SAFRA 50th Anniversary Dinner – Wrapping Up A Momentous Year

It was the perfect conclusion to SAFRA’s Golden Anniversary.

By Sean Yee        22 December 2022

SAFRA’s 50th Anniversary Dinner and 16th Award Presentation on 1 December 2022 was a fitting conclusion to a year of commemorative events, special deals and treats for members, celebrating the 50th year of SAFRA’s launch. The evening’s proceedings also included recognising more than 168 individual and corporate partners who had contributed to the success of SAFRA over the years.

Each SAFRA club also commemorated the milestone on a more altruistic note, having spearheaded their own SAFRA Cares charity initiative to raise funds for the less fortunate. A cheque of $802,405.85 was presented during this ceremony, marking the success of SAFRA’s fundraising initiatives. 

Continuing to evolve and thrive

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence and Chairman of SAFRA’s Board of Governors, was Guest-of-Honour at the gala dinner, which was held at SAFRA Mount Faber’s Summer Garden restaurant. Dr Ng prefaced the event with a contemplative reflection on SAFRA’s 50 years, deeming it “an appropriate and opportune juncture to ask ourselves” if SAFRA had stuck to its two original goals – providing NSmen with excellent and affordable recreational facilities that rival exclusive private clubs, and cultivating camaraderie in the NSmen community.

“I think most NSmen and Singaporeans would give a resounding yes,” he said. “The strongest endorsement for SAFRA comes from NSmen and their families – nearly 475,000 NSmen and their families are members of SAFRA”. He ended his speech on an optimistic note, confident that “SAFRA can continue to thrive in the decades ahead”, having “done very well in fulfilling its mission”.

Volunteers – SAFRA’S Stalwart Supporters

Ms Lim Mei Mei (R) receiving her award from Dr Ng Eng Hen.

The SAFRA we know today is only made possible through the unconditional contributions of the NSmen community, and this award ceremony celebrated over 168 distinguished recipients from a string of committees which include Gym Management, Education, Digital Transformation and Brand Communications.

Ms Lim Mei Mei, who was awarded both the Meritorious Service Bronze Award as well as the 10-Year Long Service Award, has been a SAFRA volunteer for over 12 years. A first-time recipient of the Bronze Service Award, Ms Lim’s extensive experience in the educational field has naturally translated into her work with SAFRA, both in in her current role as Deputy Director in National University of Singapore (NUS), and having previously held a managerial title in Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). This complemented her voluntary foray incredibly well, having started as a contributing member in SAFRA’s Education Committee, only to helm it a few years later as the nominated chairperson. 

“As I did not partake in military service, this is my way of giving back to our NSmen community,” she said, beaming with pride as she shared more about her passion for lifelong learning and upskilling. She acknowledges that “what we have learnt 10 years ago may not be as relevant today” and hopes to “expand the portfolio of programmes available in SAFRA, complementing it with skills which are relevant for professional development.”

“I enjoy the interactions I have with our NSmen, understanding their aspirations and goals, and preparing them with a skillset that is contemporary and professionally relevant,” she added.

LTC (NS) Terence Quek (L) taking a selfie with dinner attendees.

LTC (NS) Terence Quek, recipient of the Meritorious Service Gold Award, has been volunteering with SAFRA since 2009. When asked about his time at SAFRA, more specifically the motivation driving his 13 years of service, he had this to say: “It is the people! I have met many good friends here, connections only made possible through a shared resonance with SAFRA’s mission in bringing NSmen together. Personally, it is important that I am serving a cause much bigger than myself when volunteering, and SAFRA perfectly aligns with this inclination.”

Other award recipients included Mr Richard Koh Tian Poh for his groundbreaking 40 years of service, amongst many others. Awards for Outstanding New Volunteer, Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service were also handed out to exceptional members who have enabled SAFRA to flourish. The awards were presented by Dr Ng Eng Hen and Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Defence and President of SAFRA.

Exciting times ahead

While SAFRA clubhouses have seen consistent improvements to its infrastructures over the years, its mission has always stood resolute through time. Always intended to exemplify the best of NSmen, SAFRA is committed to ensuring that its recreational hubs are constantly accessible to those who have served the nation dutifully, functioning as a second home for NSmen and their families.

So, what’s next for SAFRA? An immediate milestone that many can look forward to is the opening of SAFRA’s seventh clubhouse in Choa Chu Kang. Come 2023, this $69.2 million integrated fitness and wellness hub will grace the district with an array of facilities intended to fuel one’s athletic pursuits, including a sheltered swimming pool, a sky running track and a aqua gym.  The club will also house a climbing facility.

Congratulations to all award winners and cheers to another 50 glorious years!

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