Categories
Lifestyle Shape Up

Ageing gracefully: 5 ways to prevent chronic illnesses

Active ageing: Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting sicker. These simple steps can help you stay active and healthy.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

While you can’t fight the ageing process, active ageing can help you maintain good health and fitness.

The July launch of Healthier SG – a national initiative encouraging Singaporeans to proactively manage their health and prevent the onset of chronic diseases – motivated many  elderly and medically vulnerable people in Singapore to sign up and embrace healthier lifestyles.

Healthier SG is just one of the numerous resources and facilities available to members of the silver generation who are keen on keeping fit and active. These tips will show you how staying healthy can be fun, easy and even low-cost (or free).

TIP 1: LOW-IMPACT EXERCISE, HIGH HEALTH BENEFITS

Low-impact exercise is not only good for limiting joint and connective tissue pain caused by conditions like osteoporosis, it has also been shown in some studies to lower the risk of heart disease.

Going to the gym can be a great way to engage in moderate exercise. HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz gyms are located at the Balestier, Bedok Reservoir, Bukit Batok and Khatib clubhouses. Engaging in strength training at least two days a week can help you maintain good lower limb strength. This reduces the risk of falls and the likelihood of the elderly needing a walking aid. Fitness Workz offers personal training packages. For a fee, trainers customise fitness programmes and guide members through any exercises catered to your needs – such as the seated machine row or seated machine chest press.

TIP 2: SWIM FOR YOUR LIFE

Besides being gentle on the joints, swimming increases circulation and makes your body use oxygen more efficiently. It also helps to lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

Even non-swimmers can benefit. Aqua aerobics is a popular pool-based, cardio workout that improves balance in walking. Classes like the Aquafit sessions at HomeTeamNS Khatib are often conducted in waist or chest-high water under an instructor’s supervision, making them accessible to those less confident in water.

HomeTeamNS members can visit HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir to check out their infinity pool. Better yet, tour the different HomeTeamNS clubhouse swimming pools to decide on your favourite spot. (Extra tip: HomeTeamNS members enjoy free access to clubhouse pools daily, so a swim session there doesn’t just beat the heat, it beats the crowd and saves you money.)

TIP 3: LEARN AND GET FIT

If doing the same exercises sounds boring, why not try something new? One of the key tenets of active ageing involves learning a new skill or activity. This has been shown to improve well-being and confidence among seniors, in addition to increasing their social participation.

For example, yoga doesn’t require you to have the flexibility of a human pretzel. Start off with gentle yoga classes at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse. Benefits range from improved mobility and balance to slower cognitive decline.

On Monday and Wednesday mornings, Bedok Reservoir clubhouse hosts tai chi lessons. Tai chi helps enhance balance, flexibility and stability, even in elderly people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces one’s risk of falling, which can have serious consequences for seniors.

TIP 4: GET OUT IN NATURE

Getting out in nature has many benefits, especially for the elderly. It’s also a great way to change up your active ageing routine without breaking the bank. A study conducted in Singapore found that older participants enjoyed better sleep, reduced anxiety and improved cognitive functioning after being regularly exposed to the outdoors.

In our tropical city, you don’t have to travel far to relax in some greenery. Take a post-dinner stroll around your nearest neighbourhood park, or head to the environs of HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir for a leisurely waterfront walk with the family. HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok is near Bukit Batok Town Park (better known as Little Guilin), while northsiders frequenting HomeTeamNS Khatib are within easy reach of Yishun Park and Lower Seletar Reservoir.

TIP 5: FLEX THAT DISCOUNT FOR WELLNESS

Health may be wealth, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. HomeTeamNS members enjoy medical and wellness benefits, such as S$38 off your first visit to Total Health Chiropractic.

Members also have access to special rates at Thomson Medical Group, which offers healthcare services ranging from health screenings to dental care, flu vaccinations and traditional Chinese medicine. Whether you’re planning on acupuncture or teeth cleaning, it’s nice to know that your bank balance will stay healthy too.

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
Lifestyle On The Edge

Why Yishun is one of Singapore’s most misunderstood neighbourhoods

Don’t let the outlandish Yishun stories deter you from visiting this multi-faceted district that’s home to HomeTeamNS Khatib

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, HOMETEAMNS, NELLY’S RETRO SNACKS FACEBOOK PAGE

Singapore’s northerly region of Yishun used to be known for a host of headline-grabbing incidents  – alleged supernatural sightings, strange crimes and other unusual incidents. However, Yishun residents know this is not a fair representation of the town.

Along with the many amenities at HomeTeamNS Khatib, the town boasts other fascinating gems including Singapore’s last fishing village, a sustainable market with lake views, and scenic walks with hints of its colourful past.

NIBBLE ON NOSTALGIA

Nelly’s Retro Snacks brings back the nostalgic goodness of old-school treats. Whether you’re a child of the ’70s or the new millennium, they have all kinds of tidbits that you will instantly recognise. Classic gemstone biscuits, chocolate wafers, figure-of-eight candy chocolates and whistling candies are just some of the sweet treats available.

There is a new branch at Causeway Point but the original one at Junction 9 offers a true old-school experience. Filled with metal tins and wired shelves, it’s a joy to hunt for your favourite snack there.

Where? Junction 9 (18 Yishun Avenue 9 #01-49 Singapore 768897)

SHOP AND EAT AT A SUSTAINABLE MARKET

Fancy a lake view with your coffee? The Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre offers a scenic cafe experience. On the first and third weekend of each month, the venue hosts the Zero Market. Visitors  can browse and buy a variety of fresh produce and sustainable goods.

