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Lifestyle

What to do on a Rainy Day in Singapore with your Family

Keep your loved ones physically and mentally stimulated with these activities to ensure that a downpour won’t dampen your spirits.

TEXT: THERESE TAY

IMAGES: HOMETEAMNS; TRIFECTA MARTIAL ARTS; SCIENCE CENTRE SINGAPORE; HYPERDRIVE; SUKI SUKI THAI; MOTION ART SPACE; PUNGGOL REGIONAL LIBRARY

Singapore’s north-east monsoon season, which typically brings heavy rains and strong winds from December to early March, is approaching. While it can scupper outdoor activities, that doesn’t mean you have to just #NetflixAndChill.

Here’s our top pick of rainy-day activities in Singapore, from adventurous pursuits that won’t leave you drenched to mentally stimulating quests to mould impressionable young minds.

PLAY WITH WATER… INDOORS

Climb, slide, and splash through exhilarating zones at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir’s Aqua Adventure. This indoor water adventure centre features a 114m-long Double Trouble Slide that’s said to be the longest indoor water slide in Singapore. You can choose to plunge through it together with a friend on a dual float. There is also the 85m Blackhole Slide that brings you through a thrilling 12 -15 second-long journey in total darkness. The adventure centre also boasts an elevated water obstacle course that will help you to build confidence through various interactive elements — you’ll be splashed with water as you navigate the course — and Clockwork Towers, a five-lane interactive rock climbing wall for the especially agile.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Enjoy exclusive members’ rates starting from S$40 per session.

MAKE LIKE A NINJA

Conquer obstacles and scale heights at HomeTeamNS Khatib’s four-storey, 2,800 sq m indoor adventure centre, Adventure HQ. The challenges include Urban Climb, a dynamic rock-climbing experience and Ninja Course, which is great for improving strength, endurance, and agility with its monkey bars and warped wall you are meant to sprint up. Other exciting installations include Sky Venture, a two-tiered rope course with 16 obstacles, and the thrilling Parabolic Slide that features a 90-degree drop.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Enjoy exclusive rates starting from S$32.30 per session.

UNLEASH YOUR COMPETITIVE SPIRIT

Action Motion, a gamified multi-tier obstacle course at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, has amped up stations featuring swinging nets; climbing walls (try the Ascend Lab with its auto-belay system); an Augmented Reality trampoline; and ball pits (test your balance, agility, and strength with Motion Mesh). Embrace some friendly family competition as you notch your achievements with RFID wrist tags. Earn points by completing the obstacles and stand the chance to redeem attractive prizes the likes of Sudio wireless earbuds, Nintendo Switch game titles, Sephora e-gift cards, and more.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Enjoy exclusive rates starting from S$35.33 per session.

LEARN MARTIAL ARTS

Trifecta Martial Arts

Martial arts can help develop your self-esteem, discipline, and respect for others. Trifecta Martial Arts offers Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Krav Maga lessons. Their BJJ Powertots class incorporates age-appropriate drills and games to hone the motor and cognitive skills of toddlers and kids. Book a trial class at its HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir outlet.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Enjoy a 50 per cent discount on trial class and registration fees plus a 20 per cent discount on uniform and equipment purchase.

EMBARK ON A SCIENTIFIC JOURNEY

Discover the inner workings of the fascinating world we live in at the Science Centre. It’s home to KidSTOP, where children aged eight and below can learn to inquire, investigate, and innovate in a safe and conducive environment. It also offers plenty of activities for older kids and adults, from learning how to create an AI-generated gif to exploring a mirror maze. There’s also a plethora of facilities: Souvenir shops, prayer rooms, F&B outlets, as well as a microbrewery.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Enjoy 10 per cent off Science Centre and KidSTOP annual passes.

SPEED LIKE HAMILTON

Race your kids at HyperDrive on Sentosa’s Palawan precinct. The F1-inspired electric go-kart circuit offers fun virtual gaming elements such as turbo boosts and safe ways to sabotage your competitors. Its neon-lit three-level racetrack, designed by former karting world champion David Terrien, offers adrenaline packed action with 308m of straights and 14 turns. Those who want to ride with a child (who must be at least 90cm tall) can opt for the dual kart, which requires the driver to have a valid car or motorcycle licence.

WARM UP WITH HOTPOT

Suki Suki Hotpot

What can be more comforting than warming up with steamboat or hotpot when it’s raining outside? Besides the world-famous Hai Di Lao, check out the Mongolian-style Happy Lamb Hotpot and Uncle Fong Hotpot, the latter a popular choice among Hong Kong celebrities. For a wallet-friendly option, Suki Suki Thai offers a halal buffet featuring quality ingredients such as thinly sliced beef, fresh chicken, and homemade fish paste.

(For our HomeTeamNS Members) Get 10 per cent off your total bill at Suki Suki Thai at HomeTeamNS Khatib outlet.

READ, PLAY, LEARN

Punggol Regional Library

Immerse yourself in a riveting novel at one of Singapore’s public libraries. We recommend the recently opened Punggol Regional Library, which has two floors catered specifically for children to read and learn in interactive ways. It also offers upskilling workshops for entrepreneurs and an accessible collection with Braille texts and phonic readers. Assistive technology devices are also available for persons with disabilities. The library is located within One Punggol community hub, which has sheltered basement parking and an indoor food court.

CREATE ABSTRACT ART THROUGH PHYSICS

Motion Art Space

Motion Art Space is an art jamming space where you can create abstract masterpieces using spin and pendulum painting methods. The latter involves swinging a mechanical pendulum attached to paint-filled squeeze bottles and trays over a rotating table, creating bright patterns with bold paint spatters. The company also has a 1 per cent philanthropic model whereby it pledges to give back 1 per cent of profits, employee’s time, and product respectively to the community.

