I am quite possibly the only person from both sides of our families and among our friends who is the most “enthu” (enthusiastic) about the National Day Parades. Wear red? No problem! Wave a flag? I’ll wave TWO! Sing the songs? If I know the words, heck yeah! I’ll probably scream out the words if I can. Nobody can shout “Chan Mali Chan Oi Oi” better than me ok? If I don’t know the words, just fake it with some realistic mumbling lah! Nobody would be the wiser!
We got to watch the NDP 2016 Preview 2 last Saturday (30 July 2016) and I was super excited that it was going to be at the stadium. I have attended a preview at the old stadium with my mum many years ago and it was awesome. I was sure it would be just as fabulous this year. I even excitedly told my husband “Got aircon inside you know! No need to use our battery operated fans!”
However, there had been so much talk about this year’s NDP at the National Stadium (The Singapore Sports Hub) and most of them not very positive.
The common complaints I read online:
My favourite Red Lions will not be dropping into the National Stadium because of safety issues.
No mobile column aka military vehicles and the aerial displays. Bimbo confession: I thought they were talking about some movable structure. *twirls hair* Haha!
Cannot see the fly past with the gigantic national flag from inside the stadium.
Cannot see the grand external fireworks from inside the stadium.
The tok gong retractable roof cannot be retracted during the parade.
At first I thought, “Har? No Red Lions? No big big flag? No way!!” These are iconic elements of past parades and I enjoyed ooohing and aahhing for the brave jumpers. I grumbled a bit and then I stopped to think for a bit. Actually change a bit is ok mah. Why is everybody so stuck on the old programme format? Must we always see the same things during every NDP? You not sian one meh? 往事只能回味 ok?
We’ve had the Red Lions dropping in to say hi since 1989. Not seeing them for 1 year is ok right? It won’t make me love them brave (male and female) jumpers any less. They so stylo like Top Gun! *girlie scream*
Weren’t the mobile column supposed to only happen once every 5 years? Last year already have right?
Technically, we can still see the fly past but it’s on the big screen. During the national anthem, 6 huge national flags were unfurled and raised by the audience at the seating gallery. The symbolism gave me many feels and good goosebumps.
Technically can see the external fireworks through the small opening and on the LCD screens all around us. There were some indoor fireworks too. Yvie was super excited about those and kept screaming to me “WOOK MUMMY! PIREWORKS! PIREWORKS!!” The kid’s screams were louder than the fireworks and it probably shocked the lady in front of her more than the fireworks themselves. Haha! You know ah, if you bear to leave the show early, you can see the fireworks very clearly outside of the stadium.
There were equipment hanging off the ceiling so how to retract leh you tell me? This roof is not like your VW convertible’s roof leh, you cannot happy happy anytime want to open close can open close leh. Besides, the stadium got aircon. Your mother never tell you cannot open the windows when you have the aircon on because it will leak out meh? Ok, not the same.
The Husband helping Xander during the segment when the audience had to sign the words to “Count on Me Singapore”.
Learn from the video here. Didn’t know they have the video online until I saw Sengkang Babies’ post the other day. Thanks ah Andy!
The post show madness was expected. The Stadium MRT station was so full, we couldn’t get anywhere near it. There were (I am assuming here) NS guys sitting in the middle of nowhere on what looked like umpire’s chairs with loudhailers, trying to keep the spectators updated about the MRT station situation and even tried to entertained them by asking some questions and getting folks to do some practise cheers. Needless to say Kallang Wave Mall was full house too. Be prepared to either leave the show very very early so you can catch the train home peacefully, pack some light dinner to munch during the show (food is also available for purchase at inside the stadium if you feel lazy to bring any) or take your time and linger around until the madness subsides.
My photos are limited because my phone camera is so frustratingly lao ya and I shouldn’t give away too many spoilers for those who are going to watch it on the actual day. We enjoyed the show and I think if you go with an open mind and no expectations, you would too. Give the new format a chance lah.
Disclaimer: I balloted for our tickets the good old fashion way and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.
One of my friends had texted me a few weeks ago to ask if we were interested to visit the Singapore Garden Festival because they had a couple of tickets to spare and thought of us. How sweet right? I thought since I haven’t seen this friend in a long time, we arranged to go to the festival together on the 1st day.
