Monday, September 25, 2017

Are commuters in Singapore really that terrible?

I recently read about the story of a frustrated Singaporean mom who had to commute daily in the MRT with her 10 month old baby. It was unfortunate that she encountered a nasty elderly passenger who lashed out at her for taking up space in the carriage with her pram and for “blocking” the way and it probably brought back memories of other unpleasant incidents that happened earlier when she was pregnant. While I have no doubt that these incidents are absolutely probable, but is the situation really this bleak in Singapore?

We do not always get a seat, but we are happy together!
As a father of 4 kiddos who doesn’t own a car and relies exclusively on public transport, we take the bus and MRT wherever we go, with only the occasional taxi when we are running late or are simply too tired. So I can safely say that I do have the experience of commuting with young children aged 2, 4, 6 and 8 either alone, or with my missus and so far it has always been a smooth ride (except when the MRT breaks down). In fact, I am often pleasantly surprised by the kind acts of fellow commuters at times, like my previous encounter with an auntie on board the bus which I blogged about years back.

But sometimes we do, and commuters will try to give up their seats so that the family can sit together. Maybe they paiseh also, but we are always thankful and the kiddos will always thank them! 
Even now when I get into the MRT carriages with the kiddos, I have had fellow commuters coming from afar to offer seats for the little ones. In fact, most of the times I am the one feeling bad especially when the kiddos decided to reject their offers because their idea of a fun ride involved doing some pole dancing. And when they do take up the kind offers, I always make sure that they appreciate and offer their thanks, sincerely! I will be lying if I said that seats are offered every time, but even when they are not, the kiddos also understand that they are able-bodied and it is definitely not their entitlement. I do remember that my wife was usually being offered seats too when she was pregnant back then.

Nevertheless I have to admit that getting around via MRT is a little trickier with a pram during peak hours, because for some weird reasons, MRT commuters fear moving in to the center of the train carriages. But as long as I verbalize to others on the need for me to move in with my pram, I usually have no further issues. Commuters are sometimes too engrossed with their handheld screens to notice and it sure doesn’t help for one to rely on telepathy for needs to be met. In any case, MRT doors closes fast these days, one really have to be alert when getting in or off the train.

I empathize with the mom on meeting the “crazy” lady whom I would almost be certain I would be giving a piece of my mind to if I were her. And I do recall that I did that once to an elderly lady who used vulgarities on me on the bus, but only to realize much later that she probably had some mental issues because she was doing the same thing to other passengers when I met her again a couple more times on different occasions. No point getting angry over this right?

If all else fail, maybe a trishaw for the family?
I am of the opinion that the ease of getting around Singapore with infants and young kids via public transport is still great. Unfortunate incidents do happen on and off, and everywhere as well, so I do hope the mom feels better now after writing down her thoughts. There are all sorts of people out there and while we cannot change how others behave, as parents we have the responsibility, and we definitely can help shape the way our future generations conduct themselves.

For me personally, I will ensure that my own kiddos are being schooled on the following –
  • Whenever things do not go their way, stop, take a step back and relax. It doesn’t always happen that way and there are surely more pleasant occasions!
  • No one can make you unhappy, except yourself.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for assistance if necessary, and always remember to offer theirs if the situation calls for it.
  • Do not be disappointed with rejections, you can never really know the reasons behind them. Besides, no one owes anyone a living, so be gracious. 
Hopefully with the above, my kiddos can be stronger, more self-reliant and empathetic and not grow up to be self-centered and self-entitled little monsters! 

Note: This blog post is in collaboration with Friso. Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. For more information on Friso, follow them on their Website, Facebook or Instagram.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mid-Autumn Fair @ Junction 8

What is Mid-Autumn Festiva without mooncakes? There are so many different types of mooncakes in every conceivable flavour and even designs these days, that it is difficult to make up my mind on what I want, let alone what to get for friends and family. But come 18 Sept - 03 Oct, Bishan Junction 8 will be holding its Mid-Autumn Fair where close to 50 different bakeries, hotels and restaurants will be showcasing the best of their mooncake creations!


You can be sure that all the famous brands will be present and you will be able to sample the mooncakes before making the purchase! Try not to do that before having your meals though, with that much variety available, you may be tempted to over-indulge with the sampling! Here are just some of the brands you will be able to find at the fair -


Goodwood Park Hotel


Prickly Pear with Bergamot Snowskin Mooncake 冰皮仙人掌果佛手柑 - A stunning new entry decked in a delightful hue of blush pink, this creation is made with the fruit of the cactus plant – also known as prickly pear. A fascinating ingredient that is purported to be very healthful, it lends a juicy texture and mellow sweetness to the confection. The use of bergamot yields a citrusy top note while diced pears add crunch to the filling mix.



