QR code without having to borrow your phone. No need to worry that the code can be re-used or screenshotted, as it refreshes every few minutes to ensure security and your peace of mind.

Finally, like all the other HomeTeamNS clubhouses, HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir aims to feel like home – and soon, it will have its own robot concierge welcoming members back. The concierge robot is equipped with voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence technology, so it can answer verbally when you ask it a question, such as directions to the facility you want or help desk support issues.

To see these cool features in action, come down to HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, where smart facilities meet a more sustainable future. 

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Lifestyle On The Edge

Five ways to celebrate Earth Day

With the recent spell of uncharacteristically cool weather in Singapore hinting at how climate patterns are changing, we look at meaningful ways you can make a difference to the environment.



Earth Day (April 22) is upon us once more, and while international summits and commercial campaigns capture the headlines, it’s equally important to know that the small, daily steps we take towards greener lifestyles can make a significant collective difference.

Here are five simple ways you can do your part for the environment – not just on Earth Day, but every day.


Plastic use has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of growing concerns over sustainability. Singapore uses a minimum of 1.76 billion plastic items each year. Almost half of these (820 million), are from supermarkets. With an average lifespan of 20 years, this immense volume of waste — that typically ends up in landfills, which can emit greenhouse gases and toxins — needs to be tackled. This is why the National Environment Agency (NEA) has joined 77 countries around the world in regulating plastic bag use by introducing a charge of between S$0.05 to S$0.10 per plastic bag to reduce unnecessary consumption.

Lightweight and durable, plastic bags were originally created by Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin, ironically, to save the environment. Although plastic bags are often single-use now, it was initially believed that these highly durable bags would be re-used repeatedly and eventually replace paper bags.

To honour his intentions, we can re-use plastic bags or upcycle them into other objects. They can be made into coasters and plant pots to spruce up the home. Upcycling techniques have come a long way and there are plenty of online resources with instructions to help you make beautiful functional items like dog leashes, lampshades and even skipping ropes.


As over 90 per cent of our food is imported, Singapore has been vulnerable to supply disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental disasters and even conflicts in source countries. As our agencies look into bolstering Singapore’s food security, you can help by eating local.

Choosing ingredients produced at local farms helps promote the local economy and provides capital to scale up these businesses. Over time, this can help to diversify our food sources, reduce food waste and the use of fuel to import goods.

Discover this first-hand at Bollywood Farms, where you can pick fresh ingredients to use in a cooking class. Projects by Edible Garden City meanwhile showcase the possibilities of urban farming. Produce from its farm at Funan can even be enjoyed at Japanese restaurant Noka. You can even try growing delicious mushrooms with vendors like Bewilder, which sells mushroom growing kits and premium fresh mushrooms.


If you enjoy visiting parks or beaches to relax, why not sign up for a voluntary clean-up effort to help keep them pristine? You can register for official ones such as those organised by the Public Hygiene Council, or just enlist the family to do your own cleanup. All you’ll need are a pair of tongs, gloves and a trash bag. Filling up just one bag goes a long way and there are many additional benefits. Walking around benefits your fitness and can become a bonding experience for the family.

Better yet, why not reward yourself by cleaning a park that’s near a HomeTeamNS clubhouse? After clearing up Bedok Reservoir Park, you could head to the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir to admire your handiwork from its infinity pool, or enjoy a satisfying cup of Starbucks Coffee and savour some Asian Fusion meals at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier after tidying up Toa Payoh Town Park. If your group was at Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, celebrate afterwards with a BBQ session at the ManCaves at the HomeTeamNS Khatib!


Bringing our own reusable containers can have a significant effect in reducing the volume of single-use plastics that end up in landfills. For instance, a clean-up campaign from August to October 2014 saw volunteers comb Singapore’s beaches and mangroves, collecting a total of 14,580kg of marine litter. Most of this comprised single-use disposables such as beverage bottles and takeout containers. While one of the best ways to cut down on this is to bring your own lunchbox and beverage containers, even small considerations can make a big difference.