We saw all sorts of flowers that day. Rare flowers, common flowers, big flowers, teeny tiny flowers and even Old Flower Eyes (老花眼. Chinese translation of Presbyopia). I was told many of the exotic flowers were specially flown in just for the event and designers from top garden shows around the world were invited to create special themed displays during the festival as well.
Visitors were especially attracted to the Orchid Extravaganza which housed several award winning orchids in the Flower Dome. Everybody wanted to get closer to the orchids and take multiple macros of the same bloom in the same position. They were also waiting to get into the10-metre column which I heard had a nice surprise inside. The line into the special area was so long that we had to give it a miss. I mean, we can still see it from the perimeter. Just not close enough to take nice macro shots of the gorgeous blooms. All of these special blooms were on loan from private collectors and external vendors. There were even medals and plaques displayed quite prominently next to the flowers. Next to these medals and plaques, you will see Do Not Touch signs. In fact, these signs can be seen all over the Flower Dome. Even the hardy succulent zones had signs to remind visitors not to pelt the poor plants with the stones that were scattered around them. People don’t understand these cactuses can DIE one. I saw a kid threw some small stones at the plants for fun and his parents did nothing. So irritating.
You would think at the Orchid Extravaganza area with so many ‘caretakers’ and signs people will understand right? Nope. I saw a guy trying to pull some orchids closer to his wife so she could use her puny iPhone to take shots of it. Come on. Don’t act blur when told you are not supposed to touch the flowers ok? A simple Sorry or Ok is good enough. Don’t pretend and say “Oh I nair say the sign” or “I was just taking photos” or worse “No, I nair touch!” You so big size, how not to see your big burly hand tugging on the delicate flower leh? Look! It was still swinging from side to side when you suddenly let go of it lor. *rolleyes* Luckily, the ‘caretakers’ were very polite and friendly, unlike me, so there was no drama after minor confrontation.
We were wandering around the tents in The Meadow and came across some students showcasing their works made from recycled materials. One in particular caught our eye and we went closer to take a look. While we were watching the student demonstrate how she used a plastic bag to make into a flower, a lady decided she NEEDED to record the entire process on video with her camera. She shoved Xan (who was standing right next to me) aside saying “I want to take a video of this.” HARLOW? I told her “Hey! He was here first, don’t shove him around!” It was as though I was invisible because she didn’t seem to care at all. I wanted to tell this auntie her camera has this thing called the Zoom Lens and that if she looked down she will realize she has feet and can use them to move around my child to take her video. Why must be at that particular spot leh? Wah lau. *grumblegrumble*
I wished I was able to spend more time to see all the flowers properly especially the 10-metre column. It would’ve been nice to take a picture of the inside. Oh well. Kids and babies are not made for long walks in crowded spaces. Maybe next time I should go on my own. It is impossible to take clear photos with a wriggly baby strapped in front of you.
Today is the last day of the festival and in case you decide to go take a look (I highly recommend you should), here are some tips I want to share with you:
Try not to bring your strollers. It will be very crowded and trying to manoeuvre your tank through the sea of people will be tricky. If you simply have to bring it, bring lor. Don’t say I never tell you ah.
There are very few resting spots at the festival so if you are bringing your elderly parents (such fillial chewren you are! *clap clap*), go slow and seek refuge inside the air-conditioned tents frequently.
Bring a hat and sunglasses because it might get really hot and sunny.
Built in 1979, the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground was one of the most iconic fixtures in the established town other than than the observation towerÂ in Toa Payoh Town Park. The building, Block 28, behind it has been barricaded and will be torn down for redevelopment but the playground will stay because it is one of the few precious vintage playgrounds left in Singapore. Read about it here. Heng ah! Since 1993, playgrounds in Singapore were no longer constructed from scratch but purchased from overseas. They are now made from lightweight plastic and rubber, no more retro tiles and cement liao. When you fall on the ground, you probably won’t even see blood. What’s the fun in that right? So sterile…
Even though my secondary school was just a stone’s throw away, I don’t have many memories playing at this playground in particular but I definitely had fun at other sand filled playgrounds at my old ‘hood. Nothing beats playing and getting your toes all dirty in the sand. I watched the boys play marbles (because they said girls cannot play with them *rolleyes*), threw sand at each other’s faces, get bullied, became a bully, so fun! Even found some real money while pretend digging for treasures! HUAT AH!
