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Celebrate the inaugural Home Team Day with these exclusive privileges

Don’t miss these highlights commemorating the Home Team’s contributions to Singapore’s safety and security in the past, present and future.

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

TEXT: MELODY TAN

When Home Team officers are called upon, they respond with unwavering commitment, working tirelessly round the clock to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe and secure.

Spanning 10 Home Team departments and the Ministry of Home Affairs headquarter, these dedicated personnel spare no effort in ensuring the safety of Singaporeans – whether they are stationed on the ground or behind a desk.

The inaugural Home Team Day on 24 Feb 2024 is a recognition and celebration of their efforts and sacrifices, as well as the close cooperation among the agencies that make up a united Home Team. This date holds special significance as it marks the inception of the Home Team concept over 20 years ago in 1997.

To commemorate the occasion, here are some perks and benefits offered by HomeTeamNS tenants and partners exclusively for our Home Team Officers and National Servicemen.

FREE HOMETEAMNS MEMBERSHIP AND EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAYS

There’s never been a more opportune time to join the ranks, with a complimentary one-year Ordinary or Associate membership offer for eligible Home Team Officers, National Servicemen and those serving in the Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) and Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU). Registration for the complimentary membership for new members starts from mid-March 2024. Existing members will have their memberships automatically extended to 31 Mar 2025.

For a limited time till 31 Mar 2024, HomeTeamNS is extending this benefit to family members as well. HomeTeamNS Ordinary and Associate Members can also sign their spouse, children and parents up for a free one-year family membership, so that they can enjoy similar access to over 100 year-round deals and promotions available exclusively to HomeTeamNS members. These include one-for-one tickets at Cathay Cineplexes, fuel savings at Sinopec, shopping discounts at SHEIN, and more.

Plus, don’t miss out on an exciting Singapore Airlines ticket giveaway. HomeTeamNS members stand a chance to win a pair of return air tickets to Perth via the HomeTeamNS mobile app. Increase your odds by enrolling your family members for free between now and 23 Mar 2024. Each new member earns an additional chance in the draw.

AN ARRAY OF PRIVILEGES BEYOND THE CLUBHOUSES

Home Team Day is a nation-wide celebration that offers over 60 exclusive promotions at HomeTeamNS facilities and participating merchant partners islandwide, ranging from F&B, lifestyle and entertainment, shopping and travel.

Here are some exciting perks you can redeem via promo codes issued on the HomeTeamNS app or by flashing your HomeTeamNS digital membership card:

  • $2 off every $55 of gross fuel purchase at Sinopec (up to 3.6% additional discount), on top of the existing HomeTeamNS promotion of up to 24% off
  • 20% off a la carte items at Peach Garden
  • $138 for a 1-for-1 Spa Treat at Atos Wellness
  • 43% off selected home electronics and appliances from Philips
  • Up to 50% off selected retail items at Sheng Siong islandwide
  • 2 Taro Pie for $2.40, 24% off Double Mushroom Swiss Meal or Mushroom Swiss Tendergrill Chicken Value Meal at Burger King islandwide (except Airport stores)
  • 24% off two 90-minute tour tickets for a rigid hull inflatable boat with RHIB Singapore

These exclusive Home Team Day privileges complement the 100+ existing HomeTeamNS partner promotions, which include well-known brands like Hard Rock Café Singapore, Thomson Medical, Zalora, Frasers Hospitality, Kinderland International Education, and more. 

SPECIAL RATES ON CLUBHOUSE FACILITIES

Revel in playtime at half-price across all HomeTeamNS clubhouses’ recreational facilities, including T-Play, Adventure HQ, Action Motion, Aqua Adventure, and more.

Enjoy TactSim at HomeTeamNS Khatib at 50% off. Grab this exclusive offer when you make a booking between 24 and 26 Feb 2024.

For a limited time period between 24 to 26 Feb 2024, grab your tickets for a future visit to these facilities at a whopping 50% discount (subject to slot availability). Booking can be done via the Home Team Day website. Fitness enthusiasts will be pleased to note that this discount extends to the Fitness Workz Single Entry Pass, allowing you to sweat it out without burdening your wallet.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or planning a fun-filled hangout session with friends, be sure to check out the discounted rates for facilities at all HomeTeamNS clubhouses. Enjoy ballroom discounts ranging from 10% to 20% at HomeTeamNS Khatib, Bedok Reservoir and Balestier, or 20% off Mancave bookings at HomeTeamNS Khatib and Bedok Reservoir. Bonus: These promotional rates are stackable on top of current HomeTeamNS members’ rates.

