Club Buzz Featured Spotlight

How these HomeTeamNS Volunteers Ace the Start-up Hustle

The digital media entrepreneurs say the networking opportunities at HomeTeamNS help them to run successful businesses.



Being your own boss is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. That is something both HomeTeamNS volunteers SUPT (NS) Jason Lim and LTA (NS) Adrian Chye can attest to. SUPT (NS) Lim shares that he’s filled with enthusiasm each morning to do what he loves for a living, while LTA (NS) Chye asserts that he’s privileged to be able to work with like-minded individuals.

Yet, the digital media start-up founders aren’t inclined to casually encourage their peers to throw caution to the wind and chase their entrepreneurial dreams. For one, they both advise considering multiple factors before even working out a business plan.


LTA (NS) Chye (first row, third from left) is the founder of digital marketing agency, MediaFreaks.

SUPT (NS) Lim’s decision to start social media marketing consultancy Stratgeist in 2017, for instance, was based not just on his keen interest in the field, but also the fact that such services were growing in demand. His affable disposition also helped. “Being an entrepreneur means you build businesses and create job opportunities, and all this requires you to deal with people,” says SUPT (NS) Lim, who also runs health media platform Medical Channel Asia. “You must also possess a love of solving problems, be good with numbers, and, of course, be a subject matter expert in whatever you want to do. Just having passion alone isn’t going to cut it.”

And while LTA (NS) Chye’s decision to start digital marketing agency MediaFreaks is rooted in something more esoteric — he cites ikigai, the Japanese concept of having a clear purpose in life — his key considerations are similarly pragmatic in nature. Apart from having an excellent service or product on top of passion for the cause, he says you need to be confident in your ability to monetise your efforts.

LTA (NS) Chye, who also teaches digital marketing at polytechnics and universities, decided to take the proverbial plunge some two decades ago after noticing a gap in the market for 3D animation. But several years ago, he made the call to pivot the business towards digital marketing, an area in which he felt he could better excel. “Being able to evolve and cater to the latest market demands is part of running a business,” he says.

The move evidently paid off. The company has since grown into a 40-strong operation that services clients from 20 industries and — according to him — generates a seven-figure annual revenue.


SUPT (NS) Lim (back row, third from left), LTA (NS) Chye (back row, fourth from left), the Branding and Publicity Committee, and Public Relations and Communications team of HomeTeamNS during the Gala Dinner 2019.

Despite their hectic schedules, both founders still manage to find time to volunteer at HomeTeamNS’ Branding & Publicity Committee. They share that the experience has been deeply fulfilling as it not only allows them to leverage their expertise to help the organisation grow, but also gives them access to a wealth of knowledge. “I learned a lot from the other volunteers. Being part of HomeTeamNS lets me meet people who are experts in their own fields,” says SUPT (NS) Lim.

Likewise, LTA (NS) Chye has also benefitted from the networking opportunities. “HomeTeamNS volunteers come from all kinds of backgrounds. I’ve had the chance to meet fellow competitors in the same industry, as well as people from academia and property management — the list goes on,” he says. “What this means is that when we sit down to solve a problem together, a bunch of different perspectives are laid out on the table, and this experience is one that is very enlightening, and even fun,” adds LTA (NS) Chye.


SUPT (NS) Lim (in white) is the founder of a digital media firm.
SUPT (NS) Lim (in white) is the founder of a digital media firm.

No successful venture is devoid of setbacks, though. When asked about his missteps over the course of his entrepreneurial journey, LTA (NS) Chye is refreshingly candid. “We make mistakes all the time, from human resources to how we run campaigns and manage the company,” he laughs. “But all these mistakes allow us to learn and grow.” His biggest regret is not having a mentor when he was starting out. “If I had a good mentor back then, I would have reached where I am today five years earlier. This is the value of good guidance.”

On the other hand, SUPT (NS) Lim’s biggest takeaway has been the importance of hiring the right people. To address this, he uses the people management approach that he learned from a podcast by Daniel Meyer, the founder of the Shake Shack — categorising people according to the “Can-Can’t-Will-Won’t” matrix. “People that can and will do the job are those you must reward and groom. Those who can’t, but will do the job, are those with whom you provide additional training because though they don’t have the required skills, they have the right attitude,” he explains. “And then you have people who can do the job but won’t. Those need to be placed on performance improvement schemes. For individuals who can’t and won’t do the job — perhaps it’s better if they are let go or reassigned to a department more suited to them.”    

Looking back, SUPT (NS) Lim says he is fortunate that his businesses have grown steadily over the past six years. “Singapore is an amazing place to start a business and I’m really grateful for the opportunities that have come our way just by being in the right place at the right time,” he says.