Apple Cider Snowskin Mooncake 冰皮苹果酒 - A tribute to the fizzy favourite, this deep pink-coloured mooncake boasts a refreshing flavour that is a balance of sweet and tangy. Dotted with diced apples, this mildly-alcoholic creation is perfect to liven up the afternoon and best enjoyed with the same drink! Root Beer Snowskin Mooncake 冰皮根汁水. A taste of nostalgia for some, this crowd-pleaser of a beverage has now morphed into a cream-coloured mooncake. Using root beer as a base, this version is given an added boost of flavours with vanilla beans and a tinge of rum.


Mandarin Oriental


Singapore Pandan with dried cherries and pistachio mooncakes Inspired by Singapore’s national cake, Cherry Garden introduces the pandan with dried cherries and pistachio mooncakes, a perfect pairing of the aromatic pandanus palm and smooth lotus paste, studded with sweet dried cherries and crunchy pistachio bits for a luscious finish.


Long Jiang Chinos


Restaurant Long Jiang’s Signature Teochew ‘Orh-Nee’ Mooncakes Our trademark Teochew ‘Orh-Nee’ mooncake have come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1988. Savoured by the young and old alike, each bite is reminiscent of your childhood, with a lingering aftertaste that assures you’ll be asking for more.


Keeping to tradition, Long Jiang continues to be committed in delivering only the true Singaporean flavours without compromising on top-notch quality. Every ‘Orh-Nee’ mooncake is set to charm you with an exquisite sweetness that beguiles your palate. The unison of the dense sikly yam paste, and the flaky puff pastry is baked to a gorgeous creamy brown, makes each mooncake a pleasant trove of flavours.


Home’s Favourite 



Snow-skin Top Grade Black Gold Mao Shan Wang Durian Mooncake The push to continually create new tastes for our customers saw the launch of its 100% pure Durian Mooncake in 2002. It proved an instant hit and in 2007, they introduced the first ever Black Durian Mooncake. This scrumptious mooncake so lusciously good they even picked up a few awards overseas! Today, Home's Favourite is synonymous with top quality durian mooncakes and a delectable range of tarts, cookies, mooncakes and desserts. The mooncakes are going for 20% off from 18 - 20 Sept for the launch f the fair!




Here are some good reasons why you should be getting your mooncakes from Junction 8 -

CapitaStar and American Express® CapitaCard Members

Enjoy up to 25% off selected brands at the fair!

Personalized Gift Set 


Special price of $80 (U.P. $128) a special gift set consisting of 4 mooncakes, rose tea and tea cups. Mix and match selected flavours from any of 9 hotel brands: Carlton Hotel Singapore, Holiday Inn® Singapore Atrium, Intercontinental Singapore, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Marina Mandarin Singapore, Orchard Hotel Singapore, Regent Singapore, Sheraton Towers Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.


You can even opt not to take the rose tea or teacups and get it as a set of 5 or 6 mooncakes! If you buy two boxes of this special gift set, you can also purchase red wine at a special price.


Gift With Purchase

The Miffy promotion is still on-going and you are still in time to collect the beautiful Miffy tumblers! Get one free with every $180 purchase so check here for more information!




This blogpost is brought to you in collaboration with Junction 8!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mid-Autumn Go Where?

[Event Listings]

Mid-Autumn Festival is coming soon and there are so many activities lined up for the entire family, happening at different places. Check out some of these activities which were brought to our attention, many of which are free too!





GARDENS BY THE BAY 

This September, Gardens by the Bay celebrates the season of abundance with its annual “Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay” festival, and a new floral display in Flower Dome called “Autumn Harvest”.

The month also sees the launch of a new orchid display in Cloud Forest – the first in a series of biannual displays in the cool-moist conservatory to showcase the world’s most diverse botanical family.


"AUTUMN HARVEST” FLORAL DISPLAY (丰收之秋) 

A lavish flower field saturated in rich hues of orange, red, gold and green welcomes visitors this September, as autumn comes to Flower Dome in the “Autumn Harvest” floral display. Savour how the traditional season of crop gathering is interpreted in creative ways – a bounteous land is inhabited by a fruit and vegetable giant; a lush farm plot overflows with abundant produce and blooms like anemones, gaillardias, phloxes and chrysanthemums; and Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage sits pretty amidst pumpkin trees. Pumpkins take on yet another twist in the mini Halloween exhibit, where myriad carved and decorated versions celebrate the most anticipated festival of fall. There are more than 10 varieties of special pumpkins to see, such as the pristine white “Polar Bear”, the pretty striped “Pump-Ke-Mon” and the bizarre-looking “Red Warty Thing”. 