Recently, there was a documentary series on TV that focused on places and things that make us Singaporean. One of the episodes was about these playgrounds and the producers also interviewed 2 daddy bloggers and their families in the show. You can watch the episode here.
We visited the dragon playground just before Chinese New Year after driving past it a few days prior. We saw some folks getting their wedding photos shot there in the middle of the night and we also noticed it looked a little different at the back. Being the big kaypohs we are, we simply had to go back to check it out ourselves.
The playground was in such a sorry state. It was taken over by big angry ants,Â weeds, dried leaves and litter. The rope swings were damaged, slides were very dirty, the paint on the body of the dragon was peeling, even the branches from the trees nearby were dangling precariously over our heads. This was such a far cry from our last visit there a few month before! So sad leh. None of my complains seem to bother the 2 boys and another family of 5 who were there before us, from having fun. They were climbing everywhere and going up and down the slides. I was happy to stay on the ground and away from the creepy crawlies.
Soon it was time to go. I hope the next time we visit, the redevelopment works would have completed and the playground all cleaned up. It would be such a shame to see the dragon get destroyed from neglect. I am going to hunt down the rest of the cool vintage playgrounds around Singapore with The Husband and Xander before the government change their mind and suddenly decide to tear them down.
How about you? Do you have any fond memories at a particular vintage playground? I would love to hear them!
Playgrounds with sand in Singapore are so rare nowadays because they are now mostly replaced with rubber mats. Although I am not a fan of sand (messy lah, sometimes got big red ants also you know?), I cannot deny the fact that the sand adds that extra fun touch to the playground. Sometimes if you are lucky enough, you might even find real treasures in them! As a kid, I loved digging into the sand and have always found coins! Really! I no bluff you! I used to come home with coins from the playground or notes on the way home. Now that I’m older, such sightings are rarer.
Do you know of any fun places to go or activities to do for free? Join Adora (GingerBreadMum) on Instagramand help build up the database of fun, free places to go in Singapore by adding the hashtag #funforfreesg to your photos! Ah… Since you are there hor, you can add metoo!!
Bubber looks similar to any regular play dough you might come across in the market because it’s colourful, it’s soft and mouldable. That’s where the similarity ends.
Bubber is allergen free because it isÂ wheat, gluten and casein free and 100% safe and non-toxic. It is also smell free! This is perfect for Xander who has sensitive skin and nose like his mummy and daddy. For once, he was not a mucus-y mess while playing with something. A definate nice change for all of us!
It never dries up! Say wot? I don’t know what funny technology is in this thing but it really doesn’t dry up! We pulled it apart into many small pieces and had it scattered all over the table in an air-condition room for more than an hour. The Husband said there was a bit of shrinkage but definately not dry.
Bubber is great for sensory play which is great for young children.
Bubber is the world’s lightest moulding compound. I was stunned when I picked it up, it weighs virtually nothing. Why ah? I also dunno. This funny technology the Swedish engineers came up with is so weird but so wonderful!
The texture was very smooth, dry and leaves no residue. When you tear it up, it breaks into tiny particles which will get blown away just by a sneeze. But when you slice it with the Bubber knife or the cutters provided, you get clean, sharp edges that are not possible with regular play dough. You can also pick up the individual cut pieces and stack them up without them sticking to each other. How cool is that?
The most unusual use for the Bubber that I discovered on the Internet is that you can use it to make moulds for plaster casts! This I’ve got to try!
Â Why choose Bubber instead of play dough?
You are free to choose play dough or even go make your own of course. I dread pulling out his play dough sets because they always leave a huge sticky mess everywhere after he is done with them. Experienced parents will agree with me it is especially annoying when the kid accidentally drop bits of it on the floor, gets some stuck under his feet and starts walking around leaving colourful flattened bits all over the house. And the smell! Oh the smell! *gags* Also, if you want to save money and buy cheap play dough, those always somehow end up super soft and gooey after a few plays. Xan is allergic to most play dough and I always know whenever Xan had played with any in school because he would come home with rashes in between his fingers and on his face. I don’t enjoy slathering him with medicated cream every time it happens so I rarely let him play with it at home. Ya, he was a bit deprived when he was younger.
