Lifestyle On The Edge

Flame out

On International Firefighters’ Day, we discuss the basics of home fire safety.



House fires often start with something small – a forgotten meal simmering on the stove or an overcharged power bank in the bedroom. But within minutes, entire lives can be destroyed.

International Firefighters’ Day, which falls on May 4 every year, pays tribute to the bravery and the sacrifices made by all firefighters. We can honour their dedication by doing our best to observe basic fire safety rules – and by doing so, prevent more fire-related tragedies from occurring.


Hoarding has always been an obstacle to fire safety. In August, a residential fire at Jurong East Street 21 resulted in the death of a resident. Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel reported difficulty in extinguishing the blaze as the flat was filled with items from wall to wall, obstructing firefighting and damping down operations.

Combustible materials such as newspapers, books, clothing and cardboard boxes can spread flames quickly. As hoarders in Singapore tend to be elderly, they may also have mobility issues that make it more difficult to escape a fire, especially in a narrow, cluttered space.


When power points are overloaded with multiple appliances, they can overheat and become a fire hazard. The SCDF has noted that a majority of residential electrical fires are caused by overloaded sockets or short-circuited appliances.

Keep wires organised and don’t run them under carpets or rugs, as that can prevent heat dissipation. Broken or exposed wires are a fire risk, and if you spot a frayed or damaged electrical cord it’s best to call in a licensed electrical worker than attempt a DIY solution. 


A battery explosion – whether from an overcharged power bank or personal mobility device (PMD) – can have devastating consequences, such as when a 20-year-old man died from burn injuries after his PMD exploded in the lift last December.

If you use a PMD or any other kind of active mobility device – such as a power-assisted bicycle or personal mobility aid – remember to check that your device’s battery has a valid SAFETY mark and is compliant with official regulatory standards such as UL2272 and EN5194.

Inspect your battery regularly for any damage or deformities, charge it away from heat sources and combustible materials like fabric, and don’t charge your battery immediately after using your device. Avoid overcharging and leaving your battery to charge overnight.


It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t forget to invest in portable fire extinguishers which are available at hardware stores and online retailers and smoke detectors for your home. Once you have these resources in place, check regularly to ensure that they are in good condition. Lift the fire extinguisher to assess its fullness, inspect it for any corrosion, leakage or clogging in the nozzle, and make sure the pressure gauge indicator is in the operative range.

Smoke detectors, also known as home fire alarm devices (HFADs), should ideally have built-in batteries with a 10-year life span as recommended by the SCDF. HFADs should be installed on the ceiling along the home’s escape route, and connected to ensure that if one is triggered, all will sound an alarm. Once a month, press the test button on each HFAD to see if it’s working.


Hold twice-yearly fire drills so that everyone in the household knows how to handle themselves in event of a fire. Everyone should be familiar with the location of the nearest fire extinguisher, and those physically able to lift the extinguisher should know how to use it. Helpers should be taught kitchen fire safety, such as not throwing water on a stove-top grease fire or leaving cooking unattended.

Besides teaching children not to play with matches, it’s also important to teach them fire safety basics such as stop, drop and roll, emergency numbers such as 995, and the escape plan if the house catches fire.

What to do if a fire breaks out at home

If a fire breaks out, what should you do?

First, don’t panic. If the fire occurs at the kitchen stove, turn off the gas supply and use a lid or damp cloth to completely cover the pot or pan. Starving the fire of oxygen will extinguish it. If the fire is in a room and cannot be controlled by an extinguisher or water, evacuate everyone from the room. If you can, close the door to contain the smoke and flames and call 995. If the gas mains are within reach, switch them off.

When evacuating, don’t turn back for treasured belongings – fires can spread and intensify far more quickly than you think. Focus on avoiding smoke inhalation by covering your mouth and nose with a wet cloth and crawling under the smoke to escape. Always take the stairs to head to ground level. On very high levels, head to the nearest refuge floor – a safe holding area located every 20 floors in super high-rise residential buildings.

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Lifestyle On The Edge

Five ways to celebrate Earth Day

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



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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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Lifestyle On The Edge

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

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


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

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

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Lifestyle On The Edge

All you need to know about VR dating apps

For busy working professionals including NSmen, the future of dating may be in the metaverse.


After a tiring day at camp or work, it can be tough mustering the energy to catch up with friends, let alone put yourself out there on a blind date. Enter Virtual Reality (VR) dating, which gives time-strapped NSmen the opportunity to fire up their love lives — without compromising on the experience.

While you can already meet others in the metaverse through apps such as VRChat and Facebook Venues, VR dating apps are specifically designed for establishing the right match using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Users typically start by creating their profile, which indicates their gender and partner preferences. They identify through avatars instead of photographs, putting the focus on their personality rather than looks. The apps — most of which can be paired with headsets for a more immersive experience — vie with each other in the creativity of their virtual date spots.  

