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The five best spots to catch the National Day Parade fireworks

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

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

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

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

BAY EAST GARDEN AT GARDENS BY THE BAY

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

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

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

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

JUBILEE BRIDGE

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

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

MARINA BAY CRUISE CENTRE CARPARK

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

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

STADIUM RIVERSIDE WALK AT SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB

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

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

ESPLANADE ROOF TERRACE

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

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

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

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The Dad life: How to barbecue like a champion

It’s no secret that learning the ways of the barbecue is one of the keys to fully unlocking the powers of being a father. Here are some tips and tricks for a better grilling session.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s safe to say that while many dads are great cooks in the kitchen, far more dads fancy themselves kings of the barbecue pits. After all, many of us have memories of our dad manning the barbecue at family gatherings at chalets – and have grown up to carry on the proud tradition of serving up grilled chicken wings, hot dogs and prawns on disposable plates.

But if you aren’t quite confident of your skill with the grill – or are looking for more ways to wow your hungry audience – check out the following tips and hacks for a better barbecue.

PLAN YOUR BARBEQUE TRIP AND BOOK EARLY

If you want a getaway but don’t want to deal with passport renewal queues or increased airfares, why not book a villa at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok? You’ll enjoy the use of a barbecue pit during your stay, with the added benefit of getting to shower and crash into a comfy bed right after your exhausting stint as chef for the evening.

For a day-only hangout, you can simply book the barbecue pits at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok instead, or retreat to the ManCaves at HomeTeamNS Khatib where you can host family and friends in air-conditioned comfort while you whip up a feast at the outdoor barbecue patio equipped with an electric grill.

Or cool off at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier’s barbecue pit, which comes with five complimentary swimming pool passes when you make your booking – perfect for getting the kids out of your hair while you tend to your ribs.

Gather round your family and friends, plan out which of the HomeTeamNS Clubhouses you’d like to visit, and book your BBQ pits through our new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App!

PREP BEFORE YOU GO

Make a checklist of all the other things you need to bring so that you don’t forget the ice, cups, garbage bags or dipping sauces. Pro tip: bring along a meat thermometer so that you can easily check if food is cooked through. You don’t want your guests discovering that the chicken wings are still raw!

In addition, if you’re extra organised – or have a lot of food to cook and only one pit – you can consider writing out a schedule of when things should go on the grill, in order of how long they take to cook.

For example, when the fire is ready for cooking, immediately place your sweet potatoes or corn wrapped in tin foil among the ashen white coals so that they’ll be cooked through by the time the meat is done. Next, put on thicker items like ribs or chicken thighs, with delicate seafood – such as prawns or sotong – needing only a few minutes on the grill.

This reduces the stress of trying to do everything at once – and your hungry guests will appreciate the efficiency.

START YOUR FIRE RIGHT

You don’t have to throw in the entire box of fire-starters. For a budget hack to starting your grill, stack the charcoal with small, loosely crushed balls of newspaper in between, or place a small charcoal briquette into each hollow of a cut up cardboard egg carton.

Remember, you don’t need a roaring fire to cook with – the best barbecued food is cooked over the indirect heat of ashen charcoal, which is white in colour. The charcoal should pass through the first two stages of black or grey with flames, and white with red-hot interiors before reaching the optimal cooking temperature of around 175 to 190 degrees Celsius.

To cook with a variety of temperatures, divide your grill into a hot zone and cooler zone, with the hot zone having more charcoal underneath. Use it for searing foods like meat patties or lamb chops before shifting them to the cooler zone, where they can continue cooking at a lower temperature.

If you prefer a more convenient way to barbeque without starting a fire from scratch, there’s nothing stopping you from going electric! At HomeTeamNS Khatib, go through a hassle-free barbeque party as you try your hand with electric grills. Just set it at your desired temperature and get cooking!

MAKE IT FINER DINING

While grilled crabsticks and hot dogs are always fun for the kids, sometimes you want something a little more sophisticated.

Aspiring Masterchefs will want to take heed of these handy tips for upping their barbecue game. First off, think herbs. Toss in some basil or sage into the coals to create a pleasant scent that enhances the flavour of the meat. Add extra pizzazz by threading your kebabs on woody rosemary stalks (soak them first so they don’t catch fire). Before you start cooking, try wiping down the grill with half of an onion, which adds a hint of flavour while also cleaning off any old grime.

American-style smoked meats are having a moment in Singapore, but not everyone has access to a smoker – or the hours needed to ensure food is smoked to perfection. For a quick hack, buy a small bag of hickory or mesquite wood chips (available in most supermarkets under the barbecue section), soak them in water for a few hours and place in a disposable aluminium pan.

Cover with punctured tinfoil to allow the smoke to exit, before placing on top of a layer of charcoal. Lay whatever meat you want to smoke above it on the grill, and cover with a metal lid (in a pinch, you can make a DIY tent of tin foil).

While the smoky flavour won’t be as intense as if you used a proper smoker, you’ll still have wings or ribs that have an extra-special kick to them. Don’t forget to rest your meats on a plate covered with tinfoil for five minutes, to allow the juices to redistribute.

THINK OUT OF THE BOX

You can barbecue more than just meat and seafood. After all, more Singaporeans are choosing plant-based foods for both health and sustainability-related reasons.

Try grilling eggplant slices – which goes great with a yogurt dressing – as well as pineapple, watermelon, bananas, feta, paneer or halloumi cheese. Pro tip: barbecue the cheese as a block so it doesn’t dry out, then slice after it’s done.

It’s mango season now, so why not grill up mango halves? Squeeze a lime, sprinkle salt and some chili powder over for an easy Mexican-inspired dessert.