I think the biggest draw for daddy was that cleanup was super duper easy! Just smoosh the whole thing together with your hands, put it in an air tight container (Bubber doesn’t contain moisture so it will not dry out for months but an air tight container can help to keep dust Â and dirt away) and you’re done! No need to bring the play table to the bathroom and scrub off the colourful paste, no more stepping onto rock hard, dried up play dough in the middle of the night and wake your family with loud expletives, NO MORE! I no bluff you! It’s true!
Bubber Smart Shapes Set comes with:
4 packs ofÂ BubberÂ in Red, White, Blue and Green
9 Smart Shapes geometric molds
1 Bubber Knife
A guide with 15 templates with 3 different levels of difficulty.
I thought the templates were useful for parents like me who is most of the time “sibeh boh idea” (trans. very no idea). He was able to figure out the shapes required and position them according to the templates. He even directed daddy to “cut this, cut that, put here, put there”.
Sure it’s a bit on the costly side but the thought of not having to scrap off dried play dough from strange corners of the house, not having to scrub stained clothes (sometimes even their underwear) and no more digging out the irritating dough from under your child’s fingernails is just pure joy. I will replace all theÂ play dough with Bubber when my #2 is born for sure.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Kinetic Sand, Pupsik Studio is offering all readers of Mother of Xander a 15% discount on the Bubber Smart Shape Set as well as the Kinetic Sand in the month of January! Just key in the discount promo code of “MOTHEROFXANDER” before you Checkout.
The Bubber Smart Shapes SetÂ is available from Pupsik Studio and it is suitable for ages 3 and above.
You can also purchase more Bubber and accessories here!
For pricing and other product information, please visit their website or Facebook page.
It was the first day of school for most kids in Singapore and Xander was no exception. He starts K2 this year and will be the big brother to most of the little ones in his school. He was feeling so proud and kept talking about it when I picked him up at the end of the day. This was also the last year of kindergarten and “freedom” before the crunch of Primary One formal education starts in 2015. We also decided to let him enjoy this freedom as much as possible before his little sister is born. In about 2 months, our full attention on him will have to be split between 2 kids. Gee… TWO! I never even expected to have one child and soon we will have two monkeys running around! Oh boy!
You know how big we are on exposing the kid to all things weird and wonderful right? I’ve been itching to buy this book for a really long time but somehow never got round nor have the excuse for it until recently. I decided Xan will learn more proper Hokkien words this year! What better way than with a picture book? You can purchase this book and other sibeh funny products online from Sibey Nostalgic. I was trying to go through some of the words with him on the way to school yesterday and I finally realized how lousy my knowledge of the dialect is. I nair seen more than half of the words before ah! So suaku! We have a good laugh trying to pronounce the words as best as we can and in our own ang moh accent. You can watch Xan try reading some of the words in the video below.
When I sent the video to our family members, they also had a good laugh at his ang moh qiang (Caucasian accent). I thought it was a brilliant effort from the kid! Funny sia!
That was our experience of Xan’s first day of school yesterday. A little different from everybody else’s but we had fun. Primary 1 is next year, I will sweat over it next year. This year we will just concentrate on playing hard (and maybe on the side, study a little harder of course 😛 ) and having some fun.
P.S. This is not a book review. I paid for the book with my own money and I thought I should share with you something my family enjoyed tremendously. Go get it lah. Steady? Steady!
A little while ago, a bunch of us mums gathered our kids together for a rock climbing session (for kids between 5 to 12 years old) at Kinetics. Xan and I have never tried this before and I was skeptical how he (the boy who thinks wushu with the pole thing is a very violent sport) would respond to it. What if he chickens out at the door? What if he throws a power tantrum and refuse to get out of the car?? With kids ah, you never know when they will suddenly change their opinions about activities or even foods they originally have an aversion to so I took my chances and signed him up. Don’t try won’t know right?