This year, the lanterns dotting the outdoor gardens as part of the annual Mid-Autumn Festival continue inside Flower Dome. Look out for a plethora of fruit and vegetable-shaped lanterns, and drop by the Mediterranean Garden for a photo opportunity with a giant pumpkin lantern. 

Date: Friday, 1 September – Sunday, 29 October 
Time: 9am – 9pm 
Location: Flower Dome 
Details: Admission charge to the conservatories applies. 

CURIOUS TO FIND OUT MORE? 

Pick up an Autumn Harvest Garden Trail for more interesting information or join us for daily “ASK Me!” tours by our friendly Display Interpreters as they share fascinating botanical facts and anecdotes about the floral display. 

Date: Friday, 1 September – Sunday, 29 October 
Time: Daily at 11am and 3pm (2pm – 5pm on 23 and 24 September, and 14 and 15 October) 
Details: 
  • Guided tours are free, but admission charge to the Flower Dome applies. 
  • Tours last approximately 15 minutes and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. 
  • To participate, gather at the “ASK Me!” poster near the Flower Field. Tour will begin when a group of five or more visitors is assembled. 
  • Tours will not be conducted on Flower Dome closure dates.



MID-AUTUMN @ GARDENS BY THE BAY 2017 (滨海花园庆中秋) 


A much-anticipated event in the Gardens' calendar, Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay draws visitors with its sprawling lantern displays and myriad festivities amidst a lush garden setting. This year, the Gardens celebrates autumn abundance with lantern sets symbolic of bountiful harvests and good fortune, nightly cultural performances, a food street featuring Asian delights, and craft booths offering activities like lantern decorating, umbrella painting and Chinese knotting. 

Visitors are encouraged to download the new “Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay” app from the App Store or Google Play, available from 4 September, before exploring the festival. Developed by students from Singapore University of Technology and Design, the app allows visitors to uncover fun facts and quiz themselves on the different lantern sets while strolling through the Gardens. 

Date: Friday, 22 September – Sunday, 8 October 
Time: 6pm – 11pm Location: Various locations (see details below) 
Details: For more information and updates, visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/midautumn


Lantern Displays 

Take a stroll through the outdoor gardens where sprawling lantern sets bring to life scenes of bountiful harvests and abundance. Don't miss “Waters of Prosperity”, the largest lantern display created by the Gardens to date. Spanning an area of 1,250 square metres over water, this lantern set portrays a fishing village teeming with 70 carp lanterns. Other highlights include “Grains of Gold”, a paddy field illuminated with 4,000 glowing rice stalks; “Splendour of Blooms” featuring some 250 waterlily lanterns floating on the lake; and “Flight of the Dragonflies” with more than 100 dragonfly lanterns adorning the Supertrees and Dragonfly Bridge. The lanterns dotting the outdoor gardens continue inside Flower Dome as part of the “Autumn Harvest” floral display; look out for a plethora of fruit and vegetable lanterns including a giant pumpkin one! Updated 22 August 2017 

Illuminations of Joy 

The Silver Garden comes aglow with some 1,000 light installations created by beneficiaries from 30 voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore. This community project is the brainchild of local eco designer Didier Ng and visual artist Vijaya Mohan, who holds a Guinness World Record for the largest Rangoli pattern (2003) and 14 Singapore Records. 

Blossoming Harvest – Traditional Arts Showcase 

Curated by co-organiser, the National Arts Council, the free nightly cultural programme will present opportunities for visitors to enjoy and be inspired by Singapore’s rich heritage. Appreciate vibrant and diverse traditional arts performances by home-grown arts groups of different genres, race and age, and bond over the creative interpretations of Blossoming Harvest. 

Lantern Riddles 

Traditionally written on lanterns hence the name, lantern riddles were often enjoyed during the MidAutumn Festival. Have a go and discover more about Chinese language and culture! 

Fun Zone 

Try your hand at arts and crafts like lantern decorating, umbrella painting and Chinese knotting at the interactive craft booths. Charges apply. 

Food Street 

Indulge in a spread of Asian delights at Colonnade at Supertree Grove! Charges apply. 



GARDEN RHAPSODY: TALES OF THE MOON 

This special Mid-Autumn edition of the popular nightly light and sound show Garden Rhapsody features a medley of popular tunes that revolve around the moon, such as the jazz favourite “Fly Me to the Moon” and the Chinese classic “The Moon Represents My Heart” (月亮代表我的心). 

