Wednesday, March 30, 2011

School Sports Day 2011

Annie's school had their annual sports inter-house meet on Sunday. She has been training hard for her events, the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.

L-R : Giselle, Samantha, Annie and Cousin Allyson.

Her house is Purple house, which consists of the whole of the International School. The National School is much bigger in terms of population, so they are divided into Red, Blue and Yellow house. This year, Purple house trained harder and had training sessions at Jubilee Ground, where the sports meet was to be held. I think this helped a lot, because last year, Annie did not win any medals, and this year she won 3 because she was well-prepared. The Purple house also came in as the overall winner! Well done kids!

Annie got second place for both 100m and 200m. The girl that kept beating her was from the Red house and happens to be the daughter of their Tae Kwon Do instructors. Yup, both mum and dad are black belt!! :) Her team also won the bronze for the relay. Annie is very proud of her medals, and Claire and Eva can't wait to win their own in the future!!

Purple House's 4x100m relay team

Well anyway, we were in the car one day when Annie asked me:

Annie: What house was Uncle Polycarp in Mummy?

Mummy: Uncle Polycarp was in the Yellow House I think. (Captain some more)

Annie: Oh...

Mummy: I was in the Green House when I was in your school (now obsolete... no more Green House)

Claire: What house is Annie from?

Annie: I am from Purple House.

Claire: No! You are not from Purple House. You are from Grey House!


Mummy: Why is Annie from Grey  House?

Claire: Because our condominium is grey, so she's from Grey House!!



P/S: I didn't get any pictures of Annie running, cause I missed every event!! I went to Jubilee Ground three times during the meet, cause I had to leave to send the younger ones for ballet, e.t.c.. and every time I got back to the track, I had just missed Annie's event!!

But at least Kung Kung Paul and Uncle Polycarp and Daphne Jie Jie were there for some of her events. Cousin Allyson and Amanda were also there the whole time to cheer them on! Annie is lucky to have so many supporters!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another hybdrid word

So you know how Claire unknowingly comes up with cool words which combine two words of similar meaning? Let me show you this old post to get you up to date:

(from 25th July 2009)

Claire has this knack for inventing new words by splicing and merging two words of similar meaning together:

1. plick: (verb) a combination of 'pluck' and 'pick'.
   Eg: Mum, can I plick this flower?

2. splace: (noun) a combination of 'place' and 'space'.
   Eg: Move over!! I have no splace to sit!!

This one took me a while to figure out:

3. backstan: (adverb) a combination of 'backwards' and 'gostan' (a Malaysian slang derived from the English phrase "go astern").
   Eg: Look mum! I can walk backstan!

Today she added a new phrase to the list:

4. spolka-dot: (adjective) a combination of spotted and polka dot!
   Eg: Mum, I've never seen a spolka-dot dog before!


So I was thinking about fire fighters the other day, after Solomon's trip to the fire station. I realized that it is extremely absurd that Malaysian fire fighters have camouflage uniform!

I mean okay, soldiers obviously need camouflage so that they can blend in with the jungle and not be spotted by the enemy. It could even be the difference between life and death!

For fire fighters though, it should be the total opposite!! Victims have to spot you easily so that they can call for help, or if the fire fighters themselves get into trouble, they also have to be easily spotted when others come to rescue them!

Alright now, lets imagine a fire fighter passed out in the midst of raging, orange-yellow flames, wearing this...

Well, good luck finding him...

So why do we want our brave fire fighters to blend in with the blazing fire?! I have no idea...

I would think a bright, neon green uniform would serve the purpose better!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fai-yer tay-shen

Solomon went on his very first ever school field trip on Thursday! He was overwhelmed with excitement and could not wait to get a ride on a big bus!

His school arranged a trip to the fire station and for the smaller ones, they had to be accompanied by an adult, so I let Sidekick follow him on the trip. He totally enjoyed his trip to the "fai-yer tay-shen"!

Sidekick reports that he refused to sit when in the bus, and stood at the aisle all the way to the fire station and back! (Sidekick had a firm grip on him) He stood in the aisle because he wanted to look through the big bus windscreen and didn't want to miss a thing!

