Archives for June 2013

Something this way comes

Wednesday 19 June 2013. Outside, through in the light of day, a thick blanket of haze shrouded Singapore, all we saw of the sun, was a ponderous circle without edges. Even the birds seemed to have quieten in the mornings. When it became dark, the brown-yellow light of the haze lingered around the rim of buildings and our homes.

Hazesgp2013Singapore skyline on 21st June (skyline photo by Channel News Asia, PSI 400 illustration by Klipsch SEA FB page)

Some measure of distress and helplessness enveloped most of us, and anger was invoke due to fear. Most of us started to question why and how this could have happened, and found ways to deal with it by keeping themselves safe in our homes, scrambled to get masks to protect ourselves, while others started looking for blame. Some with businesses took this opportunity to stock-pile masks and earn a tidy profit selling them to people desperate to buy them.

Apart from taking the necessary precautions to reduce spending time outdoors, and getting some N95s from my weekend grocery trip. I wondered to myself how many of us was able to look past the problem quickly, and not dwell on this difficult situation and it’s limitations, and not feel a certain degree of being victimized by the authorities. Are we too overwhelmed by the negativity from this situation, getting too obsessed with tracking the PSI numbers, and not think about how we able to overcome or bounce back from this stress in our lives?

As parents, it’s natural for us to want to protect our children from harm. When the PSI climbed we worry about their exposure to the haze for short trips outdoors, we fret when we realized that there wasn’t a mask situable for their use. Then when we finally got a mask that they could use, we lost our temper when our child refused to don the mask. Imagine how much anxiety, confusion your child may be experiencing, even thought we know that all we wanted to do through our actions, was to find solutions to deal with this problem!

If we look beyond our little red dot, we will see that life is more turbulent than it has ever been for many of our fellow humans in many parts of the world. Just this week in the news, there have been floods, more floods, chaos from protests, sudden hurricanes, war and rumors of war.

As I am writing this post, the skies in Singapore seemed to have cleared up this weekend, but there is no reason why we should continue to take things we have for granted.

Life is uncertain, and being in a country like Singapore. We have been really blessed and sheltered from most disasters so far. Will this security remain? No one knows what is in store for us in the months and years to come.


Helping our children deal with uncertainties

How are we helping our children to deal with turbulence in our lives? Can we give them the right ‘tools’ to deal with this difficulty? And it really possible to be happy and peaceful in the midst of our difficulties?

We can start by changing our outlook and attitudes. See past the problems even when we are caught in the difficult situation, accept that life is challenging and ever changing, and tell our children that we can cope with these changes and challenges.

Like what we have heard before, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Cut out fear and negative thoughts, be aware of your attitudes, what you are saying, refrain from complaining. Stay positive, as negative thoughts will cause you to falter and breed bitterness and hopelessness.

With any challenge that may come your way, respond by hugging your child more, holding hands. Find ways you can be thankful together from your lives, and not focus on the negatives that are beyond your control and move on.

Sentosa 10

P.S. Our family is experiencing a painful period at this point of our lives, and under-going many changes. But I am thankful for my parents unrelenting support during this time, K’s resilience in handling it and most of all, God’s grace and mercy to see us through.

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Free and Cheap Activities we did this week!

The challenge for me this June holidays was to create at least one engaging day with a series of activities to bring K a week, without burning a hole in my pocket. So what did we do this week and was I successful in my attempts?

  • Art Garden at SAM

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Lovely installations, an improvement from last year to engage the children, however, there was no attempts to make the themes from the art installations meaningful for the kids. Drawing and Colouring activities (a popular choice for SAM every year), were added to most of the activity stations.

I heard that some parents were able to spend many hours with their kids at Art Garden, something which I didn’t think will be possible with the three kids.

Time spent at exhibit : Only 1 hour

  • Island Adventure at National Museum of Singapore

There wasn’t much happening apart from the interactive displays as we didn’t plan our visit around the roving acts and story-telling sessions, and Pauline and I didn’t want to get the craft kits at $5. So all the kids did was to ‘invent a Singapore dish’ by putting together some cut-outs of food illustrations,


Attempted to piece together a ‘jigsaw’ of different cultural costumes,


Watch wayang peep shows and look at colored photo prints in the 50s and 60s.


Time spent at Island Adventures interactive display : Barely 10 minutes

The kids ended up spending more time at the community exhibition; Trading Stories: Conversations with Siz Pioneering Tradesmen, an exhibition on old trades in Singapore and how these tradesmen have coped with challenge of changing times.

I think having to watch some moving visuals through local documentaries on screen, and being able to see and touch some of the ‘real life’ items on display kept them alot more interested in the exhibits.