For instance, do you really need an extra carrier for your bubble tea or a sleeve for warm drinks when they’re not that hot? By starting small, you’ll soon realise how easy it is to make those adjustments, before moving up to bringing your own stylish lunchboxes and bottles. Encourage the family to take up the habit and have fun creating cute bentos to surprise your loved ones.


Much like Earth Hour in March, major organisations and retailers like to organise a lights-off event for Earth Day on 22 April. You can join in the movement by planning an entire activity around it – like a romantic evening for your significant other or an atmospheric candle-lit night for the family preceded by a candle-making session.

Replacing your bulbs with energy-saving or LED options will help reduce energy consumption. LED bulbs with smart hue-changing options can liven up the home, because saving our planet is a beautiful thing.

Small steps for mankind, a big hug to our earth. Join in the efforts and enjoy the green lifestyle this Earth Day on April 22.

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Lifestyle On The Edge

INFOGRAPHICS: What you may not know about Eid al-Fitr in Singapore

In our country, Muslims mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with richly symbolic practices. 


After Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of devotion and self-restraint expressed through fasting and prayer, comes Eid al-Fitr (or Hari Raya Aidilfitri). In Singapore, Eid al-Fitr, which falls on April 22, is commonly known as Hari Raya Puasa. The holiday revolves around visiting relatives and feasting, where familial and communal bonds are strengthened over sumptuous fare.

As you revel in the celebrations, here are some interesting snapshots of Hari Raya Puasa – and its surrounding traditions – in Singapore:

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Lifestyle Nature

8 eco-friendly Earth Day activities in Singapore for the family

Building green habits and lifestyles can be fun and fulfilling, especially when embraced with loved ones. Here’s how you can mark Earth Day on April 22.


Earth Day (April 22) — and in fact, the Earth Month of April — offer us a great opportunity to consciously practise being environmentally sustainable in our everyday lives. Here are some ways that we can discover more about Mother Earth with family and friends, while learning how to help keep the planet clean, green and healthy for future generations.


Rifle Range Nature Park
Rifle Range Nature Park (Credit National Parks Board Singapore)

Not only is “forest bathing” (immersing yourself in nature) something that’s trendy again, its benefits are well documented. Besides helping you get physically and mentally fit, hiking in a park or nature reserve can be a fun lesson – to learn about the plants and animals, as well as geographical aspects of our country. There are multiple signboards at our parks and nature reserves that facilitate this. Besides the new Rifle Range Nature Park that boasts more than 7km of trails and boardwalks, other popular options include MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

There are also specially-curated HomeTeamNS-inspired walking trails that pass through nature parks and offer interesting heritage features. For instance, the Northern Route incorporates HomeTeamNS Khatib, which is located within the green belt of Yishun Park and Lower Seletar Reservoir Park.


East Coast Park Singapore
East Coast Park Singapore (Credit National Parks Board)

A beach clean-up brings you face-to-face with the realities of plastic pollution, as you help restore the natural environment and protect marine life. It’s also an easy and low-cost activity that individuals of almost every age group can participate in. Organise one with your family and friends – you can register with the Public Hygiene Council and follow their helpful guidelines.


Plant a tree with National Parks Board
Plant a tree with National Parks Board (Credit National Parks Board Singapore)

There is a whole host of benefits of having trees. For one, they help to fight climate change by reducing ambient temperatures and regulating greenhouse gases. They also improve urban biodiversity by providing suitable nesting and resting grounds for animals. With a $300 donation, you can register to plant a tree at a location of your choice, thereby contributing to the national movement to plant one million trees across Singapore over ten years till 2030.


Repair Kopitiam Singapore
Repair Kopitiam Singapore (Credit Repair Kopitiam)

Is your oven tripping, or chair missing a leg? Did you lose a shirt button, or has your fan stopped working? Instead of immediately purchasing a new item, let’s change our throwaway culture by repairing faulty things that need only minor fixes. Simple repairs not only help save money in the long run but also keep waste out of incinerators and landfills. Head to community meetup Repair Kopitiam to learn new skills, meet new people, and later, volunteer as a ‘repair coach’ if you’re interested.


