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Archive for March, 2015

It’s taken a while to pen this down, though the thoughts have been running through my mind this past 2 weeks.

Last week was an emotionally tiring week. I was going to say ‘draining’, but I would think that should really be reserved for the family. But it was tiring.

I first saw the news in the middle of the night when I woke to feed Alyssa. It saddened me, as it did most Singaporeans. I know it’s been said to death, but it’s true that I have always looked at Mr Lee with great admiration. Although there has been much debate about his position on various issues in recent years, I don’t think anyone disputes what he has done for Singapore, how he has shaped this little country into what it is today. I remember sitting in class in secondary school learning about the history of Singapore, and especially in University when I took a module on Singapore’s history. I remember being in admiration of the bold decisions taken in turbulent times. His vision for Singapore, in light of the current world trends, was amazing. Really ahead of his time.

As condolences poured in from around the world, and as different world leaders from countries much larger than ours paid tribute to Mr Lee, it was a clear reminder of how he has raised Singapore’s stature. Who would have cared about the passing of the founder of our nation otherwise? We are so small.

It is my honest hope that my children grow up knowing about him and how important he and his first team were in shaping Singapore to be what it is. I hope that they are not blindly dismissive or ambivalent, but accord him due respect and admiration while appreciating the fragile circumstances within which Singapore was formed.

Apart from his political contributions, I think what stood out for me in the last week, and for many others, was the impact he had on his own family. I suppose all this wasn’t made public sooner in his life as it could be seen as making him look soft? But I really liked learning about the other side of Mr Lee. And what a wonderful love story. What a worthy example of a good marriage to follow! I think many married Singaporean couples would have found themselves thinking about their own marriage and how they could be as loving and supportive of one another like Mr and Mrs Lee.

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Lots of flowers and notes from the public. The video was showing one of my favourite interviews of Mr and Mrs Lee.

Given the long queues and the usual routine of kids, we didn’t manage to go down to pay our respects at Parliament House. Had I known about the how short the wait was at the priority queue I might have made the trip down, but I thought it was all around 8 hours. So I went down to Kembangan CC with Asher, and we spent some time there reading the tributes from Singaporeans, and watching a documentary about Mr Lee. I needed to go. It was the least I could do for someone who has done so much. It is so cliched, but what to do? Cliches do ring true.

Sunday found us gathering at my parents home to watch the funeral procession. I was thinking, poor PM Lee having to perform his role as PM first during this difficult time. The whole week he still had do his public rounds, meet with dignitaries. Even the private ceremony was not really private.

And even though we caught the ceremony from home, at the end of the ceremony I just felt so emotionally spent.

But it is time to move on. Time to continue doing our little part each day for Singapore, whatever that little part may be.

Farewell, Mr Lee. Thank you for all you have done.

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No Reason BBQ

We had a barbeque at our place with the Sngs and Cais for no reason other than that one of our friends wanted to eat barbequed food. Actually the barbeque was supposed to take place at East Coast park, but it seems everyone else was also craving barbequed food and all the pits were taken up.

It turned out that even though we were away from the sea, having it at our place was really fun for the kids because they could run around the estate and play at the various playgrounds. They all came to our house to chill out after the BBQ too, and the kids had a blast playing together. If messes are an indication of the amount of fun they had, they had a tremendous time!

Maebe, the Sng’s dog, came for the party too. She was so at home in our house that I really wished we had a dog of our own! Hubby, if you are reading this you know what to do.

Starting up the fire

Starting up the fire

Playing soccer while waiting for the food to cook

Playing soccer while waiting for the food to cook

Maebe!

Maebe!

Kids catching up with one another

Kids catching up with one another

Having fun at the playground

Having fun at the playground!

Toasting marshmallows, and seeing who had the most patience to wait for the marshmallows to develop a nice crust

Toasting marshmallows, and seeing who had the most patience to wait for the marshmallows to develop a nice crust

Mmm yummm

Mmm yummm

Happy messes are always welcome :)

Happy messes :)

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It was the end of the March school holidays, the weather wasn’t too hot, and we had been cooped up in the house all day, so we decided to head outdoors. We wanted to go somewhere far that we wouldn’t normally go to, as if we were having a mini road trip in Singapore. We ended up checking out the newish extension at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Unforunately there were some trails that were undergoing upgrading works, but we did manage to play at the Junior Adventure Trail for a bit. I had read up on this prior to going and had expected a bigger play area, but the kids had fun nonetheless.

At the Junior Adventure Trail you can pretend to cross a mangrove swamp using a pulley boat, play among pencil roots, and climb about some prop roots. If I didn’t drag the kids away, they could have stayed here to play for an even longer time than they did. They liked racing from one end of the trail to the other.