Since the cost covers the necessary gear, all we needed to bring were socks to wear with their special climbing shoes. Please ah, no skirts for obvious reasons. Jeans are not encouraged so keep the dress code light and comfy.
Xan was thrilled to see familiar faces and even managed to make some new friends. All the kids had a good warm up session from all the laughing and mischief kids at this age are usually up to.
I must admit I was very proud of Xander who managed his anxiety and even succeeded to scale the wall a few times at the beginning. It also helped that the other kids and their mummies were cheering whoever was climbing and that helped boosted everybody’s confidence level a fair bit. However, as the level of climbing difficulty increases, so did the amount of instructions. For newbies to sporting activities such as this, having what seemed like a hundred instructions being thrown to you by the instructor AND the parent at the same time can be very chaotic. Xan was visibly overwhelmed and felt defeated when he couldn’t move according to instructions. By the time his feet touched the ground, he was ready to give up and go home.
How do you encourage a child to try and continue with a difficult task when he is feeling so defeated? I resisted from comparing him with the other kids who sailed through all the levels with great ease. I had to remind myself that every child has a right to choose whether he wants to continue with it or not, just like any adult. So I let him rest and hope he might want to try and finish the rest of the course after he see how the other kids managed to.
At that moment, Xan’s friend Poppy saw him sitting by himself and looked so sad. She came over to ask him what happened and even tried to cheer him up without much success. At this point I was very surprised to seeÂ a child this young trying to console a friend in need. That was a completely new experience for me. Wah! She was so sweet I should’ve hugged her to thank her for her kindness but I was too blur to react. * heart melts* Although he didn’t immediately cheer up but he later mustered up enough courage to try climbing a few more rounds before we call it a day. Yay Xander! Mummy was super duper proud of you!
As parents, we can only provide so much guidance and tools to help our child through the various stages of their lives. We can only hope that he will learn to use these tools and perhaps even with the help of good friends, be able to scale greater heights and achieve their goals during their lifetime. Failure is inevitable but to be able to pick ourselves up after every fall takes a lot of courage and perseverance. I hope after the rock climbing experience, Xander would have learnt that every time he fails, he would have also learnt what went wrong and how he could do it differently the next time in order to overcome it better. *crossing fingers, toes and eyes*
We don’t get to take pictures together as a family very often so these pictures are very precious to me. Thanks to ItchyfingersÂ for sending me these photos taken atÂ Mabel’s daughter’s birthday party. LOVE IT!
If not for a tip off by a friend, I would have never known about this event organized by theÂ National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDCS)Â Paediatric Dentistry Department in conjunction with their NDCS Paediatric Dentistry Facebook page‘sÂ 1st anniversary.
Xander has yet to visit a dentist at this point because like many parents, since we haven’t had any problems with his teeth, we didn’t think of bringing him to the dentist. My first thought when I saw this was that this would be a wonderful way to introduce to him what a dentist would do during a regular visit! Maybe by his appointment, he wouldn’t be so scared of dentists like I did when I was a kid. I had initially registered Xander and his cousin to attend the event but at the last moment, my nephew couldn’t make it soÂ Mary (Simply Lambchops)Â and her sonÂ came to my rescue and took over his spot for the session. Thanks Mary!
Similar to the Doctor for a Day event we attended in August, Be a Dentist Day also involves the children exploring several stations at the NDC where they were guided by the volunteers to try tasks like bending wires, filling cavities and how NOT to choke your mother to death whilst trying to inspect her mouth with a tiny mirror in her mouth. They also reminded the children what foods are bad or better for their teeth with some role play in their mock supermarket which was stocked with all sorts of food you would normally see in a real supermarket.
You know ah, I didn’t understand what this particular station was about. Bend pipe cleaners for what ah? The young dentist didn’t explain very clearly at the beginning. It was much later that Mary found out from them that this exercise was part of their training in forming braces. Ohhh….
At this station, the children were asked to pick out food that they think is good for their teeth. Most of them just picked whatever they liked and at the end of the “shopping trip”, they were taught why certain foods are better than others.