RAINY SEASON TIPS

Here’s how to stay safe and dry while you’re out and about.

  1. If you’re driving, take note that some roads may experience flash flooding. Tune in to the radio for weather- and flood-related information.
  2. On the road, general driving best practices during rainy days include extending the safe distance between you and the car ahead and switching on your headlights.
  3. Find sheltered parking nearest to your location using Parkopedia, which maps out Singapore’s car parks and street parking.
  4. If you’re caught in a storm, grab ponchos or umbrellas at convenience stores such as 7-Eleven or Cheers. You can also rent umbrellas at Nestia Shared Umbrella’s 137 stands islandwide, which includes some MRT stations.

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.

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Club Buzz Lifestyle

The smart homeowner’s guide to refreshing your home without breaking the bank

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: VARIOUS

Home is where the heart is. So why shouldn’t we try to make our space a photogenic haven? Refreshing your abode doesn’t need to involve costly renovations that also disrupt your daily routine. You can get good decorative mileage by opting for choice furniture pieces.

The best part is, there are places in Singapore that offer stylish but affordable furniture without breaking the bank. These businesses often focus on pre-loved or repurposed items – donated or salvaged – and given a second life by these experts. With their keen curation, one person’s junk is indeed another person’s treasure. 

TONG MERN SERN ANTIQUES ARTS & CRAFTS

Talk about character. Tong Mern Sern sticks out like a “sore” thumb along Craig Road from its refurbished neighbours. Its original facade – somewhat worn and with a giant yellow banner stating their purpose – is like a time capsule into the past with its collection of vintage pieces.

Spread over three floors are furniture, fittings and decor items that will evoke nostalgia. Seen more as antiques, prices here may occasionally be a bit higher, but given their rarity and condition, can prove to be investment pieces that are well worth it.

THE REJECT SHOP

While others look to give second life to used pieces, The Reject Shop saves those that didn’t even make it to the shelves. They collect items rejected by manufacturers due to minor defects but are otherwise completely functional and safe to use. Think, light scratches at the bottom of a table leg or a sofa cushion with a slightly crooked seam. Most of these defects can be overlooked with a fresh coat of paint or other subtle creative solutions like adding a tablecloth. If you’re good with keeping things “out of sight, out of mind”, then this place is perfect for you.

HOCK SIONG & CO

From a simple karang guni (scrap dealer) operation in the 1970s to today’s empire of restoration, Hock Siong & Co has built a solid reputation for their beautifully-refurbished pieces. Their team of craftsmen chisel, varnish and sand away at preloved pieces, giving them a new lease of life. 

Their wooden pieces are highlights and you’ll find many furniture items made from natural teak, rosewood, and more. It’s an incredible way to extend their use and their eclectic selection is bound to fit any theme you might have in mind.

With a keen eye for design, it’s unsurprising that many of their selections posted on their Facebook become sold out within the hour. They are also very savvy in collecting stylish pieces from hotels and showflats, so if you’re looking to have that luxe look on a budget, this place won’t disappoint.

JUNKIE’S CORNER

If you love a good dive into the wildest assortment of furniture, knick-knacks and more, then pop over to Junkie’s Corner. True to the first part of its name, this is a real junkyard that can turn up some surprising finds. But unlike the latter part, Junkie’s Corner is more of a warehouse stuffed to the roof with collected items.

This is perfect for those who love a real scavenger hunt. There’s some mild organisation here, but you’ll see cupboards next to chairs, with random rugs or lamps piled around them. There are great vintage pieces such as the classic Singer sewing machines or marble-topped kopitiam (coffee shop) tables. The pieces here are “as is” – so they may need some work.

With no online presence, you’ll have to visit them at 2 Turf Club Rd. And just to note, they are open to a little bargaining.

SALVATION ARMY

Another reliable place to look for preloved pieces will be The Salvation Army’s social enterprise, Red Shield Industries. The international organisation reuses, recycles and restores a myriad of donations from the public and organisations. With their teams and volunteers helming the effort, you can be assured that the salvaged pieces are worth picking up.


For your best bet, head over to the Praisehaven Mega Family Store at Upper Bukit Timah Road. It is the largest of the four outlets and most likely to have furniture pieces. You can even check out the online options and Carousell listings without visiting the stores. Proceeds from the sales would go towards care provisions to underserved communities. It’s truly a wonderful way to benefit your home, the environment, and the people around you.

PROTECT YOUR HOME, FOR FREE

After spending the time and effort hunting for precious pieces to add to your home, protect them from future incidents with an insurance plan – for free. 

In a collaboration with Singlife, HomeTeamNS members can enjoy a year’s worth of home insurance with Shield360. Not a member yet? For eligible Ordinary and Associate members, you’ll be pleased to know that the plan includes HomeTeamNS membership for a year as well when you sign up.

Receive up to S$20,000 worth of coverage for your furniture and furnishings, and even up to S$50,000 for renovation incidents. There’s no catch, it’s just a way to reward hardworking members who deserve the best.

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.

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In The Force

Sporting success: Flying the flag for Singapore, the Home Team

Sporting success: Home Team NSFs Noah Lim, Nufail Rayan and Ethan Poh share the secrets behind their athletic achievements.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: NOAH LIM AND SPF

SCDF and SPF servicemen did the country proud at the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia. On top of their NS commitments and duties, they trained vigorously and won medals in their respective events.

We caught up with CPL Noah Lim, SC/Cpl Nufail Raiyan Bin Abu Bakar and SC/Sgt Ethan Poh to find out how they maintained their peak performance for the games, while serving their NS commitments.