On the pulley boat. They were competing with another pair of kids

On the pulley boat. They were competing with another pair of kids

Hop hop hop!

Hop hop hop through the pencil roots!

Climb climb climb up the prop roots!

Climb climb climb up the prop roots!

Fishes? Insects?

Hang on tight!

Jumping on giant mudskippers

Jumping on giant mudskippers

We did a short walk to one of the lookout points that had a good view of Johor Bahru.

Look out point. From the road, this structure really blends into the surroundings.

Look out point. From the road, this structure really blends into the surroundings.

JB in the distance

JB in the distance

The one thing that we all really wanted to experience were the mudflats that you could walk through. I thought the boys might not be too keen on the idea because they’d get their feet dirty, but they surprised me by being very excited at the prospect. It was located at the other end of Sungei Buloh, so we decided to drive to the other side instead of walking since the connecting path was closed.

Unfortunately, when we got to the other side the weather took a turn for the worse. There was thunder and lightening, and the sky turned black very quickly. The rain started pelting down and we had to postpone our exploration of the mudflats. But we’ll be back!

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Alyssa 10 Months

She’s started crawling good and proper now. She’s pulling up at the cot and wherever there’s anything to grab. She’s also able to sit back down, though occasionally she topples over, so we still need to watch her like a hawk. She needs close supervision when playing because she stuffs everything into her mouth. Sometimes she stuffs things in without us noticing because the boys call away my attention, and we only realise when she coughs. Thankfully it’s not been anything that chokes her! Small things like bits of tissue paper, paper, or plastic wrappers from a mineral water bottle. We need to be much more vigilant with her, something we are not used to since neither of the boys were like that.

She’s entered the phase where she doesn’t want to sit still, so changing diapers can be a real challenge. She’s squirming, flipping, crawling away. I think we’ve gotta move to pull-ups soon.

Here is Alyssa with Je M’appelle for the growth comparison, but Je M’appelle has been usurped by another bear! It’s a cuddly bear my aunt gave me a few years ago that I pulled out of one of our boxes (yes, I’m still not done unpacking) and Alyssa grabbed for herself. She gives air kisses to it! She’s learnt how to make kissing sounds, so she’ll look at the bear, smile, and air kiss it.

Hard to keep still

Je M’appelle being usurped by another bear

Speaking of air kisses, it’s so cute to see/hear her make the kissing sound, and she does as it a sign of affection. Her other sign of affection is to give you a big, sloppy kiss. Almost like she’s eating you up. She likes snuggling her head into my neck/shoulder too.

She is trés greedy. She always wants something from the main table now and we usually let her have it. Bits of bread, grains of rice, bits of veg. She is soooo unbelievably greedy. “DER!!” She’ll loudly exclaim while pointing at our food (and simultaneously avoiding the spoon with baby food).

She does this when she gets very excited by something

She does this when she gets very excited by something

Super happy baby!

Super happy baby!

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Ellery skipped school (shh!), and together with Asher and Alyssa we trotted off to catch 金发姑娘和三只熊, otherwise known as Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Mandarin by The Little Company. This Mandarin version is adapted by well-known radio and TV personality, Danny Yeo, and Zhang Lesheng, an award-winning lyricist who has written theme and sub-theme songs for over 90 MediaCorp TV drama serials.

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We had watched the English version a while back, but the kids didn’t seem to remember much about it as they were quite a bit younger then. I was curious to see how this show would play out in Mandarin, and whether the songs and story would work as well when translated from English.

To my surprise I enjoyed it more than the English version! Interestingly, different songs stood out. In the English version, our favourite song was the ‘porridge song’. In Mandarin, we liked the ‘itchy song’ the most, followed by the ‘bear song’ and the ‘beware song’. These songs took on more life when sung in Mandarin, somehow. The songs were much more memorable in Mandarin and I occasionally still have the songs running through my head.

Papa, Mama, and Baby bears

Papa, Mama, and Baby bears (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

Bears enjoying their porridge (Photo taken from SRT's Facebook page)

Bears enjoying their porridge (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

I loved the Mandarin puns and thought it was a wonderful opportunity to show the children how Mandarin can enrich a show and make things more interesting. When Goldilocks first saw the bears she was freaking out and kept saying “x-x-x-x-xiong”. Papa Bear then clarified that they were “熊” (xióng – bears) not “凶” (xiōng – fierce). They played on this pun a few times so that the kids could catch it – “熊爸爸” (bear papa) and not “凶爸爸” (fierce papa). It was also funny when Mama Bear wanted to calm Goldilocks down and told Papa Bear, “把小熊给她!” He then tried to pick up Baby Bear to give to Goldilocks! She actually meant the teddy bear, which can also be called 小熊! I pointed out to the boys that these jokes would not have been possible in English. Teddy Bear and Baby Bear wouldn’t have been interchangeable, neither would there have been a fierce daddy/bear daddy pun. They were quite tickled by this and went to ask Jon if he was a 凶 or 熊 daddy at night.