How I started my career

SUPT (NS) Lim: I started my career selling ads in the Yellow Pages before working in the publishing sector and handling social media engagement.

LTA (NS) Chye: My first job was starting my current company. I guess you could say I was very reckless!

An entrepreneur who inspires me    

SUPT (NS) Lim: Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Learning about how he started his business from the basement of his mother’s home got me really enamoured with the idea of making something out of nothing.

LTA (NS) Chye: Bread Talk founder George Quek. I once attended an event where he shared about how he started his business with nothing but a pushcart, which was really inspiring.

My childhood aspiration

SUPT (NS) Lim:  To become a lawyer. I was attracted to the idea of fighting cases in court and understanding the law.

LTA (NS) Chye: I wanted to be a policeman. I ended up in the SCDF instead!

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Club Buzz Spotlight

How volunteering with HomeTeamNS sparked a friendship across the forces

Runs, encounters with ministers and ‘makan’ sessions are among the experiences shared by DAC (NS) Muhamad Azfar Bin Ramli and MAJ (NS) Shahrudin Bin Salleh.

DAC (NS) Muhamad Azfar Bin Ramli and MAJ (NS) Shahrudin Bin Salleh play distinctly different roles in safeguarding the public interest. The former is the commander of Clementi Police Division while the latter, is the deputy commander for 21A Public Shelter Rescue Unit of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Despite serving different roles, DAC (NS) Azfar and MAJ (NS) Shahrudin have developed not just a friendship but a common goal as well – to provide fellow HomeTeamNS members with the best recreational experiences possible. As members of the recently-opened Bedok Reservoir clubhouse’s Executive Committee, the two HomeTeamNS volunteers contribute to decisions involving clubhouse operations. The committee, for example, oversees tender evaluations for external parties that provide services like internet, swimming pool maintenance and renovations.

The pair first met back in 2017, when they were on the executive committee of the Bukit Batok clubhouse. Recalling first impressions, MAJ (NS) Shahrudin says that DAC (NS) Azfar, who works as a senior scientist at A*STAR, exuded an air of self-confidence.

“I was a newcomer to the HomeTeamNS volunteer team, and DAC (NS) Azfar immediately made me feel welcome. He also struck me as a highly intelligent but humble individual,” says MAJ (NS) Shahrudin, who is the subject Head of PE/CCA at Ngee Ann Primary School.

DAC (NS) Azfar, on the other hand, found his new counterpart to be “genuinely amiable, friendly and easy going”. Soon, they were shooting the breeze about clubhouse matters and personal interests. “We’re just very likeminded people and love chatting about anything under the sun,” says MAJ (NS) Shahrudin.

All for the common good

MAJ (NS) Shahrudin Bin Salleh
MAJ (NS) Shahrudin Bin Salleh

Even though the two men may not agree on every subject, they both share a strong affinity for the HomeTeamNS family. DAC (NS) Azfar’s decision to volunteer stems from a desire to make fellow NSmen feel appreciated. “As a long-serving NSman, I fully understand the sacrifices that our NSmen make for the security of the nation. Hence, I feel it is important that HomeTeamNS sufficiently represents the interests of our NSmen and to show our appreciation for them,” says DAC (NS) Azfar, who has served as a NS leadership appointment holder at the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for more than a decade.

While the circumstances surrounding MAJ (NS) Shahrudin’s volunteer journey are different – he jokes that he was “arrowed” (cajoled) to volunteer – he has come to cherish his role.

“I see the men under my command as my band of brothers. Being their voice in HomeTeamNS means a lot to me. It also aligns with my purpose of contributing to the Force and country,” says MAJ (NS) Shahrudin, who also volunteers at the Punggol 21 Community Centre’s Malay Activities Executive Committee (MAEC), The Terrace Residents’ Network, and his mosque.

Dignitaries and healthy distractions

DAC (NS) Muhamad Azfar Bin Ramli at the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir roadshow.
DAC (NS) Muhamad Azfar Bin Ramli (fourth from left) at the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir roadshow.

The two friends have fond memories of their volunteer work at HomeTeamNS. For DAC (NS) Azfar, this includes an opportunity to host Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Law, and Ms Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs, during the official opening ceremony of the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir clubhouse in January.

“It was an honour to show them around the new clubhouse and highlight the work of various HomeTeamNS volunteers who helped with the clubhouse development process,” he says. MAJ (NS) Shahrudin has also rubbed shoulders with a high-profile guest. He helped with the filming of a promotional video for the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse that featured Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is also President of HomeTeamNS.

The cherry on top? MAJ (NS) Shahrudin’s son was also part of the cast.

MAJ (NS) Shahrudin and his son, Isa, competing in a friendly round of Mario Kart with Assoc Prof Faishal Ibrahim at PlayPen.

