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Archive for the ‘military’ Category

As the boys are still into military things I signed them up for the Children’s Season activity at the Army Museum – Cadets, Fall In!

Overall, it was quiet a let down. Even though the organisers included all the activities that were mentioned in the advertisement, they did the bare minimum.

BMT Training – check. The children were guided through 2 of many obstacles (more on this later).

Simulated live firing – check. Each kid was given one chance to fire the guns at the simulated firing range.

Grenande throwing – check. Each kid was given one throw of the grenade. This is apparently true in the army as well.  Each person only gets one throw, so ok.

Experience “hair-cutting” like a recruit – ok this is debatable. They would say, “check”. I would say, “meh”. They basically left a photo cut-out board showing the bald head of a recruit. Children were invited to have their pictures taken with it. Alright…

Botak (bald) Ellery

Botak (bald) Ellery

Botak Asher

Botak (bald) Asher

While the kids enjoyed each individual activity, all the in between bits were not that engaging. For starters, the whole session began with a powerpoint presentation! Each activity was also preceeded by a briefing where the kids had to listen to instructions on how the activity was supposed to be run. It’s good and well to follow instructions, but in a big group like this? Surely there can be a more interesting way. Plus, it’s a little bit anti-climatic because for each activity, only a limited number of children can do it at a time (sometimes one at a time), so the activity becomes less exciting than expected because of all the waiting around (for their turn, then for the others to finish).

Briefing on how to fire the gun

Briefing on how to fire the gun

Briefing on how to throw a grenade

Briefing on how to throw a grenade

Briefing on how to go over the wall (??!?)

Briefing on how to go over the wall (??!?)

At the obstacle course area, although the organiser wanted to keep the kids only at the two (least interesting) of obstacles, the kids (being kids) just ran all around. And most of the parents, happy to see their kids enjoying themselves freely, didn’t bother keeping them in line. In fact most of us were more than happy to help our kids do the rest of the obstacles. I think the organisers were definitely too conservative on this one.

The passing out parade – check. But kids were broken into 2 groups with one group getting to wear the uniform, and another only getting the hats. So one side looked more ready for the parade than the other, and none were fully dressed up in the uniform.

I think it could have been better done by making the activities more engaging. At least, keep in mind that you are dealing with children when planning the activities.  I thought last year’s activities, which were more free-for-all in nature, were more enjoyable. Perhaps having the activities in the form of station games, rather than having the whole group walk around together, would be a better option.

After the session was officially concluded, we brought the boys back out to the obstacle course area to have a good run around, and to go take a look at the military vehicles on display. That, they really enjoyed :)

Jon helping Ellery with the gun

Jon helping Ellery with the gun

Ducking after throwing the grenande (this was Ellery's favourite activity)

Ducking after throwing the grenande (this was Ellery’s favourite activity)

In the 'hat' group

In the ‘hat’ group

ORD liao!

ORD liao!

Happy to climb on the vehicles on display outside

Happy to climb on the vehicles on display outside

Sweaty but happy

Sweaty but happy

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We wanna go on holiday but Alyssa doesn’t have a passport yet.  So we’ll make the best of it and holiday on Sentosa :)

Since the boys keep playing ‘war’, we thought we’d go check out Fort Siloso on Sentosa.  The last time I went there was when I was in secondary school, and I remember being a bit freaked out by the wax sculptures because prior to going for that excursion I had watched the horror flick Wax Museum with my family. Not a good idea. I was so sure some of the figures could move. Very creepy.

Anyway, the information was all a bit too much for the kids and went over their head, but we adults had a good time reading about the interesting exhibits.  It would have been nicer if there were more interactive elements rather than just information boards, but I guess this place is geared to adults. That said, I do think the whole Fort Siloso could do with some sprucing up and revamping. It’s also a pity that one of the tunnels has been converted to a lazer tag place because the only way to explore it is to go play lazer tag.

Oh the irony...