Then at the fire station, he paid attention to everything the fire fighter said and watched in rapt concentration as he demonstrated putting out a fire using a fire extinguisher!

When the fire fighter asked whether they wanted to get on the fire engine, Solomon was the first to shout, "Yes!" So the fire fighter hoisted him on the truck and he was beaming with joy! :)

It was a hot day, and though Solomon came back with red cheeks, he thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!

Now, every time he sees a bus, he points to it and says, "My bus!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grandchild no.16..

Announcing the arrival of Kung Kung Titus' granchild no. 16!!

Dominic Chen was born yesterday, Tuesday, 22nd March 2011, via C-section, in Singapore, weighing 3.125kg!!

Dominic is Big Sis' baby no.2! Mummy and baby are doing just fine and will be out of hospital after a 3-day stay.

 I showed Kung Kung the photos of his 16th grandchild this afternoon. He beamed with pride and said that baby Dominic looked just like big brother Benedict! :)

Little drummer boy

Solomon really loves musical instruments. He plays air guitar all the time, until Grandpa bought him a cool electrical toy one. He also owns a plastic tambourine and loves playing Eva's toy keyboard.

Then one day I showed him this YouTube video of a little boy genius playing a full set of drums! Go check it out here! It's so cool, he is such a tiny bundle of talent! Solomon watched it over and over again, and since then would get chopsticks from the utensils drawer and "play drum" on every surface imaginable.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Cousin Hughie got a new toy drum set! It was an adorable mini set and Solomon was ecstatic when he saw the video of Cousin Hughie playing a "real" (as opposed to bedside tabletop) drum set!!

So Kung Kung Paul went and got one for Solomon as well! It goes without saying that he was overjoyed and couldn't wait to start trying out his new toy, even as Daddy was assembling the pieces...

Daddy reckons we have a rock band in the making... ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Funny creatures...

We went to the Stutong Park again yesterday morning and this time we finally spotted the macaques (monkeys)!! There were quite a few of them, a couple of baby ones and three or four adult ones. The kids had already bypassed them, when I noticed movement in the trees and called out for them to come back!

All the kids were super excited to see the monkeys jumping from tree to tree and picking fruits to eat. The small ones even played at pulling each others tails.

The fruits or nuts which the monkeys were eating

However, one would think spotting the monkeys would be the highlight of the trip, but, the kids spotted 3 even more interesting creatures there at the park! Squirrels? Fowls? Wild boars? you ask?

Nope... it was three old men who made very funny noises as they walked/ jogged on the path!!

First, an old guy walked past us going, "Sheee.... Shooo.... Sheee.... Shooo.... Shee.... Shooo....", like really loud!!

The kids couldn't stand it and broke out into laughter until I shushed them! Sidekick and I were controlling our own laughter!

Then we went further down the path and after awhile, we heard a loud, "HOoo... HOoo... HOoo... HOoo...".

So, I told the kids to look out for birds or owls in the trees, cause Michelle and Allyson said they'd seen a white owl there before.

There we were, all looking up and scanning the trees when I realised that the sound was moving and coming closer to us! Then another old man appeared round the bend and Claire exclaimed, "It's the ah pek!!"


I quickly told her to pipe down and we walked away hastily to laugh out of ear shot!!!

Well, we kept on going, and when we neared the end of the path, another old man came from the other direction and he was walking in small mechanical steps like a robot Japanese geisha!! He was going, "Humph... Heee... Humph... Heee... Humph... Heee..."!!

The kids couldn't stop laughing about the old men and their funny breathing exercises! I think they'll remember these grandpas more then the monkeys!! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daddy knows best

So you know how the kids don't trust Daddy at all? They never take anything he says seriously because he is forever telling them nonsense like, "E is for e-phe-lant", or "Don't eat too much vegetables, they're not good for you!"

So the other day, we were in the car and Annie asked me (not Daddy of course):

Annie: Mummy, what are kidneys? The other day you said too much salt is not good for your kidneys. What are kidneys?