PUT THE KIDS TO WORK

Finally, every good barbecue pit master need helpers. Get the kids involved by asking them to fan the coals or arrange the disposable plates and cutlery. Older children can help by pouring drinks, dishing up desserts and even helping to turn items on the grill (under Dad’s supervision, of course).

Best of all, it’s a great way to spend time together and pass down your dad wisdom to the next generation of barbecue experts.

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Featured Lifestyle

Have passport, will travel

With international travel slowly becoming the norm again, what do you need to know before you book your ticket abroad? What happens if you fall sick overseas, or your flight is cancelled due to changing border controls?

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s time to dust off the passport, wheel out your suitcase and look for your winter jacket: overseas travel is back after two years of strict border controls, no thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Air passenger traffic was up 18 per cent in April compared to a month ago, and Singapore expects it to be restored to 50 per cent of pre-COVID passenger volume by the end of 2022. In the meantime, cross-border bus and taxi services between Singapore and Johor Bahru resumed in the beginning of May, after the land border was reopened for fully vaccinated travellers in April.

Travelling in the age of COVID-19 can be intimidating and confusing, but if you take some simple precautions, you can have a relaxing, stress-free vacation overseas. Read on to find out what they are.

RENEW YOUR PASSPORTS EARLY

Revenge travel – a term for pent-up travel demand after the restrictions caused by COVID-19 – is very real. Demand is so great that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority  announced that Singaporeans who are renewing or applying for their passports will have to wait at least six weeks – a two-week increase from April’s four week-long processing time.

If you’re planning to head overseas soon, make sure to check that everyone’s passports have at least six months until expiry. Otherwise, you might find that your trip is over before it’s even begun.

BUDGET AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY

With rising oil prices and the challenges faced by the airline industry during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that growing demand for plane tickets has been met with higher prices.

If you’re planning a trip, it’s best to start early and keep an eye out for promotional deals, non-peak flight dates and alternative airlines. To save money, you might need to be a little bit more flexible with your dream itinerary – for example, by flying with a budget airline or even choosing a different destination.

You could also consider visiting places that can be reached by land or sea. Instead of heading to Bali, consider spending a long weekend at a Bintan villa in Indonesia. If you’re trying to beat the heat, consider driving to Genting or Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.

BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH COVID-19 COVERAGE

What happens if you catch COVID-19 during your vacation? Or worse, just before your flight is due to depart Singapore? While travel insurance has been a standard purchase for many vacationing Singaporeans, it’s now more important than ever.

Look for a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19-related expenses, such as clinic fees and hospitalisation overseas, as well as flight cancellations, delays and extra accommodation costs if you are quarantined or unable to board your flight. It might cost you a bit more than a standard travel insurance, but it’s worth the peace of mind.

PACK YOUR OWN SUPPLIES

Even if the country you’re travelling to has lifted their mask mandate, you should still bring along your masks just in case. After all, while planes have air exchange systems that can filter the COVID-19 virus, other forms of transportation, such as trains and buses, do not. You might want to wear your mask while on the airport shuttle to your hotel, or in crowded places.

In addition, bring along a few Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits and a thermometer. If you start to feel feverish or unwell during your travels, you can test yourself in your hotel room instead of having to Google for nearby clinics (and you might find it difficult to locate an English-speaking doctor, if you are travelling to non-native English speaking countries). Knowing if you really did catch COVID-19 will help you to figure out your next step. Do read up on the COVID-19 protocols of the country you are in, to find out how long you will be required to isolate, or whether you need to undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

PREPARE YOUR DOCUMENTS

When travelling, the immigration authorities will want to see your notarised vaccination records, so make sure to download them from HealthHub and save them in your phone. If you’re travelling with your spouse and children, save copies of everyone’s vaccination records. Consider printing them out in case you lose your device or run out of battery.

Do check if your destination requires any contact tracing or health app, such as Malaysia’s MySejahtera app or Indonesia’s PeduliLindungi. You’ll probably have to fill in a health declaration form, such as Australia’s Digital Passenger Declaration, before departure. This can be done online or via the identically-named app seven days before your flight. Sorting all this before you leave can save you a lot of time at the airport – leaving you free to enjoy your first international trip since the pandemic. Happy travels!

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Lifestyle

New thrills and great deals for the whole family

From craft and music sessions with your child, to delectable dining treats and new adventures at sea, plenty of exciting new opportunities await HomeTeamNS members.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

Here at HomeTeamNS, we aim to foster camaraderie and a sense of community among members and the Home Team NSmen community.

Beyond that, it’s also host to great deals that offer opportunities for you and your loved ones to bond and enjoy new experiences. Don’t miss these great deals at HomeTeamNS clubhouses and with our merchant partners.

HOMETEAMNS-JOM BALESTIER CLUBHOUSE

If you’re looking to bond with your little ones, the clubhouse has some interesting options for family fun. To redeem these promotions, simply just flash your HomeTeamNS Digital Membership Card found in the HomeTeamNS Mobile App.

Parent-accompanied junior group class for toddlers at Nozumi Musictopia

Introduce your toddler to the joys of music and freedom of movement at this parent-accompanied Junior Group Class for toddlers (aged 12-14 months).

The first 10 signups get a free goody bag worth S$50 (terms and conditions apply). All signups enjoy a 15-per-cent discount during the promotion period (May and June 2022). Thereafter, HomeTeamNS members get a 15-per-cent discount and SAFRA members enjoy a 10-per-cent discount.