Date: Friday, 22 September – Tuesday, 31 October 
Time: 7.45pm and 8.45pm 
Location: Supertree Grove



DINING CRÈME DE LA CRÈME 2017 MOONCAKE COLLECTIONS AT BAKERZIN 

This Mid-Autumn Festival, Bakerzin presents award-winning favourites from a total of eight collections! The new and limited Bold Collection features four new flavours – American Ginseng, Ginger, Sakura Ebi and Tom Yum. Durian lovers rejoice as the Majestic Collection of Durian Snow Skin Mooncakes makes its comeback. While the classic Signature and Premium Collections of pure Premium Egg Yolk Blend Mooncakes and Classic Melon Seed Mooncakes are perfect as gifts for business associates and families. For more information and early bird discounts, visit www.bakerzin.com. 

Date: Monday, 7 August 2017 – Wednesday, 4 October 2017 
Location: Bakerzin 
Details: 
  • Mooncake flavours are subject to availability while stocks last. 
  • Collection of mooncakes from 10 September 2017 onwards. 



MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL MOONCAKES AT MAJESTIC BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant ushers in Mid-Autumn Festival with its popular mooncakes. Besides signature favourites like Baked White Lotus Paste with Double Yolks (Low Sugar) and Mini Snow Skin King of Durian, there are also new snow skin mooncake flavours like Thai Tea, Raw Honey and Ginger, as well as Chocolate and Truffle. For more information and early bird discounts, contact Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant at 6604 6604. 

Date: Monday, 28 August 2017 – Wednesday, 4 October 2017 
Location: Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant 



AUTUMN GARDEN HIGH TEA FOR 2 AT INDOCHINE 

IndoChine at Gardens by the Bay presents an Autumn Garden High Tea for 2 at $48++ per set. Choose any two pots of specialty teas of your choice, such as the Orange Peel Chrysanthemum and Rock Sugar Lemongrass, as well as a sweet and savoury tapas from the tapas collection. The lineup of savoury tapas includes the Potato Beignet with Truffle Mayo, Norwegian Salmon with Herbs and Spices on Tart, and Signature Rice Paper Prawn Roll. As for sweet tapas, the choices include Apple Vanilla Les Tarte, Double Chocolate Chous Chous and more. 

Date: Friday, 1 September 2017 – Sunday, 29 October 2017 
Location: IndoChine 
Details: 
  • Subject to service charge and prevailing GST. 
  • For enquiries or reservations, please call 6694 8489 or email rsvp-supertree@indochinegroup.com.  



EXHIBITIONS CHANGING ORCHID DISPLAYS IN CLOUD FOREST 

If you love orchids, you will be in for a treat this September, as the first in a series of changing orchid displays in Cloud Forest will be launched. Orchids belong to the family Orchidaceae, which is one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world. The changing orchid displays in Cloud Forest aim to educate visitors on the various genera of orchids, and showcase their fascinatingly myriad forms and colours. 

The first display, which opens on 11 September, focuses on orchids from the genus Cattleya, and will showcase more than 400 of them in the rich colours of fall. Regarded as the “Queen of Orchids”, the Cattleya is also called “Corsage Orchid” due to the significant size of its blooms. With hybridisation widely practised, Cattleya flowers now come in a wide spectrum of colours. Visitors can look forward to seeing varieties such as Rhyncholaeliocattleya Duh’s Fantasy ‘Mellow’, an award-winning orchid with deep red blooms and a ruffled dark fuchsia lip marked with yellow grooves, and Cattleya intermedia¸ a pinkish-white orchid native to Brazil that is known for its sweet fragrance. 

Date: Monday, 11 September 2017 – Sunday, 10 December 2017 
Time: 9am – 9pm Location: Cloud Forest 
Details: Admission charge to the conservatories applies.



Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2017  
年牛车水中秋节庆祝活动 
(20 Sep – 19 Oct 2017) 


Walk down memory lane with your loved ones at Chinatown’s annual MidAutumn Festival Celebrations this September! Soak in the joyous atmosphere that will bring back nostalgic memories of your childhood, as the streets of the Chinatown precinct are illuminated by a plethora of dazzling and brightly-hued LED lantern displays, guaranteed to leave visitors in wide-eyed wonder. 

Other than the impressive lantern display that seeks to bring out one of the most well-known and beloved traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, visitors to Chinatown can look forward to various other festival activities organised by Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee (KA-KS CCC) from Wed, 20 Sep to Thu, 19 Oct 2017. 

Themed “Celebrations of our Traditions <<传统新意庆中秋, 同心共乐贺团 圆>>”, event highlights for the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 include: 

Lantern Painting Competition 灯笼彩绘比赛 
17 Sep 2017 (Sunday) 
9.00am – 12.00pm 
Chinatown Point


The annual Lantern Painting Competition will see up to 500 children and students 16 and below from all over the island compete as they put their artistic skills to the mettle to create beautifully-painted lanterns that will add to the festive decorations in Chinatown. The winning lanterns will be displayed along Pagoda Street until 19 October 2017. 

