Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

What he's up to?
He's crazy over his new squeaky toy
that stuck underneath the sofa not once but many times.
Doesn't it look like "magic carp"?
Oh, the Pokémon Go craze that got everyone playing!
So is this furry one!
And he totally goes bonkers!
Only in a different ball game.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

An unforgettable Langkawi and Penang trip (15 to 25 June 2016)

The weakened Malaysia Ringgit has led us to another vacation in Langkawi and Penang, during the school holiday in June 2016.   The other reason we were back was to offer prayers to our late Ah Ma whom passed away two years ago.  This trip was the longest we ever spent there over the Ramadan period (Muslim fasting month). 

This is not the regular chronological itinerary based post.  Rather, it focused on our experiences that I wish to pen down.

Maiden visit to Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi
We have heard about Langkawi for its beautiful beaches and wanted to go so badly. But not for Papa who had visited the island with his friend, Joseph, many years ago and thus, he was not keen. However, I suggested to include Langkawi in our itinerary considering the little one wanted to play sand and swim.  We stayed at Tanjong Rhu resort which lives up to its name for its private, peaceful and beautiful beach despite hotel room was dated and seawater was murky due to broken shells and debris afloat.  Low season and coupled with some hotel rooms under renovation somewhat contributed to the quietness and serene environment.  And the kids' club was closed too. We missed the sand bar whereby by on low tide, you could actually walk across to the other island.


Sightings and dining experience in Langkawi
With relatives staying Penang, we were usually chauffeured around or borrowed a car from them.   For the first time, we hired a car for food and sightseeing in Langkwai. Another reason was Tanjong Rhu was pretty far away from the town and major tourist spots.  With our own transport zipping around the island freely, there were plenty of things to do and see and here were the highlights.
  • The panorama view from the Machincang mountain which we took a cable car ride to its peak was magnificient.  It was a spoiler that the skybridge was closed early due to fasting month.
  • Langkawi is duty free shopping haven for its liquor, chocolates, cigarettes, cookware...etc  Kuah town has the most extensive selection and competitive prices. I was pleasantly surprised that a glass of fresh fruit juice was priced the same as a glass of alcohol drink in one of the restaurant.
  • Cable car ride to Mount Machincang
  • Having awarded the UNESCO Geo Park status in 2007, it was definitely a must visit to the Geo Park.  We booked Kilim Geo park Mangrove cruise with JungleWalla because of its close proximity to our hotel at Tanjong Rhu. However, our guide did not turn up at the hotel to pick up us due to some miscommunication.  Eventually, they honoured and came in the late morning.  Due to the last minute arrangement, we had the whole boat to ourselves and truly enjoyed the 4 hours boat ride. Sighted blue collar kingfisher, pitta snake, mudskippers, coloured mud crabs, brahminy kites, white bellied eagle and macaque monkeys.  It also included exploration of a bat cave, a stopover at a fish farm and lastly, ended a cruise in Andaman sea despite it began to rain. The tour was educational, informative and interesting.

  • We had a wonderful dinner at The Pia's The Padi, overlooking the lush green padi field with sunset at the background
Dinner at The Pia's The Padi
High Speed Ferry from Langkawi to Penang
We took a high speed ferry from Langkawi jetty terminal to Penang (no porter, we carried our luggages onto the ferry). I thought that I would get seasick or even worse, vomit in case of choppy ride because we read some reviews had warned that it felt like 'hell' and most uncomfortable during the 3 hours ride. The journey unexpectedly turned out to be a smooth ride, accompanied by movie 'Ant Man' being showed in a tiny TV as we were seated right in front of it.  The weather was kind to us and we arrived safely in Penang. 

2 star hotel in Georgetown Penang
We had never stayed in a hotel with rating lower than 4 stars in Malaysia.  This trip, however, we took the plunge in view of the excellent reviews of B Street Hotel located at the World Heritage Site, Georgetown.  A refurbished hotel from old shophouse along Beach Street or Lebuh Pantai.  It was clean, stylish and modern, exceeded our expectation. The room was really small in size which reminded me of the our hotel room in Shinjuku Tokyo.  But it did not matter because the Delux Quadruple  Room we booked has two queen size bed which was comfortable for a good night sleep.  The hotel also offered simple Mama style breakfast with store bought white bread, cereals, small cake roll, hardboiled eggs, banana, biscuits, coffee and tea would sure to fill your tummy if you were not too choosy. 