“My son Isa was so excited about getting to be in the film that he made it a point to memorise the script and rehearse it with his mum. The entire experience was such a positive one for him and I’m glad he was given the opportunity to be involved,” recounts MAJ (NS) Shahrudin.

“He even went to ask Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim what his PSLE score was after I told him that the minister is a very learned man!”

Both NSmen are regular participants of the annual HomeTeamNS REAL Run — not least for the camaraderie the event fosters. “Various NSmen from my SPF unit volunteer as marshallers for the run every year. I have always found it heartening to see them develop enduring friendships during this annual affair. I thoroughly enjoy mingling with them and listening to them share their backgrounds and cultures with me,” says DAC (NS) Azfar.

 MAJ (NS) Shahrudin echoed the sentiment. “This event is when I get to meet my fellow NSmen from across the Home Team. We usually chit-chat and laugh heartily during the run, crossing the finish line before we know it. I think this also sums up my volunteering journey,” he says. “To be honest, I’m not really in this for a workout. I’m more interested in the makan session I always have with DAC (NS) Azfar at Kampung Chai Chee Restaurant in Punggol after the rehearsal and actual runs!”

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.

Club Buzz Featured Spotlight

7 questions with HomeTeamNS volunteers

Meet the dynamic individuals driven by diverse passions — from motorsports to design — who contribute to HomeTeamNS’ clubhouses.



They work tirelessly behind the scenes to facilitate the smooth operations of HomeTeamNS’ clubhouses. You may even have spotted them at buzzy HomeTeamNS events, without comprehending how they’ve helped to ensure they’re carried out without a hitch. But what drives our tireless volunteers, who’ve sacrificed their precious weekends for the Home Team? Meet the passionate individuals without whom our lively social calendars would not be possible, and discover what they’re really like behind their professional demeanour.  

The dare-devil with a soft spot

LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva

LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva
LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva

What do you do at HomeTeamNS and SCDF?

I’m the battalion commander of a rescue unit in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). I am also a member of HomeTeamNS’ Management Committee and the Chairman of its IT Committee.

Are there any similarities between your volunteer and job roles?

I work as an IT professional. My roles are somewhat complementary because both require me to look at operational issues and policies that affect how the organisations are run. Each role involves adapting management methodologies that are relevant to younger people entering the organisation.

Why did you decide to volunteer with HomeTeamNS?

HomeTeamNS is an organisation for NSmen. Hence, I believe the best people to help form policies and improve it would be the NSmen themselves.

What does volunteering mean to you?

Volunteering is important because it allows us to give back to society and help those who aren’t as fortunate. I volunteer with my wife at an old folks’ home, and also offer career counselling pro-bono. I’ve really enjoyed working with fellow volunteers to bring plans to fruition. Take for instance, the new Bedok Reservoir clubhouse – this major project required us to work together to tackle challenges such as the long lead times for critical backbone network hardware caused by the global chip shortage. While volunteering, I’ve interacted with various stakeholders, from those within the clubhouse management to subcontractors.

LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva is a motorhead.
LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva is a motorhead.
LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva scuba diving.
LTC (NS) Jahan De Silva scuba diving.

What are your hobbies?

I love diving. I’m actually a divemaster. I also like motorsports and have taken part in races overseas, such as Sepang in Malaysia, Germany, and the Philippines. One of my most exciting races was at Germany’s Nurburgring track, which was extremely challenging. I’ve always been a gear head and have loved cars since I was a kid. I started karting in my teens and have never looked back since. 

That being said, I also enjoy chilling out on my couch and catching the latest movies and television shows. I recently watched The Mandalorian and The Last of Us. I’m also a fan of non-fiction programmes such as those on The Discovery Channel.

Name the dishes you cannot live without.

There are too many to count! I do love a good burger. Fatburger is one of the best places in Singapore for a proper gourmet burger. I also love pizza and am a huge Domino’s fan. When I return home from travels, the first thing I eat is a bowl of fishball noodles. I dare say that my wife and I make the best fish ball noodles, which are chockful of ingredients. Another Asian dish I enjoy is nasi lemak, so much that I’d take a long drive from home to my favourite joint, Aliff Nasi Lemak at Bedok North Street 3, just to have it.

If you had the power to change the world with the snap of a finger, what would it be?

I would end hunger and poverty. My mind is boggled that such problems still exist in a world that has gotten so advanced, scientifically speaking. I feel very lucky to be able to choose what I eat because there are many people in other parts of the world who don’t even have food to put in their mouths.

Don’t call him an anti-social engineer

LTC (NS) Cheng Chee Wee

LTC (NS) Cheng Chee Wee
LTC (NS) Cheng Chee Wee

What is your vocation in the Home Team?