I thought the kids spent a little too much time at this station dressing up and cleaning hands. I wished the volunteers had asked the kids to demonstrate how they have been keeping themselves clean at home and at school so that whatever bad habits the kids had can be pointed out and discussed as part of the programme. Sometimes when mummies nag too much, kids kind of ‘switch off’ and stop listening so getting advise from strangers might be a little more convincing.
I felt a little weird out when the young lady kept referring to the cavities as “the black black thing”. Why do folks like to baby-talk to kids ah? Cavities say cavities lah. It’s not a dirty word what. Sorry ah, I cannot tahan when seemingly educated young people like to talk like that and undermine kids. You really think the kids are stupid or wat?
At the last station, Mary and I had to take turns to be our kids’ guinea pigs. The boys had the opportunity to pretend to be dentists, played with the buttons that controlled the complicated chair and inspected our mouth very very closely with their small mirrors. It was damn fun 🙂
I think the experience as a whole was fun for the kids and the duration was just nice. Which kid doesn’t like to role play you tell me?
Do like the Paediatric Dentistry NDC’s Facebook PageÂ for updates on future events such as this.
So, The BlogfatherÂ received an invitation to the launch of The Science Centre Singapore’s latest exciting exhibition, Titan of the Past earlier this month and asked me if Xan would be keen to see some dinosaurs. Prior to this, I already heard about the exhibition WEEKS beforehand and told myself I would go with or without the boys because I knew there were going to be real bones and fossils on display. Real ones leh! Wah! So without hesitation, I told The Husband we will go regardless of Xan’s preference. He can always hold my hand tighter or bury his face in my belly if he gets scared at any point in time. So mean hor? Oh well.
After giving Xan a quick pep talk before entering the exhibition hall, we also tried to make fun of the ferocious T-Rex and its little tiny arms in a bid to make the dinosaurs seem less intimidating. Think the researchers who dedicate their lives to researching dinosaurs will hate folks like me eh? 😛
Ok back to the serious stuff.
The official description is taken from hereÂ (because they say it better than me lah):
Titans of the Past
Titans of the PastÂ is a unique presentation put together for the very first time to form a seamless storyline of travelling through pre-historic times.
The first segment, â€œThe Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaursâ€ is an exhibition from The Museum of the Rockies (MOR) in Montana, USA, with animatronics from Kokoro in Japan.Â The exhibition features the work of Dr Jack Horner, one of the worldâ€™s leading palaeontologists and consultant for Jurassic Park films, and his research team. ItÂ showcasesÂ beautiful and valuableÂ realÂ fossils including theÂ largest T-Rex skull ever found, good-quality replicas, state-of-the art animatronics and a controversial story line.
The second segment features life-sized dinosaur skeletal casts of the Argentinosaurus, measuring a majesticÂ 36m in length and 7m in height, a Giganotosaurus and a T-rex.
The final segment, â€œIce Age, The Exhibitionâ€ showcases animatronic mammals from the Ice Age which includes a mammoth, a mastodon and a saber-toothed tiger among others. Â
Being the typical suaku city dweller I am, to be able to look at these skulls and fossils up-close was a pretty awesome experience for me. I think I already said so earlier right? Ya, that was how excited I was lah. TheÂ Argentinosaurus was so huge, it was almost impossible to take a decent photo of it in full. I lie flat on the floor also cannot take a proper photo leh. One of the downside about the exhibition I didn’t like was the lighting. You need to understand that I’m not young anymore. Eyesight also not as good as last time. The dim lights and small fonts are real killers for people with ‘old flower’ eyesight like me. Didn’t help that I am also a big barrel of a baby oven who can hardly bend over to read the signage without fearing I might not straighten out my back later. Â I hope the organizers can consider making it a tad bit brighter next time. Ya, I hope there will be a next time PLUS more dinosaurs! I want the flying ones!
Halfway through the exhibition, we improvised our tour with a tiny bit of drama…Â
What’s an exhibition without some kids’ activities?
Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves tremendously staring at the exhibits and watching the movies. Come see, touch and take pictures with the dinosaurs! After that, you can also roam into Science Centre’s main halls to see their permanent exhibits.
Quick Information about the exhibition:
25 October 2013 toÂ 23 February 2014
Typical time required:
Admission Charges (Inclusive of Science Centre entry)
$25 – Adult
$19 – Child