Parent-child Craft Out at SmartArtz Studio

If you’re looking to up your craft game, SmartArtz Studio has an introductory offer for first-timers. HomeTeamNS members pay S$32 per child or S$42 per parent and child pair for a Craft Out session. Non-members pay S$35 per child or S$42 per parent and child pair.

To redeem, flash this promo and present your HomeTeamNS Digital Membership Card when you sign up via WhatsApp to SmartArtz Studio. Children must be between the ages of three and 12 and the promotion is valid till the end of April.

Parent-child Bake Out at Genius R Us

What better way to bond than by baking a delectable treat with your loved ones? Genius R Us has an introductory offer for first-timers. HomeTeamNS members pay S$35 per child or S$50 per parent and child pair. Non-members pay S$38 per child or S$53 per parent and child pair. 

To redeem, flash this promo and present your HomeTeamNS Digital Membership Card when you sign up via WhatsApp to Genius R Us. Children must be between the ages of three and 12 and the promotion is valid till the end of April.

HOMETEAMNS KHATIB CLUBHOUSE

Looking for some great dining deals or an enriching learning space for your child at HomeTeamNS Khatib? Simply flash your HomeTeamNS Digital Membership Card available in the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to redeem these offers.

Orchid Live Seafood

This eatery serves fresh seafood delights including garlic steamed bamboo clams, southern Australian lobsters and braised live South African abalone. HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10-per-cent off their total bill.

Fuji Izakaya Bar

Tuck into a variety of mouth-watering Japanese treats from this eatery’s extensive menu. Options include seafood, grills, ramen and rice bowls. HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10-per-cent off their total bill.

Safari House Pre-school

This pre-school offers progressive learning programmes that help and encourage your child to explore the world around them, while their sense of curiosity is nurtured. HomeTeamNS members enjoy 20% discount off enrichment classes for enrolled childcare students. 

ISLANDWIDE MEMBERS’ DEALS

Still craving for more deals and treats? There’s more in store for you, from sporty apparels to a sailing adventure! Check out the following exclusive membership deals and promo codes on our new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App.

Foodpanda

Known for delivering the food and groceries you love across Singapore, Foodpanda is offering new customers an S$8 discount off S$15 from their first order. This promotion is valid till 30 June 2022.

New and existing customers also get to enjoy S$2 off a S$30 purchase in April and get an additional discount if you opt to pick up your own order. This offer is valid till 30 April 2022.

Getgo

Looking to rent a set of wheels? Carsharing service, Getgo, has over 1,100 locations across Singapore. HomeTeamNS members can enjoy 50-per-cent off their first drive. This offer is capped at S$10 and limited to the first 5,000 redemptions. This promotion is valid till August 2022. 

Discover Sailing Asia

Get a taste for nautical adventures by paying just S$45 for a two-hour sailing teaser session. Book your slots by 31 May to enjoy sailing until 11 September 2022. 

Kydra

Need a new set of workout fits for your sporty needs? This activewear brand sells a wide variety of women’s and men’s clothing, and is offering members a 15-per-cent discount off all items listed here. The promotion is valid till 30 April 2022.

Download the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App for the latest promotions and membership perks! 

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Simple ways your family can live greener lives

From minimising the use of one-time plastics to using the air-conditioner less, here are some small steps you – and your children – can take to improve sustainability and help the environment.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Sustainability starts at home. After all, even small changes can have a big impact on the environment, sustainability efforts – and as an added bonus, on your utility bills.

In response to climate change, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 aims to shift the country towards a more sustainable lifestyle and economy over the next decade. To help preserve our natural resources for the next generation, consider incorporating these green habits into your household’s daily routine.

GET THE KIDS TO HELP WITH RECYCLING

By now, most Singaporeans are familiar with the blue recycling bins parked next to the green waste bins below their blocks, or outside their homes. While recycling is a core element of sustainability, far fewer are aware of the right way to recycle. Some 40 per cent of items inside recycling bins are either contaminated with food and liquids or cannot be recycled at all due to their materials.

To make the most of recycling, ensure that your recyclables are made from materials like glass, paper, plastic and metal. Avoid single-use food packaging, as it cannot be recycled. Assign your kids simple tasks like washing containers or flattening out packaging before bringing it to the recycling bin. Social media savvy teens can rely on Clean and Green Singapore’s Bloobin augmented reality filter to determine whether an object is recyclable.

SELL OR SWAP REUSABLES

Items like soft toys, books and clothing are considered reusables, not recyclables. Set aside an afternoon for kids to sort through their old belongings and decide what they want to keep, and what they want to get rid of.

Toys in good condition can be sold on an online platform like Carousell, while books can be donated to an organisation like Books Beyond Borders or Thryft. The latter allows donors to trade-in books in exchange for store credit – perfect for little bookworms who can burrow through an entire stack of books in a week.

Not only does this reduce clutter, children also learn that things don’t have to be new to be valued. They’ll also learn how easy it is to practise sustainability.

SHOP PRE-OWNED

Similarly, buying pre-loved items can be a great way to lengthen their lifespans, save resources and boost sustainability. While not everything can be bought second-hand, things like home decor, clothing and fashion accessories are in ample supply at thrift stores across Singapore.

Besides being good for the environment, second-hand goods can sometimes be of better quality than their modern counterparts. You might even luck out and find a designer knick-knack or shirt at a fraction of its original price.

Be patient – you might have to dig through a lot to find some treasure. Doing your research helps. For example, if you’re hoping to score some vintage Pyrex glass dishes, make sure you know how to identify them by the labels or embedded seals. There are plenty of online resources that teach you how to become an eagle-eyed bargain hunter.

