Wednesday, October 19, 2016

pop up pics

The only photos I appear in these days are those taken in pop-up photo booths, the sort which are set up at weddings and events with a backdrop and a table-full of props (wigs and sunglasses and weapons and such) for people to ham it up with.

When I started this blog I don’t think these photo booths existed. Now they’re everywhere. But I suppose it’s good for people like me, the people in the families taking all the photos who are nearly invisible when they’re dead.

A series from a recent dinner. It was fun.




Monday, October 17, 2016

floppy ice-cream

The kids are in love with an ice-cream which makes me giggle.


I wouldn’t put it in my mouth. The lime-y concoction with what I think is a jelly sheath looks horrendous to taste. But the sheath makes it flop and that makes me laugh. Anyway, they fight to have a bite. It costs a dollar from the mama shop.

* Day savouring every bit of it


Saturday, October 15, 2016

best teacher

Now, I tell Day, is the time to thank all the teachers who have helped him. He didn’t prepare anything during Teacher’s Day, as he was in the thick of exam prep, but now he has lots of time and it will probably be nicer for the teachers to get something nice during the off-season.

I ask him: Who do you think is the best teacher you ever had in your six years in school?

Day: Mr XX.


He taught us PE and Maths, and he really knew what he was doing. He got me to understand the Maths questions that were given to me, and gave me a lot of homework which helped me. He also promised us that we could have PE every day after our second semester exams, which we did.

(Seems that what Day treasures most is not the nicey-nicey teachers, but a teacher who keeps his promises, is firm, and a slave-driver. Who drives him with a clear goal in mind, of course.)

I say to Jo, well then I hope you get Mr XX too.

Jo snaps straightaway: So you want me to have so much Maths homework I’ll sleep late every night then I’ll get cancer from stress and die is it? Is that what you want?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

rise and rise of trampolines

Was it only three years ago that the kids could jump at the sole trampoline park in Singapore for $9 an hour (plus free bottle of water) on weekdays?

I just brought Day and his friends to what is purportedly the latest coolest trampoline park in town, Bounce. He went on a weekend so it was $24 per hour. No water. On a weekday, it would have cost $19 if he showed his student pass.


Its massive inflation.

What’s happened in just three short years is that one trampoline park has ballooned to at least six. People here absolutely love jumping.

Prices have gone up across the board, probably due to demand. There is no way anyone can jump for less than $10 now. I think the cheapest are Amped and Sky High where you can still do $12 an hour, on weekdays.

Features are all souped up. It’s no longer just plain trampoline jumping - which I enjoyed plenty – but there are obstacles so kids can parkour their way around, American Ninja-like obstacle courses, trampoline basketball, trampoline dodgeball.


And it seems highly competitive. We brought our black Amped grip socks (they have small rubber polka dots on the soles so you don’t slip on the trampolines) expecting to be able to use them at Bounce, but these weren’t allowed. We had to trade them in, and pay an extra dollar, for Bounce socks which look exactly the same except with different colours. So can I use Bounce socks at Amped?


Anyway the boys loved it. Of course.

* Junheng, Evan, Weiteng, Day, Saad, Russell, Ferhan, Xavier, Jordan

* Four lined up waiting for the five who are mired in a Clash Royale game

* The rather large eye of Day's best friend

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

an unexpected find

Most things I do is last-minute, and the staycation was also a last-minute decision.

But I didn’t want to stay in the same hotels we had stayed in, namely the Beaufort and the Rasa Sentosa, as both were pricey.

I googled something or other – hotels in Sentosa? - and randomly decided to go with one of them. It looked like the Lost World, lost in the jungle, and appeared terribly exotic.

I called up to book on a Thursday night, the day before our supposed staycation, and the receptionist on the other end told me – Ah, I think you go online better. You go or expedia, got better deals there.

I asked, so you want me to book from there? He replied, ya ya.

The telephone manner did not inspire confidence but that has never stopped me. Neither has online reviews, most of which were scathing about room quality and dirtiness and bad breakfast buffets. I find that sometimes, when you look past what most people think, it pays off. But only on occasion.

I booked.

Upon arrival, I saw a tiny glass-walled reception hidden in a mass of creepers and whatnot. No carpets, just one lady who was brusque and efficient behind a table. When we entered our room, Jo complained incessantly. KK found a hair on the towel, the towels were threadbare, the room felt sandy, there were stains on the mirror and quilt, the shower looked like our home shower (ie mouldy), and the very slow Internet could only be accessed from two floors, out of eight. KK had to bring his laptop down to the first floor cafĂ© to clear his e-mails. “Why did you choose this hotel, Mama, why?” Jo wailed.

* Mirror

* Pool towels had lots of odd stains

* Room bath towel

* An aged room

But by the time we checked out, everyone changed their tune.

Different strokes for different folks, those who can’t abide sloppy housekeeping, blase customer service and average (some say bad) food will hate this one. I think Jo would still think twice.

The entire place - outside of the room - was just so naturally captivating. The hotel is amok with vines and creepers and plants which grow to incredible proportions, dripping with bright flowers growing in the wild, trees poking willy nilly out of the buildings and villas (because effort was made to build around the trees instead of razing them down).

