SAFRA (Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association) was formed as early as 1972 to provide recreational, educational and sports facilities for reservists or NSmen (Operational Ready National Servicemen) and their families, so as to improve morale and cohesiveness among the members.
Former Defence Minister of Singapore Dr Goh Keng Swee was the first chairman, and the first SAFRA clubhouse was temporarily situated at Prince Edward Lane, using the former premise of a Scandinavian religious place known as the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission Home.
SAFRA welcomed its first permanent clubhouse in 1975 with the completion of the $2 million building at Toa Payoh. In 1982, the second clubhouse was officially opened at Bukit Merah.
Perhaps the most iconic feature of the Bukit Merah SAFRA was the dummy soldier doing rappelling at the top of the building.
In 2004, after 23 years of services, the clubhouse was closed down and replaced by the nearby Mount Faber SAFRA. It has since been left abandoned with no concrete redevelopment plans.
Today, there are six SAFRA clubs located at Toa Payoh, Jurong, Mount Faber, Yishun, Tampines and Carpenter Street, serving some 200,000 members.
Published: 28 July 2011