Mummy: Kidneys are another part of your body, somewhere below your lungs, near your stomach.

Daddy butts in: You know when you are doing your Kumon homework and your brain gets tired? Then you can use your kidneys.....        !!!   -_-*

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Singapore honeymoon

So the highlight of our stay in Singapore was undoubtedly the hotel. We stayed at Marina Bay Sands Hotel and it was excellent and by far the best hotel I have ever stayed in! The best part is, Hubby is a gold card member and gets a 50% discount, so a room which normally costs S$400 was only S$200! No, unfortunately it's non-transferable, already asked! :)

We even got a S$34 discount at the end of our stay, cause of the points collected while gambling. We only gambled for fun for around an hour and ended up with the same amount we began with. As far as casinos are concerned, that is already a 'win' in my books.

I'm loving the huge bathroom
So anyway, Sands has casinos in Las Vegas and Macau if I'm not mistaken. This particular hotel has been compared to the Burj al Arab in Dubai. Both have lobbies with high ceilings and their rooms lining both sides so you can look down from the corridors many floors up. The Marina Bay Sand is a concave structure while the Burj al Arab is convex.

Burj al Arab
Marina Bay Sands hotel lobby
Well, the main attraction of this hotel (besides the casino for those 'hardcore' gamblers) is the Skypark, on it's roof, on the 57th floor. It's uber cool and totally awesome, with a crazy infinity pool overlooking Singapore's skyline, jacuzzis overlooking the sea, and world-class restaurants and clubs.

They also have a super fast elevator which gets you to the top in 5 seconds, no kidding! I was gobsmacked at first, cause I'm so used to our slow-poke elevator at home! :)

Hubby and I tried to have dinner at Sky on 57, a restaurant by celebrity Singaporean chef, Justin Quek, serving South East Asian fare with European influences. It was fully booked, and we heard that you had to book weeks in advance to dine there! We had a look at the menu, and there was even a clause in fine print at the bottom which said that you had to spend at least S$80 per person!! Good eh? I wonder when I can paste a sign on my pharmacy saying that whoever comes in must buy at least  RM50 worth of goods per person!!! Surely get cursed at...

Anyway, Hubby and I enjoyed the jacuzzi and pool on the second day, cause the first day was overcast, plus with the winds at that height, it was way too cold for a dip. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the pool. Non-guests have to pay S$20 to go up for the restaurants or viewing decks. A taxi driver told us that it used to be S$70!

On the first night we went to a bar/ club by the pool, Ku De Ta, and there was only standing room. There was an area with comfy sofas which was cordoned off and reserved. Hubby asked the hostess at the entrance how one went about reserving that area, and she informed us that she could reserve it for us, "all we had to do was spend a minimum of S$2500"!

Okay.... we'll get back to you on that ya?... 

We made a reservation instead for the second night at the other Ku De Ta, a restaurant and bar place at the other end. It was a lovely place to sit and chill. Little Brother and Hubby's high school classmate came over for some dessert and after dinner drinks. I love that in Singapore, smoking is like, not cool at all! Hubby's friend had to go all the way down to the ground floor to have a cigarette!

Oh yes! I managed to find Kitchen Capers at Kallang Bahru, a well-stocked shop selling hard-to-find cake decorating tools. I was as happy as a kid in a candy store and bought lots and lotsa wonderful fondant gadgets!! *bliss*

We also got to meet up with Sis nos.1 & 4 and Little Brother. Big Sis bought us dinner at Italiannies. The Italian food was very good I must say. Even the focaccia bread they served before the meal was yummy, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We must have eaten three or four loaves of bread alone!! When the food came we were no longer hungry!

The three cheeky monkeys... The kids back home would have loved to come and play with their Singaporean counterparts!!

So anyway, that was about it. To cap it off, here are some photos of the food we ate... what holiday is complete without some face-stuffing eh?!

 Very good hae mee (prawn noodles) with roast duck, popiah and fruit juice at Food Republic, Wisma Atria or something like that...