Why the name? The organisers have adopted a  zero meat, zero plastic approach and aim to make it zero waste in the future. If you love anything handcrafted, upcycled, or pre-loved, this Yishun oasis is definitely worth visiting.

Where? Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre (30A Yishun Central 1, Singapore 768196)

INDULGE IN LOCAL FAVES AT CHONG PANG

Ask any local to recommend good food and Chong Pang Market & Food Centre will probably be on their list. Other than the institution that is Chong Pang Nasi Lemak, the hawker centre is also the perfect place to satisfy your cravings for local delights.

Just a 10-minute walk from Yishun MRT, you’ll find a food haven with all types of cuisines and flavours. Try the famous Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck for its aromatic dishes that has won acclaim from Michelin. Or visit Guan Heng for a plate of beehoon slathered in generous satay sauce. Haji Ali offers homely Malay dishes like lontong, mee siam and mee rebus. Super Penyet offers crispy flattened chicken served with sharp, delicious belacan.

Where? Chong Pang Market & Food Centre (105 Yishun Ring Road, Singapore 760105)

EXPLORE SCENIC YISHUN DAM

Who knew a simple man-made structure could be so beautiful? Yishun Dam has become an unexpected perch for people to enjoy golden sunset views. Far enough from the crowds to be quiet, yet accessible enough by public transport, it has been enjoyed as a landmark by couples, families hikers and cyclists. Its fresh green lawns are great picnic spots and ideal for setting up that trending camp-and-coffee spot. It’s also a great location to catch local fauna. Astronomy buffs flock there as it’s situated far enough from built-up areas that cameras and telescopes are not affected by light pollution.

Next to it is Jenal Jetty and a little fishing village that time forgot. While the village is not open to the public, you can still catch sight of villagers from a distance.

Where? Yishun Dam (Yishun Avenue 1, near the junction of Seletar West Link and Seletar Aerospace Drive)

REMINISCE ABOUT THE PAST ON A HISTORIC TRAIL

Yishun became home to Asia’s first cineplex in 1992 when Yishun 10 (now GV Yishun) opened. While some expected it to fail, the multiplex has thrived. You can find out more about this along the curated Yishun-Sembawang Heritage Trail. Discover how Chong Pang became the first neighbourhood centre in Yishun New Town and why it is marked by two stone gateways. Learn how Yishun Park used to be a plantation that belonged to Chye Kay village.

The trail starts at Singapore’s first outdoor heritage space, Heritage Garden @ Yishun, and goes past hot springs, iconic eateries, a striking minaret and the area’s only national monument, Old Admiralty House.

PADDLE PAST NATURAL MANGROVES

Most people know about Sungei Buloh’s wetlands, but Yishun holds its own natural treasure – Sungei Khatib Bongsu. A rich mangrove and mudflat habitat, the area is seeing growing interest as the park and connectors to the area are developed. The area is teeming with wildlife and marine ecosystems and is a popular stopover for migratory birds.

The best way to see this is on kayaks, where you can row past several sections of well-preserved mangroves. Witness amazing sights like the natural tunnel formed by the trees – which will have you thinking you’re not in Singapore.

VISIT SINGAPORE’S LARGEST MULTI-INSTALLATION INDOOR PLAYGROUND

AdventureHQ is another first for Yishun. Located at HomeTeamNS Khatib, it is Singapore’s first and largest multi-installation indoor playground. It features the longest indoor slide in Singapore and offers plenty of challenging obstacles. Make your way across swinging tires, narrow rope bridges and even a fossil cave system.

The clubhouse is also perfect for organising group outings at the Mancaves. Play console games, unleash your karaoke skills or enjoy a barbecue with loved ones. Children can explore the T-Play Indoor Playground. Up for a little challenge? Head to TactSim for some target practice or split into teams to see who can hold fort.

Where? HomeTeamNS Khatib  (2 Yishun Walk, Singapore 767944)

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
Lifestyle On The Edge

Guardians of Our Borders: How ICA Connects Singapore to the World

What does it take to ensure smooth immigration clearance for all travellers departing from and arriving at Changi Airport all year round?

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY

Last December, 4.6 million travellers passed through Changi Airport – a number that’s likely to increase this year, as international travel continues to pick up post-COVID.

Smoothly clearing a large number of travellers 24/7 is no small feat. Thankfully, technology is helping to ease the workload says Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Inspector (INSP) Haslam Yau.

“It has also enhanced immigration clearance experience and facilitated the movement of the high volume of travellers passing through Changi Airport,” he says.

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

INSP Haslam and his team member overseeing the operations of the automated lanes at Terminal 2

INSP Haslam leads a team of 15 ICA officers to ensure the smooth running of ground operations at Changi Airport Terminal 2. On a day-to-day basis, he assesses the travellers who have been referred to him by his officers to determine if they are eligible to enter Singapore. As a Team Leader, INSP Haslam provides guidance to his team members, keeps them updated and trained on the latest Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as well as ensure that they have adequate breaks, especially on days with heavy flight loads.

When a traveller is referred to INSP Haslam by frontline officers, he will conduct further screening, interviews and baggage checks to establish the intent of the traveller. 

“We may ask questions about their duration of stay and itinerary in Singapore. This helps us assess their eligibility for entry into Singapore,” he explained. “Every case is different, and each case may warrant a different course of action. As a Team Leader, I have to think on my feet and make an informed decision.”

At the checkpoints, ICA continues to innovate its clearance capabilities to better manage the increasing volume of travellers. One such initiative deployed at Changi Airport is the Automated Clearance Initiative (ACI). Under ACI, eligible foreign visitors can use the automated lanes for immigration clearance on arrival, without prior enrolment of their biometrics. Enrolment is done automatically as the traveller clears through immigration using the automated lanes. Once enrolled, they will be able to clear immigration using the automated lanes when they depart and on subsequent visits to Singapore. 