Festive Street Bazaar 中秋街头市集 
20 Sep – 4 Oct 2017 
10.30am – 10.30pm 
Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Sago Street, Smith Street, and open area in front of People’s Park Complex 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, the streets of Chinatown will be abuzz with stalls selling a wide array of festive items, including mooncakes, decorative ornaments, preserved fruits, potted plants, and everything you need to celebrate the festival! 

Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony 开幕典礼与亮灯仪式 
23 Sep 2017 (Saturday) 
7.00pm – 10.00pm 
New Bridge Road 

Officially kicking off the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations 2017 is the Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony, where the streets of Chinatown will come alive in a vibrant splash of colours forming this year’s lantern display. Take a blast to the past as this year’s performances showcase the traditions synonymous with the Festival and be awed by the spectacular lighting and visual effects at this year’s Opening Ceremony. There will also be jaw-dropping acrobatic acts and multicultural performances by the various racial and cultural communities in Chinatown. 

Nightly Stage Shows 综艺晚会 
23 Sep – 4 Oct 2017 
8.00pm – 10.30pm 
Kreta Ayer Square 

Visitors can look forward to two exciting weeks of traditional Chinese cultural performances, from festive songs to music and dance items by top-notch troupes and entertainers, that will lift the celebratory mood each night during the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations. 

Street Light-Up 牛车水庆中秋亮灯 
23 Sep – 19 Oct 2017 
7.00pm – 2.00am (Fri & Sat) 7.00pm – 12.00mn (Sun – Thu) 
Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road 

Following the Official Light-Up and Opening Ceremony, the Chinatown MidAutumn Festival Celebrations’ Street Light-Up will come alive each night for a month. One of the main highlights each year, the annual Street Light-Up draws local and overseas visitors, young and old, to Chinatown to view the mesmerising display of lanterns that bring out the festive mood like nowhere else in Singapore. This year, the splendid lantern display will depict one of the most well-known and beloved hallmarks of the Mid-Autumn Festival – the tradition of carrying lanterns. This year’s Street Light-Up is also designed in collaboration with the students of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). 

Mid-Autumn Family Fest @ Chinatown 中秋“家”节 @ 牛车水 
24 Sep 2017 (Sunday) 
9.30am – 12.30pm 
Kreta Ayer Community Club, Level 2 Multi-Purpose Hall 

A new highlight this year, the Mid-Autumn Family Fest @ Chinatown will be a melting pot of traditional festive activities such as mooncake-making, calligraphy writing, tea art appreciation, and lantern painting! It promises to be fun-filled day of bonding and discovery of the meaning and stories behind these traditional activities. Suitable for all ages, participants can look forward to getting hands-on as they try their hand at the fine art of calligraphy, learning how to savour different types of tea and even bring home luscious treats of their own creation at the snowskin mooncake-makingworkshops. 

For a participation fee of $5 per person, participants will be able to take part in the mooncake-making, calligraphy writing and lantern painting activities as well as receive a goodie bag containing a mooncake mould, ingredients for mooncake-making, and lucky draw coupon. Slots for the mooncake-making workshops are on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Mass Lantern Walk 中秋大型游灯会 
1 Oct 2017 (Sunday) 
7.00pm – 10.00pm 
Starting point – Kreta Ayer Square (Registration location) End point – Main stage at New Bridge Road 

Soak in the festive atmosphere and take part in the annual Mass Lantern Walk during which families, friends and the community will come together and take a leisurely walk through Chinatown while carrying lanterns of all shapes and sizes! Featuring performances by local clan associations, dragon dance troupes, overseas performing groups, as well as a special dragon dance performance by the troop from Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society (德教太和观龙 狮团), celebrations will mount to a high at the closing event of the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations 2017.



ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY 
Moonfest 艺满中秋 2017

From ONE to SIX: Highlights of Moonfest 2017 

1. The TOP Peking Opera artists and Chinese classical musicians meet at Moonfest

Dubbed the National Key Peking Opera Troupe by China’s Ministry of Culture, Hubei Provincial Peking Opera Theatre (China) brings to opera lovers in Singapore its signature Peking opera comedy Promotion of Judge Xu featuring two-time Plum Blossom award winner Zhu Shihui, as well as Peking Opera Classic Excerpts performed by Plum Blossom Award winners Pei Yongjie, Wang Xiaochan and Wan Xiaohui. A selection of principal and star players from the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra—Jiang Kemei (huqin), Zhang Gaoxiang (yangqin), Chen Yin (pipa), Ma Li (percussion), Cui Junmiao (liuqin), Hou Changqing (dizi) and Zhou Yixiang (suona)—will lead a 20-strong chamber orchestra to enthrall music lovers with Virtuosos & Classics – A Chamber Concert, featuring favourite classics such as A Moonlit Night on a Spring River, Hua Bang Zi, Sentiment of Qin Chuan, Mountain Dance, and more.