VR technology facilitates scenarios where avatars can cuddle, hug, sleep and be intimate with one another. Some VR users even experience “phantom touch”, where they apparently feel physical sensation when their avatar is “touched”.

Here are four VR dating apps on the scene.


VR dating app Nevermet

The main objective of Nevermet developers Cam Mullen and Solaris Nite was to evolve dating beyond its superficial aspects and help connect individuals on a deeper level, based on their common interests.

The developers enforce this notion through their “no-photos” policy. Users create a profile to specify age, gender and preferences – whether they are looking for an adventure buddy, partner in crime, or love. All profiles must be approved by its moderation team, after which users swipe on potential love interests. Once matched, they can then coordinate a meet up for a VR Date. “Play ping pong, ride unicorns, and go to Paris, all on your first date,” as the company puts it.

Headset compatibility: Meta Quest 2 (preferred), most other headsets including Meta Rift, Meta Quest 1 and HTC Vive.


VR dating app Flirtual

The design focus of Flirtual, which has had a regular presence in the VR gaming space since 2018, is for people to meet in the metaverse and move on to real life relationships.  

Co-founders Antony Tan and Kyle Farwell themselves have individually tried VR dating. Farwell met his girlfriend in VR, and they have since moved in together in real life. So, the duo is aware of the safety and diversity concerns. “We take privacy and user choice seriously, and we are open source and open algorithm,” explains Tan, which means that codes are more publicly accessible and customisable. “We work to make all kinds of groups and identities feel welcome at Flirtual.”

Flirtual matches VR users based on their interests and then facilitates a VR date that acts as a precursor to a physical meeting. Flirtual also hosts speed dating and social events in the virtual space

Headset compatibility: Users on Flirtual do not require a VR headset to start, as it is designed as a non-VR app. Once users are matched, they can decide where and how to meet on VR.


Developed by OG metaverse platform Second Life, Lonely Hearts Dating Agency (LHDA) is a great space to make friends, conduct business and share knowledge, aside from finding that special someone.

LHDA’s cleverly designed VR destinations cater to your wanderlust by teleporting you to various destinations, from Holland to Japan. There’s even a Dutch countryside experience at Hedwigepolder piped with the sounds of windmills spinning in the background.

There is a plethora of realistic hangout spots, including a Blues Club, an Irish Pub, a nightclub and even a shopping street. All you have to do is pay L$1 (Linden dollars) to the virtual dating agency, which buys you a month to find what you are looking for.

Headset compatibility: VR headsets are not compulsory, although they help make the experience more immersive. The platform is compatible with most VR headsets.


Planet Theta

The soon-to-be-launched Planet Theta packs a punch when it comes to features. The basic concept of matchmaking is simple. Users jump into a Microdating Queue – a VR version of speed dating – where the app’s algorithm sets them up on short dates with those who meet their criteria. While waiting in the queue, they can mingle with others in a virtual bar. There, they can also purchase NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to be displayed in their high-end virtual residences. 

These Microdates can be extended into longer Coffee Dates if users find common interests, at virtual spots ranging from a pool parlour to an axe throwing venue and enchanted forest. They then get to view each other’s full profiles, send messages and share pictures. Planet Theta has partnered with Wolf3D that allows them to create three-dimensional avatars of themselves. All you need to do is take a selfie and the app generates an avatar in your likeness. Users can reuse or export that avatar to other apps that use Wolf3D.

Headset compatibility: Most popular VR headsets including the Meta Quest 2, Meta Rift S, Meta Quest Pro, HTC Vive, and Valve Index. Planet Theta’s Beta site is also available on Meta and Steam, which allows users to try the app without a headset.


  • Although you cannot see the other person, VR apps do due diligence in capturing body language. Be as mindful as you would on a physical date.
  • Safety on the metaverse is key. Only download apps from approved app sources as they are strictly moderated.
  • Brush up on the personal safety features you need to follow. For example, Oculus has a safety centre.
  • Be aware of the moderations as well as blocking and reporting features on your app or platform. Metaverse dating could still expose you to cyber bullying, stalkers and inappropriate behaviour despite these features. Report any unsavoury experiences immediately to the moderators so they can monitor and take action accordingly.
  • Cryptocurrency offers a lot of flexibility and has its advantages, but it remains a largely unregulated space. Do your homework and be cautious when dealing on the metaverse.

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Featured Lifestyle On The Edge

Planning an adventure-themed holiday? Here are 5 adventurous activities to do while you’re abroad

Adventure awaits on your next holiday, so don’t just lounge by the pool. Blow off some steam with your family and friends by trying out exhilarating activities outside of Singapore.



Holidays aren’t just a time to laze around the beach or hotel room bathtub. They’re also a great time to step out of your comfort zone and have an adventure.

Besides being a change of pace from the daily grind, engaging in adventurous outdoor pursuits has been shown in studies to increase happiness and life satisfaction, while reducing stress levels.