ICA also implemented the Special Assistance Lanes at selected passenger halls at Changi Airport which allows family groups and travellers using wheelchairs to enjoy convenience of immigration self-clearance with their biometrics. Singapore is the first country in the world to introduce an automated lane that allows multiple travellers to perform self-immigration clearance as a group.

FASTER, BETTER, MORE EFFICIENT

There are more tech-powered updates in store. In 2024, majority of travellers will no longer need to present their passport to depart Changi Airport, thanks to the implementation of end-to-end biometric clearance. Travellers would not need to produce their passport and boarding pass multiple times during the boarding process. Their biometrics will serve as the single token of authentication at the various automated touchpoints. However, travellers will still need to produce their passports when arriving at their destinations.

Adding to this convenience is the MyICA Mobile application, a one-stop digital platform to transact with ICA anytime and anywhere. This app allows users to access all ICA e-Services, including SG Arrival Card (SGAC) with health declaration functions.

The SGAC was introduced as part of ICA’s move towards paperless immigration clearance. It replaced the paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card that foreign visitors were required to submit to ICA upon arrival at our checkpoints. During COVID-19, ICA included the electronic health declaration function, which allowed travellers to submit both their arrival details and health declaration online before entering Singapore. Despite the easing of travel restrictions, travellers entering via air and sea are still required to submit SGAC to mitigate the risk of importation of diseases of concern (e.g. Yellow Fever and Ebola) into Singapore.

MyICA Mobile app makes filling in SGAC much easier, explained INSP Haslam. For those who travel in and out of Singapore by air frequently, they can create and store their personal profiles within the app. With the profile created, travellers would only need to update their trip details and health declaration for the subsequent trips, instead of filling in their personal details again. Families can also easily submit the SGAC as a group by having a member create and store the profiles of each family member on the app and submit it on their behalf.

“They won’t have to fill up the arrival card on the spot, which makes immigration clearance faster,” he said. “Travellers can submit the SGAC up to three days prior to arriving in Singapore, including on the day of arrival.” 

INSP Haslam highlighted that the MyICA Mobile app also helps travellers avoid falling prey to scammers. Some commercial entities may mislead travellers into thinking that they need to be paid a fee to fill in and submit the SGAC on their behalf. 

“These agencies are not endorsed by ICA,” he said firmly. “Travellers can submit SGAC either via ICA’s website or the MyICA Mobile app. The submission is free of charge and takes approximately three to ten minutes to complete.”

SERVING TRAVELLERS WITH HEART

Being a team leader at Changi Airport for over two years, INSP Haslam relishes the opportunity to interact with travellers of different backgrounds.

One particularly memorable incident occurred when an elderly Japanese traveller with dementia could not find her passport.

“She couldn’t converse in English and couldn’t recall where she had left her passport,” recounted INSP Haslam. “I asked one of my officers to see if anyone was waiting for her at the arrival hall.”

The officer spotted a younger Japanese woman who turned out to be the elderly lady’s daughter. She described the pouch her mother kept her passport in. INSP Haslam radioed the duty terminal manager to ask the airline’s representatives to search the aircraft. The passport and its pouch were found in her seat pocket and the traveller was cleared through immigration.

“She was really frail and looked terrified,” said INSP Haslam. “When she saw her daughter, she burst into tears.”

For INSP Haslam and his fellow ICA officers, using their wits, training and armed with technology to ensure that travellers begin or end their journeys smoothly is all in a day’s work – and key to their commitment to safeguard Singapore’s borders.

LESS HASSLE, MORE TRAVEL

To keep travel hassle-free during the upcoming year-end holidays, INSP Haslam has a tip or two for Singaporeans embarking on or returning from their holidays abroad at Changi Airport.

“Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months before travelling and remember to submit your SGAC within three days before arriving in Singapore to enjoy a smooth clearance on arrival,” he said.

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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In The Force

The Home Team Volunteer Network is helping to empower lives and boost public safety. Here’s how.

From helping ex-offenders to training to be a Community First Responder, these two volunteers share how helping others has also made a difference in their lives.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: HOME TEAM VOLUNTEER NETWORK

Mdm Jenap M Said and Lai Jiong Shen have been giving back to others. The former is a volunteer leader with the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) volunteer scheme, and contributes as an event ambassador and strong advocate for the YRP. Jiong Shen is a Civil Defence Lionhearter (CDLH) and is trained in emergency skills to be a Community First Responder.

‘IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE’

Mdm Jenap volunteering as an event ambassador at the Yellow Ribbon Project booth.

Mdm Jenap’s connection to the Yellow Ribbon Project began when she participated in the inaugural Yellow Ribbon Prison Run in 2009. She found meaning in the YRP’s purpose of raising awareness, generating acceptance and inspiring community action towards offering beyond second chances to our beneficiaries and their families. This propelled her continued participation in subsequent Yellow Ribbon Prison Runs. In 2012, her firm beliefs crystalised into action and she began her volunteering journey. She single-handedly raised $120,000 in donations where she ran 60km dressed in a full Catwoman costume to support former offenders in their studies. Today, as a volunteer leader within the YRP volunteer scheme, she specialises in advocating for the YRP at events, roadshows and guiding newer volunteers through their volunteer journey.

“I feel grateful and extremely happy when I volunteer or raise funds for ex-offenders, especially when I hear about how they have turned over a new leaf and are able to successfully reintegrate into society,” she said.

Even when her approaches to the public are rebuffed, she responds with a warm, gracious smile, turning rejection into an opportunity to make a connection. Why? She believes that every “no” brings her one step closer to a “yes”.