Enjoy 20% Mancave bookings at HomeTeamNS Khatib and Bedok Reservoir, furbished with a Pandora Game Console, KTV System, Outdoor BBQ Patio with Electric Grill and more!

Hurry and book your slots as promotions are only valid for a limited time!  

For a comprehensive list of Home Team Day’s privileges and perks for HomeTeamNS members, visit www.hometeamns.sg/htd2024.

Here’s to a joyful Home Team Day, in recognition of our Home Team’s hard work throughout the year!

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

Here’s why passing your IPPT might be easier than you think

SUPT (NS) Terence Choo says the “secret” to passing the fitness test lies in shifting your mindset and routine.

PHOTOS: TERENCE CHOO

TEXT: ALYWIN CHEW

As the Chairman of The REAL® Run committee, SUPT (NS) Terence Choo has witnessed the transformative power of fitness. In 2017, he embarked on a personal project, compiling a collection of IPPT training tips that could benefit his fellow NSmen. Titled IPPT Ready, the online book was recently updated with additional tips that specifically help servicemen improve their performance in the three IPPT stations. Terence, who is a longstanding HomeTeamNS volunteer, shares with us more about the book — and his views on why passing IPPT is much less difficult than you may think.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO DEVELOP THIS ONLINE RESOURCE?

I wasn’t always as fit as I am today. In fact, I failed my first IPPT attempt in 2014! But I’ve since discovered the “secret” to passing the IPPT, and I wanted to share this with my fellow NSmen, through a dedicated IPPT resource website, which doesn’t quite exist anywhere else today. 

This one-stop guide is meant to help motivate NSmen and cultivate a more positive attitude towards IPPT. It’s also aimed at helping them train safely, effectively, and efficiently with three different levels — those who are restarting exercise, those who borderline pass or fail their IPPT, and those aiming for Silver and beyond. I have also included a special chapter for leaders and commanders on fitness motivation and the D.A.R.E. framework.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM THIS PERSONAL PROJECT OF YOURS?

The real challenge is not about addressing the fitness ability or knowledge of NSmen. Rather, they need to nurture their willingness to embrace health and fitness by discovering their personal meaning in pursuing better health and fitness. Once they uncover that meaningful purpose (which could be a professional or personal goal) that fuels their desire for strength and fitness, that will become the foundation for lasting transformation.

SO, WHAT IS THIS “SECRET” TO PASSING THE IPPT?

The secret is to be consistent, keep it simple, and have the right attitude towards fitness. A friend of mine who is 50, scored full marks on the push-up test. He doesn’t go to the gym regularly or train for long hours. All he did was incorporate a push-up routine into his daily life for the last 7 years. All he needed was a few minutes before showering or right after waking up. You may view the IPPT as an event that you need to train for and clear once a year. But I encourage you to see it from another perspective. Don’t train for the IPPT. Train for yourself. Make exercise an intrinsic part of your daily life.

HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO PEOPLE WHO ARGUE THAT THEY ARE TOO BUSY TO EXERCISE EVERY DAY?

Life in Singapore can be pretty hectic, but there is no reason why we cannot spare a few minutes every day to exercise. Find a routine that you have to do daily, for example, showering. Incorporate one set of squats or push-ups into your pre-showering routine. After a few weeks, and before you know it, it has become a routine that you’ll do naturally without thinking. One set of push-ups might even slowly turn into three or four sets. You can also look at this as a good way to energize yourself and feel good after a long day. I know this sounds rather unbelievable, but we only need a few minutes of exercise daily to pass the IPPT. 

Check out my online book for workout ideas that could help you enjoy working out even more. 

A FEW MINUTES? IS THAT REALLY ENOUGH TO GO FROM FAIL TO PASS?

Yes! Close to 25% of our NSmen just missed the passing mark by a few points. By investing a few minutes a day to do a few sets of push-ups or sit-ups or completing a short run helps to gradually improve your fitness over time. The key here is maintaining consistency and gradually increasing the intensity of the workout as you go along so that you improve and reach the required level to pass.

WHAT IF I’M SOMEONE WHO IS COMPLETELY OUT OF SHAPE AND CANNOT EVEN PERFORM A HANDFUL OF PUSH-UPS?