CPL (NSF) NOAH LIM

Emergency Medical Technician, Alexandra Fire Station

How does it feel to win the gold medal in the SEA Games gold thrice (in 2019, 2021, and 2023)?

I feel proud to do my part for Singapore. I know that this is just the beginning and there is so much more I want to achieve for my country. Representing Singapore in the sport I love is such a huge honour. I also want to be a role model to show others what is possible, with some discipline and hard work.

How did you balance your training and NS commitments?

Juggling shift duties and jiu-jitsu training can be challenging at times. I I did my best to manage my time carefully, maximising my training time on my off days.

We heard that you dislocated your little finger just before the 2023 SEA Games. What kept you going during the competition?

Life is unpredictable and some things are really beyond our control. The accident was beyond my control, but I focused on doing my best in what I could control.

My favourite analogy: walking a plank 10cm off the ground requires the same set of actions as walking a plank across two buildings. The pressure may feel greater in your mind, but the actions are the same.  Focus on your training and preparation as usual, and there is no reason why you cannot achieve more.

What have you learned from competing in jiu-jitsu at an international level?

I’ve learnt how to strategise and plan ahead. I have also adopted a growth mindset, which encourages me to learn new techniques, while focusing on what is important.

SC/CPL NUFAIL RAIYAN BIN ABU BAKAR

Protective Security Command (ProCom); Silver, Men’s Field Hockey

How has your experience as a ProCom officer influenced your performance or mindset during competitions?

It’s given me a greater sense of discipline, determination and focus. Another value that applies both to NS and sports training is resilience – to always give my best in everything I do, and to never stop trying. I believe that all the hard work I’ve put in will pay off at the end of the day, be it for myself, my team, my fellow officers or members of the public.

How did you balance your responsibilities as a ProCom officer with your SEA Games training schedule?

It was a challenge to maintain a balance between my work and training, not to mention family time. Managing my responsibilities as an officer while dedicating time for training requires good time management skills. Fortunately, my supervisors, coaches and family were always understanding and supportive of my decisions.

I learnt the importance of prioritising my duties and responsibilities while seeking balance in my pursuits outside of work. I also learnt the value of taking care of my physical and emotional well-being.

To my family, friends, fellow officers and teammates, thank you so much for your continuous support. I couldn’t have done it without your words of encouragement.

SC/SGT ETHAN POH

Public Transport Security Command (TransCom); Gold, Men’s Table Tennis (Team); Bronze, Men’s Table Tennis (Double)

How do you feel about winning two medals this year?

I’m definitely happy. It’s a privilege and an honour to win medals for Singapore at major sporting events. The Team Gold Medal means a lot to us as the last time Singapore won, it was in 2015. I’m glad to be part of the winning team this year.

How do you juggle your NS responsibilities and your sporting career?

I’m a staff officer at TransCom and it takes good time management skills to fulfil both my duties and train for competitions. I train after work every evening. It’s essential to have supportive colleagues, especially during the competition period. They covered my duties and even followed my matches closely, cheering me on. My achievements wouldn’t be possible without them!

How has your NS experience helped your development as an athlete?

During my Police Officers’ Basic Course at the Home Team Academy (HTA), I was able to take a break from the sport. The SPF values I learned during my course helped me make a positive change in how I approached training and competition.

I’ll be completing my NS this year and it’s been a really fulfilling two years, from my time at the HTA to TransCom. I’m thankful for the many lessons I’ve learnt throughout the policing journey.

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.

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Club Buzz Lifestyle

5 reasons why you don’t want to miss HomeTeamNS Culture Shiok 2023

Catch lively performances and well-curated exhibitions, nosh on delectable snacks and learn new crafts.

TEXT: GLENDA LIM
IMAGES: HOMETEAMNS

Immerse yourself in Singapore’s rich tapestry of cultures at this year’s Culture Shiok, an event that couldn’t be missed even during the pandemic, when a virtual edition of it was held.

This year’s event will run till 3 December at HomeTeamNS Khatib’s Thoroughfare at Level 1 and will feature colourful traditional dance and musical performances, as well as an array of fun activities including nostalgic schoolyard games. A different culture will be showcased each week, with an emphasis on Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Peranakan traditions.

HomeTeamNS members can collect a complimentary Culture Shiok passport, which they can use to redeem snacks at the various food stalls and collect stamps and stickers throughout the event. A completed passport can be exchanged for an exclusive gift worth $80 on 2 December from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free, though certain activities require pre-registration and are chargeable.

1. GET CREATIVE CRAFTING 

Create beautiful accessories and bric-a-brac to gift your loved ones at several workshops held during the event. These include batik pencil case DIY, flower garland-making, Chinese fan painting, and tote bag-beading. Young budding artisans will get a kick out of seeing their projects come to life.

2. HAVE FUN WITH THE GAMES OF YESTER-YEAR

Enjoy a throwback to the good ol’ carefree days where kids had a blast with non-electronic pursuits. Our cultural game booths will feature classics such as “five stones”, “pick up sticks”, chapteh, and congkak, the latter being a test of logic featuring a wooden board and seeds that is predominantly played in South India, Ceylon, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

3. NOSH ON A MULTICULTURAL SPREAD

Savour tantalising snacks from different cultures at various booths, including putu piring (steamed rice flour cakes with palm sugar and grated coconut), vadai (deep-fried savoury doughnuts), tang yuan (glutinous rice balls in syrup) and an assortment of Nyonya kueh. HomeTeamNS members get to redeem complimentary snacks when they flash their Culture Shiok passports. 