2. PAIR up and double down the fun in Parent-Child Workshops 

To encourage the younger generation to learn more about traditional Chinese arts in a fun way, parents can bring their little ones to participate in the Parent-Child: DIY Snowskin Mooncakes and DIY Dough Figurine Workshops. Or, get the children to make their own rocking rooster lanterns in the Lantern Making Workshop.

3. THIRD Festival Commission by Paper Monkey Theatre 

Another programme that young ones can look forward to during Moonfest is the new production by Paper Monkey Theatre, The Magic Paintbrush which is a puppetry adaptation of the classic Chinese folktale. This is the third puppetry production that Esplanade has commissioned Paper Monkey Theatre to produce for Moonfest, following Journey West: Web of Deceit in 2015 and The Magic Lantern in 2016.

4. FOUR ethnic minority folk dances by young, award-winning solo dancers 

Over the years, Esplanade has expanded the variety of traditional Chinese arts programmes presented at Moonfest. With Chinese opera and classical music presentations as the festival’s mainstay, Esplanade has specially commissioned a folk dance production for the first time in Moonfest! In Soulful Steps – An Ethnic Dance & Music Recital, discover the beauty of Dai, Kazakh, Mongol and Tibetan folk dances through modern interpretations by young, awardwinning dance graduates from Minzu University of China, one of the most prestigious universities in China that specialises in ethnic studies and the arts. The dancers will be paired with live music played on traditional instruments such as the dombra (long-necked lute) from Kazakh, morin khuur (horsehead fiddle) from Mongol and eagle-bone flute from Tibet.

5. FIVE new programmes to engage the youths in traditional Chinese arts 

Passing on traditions and engaging the youths in Chinese arts has always been a key focus of Moonfest. This year, the festival introduces a range of new programmes that features young artists doing their part in preserving various traditional Chinese arts. These include a fashion parade in Hanfu (traditional clothing of the Chinese Han culture); Chinese opera performances by youths; ‘grandfather’ storytelling (Chinese street storytelling) sessions, as well as hands on workshops on water calligraphy and Wing Chun martial arts.

6. SIX days of free programmes at SIX public spaces around Esplanade 

Not to be missed too are the free programmes that will take place at the Esplanade Concourse, Festival Corner, Forecourt Garden, Waterfront Canopy, Outdoor Theatre, and The Edge during the six-day festival. Walk down memory lane and celebrate the Mid-Autumn season through traditional Chinese arts performances and activities such as orchestral music, dance, crosstalk, lantern riddles, street opera performances at the outdoor Moonfest Chinese Opera Stage, and more. Pick up a free lantern sponsored by Gold Roast Instant Beverages and join in the fun at the festival’s popular Lantern Walkabout on 30 September 2017 too.

Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration 2017 is made possible with the generous support of Arts Partner – Gold Roast Instant Beverages.

Esplanade&Me Special Ticket Prices for Moonfest 2017 

Tickets for Moonfest 2017 are available from Esplanade’s website, and through SISTIC (Website, Hotline: +65 6348 5555 and all SISTIC outlets). Esplanade&Me cardholders will get to enjoy special ticket prices for various performances at Moonfest 2017. Launched on 1 July 2015, Esplanade&Me is a platform for Esplanade to build stronger community ties with its fans and supporters. Beyond the savings that cardholders can enjoy across Esplanade’s festivals and programmes all year round, Esplanade&Me is also an opportunity for arts lovers to get closer to the arts and be more involved through various behind-the-scenes activities. Sign up for Esplanade&Me now! For more information, please visit www.esplanade.com/e-and-me.

Check out the ticketed and free programme line-up on www.esplanade.com/moonfest!

Friday, September 15, 2017

West Side Story

[Media Invite]

Cannot help it but think of Jurong area in Singapore when I read the name of the show, but this is actually set in the upper west side of New York City. A tragic love story they say, and it was. Taking inspiration from Romeo and Juliet, this Broadway musical really does resemble the old classic. It revolves around 2 individuals, Tony, a former member of Jets (Whites) who tragically fell in love with Maria, sister of rival gang leader Bernardo from the Sharks (Puerto Ricans). I do not know how well the gang members fight, but they sure can dance!