Oh the irony…

In the tunnel

In the tunnel

Despite being a little bored by the exhibits, the boys liked seeing the big canons on Fort Siloso.  That was what they remembered most about the trip.

Funnily enough, when I got home and looked at the pictures I had taken, I noticed that this picture of Ellery and Asher on the blue canon looked a little bit like an illusion.  It looks a little like Ellery is enormous and Asher is tiny.  Had I realised when I took the picture, I would have aligned their feet to make it look more convincing.  I was wondering how that happened, then I realised the barrel of the canon actually widens as it reaches the body of the canon, but from where I stood it looked the same width.  Funny!

Giant Ellery, Tiny Asher

Giant Ellery, Tiny Asher

The barrel is not the same width throughout!

The barrel is not the same width throughout!

Thank goodness for my new baby carrier.  It made it so easy to move around with Alyssa and the boys.  More on that next time!

Our first family of 5 photo!

Our first family of 5 photo!

On the bus leaving the Fort

On the bus leaving the Fort

More about our holidaying on Sentosa in the next post!

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Upon hearing there were limited tickets for the 2014 Singapore Airshow, I hurried to get some tickets so we could bring the boys for it.  They always like this kind of thing, and I wanted very much to see the aerial displays.

We had a grand plan of reaching the Expo at 730am to catch the early bus, but add in some dilly and dally, and we only got there around 9am.  The first aerial display was to take place at 1030am, so we were still on target, though I worried a little about how long the wait would be to get to the airshow venue from Expo. When Asher and I went for the Navy Open House last year we had to wait an eternity!

In the end, the whole process was very smooth.  They even had a lane set aside for people who are pregnant or disabled so that we don’t have to stand and wait for so long.  I could bring one kid with me to the priority lane so I brought Ellery since he was getting antsy, but Jon had to bring Asher the regular route.  Even then, the crowd wasn’t that bad, and they were through to the front in no time.  I think it really helps that this was a ticketed event, so the crowd was much less than for the free open houses.

We got to the venue by 950, which is really good considering the walk to the Expo Hall, the wait, the security checks, and the bus ride.  We even managed to snag a spot on the stands for the first aerial display.

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

Snacking while waiting for the first aerial display

First up was Singapore’s Black Knights.  We ooo-ed and ahh-ed when they entered different formations.  They did disappear from sight completely quite often when they were changing formations though, and there was no commentary so we didn’t know when to expect them back, nor did we always know what they were doing.  There was someone who seemed quite informed behind us giving a running commentary to his son, so we had a little bit of info.  Still, as it was our first aerial show ever, we were duly impressed.

Enraptured

Enraptured

Black Knights

Black Knights

Drawing a heart in the sky

Drawing a heart in the sky

Whoosh!

Whoosh!

Then came the MV-22 Osprey!  I was so excited!  The boys and I have always been fascinated by this aircraft and it was great to be able to see it in real life, and see it in action.  It was interesting to us that when in plane-mode it made the hum of a plane, and when in helicopter mode it made the chopping sound of helicopters.  We were amazed at how it could hover in a stationary position, and could even move backwards!  Ellery was especially taken by the Osprey and kept asking to go see it after the show.

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

MV-22 Osprey in helicopter mode

The plane that Jon and I were most impressed and fascinated with was the F-18 Hornet though.  It was our first time seeing one and we found the movements it made very very unusual.  It almost seemed as if it was drifting in the sky, like how rally cars drift around corners.  When making overhead curves it also seemed to pull back a bit at the apex before heading downwards.  I think it would be quite an unpredictable and tricky opponent in a dog fight.

F-18 Hornet

F-18 Hornet

Another F-16 flew out and did an individual display to round up the morning aerial session.  When it was over we straightaway hurried to the Osprey so that we could go on it.  I was so happy to see that the queue was short, so we quite quickly had our chance to board the plane.  Ellery was super excited!  He even walked up to one of the pilots and said he wanted to be an Osprey pilot when he grew up.