4. SING AND DANCE ALONG

No cultural event is complete without a captivating display of music and dance. Marvel at masterful cultural expressions through bhangra dance and Teochew opera performances, as well as a silat demonstration. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the Peranakan Parade — don your best Peranakan outfits and sashay down the runway to win attractive prizes.

5. VIEW ENGAGING EXHIBITIONS  

Discover Singapore’s diverse cultures at various fascinating onsite exhibitions available daily. There’s the National Heritage Board’s ‘Love, Kebaya’, which explores the region’s shared cultural identity and heritage through the iconic kebaya, as well as charity Tak Takut Kids Club’s ‘This is What we Eat at Home’ — which takes you on a gastronomic journey. Also, don’t miss a specially curated display by the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre which will answer the question: ‘What Makes a Chinese New Year, Singaporean?’.

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.

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Club Buzz Lifestyle

7 Reasons Why You Should Not Miss the Home Team Festival 2023

You’ll have the opportunity to handle firearms, discover cutting-edge technologies, and meet our furry friends from the SCDF and SPF K-9 units at the event that will happen at Singapore Expo this November.

A shooting range where you can learn how to handle firearms. A Vehicle Examination booth where you can transform into a Search and Examination officer and inspect a vehicle for contraband items. These are just some of the highlights that you can expect at the upcoming Home Team Festival, which will be held from 24 to 26 November at Singapore Expo Hall 4. Admission is free.

Themed “What is your #HomeTeamStory”, this year’s festival marks 10 years since the launch of the biennial event that shines a spotlight on the 11 Home Team Departments, which work together to keep Singapore safe and secure. The event will feature four thematic zones where you can learn about the history and achievements of the Home Team, get a hands-on experience with the technology that drives it, and find out how you can play a role in supporting our Home Team officers. Here’s what to look out for.

LEARN HOW TO HANDLE A REAL WEAPON

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

Meet dedicated officers from the different Home Team Departments and get an insider’s glimpse into their work through displays and live demonstrations which will showcase some of the vehicles and technologies deployed. More adventurous souls who meet the 1.2 metre height requirement can visit the SPF/SPS Shooting Range, where they will have the opportunity to try their hand at target shooting using firearms used by Home Team officers during public order incidents or prison riots.

MEET OUR K-9 HEROES

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

It may be a little-known fact that man’s best friend plays an important role in safeguarding the nation’s security. Canines from the SCDF and SPF K-9 units are trained for frontline operations such as detection of life forms and explosives, respectively. You’ll get to meet these loyal, furry companions who will leave no stone unturned.

CATCH ACTION-PACKED PERFORMANCES AND SCREENINGS

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

Observe how the Home Team officers go about conducting their duties through an exciting live MHA Operations Demonstration. Check out the immersive theatre experience showcasing our Home Team officers in action.

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

ENJOY FUN KIDS’ ACTIVITIES

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

Keep your little ones occupied at the Home Team Kids Zone, where they can role-play as a Home Team officer by getting behind the wheel of Home Team-themed mini vehicles. Other activities include participating in a digital firefighting game and shooting at targets.

BE PART OF THE #HOMETEAMSTORY

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

Chat with Home Team Volunteers, whose roles range from supporting Home Team officers in law enforcement and fire-fighting, to sharing tips on how to stay drug-free and providing support for victims of crimes. Then, learn about the available Home Team scholarships and roles (both uniformed and civilian), so that you can embark on a meaningful journey to bolster the nation’s security.

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

GEEK OUT OVER TECHNOLOGY

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) deploys cutting-edge technologies — including biometrics; data science and Artificial Intelligence; robotics and information forensics — to counter ever-evolving homeland security threats. Check out a holographic theatre experience plus exhibition to learn how they empower the Home Team’s operational forces on the ground to fight crime and save lives.

WIN PRIZES AND COLLECT A TOTE BAG

Photo taken at Home Team Festival 2019

Be a sport and participate in the on-stage games segment to win prizes and be sure to pick up your limited-edition Home Team Festival tote bag at the collection booth. Additionally, don’t forget to share your love and support for the Home Team by posting your captioned photos on Instagram or TikTok with the hashtag #HTFest2023 and watch as they are flashed on the digital message wall.

HOME TEAM FESTIVAL 2023

WHERE: Singapore Expo Hall 4

WHEN: 24 – 26 November 2023

  • Friday 24 Nov: 11am to 9pm
  • Saturday 25 Nov: 11am to 9pm
  • Sunday 26 Nov: 9am to 9pm

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.

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Lifestyle

The Best Family-friendly Road Trip Ideas for Your Next Holiday

They say that the journey is as important as the destination, so hit the highway with your loved ones to make lasting memories.

TEXT: BEATRICE BOWERS
IMAGES: UNSPLASH

According to a report by travel booking platform Expedia, travel these days is about “saying “no” to normal, breaking routines, and searching for experiences without compromises.” All that can be achieved through road trips, which have become increasingly popular, as they offer travellers the flexibility to explore destinations at their own pace — sans the stress of rushing for a tour bus or connecting flight. Thus, it isn’t surprising that the #VanLife hashtag, which sees people documenting their nomadic lifestyle on social media, started trending even before the pandemic.

Beyond such extended escapades, road trips are also a great family-friendly and quick vacation option. Cruising through unfamiliar locations on four wheels presents opportunities to bond with your loved ones as you soak in the changing vistas and groove to tunes piped through your car’s sound system. If this has sparked your wanderlust, you may want to plan your next getaway around these family-friendly road trip routes.

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD, AUSTRALIA

Soak in coastal views along Australia's Great Ocean Road.