10 years ago, I could not do a single push-up. Consistency and patience led me to where I am now. You need to start with what you can do. Start with 8 to 12 repetitions of the variation that challenges you slightly. Do it daily, and as you get stronger, you can go for more repetitions or variations that are more challenging. Before long, you’ll be able to pass. Results are the fuel for greater action.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK THE MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE?

I would ask such individuals: Would improved fitness make your life more difficult or better? We all know the benefits of working out regularly far outweigh the drawbacks. Firstly, it is far more logical and productive to exercise just a few minutes every day than having to carve out time to attend hours of remedial training (NS FIT), which can be very disruptive. Secondly, it’s no secret that being fit and healthy comes with a host of benefits. You’ll look better. You’ll feel more energetic and healthier. Most importantly, it can also help you to reach your personal and professional goals!

WOULDN’T EXERCISING EVERY DAY BE DETRIMENTAL TO HEALTH? SHOULDN’T I HAVE REST DAYS?

It all depends on the intensity of your workout. After an intense workout, you can opt for passive recovery the following day, either with a massage or simply resting the muscle you trained. Alternatively, you can also do active recovery — light workouts that are a fraction of the normal intensity. Personally, I like to do active recovery, and that is to exercise daily. When I need more time to recover, I will do a light workout instead of an intense one.

SHOULD I ENGAGE A PERSONAL TRAINER AT A FITNESS WORKZ GYM TO HELP ME TRAIN FOR MY IPPT?

A personal trainer can give you  more targeted advice and help you to train safely by imparting good exercise techniques. You can also discover more about yourself by asking questions, which  can help you make the breakthroughs you want. You can speak with the staff at the Fitness Workz gym to find out what the personal training experience is like.

SUPT (NS) Terence Choo’s “magic ingredient” for improving IPPT scores

“Beetroot can help improve muscular endurance and help you do better, especially in the 2.4km run. A lot of research has backed this claim, and it has helped me personally. The nitrates in beetroot help reduce oxygen costs during exercise, and when you reduce the amount of oxygen you need, you can run at a fast pace for longer before getting tired. I usually start taking beetroot supplements about three days before the test. However, check with your healthcare provider if the supplements are suitable for you before getting started on them.”

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

How to prioritise your well-being and reimagine your leadership style with solo travel

Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS, reflects on her passion for solo travel and how it has shaped her leadership style.

PHOTOS: AGNES EU

TEXT: AGNES EU

“I would describe solo travel as liberating. You make decisions on your own, sometimes spontaneously, and deal with whatever comes next — even if it’s something bad, like a missed train. Being alone gives you the space to reflect and observe. During a trip to Kyoto, Japan, I noticed how softly people spoke on public transport, out of consideration for others. It made me a lot more conscious of my own tone and volume; something that I continue to be mindful of even today.

As a leader, I value these quiet pockets of time for inspiration and introspection. They’re hard to come by, which is what drew me to solo travel in the first place. I embarked on my first trip around five years ago, shortly after I turned 50. I remember thinking that my whole life until then had revolved around others, in my roles as a daughter, wife, mother, and manager. ‘What am I doing for myself?’ I wondered. At that time, solo travel was all the rage on social media and I decided to give it a try. Of course, I still enjoy family vacations, but these solo journeys are now also a must for me.

Solo travel has influenced my leadership style. Not knowing things and making mistakes are a part of life, and travelling on your own can remind you of this. You gain humility.

Picking a destination for my first solo trip was tricky. Friends encouraged me to challenge myself, perhaps by visiting a place where English is not widely spoken. I also wanted to feed my natural curiosity about the world by going off the beaten track, albeit in countries that I had already visited. Eventually, I settled on Japan, which I’ve since repeatedly explored as a solo traveller, discovering new areas and landscapes each time.

AN EXERCISE IN PERSONAL GROWTH

I always challenge myself to try something different, like a driving holiday or not purchasing mobile data. The lack of a Wi-Fi connection can be challenging, especially when you’re so used to posting on social media. I’m a shutterbug, and not being able to share my vacation photos wasn’t easy. But I resisted the temptation and was thus more ‘present’ during the holiday. I’m glad I did it; I took some photos that I’m very proud of and will probably share them with my friends and family soon.