Moving forward, she seeks to deepen her understanding of mental health issues, recognising its rising prevalence in our community and the need for the community to develop empathy for people undergoing mental health issues. In addition, she feels that this is an area for growth both personally and in her role as a volunteer.

ON A MISSION TO IMPART LIFE-SAVING SKILLS

Jiong Shen (right) and Jun Ren (left), in action during one of their CDLH’s activities.

Jiong Shen is currently the honorary general secretary of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) CDLH executive committee. The organisation aims to impart civil defence skills to the school’s population. 

The third-year mechanical engineering student had already received some civil defence training. He was a former member of the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps (NCDCC) and had attended courses that equipped him with knowledge on basic fire and rescue, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Becoming a CDLH wasn’t initially on his radar until a friend told him about the club. He hasn’t looked back since. “Witnessing members of the public grasp the emergency preparedness knowledge I share with them is particularly rewarding,” he said.  

When the club resumed its activities after COVID-19 restrictions had eased, he realised it needed to address several challenges. For instance, there was an absence of clearly defined roles within the club, so members had to juggle various responsibilities.

Guidance from individuals like Mr Aaron Lee, staff-in-charge of NTU CDLH Club and COL Bob Tan, Deputy Director of Volunteer & Community Partnership Department from Singapore Civil Defence Force proved invaluable in navigating these early hurdles.

LOOKING AHEAD

In 2024, Jiong Shen hopes to continue empowering students with vital civil defence skills, enhancing safety and well-being across NTU’s campus.

“Knowing that the information can empower someone to make a difference in critical situations adds a profound sense of fulfilment to my volunteer journey,” he added.

Looking ahead, Mdm Jenap strives to continue deepening social connections and broadening society’s mindset in embracing beyond second chance..

“I hope that at least my warm smile can have a positive impact on that stranger, making that small connection to brighten up their day,” she says.

Mdm Jenap and Jiong Shen highlight the transformative impact volunteers can make in their communities. Together, their aspirations ensure a continued legacy of positive change.

Do you want to join as a Home Team volunteer? Discover the Home Team Volunteer Network today! You can also check out our Instagram and Facebook Page, @htvolunteers, to learn about our 11 schemes. Learn more on how you can make a difference in your community now!

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
Club Buzz Lifestyle

Meet the inspiring young recipients of the HomeTeamNS Children’s Education Awards 2023

This year’s award recipients boast varied passions, from uplifting the community to tinkering with technology.

BY ALYWIN CHEW

When Charles Tan applied for the HomeTeamNS Children’s Education Awards (CEA) 2023 on behalf of his daughter Hazel several months ago, his objective was simple — to show her that hard work can pay off.

In November this year, Hazel was among 65 student recipients of the HomeTeamNS CEA bursary, which disbursed a total of $50,000 in cash prizes and vouchers to defray their education expenses. Since its inception in 2004, the initiative has benefitted close to 2,700 children of HomeTeamNS members — and continues to power the ambitions of this year’s bright young sparks.

PAYING IT FORWARD

HomeTeamNS Children's Education Awards Recipient Hazel Tan (middle) with her family and HomeTeamNS President Mr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

A well-rounded student with a passion for music, Hazel has been playing the guzheng since she was in primary school. She also participated in public performances as a member of her secondary school’s choir. One of the highlights of her time with the group was performing for elderly patients with whom she interacted at Bright Vision Community Hospital.

“I realised that the seniors just needed someone to chat with. I am very grateful for the opportunity to provide them with companionship,” muses Hazel, who hopes to continue making a positive impact in the community. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in either Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Science at the National University of Singapore. “As a pharmacist, I can help patients by providing them with the care and medications they need to feel better,” she says.

The accomplished young woman, who scored exceptionally well in her GCE O-Level examinations and is currently studying Pharmaceutical Science in Nanyang Polytechnic, attributes her academic success to effective time management, hard work, and her parents’ guidance. “My parents have taught me the importance of education and helped me to set achievable goals. This has shaped my positive mindset towards learning,” she says.

When asked about his parenting philosophy, Mr Tan says he always encourages his daughter to do her best and to never be afraid of failure. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone learns through failure. This is how we get better at what we do,” he asserts.

PURSUING VARIED PASSIONS

From left: Proud father Mr Abdul Halim Bin Dahlan; President of HomeTeamNS Mr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim; HomeTeamNS Children's Education Awards 2023 recipient Muhammad Fatris Ihsan Bin Muhamad Hafizi.

Another parent who understands the importance of positive reinforcement is Mr Abdul Halim Bin Dahlan, who helped his elder son Muhammad Fatris Ihsan Bin Muhamad Hafizi apply for the CEA. Attaining the award has spurred the 20-year-old to excel in his studies. Fatris, who studied Precision Engineering at the Institute of Technical Education, was named in the Director’s List for meritorious academic performance.

“Here’s my advice to juniors: Be sure to study hard, but also find that balance between schoolwork and life. It also helps to pair up with a classmate and support one another in your studies,” says Fatris, who enjoys working with tools and machines. “I would like to become an engineer who designs machine parts. I’m also considering becoming a firefighter at SCDF, where I’d be part of the Home Team just like my father, who is a former police officer,” he shares.

The Koo family with President of HomeTeamNS Mr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

Such role models are also present in the Koo family, whose three daughters attained this year’s CEA thanks to their good grades and extracurricular achievements. 13- and 12-year-old sisters Valerie and Janice demonstrated their innovative bent at their school’s Social Innovator Star Award in 2022, where Janice conceptualised an accessory that enables habits for healthy smartphone usage.

“Almost everyone has a smartphone today, and many end up getting myopia because they hold the phones too close to their faces,” says the aspiring author, who is an avid reader. “This is why I designed a product with a rod that pushes the face away when it gets too close to the phone.”