Clan Jetties (also known as Weld Quay Jetties)
The other reason we chose B Street hotel was because the clan jetties was just a stone away.  Each Jetty was named after a Chinese surnames likes Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee...etc.  Chew Clan is the largest and famous surname.  Houses were built on stilt.  A TVB Cantonese drama - OUTBOUND LOVE / 單戀雙城  was previously filmed there. The show somewhat left a deep impression that led us to explore Chew jetty and the rest.
Tummy trouble with street food
Penang was a foodie paradise. Papa missed the street food so much that we spent the next 5 days feasting with all kinds of it.  That was his plan for this trip. My son was enjoying eating too without much consideration of the hygiene.  Tummy trouble hit him on second day but bearable. On the third day, it got worse!  Severe stomach pain and diarrhea.  We were not prepared because he has never had any problem for all the Malaysia trips.  But it has proven too much for his guts.  What did he eat?  Ice popsicles, gelato, chendol, fried kway teow, fried lor bak, duck/pork innards kway chap, Gingko barley fuzhu dessert, all in one fine day! We took him to Singapore clinic and were prescribed with charcoal capsules and anti-spasm pills.  That started his nightmare.  He was unable to swallow the whole of charcoal capsules because he was not trained to do so as our doctors in Singapore gave liquid form medicine for children.  He teared and chewed it bitterly with a lots of cajoling from the nurses who brought him sweets and Holicks (malted milk beverage) for him.  Back in the hotel room, I also bought a loaf of white bread to go with his medicine.  Luckily, he recovered well.  As for Papa, a happy belly of course! 
Stomach ache and diarrhea

Home Sweet Home
10 days holiday in Malaysia from 15 to 25 June 2016 ended with a beautiful sunset from the airplane as we about to descend at Singapore Changi Airport. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pokemon - Pikachu

# 353

First, we have a pop up Pokémon café at Bugis Junction that created a bee line when it first opened.   People were in queue for hours just to have a meal in the café.  We went down but decided to give it a miss.  So much craze over the pop up café which would only be here in Singapore until the end of July.   Now, the 'Pokémon Go' augmented reality mobile game is taking the world by storm.  Although it has not been released to Asia yet, Papa has already introduced the new game to my boy.  Both were totally excited about it!

Therefore, I presented here a Pikachu bento which cut out from an egg sheet, imitated crab stick, cheese and seaweed.  The pokeball was flavoured with ketchup to create the red hue.  On the side, there were baked salmon fillet, stir fried dou miao (pea shoot), cheery tomatoes and Japanese cucumber.  I have forgotten to outline his lips and nose.  Hence, I touched up his face in my laptop :P  Yeah, it has been a long time I have not created a karaben and this Pikachu has taken up a fair amount of time. 

Before touch up

Whilst the boys are looking forward to play Pokémon Go, Papa has already started his PS4 game - 'Guns Up' that annoys me the most. He is so engrossed that he can play everyday clocking more than 8 hours/day.  My son, of course, cannot resist it but dare not ask to play.  He merely watches Papa playing game and talks about the strategies.  He has already complained that it is not fair that Papa can play everyday and he is only limited once a week.  I am not against it but one cannot be too obsessed over such games to the extent that weekends are burnt and no family outing.  It just happened last weekend; Saturday was game time for the whole of afternoon and Sunday, I dragged my son out of the house to the Science Festival at Vivocity to stop him from playing any more games and Papa did not join us.  He was glued to the TV!  Seeing his father playing games in the living room, he will ran back and forth to find out the outcome/stages of the game while doing his school homework/revision.  His mind is in the game!  For now, Papa insists and stubbornly declares that he will continue to play :(  I hope my boy knows how to control his temptation and stick to his normal routine instead of being slave to the games.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A surprise

 Just before the June holiday, my son wrote a piece of Chinese composition and mailed it to the Thumbs Up Junior 小拇指 magazine and the article was selected and published! 