 
 
 
Although it was my first time watching this play, the storyline was really rather predictable (as with most plays anyway). However I was in awe with the performers’ well-synchronized dance scenes, and their expressive acting, coupled with hilarious lines at certain parts was really entertaining! Although I personally found the first act slightly draggy but I still cannot reconcile how fast both Tony and Maria fell in love and how Maria could still get physical with Tony the night he found out Tony killed her brother. Maybe I am a little 0ld-fashioned!
 

Broadway classics are always a treat for Singaporeans when they played locally, so thank you BASE Entertainment for bringing this to our shores and for having us there at the gala opening!

Useful Information

Performance Times (now till 30 Sep 2017):
Tuesday - Friday 8.00pm
Saturday (16 Sep 17): 1:00pm and 6.00pm
Saturday (23 Sep 17): 2:00pm and 8.00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm and 6:00pm

Ticket Bookings:
Internet - www.MarinaBaySands.com/ticketing or www.sistic.com.sg
Phone - +65 6688 8826
In Person - Marina Bay Sands Box Offices (Museum, Theatres, SkyPark, Retail Mall and Hotel Tower 1 Lobby). For more information please log onto - www.MarinaBaySands.com/ticketing

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dyson Blows Well too!

I am sure everyone would have heard of Dyson, for it is famous for its bladeless fans as well as it's cordless vacuum cleaners. We hardly use any fan back home though as we rely so heavily on our air-conditioners. But we did found out that Dyson sucks when we reviewed their their vacuum cleaner and it was all great!


So I heard that they had recently incorporated some new technologies into their fans and now they have their most advanced purifiers, Dyson Pure Cool Link to combat any indoor air pollutions. Based on their specifications, here are the features -

Efficient filtration

Thanks to its improved filter, the Dyson Pure Cool Link™ purifier heater captures gases and 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns4.

Whole room air mixing

The new Dyson Pure Cool Link™ purifier heater uses Dyson patented Air Multiplier™ technology. Up to 33 litres of air per second being drawn in and amplified at least 6 times, projecting a 200-litre long-range stream of purified air is projected 9 metres across the room.

Paul Dawson, Dyson Global Category Director Environmental Control said: “Our starting point for purification has been real homes and real consumers. Modern houses are better sealed in terms of their construction – but it also limits air circulation around the home environment. We needed to rethink purification in response, so our machine simultaneously purifies the air and projects a powerful airflow for whole room purification.”

Intelligent sensing

This intelligent machine automatically detects airborne pollutants and purifies the air in the home, monitors and maintains the target temperature, and simultaneously reports live indoor and outdoor air quality to the Dyson Link app.

The new Dyson Pure Cool Link™ purifier fan

Dyson engineers have developed a new and improved compact filtration technology – the 360° Glass HEPA filter for particulate capture and an extra layer of activated carbon for improved gas capture. Each activated carbon granule inside this filter is coated with Tris, to increase the capture of formaldehyde.

The HEPA media is precisely pleated over 200 times to increase the surface area to 0.95 square metres, and it captures 99.95% of ultrafine particles, as small as PM0.1.

The filter in the new Dyson Pure Cool Link™ purifier fan is the result of 10 years’ worth of testing and is capable of trapping harmful gases that can be emitted inside our homes, including:

  • Formaldehyde: Can be expelled by building and insulating materials, pressed wood products, plywood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), paints, adhesive, varnishes, floor finishes, vehicle emissions and tobacco smoke.
  • Benzene: Indoor sources include paint, lacquers, petrol, glues, detergents, rubber, cleaning/degreasing formulations and tobacco smoke.
  • Toluene: Commonly added to petrol, and can enter the home via vehicle exhaust emissions or from vapours from stored fuel sources. Can also be used as a solvent released from paints, adhesives and some personal care products. It is also found in tobacco smoke.
  • Napthalene: Belongs to the PAH group. Napthalene usually occurs in solid form, but can also be released as a gas to indoor air.
Availability

The new Dyson Pure Cool Link™ range is now available at major departmental and electrical stores. The recommended retail price for the tower purifying fan is S$1,099 (Scandium/Nickel) and S$999 (White/Silver or Iron/Blue). The desktop purifying fan is available at the recommended retail price of S$699 (White/Silver or Iron/Blue).

Now you can even monitor the air quality of your home from anywhere through The Dyson Link app so that you can set the desired target for the air quality before it reaches poor levels! How convenient and apt, with Singapore trying to turn into a "SMART" nation. It sure helps that Dyson's £330m investment in The Technology Centre here in Singapore helps steer us towards that vision with its hardware and software expertise.