She and her sisters, including 11-year-old Amanda, credit their mother, Cheryl Yeo, for their successes. “My mum is the biggest motivator in my academic journey. In fact, I view her as a rival — I want to perform better than she did in the past!” quips Valerie, who scored a single digit in her PSLE.

The future glimmers bright for all recipients of the HomeTeamNS CEA 2023. Fatris perfectly sums up their sense of optimism: “I truly believe that doing what you love, no matter what, will bring you places.”

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
Club Buzz Lifestyle

‘Sleigh’ that Christmas calendar with thoughtful gifting tips and festive HomeTeamNS activities

Christmas is almost upon us, here’s how you can make the most of the holiday season and enjoy true festive feels.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the need to plan activities without overspending every December. But these gifting tips and the upcoming year-end events at HomeTeamNS clubhouses will help you score smiles from your loved ones.

CREATE MEMORIES WITH THESE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES: 

GO ON A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE WITH OTAH & FRIENDS

Join Otah & Friends from now till Dec 31 as they embark on a quest, Operation: Santa Trap, to uncover Santa’s secret message. HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Level 2 Atrium is now home to Otah’s Living Room, where it has been transformed into a treasure trove of clues, puzzles, and holiday cheer! Participants can look forward to an interactive journey to decode Santa’s message hidden amidst the seasonal décor and surprises planted throughout the clubhouse. Stand to win mini Otah & Friends plushies when you complete the scavenger hunt

Also, get to meet and greet Otah on Dec 23 at the following timeslots: 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm

When? Until Dec 31
Where? HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir (Level 2, Atrium)

Otah & Friends showcase is part HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir 1 Year Anniversary celebrations. Find more information on other HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir 1st Anniversary activities and promotions here.

DELIGHT IN THE FESTIVE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION AT HOMETEAMNS-JOM BALESTIER

Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier as we usher in the Christmas season on Dec 16. Engage in a vibrant array of activities, featuring entertaining games, a heartwarming movie marathon, the creation of gingerbread houses, arts and crafts, all leading up to an exclusive members’ lucky draw. Brace yourself for an authentically festive experience!

Hurry, there are limited Gingerbread House Building sets up for grabs! Register your interest for it here

GET THE POPCORN READY FOR CHRISTMAS SCREENINGS

On Dec 22-23, HomeTeamNS Khatib’s Claus’ Christmas Party offers complimentary movie screening of iconic Christmas titles that are guaranteed to give everyone festive feels. Relive the zany but clever antics of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, or enjoy a spirited life-changing fable in The Christmas Carol. Bring the entire gang then have a post-movie feast – think seafood, Japanese or Thai – at one of the clubhouse’s three restaurants. Members deals apply!

From 12pm to 4pm on Dec 22-23, your little ones can also make their own Christmas Ornaments and write Christmas cards for their loved ones.

HAVE AN ENCHANTING TIME AT A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND

A magical time awaits at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok – literally – on Dec 17. From 3-4pm, magicians will mesmerise guests at lobby A with mind-boggling illusions and interactive magic tricks. Don’t miss the colourful creations of a face-painting artist and balloon sculptor. That’s not all, Otah is coming too. HomeTeamNS members or those who spend $50 at any HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok F&B outlets can redeem an exclusive Otah & Friends plushie. 

Also, just for the kiddos, there will also be a colouring station at the clubhouse lobby on Dec 9-10, Dec 16-17 and Dec 23-24.

ENJOY A STAYCAY WITH YOUR LOVED ONES

Many hotels in Singapore provide a perfect escape with cherished company. The newly-opened Pullman Singapore Hill Street has been designed around a railway junction theme – even the room corridors resemble carriages. The Singapore Edition by Safdie Architects, promises an understated elegant cocoon for couples wanting their me-time in the heart of Orchard Road.      

HomeTeamNS members also enjoy extra savings at certain hotels. 

Frasers Hospitality offers up to 20 per cent off their properties till the end of the year.

• The illustrious Goodwood Park Hotel is offering exclusive rates until Dec 22. 

JOIN A FUN AND CREATIVE WORKSHOP TOGETHER

Learning new skills together can be an incredible bonding experience, and there are many creative, crafting workshops that have sprouted up in the past few years. From gorgeous wooden earrings to leather accessories and even glassblowing lessons, Seek Sophie’s offerings can produce some real artisanal stuff. 

Over at Klook, create tufted rugs, bath bombs and terrariums. You could even create a signature scent for others in one of the many perfume lessons.

HomeTeamNS members can consider classes at H&H, where they get 10 per cent off, and create customised phone cases, fluid bears, or painted plaster dolls.

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT:

DIY YOUR OWN ADVENT CALENDAR

Advent calendars have become really popular recently and are actually extremely easy to make. You can create 25 origami boxes (bonus savings for using free gift wrapping from your shopping) and buy an equal number of gifts to put in them. Not as handy? Use pouches instead or recycle nice paper bags. It’s also a wallet-friendly option.

You could place sweets, stationery items and small toys for kids. For older recipients, try a mix of vouchers, travel-sized amenities and premium treats like chocolates. Make the final box something special for Christmas day!

ENJOY HOMETEAMNS MEMBERSHIP EXCLUSIVE CHRISTMAS PROMOS

Stretch that dollar even more with your HomeTeamNS membership and snag extra discounts to partner brands with festive-friendly gift ideas.

From the cutest backpacks to the most whimsical toys, Puttot offers a curated selection that is sure to be cherished by any parent and child – now at 10 per cent off for members till Aug 20, 2024. 