Best of all, Singapore’s ideal location means that we’re a hop, skip and a short flight or ferry ride away from some of the most exciting regional destinations around, whether you’re a solo daredevil, or travelling with kids in tow. If you’re still looking for inspiration on where to travel to, here are some nearby accommodation options with discounts for HomeTeamNS members.


The Island of the Gods has been a must-visit surfing destination since classic surf film Morning of the Earth (1971) depicted it as an idyllic paradise, with perfect white-capped waves crashing in slow motion on an unspoilt shoreline.

These days, the original surfer town of Kuta is a highly-developed tourist spot bustling with cafes, bars and hotels. But Kuta Beach itself still has the same easy, small waves that suit beginners and less-confident surfers, and numerous surf schools along the sand to teach surfers of all ages the basics, including paddling, balancing and standing on a longboard.

Advanced surfers will prefer Uluwatu, down south from Kuta and Ngurah Rai International Airport. The waves at Uluwatu are generally fast and powerful – rising as high as 15m in some places – and surfers have multiple breaks scattered along the coastline to choose from. Beware of sharp rocks and coral reefs, though.


The Andaman Sea is known for its beautiful blue waters, which are home to an intimidating array of big game fish: Sailfish, wahoo, mahi-mahi, barracuda, yellowfin tuna and marlin, among others.

If the idea of hooking a fish bigger than a grown man, fighting it into submission and hoisting it up for a triumphant photo is one that floats your boat, head to Phuket. There are boat charters available with experienced captains who can bring you outside the National Marine Park no-fishing zone to an area known as the Drop-off, where large schools of tuna and other species loiter around sea-mounts, hoping to snack on the smaller fish taking shelter there.

Be sure to practice responsible catch and release, so that any record-breaking fish you manage to haul in has a chance to live on, procreate and continue to play their role in the marine eco-system. And if the prospect of battling marine monsters is a little too tiring to contemplate, there are more relaxed cruises that offer a casual angling experience while island-hopping.


Tourists on two wheels will enjoy exploring Georgetown for its quaint cafes, famous street food stalls, charming wall murals (including the famous Children on a Bicycle) and fairly flat roads.

But for an adventure outside the town centre, rent a bicycle and head out along the Eastern Coastal Route, a dedicated cycling path that runs from Georgetown to Queensbay in Phase 1, and from Queensbay to Batu Maung in Phase 2. Along the way, you’ll cycle across the Pinang River, pause for a breather by the seafront promenade named Dataran Persiaran Karpal Singh, and stop for a selfie at the Penang Bridge, which connects the island to the mainland.

Going even further off the beaten path, head to the western side of Penang and ride from the kampungs of Balik Pulau down to Pulau Betong Fishing Jetty. Art aficionados will want to stop at Kampung Terang for the portraits painted and displayed on shipping containers, as part of the Penang International Container Art Festival. When you’ve reached the jetty, cycle up again – this time hugging the western coastline – in order to luxuriate in nature at the Balik Pulau Paddy Field and the Pantai Malindo Mangrove Forest.


Bintan is more than an island full of resorts and golf courses. It’s also the home of Mount Bintan, a 336m high summit also known as Gunung Bintan Besar.

Considered a fairly easy climb for amateur hikers, the trek up Mount Bintan can be accomplished in three to four hours. The trail is well maintained, making it a good choice for older children and groups of varying fitness levels.

Start around 8am, and you can make it back to your resort by lunchtime, including the drive of less than an hour from most Bintan resorts. As you walk, admire the lush tropical foliage and let your guide educate you about the various plant and animal species living in the forest.

At the end of the trail, you’ll find Kolam Puteri – known in English as the Princess Pool – and a waterfall where tired, hot climbers are known to take the occasional dip before settling back to enjoy the panoramic view from the top.


Langkawi might be synonymous with the beach life, but for a shot of adrenaline, check out all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tours. These ATV adventures will bring you to plantations and traditional villages, and give you the opportunity to navigate through streams and paddy fields on your way to the Lubuk Semilang Waterfall, a popular stop for tourists.

For those who prefer their thrills all in one convenient place, there’s the Langkawi Adventure and X-Treme Park. You can still go on an ATV jungle ride at the park, in addition to a wide range of other adrenaline-fuelled activities, such as the flying fox, indoor go-kart (perfect for rainy days), paintball, archery, and the Langkawi SkyBike, which brings cycling up to a whole new level.  

For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS promotions and events, visit our website and Facebook page. 

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.

Lifestyle On The Edge

Here’s why it pays to plan early for your next holiday

With demand – and therefore prices – for tickets surging and extended passport processing times, here’s why your holiday preparations should begin now. HomeTeamNS is offering a colourful range of  promotions to keep your holidays fuss-free!



If your holidays in the last few years were spent on staycations (or just staying at home), it might be time to dust off your luggage and head to the money changer.

As the world settles into the endemic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are hitting the road. A recent survey found that in the next 12 months, eight in 10 Singaporeans intended to travel for leisure, with most of them heading to Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. 