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Hmm... Maybe it is time for me to relook at our air-conditioning usage and turn to these fans for better air quality at home instead. I am pretty sure it will save me quite a fair bit in terms of utilities bills too! We shall be looking forward to more technological advances from you, Dyson Singapore!

Monday, September 11, 2017

POSB PAssion Run for Kids 2017

[Media Invite]

So the annual POSB PAssion Run for Kids took place yesterday morning. We were supposed to run as a family of six but the girls wasn't feeling too well and rested for the morning. Hence it turned into a boys only event for the 3 of us!


It was definitely a well-organized run and one of the best we had been to. We took part in the family walk, which was really a walk and not a run lah! Hence you can see lots of photograph taking and Pokemon Go playing too!



The run is of course not the interesting part, although there is this scanning of QR code game to get the walkers motivated and looking forward to the next pitstop. In any case, the real fun takes place after the run where there are lots of activities such as trampoline and bouncing slides for the little ones, as well as a host of other crafting activities. And of course there are games too in this carnival.











Thank you POSB for having us at the 9th installation of your successful POSB PAssion Run for Kids! We enjoyed the carnival and we hope to see you again next year! You are doing great, and continue doing good!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Sunday Family Fun!

There is simply no lack of places or activities for us parents to bring our children to in Singapore, the only problem would be finding the time, energy or motivation to bring the family out. Almost every town would have well-maintained public parks with exercise corners, outdoor playgrounds and maybe even wet play areas for families to spend a full day. While for those who prefers less sun, shopping malls these days go all the way out to please families with facilities such as indoor areas for the young ones and family rooms for the infants and toddlers. Some even have water playground on the rooftops! So now you no excuses for not bringing the kiddos out of the house for some gadgets-free family-bonding time correct?
 


Many organizations, both public and private recognize the importance of engaging the entire family and so not surprisingly, will plan marketing activities around them. Just last weekend, our family visited My Family Fiesta- Making Singapore a Great Place for Families at SAFRA Punggol, that was jointly-organized by HeyBaby SG and SAFRA Punggol. This was part of the My Family Weekend celebrations that took place over the long weekend. We made our way down to the fiesta from neighboring Ang Mo Kio town and met a couple of friends at who happened to be Punggolians too. I am pretty sure the many families present were from all over Singapore, with many of their babies vying for the top position in the SAFRA Punggol Diaper Dash 2017 as well.
 


 
 

The entire place had a carnival-like atmosphere, with stalls offering games, food and crafting scattered throughout the clubhouse. The kiddos especially loved the Nerf Gun booths where they could practice their shots without the look of death from yours truly when they play in our apartment and risk hitting decorations off the shelves, as well as the inflatable bouncing castle and slide. In fact, ALL the kids present were so overly enthusiastic with their jumping on the inflatable slide that their collective weight brought the slide down and caused it to be out of action for quite a while! Anyway some physical activity is surely good for the kiddos and you also get a free goodie bag if you complete 5 out of the 8 game stations indicated in the carnival passport!
 

We chanced upon the canvas painting sessions by Hwahwah by Artary, which I thought would be fun participating together with my kiddos, but the slots were fully signed up online prior to the event and we could only watch other parent-child pair painting their very own masterpieces. Sometimes, it really pays to register beforehand and not leave everything to chance. Speaking about chance, it was purely coincidental that I found out about the free Taekwondo trials by Taekwondonomics while walking pass the school, and we promptly dropped the two girls off for some “fighting” fun after knowing that the next session was about to start! While waiting to pick them up, I happened to overhear a couple telling a friend that the waffles and ice-popsicles were very nice, and were all FREE too! That sure explained the long queues we saw at those booths!
 

 

While we didn’t manage to check out the free parenting talks because we were basically too busy checking out the rest of the stalls with the kiddos, the talks on “child nutrition” and “effective communications with my child” would have been really useful, especially for first time parents. As if the above-mentioned activities were not enough, there are also free karaoke and bowling sessions for those who present their carnival passport for redemption. There were simply too many activities and so little time! I shall be really honest about this, I actually fear bringing the kids out to fun-fairs sometimes because I find that the food and games tend to be a little expensive at times. But before you judge me, do note that whatever the kids want, I will need to pay 4 times the usual amount okay!
 




However this My Family Fiesta thingy is just like one big open house, where one can visit without even bringing your wallet along, and yet still get to fully enjoy all the food, refreshments, activities and entertainment available without any worries! Hats off to the organizing committee for putting together this all-inclusive event for the community, for all families. I am sure as parents, we all know that being there for the kids, and for the family is more important than the material possessions one can provide. But how many of us can truly do that before time slips us by and our kids start to reject us? For me, family time is indeed precious time, so what about you?
 

This post is brought to you in partnership with HeyBaby SG!