Published: 01 November 2019
1. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
2. We are here for another HomeTeamNS milestone. I will say a little bit about the importance of National Servicemen to us, to Singapore.
3. Three years ago, when we looked at clubhouse plans, a number of ideas were suggested to us. I said I would like to start with a brand new concept for three or four clubhouses which will break the mould, and which will be physical representations of how we value our National Servicemen. That was what this has got to be.
4. One person whom is not sufficiently recognised is Minister Desmond Lee, who was then at MHA. I told him we need three iconic locations which would be very good for us, one of which has got to be a waterfront location. We got these three locations.
5. Another group that helped us tremendously in addition to the National Servicemen here were the Advisory Panel. The team pushed the boundaries, and we accepted what was doable.
6. I am told that the model (of the clubhouse) has got a serious wow factor. It is first-class, and there has been a lot of positive reactions.
Important roles of Home Team NSmen
7. Let me come back to why we are doing this. Singapore’s existence and our well-being is built on the foundation of National Service In our Home Team. Our National Servicemen play an integral role. They ensure the safety and security of Singapore.
8. Just some examples - our Police National Servicemen do frontline patrols on public transportation networks and housing estates, every day. They handle crowd management. They do that at the National Day Parade, the New Year’s Eve countdown, Geylang Serai Bazaar, and the Deepavali light-up, amongst others. Our National Servicemen are there - both full-time and those who are called back.
9. You look at SCDF - National Servicemen respond to emergency ambulance calls, undertake fire and rescue operations, and at every fire station and every division that you go, you will find a very large number of National Servicemen. They also participate in overseas humanitarian missions and disaster relief.
10. If you take our fire engines, two to three out of a four-man crew are full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) or operationally-ready National Servicemen (ORNSmen). One out of three officers in ambulance crew is a National Serviceman.
11. Police NSFs also form the bulk of the In-Situ Reaction Teams of the Police’s Protective Security Command (ProCom). They patrol, they respond to public security incidents, and they are trained to deal with terror attacks at iconic locations and crowded locations.
12. SCDF has also created three new vocations - data analytics, ops tech coding and supply chain assistants - to take advantage of our National Servicemen’s newer skills and their learning in the areas of science and technology, to meet SCDF’s own operational needs.
13. I can go on, but you get the picture - they are the backbone of what we do.
Recognising Contributions of Home Team National Servicemen
14. We recognise and appreciate the work that our National Servicemen do. They face real threats, they do real work on the ground. Their families make the sacrifices.
15. In 2016, we decided we would draw up a new long-term HomeTeamNS Clubhouse Masterplan. The clear direction was set that the clubhouses would have to express, in concrete terms, what we say to our National Servicemen about how we value them.
16. We wanted our clubhouses to be first class and best-in-class, in terms of location, design, physical structures, and the activities that are provided. That then provides the foundation for the software, which is how they are used, and what kind of esprit de corps and feelings they engender. We want our National Servicemen to find their clubhouse experience a good experience.
17. I first spoke about this at the official opening of the clubhouse at Our Tampines Hub two years ago. I said we would build three new clubhouses – in the north in Khatib, located just five minutes’ walk from Khatib MRT station; second, this location, in the east within Bedok Reservoir Park, and in the west, at the new Tengah Forest Town.
18. Each clubhouse will have its unique theme. For Khatib Clubhouse, the concept is “Urban Retreat”. The Bedok Clubhouse, it will be a “Waterfront Haven” concept. Tengah Clubhouse will have a “Great Outdoors” theme.
19. Khatib Clubhouse is close to completion. The opening should be in the next few months.
Key Features of the Bedok Clubhouse
20. The second clubhouse, Bedok Clubhouse - this is where nearly 25 per cent of our NSmen are, in this geographical region, the East. This particular clubhouse is at a prime location, within the Bedok Reservoir Park and is picturesque. We expect it to be completed by 2021.
21. The building will connect seamlessly with the surrounding greenery and the reservoir. It is intended to be environmentally friendly and sustainable – and with the Green Mark Platinum certification. It will have key green features including solar panels, natural ventilated floor spaces and rainwater harvesting.
22. But beyond that, in terms of facilities, Bedok Clubhouse will also offer first-of-its-kind concept villas. You will see them in the models. The villas will be set on a hill slope, within forested vegetation, under a canopy of trees. They will offer views of both the park and reservoir. The window spaces will be widened and that will maximise these views. Each of the ten villas will have a gross floor area of 1,400 to 1,600 square feet. Each of them will come with a sheltered barbecue area and a roof terrace, and they will be designed to complement the surroundings.
23. The Clubhouse itself will offer an Indoor Water Adventure Facility. It will include the longest indoor water slide in Singapore, with a total length of 374 feet; and our first 278-feet water slide tunnel decorated with LED rainbows, dot patterns and shooting lights - I think the kids will enjoy it tremendously. Also a unique indoor wet obstacle rope course. The whole context is to create a thrilling water adventure experience.
24. Bedok Clubhouse will also feature an Infinity Pool that will seem to connect with the reservoir. It will stand at level 2 of the main clubhouse and allow you to look into the horizon.
25. There will also be a 400-pax Banquet Hall with scenic views of the reservoir, and a 7,500 sq feet modular gym with machines and equipment that can be stowed away for optimal use of the space. There will also be exclusive spaces for our National Servicemen to have social gatherings, such as a Members-only Lounge and ManCaves. Located on the roof, each ManCave will have a sheltered terrace with its own barbeque pit and landscaped dining area. I expect that the clubhouse will be totally full.
26. In designing this clubhouse, several NSmen were closely involved through dialogue sessions and design improvement exercises.
27. You heard from the co-chairs of the Development Committee, DSP (NS) Jim Tan from SPF, and AC Kadir Maideen from SCDF. They have put in, together with their committee, a lot of time and effort. They gave guidance to the HomeTeamNS Project Team in the overall design and planning of the building. This Clubhouse would not have been possible without them, the Advisory Committee and the project team.
28. This is I think, we can say quite safely, going to be a beautiful clubhouse, in charming surroundings. I think all of us can be very excited about it.
29. When the clubhouse is completed in 2021, I hope it will become a place where our National Serviceman will gather to meet and catch up. Their families will enjoy it, and spend time together here.
30. Lastly - this is a plug for the Home Team Festival 2019, which will take place from 22 to 24 Nov. I hope all of you will visit it. You will get the opportunity to experience how our Home Team Officers go about their mission every day as guardians of the safety and security of Singapore. I look forward to seeing you there.
31. Thank you.