So if you want to put your passport to work during the end-of-year holidays, it’s best to plan ahead – so that you can spend your vacation relaxing (and eating, and shopping, and exploring).


After all that anticipation, you definitely don’t want to get to Changi Airport only to realise that your passport has less than six months’ validity.

In August, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) reminded Singaporeans who want to travel during the December school break to submit their passport applications as soon as possible, to ensure they get their passports renewed on time.

To save hassle, submit your passport applications online via the ICA website or MyICA mobile app, and collect your renewed passport from one of the 29 designated post offices. When taking your photograph, don’t forget to refer to ICA’s photo guidelines. A photo that needs to be resubmitted can delay your entire passport renewal timeline.


Due to the combination of pent-up travel demand and lack of manpower, airports around the world are experiencing higher rates of flight cancellations and delays compared to pre-pandemic days. Buying travel insurance will ensure that even if your holiday gets off to an unexpectedly late start, at least you get back some cash in return for the trouble. Most travel insurance policies cover delays starting from the six-hour mark.

Tip: Make sure to read the terms and conditions of a travel insurance policy before you buy it – some policies exclude flight delays caused by operational issues, for example, so it’s best to check before purchasing.

HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 20 per cent discount off Singlife Travel Insurance (Single Trip), with an additional 30 per cent discount for MHA Group Insurance members. All you have to do is download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App to retrieve the promo code and enjoy this perk. This discount is applicable for a single trip travel insurance only, and is valid till 31 July 2023. 


The days of playing it by ear are sadly, not yet back. Due to the pandemic, tourist attractions and services globally have been affected by shortages in resources and manpower – meaning that your travel experience might be affected by circumstances outside your control. Hotels may struggle to prepare rooms in time for check-in and restaurants might be slow to prepare and serve food.

There have also been numerous closures of beloved tourist institutions. For example, the Ferris wheel in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront has shut down. Iconic restaurants, bookstores and theatres have all not been spared.

In addition, airline ticket prices have gone up by an estimated 25 per cent due to a variety of factors. You might find that your dream destination is no longer as affordable as before.

To avoid frustration (and disappointment) on your holiday, keep an open mind and have a Plan B ready. Plan your first choice of destination, accommodation or attraction, but research what’s nearby as well, just in case your original plans fall through.


Don’t want the hassle of planning and packing for a two-week itinerary? For a truly relaxed holiday option, consider a nearby getaway in Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand.

Located in the heart of the city, Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur is offering HomeTeamNS members promotional room rates that start from RM250. The package includes breakfast for two persons and WiFi access.

If you enjoy driving, take an easy three-hour road trip to nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site, Melaka. Hotel Casa del Rio, which means ‘Home by the River’ in Spanish, is located in the historic town centre for convenient access to Melaka’s heritage attractions and scrumptious food offerings. HomeTeamNS members enjoy an additional 5 per cent off the hotel’s best available rates and selected room packages, as well as 10 per cent off the restaurant’s à la carte menu.

Otherwise, you can live that #beachlife over at Casa del Mar Langkawi, which is set on Instagram-worthy Pantai Cenang beach. Casa del Mar, which means – you guessed it – ‘Home by the Sea’, is a Mediterranean-style resort only 10 minutes away from Langkawi Airport, so you can start your vacation ASAP. When the sun goes down, don’t forget to check out the array of restaurants and the night market located nearby. For stays between 1 November to 15 December 2022, HomeTeamNS members enjoy 10 per cent off the best available rates.

Overlooking Kata Beach, The Boathouse Phuket is offering HomeTeamNS members 10 per cent off the best available room rates, till 23 December 2022.

For luxe living by the sea, The Residence Bintan is offering HomeTeamNS members 15 per cent off room rates with complimentary ferry to resort land transfers from Sundays to Thursday (excluding public holidays) and 10 per cent off recreational activities.

If you’re itching to go further afield, there’s always Hard Rock Hotel Bali in the beating heart of Kuta, which is synonymous in Bali with shopping, eating and entertainment. Check out the exclusive room rates for HomeTeamNS members ranging between IDR 1,225,000 per night for a Deluxe Room to IDR 1,475,000 per night for a Deluxe Premium Room. Great accommodation deals also await HomeTeamNS members heading to Hard Rock Hotel Penang and Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya.

With a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that your year-end holiday is lots of fun – and has none of the fuss.

For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS promotions and events, visit our website and Facebook page.

On The Edge

Fuel for thought: Do electrified vehicles make financial sense?

With the volatility of fuel prices and improving charging infrastructure, is this a good time to switch to an electrified car?



Have you started to wince each time you fill up your car? Fuel prices have started to drop after hitting near record highs recently, but motorists can’t be blamed for feeling concerned about volatile prices.

Assuming 1 litre of 95 octane fuel costs about S$2.70, and the typical driver in Singapore covers 14,600km a year, using a reasonably economical car that covers 12km per litre, the annual fuel bill would be about S$3,285.

