Archive for the 'Singapore' Category

Job Tips from Captain Dazzle

I’m going back to work tomorrow (in an office! /gasp/) and I hope I’ll be as amazing at my job as Edmund Khong aka Captain Dazzle who patiently created balloon sculptures for the kids at Fidgets indoor playground this afternoon. Stephen thought Captain Dazzle was “super awesome.”

Captain Dazzle Captain Dazzle with his Elmo balloon creation

Here’s what I learned from Captain Dazzle about doing a good job:

  1. Captain Dazzle knows how to prioritize. He knew exactly who was next even though the kids were often clustered around him out of line and cutting in front of each other.
  2. Captain Dazzle is creative. The balloon sculptures he made were amazing including one called the “twister” that consisted of a long clear balloon twisted around another colored balloon. Inside the clear balloon was a small balloon ball that rolls from top to bottom when you invert the twister. Genius.
  3. Captain Dazzle keeps the kids’ needs in mind. Even though the kids were plenty entertained watching him make the balloon sculptures, he also asked the next kid in line what sculpture s/he wanted and what color. Then he would ask the kid to hold the uninflated balloons to get ready for being next. Anticipation!
  4. Captain Dazzle has a great sense of humor and never stopped smiling.
  5. Captain Dazzle is not afraid to be himself. Just check out those big red shoes!
  6. Captain Dazzle works hard. He stayed at least a half hour longer than he was supposed to and kept making balloons for the kids because they wouldn’t stop asking.

Thanks, Captain Dazzle! We were really lucky to have bumped into you.

FYI, Captain Dazzle is at Fidgets on Wednesdays starting at 3:30 pm.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf at the Singapore Repertory Theatre


Stephen and I took in our first play in Singapore this morning and it was a blast. We went to see The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a simple 50 minute play with only 3 cast members. The children were all excited to be there and joined in heartily with the singing and shouting.

The Big Bad Wolf is behind you!!

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf? Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, tra la la la la laaaa.

As you can see in the picture, Stephen was given a pair of sheep ears to wear. He cheerfully put them on but quickly took them off when the Big Bad Wolf started going on about how much he loved to eat sheep. Stephen also declined to wear the white jacket he brought with him to ward off the chill in the theater because the Big Bad Wolf might mistaken him for a sheep! Guess the Big Bad Wolf played his part convincingly. He certainly was my favorite character with his silly prancing around and funny antics.

5 stars and highly recommended!

The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Presented by SRT’s The Little Company
DBS Arts Centre – Home of SRT
30 Jul – 12 Sep 2009    
Recommended for 2 – 6 year-olds.

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Welcoming Change

We’re coming up on one year in Singapore. It’s been a great year with some big ups and big downs.

Before moving here, I had the idea that we’d feel restless and cooped up on this small island. But it hasn’t been that way at all.

Singapore is constantly changing. Not in the sense of everything becoming rundown, old, decrepit, or going stale. Rather, Singapore undergoes constant renewal.

Buildings no more than 30-40 years old get torn down and new, fancy, rainbow colored lighted megastructures with futuristic glass pods (like the new Ion Orchard shopping mall) are built up in a flash. So fast that we can’t even remember what was there last week let alone last year.

(For example, what was there in the basement of Terminal 3 at Changi Airport before Each A Cup took over? Bubble tea seems on the verge of making a comeback here.)

Our family is changing just as quickly as Singapore. Baby Megan is almost 13 months old. She stands, dances (in one spot), takes a few steps, cries with fury when scorned, and joins in all the fun. Stephen is alm041ost seven-years-old and growing more sensible by the day. He swims like a dolphin, calculates his finances like any miser, reads Captain Underpants with sly delight, and lives to have fun. Even though I thought I’d never forget how the kids were and how it felt to be with them at that moment, in that moment, we can barely remember what either of them were like a year ago. Pictures and videos are very precious indeed.

And as life continues to change, we quickly take the new and improved for granted. Instead of remembering when it was so hard to find what we wanted, whether it be favorite foods, magazines, or books, I sigh when there’s no ricotta cheese at NTUC Fairprice. Instead of marveling at how much less frustrated I am as a parent, I sigh over the stomp of a foot or a single whine.

I’ve finally learned that it’s all small stuff. No big deal.

In the past 12 months, change has brought improvement. Even the worst experiences have turned out to be for the better. I am grateful that change brought us to Singapore and that Singapore is undergoing change. We appreciate and enjoy being here every single day.