GROW YOUR OWN FOOD AND COMPOST

You can still grow herbs like Thai basil or curry leaves even if you don’t have a garden of your own. Whether you’re placing the plants on your balcony, windowsill or in the corridor, make sure you have good sunlight, adequate water and drainage.

Children will enjoy watching the plants grow and tasting the fresh herbs once they’ve matured. The effort involved in caring for their plants will also give them a new appreciation of food and why we shouldn’t waste it.

More experienced gardeners can also consider composting, which means recycling organic waste – such as potato peelings and eggshells – into a rich fertiliser for plants. If space in your kitchen is an issue, no need to fret: There are pint-sized tabletop compost bins that can be tucked away into a corner. They also have lids so smells don’t escape.

RELY LESS ON THE AIR-CONDITIONER

Temperatures in Singapore are on the rise due to climate change. Between 1948 and 2015, temperatures here have risen by 0.25 degrees Celsius per decade.

Many families turn on the air-conditioning to beat the heat, but the energy-intensive appliance in households and buildings emits 19 per cent of Singapore’s carbon emissions – the second highest source after the industrial sector.

To cool down without contributing even more to climate change, turn your air-conditioning up to 25 degrees Celsius or higher. You can also use it to cool a room before switching to the fan and make it a household habit not to use the air-conditioning on rainy nights.

SAVE WATER

Did you know that shower time accounts for 30 per cent of your household’s monthly water consumption? The average five-minute shower in Singapore uses almost 20 litres of water. If you have four people in a household, that’s 80 litres of water in a day at minimum.

To save water, here are some habits that the family can pick up overtime. It’s good to remind your family members to turn off the shower while shampooing their hair or soaping themselves. Other than that, try brushing your teeth with just a mug of water, and not to let the tap run unnecessarily. In the kitchen, rinse fruits and vegetables in a container of water instead of under the tap, and re-use the same water to water plants.

BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINERS

Single-use plastics require energy and resources to produce, are used once, then discarded. When single-use plastics are incinerated, they produce toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide, which worsens climate change.

In addition to bringing reusable bags when you go grocery shopping, bring a tiffin carrier when you buy lunch or dinner at the hawker centre. This reduces the use of plastic and saves you money as well (that S$0.20 fee for a plastic box can add up over time).

These days, there are eco-friendly containers for everything. Kids who love bubble tea can even get a reusable bubble tea cup or bag with attached straw – perfect for enjoying a sweet treat without the environmental guilt.

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5 things you probably didn’t know about water in Singapore

We look at Singapore’s efforts to make every drop of water count.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

World Water Day recognises the importance of water and raises awareness of the challenges those without access to clean water faced.

This year’s World Water Day theme is groundwater, which refers to the fresh water found in underground aquifers (geological formations of sand, rock and gravel). Groundwater supplies rivers, lakes and springs, eventually flowing into the ocean.

Singapore has made great strides in achieving self-reliance in water, but conservation is still an important part of our approach to this resource. Singapore has set a target of reducing its water consumption from 154 litres per person (measured in 2020) to 130 litres per day by 2030.

Here are five interesting facts about water in Singapore and how we are working to ensure water sustainability.

GO BLUE FOR SINGAPORE

Singapore may have achieved self-reliance in water, but conservation is still a crucial to safeguard this resource.

Thanks to its reputation as a Garden City, Singapore is often thought of as a green city – but between 19 to 22 March, it’s turning blue instead to honour World Water Day.

Landmarks like Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer and more were bathed in a serene blue glow last year as part of PUB’s City Turns Blue initiative, which returns this year to remind Singaporeans of our need to conserve this precious resource. Water advocacy has always played a major role in Singapore’s efforts to imbue a conservation mindset in both young and old, starting with the very first water conservation campaign in May 1971 during a prolonged dry spell.

If you’re out and about downtown during the campaign period, don’t forget to snap a photo and share your photos on social media using the hashtag #GoBlue4SG. You can also wear blue, make blue drinks or food, or decorate your space in blue to show solidarity with Singapore’s national water movement.

A SEWAGE SUPERHIGHWAY

We’re used to Singapore’s extensive network of roads and expressways, train lines and tunnels. But there’s a hidden superhighway deep underground that very few Singaporeans will ever encounter (which is probably a good thing).

The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) conveys used water to three treatment plants that are strategically located along the coastal areas of Singapore, so that it can be treated and purified into NEWater. With its second phase set to be completed in 2025, the DTSS frees up land that would otherwise be occupied by intermediate pumping stations and conventional water reclamation plants. It’s energy-efficient, as well: The water is moved entirely through the force of gravity along the tunnels.

THE FISHY BUSINESS OF INNOVATION

What do mangrove plants and fish have to do with cutting-edge water technology?

Current desalination technology uses reverse osmosis, which involves deploying membranes to filter salts and minerals from seawater – a highly energy-intensive method, in Singapore’s four desalination plants. Singapore is welcoming its fifth desalination plant in 2023, intended for testing new technologies.

These technologies include more energy-efficient ways of desalinating seawater, such as electro-deionisation – using an electric field to pull dissolved salts from water – and biomimicry, which copies the way mangrove plants and fish extract freshwater from seawater. While still in their infancy, these exciting technologies could revolutionise freshwater production in Singapore.

POWERING THE TECH SECTOR

Most of us would wince at the thought of dropping our smartphones in a swimming pool, or spilling coffee over our laptops. After all, water and tech devices just don’t mix, right?

In fact, water is essential for the tech sector. It takes up to 30 litres of water to manufacture a single microchip for a smartphone, tablet or laptop. In Singapore, water is a key part of our journey to becoming a global tech hub with a growing number of semiconductor firms and data centres. Data centres in particular require huge amounts of water to cool their servers.