A drive along the 243km Great Ocean Road that hugs Victoria’s coastline is one of the best ways to experience Australia’s diverse landscapes. Although the full route stretches from Torquay to Allansford, you can begin your journey in Melbourne, where it’s relatively fuss-free to rent a car or camper van. Before committing to a rental, check out aggregator sites such as Camper Champ, which will allow you to compare rental fees across major companies.

A trip along this scenic route can take as little as a day or may require a week for those planning to traverse the entire stretch with pitstops along the way. Three days is the sweet spot for capturing most of the iconic sights, which include limestone formations that make up The Twelve Apostles, national parks, and the charming seaside towns of Torquay, Anglesea, and Apollo Bay. Apollo Bay is a hotspot for whale watching between May and September and it has plenty of accommodation options including bed and breakfasts, hotels, and campgrounds like Marengo Family Caravan Park. If you’re unfamiliar with the region, fret not as the Great Ocean Regional Tourism Board has plenty of itineraries to help plan your trip.

THE HOKKAIDO SCENIC BYWAYS, JAPAN

A Hokkaido road trip will take you to various scenic locations.

Hokkaido is a popular winter destination for Singaporeans, but it also holds plenty of charms during other seasons. Spring and late summer, in particular, are great times to embark on a road trip through the northernmost Japanese island as you may spot an abundance of flora and fauna such as blooming sakura (cherry blossom) trees, red-crowned cranes, deer, and foxes in their natural habitats. These are accessible along extended byways that will lead you to smaller towns and cities, which are usually off the beaten path for tourists. Hokkaido road trips are known to be flexible — you can choose to navigate through longer day drives from a central city or plan a short trip from point A to B.

Those starting off from Sapporo will have multiple routes to choose from. A popular pick is the drive to the Shakotan Peninsula: a full-day trip that will take you past the quaint town of Otaru — known for its picturesque canals and music box museums — before opening up to views of the ocean. A sojourn by the sea is possible thanks to several campsites including the Nozuka Municipal Camp Site. Plan your breaks with the Michi Japan Road Guide & Map app, which lists the nearest roadside rest stations with free parking. If you’re looking to rent a caravan, we’d suggest opting for one with a kitchen and dining area so that you can take full advantage of Hokkaido’s famed fresh produce to prepare delicious meals for the fam.

SINGAPORE – KUANTAN, MALAYSIA

Stop at picturesque beaches along the drive from Singapore to Kuantan, Malaysia.

For a quick getaway closer to home, try Kuantan  a Malaysian coastal city five hours from Singapore by car. Along the way, you may want to consider making a detour by driving on Jalan Kota Tinggi, the route along Highway 3, to the Kota Tinggi Waterfalls. The natural wonder, which is a 30-minute drive from Johor Bahru, cascades down a rocky hillside amid a lush rainforest. Then, head to idyllic beach town Mersing to fuel up on seafood — don’t miss the steamed grouper at classic Cantonese eatery Loke Tien Yuen Restaurant. From there, it’s an approximate three-hour drive to Kuantan, a favourite among nature enthusiasts.

The capital of Pahang state has a wide variety of forested trails for both seasoned hikers and beginners — from an easy 30-minute climb up the staircase leading to the Bukit Panorama peak, to the more challenging trek to Sungai Lembing’s ‘Rainbow Waterfall’. It’s said to get its name from the multi-coloured arc that appears when sunlight hits the waterfall’s mist at a precise angle — a spectacle that can be spotted if you complete the hike before 10am. Child-friendly activities that are available in Kuantan include banana boat rides at Teluk Chempedak Beach and the opportunity to spot fireflies at the nocturnal Kuantan River Cruise.

TAIPEI – PINGTUNG COUNTY, TAIWAN

The four-hour route from Taipei to coastal Pingtung County passes by rustic villages.

The four-hour drive from Taipei to coastal Pingtung County is so scenic that you may feel reluctant to end your journey. Unfolding along a twisting highway that takes you through wind-swept mountains and little villages, this is one for more experienced drivers. About an hour from your destination, you’ll encounter the tranquil Sun Moon Lake, which is surrounded by forested mountains and bordered by a 400m bikeway. The area is home to the indigenous Thao tribe, whose intriguing traditional culture you can immerse in during a tour of the community.

Heading down south from the lake, you may want to make a pit stop at Tainan City. It’s known for its historic temples — including the Grand Mazu Temple, which served as the palace of the last emperor of the Ming dynasty — and night markets selling street food delicacies such as danzai noodles (egg noodles in a shrimp and pork broth). When in Pingtung County, do carve out some time to explore the 33,268 ha Kenting National Park as it’s home to a variety of land and seascapes, which includes pastures, mountains, sand dunes, coral reefs, as well as a sika deer sanctuary. Bed down amid nature at Shady Tree Campground, where you can park your vehicle and rent a spacious tented cabin.

ESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP TIPS

Map out your journey digitally: The Roadtrippers app — which covers destinations in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — identifies attractions, accommodation, dining options, as well as petrol stations on your route.

Be aware of traffic conditions: The last thing you want is to lose precious time abroad while stuck in a jam. Try to avoid planning your trip around major holidays or events and don’t set off during rush hours. Download Waze, an app which helps to identify jams and traffic pain points.

Get insured: Travel with peace of mind with the one-year Singlife Travel insurance, which comes with free HomeTeamNS membership.

Be savvy about fuel prices: Save a pretty penny by comparing fuel prices through apps such as Fuel Flash and Petrol Prices and planning your pitstops around gas stations that offer the best rates. HomeTeamNS members planning to drive to Malaysia can refuel at selected Sinopec gas stations in Singapore and enjoy up to 24 per cent off petrol prices.

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.