Chinese New Year Plants in Singapore

In search of an aloe vera plant and Chinese New Year plants, I trooped down to the plant nurseries on Thomson Road today. These two pictures were taken at Far East Flora.


Pitcher plants are considered good luck during Chinese New Year. The sign said in Chinese “dai dai ping an” (sacks of peace). Also, pitcher plants in Cantonese is “water pouring into a pig’s cage.” From The Star (Malaysia):

Water is symbolic of wealth to the Chinese, and traditionally, a pig’s cage has a big opening which welcomes the wealth. In short, the plant symbolises abundance of wealth for years to come.



Many of the plants at the nursery had red, fluffy pipe cleaners with bumps twisted onto them. I thought the plants were flowering until I got a closer look! Clever, and somewhat disturbing use of pipe cleaners.


Multi-Tasking At McDonald’s


I “caught” these teenagers outside my neighborhood McDonald’s this morning and was amazed at their ability to multi-task: laptops, MP3 players, phones, handheld video game consoles, comic books, and maybe a little homework?! BTW, check out the electrical outlet next to them all plugged up.

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Singapore in the UK

I just called the U.S. to change the address of one of our magazine subscriptions.

Me: ## Street Name, SINGAPORE #######

Customer Service: And is that still in the United Kingdom?

Me: @#! No, that’s in Singapore. Republic of Singapore.


Mind My Personal Space

Singapore isn’t as crowded as some other places in Asia, like Hong Kong, but its population density at 16,392 persons per sq. mi. is definitely higher than the U.S. at 31 persons per sq. mi*. So you’d think that people here would be more mindful of personal space and try not to take up more than their share and not to invade others’. Not so.

Example #1

We were at IKEA last weekend and the place was absolutely heaving. It was even more crowded than usual because renovations are in progress. As we tried to make our way through the corridor that led from the entrance to the first display area, a fat-a** woman and her friends blocked the way with their cart while they stood chatting. There was only enough room for one person at a time to squeeze past them. Not being in the best of moods, when I got to them, I pushed their cart aside and said clearly and loudly, “EXCUSE ME!” Fat A**’s response?


Thank you. That’s the way I like it.

Example #2

Stephen, my mother-in-law, and I were hanging out at Singapore Changi Airport’s new Terminal 3 (which is gorgeous by the way). We were wandering around when I called out to Stephen to come over and check out the soft serve ice cream at one of the shops. As Stephen turned to look, a boy about 10 years old pushing an overloaded luggage trolley came along. As I was shouting “STOP! STOP!” and trying to pull Stephen out of the way, the dimwit kid ran into Stephen!

Instead of apologizing to us, his mother tried to blame us for not getting out of the way. HELLO!??!! We’re the victims and you’re blaming US?!

Who lets a 10-year-old push a trolley piled so high that he can’t see where he’s going? And what kind of moron kid can’t understand someone shouting “STOP!!”???

We were standing at the front of the shop and not in the middle of an open area blocking people. And it wasn’t as if Stephen was running around getting in people’s way as he is sometimes apt to do.

Fortunately, Stephen wasn’t hurt badly although he limped along for a little while. He was more scared than anything else.

And to think I’m driving in Singapore now. Somehow I suspect the drivers won’t be much better. Stay tuned for upcoming incidents of road rage.

*Actually, according to Wikipedia, Hong Kong has a population density of 16,470 persons per sq. mi which isn’t much higher than Singapore’s. And this list of countries by population density has Singapore higher than Hong Kong!


My Home Office in Singapore

IMG 8543

My new corner office in Singapore on our enclosed balcony. It even comes with a sleeping baby and peeping tom (in the window behind my chair that looks on to the living room).


What the @#! in Singapore #195

#195 Unwanted touching and comments

a) Random woman pats my 6-week-old baby’s head while she’s sleeping on me in the sling.

b) Random man-woman (can’t tell which) walks by and pats my 5-year-old’s head while he’s having a major tantrum in the shopping mall.

c) Old-lady saleswoman asks if the sling is wrapped around my baby too tight.

“She’s fine,” I reply through gritted teeth with my heaviest American accent.

d) Saleswoman who’s obviously younger than me and probably has no kids comments on my baby’s thin hair (?!).

“She’s only 6 weeks old,” I reply.

“Oh. You didn’t shave her head at one month?*” she asks.


End. Of. Story.

*Chinese custom.


Lovely London Weather

I’ll miss the weather in London. Seriously.