Of course, there can be moments of frustration while travelling solo. Once, I was lost in Japan and getting quite desperate because I couldn’t speak the language or read the street signs. Naturally, hailing a taxi — which was the easy way out — popped into my mind. But I had told myself at the start of the trip that taxis were a no-no. Somehow, I persevered and found my way around. It reminded me of my own resilience. Such experiences also teach you to accept that things will not always pan out the way you want, but that shouldn’t deter you from trying to make the best of the situation.

Planning these trips is a breeze with online resources. But I’ve learnt over the years that you can over plan and miss out on spontaneous experiences. It’s a new concept to me since I’m usually very particular about planning. Gradually, I’ve learnt to let go. I now plan about 80 per cent of a trip and leave the rest to chance. I think that approach is also useful at work, where we deal with curveballs at times. The recent pandemic comes to mind; even our best-laid plans had to change as the situation evolved.

Now that I’ve completed three trips in Japan, I’m looking westward, specifically to parts of Central Europe. I’m still working out my plans but I hope to embark on this adventure later this year. During the next trip, I might engage in a newfound passion. I’ve recently taken up art and might spend some time drawing and painting in another country.”

WHAT THE LUNAR NEW YEAR LOOKS LIKE TO ME

With the Year of the Dragon fast approaching, Ms Agnes Eu shares the traditions and memories that make the festive season extra special for her.

My most memorable Lunar New Year: I think many can relate to this — the first time I had to give ang pao (red packets)!

My most cherished Lunar New Year tradition: Family time. I’m the one who coordinates the gathering among all my immediate and extended family. The Lunar New Year just wouldn’t be the same without that big gathering.

My Lunar New Year wish: It’s the same every year: a happier one for all and peace everywhere. And as always, we hope to widen and deepen our engagement with the HomeTeamNS community.

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

7 Fun Ways You Can Keep Fit And Healthy This Lunar New Year

Make time amid your busy visiting schedule to enjoy activities such as bowling and laser tag with your family.

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS; NATIONAL PARKS BOARD; FLICKR USER NOVA;

TEXT: BEATRICE BOWERS

According to CNA, most people consume 39% more calories than usual during festive seasons, and nearly 45% of them gain an average of 1.7kg during the Lunar New Year. While indulging in food is done in the spirit of the season, it’s still important to look after your health and fitness, especially if you’ve got a busy schedule visiting relatives and going to parties.

Here are seven things to do — both indoor and outdoor — to help you stay fit despite consuming copious amounts of pineapple tarts, including family-friendly activities to maximise your bonding time.

1. Head to the bowling rink

Burn calories and work out your muscles while having fun with your loved ones at the bowling alley. We’d recommend knocking down those pins at SuperBowl located at HomeTeamNS Khatib or StarBowl at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok (open daily till midnight) — both of which will be open throughout the Lunar New Year. Public holiday rates start from $3.50 per game, so you can play to your heart’s content.

BONUS: HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 10% discount on games at SuperBowl (Khatib) and 15% discount on games at StarBowl (Bukit Batok).

2. Book a laser tag session

Laser tag, which combines the games of Hide-and-Seek and Tag, is an excellent way to get a solid cardio workout. Dodging laser beams, darting to hiding spots and rushing to ambush your opponents will quicken your heart rate and get your blood pumping. Book a game at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok’s Laser Quest — open throughout the Lunar New Year — which features atmospheric lighting and pulsating beats to keep your energy level high. This is also a great team-bonding activity to consider if you’re planning a Lunar New Year company event.

BONUS: HomeTeamNS members enjoy exclusive member rates at S$4.07 per game for Laser Quest.

3. Go on a hike

This festive period is a great time to escape the traffic and embark on an invigorating hike with the fam at one of the many parks and nature trails around Singapore. Head to the Southern Ridges, which comprises 10 km of green, open spaces that connect Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve. Here, stroll through the architecturally-stunning Henderson Waves and spot wildlife such as the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Brahminy Kite.

4. Head to the gym

It’s easier said than done, but visiting the gym is already half the battle won. If you don’t have time to stick to your usual workout regime, don’t fret. Just make the most of your time by working up a sweat with brisk treadmill walks, a 20-minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session, or peddling a stationary bike for 15 minutes at any of HomeTeamNS’ Fitness Workz gyms. We especially recommend the Fitness Workz Garage at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, which boasts a state-of-the-art functional training zone equipped with a customised multi-functional octagon training frame rig featuring battle ropes, a punching bag, and a cross-core system.

BONUS: HomeTeamNS members enjoy special rates starting from $262.41 for a 12-month membership.