* Nature's art. The colours! The climbing plants, or whatever they are, started out in those teeny little pots on the bottom left but have since grown way beyond those confines. Apparently all they need is a spraying once or twice a week.

* The buildings are mostly hidden by the foliage

* Hanging things





* A green dustbin

* Not your usual pretty pond with clear water and koi

* Loads of wild life, including this one, sun birds, monitor lizards

* A tree in the villa (we didnt' stay in it because it costs $1000 a night) in a glass case. The soil and leaves and creatures which drop in are left there. The guide says creatures like frogs and snails can usually climb their way out


* A tree poking out of the ground at the reception

It’s an eco-resort which was built as a paen to sustainable living but unlike high-end super-expensive resorts which PR the word “eco” and “sustainable” to death, this felt like the real thing. It’s a little bit unkempt and wild but so real, and they labour at it so quietly with little fanfare. Seven gardeners - four landscapers and three who specialise in growing things - keep the plants healthy and dream up new ways of how to recycle.

* A floating raft and pots made of recycled plastic bottles

It runs a wormery, where thousands of earthworms packed in trays (a few thousand PER tray, not in total) feed on shredded vegetable and fruit remains from the kitchen to excrete earthworm castings - which look like rich dark soil - which are then used for the hotel's vegetable and herb gardens.

* Trays of earthworms

* Things I learnt: earthworms have no teeth that's why the stuff has to be shredded, and they only feed on healthy stuff like veg and fruits. Certainly no oil. When the cardboard was lifted off, the earthworms squirmed wildly in dismay before burrowing down deep into the soil. They don't like light. But the guide fished them out with a pair of chopsticks.

* The earthworm shit goes to these vegetables, which supply 10 percent of the resort's needs

I was fascinated and went on a tour of the resort’s “green” aspects, guided by an American who was once a guest but is now an employee. KK and the kids weren’t interested, because they were more interested in going swimming.

Ah. This, then, is the crown jewel of the resort. That pool has to be the best pool we have ever swum in, anywhere.

* Trees all around

* By day

* By night, where it continues to attract swimmers. That's my shadow in the water.

Nearly 100m in length and built over an existing road which used to run into the jungle, the water is chlorine-free. The spring water is purified through a process of filtration and with ionized salt, which makes it a little salty. It isn’t very clear or blue, but slightly cloudy green. We all felt the difference, especially Lu and I. Our rashes did not prickle or itch. After swimming, no one felt dried out, the skin and hair did not have the “siap-siap” chlorine feeling. Jo noted, “the water feels so soft”. Everyone comfortably opened their eyes underwater.

Combine that with a therapeutic waterfall (for KK), a hot jacuzzi, loads of rubber tubes for floating “down the river” and two slidey slides of sufficient length to create a big splash, the kids couldn’t get enough of it.

* The jacuzzi, which is heated up using excess energy generated from chilling water for the air-conditioning system. It is really hot and so shiok

* The waterfall


* Dry steps and recliners right next to the water slides





Monday, October 10, 2016


The boy likes thrills.

To celebrate the end of his exam, I thought I’d let him try out the Flying Fox. Flying from height and zipping down, I remember it being a thrill when I did it and I thought he'd appreciate the danger, only it isn't really dangerous at all.


We went to the one on Sentosa. Its way over-priced ($45 a go, $15 for subsequent attempts) and I would not recommend it to anyone except tourists. Even Day thinks it should be half the price or less.

* Getting harnessed

But it was OK, he thought it was somewhat fun and not the least bit scary, not even when he had to dangle stationary on the line with his legs hanging high over the forest at the start.


(what he really wants is to skydive)

Jo saw Day do it, and decided she wanted to have a go too. Lu is still too scared.

* Overpaying, alongside the tourists

Again, I’m heartened that she is learning to let go. For a moment, as Lu and I waited and waited down below playing tic-tac-toe in the sand, I thought Jo was taking so long because she had chickened out.

But no. She simply had to be tied in with Day because she was too light and they came zipping down like two dumplings on a line.


She had a far greater smile on her face than he did and said, “Now I can say I’ve gone on a zip line!”



The reason why we went on this over-priced zip line is because we were staying on Sentosa, for another staycation. What can I say? I just really enjoy being away from the house and once again, when my phone battery died and there was no charger, I whooped. One simply cannot be responsible when one is away from home with no phone charger.

We had a great time. Pics will suffice.

* Lunch at Vivocity's Dancing Crab before checking in

* Lu's favourite fish and chips 

* Vivocity

* Jumping on rain-wettened "trampolines" at Vivocity

* Because it rained most of the day, the late afternoon was almost chilly. Nice.

* Ice-creams on the beach on a cold day, Day with brain freeze

* A lovely coconut ice-cream at the Siloso Point cable car station, a short walk from our hotel. They only accepted cash, KK and I happily scraped together all our coins for a third ice-cream after a double while the kids apologized profusely to the cashier for the lame payment.

* Bonding! Plenty of bonding over word games! (Day's phone batt died too)