Following some simple fuel-saving tips would help reduce fuel costs to some extent, but an electrified vehicle could really help car owners reduce their fuel bills significantly, especially if  owners opt for an electric vehicle (EV).

According to the Land Transport Authority’s online fuel cost calculator, the BYD Atto 3 EV, travelling 14,600km per year, would cost about S$1,218 a year to charge — even if the driver only uses the more expensive Direct Current (DC) public fast chargers (at an assumed rate of $0.55/kWh).


A 3D rendering of an electric vehicle showing its relatively simple layout, with the large battery pack spread out low between the wheels to reduce the car's centre of gravity. In this example, the car is equipped with 2 electric motors driving the front and rear wheels.

While it may be too early to say that we’ve reached a tipping point, electrified vehicles are becoming more popular on Singapore roads. Land Transport Authority (LTA) figures show that EVs and cars with some sort of hybrid technology are slowly gaining market share.

By the end of June 2022, these electrified cars numbered 61,705, up 11.1 per cent compared to the start of the year. Over the same six-month period the overall car population grew just 0.45 per cent.

While cars that run purely on petrol or diesel still dominate, their numbers are starting to decline, with 581,801 here as of 30 June 2022, down from 586,512 at the start of the year.

Electrified cars essentially run on a combination of internal-combustion engines and battery power, or pure electricity. The same basic principle applies – the more electricity you use to power a car, the less fossil fuel you have to burn.


Full hybrids have a large electric motor and battery that can drive the car by itself, but the car's internal-combustion engine still provides a lot of the system's power.

After decades of development, hybrids have finally hit the mainstream. These consist of three types: Mild hybrids, full hybrids (also known as self-charging hybrids) and plug-in hybrids.

Mild hybrids similarly to conventional car with an internal-combustion engine, offering only a slight improvement in fuel consumption. They typically have a small starter-generator that stores electricity whenever the car slows down and uses it to give the engine a mild assist at low speeds.

Full hybrids have a larger motor that can drive the car by itself, along with a larger battery to power it, but an internal-combustion engine still does the heavy lifting. The setup can be effective, however. The Toyota Yaris Cross (a compact Sport Utility Vehicle) can squeeze 26.3km from 1 litre of petrol.

Nissan’s e-Power system uses an electric motor to propel the car exclusively. But it has a small petrol engine that is used only to recharge the batteries. Nissan says that gives drivers a car that feels and drives like an EV, but one that can be quickly refuelled at any petrol station. The Nissan Kicks e-Power, a family SUV, gets a fuel-consumption rating of 20.4km per litre.


Plug-in hybrids are essentially short-range EVs with an internal-combustion engine for long-distance drives and maximum acceleration. Some cover 30km to 40km purely on electric power, but newer models can go much further.

The Lexus NX 450h+ for instance, has covered 60km on a full charge in local testing, while Mercedes-Benz claims some of its plug-ins are good for nearly 100km. The idea is to drive to work and back, plug your car in and repeat. Longer road trips are still possible but in such cases the brunt of the work will be done by the internal-combustion engine.

Full EVs that don’t need daily charging. Most cover 300km (enough for about one week’s driving here) with ease, and many are good for at least 400km on a single charge. Mercedes says its flagship electric car, the EQS, can travel 770km without stopping.


Whether an EV would make it worth your while to bid farewell to petrol power, many offer upfront savings. The Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) provides tax incentives of S$15,000 or S$25,000 for cars that emit the least pollution (the cleaner the car, the greater the rebate), and though emissions from power generation are factored into the calculations, most EVs qualify for a rebate.

On top of that, an EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) worth up to S$20,000 is in place to narrow the gap between battery-powered cars and their combustion rivals.

Many hybrids are eligible for a S$15,000 VES rebate, but only EVs qualify for the maximum S$25,000 incentive. Together with the EEAI, owners of some EVs can enjoy combined rebates of S$45,000.


With Certificate of Entitlement prices also at or near all-time highs, whether or not it makes financial sense to switch cars now just to save on energy costs is an open question. However, if you were planning to buy a new car anyway it might be worth giving an electrified one serious consideration.

A full hybrid will save the most at the pumps for any driver who feels less than confident about finding a charging station.

On the other hand, EV charging has started to become ubiquitous, with 250 locations around the island offering a place to plug in. DC charging can add a week’s worth of distance to an EV battery in less than an hour, meaning a weekly stop at a mall for a meal could be all it takes to recharge an EV. Tesla says its proprietary Superchargers can push 120km into its cars in as little as 5 minutes.

Is it time to make the switch to electric? Even if not today, then perhaps soon. The government plans to have 60,000 EV charging points across Singapore by 2030, with 40,000 of them in public car parks.

The two latest next-gen HomeTeamNS clubhouses, Khatib and Bedok Reservoir, will soon be EV-friendly for Home Team NSmen and their loved ones too. 