Funds from Books Beyond Borders’ book sales go towards building education capacity in Nepal.
Funds from Books Beyond Borders’ book sales go towards building education capacity in Nepal. (Credit: Books Beyond Borders)

Regularly taking stock of your belongings by spring cleaning the home can be cathartic – if legions of Marie Kondo fans are to be believed. It eliminates unnecessary waste and hoarding, and makes you consider what you actually need in life. Here’s where you can donate pre-loved items that are still in good shape for others to enjoy:

  • Books Beyond Borders, a social enterprise that helps to improve education in Nepal. It raises funds by selling donated, second-hand books.
  • Red Shield Industries, The Salvation Army’s social enterprise arm that runs programmes for those in need. It reuses, recycles and restores, and through its Family Thrift Stores, sells donations in kind to raise funds for the needy. It accepts clothing, furniture, household goods, electronic devices, toys and books.
  • The Food Bank collects and distributes food items to various food relief efforts, including daily meal programmes and food ration schemes. Its collection boxes, located in a slew of locations island-wide, accept unopened, non-expired dry or packaged food items.


Composting (Credit: National Parks Board Singapore)

Composting turns organic waste into compost, a nutrient-rich additive that can be used to fertilise plants. By composting, you learn about the circularity of life while gaining a useful substance. There’s lots of useful information on composting on the Internet, but for a quicker, and more hands-on experience, look into workshops such as City Sprouts’ Home Composting for Beginners. This one-hour experience will help you identify food products that can be composted and how to do it via the aerobic method. The latter decomposes organic matter using micro-organisms that require oxygen.


Singaporeans love their staycations and what better way to celebrate Earth Month than by spending a leisurely weekend at an eco-friendly property. An option is the recently-launched HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir East Villa – there are 10 spacious three-storey villas featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, with six of them overlooking the tranquil reservoir. The nearby clubhouse’s sustainable features include naturally-ventilated common areas, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that offset the building’s energy consumption, and a rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation system.

Urbanites can book a stay at the Parkroyal Collection, Pickering, which has been awarded the “World’s Leading Green City Hotel” title at the prestigious World Travel Awards. It has a “hotel-in-a-garden” concept that incorporates energy-saving features and technologies. The hotel’s restaurants also serve meat-free dishes.


NEWater Singapore
NEWater Singapore (Credit: PUB Singapore)

NEWater is ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water that is entirely safe to drink. NEWater technology also helps move Singapore towards water sustainability – during dry periods, NEWater is added to our reservoirs to blend with raw water, which is then treated at the waterworks before being supplied to consumers as tap water. Learn all about NEWater by booking a NEWater Visitor Centre Tour.


HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
28-29 April
There will be a colouring corner for children at the lobby, where everyone in the family can also pen their green pledges. Share how you intend to help keep Mother Earth healthy and green, and inspire others. Visit the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Facebook page for the latest updates.

HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir
22-30 April
Join us for our free movie screenings on 22 April at Level 3, Thinking Space 1, where we will be showing two heart-warming movies, Wall-E (1.15pm) and Happy Feet (5pm). Visit our website to book your tickets. Meanwhile, there’s also a word search puzzle to solve at Level 2, Atrium from 22 April to 30 April. Be the first 100 participants to complete the word search and walk away with an exclusive bookmark.

Club Buzz

How HomeTeamNS GenNext members can kickstart an adventurous, active lifestyle

HomeTeamNS believes that age shouldn’t be a barrier to better fitness, here’s why.



If you think attempting an obstacle course is a young person’s game, Adventure Executive Nazron Hadi would beg to differ.

“There shouldn’t be any limitations as to what activities or facilities older HomeTeamNS members can try. Instead of being limited by age, they should pay attention to the intensity of the activity. It’s important for members of all ages to stay active,” he said.