5. Organise a healthier potluck

Organising a healthy potluck for your reunion dinner is a delightful way to celebrate without compromising wellness. Encourage participants to embrace traditional flavors with a nutritious twist, opting for lean proteins, whole grains, and abundant veggies. Try these healthier recipes and encourage your guests to bake their own  goodies using almond flour or coconut sugar for less-guilty indulgences. 

6. End the day with yoga

Yoga promotes physical strength, flexibility, and balance while enhancing mental well-being through stress reduction and improved focus, contributing to overall holistic health. This will help you start the Year of the Dragon on the right foot. Squeeze in a 10 to 15minutes workout guided by YouTube tutorials from the comfort of your own home, or join an outdoor class by the Yoga for Peace and Balance group, which may include gentler movements to warm up, followed by more challenging standing poses, balances, inversions, and peak poses.

7. Go for a swim

Swimming provides a full-body workout that helps burn calories and improve cardiovascular health, which is especially important when you’ve been indulging in rich foods. Cool off from that relentless February heat at any of the HomeTeamNS clubhouse pools, including the 50m, six-lane infinity pool overlooking the reservoir at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir. Your little ones will love splashing about at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok’s kids’ pool, which features slides and installations inspired by Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) vehicles.

BONUS: HomeTeamNS Ordinary, Associate, Family, and Corporate Members get to enjoy free pool access.

How to stay healthy this Lunar New Year

1. Drink green tea

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, consuming ‘heaty’ food in excess,such as those eaten during the Lunar New Year,can cause symptoms such as fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, acne, excessive thirst, redness of the skin, and irritability. Drink green tea, which is unfermented and rarely oxidised, and thus believed to have a cooling effect on the body — besides being rich in antioxidants.

2. Stretch after every meal

Once you’re done eating, get up, take a quick walk around the space, and stretch your muscles. Stretching after a heavy meal can aid digestion, alleviate discomfort, and promote relaxation, contributing to overall well-being and reducing the potential for post-meal sluggishness.

3. Eat before visiting

Don’t go visiting hungry, because you’ll tend to overeat. Instead, have a high-fiber, nutritious snack before going to see your loved ones, and you’re more likely to make better snacking choices.

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

7 ways you can celebrate the Lunar New Year more sustainably

Green is the new red. Enjoy the festivities and keep traditions alive while reducing your environmental impact with these tips.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

IMAGES: SWAPAHOLIC SINGAPORE; REPAIR KOPITIAM; SING SEE SOON; SHUTTERSTOCK; SINGAPORE FOOD AGENCY

During the Lunar New Year, it is common to observe auspicious customs such as exchanging mandarin oranges and red packets, as well as tossing yu sheng (raw fish salad). However, you’ll also want to be mindful of the environmental impact of these practices. According to Hong Kong-based environmental group Greeners Action, more than 16,300 trees are felled each year to produce some 320 million red packets. That alone may give us pause for thought on how we can evolve our customs to minimise waste.

The good news is, we can keep our Lunar New Year traditions alive while being kinder to the planet. Consider the following tips and kickstart the year of the Dragon on a sustainable note.

1.SHOP PRUDENTLY

Purchase a single household item or outfit as a symbol of new beginnings, rather than overhauling your home or wardrobe. It takes about 2,700 litres of water to produce a single cotton T-shirt, so you’ll want to minimise the waste from fast fashion. You can do so by picking long-lasting pieces over throwaway ones, or consider joining the circular fashion movement through thrift or swap shopping — which happens to be very much on trend. When shopping, opt for local businesses instead of international e-commerce platforms to reduce the carbon footprint from overseas delivery. Ladies can consider Beyond the Vines and Ong Shunmugam for contemporary pieces suitable for Lunar New Year outings, while the lads can look dapper in threads by Benjamin Barker and biro. For locally-made wooden furniture pieces, check out Roger&Sons.

2. DECORATE AND DECLUTTER WITHOUT BEING WASTEFUL

Consider what you can reuse or recycle when doing your spring cleaning. Too often, our throwaway culture means items don’t get the lifespan they deserve. When decluttering, see if the items can be repaired by experts such as Jia Xing or SG Home furniture — or learn how to do so yourself at one of Repair Kopitiam’s workshops. If you must give away items that are in good condition, pass them on to the needy through The Salvation Army or Cloop bins set up by a circular fashion enterprise.