Also, HomeTeamNS members can enjoy 18 per cent off purchases on SHEIN’s platform until end-July 2024 and gain priority queue access to their upcoming pop-ups.

The Bloom Box offers 10 per cent off their many floral arrangements, and Lisse Cakes is offering the same for all their cakes. They are even throwing in a complimentary set of six cupcakes to sweeten the deal.

For house parties, pick up some coffee capsules from Tag Espresso. The playful packaging makes it a beautiful gift. Best of all, you don’t need to own a coffee machine to enjoy their delicious brews, now available at a 15 per cent discount. 

If you prefer a bottle of wine, One Cellar offers an extensive range of tipples. They’re offering S$20 off your first purchase of S$100 and more. So, let’s toast good bargains, great times and the best of company this December.

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
Club Buzz

The only school holiday activity list you need

It’s the school holidays, and while Singapore may be small, we’re always full of fun options for the entire family.

TEXT: MORGAN SWYONG

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

As parents go on leave and children wave farewell to their teachers, December offers many opportunities to gather and have fun. Even without the Christmas-New Year double-header, there are still plenty of other activities to make December a thrilling month for kids of all ages. Here are some to kickstart your year-end plans, along with budget options to keep wallets happy.

STEP INTO YOUR DISNEY DREAMS

Suitable for all ages. Tickets needed for visitors aged 1 year old and above. Prams not allowed.

Whether you grew up learning about the circle of life from The Lion King, or your kid is a big fan of  Elsa in Frozen, the Immersive Disney Animation event at Sands Theatres will tickle all your interest. Giant projections and clever sets help immerse visitors into their favourite Disney shows. Sing along with Elsa or be transported into iconic scenes from classics like Aladdin, Big Hero 6, Zootopia and Encanto.

DIVE INTO MUSICAL WATER ADVENTURES AND CHALLENGES

Recommended for ages 10 and above (participants need to be above 125cm and 30kg). Children under 12 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Aqua Adventure at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, Singapore’s first integrated indoor water park, promises many hours of thrills. Featuring the longest indoor water slide in Singapore, the 114m double slide and 85-metre blackhole tube are must-try features. Other highlights include wet rope courses and a dry netted obstacle area.

Hype up your aquatic adventure experience with their Weekend Jams every Saturday, where you can splash into the rhythm with specially curated themed music. Upcoming jams to look out for include Reggaeton, Emo Nite, Disney Classics, and Christmas Special.

Also happening every weekend, try to outpace each other on the Climbing Wall and Aqua Course Speed Challenge for a gamified challenge. Thanks to the sheltered venue, you won’t have to cancel plans if it rains.

Bonus: HomeTeamNS members enjoy exclusive members’ rate from $36 per pax if you get the Aquatic Duo Pass or Aquatic Five-O group bundle. Get your ticket here.

MAKE YOUR GREAT ESCAPE

Suitable for ages 13 and above.

Escape @ Science Centre features three fun escape rooms that will challenge you mentally and physically. In Museum of Mankind, you hunt down a plant to save humanity from aliens. In Shangri-la, you’re teleported to a mythical metaverse to restore an ancient artefact. Or perhaps you’d prefer to save your friend from a mad scientist?

Bonus: HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10 per cent off Science Centre and KidsSTOP Annual passes. Get more information here.

TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT

Laser Quest is suitable for ages 7 and above (participants need to be at least 122cm); TactSim admits those 14 and above.

Battle it out at Laser Quest at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok! It combines the games of Hide-And-Seek and Tag with high-tech laser guns, special lighting and high energy music. It can also accommodate up to 10 players per game.

Coined as Singapore’s first indoor PVP airsoft, TactSim at HomeTeamNS Khatib is perfect for the exceptionally thrill-chasing enthusiasts. Equipped with specially designed arenas to maximise your gameplay experience, put your teamwork and communication skills to the test. The adrenaline-filled competitive shooting sport comprises of various game modes and categories catered to all levels of airsoft enthusiasts.

Bonus: HomeTeamNS members can enjoy exclusive member rates at S$4.04 per game for Laser Quest and starting from S$21.80 for TactSim. Get your ticket for TactSim here and Laser Quest here.

TEE OFF AT BOAT QUAY

Suitable for ages 5 and up.

Kulnari brings together three unexpected elements: Miniature golf, mystery solving and a bar! The Kulnari team there has created a mystery game that runs in parallel to your golf game. Enjoy a cocktail (or mocktail) at the 9th hole and strategise your next leg. Located at Boat Quay, the experience recreates a 1920s Singapore setting. Finish the day with an optional invite to Quay House, where you can enjoy Asian tapas.

GET CRAFTY

Suitable for ages 3 to 12.

If your young ones are into crafts, T-Play Khatib and T-Play Bukit Batok offer free sessions throughout the month when you visit the indoor playgrounds. Visit Peranakan themed T-Play Khatib to learn how to create some 3D fruits such as strawberries and grapes from now until Dec 10. T-Play Bukit Batok offers aviation and space themed fun, and from now until Dec 17, kids can learn how to create and design their own rocket and aircraft.

Bonus: HomeTeamNS Child members enjoy exclusive members’ rate at $10.09 per entry. Get your ticket for T-Play Bukit Batok here and T-Play Khatib here.

SCORE A TURKEY

Suitable for ages 9 and up.

Visit StarBowl at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok to score a different kind of turkey – that’s when a player scores three consecutive strikes. It’ll take some practice, but with its affordable prices, you won’t rack up a hefty bill. Since it’s open daily from noon to midnight, it’s extremely easy to book a session.

 

HomeTeamNS members get a special discounted rate starting from S$2.20 a game. (Note: Prices are not inclusive of shoe rental and socks.) To book, call: 6564 7500.