Goldilocks

Goldilocks (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

There was very good chemistry among the actors, and they really brought the show together. The best part was the entire segment where the bears suspected someone had intruded into their house and found Goldilocks asleep. It was hilarious, not just because of the puns, but because Mama and Papa bear looked so terribly annoyed. You feel like they are convinced that the intruder, by eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs, and lying in the beds, has committed an absolutely unforgivable act and must be severely punished!

Discovering Goldilocks asleep in Baby Bear's bed! (Photo taken from SRT's Facebook page)

Discovering Goldilocks asleep in Baby Bear’s bed! (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

The only bit that didn’t quite work with the audience was when Goldilocks was singing about girls being capable and independent. I remember this didn’t quite work in the English version either. It’s a good message but I think the language is a bit too sophisticated for many of the young kids attending the show. That was just a very small part of the show though. Overall, it’s a very good production.

Asher, who was at first a bit reluctant to watch a show in Mandarin, declared afterwards that he really liked the show! I think that’s good endorsement :)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mandarin) runs until 29 Mar 2015 at the DBS Arts Centre. You can get your tickets from the SISTIC website or call the ticketing hotline (63485555).

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We received complementary tickets for this show. All opinions are my own.

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Carnivore

What is scarier, more fearsome, more ferocious than the giant T-Rex?

An Alyssa!!!

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She goes, “Rarr!” Then eats him.

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We went to catch Aesop’s Fables by iTheatre with Ellery and Alyssa. I’m so glad we did because it was a thoroughly enjoyable show!

There are 8 stories and it was a good selection of familiar and less familiar tales, all with good morals that children should learn about. It led to some meaningful discussions on why “a bird is more than it’s feathers (in the Jay and the Peacock) and what it means, and why you shouldn’t give up your friends for your enemies (The Sheep and the Wolf).

I thought it was a good idea to use the context of a travelling performance company as it gave scope for the actors to take on many different characters (as would need be the case since they are telling many fables…). I also liked how the actors subtly brought home the message of using your imagination. In the show, the person in charge of the travelling company’s costumes misplaced them, and so for some characters the actors had to use everyday objects as props and costumes. The boys are familiar with this concept. Our dress up box filled with random things is one of the most popular ‘toys’ in the house. With my old white shirt they have become doctors, astronauts, dragons, kings, knights, Daddy, etc. But it’s always interesting to see new ways to create costumes – like with the sheep! It was so funny! Gloves and yarn on the head! :)

Docile sheep

Docile sheep

There was some audience interaction in the middle which Ellery loved. He wanted very much to go up on stage to be the Wind in the story of The North Wind and the Sun but wasn’t chosen. At the end of the show he asked to try being the Wind and the actors were so kind to oblige :) He was soo happy he declared The North Wing and the Sun his favourite story from the show and was blowing and blowing on the ride home.

So happy to be able to press the horn and be the Wind. Unfortunately covering his face here!

So happy to be able to press the horn and be the Wind. Unfortunately the horn is blocking his face here!

The actors put up good performances, transforming themselves into each new character with ease. I was keen to watch Darren Guo’s performance because I thought he did well in Hop & Honk and was interested to see how he’d do this time. His acting did not disappoint, and he continues to be a versatile actor capable of playing with his voice and manner. Actually, I thought all of them (Darren, Alecia Kim Chua, Elizabeth Loh, Erwin Shah Ismail and Ghazali Musakir ) did well individually and together.

The songs are great (till now I still have the Aesop’s Fable song stuck in my head) and I thought the choreography was good too (gotta love those Sheep!).

Donkey has had enough!

Donkey has had enough!

Androcles and the Lion

Androcles and the Lion

I left the theatre thinking, “iTheatre is getting better”. The last couple of performances have been really good, and Aesop’s Fables, with its timeless stories and lovely songs, is a great show to catch with the children.

Aesop’s Fables run until 21 Mar 2015. Grab your tickets and go support local theatre!

Aesops’ Fables is show at the Jubilee Hall at Raffles Hotel. Ticket are available via SISTIC.

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I received three complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

 

 

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