When it comes to decorating, look at existing materials you can use to dress up the home. Repurpose a Christmas wreath into one for the Spring Festival, or create beautiful lanterns from last year’s red packets. If you really must purchase decorations, opt for biodegradable or natural materials over metal or plastic.

3. PURCHASE LONGER LASTING PLANTS

Instead of adorning your home with short-lived blooms such as the Hyacinthus or Narcissus, opt for hardier, lower-maintenance plants such as bamboo, chrysanthemums, and azaleas. Besides requiring little moisture and growing easily indoors, the resilient and auspicious money plant is adept at filtering out common indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene. When buying these plants, pick out those in permanent or compostable pots to reduce plastic waste. Join a free floral arrangement workshop by local florist Sing See Soon, which weaves sustainable lifestyle hacks into its classes.

4. CONSIDER PUBLIC TRANSPORT WHEN MAKING YOUR VISITING ROUNDS 

In Singapore, land transport accounts for about 15 per cent of carbon emissions. You can help lower this number by utilising our efficient network of public buses and trains. Last year, SMRT’s train services were extended for commuters travelling late during the eve of the Lunar New Year — stay tuned for updates on this year’s schedules. If you must travel by private transport, consider carpooling, shared car hire, or using the services of electric car-sharing companies like BlueSG. 

5. RETHINK RED PACKETS

RETHINK RED PACKETS

Offer digital versions by using PayNow via major banks instead. This way, you can even send your well-wishes to those who can’t make it for gatherings. If you still prefer something more traditional, use recycled red packets in good condition and skip the new notes — especially since the carbon emissions generated from printing new notes for Lunar New Year each year is said to be similar to that from powering 430 four-room HDB flats annually. You may also want to drop your crumpled red packets at recycling bins found at most major banks , which are often available throughout the year.

6. SNACK SUSTAINABLY

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), about 900 million kg of plastic is discarded every year in Singapore. Avoid individually-wrapped items to help reduce such waste. Purchase Lunar New Year goodies from bakers who accept container returns. You can find some of them at Project bECOme and most even offer you a small refund. Even with mindful buying, you can easily get carried away with treats during this period. Be sure to keep track of their expiry dates and reduce food waste by sharing or giving the excess goodies away.

7. PURCHASE LOCALLY-GROWN PRODUCE FOR YOUR REUNION DINNER

You’ll not only reduce the carbon footprint from importing ingredients, but will also enjoy the freshest produce possible. Singapore is home to several local vegetable farms and fisheries that supply delicious stock, but you can also look at businesses such as Ugly Food, which sells blemished and surplus produce that is nutritious and safe to consume. While fish is associated with abundance and therefore a popular Lunar New Year menu item, its supplies are threatened by overfishing. Have a more eco-conscious meal by consulting WWF’s guide for more sustainable seafood options.

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

7 restaurants where you can enjoy auspicious CNY meals

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with your family by feasting on sumptuous dishes rich in significance and flavour at these restaurants, some of which offer discounts for HomeTeamNS members.

PHOTOS: SWATOW CITY; ORCHID SEAFOOD; XIAO MU DENG; SUM DIM SUM; BAN HENG; KENG ENG KEE (KEK) SEAFOOD; YAN PALACE

TEXT: THERESE TAY

Chinese New Year (CNY) feasting is a joyous tradition celebrated by families to usher in prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. In Singapore, symbolic dishes and treats such as yu sheng (raw fish salad) and nian gao (sweet glutinous rice cake) — which denote abundance, prosperity, and happiness — are shared among loved ones amid a convivial atmosphere.

We’ve rounded up restaurants — including some that offer delectable discounts for HomeTeamNS members — for a communal dining experience replete with the usual symbolism-laden suspects, as well as lesser-known dishes.  

Swatow City

Located at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, Swatow City is well known for its authentic Teochew-style seafood dishes. Their use of light seasoning is one of the hallmarks of Teochew cooking, which seeks to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients. Signature offerings include Teochew Cold Crab, Steamed Pomfret, and Braised Superior Shark’s Fin, which are all CNY mainstays. For a truly sumptuous feast, order their Grandeur Reunion Prosperity Fortune Pot Takeaway Combo Set which includes a dish containing premium ingredients such as abalone, sea cucumber and dried scallops, along with prawns and pig’s trotter— as well as yu sheng with smoked salmon and kampung chicken in Teochew bean sauce. Don’t forget to bring home the restaurant’s Delicious Crafted Pineapple Tarts ($20+ for a box of eight).