HIT NEW HEIGHTS AT A GIANT PARK

Suitable for ages 7 and up (participants need to be above 125cm ). Children 12 and below should be accompanied by a guardian.

With its gamification system and augmented play, Action Motion at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir is a popular destination for those looking for a physical challenge. Hit the Valo Climb bouldering wall for a fun interactive Augumented-Reality (AR) game play or clamber up the more traditional Ascend Lab climbing walls to work those arm and leg muscles. You can also take on the two-storey Rapid Action obstacle course and try to set the fastest times to get your name on the public scoreboard and earn points. This December, accumulate your points and exchange them for an array of cool gadgets and accessories.

Bonus: HomeTeamNS members enjoy exclusive members’ rate from $30.03 per pax if you get the Duo Pass or Squad Pass group bundle. Get your ticket for Action Motion here.

MAKE A COLOURFUL SPLASH

Suitable for ages 6 and up.

At Splat Paint House, you don’t need to be an artist to create a colourful masterpiece. Ready your canvas, pour out some paint, and let the random nature of motion take over as you splash out your art. Use the supplied tools – and your creativity – to flick, splash or spray your designs. For an additional twist, ask about their UV paint parties. The splatters take on a neon life of their own, and after 48 hours, you’ll have your own painting.

CLIMB AND PLAY

Suitable for ages 8 and up. (participants need to be above 125cm and maximum 120kg). Children are recommended to be accompanied by a guardian.

 

Adventure HQ promises hours of thrilling fun. The stations include Singapore’s longest indoor slide, a two-tiered Indoor Challenge Ropes Course and an Urban Climb Wall. Don’t miss the Fossil Labyrinth, Singapore’s first 165m-long indoor artificial caving  that challenges you to crawl and climb in the dark. Cloud Climbs is a netted structure visitors can climb up. Make it to the top and you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Adventure HQ. 

 

Bonus: HomeTeamNS members looking to play and climb as a family can buy the all-access buddy or bundle package, which includes two or five all-access passes respectively for just $36.34 per pax onwards. Get your ticket for Adventure HQ here

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
In The Force

Why I don’t regret leaving Australia to serve National Service in Singapore

SC 2 Athalla Rajendra Prayata takes pride in the country he calls home, as well as his role in ensuring Singaporeans’ safety and security.

When I received the letter informing me that I had to return to Singapore to serve my National Service (NS), I knew that it was time to usher in a new phase of my life as a more responsible adult in the country where I spent my formative years.

I was born in Indonesia, but moved to Singapore when I was one, and am a Singapore Permanent Resident. My family and I lived here for 12 years before migrating to Australia, where I was exposed to a different lifestyle. There, I enjoyed outdoor activities amid natural landscapes such as mountains, beaches, and lakes. Nonetheless, I’m proud to call the Lion City my home. This is where I enjoyed growing up in a safe and secure environment, as well as built a strong academic foundation.

Despite having previously lived in the country, I am still trying to cope with its fast-paced and highly efficient environment. One of my biggest challenges has been communicating in Malay with my NS peers, as my mother tongue is Bahasa Indonesia. Inevitably, I tend to mix up both languages, much to the amusement of my Malay friends in Singapore and Indonesian relatives. I often watch Malay shows to get better at the language, though my sentences still include English words whenever I speak — it reminds me of Singlish!

While training at the Home Team Academy upon entering the Singapore Police Force (SPF), I had a close group of batchmates with whom I would joke around with to keep our spirits high. Thanks to their support, I was able to grow accustomed to the tough training regime and graduate from the academy.

I am currently a Community Engagement Officer of the Community Policing Unit at Tampines Neighbourhood Police Centre. Here, I help raise awareness of the latest crime trends and crime prevention measures by conducting house visits and delivering talks to the public. This posting has been a great opportunity for self-development as it has enabled me to further fine-tune my public speaking skills, which I had honed while hosting events and delivering speeches back when I was a student counsellor in Australia.

One of the highlights of my role as a Community Engagement Officer is conducting talks at schools. Evidently, it’s important for residents across all age groups to be aware of crime prevention tactics and the different ways they can reach out to the police when they require assistance. Being able to help prevent others from falling prey to crime gives me a true sense of accomplishment as it allows me to play my part in keeping Singapore safe and secure.  

Overall, NS has helped me to develop better social skills, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and grow out of my comfort zone. In fact, I often tell overseas relatives who are curious about NS about my eye-opening experience that has helped me to mature as an individual equipped with skills to overcome life’s challenges. They always look forward to hearing stories of my time there. Serving in SPF has taught me to always remain positive even in the toughest of times. Not to mention, it has provided me with practical working experience before I embark on my tertiary education.

Beyond serving NS, I’m happy to have been able to reconnect with the culture and people of Singapore. I look forward to exploring different parts of South-east Asia to broaden my horizons and learn about different lifestyles.

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
Club Buzz Lifestyle

6 School Holiday Camps For Your Kids To Learn Something New

Aid your little ones’ holistic development through these engaging camps themed around innovation, art, science, mental wellness, and nature.

The year-end school holiday runs from 18 November to 31 December 2023 — it’s time for your kids to enjoy a well-deserved break and have fun exploring outside the confines of their classrooms. What better way to nurture their sense of wonder than by signing them up for fun and educational camps, including those at HomeTeamNS’ signature school holiday programme, SkillFest December 2023? This year’s edition is lined up with activities that focus on innovation, while stoking their sense of adventure through a slew of action-packed challenges at various HomeTeamNS clubhouse attractions.

Let your curious young learners explore their interests, develop useful skills, and forge friendships — while creating lasting memories of a holiday they’ll want to brag to their schoolmates about.