For the latest updates on HomeTeamNS promotions and events, visit our website and Facebook page.

On The Edge

What to do if you click on a suspicious link

What should you do if you’ve unintentionally clicked on a link that could cause you to fall victim to an online scam?



By now, most of us are more than familiar with scams like bank-related phishing attempts, fake tech support and investment fraud – the top three most common scams in Singapore. After all, they’ve been highlighted in the news and other media.

But even the most well-informed netizen might still fall for a suspicious link, especially when distracted or tired. According to author and psychologist Maria Konnikova, anybody can be a successful scam target under the right circumstances.

Even if one doesn’t fall for the scam entirely, just clicking on the link could lead to unwanted consequences. In the worst case scenario, losses can occur even without giving away one’s personal details or passwords. Since January this year, over S$7.1 million has been lost in Singapore to tech support scams, in which victims granted scammers remote access to their devices.

So what can you do after you’ve clicked on a link that turns out to be a phishing website, or a suspicious download? There are steps you can take – as long as you act immediately.


If you’ve logged into an Internet banking link that turns out to be a phishing imitation, try to immediately change your password on the legitimate banking app or website. Every second counts in a situation like this, as scammers can siphon out your money in a matter of minutes.

If you’re in the habit of recycling passwords, make sure to change your password everywhere else that you’ve used it. Set up a new, individual password for each app or website. Tools like password managers to help with this. 


If you’ve been duped into installing any apps or programmes, uninstall them immediately.

Next, scan your device with anti-virus software to ensure that the link you’ve clicked on – or the attachment you opened – hasn’t managed to install nasty malware.

Often, scammers may send out e-mails with links that pretend to be for online shopping deals or interesting news articles. These lead to websites which require you to click a download link to view videos or access more content – and thus unwittingly install malware on your device. The malware creates a backdoor that allows scammers to remotely access your computer, collecting passwords, files and information that can be used to steal your money and even your identity.

While you scan your computer, make sure it isn’t connected to the Internet so that scammers can’t access it or infect other devices in your network.


If your banking or credit card information has been handed over to the scammers, notify your bank so that they can take steps to safeguard your money.

This can include freezing your accounts and ensuring that transactions are allowed to be processed only when the customer confirms their legitimacy, or notifying the customers of any significant changes in their banking activities.

The Anti-Scam Command (ASC) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Commercial Affairs Department works closely with financial institutions on initiatives like Project Frontier, which enables bank accounts to be swiftly frozen if they are suspected to be involved in scammers’ operations. This has helped in the recovery of over S$200 million for scam victims since 2019, and the ASC is now working to bring on board other bank representatives by the third quarter of this year.

After notifying the bank, it’s best to keep an eye on your accounts and credit cards over the next few weeks. Scrutinise even the most minor transactions to ensure everything is accounted for, as scammers may start with small amounts before working their way up to larger ones.


If you’ve lost money to the scammers, file a police report. Even if your money can’t be clawed back, you’ll be alerting the authorities to the presence of a scam – and you might be able to help others in danger of being scammed.

In addition, if the link you clicked on was a fraudulent imitation of a real website or company, let them know so they can warn their customers or clients. You can also report the phishing attempt to the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT).


Finally, download ScamShield to lower the chances of this from happening again.

Developed by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the Government Technology Agency, ScamShield uses artificial intelligence algorithms to filter out SMSes and phone calls that are made and sent by scammers. The AI algorithm catches SMSes that are likely to be spam and filters them into a junk SMS folder while also sending them to the NCPC and SPF to be collated.

ScamShield is also able to compare incoming call phone numbers against a list that is regularly updated by the SPF to determine if the number has previously been used for illegal purposes. If the answer is yes, the call is blocked. To help fight scammers, users can also report scam messages from popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Wechat and Viber using ScamShield’s in-app reporting tool.

Remember, while clicking on the wrong link can happen to anyone, staying calm and taking action can help prevent you from losing it all. It’s also important to be aware of the common scams in Singapore that begin with a click of a link. Here are some tips on how you can verify the links before falling victim to a phishing scam.

Club Buzz On The Edge

The evolution of HomeTeamNS cohesion activities

The team behind HomeTeamNS cohesion activities has adapted its programming to suit all requirements – online and offline, masks on to masks off – when it comes to bonding activities. Here’s how they did it.



If you’ve ever wondered who the mastermind behind an especially fun or creative HomeTeamNS cohesion activity is, meet Ms Nur’Atiqah Aidah.

Ms Nur’Atiqah is an Executive Cohesion Accounts Specialist with HomeTeamNS. Along with her teammates, she oversees all cohesion and non-cohesion programmes across the different HomeTeamNS clubhouses for agencies affiliated with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Having worked at HomeTeamNS for four years and counting, Ms Nur’Atiqah is an old hand at planning HomeTeamNS cohesion activities – sometimes with a twist, if one is required.