Categories
Shape Up

On the (running) trail back to fitness

ASP (NS) Amos Ong wanted to get back in shape, so he turned to one of his favourite pastimes – running – and enlisted some help from HomeTeamNS. 

TEXT: HOMETEAMNS

PHOTOS: AMOS ONG, HOMETEAMNS

ASP (NS) Amos Ong’s journey back to fitness was inspired by a new addition to his family. His wife had given birth to their first child, Alyssa, in April and Amos succumbed to one of the usual woes of new parents – a lack of sleep and poor eating habits.

This in turn disrupted his exercise routine and affected his overall fitness.

Looking to get back in shape, he signed up for HomeTeamNS Running Clinics to build up his stamina in time for the 10km race at REAL® Run 2023. This also helped him to start running regularly again and helped him focus on the finer points of his hobby.

“In each session, the trainer focuses on different things from how we run, to how we drive our legs, to stretches and hand movements. These are things we might already know but have not been trained in, so it is a good reminder for us all,” he said. 

As with all good hobbies, it’s also helped him to widen his social circle. “I’ve become friends with some of the other frequent members of the running clinics. They’re from all walks of life.”

RUNNING ROOTS

Amos’ love of running dates back to his National Service.  He ORDed in 2005 from Police Psychological Services Division (PPSD) and is currently an Assistant Superintendent (ASP) in ProCom as Div 3 Head Operations and Training.

“I started long-distance running since my National Service days back at the Old Police Academy. Back then, there was more momentum to train. These days, the priority is to stay fit and healthy,” he said.

The benefits of running are well known. It helps to improve heart health and can boost weight loss. It can also strengthen one’s bone structure and help to improve emotional and mental health.

Said Amos: “I like running around park connectors and reservoirs as it offers a good path with little traffic.”

HAPPY TRAILS

One of his favourite running trails is around Bedok Reservoir Park. The 4.3km track meanders around the scenic 88-ha reservoir, offering runners a relaxing route that – best of all – isn’t interrupted by traffic lights.

Now that the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Clubhouse has opened, it’s also given Amos a go-to destination after his run. “I can easily pop by for a quick swim and even buy some coffee and have lunch,” he said. 

REAL® RUN

Amos has participated regularly in HomeTeamNS REAL® Run. He tries to join the run every year unless he’s abroad – this year, he signed up for the 10km run. Apart from motivating him to keep fit, it’s also a chance for him to catch up with old friends.

“Every year, I end up meeting my other NS mates from ProCom or other police divisions. It’s generally a good run with a scenic route and a nice crowd,” he said. This year’s run, which was held at OCBC Square, was no different.

The signature run also helps NSmen continue to forge a strong sense of camaraderie.

“In ProCom, the guys will actively push for participation and try to win the fastest unit award. I may not be able to run fast enough but I show my support by participating and meeting up with some of my other NS mates,” he said. 

For Amos, hitting the pavement offers a very simple, tangible benefit, so it’s no wonder that it remained his go-to form of exercise over the years: “Running often allows me to break into a good sweat and clear my mind from the hustle and bustle.”

As a new father, he’s also looking forward to the rest of the family joining him. “I would love to bring my family along for training sessions in the future to exercise and get fit together.”

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.

Categories
Close Up

From novice to seasoned firefighter: 2LT Subhan Baathusha’s leadership journey with SCDF

This SCDF platoon commander and his teammates learned how to ‘see’ in a smoke-logged room. Here’s how they did it.

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA

PHOTOS: 2LT SUBHAN BAATHUSHA

After weeks of firefighting training in the Civil Defence Academy, 2LT Subhan Baathusha was confident in responding to any emergency. His confidence would soon be tested.

In his first duty at Bukit Batok Fire Station, Subhan and his teammates responded to a fire at a HDB flat.

When his team forced open the door to the unit, they were enveloped by thick, black smoke, which greatly reduced the visibility.

“We immediately recalled our training, staying close to the wall and taking small, shuffling steps to reach the source of the fire,” recalls the 21-year-old. “It was my first call, so I naturally anxious. Although I did not tell anyone, but Enciks (warrant officers) could sense it. They went to great lengths to boost my confidence, staying by my side throughout the fire and giving me guidance.”

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH TRAINING

Subhan reveals that his pre-enlistee self would not have been able to cope with such a situation. He gave a genuine account of his lifestyle before his enlistment.

“I was undisciplined and slept irregular hours. I did not control my diet and exercise and just wanted to coast through life.”

But a year-and-a-half in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has changed that.

Today, Subhan is a disciplined platoon commander with the Basic Rescue Training Branch in the Civil Defence Academy.  Along the way, he was named the best trainee of his Section Commander Course (SCC) cohort and ran the  2.4km in under nine minutes. He credits the change largely to his SCDF training and service. He has found and overcome new challenges in each phase:

Physical Training Phase [8 weeks]“I volunteered for this programme before my enlistment. I felt that it was the right choice for me. The training was tough but helped in my physical conditioning.

Basic Firefighter Training (BFFT) [4 weeks]: “The bunker gear endurance exercises were the most challenging,” shares Subhan. This consists of 30 to 40 minutes of exercise wearing their Firefighting Protective Suits. It is done daily during the BFFT, to acclimatise firefighters to the heat and humidity during firefighting.

SCC [16 weeks]: This phase helped Subhan to discover and develop his leadership skills. “The most valuable lesson for me was how to lead from the front. Being quite young, I was initially uncomfortable in making decisions and leading, for fear of doing something wrong. But during this course, I overcame these fears and became  a more confident leader.”

Station 44 [4 weeks]: This was Subhan;s first chance to put his leadership lessons into practice. He responded to his first fire call and learned how to lead by example.