1. DELVE INTO GLOBAL INVENTIONS AT HOMETEAMNS’ SKILLFEST DECEMBER 2023

Pique your young learners’ curiosity with ‘Around The World with S.T.E.A.M,’ the latest edition of HomeTeamNS’ SkillFest that is themed around science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Over the course of three days, children will learn about the inner workings of boomerangs, bridges, steam engines, and more at attractions across three HomeTeamNS clubhouses. Besides learning about remarkable human inventions, solving puzzles and conducting experiments, they can look forward to working as a team to conquer obstacle courses at Adventure HQ’s Urban Climb Wall and Ninja Course, engaging in immersive team challenges at LaserQuest, and putting their endurance to the test with Rapid Action and Valo Jump at Action Motion. You can choose to sign your kids up for a single day or purchase a 3-day bundle SkillPass. Camp fees will include a T-shirt, activity booklet, lunch and snacks.

WHEN: 4, 5 & 6 December (9am – 6pm)

WHERE:  HomeTeamNS Khatib, Bukit Batok and Bedok Reservoir

FEES: SINGLE-DAY SKILLPASS: $80 (for HomeTeamNS members); $110 (PA/SAFRA members); $130 (non-members) per child aged 8 to 12 years

3-DAY BUNDLE SKILLPASS: $210 (HomeTeamNS members); $260 (PA/SAFRA members); $300 (non-members) per child aged 8 to 12 years

2. BECOME A MASTER CODER AT WONDERSWORK

Want to channel your kids’ obsessions with their favourite games and cartoons towards something productive? Sign them up for WondersWork’s LEGO robotics coding camps. In the three-day Pokémon Master Trainer Challenge, students will learn to build and code a robotic exoskeleton hand to catch Pokémon. Alternatively, in a two-day camp, young coders get to programme their favourite Pokémon and Minecraft characters to team up and fight zombies. All materials, robot kits and other equipment will be provided, along with lunch and a drink.

WHEN: Pokemon Master Trainer Challenge Lego Robotics Coding Technology STEAM camp: 20 November to 10 January (10am – 3pm)

Minecraft X Pokemon VS Zombies STEAM Lego Robotics Coding camp:  23 November to 12 January (10am – 3pm)

WHERE: WondersWork at Great World City

FEES: Pokemon Master Trainer Challenge Lego Robotics Coding Technology STEAM camp: $590 per child aged 5 to 14 years

Minecraft X Pokemon VS Zombies STEAM Lego Robotics Coding camp: $438 per child aged 5 to 14 years

3. DISCOVER ART THROUGH SCIENCE AND SUPERHEROES AT ARTARY – ACADEMY OF CHILDREN’S ART

Whether or not your child loves art, ARTARY’s two-day school holiday workshops will open their eyes to the beauty that lies hidden in nature, as well as nurture their creativity beyond the average school art lesson. They’ll get to don a lab coat and discover visually stunning cells through a microscope, learn about the human anatomy, and paint a psychedelic X-ray. At the Cartoons & Superheroes workshop, they can recreate their favourite superheroes in stained glass and lead a ‘task force’ to battle fictional criminals. Students can bring their own refreshments for a 30-minute afternoon break.

WHEN: 23 November to 15 December (11.15am – 4pm)

WHERE: Various ARTARY centres islandwide

FEE: $298 per child aged 5 to 12 years, $268.20 for enrolled students with ARTARY

4. BAKE FESTIVE TREATS AT BAKER’S BREW STUDIO

 

Cultivate the aspirations of little fans of hit TV series Junior Bake Off at the three-day baking camps organised by Baker’s Brew Studio. They’ll learn how to safely create delightful festive treats — including Snowman Cookies and the Reindeer Bento Cake at the Mini Bakers camp for four- to seven-year-olds, or Snowflake Pull-Apart Cupcakes and the Present Surprise Cake at the Junior Bakers camp for seven- to 12-year-olds. Besides the goodies they’ve baked and decorated, the children will get to take home a skill worth flaunting at upcoming Christmas parties.

WHEN: 18 November to 30 December (10am – 12pm or 1.30pm – 3.30pm)

WHERE: Baker’s Brew at Paragon Shopping Centre

FEE: From $288 per child aged 4 to 12 years

5. TRAIN LIKE AN OLYMPIAN AT CAMP MOVEMENT BY SPORTS SCHOOLING

Held at the academy established by Singapore’s very own swimming champ Joseph Schooling, Camp Movement is all about developing active, confident kids through sports and movement. Participants will kick off the camp by learning the fundamentals of sports science, including how to engage key muscles and avoid injuries, before trying out sports such as tennis, swimming, and karate. There’s even a dance class. The four-day programme culminates in an exciting mini-Olympics and awards ceremony that celebrates each child’s achievements.

WHEN: 20 November to 14 December (9am – 12.15pm)

WHERE: Centre for Movement at NTU@one-north

FEE: $420 per child aged 4 to 12 years

6. COMMUNE WITH NATURE AT FOREST SCHOOL SINGAPORE

Who says there aren’t opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in shopping mall-glutted Singapore? Forest School Singapore wants to help your children connect with nature and in the process, build their confidence, resilience, and sense of responsibility. Its three-day camps will allow children to explore the lush Clementi Forest and the 66ha Rifle Range Nature Park, where they may spot wildlife such as the Long-tailed Macaque and Sunda Colugo. The school also endeavours to help foster environmental awareness in children as future custodians of the planet.

WHEN: 20 November to 22 December (9am – 12pm or 9.30am – 12.30pm)

WHERE: Forest School Singapore Hutan Campus at Mayfair Park

FEE: $198 per child aged 4 to 12 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.