I’m an officer in the Public Shelter and Resilience Unit in SCDF, which is responsible for managing public shelters during a national emergency. I was formerly a police officer during my NSF days, but transferred to the SCDF after completing my National Service as they needed personnel.

What do you enjoy the most about being an NSman?

I really enjoy catching up with my fellow reservists. We have formed very strong bonds over years of undergoing operational training exercises together. This makes training more enjoyable.

How does your volunteer work complement your career?

At SCDF, I’m an engineer who spends most of his time doing programming and running test programmes – not a very social job. On the other hand, HomeTeamNS provides me with an opportunity to interact with the public and use my time meaningfully, which I really enjoy.

Name one memorable experience from volunteering with HomeTeamNS.

There was a year where we got to organise a swimming event with the help of some reservists who weren’t HomeTeamNS volunteers. I really enjoyed working alongside these new faces as they brought fresh energy and perspectives to the table.

How do you decompress from work?

I’m mostly at the gym or jogging during my free time. I like running along the Singapore River at Clarke Quay in the morning. I’ve also been trying to pick up reading again, after 20 years! I’m currently reading Chip Wars by Chris Miller.

Name your poison of choice.

Whisky, in moderation. I don’t have a favourite type at the moment – I guess I’m still in search of that perfect bottle. I usually only drink whisky when I’m home. When I’m out, I usually drink coffee – I have three cups every day, after every meal. I guess you could say that coffee is my only vice.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Supportive. I always try to give my teammates the tools they need to accomplish their tasks. I find this to be a more effective leadership style than simply ordering people around. People tend to learn better if they are given support as well as room to think for themselves.

Blueprints and body kits  

SGT2 (NS) Shawn Quek Tze Kuan

SGT2 (NS) Shawn Quek Tze Kuan
SGT2 (NS) Shawn Quek Tze Kuan

What do you do in SCDF and HomeTeamNS?

I’m an Engineering Section Commander in SCDF’s 21 Rescue Unit. My unit responds to major incidents in Singapore that involve rescue and recovery missions. I work closely with my Rescue Engineering Team to ascertain whether a collapsed building structure is safe for entry, or if we need to deploy emergency shoring techniques to mitigate the risks.

Meanwhile at HomeTeamNS, I’m a member of the Executive Committee for the Bukit Batok clubhouse as well as the Development Committee for the new Bedok Reservoir clubhouse.

What has been your greatest contribution to HomeTeamNS?

As the founder of interior design and construction firms, I’ve been able to contribute to design and technical matters for the Bedok Reservoir clubhouse. I’ve also advised on building maintenance and refurbishment exercises held by various HomeTeamNS clubhouses.

Name one memorable experience from your time volunteering with HomeTeamNS.

I was really happy to be involved in the redesign of the atrium wall at the Bedok Reservoir clubhouse. As we wanted to evoke a sense of pride and nostalgia, one of the directions we gave to the architects was to use past and present vehicles of the Forces in a display showcasing their journey through the decades.

The reimagined atrium wall, named “The Driving Force”, portrays the evolution of the Home Team through a variety of vehicles ranging from the old Volkswagen Beetle police car to the SCDF Marine Division’s latest Heavy Fire Vessel.

Why did you join the renovation and construction industry?

I’ve always been creative. During my college days, I dabbled in graphic and interior design and multimedia art. As I really enjoyed the interior design process and helping people create their dream homes, I decided to make a career out of it.

SGT2 (NS) Shawn Quek Tze Kuan at an SCDF event.
SGT2 (NS) Shawn Quek Tze Kuan at an SCDF event.

What are your other passions?

I’ve always liked cars. My first was a 1991 Mercedes E200. I enjoy seeking like-minded people online and researching ways to refurbish these vintage cars to give them a new lease of life. I’ve driven and owned different models of Mercedes-Benz cars over the past 20 years.

What is your dream car?

A Mercedes AMG GT R. I’m also a big fan of Formula 1 and I try to catch all the races every season. No prizes for guessing that my favourite team is the Mercedes AMG F1 Team, and my favourite driver of all time is Lewis Hamilton.

What is your life philosophy?

There’s this quote I came across a while ago that goes, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”. This really resonated with me. As a business owner, I believe that the best way to lead is to serve, and this is why I try my best to support my employees, especially the foreign workers in my companies.

Working with migrant workers, I have learned to be appreciative of what we have in Singapore. Living in a First World country, we sometimes take things for granted because we’re in this little bubble where everything works well. A lot of the things we complain about are relatively trivial problems. For the migrant workers, many seemingly ordinary things that we have in Singapore are considered luxuries. Leading these individuals in the construction industry has been a humbling experience.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the app settings.


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