Confucious say (read Hubby says) to find good food, just look for the stall that has a queue in front, and yes, the hae mee stall had a long queue!

OMG! My  kind of heaven.... Now I can say I've had genuine, decadent, macarons, not the sweet sticky sub-standard kind. These were oh-so-delicate and bursting with sublime yet subtle flavours. *sigh*

This was at TWG Tea, I asked the guy if he would mind if I took some photos. He said, "No", as in I could not, but I thought he meant no, he wouldn't mind!!

*double sigh*

 Here we joined another queue, this time by the roadside! It was Founder Bak Kut Teh at Balestier Rd. Hubby was here before and wanted me to try the Singaporean bak kut teh (herbal pork rib soup) which is totally different from the Malaysian version.

  Singaporean bak kut teh is clear and spiked with plenty of pepper! It was quite good, though a little too peppery for my taste, but worth the wait by the roadside, I think. Their wall was also plastered with photographs of Singaporean and Hong Kong film stars who patronized the restaurant.

Pistachio something cake with home-made wild berry jam and something, something... at Ku De Ta. Very sophisticated and delicious. We also had a chocolate cake with coconut cream and orange marshmallows which wasn't as nice.

Not-that-great pan mee at the market at Kallang Bahru where I went looking for my cake decorating stuff. (there unfortunately were no queues to be found!) :)

Yummy clams doused with lotsa white wine and white truffle ravioli in a cheese sauce at Italiannies....

Honeymoon complete...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hubby's eyes...

Hubby went for his eye check-up in Singapore on Thursday. He had his eye operation in Singapore 8 years ago and I never went with him, so I thought I should go with him this time around. Now that the kids are older, we can afford to travel, as they are easier to handle and it's no problem leaving them with Sidekick, under Kung Kung and Po Po's supervision.

Hubby has this uncommon condition called keratoconus, where his cornea (the thin outer layer of the eye) becomes more and more cone shaped. It progresses rapidly during puberty and the medical community is still unsure of the cause, though some suggest vigorous rubbing, allergies or genetics. This can worsen and lead to blindness, so Hubby had a cornea transplant done at the Singapore National Eye Centre in 2003. Yup, he has some dead guy's cornea in his eye! :)

So anyway, after consulting his doctor, Prof. Donald Tan, he has decided to go ahead and operate on his other eye as well. Technology has advanced now, so this second eye will undergo a newer procedure, Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty.

For his first eye, which was much worse then, the professor did a Penetrating Keratoplasty, where a circle of Hubby's cornea was totally removed and replaced with the donor's. The newer procedure, DALK however, leaves a layer of Hubby's epithelium intact and tucks the donor's cornea under it. This procedure does not require stitches, and more importantly has no risk of rejection whatsoever!

Since the procedure promises such good results, Hubby is wasting no time and has scheduled the operation for next month! Hopefully everything will go well!

So anyway, after the appointment on Thursday, Hubby and I had another two, free and easy nights in Singapore, so it was basically a honeymoon! ;) Will write more in the next post...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

127 hours

A couple of nights ago, Hubby and I went for a movie at Spring's MBO Cineplex. The kids had a packed day which ended with swimming at the condo, so they all fell asleep pretty early, which meant Hubby and I could catch an earlier show.

There were a few good movies showing at the time. I recognized three of them as Oscar nominees for Best Picture.

And the nominees are.... *drumroll*

Black Swan...

The King's Speech... and

127 Hours.

I read the synopsis for all three movies and Black Swan and 127 Hours sounded inviting. I know The King's Speech won the Oscar for Best Picture, but I cannot imagine how a movie about a British King and his stutter could be interesting!! :)

Hubby would most probably fall asleep anyway....

So I chose 127 Hours. It's a movie based on a book, which in turn is based on a true story of a guy who gets his arm trapped between a boulder and a canyon wall! I remember reading an excerpt of this book in the Reader's Digest I think.

Anyway, after being stranded there for 5 days, or 127 hours, he finally breaks his arm and saws it off with a blunt knife to escape death!!! Gah!!! I won't reveal much as it's a pretty good movie and you should go see it yourself.