The Osprey up close

The Osprey up close

Ellery with his Osprey

Ellery with his Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Waiting to board the Osprey

Our turn!

Our turn!

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

Checking if the Osprey seats are comfortable

The boys very much wanted to board the F-15s too but the queues were ridiculously long with waits of up to 2 hours.  In the midday heat we decided to head indoors to the exhibition area instead to cool off and have a bite.  The booths displaying aircraft models and showing videos of how their new weaponry worked in the field entertained the boys while we rested.  

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17.  I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

Such a hot day that people took shelter in the shade of the wings of the C-17. I was amused at how the crowd conformed exactly to the shadow of the wing :)

We were really looking forward to the next aerial display with the famed South Korean Black Eagles.  And they certainly did not disappoint!  We were impressed with our Singapore team, and though I love my country very much, I have to say we really got up-staged by the South Koreans!  They were incredible!  Where the Singapore team needed to disappear into some far away space to reorganise themselves into a new formation, the South Koreans could change formation in a short distance, mid-flight in front of the audience!  Sometimes they even changed into two different formations while on the same loop!  It was jaw-droppingly good.  There was also the visual appeal of the coloured red and blue contrails.  I was wondering whether each plane had two colours or only one.  If it was the latter, they must have really planned their formations well to ensure that the planes with the right colour smoke were in the right place to create the alternating stripes.  

Black Eagles arriving in style

Black Eagles arriving in style

They really qie-ed us (showed how much better they were) in every respect.  Besides the speed of their formation changes, there were other things.  We did a heart shape, they did a heart with an arrow.  We burst into a fan formation, did the shell and double helix, they did it with colours!  They even drew the Taeguk, a yin-yang pattern found in the middle of the South Korean flag.  The sky was also never empty when they were doing their display.  If the broke into two teams to do different formations, the second team would take over the instant the first was done.  To top it all off, they performed to a riveting soundtrack, there was commentary, and at times you could even hear the team leader over the sound system cuing the rest to change formation “NOW!” Wow wow wow.

Heart with arrow

Heart with arrow

Yin-yang

Taeguk – the yin-yang shape found on the South Korean flag

Tango

Tango

Diamond

Diamond

Another nice formation but I don't know the name

Another nice formation but I don’t know the name

The individual display for the USA F-16 just before the Black Eagles was also very awesome.  The pilot manoeuvred the plane to do some fantastic stunts like shooting straight up into the sky at an almost vertical incline.  He did a 9G turn that the boys still talk about until today.  There were spins, turns, fast fly-bys, slow passes with quick acceleration.  Very impressive.

I’m so glad we got a chance to catch the aerial displays.  They were really a highlight of the show for us.

After the second display we hurried to the F-15s for a chance to board the plane.  By then Ellery had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion so I brought only Asher while Jon waited in the cool airconditioned area with Ellery.  The queue was miles shorter.  We only had to wait 30 minutes for our turn to board the F-15.  Asher was thrilled to get a chance to push the various buttons and press the button that would have fired off missiles at the enemy.  We then went to check out the Superpuma and the Chinook.

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

My skinny boy entertaining himself by crawling in and out of the gaps in the barrier

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Preggers me attempting to do the same

Completely absorbed by the experience

Completely absorbed by the experience

Shooting on the Superpuma

Shooting on the Superpuma

When Ellery woke he too wanted to get on the F-15.  By then the exhibition was ending already and many queues were closed.  Thankfully there were some nice pilots that let him sit in the plane for a short while – and he was all smiles :)

Super happy!

Super happy!

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Testing out the Mistral surface-to-air missile

Ellery's turn

Ellery’s turn

The cherry on our cake was seeing the protoype F-35 Lightning.  My dad had shown us a video of this plane in testing before, and it was exciting to see it, even if it was just a model.

Model of the F-35 Lightening

Model of the F-35 Lightning

Cool jagged edge like the F-22

Cool jagged edges like the F-22

What an incredibly fun day!

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