To balance Singapore’s tech goals with our need to conserve water and energy, the government has announced that any new data centres must meet an array of environmental sustainability standards before receiving construction approval.

IN CELEBRATION OF WATER

PUB mascots Water Wally and Water Sally visited HomeTeamNS Khatib on 12 and 13 March.

Although Singapore has a circular water economy – which means that we are able to endlessly recycle our water by collecting, treating and reusing it – this doesn’t mean that we can let it go to waste.

To help spread the importance of water conservation, popular mascots Water Wally and Water Sally are scheduled to appear at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier on 26 March from 12pm to 2pm.

To redeem a small gift, just follow these few steps: Wear blue to any HomeTeamNS clubhouse, snap a photo with the mascots, and post it in the comments section of the World Water Day post on the clubhouse’s Facebook page. Show your post to the HomeTeamNS staff to receive your gift.

If you’re staying home, you can still participate in World Water Day. Simply log on to HomeTeamNS-JOM’s Facebook page between 9 to 30 March to show off your trivia knowledge and win prizes by taking part in a series of online water-centric quizzes.

On World Water Day, let’s remember how precious this essential resource is – and make an effort to ensure every drop counts in Singapore.

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New experiences, great deals for HomeTeamNS members

Schedule a staycation, sign up for fun classes or simply feast with the family – with these great HomeTeamNS deals.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

Whether it was tasting a new cuisine, learning a new sport or trying a different hobby, when was the last time you did something to break out of your routine?

With many of us still working from home or balancing hybrid work arrangements, it’s important to open ourselves to new experiences. Doing so can benefit your mental health and help stimulate creativity, among other benefits. From fitness courses to cooking classes and staycations, these HomeTeamNS deals, activities and offers are a good starting point to help you break out of the humdrum.

FROM AIKIDO TO ZUMBA, FITNESS FOR THE SOUL

St Teresa Taekwondo Studio teaches the finer points of this martial art to young kids and teens. Photo: St Teresa Taekwondo Studio

Keen to start a new fitness routine? Enjoy 20 per cent off the second course sign-up at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse for the following courses: Aikido, Taekwondo, Karate, Yoga, Zumba, Piloxing and Wing Chun. Simply drop an email to courses@hometeamns.sg for the promo code.

St Teresa Taekwondo Studio at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier clubhouse teaches the finer points of this martial art to young children and teens. Quote “HTNSHOLIDAYDEALS” or show the promo image when you sign up to receive a free Kicking Pad worth S$35. HomeTeamNS members will also receive an additional free pouch. The free gifts are redeemable upon payment of the registration fee and three or six months’ fees. The promotion runs from 1-31 March, 2022.

ART, MUSIC, BAKING – AND EATING

Genius R Us lets your kids rock their inner master chef and learn to make a variety of treats. Photo: Genius R Us

Over at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier clubhouse, a cornucopia of deals awaits.

If your child prefers to rock their inner master chef instead, head to Genius R Us where they can learn to make cookies, cakes and other goodies. First-timers enjoy a special Bake Out promotional rate from March to April 2022. HomeTeamNS members pay S$35 per child or S$50 for one parent and one child, while non-members pay S$38 per child or S$53 for one parent and one child.

To qualify for the promotion, children must be aged between three to 12 years old and parents should quote “HTNSHOLIDAYDEALS” or show the promo image when they sign up via WhatsApp.

Looking to tap into your inner artist? SmartArtz Studio has a first-timers’ promotion that could help on your journey. Photo: SmartArtz Studio

If you’re the artistic type, SmartArtz Studio has a Craft Out promotion for first-timers running from March to April 2022. HomeTeamNS members pay S$32 per child (aged between three to 12 years old) or S$42 for one parent and one child, while non-members pay S$35 per child or S$45 for one parent and one child. To redeem the promotion, quote “HTNSHOLIDAYDEALS” or show the promo image when you sign up via Whatsapp.

Musically inclined little ones should visit Nozumi Musictopia, which has an opening promotion for its parent-accompanied Junior Group Class intended for toddlers aged between 12 to 14 months.

Kiddies will be introduced to music, movement and instruments, and gain a solid foundation for progressing onwards to the one-on-one ABRSM class syllabus. Quote “HTNSHOLIDAYDEALS” or show the promo image when you sign up or enquire at 9654 3386 to enjoy a 15 per cent discount on the Junior Group Class between May to June 2022. HomeTeamNS members still enjoy a 15 per cent discount on sign-ups after the promotion period. Still, you shouldn’t delay – the first 10 sign-ups will receive a goodie bag worth S$50.

GET OUT AND ABOUT

One-for-one movie ticket offers on weekends and weekdays make it easy for HomeTeamNS members to catch up with the latest releases. Photo: Shutterstock

Singapore may be small, but it has plenty of places to explore as a family.

Movie buffs will want to take advantage of the one-for-one movie ticket offer at any Cathay Cineplexes theatre, on both weekends and weekdays. Simply flash your HomeTeamNS digital membership card when you make your purchase at the counter. The offer is limited to one pair of tickets per member per day, and only 30 pairs of tickets can be redeemed in total each day.

Dinosaur devotees will want to drop by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which is offering 10 per cent off admission fees until 31 December 2023 to HomeTeamNS members who present their digital membership card over the counter. Tickets are limited to a maximum of five per cardholder per day.

Crossing over to Sentosa just became easier thanks to discounts on round-trip cable car sky passes on Mount Faber. Photo: Shutterstock

Head into the clouds with 35 per cent discount on round-trip cable car sky passes on Mount Faber, valid until 31 March 2022. To get the promo code, download and open the new HomeTeamNS Mobile App.