My son came home exceptionally overjoyed that day.  He did not tell me straight away about the publication.  Instead, he asked me to close my eyes first and said that he had a surprise for me.  When I gently opened my eyes as instructed, he proudly showed me his composition, grinning ear to ear, and said "Mama, look! That's my composition!".  "Oh my god! Good job! That's very encouraging."  I praised my son.  I could not believe my eyes and kept repeatedly saying "Oh my god!"  Reason being, he was not fluent in Mandarin and writing a Chinese composition was a daunting task.  That particular day, he was in good mood.  So I suggested to write a Chinese composition and encouraged him to send to Thumbs Up Junior publication.  I also sat down with him and taught him how to write the mailing address.  And he did including posting the letter himself.  Little did I know that the editor would pick his composition to publish because his piece was really simple and pale in comparison with others.  I felt like a proud Mama and he was elated too!  Then he continued to narrate how his classmate, Rachel discovered his composition and later brought it up to the attention of his Chinese teacher, Lin Lao Shi. The latter then announced to all the students about my boy's composition being published.  One classmate came forward to congratulate and hug him with encouraging words 鼓励鼓励! Another criticised the tiger he drew was ugly.  Well, he was not affected by the unkind words.  He was over the moon! :D

I hope this feel good experience would boost his confidence in Chinese writing.  加油!


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Omurice, Diorama and Mother's day gift

Omurice, a western dish with a Japanese twist!  My son liked it so much despite the omelette looked a bit burnt.  I had tried many Japanese dishes but strangely, this have never been in my cooking list.  And yes, it was his first omurice cooked by his mom! 

A diorama depicts an underwater sea creatures as part of his English lesson. A craft work my boy insisted to do and I have never seen such enthusiasm in him. He gathered all the materials that he could find at home. And he was lucky enough that we had a cardboard box idling around before mommy recycled it.  He had a collection of seashells he picked up from our last trip to Pangkor Island which he used it as part of the sea floor. Pipe cleaner as the seagrass.  Golden sprinkles as sand.  Eventually, we saw it displayed in his classroom during our Parent Teaching Meeting Day.  Perhaps, that was the reason why he was so eager to do it himself.

Looking back at previous Mother's day celebration in kindergartens where the ideas came from teachers, this piece of drawing was drew by himself and entirely his own initiative and creativity.   And I love it ! Okay, I have to confess that I have been pestering him about Mother's day gift.  :P   

Wednesday, April 27, 2016



We are experiencing extremely warm and hot weather in Singapore this year.  The occasional thundery showers, however, brought much relief to our pleasure and yet with humidity intensified, it is really unbearable. And I have seen some trees flowering in my neighbourhood such as the golden shower, pink/white bougavillea, the flame of the forest. But not as much as we had seen two years ago (2014) where there was sudden bloom when the rain came after a long dry spell.  Hence, this flower bento.  In the box, there were :-
  • Green grapes
  • Boiled cauliflower
  • Boiled flower carrot
  • Yellow/Red cherry tomato
  • Japanese cucumber
  • Five spice meat ball

Primary two (P2) has been a breeze for my boy just like in his first year (P1).   April was also especially relax for the kids probably, because it was their birthday month. Since there was no streaming for P1 and P2, the school allocated student to their respective classes according to their birth month. And his class 2E has a mix of April and May babies. His form teacher was also busy giving out printed birthday cards and chocolate to the birthday kids. In addition, my boy came home with goodies bags every week and invitations to birthday parties too. 

In one of our everyday conversation during lunch time, he shared with me how he managed a naughty boy who has been (since P1) hitting kids at school.  (I had also enquired with his form teacher if there has been any bullying in class and the latter did not think so. Apparently, the naughty one went for counselling session and detention class but with little improvement.)  His eyes lightened up and was beaming with pride as he described the situation.  If the naughty one punched him, my boy responded with "Thank you for the massage!" instead of hitting back.  My son challenged this naughty one in arm wrestling and won.  Defeated and astounded, the naughty one exclaimed "You are like an incredible hulk!"  After that, this naughty one has been nice to my boy to the extent that my son said that "He has been kind to me."   But a leopard never changed its spot.  The kindness probably last for a week or so and the naughty one was back lashing out at the children again. 