Time spent at exhibit : Approximately 20 minutes

  • Play, Eat, Love Cafe

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The moms spent $5.00 for a 2 hour craft per child. Relatively affordable, if the craft activity can keep your children busy for 2 hours, while you can enjoy tea with your friend at the side. Unfortunately that didn’t quite happen when barely 10 minutes into the activity, K asked for 2 more sheets of paper, was not too thrilled that he had added too much glue on his craft and decided to trash it. It turned out that the pack of plastic toy soldiers that cost me $5.00, provided him with imaginative play that kept him busy playing with his friends for the rest of the time we were at the cafe.

Time spent at craft activity : 15 minutes, while imaginative play with toy soldiers and the snacks we ordered kept them occupied for 30 minutes.

  • Leave a Mark


Draw, doodle or just scribble whatever you want on the large format photos on display on the Leave a Mark exhibition . K left his ‘stickmen’ doodles in many of the pieces and the kids were happy with the crayons, markers and stencils given for this open-ended doodle activity. It was a simple exhibit, but I think letting the kids interact and add their little inspirations to the photos was an intriguing concept for them.


Time spent doodling : 30 minutes

I think it is not difficult to find activities for kids in Singapore, especially during the school holidays, and spend little money to occupy their time for an hour or so. Craft and open-ended activities work the best to keep them engaged, and I think being in the company of friends helped to make the activities more enjoyable.

From what we have experienced from Children’s Season 2013 so far, visiting two exhibits from Singapore’s two key museums have reminded me that I should continue to keep my expectations low and let the surprises unfold (haven’t been surprised yet), if we intend to visit more museum activities in the next few weeks.

On a side note, I will be taking a break from Photo *Heart* Fridays these 2 weeks, as I have encountered a technical bug with my linky and will be getting it corrected soon.


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Gardens by the Bay – Flight of Fancy

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We are back to being ‘Accidental Tourists’ in our home-country Singapore once again, since it is the June holidays and I have planned a series of June excursions for K and I this month.

K has been been sharing with me that many of his classmates will be going on holiday to a foreign country during the June holidays. I have told him that there isn’t a need for us to travel this June, since we can easily become tourists in Singapore.

There are plenty of places that are still rather foreign to us, since there have been many new attractions sprouting out in Singapore the past couple of months; SEA Aquarium (I am likely the last blogger in SIngapore who hasn’t been there), River Safari and quite a number of places within Sentosa island.  Yes, we don’t go out much since this mom generally is afraid of the humid heat and crowds.

The last time we visited Gardens by the Bay was almost a year ago, and having heard about their new displays in the conservatories, I took time off this week and went on an excursion of the gardens with K. Like our last visit, we skipped the open-air hot-enough-make-us-melt outdoor gardens and Supertree Groves, since we visited the place in the late morning and stayed there for the next 3 hours. We are likely the rare few visitors to the gardens who have yet to see the light displays of the Supertrees in the evening, as the hb is not convinced that we should be jostling with the crowds on any given weekend.

The Domes in the Gardens were similar to what I remembered from my last visit. I enjoyed the dry temperate ‘weather’ brimming with beautiful blooms in the Flower Dome, and a moist-temperate environment filled with lush vegetation of ferns, orchids and curious pitcher plants in Cloud Forest Dome.

Before heading to any of the conservatories, be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Blow Wind Blow’, a self-guided interactive Garden trial activity guide from the Visitor Information Counter of Gardens by the Bay Canopy area. This activity guide highlights the importance of wind in the pollination process and children from 5 years old and above can use the guide to help them locate some wind-pollinated plants within the Flower Dome Conservatory.


In line with their theme of ‘Flight of Fancy’, the vibrant floral displays are accentuated with the lively addition of balloons and hot air balloons, with the thematic concept extended to both conservatories for June-July 2013.


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Over at the Cloud Forest dome, see kites and more hot air balloons displays amid the exotic orchids and beguiling begonias. ‘Blow wind Blow’ activity trail continues to a seed display at the the Crystal Mountain in the Cloud Forest Dome.


Before ascending into the 35m Crystal Mountain by lift, look out for a model train display with its intricate scenery, complete with a kampong house-on-stilts.


The ‘Flight of Fancy’ theme floral display in the cooled conservatories in Gardens by the Bay will be a great wet-weather alternative or if you are like me, looking for places to go with the kid this June and July, without having to suffer under the scorching weather.

However, you may want to consider using the activity trial guide of ‘Blow Wind Blow’, only if your child is 5 years old and above. As the activity guide is not age-appropriate for children below 5 years old, as most may find a challenge to understand the science concepts included in the guide.

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Gardensbythebay 15Looking out to the Singapore Flyer from Crystal Mountain in Cloud Forest Dome

Information on admission charges and opening hours for Gardens by the Bay can be found here.

Disclosure : I was invited by Gardens by the Bay to visit their new theme displays in the cooled conservatories, but not compensated to write this post. All opinions shared are from my own experience.

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