As HomeTeamNS marks a significant milestone this year, Frontline meets four staff members who have grown from strength to strength with the association.

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA
PHOTOS: ALVIN TEO

Finding Success in Fitness

Mr Jamal bin Moideen, 46
Fitness supervisor
Years of service: 18

As someone who exercises at least thrice a week and who lists Muay Thai as his go-to workout, Mr Jamal bin Moideen believes his attitude towards fitness has helped him find job satisfaction in his 18-year career at HomeTeamNS. “I enjoy working with people of all fitness levels and am passionate about sharing my knowledge with them — to help those who need help become fitter and healthier,” shares the Fitness Workz trainer.

One of his most satisfying work experiences happened 15 years ago, when he first helped a group of NSmen pass their Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). To do this, he designed and implemented a five-week intensive gym routine that saw participants lunging, climbing and running their way to fitness. “Seeing them achieve something that they never thought they could was very rewarding,” says Mr Jamal.

Today, the 46-year-old continues to find joy at work in new ways, including embracing technology to help members with their fitness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fitness Workz collaborated with The Straits Times on #STayHome Workout, a five-day workout series during the Circuit Breaker period.

Preparing and planning for these digital workouts took some time, as Mr Jamal and his team had to think of ways to ensure that every participant enjoyed an effective workout. They eventually came up with five sets of workouts, one for each day: Family exercises that parents could do with their children; exercises using everyday objects such as a backpack, frying pan and water bottle; stretching exercises using a chair; a boxing fitness workout and a dynamic bodyweight workout.

“We have had to adapt to the new normal and think outside the box,” reflects Mr Jamal. “That’s something that my years at HomeTeamNS has instilled in me.”

“It’s a special feeling when you can help a gym-user improve their form and fitness — you’re really making a difference to their life and future.”

Nothing by Chance

Ms Su Hong, 48
Senior Executive, Slot Operations
Years of service: 20

You’ve been with HomeTeamNS for 20 years — that is a long time.

Yes, I joined in 2000, before the merger of the Singapore Police Association for National Servicemen (SPANS) and the Singapore Civil Defence Association for National Servicemen (CDANS).

The office was then at Orchard Building and located near to the Somerset MRT station. I was a young mother and looking for an organisation that provided work-life balance. Working at HomeTeamNS enabled me to pick my kids up from childcare every day, as well as cook dinner for my family. My two girls are now young adults. I am grateful that my career has allowed me to be a part of their growing-up years.

Tell us about your work at HomeTeamNS.

As a Senior Executive (Slot Operations), I ensure that the daily slot machine collections across four locations are in order, and that the 20 staff working with the slot machines follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to customer service and daily operations. I took up my present role about
six years ago. Prior to that, I served as a finance assistant in the finance department for 14 years. What’s funny is that although I work with slot machines, I’ve never actually played them myself!

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

During the Circuit Breaker, all clubhouses were closed, but we used the time to review our SOPs and to upgrade our individual skillset. I have always been interested in learning more about customer service, so I attended a few online courses on that. Looking back, working from home was a blessing and I’m grateful for the support from the management.

Tell us abour your most memorable moment at HomeTeamNS.

It happened within a year of joining. On my birthday, the Human Resources team organised a surprise celebration and it was the first time that someone
had done that for me. There was a cake, makan and laughs all around. I still remember that day fondly because it made me feel like I was part of the family.

“When I started working at HomeTeamNS, everything was manual. But over the years, we have adapted to new technologies and automated many processes. Changes like these keep work exciting for long-serving staff like myself.”

Building Deep Bonds

Mr Tang Ming Ker, 44
Executive, Membership
Years of service: 22

Whenever any of the 200,000 HomeTeamNS members has questions about benefits, promotions or schemes, they turn to the association’s membership team, which Mr Tang Ming Ker has been a part of for more than two decades. But as he shares, his relationship with HomeTeamNS goes even further
back. “When I was serving my NS in SCDF in 1996, I was attached to the former CDANS, where I helped out in administrative and reception matters,” recalls the 44-year-old.

After completing his tertiary education, Mr Tang returned to CDANS, which would later merge with SPANS to form HomeTeamNS. “I was very fond of
the culture and thought it would be a good place to begin my career,” he says. “In fact, I enjoy my work so much that I haven’t left!”

In the course of his work, Mr Tang is able to observe how members engage with HomeTeamNS — and how these interactions have evolved over the years. “They are now more active, and use our clubhouses and participate in our events more frequently,” he says, crediting this to the efforts undertaken by HomeTeamNS to understand and connect with members. “We have members from all ages and backgrounds, and we keep this in mind when we organise activities and programmes.”

Mr Tang adds that his team also relies on members’ feedback to understand what matters to NSmen and their families. Early in his career, these responses were compiled in hard copy, resulting in excessive paperwork. “We have since adopted new technologies to smoothen operations and this has made it easier for our members to engage with us,” he explains, adding that most of his department’s work has been digitalised and has gone online. “Learning these new processes and programmes has kept work fresh for me.”

“The most rewarding aspect of my job has been watching our members increase their engagement with HomeTeamNS. It is gratifying to know that I am giving back to my fellow Home Team NSmen.”

More than just Lifesaving

Mr Foo Sek Liang, 45
Pool supervisor
Years of service: 20

“3 November 2019 is a day I’ll never forget. That afternoon at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok pool—where I am a pool supervisor and lifeguard—I saw a young boy, who looked to be around four years old, plunging into the adult pool. I immediately blew my whistle and ran towards where he was and jumped into the water. I pulled him to safety and reunited him with his parents.

During my training to become a lifeguard, I learnt that being one doesn’t just mean watching out for people in the water. It begins the moment they step into the swimming pool premises — we are trained to observe swimmers and assess their fitness and comfort with the water even before any sign of trouble. By doing so, we can keep our eyes on those who may need help the most.
Lifeguards train regularly and we take part in an annual fitness and competency test that requires us to swim 400m non-stop under 11 minutes. I’m also a certified swimming instructor, and as a familiar face at the pool, swimmers sometimes approach me for swimming tips, and I’m more than happy to share my lessons with them.

My duties as a pool supervisor extend beyond lifesaving. I am in charge of manpower rostering so that each one of our clubhouse pools is suitably manned. I also ensure that the water quality meets necessary standards. This management role may surprise some, as people have a misconception that there isn’t much room for career growth as a lifeguard.

“I am deeply passionate about swimming, so you’re likely to find me at the pool on my off days as well. I enjoy interacting with pool-users and sharing my knowledge
of swimming with them.”

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