She explains that all programmes are carefully tailored according to the goals of the client. As part of her role, she also offers advice on suitable activities, based on her and her team’s accumulated experience of organising HomeTeamNS cohesion programmes over the years.

“Clients are able to customise their activities,” she shared. “For example, we’ve issued blindfolds to participants for high element courses, just to ensure that our clients will have a different experience while doing a familiar activity.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ms Nur’Atiqah estimated that up to 95 per cent of HomeTeamNS cohesion and non-cohesion programming took place on-site – a practice that was no longer tenable as the pandemic took hold and safe distancing measures were imposed to prevent transmission of the virus.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, Ms Nur’Atiqah and her team made sure that cohesion activities could still continue – albeit in a different form. Everyone stayed calm and kept going in their original roles, even as the future of cohesion programming seemed uncertain and their work routines were completely reshaped.

“We had to adapt quickly to move our programming online,” she recalled. “We had to pick up new skills, acquire new software and also soft skills, so that our programming could be delivered online.”

Even for the activities that could still be carried out offline, there were challenges to deal with, like minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission: “We had sanitise our equipment more frequently and deploy more manpower for our programmes.”


Like many other countries, Singapore has settled into a new normal, two years after the start of the pandemic. With a widely vaccinated population and a better understanding of the virus, Singapore has lifted many of its original safe distancing measures – a welcome move for those looking forward to the return of real-life cohesion activities.

Ms Nur’Atiqah confirmed that business-as-usual cohesion programming has come roaring back – with some slight adjustments. “We’ve resumed our programmes as per normal currently, but for mask-on programmes, we’ve had to take into consideration the type of activities that can be conducted with masks.”

For her, the fact that some units still prefer to hold online cohesion activities comes as a bonus: “That would mean that our services have expanded to both online and on-site.”

Looking to the future, Ms Nur’Atiqah feels that the pandemic has enhanced the cohesion programming team’s skillsets, as some of the skills they’ve picked up while conducting activities online – such as more effectively engaging their clients – are also proving useful in real life interactions.

Overall, she believes the team has also become far more flexible in how they respond to changes. “We’ve learnt to always be on our toes. Regulations change and we have to adapt, so our team has been in go-go-go mode since the pandemic.”


Mr Mohamad Hafiz of the Singapore Police Force’s Central Division (A Div) is a veteran of HomeTeamNS cohesion programming, as the A Div has engaged Ms Nur’Atiqah’s team on multiple occasions for activities targeting its Police NSmen (PNSmen).

Complimenting the team as being passionate and dedicated to facilitating programmes, he said: “HomeTeamNS has managed to tailor, customise and inject various elements to their programmes to match the profiles and characters of our PNSmen. There was never an activity which was not well received. Most importantly, our objective of building a strong camaraderie amongst our PNSmen is well achieved through all their team building and cohesion packages.”

He added, “HomeTeamNS has proven to be a highly reliable, independent and proactive organisation that is willing to go the extra mile in facilitating and meeting customers’ expectations. Working with the team has been a pleasure. I would strongly recommend HomeTeamNS as your go-to destination for team-building and cohesion programmes.”


You can’t teach team spirit – but you can develop it, through stimulating and thought-provoking activities designed to encourage cohesion and camaraderie. As a provider of corporate teambuilding services, HomeTeamNS offers a selection of packages to suit your team’s specific needs.

For a hassle-free experience, choose from the different options among the Corporate Fixed Packages, such as the Shoot-off, Shoot-out in which teams engage in rousing competitive rounds of Archery Tag and Laser Quest. Let your inner child loose with Uno Bowl, which features giant UNO cards (perfect for the ‘gram) paired with bowling and ice-breaker games, or bring your own children for Family Day – a customisable package that can be constructed to suit all budgets, activity levels and demographics. All fixed packages are equipped with a programme facilitator, safety officers, bottled water and a photographer to capture your team’s most memorable moments.

If you have something more specific in mind, try out a Corporate Customised Package instead, which allows you to select from a wide variety of activities to fulfil your team-building objectives. Dodgeball, drumming, a rope challenge course, human foosball, pool rafting, mixology – the choice is entirely yours.

And for Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) agencies, the cohesion activities at HomeTeamNS are a homecoming of sorts – a comfortable, welcoming place to come together as a team and engage in the exciting work of team building. Clocking in at different budgets and provisions, the cohesion packages range from no-frills to upsized and combo, with over 40 activities to pick from. Paintball, pedal gokarting, pool, futsal and even terrarium making – forging stronger team bonds has never been more fun. 

On The Edge

10 fuel-saving hacks that actually work

Pump prices may be high but follow these simple fuel-saving tips to wring the maximum mileage from every drop of petrol.



From setting off early on your journey to servicing your car regularly and enjoying fuel discounts at Sinopec for HomeTeamNS members, here’s a list of simple and effective fuel-saving tips that can put a significant dent in your monthly expenses.