Rota Commander Course (RCC) [20 weeks]: The RCC equipped Subhan with skills in incident management, fire safety and investigation, and Hazardous Materials (HazMat) mitigation. He learnt how to teach and engage people based on their different learning styles. “By varying the way I teach, I can communicate better with my people.”

Basic Rescue Training Branch: Subhan’s training and experience prepared him well for his final posting in SCDF. He is now a platoon commander at the Basic Rescue Training Branch in the Civil Defence Academy, overseeing the welfare and training of 30 recruits under his charge.

“It has come full circle. Now that I have six months left in my National Service, I look forward to imparting the same lessons and confidence I gained from my seniors to a new generation.”

UNLOCKING LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE

Embrace curiosity

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning
  • Encourage questions and open-mindedness.
  • Be open to new technologies and diverse perspectives

Pursue constant improvement

  • Set clear goals and regularly assess progress
  • Seek feedback and actively listen to inputs from peers and team members
  • Embrace failure as a stepping stone to improvement

Cultivate resilience

  • Develop a growth mindset to navigate challenges
  • Build a support network and seek mentorship when needed
  • Practise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance to enhance resilience.

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.

Categories
Food Spy Lifestyle

6 Indian Snacks to Savour this Deepavali

Nibble on these delicious morsels, which reflect diverse culinary traditions and beliefs.

BY KEENAN PEREIRA

IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK, FLICKR USER PRASANTA HEMBRAN

Deepavali (12 November), the Hindu Festival of Lights, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It is associated with a rich tapestry of traditions such as lighting oil lamps (diyas) and feasting with family and friends. For those who celebrate the holiday, the festive period isn’t complete without tables heaving with traditional Indian snacks, from savoury bites to melt-in-your-mouth sweets.

Many of these treats are prepared with ghee (clarified butter), which symbolises purity. In Hindu prayer rituals, sweets are commonly offered to deities, a practice which is extended to Deepavali to offer thanks and seek blessings. In Singapore, you can find a dizzying array of traditional Indian snacks at various stalls and restaurants around Little India. If you’re not sure of what to sample, here’s a starter list of familiar favourites and lesser-known specialities.

SUGAR, SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE

Jalebi

JALEBI

Several years ago, it was near impossible to attend an Indian wedding without hearing the risqué ‘Jalebi Baby’ by Canadian rapper Tesher. This once-trending track can be seen as an ode to its namesake dessert of deep-fried wheat flour batter slicked in a sticky, rose-flavoured syrup. Jalebi is instantly recognisable for its bright orange or yellow hue and spiral shape, which symbolises continuity and is thus considered auspicious.

Where to find it: Moghul Sweets (48 Serangoon Rd, #01-16)

Gulab Jamun

GULAB JAMUN

These spongy, deep-fried dough balls composed of milk solids are soaked in a cloying syrup redolent of cardamom and rose water, and sprinkled with chopped nuts such as pistachios and almonds. Served warm, it is an indulgence enjoyed during special occasions. Its sweetness denotes the joy and celebratory spirit associated with Deepavali, while its round shape represents good fortune and positivity.  “Gulab” refers to the syrup, while “Jamun” signifies the dark colour of the fried dough balls.

Where to find it: Komala Vilas (4 Upper Dickson Rd)

Ras Malai

RAS MALAI

Ras malai is a dessert of creamy cottage cheese dumplings steeped in a fragrant, sweet milk and garnished with slivers of pistachios or almonds. The pale, cardamom-flavoured discs symbolise purity and auspicious beginnings, thus making it an apt Deepavali sweet. There are competing accounts of its origins. Some contend that it is derivative of a Bangladeshi dessert called kheer bhog, while the great-grandson of famous Kolkata sweet shop KC Das’ founder claims to have invented it as part of an experiment while working as a research assistant. What many can agree on though, is the irresistible quality of the luscious, velvety concoction.

Where to find it: Kailash Parbat Restaurant (3 Belilios Rd, #01-03 Hilton Garden Inn)

Palkova

PALKOVA

Rooted in India’s Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh regions, palkova is a portmanteau of the Tamil words paal (milk) and kova (a thickened milk sweet). It is prepared by heating milk till it reduces to a semi-solid, fudge-like consistency. Like many traditional Indian sweets, it represents prosperity and positivity and is consumed during religious festivals and occasions. In Tamil Nadu’s temple town of Srivilliputhur — where shops ply the sweetened, curdled, dessert — the Srivilliputhur Co-operative Primary Milk Producers Society is said to churn up to 3,000 litres of milk a day to make paklova during the festive or pilgrimage seasons.

Where to find it: A2B Vegetarian Restaurant (276-278 Serangoon Rd)

SAVOURY SELECTIONS

Pani puri

PANI PURI

According to a report by Indian daily The Hindu, Google India charted a 10 per cent spike in searches for pani puri recipes during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. That’s an indication of the snack’s appeal. Best described as miniature puri (deep-fried bread), the round, hollow puffs are filled with a moreish mixture of ingredients such as mashed potato or chickpeas, mushy peas and finely chopped onions, before being dunked in a tangy cold sauce (pani) of tamarind, cumin and spicy green chutney. They are consumed in one bite, to best appreciate the medley of vibrant flavours. Pani puri is eaten year-round but Deepavali is the perfect time to enjoy it with family and friends.

Where to find it: Delhi 6 (35 Upper Circular Rd)

Murukku

MURUKKU

Made from a semi-solid dough of rice flour, urad dal (black gram lentils) and a blend of spices that’s kneaded, piped and pressed into various patterns before being deep-fried, murukku is a popular South Indian snack consumed during special occasions such as Deepavali. Its name is roughly translated as ‘to twist’ in Tamil, which explains the spiral shape of many murukku variants. Manapparai, a small town in India, is so famous for its murukku-making tradition that the Tamil Nadu government even applied for the town to have a geographical indication tag, which associates a region with a food product.