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 20% discount for dine-in ala carte, dim sum, and non-promotional items (Not applicable on 9, 11, and 12 February 2024). 

Orchid Live Seafood

Famously known as the home of the original Lobster Porridge — which is more a pao fan (rice steeped in a rich seafood broth) rather than congee — Orchid Live Seafood’s HomeTeamNS Khatib branch offers several signature dishes that customers keep returning for. These include the Steven Chicken, which is marinated with marmite and honey and deep-fried with a crispy batter. Also don’t miss their Abalone Yu Sheng and Boston Lobster Yu Sheng, which will elevate your lou hei sesson.

 HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10% off the total bill (applicable for regular menu only).

Xiao Mu Deng

Sharing a hotpot meal with loved ones is a quintessential Singaporean CNY tradition. What’s not to love about cooking and enjoying your food together over a bubbling pot of nourishing soup with all the fixings? At Xiao Mu Deng, you can partake in this delicious ritual without having to fuss with clean-up. The restaurant at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir offers interesting Chongqing-style side dishes such as Pickled Pepper Kidney, Knife Slap Cucumber (cucumber salad with a tangy sauce), and Tin Foil Roasted Pig Brain Flower (grilled pig brains).

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 15% off the bill (applicable for non-promotional items).

Sum Dim Sum

Though not a conventional CNY dining destination, you can certainly create your own traditions with family and friends at the popular Sum Dim Sum restaurant, which is located at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir. It boasts a large variety of tasty handmade dim sum, including their signature Tiffany Blue XL Prawn Dumplings as well as branch-exclusive items such as Century Egg Prawn Paste, Jin Qian Bao (mushroom-filled steamed dumplings), and Steamed Fresh Leopard Grouper.

HomeTeamNS members enjoy 15% off the bill (applicable for non-promotional items).

Ban Heng

Established in 1972, the Ban Heng group of restaurants has gained a reputation for serving some of the best Teochew and Cantonese cuisine on the island. Its large range of reunion dinner and CNY celebration packages — currently available for bookings — include traditional favourites such as Steamed Live Soon Hock with Superior Soya Sauce in Hong Kong Style, Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, and Sweetened Yam Paste in Teochew Style.

Keng Eng Kee (KEK) Seafood

This popular zi char (cooked food) restaurant is rightfully beloved for its no-nonsense, boldly flavoured stir fries that are full of wok hei (smoky) goodness. Must-order dishes include their Coffee Pork Ribs and Moonlight Hor Fun, which is topped with a raw egg yolk. KEK is offering more elegant dishes for CNY, which are no less delicious. Items on the CNY set menus include Premium Collagen Soup and Tobiko Seafood Ee Fu Noodles.

Yan Palace

This Chinatown mainstay has been operating at Hong Lim Complex for decades, where it made a name for itself with its delicious Cantonese cooking and Hong Kong-inspired dim sum. Its CNY set menus, which will be offered at both the Hong Lim Complex and Warren Golf & Country Club branches, feature down-to-earth dishes and premium items such as Roasted Suckling Pig, Roasted ‘Pi Pa’ Duck, Stir Fried Scallop with Broccoli & Macadamia Nuts, and Double Boiled Hasma with Dried Longan & Lotus Seeds.

Auspicious CNY Dishes

Learn the significance behind these Chinese New Year delicacies.

Pen cai: Also known as “fortune pot”, this dish symbolises good fortune and prosperity. A labour of love, it features eight stacked layers of premium seafood and other ingredients, such as roasted pork belly, prawns, and large mushrooms.

Yu sheng: Essentially a raw fish salad, the communal dish denotes prosperity and good tidings in the way it is eaten: besides adding the dish components in a specific sequence while shouting meaningful Chinese couplets, diners also spout various auspicious sayings and wishes as they toss it before eating.

Nian gao: Pronounced in Mandarin, nian gao also sounds like “a higher year” which is loosely translated to mean “a better year”. Legend has it that the sweet and sticky glutinous rice cake was created to seal the mouth of the Kitchen God shut to prevent him from bad-mouthing households to the Jade Emperor.

Tang yuan: The round shape and mandarin pronunciation of the filled glutinous rice balls allude to a reunion with loved ones. Thus, it’s said that eating tang yuan brings good luck to families.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.