Some of these fuel-saving tips apply to the driver, some to the car, and others are just a matter of exploiting the fuel-saving features that the latest car models come with.


The first thing to do is: Nothing. That means keeping your car in its original condition. That’s because adding an aftermarket rear wing or body kit may make your car look cooler, but they are detrimental to aerodynamic efficiency (how slippery a car is when it moves through the air). Upsizing the wheels and tyres increases rolling resistance (the amount of energy your car needs to travel at a given speed).

Likewise, modifying the engine to increase power can raise the consumption of fuel. Just leave your car the same as it was when it left the factory if you want to keep it in the condition it was optimised for. How easy is that!


Great news for HomeTeamNS members: Show your digital membership card at Sinopec along with your driving license and you’ll enjoy upfront fuel discounts — get up to 24 per cent off your petrol bill at Sinopec’s Bukit Timah service station and 23 per cent off at the Yishun and new Woodlands stations. The single easiest way to stretch your fuel dollar is to save money when you buy it.


Tyres that are even a little underinflated have more rolling resistance, and that raises fuel consumption by making the engine work harder. Be sure to check those pressures at least every other time you fill up the gas tank. That’s because air seeps out of tyres naturally, and that can cause a loss of 1 or 2 psi of pressure every month.

Fuel consumption rises as much as 0.3% for every 1% of under-inflation, so let’s work out the numbers: suppose you have a small car that returns 15km per litre of petrol on tyres that should be inflated to 32psi. If the tyres are down to 30psi after a month, the loss in pressure would reduce the fuel economy to 14.7km per litre — enough to shave 15km off a 50-litre tankful.

Properly inflated tyres are safer and last longer, too, making this hack a triple win.


Tempted to combat higher pump prices by skipping servicing? Don’t. Lots of small mechanical flaws can raise fuel consumption meaningfully. Clogged filters, fouled spark plugs, engine oil that’s past its best, misaligned wheels, and the list goes on. These are all picked up and sorted during servicing, so take your car to the workshop on time if you want to keep it running efficiently.


Rushing to your appointment is not only stressful, but it’s also bound to raise your fuel bill because it requires you to zoom along as quickly as you can. Try leaving five to 10 minutes earlier than you usually would, to give yourself time to get there without driving fast. It’s also safer, and you’ll be surprised at how much better your mood behind the wheel will be, too.


Fuel-efficient driving isn’t about going slowly, but about going steadily. Accelerating takes energy, and braking removes kinetic energy, so both of those things are detrimental to fuel consumption. Instead, try to get up to a steady speed and do your best to maintain it.

Two things will help with that. Try to drive with a sense of anticipation and look further up the road than usual. That way you’ll be more aware of what’s going on around your car and can slip smoothly around upcoming hazards before you run into them.

Second, try keeping a bigger gap between yourself and the car ahead than you’re used to. The extra space will let you keep going at a smooth pace while the car ahead speeds up and slows down with the rest of traffic. It gives you a better view of what’s up the road, too, which is great for safety.


Saving fuel is sometimes a matter of pushing the right buttons in your car. Specifically, if it comes with different driving modes, try engaging the Eco setting. This turns down the throttle response (that is, the relation between how far you press the accelerator pedal and how much the engine responds) and makes the transmission change up the gears sooner. That might make your car seem sluggish, but full power is still available when you need it.

Eco mode sometimes reduces air-conditioning power, but some cars allow you to tweak that setting and keep the cold air going.


Many modern cars have a coasting or “sailing” mode (it’s sometimes activated by engaging the Eco setting) that’s similar to slipping the car into neutral and letting it roll freely. Get up to speed, take your foot off the accelerator (and keep it off the brake) and you’ll be amazed at how far you can keep going.

Some cars, typically mild hybrids, are able to shut down their engines completely while coasting, which is a neat way to travel without using any fuel at all.

Even if your car has no coasting function, however, you can try taking your foot off the accelerator early when you know you have to slow down (say, for a red light or upcoming bend). Modern cars shut down their fuel injectors under deceleration, which also means you burn no petrol while slowing down.


You might know your way around Singapore with your eyes closed, but it can pay to key your destination into a satellite navigation system regardless. Why? Because some cars are able to tailor their routes to different criteria, so you can choose a speedy route or a fuel-saving route.

Some cars also fetch real-time traffic data and can set a route that avoids fuel-wasting traffic jams. Even if your car doesn’t have such fancy features yet, apps like Google maps can help you to avoid congestion, too.


How to figure out if any of this is working? Let your car tell you. A car’s trip computer can let you know your fuel consumption over a given trip, so try resetting it and, say, driving normally to work to get a baseline score — it’s usually expressed in L/100km (litres per 100km) or km/L (km per litre). The next day, reset it again and try the fuel-saving tips above and see how much difference they make!

You can also get a real-time readout of your car’s fuel consumption as you’re driving, which will let you know if you’re being frugal or wasteful at a given moment.