My boy knew retaliating would not stop this naughty one from hitting him.  He knew his strength and capitalised on a game of arm wrestling that unexpectedly turned to his advantage.  Witty and unpretentious!  I was so proud of him.  Bearing in mind,  this is NOT a guidance of how to handle bully but just pure sharing of experiences. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

An 8-xciting birthday

A running/congestsed nose first for about two weeks and followed by a mild cough at night due to phlegm and irritated throat.  And it started right after the end of March that prolonged till close to his birthday.  No thanks, to cold drinks, ice cream and sweets that he had consumed during the one week March school break. 
I was pleasantly surprised that he had requested to invite his best friends from class 2E to celebrate his 8th birthday this year.  I obliged on the condition that his cough would not worsen.  Luckily, he was all well with occasional cough.  Hence, we carried on with our plan to have a mini celebration at home.  I did not prepare my much but he was delighted to have his friends over. A simple fair with a non-baked lemon cheesecake, some potato chips, pandan flavoured konnyaku with bites of canned peach, fresh strawberries and a tin of strawberry flavour wafer sticks contributed by Granny.  My lemon cheesecake tasted too creamy and not to their likings. I should have made an oreo cheesecake instead!   He did not want an elaborate cake this year.  Therefore, I made cake bunting topper with washi tape which I found an easy tutorial here. As for the goodie bag, I stuffed it with a few pencils, a coloured folder, oreo biscuits, M&M peanuts, sweets and a lollipop. My boy hand written each 'Thank you' card and pasted it on the brown paper bag which I transformed into a carrier.
The mini celebration went well.  The children were enjoying the ipad games as planned.  Then I noticed one boy, Emmanuel appeared grumpy and walked away from the group.  Being concerned, I asked him why he did not join them for the game.  And I was told that my son was not sharing the games with him and pushed him away when he asked for his turn to play.   That would be the last thing I wanted to hear from a child.  I assured him that I would reprimand my boy (which I did) and urged him to re-join the group.   Guilty as charged, my boy immediately shared his ipad.   Perhaps my selfish son had upset Emmanuel or may be, it was because Papa refused to login the wifi connection for Emmanuel to play online games, he casually mentioned it would be more fun if there were more children. I felt like a lousy host :(  Despite the short-lived unhappiness, the kids had fun together in the end.
Goodies bags

Cake bunting

This year was special.  It was his 8th birthday.  His birthday date was on the 8th day.  And he was born in the year of 2008!  I did not realise it until I was writing this post.   
Together with Papa, whose birthday was one day after my son, we went to Sentosa Adventure Cove over the weekend as their birthday treat. Our first visit to the waterpark.  Since my boy loves animals be it on land or in the sea, Papa booked the Dolphin Discovery programme at the Dolphin Island for an up close and personal interaction with a dolphin named Sheng Guo.  It was heart warming to learn that Sheng Guo is striving and have had many babies there.   The session was educational and interactive for the children and adults.  At the end of the session, I liked the fact that they conveyed a green message on how we could do our part in our daily lives to protect marine wildlife.  In particular, plastic waste, human produced, used and dumped into the sea, when reached the ocean marine animals would mistaken it as food which were harmful to them and/or entangled, possibly leading to death.  To reduce plastic waste pollution, we should bring our own bag and stop to use plastic bag when we shopped.  A valuable piece of advice and certainly, nothing beats a great outdoor lesson.
We spent our morning at Dolphin Island and lazy river where we went two rounds on the float because of the stingray viewing panel in the midst of it that my boy insisted to see again. 
A thunderstorm poured down suddenly around 1pm which the waterpark ceased all activities temporary.  Hence, we headed to the Bay restaurant for lunch and waited for the rain to stop.  And it did stop an hour later, we were relieved that we could continue to play.  We headed for Rainbow Reef where my boy's first snorkelling adventure was more of a tiring and irritating experience because water seeped into his mask and he was not able to keep his head below the water.  But the Riptide Rocket (a water roller coaster) compensated all.  Mummy chickened out and the two dare devils gave a thumbs up.  It was quite a small waterpark but the queue for the rides in the afternoon Saturday was 40 - 50 minutes. 
The two birthday boys had a whale of a time at Sentosa Adventure Cove!