STAYCATION NATION

With dedicated indoor and outdoor facilities made for the family, embrace the escape to a lush sanctuary at Shangri-La Singapore. Photo: Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

If your kids love the beach, treat them to a staycation they won’t forget. Till 26 May 2022, the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Singapore is offering HomeTeamNS members 15 per cent off online room rates for its Deluxe Seaview Room, Panoramic Seaview Room and Deluxe Poolview Room.

For those who prefer a more central location for easy access to shopping and eateries, the Shangri-La Singapore has special rates applicable for HomeTeamNS member bookings until 26 May 2022, depending on the day you choose to stay.

From Monday to Thursday, enjoy the following rates:

  • Garden Wing Deluxe City View: S$298++
  • Garden Wing Deluxe Pool View: S$318++
  • Valley Wing Deluxe: S$488++
  • Tower Wing Family Deluxe: S$358++

From Friday to Sunday (Weekends):

  • Garden Wing Deluxe City View : S$438++
  • Garden Wing Deluxe Pool View : S$458++
  • Valley Wing Deluxe : S$558++
  • Tower Wing Family Deluxe : S$478++
Enjoy a beach getaway with the family at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Singapore, with your family. Photo: Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

From 14-17 April, 1-3 May, and 15-16 May, the weekend rates will apply instead.

The rates include breakfast for up to two adults and two children (below 12 years of age), as well as an extra bed for one child, subject to hotel availability. Kids will also enjoy a complimentary single session of playtime at buds by Shangri-La and a complimentary single session of playtime at the newly launched outdoor Splash Zone.

Both promotions at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Singapore and the Shangri-La Singapore are subject to availability and are not available on blackout dates. To make reservations at Shangri-La Singapore, quote “SLGRP21” via email at reservations.sls@shangri-la.com, or call 6235 1666. For Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, make your reservation by quoting “HOMETEAMNS” via email at reservations.sen@shangri-la.com, call 6371 1088, or visit the website.

Download the new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App for the latest promotions and membership perks! 

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Fun family options for the March school holidays

Get back to nature, try a new sport, appreciate the importance of upcycling – there’s plenty of scope for family fun during the week-long March school holidays.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

The school holidays are here again, but with just a one-week break, it’s important to plan a family itinerary that makes the most of everyone’s time. Activities that get everyone out of the house while experiencing something make for memorable moments.

Thankfully, Singapore has many family-friendly attractions to offer. From more educational options to those that will keep thrill-seekers satisfied, here are our picks for some holiday-inspired fun.  

EVERY DROP COUNTS

Water Wally and Sally mascots made an appearance at HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse on 12 to 13 March.

It’s all too easy to take basic needs for granted when you live in an affluent country like Singapore.  As such it’s good to remind the younger generation that we are ultimately a small island with limited natural resources. With World Water Day (March 22) upon us, HomeTeamNS is organising some activities at all the clubhouses to spread awareness.

Bring the kids to meet Water Wally and Sally, the friendly mascots of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, at HomeTeamNS Tampines (March 19), Bukit Batok (March 20) and Balestier (March 26) clubhouses and learn more ways to inculcate water-saving habits. Be sure to dress your family in blue and post your best snapshot on the clubhouses’ respective Facebook pages — you’ll score a chance to bring home gifts like laundry bags, tote bags and adorable soft toys!

And while you’re at the clubhouses, why not make the most of your day? Explore T-Play, HomeTeamNS’ indoor-themed playgrounds at Bukit Batok or Khatib, or swing by the Villas for a chalet escape filled with console fun and barbecue dinners.

FEEL THAT ADRENALINE

Skyride offers a scenic adventure above Sentosa’s tropical forest.

If a day of adventure best suits your family, head to Sentosa’s Hydrodash during the school holidays. Situated over the waters of Palawan Beach, Singapore’s first floating aqua park has stations for every shade of thrill-seeker.

Quarter pipes, action towers, twist or target – there are various challenges the entire family can take on. Life vests are standard issue, so just hop, clamber or hold on tight while tackling on the obstacles – or take a refreshing dip in the lagoon’s cooling waters.

To add to the excitement, try an indoor sky-diving session at iFly or speed down a man-made course at the Skyline Luge. For a more relaxed activity, the Skyride offers a scenic adventure above Sentosa’s tropical forest with a bird’s eye view of Singapore’s skyline and the South China Sea.

But if sea water’s not your thing, there’s always Adventure Cove Waterpark, with attraction like a hydro-magnetic coaster, high-speed water slides and the chance to snorkel with marine life.

SAIL AWAY

If you enjoy being out at sea, a cruise out into the endless blue on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is another option to explore.

This all-inclusive cruise offers attractions for everyone, from stationary sky-diving and surfing simulators for those who prefer some high-octane action, to fun water slides, bumper cars and gaming rooms for some light fun. Movies and performances keep the entertainment going, but we’re guessing the views from your room balcony or the raised North Star glass capsule for guests will also occupy your time. The biggest decision you’ll have to make is which of the 18 restaurants onboard to eat at during your 3 or 4-night stay.

If you’ve signed up for the HomeTeamNS Family Day Sea-nic Cruise, don’t forget to share your photos on Instagram to stand a chance to score an Instax camera!

ISLAND NOSTALGIA

Pulau Ubin is home to scenic trails. Visitors can rent bicycles on the island, or bring their own bicycles over on the ferry ride to the island.