Kudos to the actor and directors, cause there's nothing much to the storyline, so it takes good acting and directing to make it work so well!

This reminds me of Tom Hank's movie, Cast Away, where he is stranded on an island alone for years. Remember 'Wilson', his ball/ friend?! :)  Well, the success of movies like these basically just hangs on that one actor's performance! It helps if the actors are cute too... ;)

I guess this movie does deserve the Oscar nomination. It is directed by the same guy who did Slumdog Millionaire by the way.

Next up,  I'm curious to see what the fuss over a stuttering king is all about...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Extra-curricular activities

So a couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went to Annie's Kumon award giving ceremony. ASHR stands for Advanced Students Honour Roll. She received a silver medal, which means she is two years ahead of her age group.

We went to show our support, especially since she put in so many hours of effort, not to mention the tears involved as well! :)

Now she is motivated and wants to stay on until she achieves the three-year mark and gets her gold medal. Even Claire was inspired when she saw Jie Jie's shiny medal and told me to remind her about the medal whenever she doesn't feel like doing her Kumon daily worksheets!

Cousin Allyson also received her silver medal for maths. This is for 2010, and Allyson has stopped Kumon since last month. It is good to see the girls so proud of their achievement. This event shows them that their effort is recognized and celebrated, so it boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

Speaking of extra-curricular activities, Eva and Claire have also begun ballet lessons. I enrolled them in Jie Jie's dance school and they're both in the pre-ballet class now. So far they seem to be enjoying their classes, and especially love their new ballet costumes!

I am prepared for complaints in the future, as Annie has also been through the phases. They'll love the classes, then when it gets harder, they'll want to quit. Then when they're having fun again, they'll be enjoying themselves again... thus is the cycle.

Right now, Annie is in the, "I hate ballet" stage, cause they have a new teacher who is more strict, as they are getting more advanced. We'll see how long I can make her stay on... :)

Solomon wants in on the action... but I think Hubby will kill me if I sign his only son up for ballet lessons!!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's in a name...

Hubby calls me "darling", family and close friends call me by my nick name, "Ah Pau", and the kids of course call me "mummy", and to the cousins I'm "Ah Pau e e".

Thus, I think the smaller ones rarely hear my Christian name being used.

So, the other day, in the car, Eva asked me:

Eva: Mummy, what is your name? Is it pharmacy?

Claire: No, it's pharmacist...

Mummy: No, my name is Priscilla Chuo Poh Poh.

Eva: What?! You are whose po po???!


Po po means grandma in Chinese. My Chinese name Poh Poh sounds the same and believe you me, I've had my share of teasing in primary school!! :)

Actually, Poh Poh is meant to be Bao Bao, from the word Bao Bei which means 'precious'. Unfortunately, in the Foochow dialect, it's pronunciation and spelling is Poh Poh! *sigh*

Well, at least it's not as bad as 'Priscilla, gorilla'!! :)

So, the lesson of the story is, think hard before you choose your child's name!!

A stroll in the park

It was last week I think, or rather two weeks ago, that we decided to bring the kids for a stroll in the park. Hubby and I sometimes go to the Stutong park for a jog and the kids have been pestering us to bring them there ever since I mentioned we saw monkeys a couple of times!

We went in the late afternoon. It wasn't hot because there are plenty of trees which provide ample shade. It's a great park, since it's so close to town and yet has that 'real jungle' feel! Except, of course, for the fact that it comes equipped with cement paved paths! :) But still, it's a step closer to nature, and great for our 'city kids'!

  Well, we unfortunately did not spy any monkeys (macaques) or squirrels, but we did see huge ants...

a great variety of interesting flora...

ants moving house *creepy*...

and also this pheasant fowl / chicken-y fellow! :)

The kids enjoyed the outing and it was good exercise to boot. Only Solomon the king was pushed around in his stroller and towards the end of the trail, when Eva refused to budge anymore, Solomon surrendered his stroller for jie jie to sit.

I hope we'll have time to do this more often...
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