HomeTeamNS has a new leader in Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim. In his first interview with Frontline, the President shares his plans for the association and how it aims to meet the needs of members in these evolving times.

TEXT: KEENAN PEREIRA
PHOTO: AIK CHEN

Congratulations on your appointment as HomeTeamNS President. What does it mean to you to be able to serve the HomeTeamNS community?

I am privileged to be able to serve Home Team NSmen. HomeTeamNS is at a symbolic milestone of its 15-year history. Over the years, its transformation has been significant, particularly with the completion of HomeTeamNS Khatib, and the upcoming HomeTeamNS Bedok and Tengah Clubhouses. I am eager to contribute and chart the future of HomeTeamNS.

How much more relevant is the role of Home Team NSmen today, in light of issues such as COVID-19 and global security?

Home Team NSmen continue to play a significant role in Singapore’s development. With the changes in the global and regional landscape, every Home Team NSman is capable of providing safety and security for Singapore, especially at the community and national levels. With the rapid development of opportunities and challenges, Home Team NSmen need to continuously enhance their relevance and capabilities to equip themselves with the technology and skills needed to continue to protect their fellow Singaporeans. HomeTeamNS provides a platform for our Home Team NSmen to be in touch with our Home Team community and is a place where they can find happiness and joy with their families and friends.

How can HomeTeamNS continue to cater to every type of NSman? After all, it serves everyone from Gen-Z to Baby Boomers.

As a mass-based club, it is a tall order to be everything to everyone. Through members’ response and feedback, and by keeping our ears close to the ground, we will continue to focus on what matters to our NSmen, particularly the various facilities and programmes that cater to their core needs, and that of their families.

What are your immediate as well as long-term plans for HomeTeamNS?

While we continue to meet the needs of our NSmen during this COVID-19 period, we would like to develop an ecosystem that will enable us to operate effectively in the new normal environment, such as a greater use of technology in the way we work and connect with our NSmen. We are actively working on the facilities and programmes of the upcoming HomeTeamNS Clubhouses at Bedok and Tengah. We will also not take our eyes off the current Clubhouses, where facilities will be upgraded and modified where necessary. Ultimately, we would like our Clubhouses to be relevant to the lives of our Home Team NSmen. We will introduce and initiate programmes that improve NSmen’s operationally-ready skills and fitness, as well as collaborate with merchant partners to offer meaningful perks and privileges because our NSmen deserve it.

HomeTeamNS adapted very quickly and embraced digitalisation during the Circuit Breaker. What are some of the more popular initiatives?

Some initiatives we have rolled out include:

  • The HomeTeamNS Mobile App with e-membership card and features such as Quick Pass, where members can easily check real-time venue capacities at Clubhouse facilities.
  • A Telegram channel for first-hand updates on the latest deals and benefits.
  • A Digital Clubhouse, with ‘live’ events and online programmes to engage with our members. Some programmes that were run via our social media channels include Trivia Night, Cooking Sessions, Pictionary and more.
  • The 24th edition of the HomeTeamNS REAL® Run going fully virtual for both members and the general public.

GETTING TO KNOW Assoc Prof Fakshal

He can belt a tune in Hokkien and Mandarin “Depending on my mood and situation, I have afew favourite songs that I sing when driving or in the shower — not only Malay and English songs, but also Hokkien and Mandarin ones as well.”

He enjoys swimming “I learnt to swim when I was in secondary school and felt empowered in the water when I first did so. Swimming taught me perseverance, self-confidence and discipline. The sport is also beneficial to our fitness.”

He used to frequent the arcade back in the days “I enjoy the thrill of playing video games and would visit the arcade whenever I could when I was younger. However, I made sure to budget the amount of money spent. Even after I started working, I would set aside $10 for each visit.

“We envisage a more active and participative membership, a more responsive HomeTeamNS, and hopefully, a
more closely-knit Home Team Community.”

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim

How much of these will influence or change the way HomeTeamNS functions?

Digitalisation helps us to reach out to our members and NSmen at large, through both offline and online modes. It allows us to understand needs and preferences better because of the availability of big data. Importantly, digitalisation makes possible a dynamic two-way engagement. We envisage a more active and participative membership, a more responsive HomeTeamNS, and hopefully, a more closely-knit Home Team Community. With digitalisation, we can expect a more sustainable way of doing things such as adopting a paperless culture, and we can expect more automation to increase productivity.

What new things can we expect to see coming out from HomeTeamNS?

We will be conducting a strategic review, to rethink how new Clubhouses should be designed or operate in this new climate. We are likely to be pushing out surveys to understand new needs that may have arisen because of the emerging challenges that COVID-19 poses to our NSmen and their families.

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