Pulau Ubin is very much a living museum – a time capsule of people still enjoying the kampung life. It’s a laidback environment where everyone knows everyone. The best way to explore the island is by cycling, where you can visit Ubin’s many attractions from a butterfly garden and Tibetan temple to hilly trekking routes. For the more adventurous, Ketam Mountain Bike Park offers a variety of trails, rated from beginner to advanced-level, built to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards.

The mangrove boardwalk stretching out to Chek Jawa is particularly scenic, and don’t forget to head up the watchtower along the way for a breathtaking view of the forest and ocean beyond. For something similar inland, the Punggol Waterway Park is a great cycling trail that takes you past natural mangroves, abundant greenery and some pretty bridges including the Kelong bridge. 

THEME PARK PLAY

For the young and young-at-heart, don’t miss the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration at Suntec City.

Transplanted directly from the Downtown Disney District of the original resort in California, the exhibition features seven themed rooms. It’s definitely one for the shutterbugs, with plenty of stations designed to bring you into Mickey’s world through clever cut-outs and artistic installations. Hidden surprises await in sections like the Mickey Loves Singapore room, where one can test their trivia knowledge and stand a chance to win special gifts.

If that’s not enough, Superpark is just in the next tower within the mall. This boasts an array of facilities for children to skate, climb or just bounce on a trampoline, and develop their motor skills in the process. If you wish to leave it to the hands of experts, there’s a Day Camp option where your children can pick up seven unique skill sets, while you sip a leisurely cup nearby.

GET A LITTLE CRAFTY

Craft workshops are a good indoor activity, especially if the weather puts a damper on outdoor plans.

If you prefer to stay indoors or need some a wet-weather backup plan, then sign up for some crafting workshops. It will be a good opportunity to spark a new interest or discover a hidden talent. A family member could be a natural at pottery while another has the perfect eye to paint – finding out is half the fun.

Klook offers lots of workshops to choose from, with opportunities to turn socks into soft toys, wax into realistic macaron candles, and twine and soil into a bonsai. Parents can accompany and help out, or sign up for a slot to join in the fun.

Keen to do good at the same time? HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier is having an upcycling class on March 26, so sign up to get creative and find out what fantastic items one can make from recycled materials.

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Simple, heartfelt ways to show your appreciation for the women in your life

Mother, sister, grandmother, wife, teacher – odds are, there’s a woman who’s played a significant role in your life and still continues to do so. As International Women’s Day approaches, here are some ways you can say “thank you” to them.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

International Women’s Day is on 8 March – but it’s a day not just for women, but for everyone to celebrate with the women in their lives.

After all, you might have heard the saying that “women hold up half the sky”. Women all over the world have played an integral role in contributing to the economy and moving society forward, often while caring for their families at the same time. International Women’s Day celebrates their achievements and raises awareness of the need for equality and greater visibility.

To show appreciation to the women in our lives, we can start with some simple, heartfelt actions that include making time for them to relax and enjoy a well-deserved pampering treat.

PAMPER HER BODY AND MIND

A spa day isn’t just good for one’s physical well-being — it also destresses and calms a busy mind, especially if your mum or wife constantly juggles work and family commitments. If scheduling is an issue, you can book her an hour-long massage after work or on weekends for a quick refresher. If she has more time to spare, some spas have packages that offer treatments from the top of her head to the soles of her feet.

Tip: Choose a spa in a setting that she’ll like — some are in bustling shopping malls (perfect for some retail therapy afterwards) while others are tucked away in quiet garden enclaves for a truly relaxing retreat.

A GIFT FOR HER EVERYDAY NEEDS

If you’d like to get a gift for her but can’t think of what to buy, why not observe her daily routine
and see how you can make it better? For example, if your mum enjoys going on morning walks, you could buy her a pair of well-cushioned shoes to support her feet better.

If your wife enjoys listening to music on her commute, she might like a new pair of wireless earbuds. And if she’s into fragrances but has very specific tastes, buy her a body lotion, soap or shower gel that comes from the same line as her favourite perfume.

CARDS AND LETTERS OF APPRECIATION

Whether you’re showing your appreciation for a former teacher, a workplace mentor or a loved one, a heartfelt, handwritten note or card is always welcome. If it feels awkward to pen down your feelings, start by recalling a specific incident or act that moved you. Sum up what it was and how she helped you, before expressing your gratitude in a few simple lines. Beyond the personal message, your recognition of her effort goes a long way in shining an appreciative spotlight on the invisible work women often do day-in and day-out, in the workplace and at home.

HELP HER PURSUE HER HOBBIES

In hectic Singapore, it can be tough to detach oneself long enough from work and personal responsibilities in order to pursue hobbies or self-improvement. But taking time off for hobbies has long been associated with better physical and mental health.

If you know that she’s been wanting to try a new fitness routine, encourage her with the gift of classes in yoga, Pilates or even hoop fitness. If she’s into watercolours or scrapbooking, she’ll enjoy a gift of art supplies, or a voucher to her favourite craft store. Your thoughtful gift will also remind her to slow down and make time for her own personal development.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

TactSim, the indoor airsoft area at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse is hosting its first Ladies Night.

Are the same old date-night choices getting boring? If travel is still not on the table, be a tourist in Singapore instead. Take her on a journey to prehistoric times, but in air-conditioned comfort at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. In addition to housing an extensive collection of Singapore’s natural heritage, it also holds a herbarium — which will be of interest to avid gardeners — and a collection of preserved zoological specimens. Until 31 December 2023, HomeTeamNS members get 10 per cent off a maximum of five admission tickets per day when they present their membership card at the counter.

But if fossils aren’t her cup of tea, see Singapore from a different angle on the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network. By presenting their membership card, HomeTeamNS members enjoy 35 per cent off the Cable Car Sky Pass, which offers round-trip access to all six cable car stations on the Mount Faber and Sentosa Lines. The promotion ends on 31 March.