Where to find it:  A’s Kitchen (Blk 496B, Tampines Street 43)

Rangoli

TIMELESS TRADITIONS

While food is central to Deepavali festivities, the event is also marked by rituals rich in cultural and religious significance.

Kolam: These vibrant and intricate floor decorations are created using coloured rice flour, chalk or flower petals. Their geometric designs — typically brought to life by family and community members — are meant to welcome guests, dispel negativity, and invoke blessings from the divine.

Diyas: The lighting of oil lamps, also known as diyas, symbolises the victory of light over darkness. Rows of oil lamps and colourful electric lights adorn homes and temples during Deepavali, their warm, inviting glow lending a magical quality to the celebration.

CELEBRATE DEEPAVALI AT HOMETEAMNS

As part of HomeTeamNS Khatib’s month-long event, Culture Shiok, celebrate the Festival of Lights  at the clubhouse’s Indian Culture Week (14 to  19 Nov), which will feature activities such as a flower garland making workshop, a Bhangra dance performance and tantalising culinary experiences. Meanwhile, HomeTeamNS members can look forward to redeeming complimentary packs of murukku at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir. Also, HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok will be holding free Henna sessions for HomeTeamNS members on 12 Nov. Stay tuned for more details on our social media channels.

Check out this video of HomeTeamNS Volunteers, Staff, and President, HomeTeamNS, Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim tasting some Indian delicacies!

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.

Categories
Close Up

This Commander thinks you may have what it takes to be the next SPF leader

Helping Home Team NSmen realise their full potential is what really matters to DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe.

BY KEENAN PEREIRA

Officer Cadet Trainees (OCTs) in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) undergo a rite of passage as they are groomed into leaders — a two-week stint at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) on Pulau Ubin. Here, their physical and mental capabilities are strengthened through a series of outdoor adventure challenges, under the guidance of a chief mentor.

SPF veteran DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe has helped to train various batches of Home Team NSmen under the programme, which he believes to be an excellent vehicle for personal growth. “I’m a great believer in instilling leadership skills,” explains the Deputy Commander (NS) of ‘A’ Division.

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (fourth from left) at the Real Run 2023.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (fourth from left) at the Real Run 2023.

Earlier in the year, the committed leader even managed to attend his cohort’s first day of OBS training despite the fact that his 85-year-old mother had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a fall. “I’m grateful that my two younger sisters were around to bring her to the hospital, so I could still go to OBS. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything serious,” says DAC (NS) Lok.

The 52-year-old is an ardent advocate of leadership training, which he says he did not experience as a rookie officer in the 1990s. “Trainees these days are taught to map out different scenarios, so they are better prepared to handle potential challenges,” he explains. “Such challenges are common in ‘A’ Division, where we handle events such as the New Year’s Eve countdown at Marina Bay and the Formula 1 Grand Prix,” he adds.

THE MARK OF A LEADER

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (third from right) believes in instilling leadership skills in Home Team NSmen.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (third from right) believes in instilling leadership skills in Home Team NSmen.

Leadership training extends far beyond contingency planning and logistical competency. Central to the OCTs’ National Service (NS) experience is their indoctrination in SPF’s core values of courage, integrity, loyalty and fairness. And DAC (NS) Lok is convinced that these qualities will eventually lead to gravitas in professional settings. In fact, the sales director at an IT company has noted potential employers’ keen interest in his SPF association. “They see my service as a sign that I can be trusted and have a good chance of attaining success,” he asserts. “They also tend to be quite curious about what life is like for those in blue,” said the single professional.

Excelling in his duties in the Force entails having a close and well-functioning relationship with his Commander, DAC (NS) Patrick Fung, who is three years his senior. This bond, according to DAC (NS) Lok, is rooted in trust, communication and support. “Both parties should also be willing to learn from each other,” he shares. He is particularly inspired by his superior’s ability to lead by example.  “Mr Fung is one of the few commanders in his 50s who can still clock in at under 10 minutes for his 2.4km run. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s my goal to emulate his success,” says DAC (NS) Lok. It also helps that the experienced leader is armed with a wealth of knowledge that guides the parameters within which his teams operate. “Mr Fung explains guidelines and laws in an easy-to-understand manner, which makes us better policemen.”

DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (far right) with his fellow Home Team NSmen.
DAC (NS) Lok Weng Hoe (far right) with his fellow Home Team NSmen.

A LONG AND REWARDING JOURNEY

At present, DAC (NS) Lok wants to play his part in nurturing the next generation of leaders at SPF. For those looking to claim the mantle, he advises that going the extra mile is crucial when it comes to climbing the ranks. “We are preparing for succession planning in the ‘A’ Division NS team. For Police National Servicemen (PNSmen), it’s not just about capabilities but we also recognise those who have the commitment to serve and grow as leaders, despite the other hats they wear at home and at work.” This may involve enrolling in the Volunteer Extension Scheme for PNSmen to serve beyond their statutory age.

Continued service in the Force might seem like a daunting-task, especially if you consider the mandatory 10-year Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) training cycle for most NS men. But DAC (NS) Lok encourages his younger colleagues to look at the bigger picture, beyond their obligatory duties.

“It might seem quite siong (tiring) during the first 10 years because that corresponds with the period where you may be starting a family or trying to make it big at work. However, once things settle down you might have more bandwidth to give back,” he says. “It’s very rewarding to know that you can continue to serve Singapore even in your later years.”

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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.