This approach is good news for HomeTeamNS GenNext Members (Ordinary Members aged 51 and above). The organisation’s trainers and executives are keen to encourage members of all ages to lead active lifestyles.


Nazron (middle) believes that HomeTeamNS looks into different ways to tailor to the needs of GenNext Members, encouraging them to participate in interactive facilities like Action Motion.

Nazron recalls the oldest participant he’s seen at HomeTeamNS Khatib’s Adventure HQ: A 65-year old lady who completed all the obstacles there. The difficulty level was tailored to her age, so she didn’t have to place too much impact on her knees, for instance.

He describes the varying difficulty levels as a challenge by choice: Members are given a task to complete or obstacle to negotiate, but they always have an easy or more challenging option to suit their fitness level.

This, according to Nazron, is one of many ways HomeTeamNS is encouraging its GenNext members to stay active.

“We want to help them maintain their fitness levels and mobility. We want GenNext members to realise that HomeTeamNS wants older members to be involved, and has inclusive activities like yoga or basketball, which are for everyone. How you prefer to do yoga may differ, but the avenues and classes exist – the choice is yours!”

He added that HomeTeamNS is continually looking into how programmes can be tailored to suit the needs of GenNext members, so that more will be drawn to participate in activities such as interactive games or Action Motion’s obstacle courses.

“There are still a lot of fun activities you can do,” he pointed out. “We want to create a community of people who are involved in gamification activities, and we want them to encourage their friends to organize their own activities.”


GenNext members can benefit from many of HomeTeamNS’s most popular facilities.

TactSim, Singapore’s very first indoor player versus player (PvP) airsoft arena, is one where all ages can flourish. TactSim caters to all levels of airsoft enthusiasts, from amateurs to expert marksmen. The emphasis on teamwork, endurance and movement keeps players on their toes, while the multiple game modes ranging from casual scenarios to competitive shooting allow every player to find their own footing and enjoy the game. The soft plastic pellets leave no mark, making it a safe choice.

There’s also Adventure HQ, the largest multi-installation indoor adventure centre in Singapore. While features like the indoor challenge ropes course and roll glider may look intimidating at first glance, Adventure HQ caters to GenNext members with curated challenges that have moderated difficulty levels, designed to stretch one’s abilities without being too strenuous.

Apart from that, Fitness Workz Garage at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir is a CrossFit haven that offers specialised programming, such as low impact exercises for the elder members – a great way to get your engines started.

Ultimately, your age shouldn’t stop you from having fun and trying out new things, as one of our adventurous writers recently discovered. Said Nazron: “GenNext members don’t have to feel like ‘I’m not good at climbing, so this is not for me.’ It’s meant to be an inclusive space, whatever your fitness level.”


Apart from staying healthy, these activities offer an additional benefit – a chance for family bonding. In a world where everyone is glued to their screens, coming together to play can make a real difference in one’s relationships.

Said Nazron: “This leads back home and can help family life. For instance, I go to Action Motion with my young son. Although the levels of difficulty are different, it’s a shared experience.”

“We get a good mix of GenNext members at Adventure HQ. They usually come with their families. Younger members reel them in, and these activities help families bond.”  

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to “Receive Digital Frontline Magazine” through the app settings.

Club Buzz Lifestyle

How to celebrate Hari Raya with HomeTeamNS

Shop, dine and play at our clubhouses, as well as enjoy exclusive merchant discounts.

With Singapore’s COVID-19 restrictions finally lifted, there’s no excuse to stay cooped up at home this Hari Raya. Celebrate the joyous occasion with family and friends at the various HomeTeamNS clubhouses, which are hosting activities such as a festival complete with Malay cultural performances, as well as bazaars where you can shop and play. And fret not if you’re feeling skint this season – we’ve rounded up fantastic merchant deals covering your transport, wellness and dining needs.


HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir

Get into the spirit of the season at the Hari Raya Festival (13 May, 11am-8pm), which will buzz with Malay cultural performances and a bazaar (12 & 13 May 2023, Friday, 3pm – 8pm & Saturday, 11am – 8pm) at the Level 2 Atrium. Enterprising individuals may reserve a bazaar booth to sell apparel, accessories, and food and beverages, with rental fees starting from S$133.

There are also plenty of warm memories to be shared with your loved ones in the lead-up to the celebration, at Sri Bistari’s weekend Ramadan buffet (Every Fri, Sat & Sun, 7pm – 9pm). It’s priced at S$14.40 per child and S$28 per adult. Break your fast on a spread of local and other Asian dishes including Salted Egg Flower Crab and Satay, and enjoy promotional rates such as a free buffet with every three paying adults. Be sure to reserve your seats ahead of time. Reservation will require a deposit of $50.

HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok

If you’re looking to spruce up your home and wardrobe, head down to HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok’s Beli-Belah Raya weekend bazaar happening at Lobby A on 15 and 16 April, from 12pm to 9pm. Peruse 16 booths proffering baked treats, home decorations and clothing, along with henna tattooing services. Shop with ease while your little ones get crafty at the kids’ corner featuring three activity stations. There are also prizes to be won, and the first 80 HomeTeamNS members can redeem a complimentary pack of dates. 

HomeTeamNS Khatib

Look out for our clubhouse ambassadors who will be distributing limited-edition green packets to the first 65 members who spend a minimum of $20 at HomeTeamNS Khatib between 19 to 30 April. If you’re lucky, you may be among two members who will receive a $20 HomeTeamNS voucher that can be redeemed at all clubhouses.


Dress up in style

Photo: Chrono Collection

Who doesn’t like shiny new things? Enjoy a $30 discount on all timepieces at Chrono Collection’s e-commerce website. Chrono Collection’s array of brilliant watches with handcrafted bezels are perfect for those who want to ‘bling’ up their Hari Raya. Promotion is valid till 31 December 2023.

If you’re in need of a new pair of comfortable shoes for your visits to relatives, you’re in luck. HomeTeamNS members can enjoy a $10 discount on online purchases at shoe retailer Sunnystep. Their footwear features velvet cushioning at the heels to prevent blisters and arch support. Simply log in to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to receive both promo codes.

Look and feel great

Photo: Hysses

If you want to look spiffy, head to men’s grooming studio We Are Sultans, which is offering a 10 per cent discount on all services. Promotion is valid till 15 December 2023. Then head to aromatherapy house Hysses, which is offering HomeTeamNS members a 5 per cent storewide discount to get your essential oils for a more relaxed ambiance at home, till 14 September 2023. Simply log in to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to get your digital membership card, and flash upon checkout.

Get around with ease

Photo: Shutterstock

Save big on transport when you visit your relatives, with a 60 per cent discount on your first drive with car-sharing service Getgo. The offer is valid till 31 August 2023. Over at Tribecar, you can enjoy a free trial account for the first 30 days, with 50 per cent off their first drive (capped at $20), till 30 September 2023. There’s also a 10 per cent discount on the base rate when you book a car at any Hertz locations in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand or Asia till 31 December 2023. Simply log in to the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to receive the promo codes for the aforementioned deals.

Finally, enjoy up to a 24 per cent discount on all fuel purchases at Sinopec. Flash your HomeTeamNS membership card from the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and driver’s license to enjoy upfront fuel discounts.


Photo: Domino's Singapore

Fuel up between home visits at halal pizza chain Domino’s, which till 31 December 2023, is offering HomeTeamNS members exclusive deals such as a personal set priced at $8.50 and a $59 party set. Promotion is only available for over-the-counter and Domino’s Click to Collect orders. Meanwhile halal sushi restaurant Hei Sushi lets you enjoy a 10 per cent discount on your total bill or a ‘Tea Time’ buffet at $19.80+ (U.P. $28.80). Simply present your digital HomeTeamNS membership card at checkout.   

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Download our HomeTeamNS Mobile App to stay updated on our latest membership promotions.