For a unique day out, TactSim, the indoor airsoft area at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse is hosting its first Ladies Night. It will be open only for female players on 9 March 2022, from 5.30pm to 10pm. Players enjoy a 30 per cent discount on Player Vs Player and Target Shooting at the range.

SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill is known for serving up traditional western food with a fusion twist, in the form of Soba Bowls, Pastas, and more.

Thanking your mum or grandmother for being there for you can sometimes be as simple as scheduling a chat over a meal or a cup of coffee, or simply give her a call to ask how her day went. Providing a listening ear has been shown to lower the risk of dementia for elderly family members — a risk that is very real for women, as they are more likely to suffer the disease. If your grandmother or mother enjoys reminiscing, ask them about their childhood and encourage them to see how far they’ve come since those early years — a momentous journey worth celebrating, this International Women’s Day.

If they’re fans of teppanyaki, you’re in luck. At Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, every dine-in teppanyaki set comes with a free dessert of either a chocolate banana cake or cheesecake from 5-8 March 2022.

If seafood is their cuisine of choice, JOM Makan Seafood at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier offers a wide selection. From 7-11 March, dine-in guests who spend a minimum of S$100 will enjoy 1 complimentary mocktail for each woman at the table.

To enjoy these special treats, simply flash the promotion upon ordering at the counter.

Find out more about HomeTeamNS members’ deals and treatsLike our stories? Subscribe to Frontline Digital newsletters to get your bi-weekly dose of updates on new stories!

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To click or not to click?

Phishing scams have unfortunately been in the news again. Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid falling victim to common scams online.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Imagine losing your life savings in a matter of minutes. That nightmarish scenario was reality for many victims of the recent OCBC Bank phishing scam, which saw S$13.7 million lost from the accounts of 790 bank customers.

Phishing scams are online attacks in which cybercriminals trick people into handing over their confidential information, such as bank details, passwords and credit card information by creating websites, emails and text messages that seem to come from a legitimate organisation, such as a government agency or a bank.

In the last few years, Singaporeans’ financial activity has increasingly shifted online – a trend accelerated by COVID-19 as digital finance and e-payments were encouraged to maintain safe-distancing measures. However, this has also resulted in an increase in phishing scams and hacking attempts. In the last five-and-a-half years, online scammers have stolen close to S$1 billion from people living in Singapore, with 2020 seeing the highest amount of S$268.4 million lost.

Instead of going back to the old days of stashing money in Milo tins and piggy banks under your bed, these few simple checks can help to ensure that your precious savings are safe from online criminals and their phishing methods.

LOOK FOR THE SMALL DIFFERENCES

Cybercriminals have developed increasingly sophisticated ways to trick unwary consumers, so it pays to be extra vigilant when making online transactions.

Phishing has become more sophisticated, as cybercriminals are able to spoof the Short Message Service (SMS) Sender IDs of real banks. This means that their fraudulent text messages will be sorted into the same SMS thread as legitimate ones. This causes victims to assume the messages are real and act on them accordingly.

However, there are still some differences. Phishing messages often have errors in grammar or spelling.  They may use threatening language or issue ultimatums to scare victims (“Your account will be deleted if you don’t act now!”).

If they arrive via email, their addresses won’t match those belonging to the real organisation they’re imitating – for example, a phishing email might be from frontline@hmeteamns.com instead of frontline@hometeamns.sg. For WhatsApp messages, check for a green check mark next to the organisation name. This indicates that the message is from the organisation’s official business account.

In addition, if you accidentally click on a phishing website, you might notice that it starts with ‘http’ instead of ‘https’. The latter denotes a secure version used by legitimate websites like banks and online retailers, to protect your login credentials.

DON’T CLICK THE LINK

If you receive a message that claims to be from a trusted organisation, don’t click on the link automatically. Besides, banks in Singapore have recently announced that they’ll stop using clickable links in emails and SMSes for greater security. To see where a link leads to, mouse over it on your computer, or hold it down with a finger on your phone to see the full address.

It’s safer to log in using the bank or organisation’s app on your phone, or by visiting their website. If the message is real, you should see a notification in the app or on the website. If you don’t see anything but would still like to check, it’s safer to call the organisation. Don’t use any numbers provided in the suspected message. You may end up speaking to a scammer instead!

DON’T PROVIDE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

No genuine organisation will ever ask for your personal information (like NRIC number, Singpass login, bank account details or passwords) online. Should a bank or government agency require sensitive information, they would ask you to visit a branch or office in person.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Cybercriminals have developed increasingly sophisticated ways to trick unwary consumers, so it pays to be extra vigilant when making online transactions.

Phishing messages might try to tempt victims with freebies, chances to win prizes or unusually large discounts on popular goods. Last year, NTUC FairPrice alerted customers to an email – supposedly from FairPrice Online – that offered people S$80 for answering a few survey questions. If the offer is suspiciously generous, it’s probably fake.

WHAT’S THE RUSH?

Finally, phishing attacks often rely on a victim being distracted or panicked, two emotions which override their natural caution.

For example, one victim of the OCBC Bank phishing scam was anxious when she received a fake text message claiming that her account would be suspended, as she needed to make several transactions to her children’s bank accounts. Scammers eventually took close to S$100,000 from her and her children’s bank accounts.

Instead of reacting immediately to any messages or emails, take the time to evaluate their content. Don’t perform transactions or disclose banking details when you’re in a rush, or distracted. Set aside the time to sit down and focus fully on the information presented to you. This might take a few extra minutes, but it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

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