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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

What is the Secret to Ageing Gracefully?

Advertorial

I remember the wifey asking me what will I blog about once the monkies have all grown up and perhaps will find their own group of friends to hang out with. I replied that since my readers who will have also naturally progressed along as their kids grow up, I should review stuff like nursing homes, walking sticks, wheelchairs, and even adult diapers. 

Sounds pretty depressing, no?

Well, as I found out, things are not as bleak as they seem. Because according to a new study, 70% of Singaporeans over the age of 50 believe that a positive attitude is key to feeling younger, while laughing is the best anti-ageing medicine. In fact, they generally feel five years younger than than actual age!


Commissioned by leading healthcare company GSK via a face-to-face survey of 150 Singaporeans, the Inner Age Index provides new insight on Singaporean attitudes towards growing older as our nation faces a shrinking and ageing population. The study explores the concept of "inner age" - how old someone perceive themselves to be as compared to how old they actually are - and how ageing is perceived through a Singaporean lens.

And judging from these Singaporeans aged over 50 that I had the opportunity to come in contact with, I would say ageing gracefully is here to stay.


Do not call the ladies in the photo above old aunties, for I am certain they can sashay much better than most of us! They are from Ageless Theatre, a non-profit theatre interest group for seniors based at the Marine Parade Community Club, and are all passionate about acting and theatre works.

Indeed, the Inner Age Index had found that 75% of older Singaporeans like to stay socially active while 64% believe that being over 50 means they have finally found the time to realise passions, such as socialising with friends, travelling, playing sports and exercising. Simply because realising passions are key to a younger “inner age”!

Just ask Mr. Loh Men Kuan, founder of Happy Table Tennis.


Set up 10 years ago by Mr. Loh, a former businessman, Happy Table Tennis gives Singaporeans over 50 the opportunity to develop their skills and passions in an active environment that foster a positive ageing experience. He believes that nobody is too old to pick up table tennis and after watching him in action, I fully agree.


Can you guess how old Mr. Loh is? 65 years old! It just goes to show that in addition to keeping an active lifestyle, a positive mentality is the key to feeling younger. Which nine in 10 Singaporeans aged over 50 in the survey fully agreed as well. In fact, those with a younger inner age were also more likely to report they are living life to the full (85%), and feel more fulfilled now than ever before (72%).

In addition, many Singaporeans over the age of 50 years report feeling good about their appearance with 81% stating that they like to look their best and 74%  feeling proud to reveal their real age.


All well and good.... which begs the question - what is MY Inner Age???? I was dying to find out so I took the survey questions and this was what I got.


I shaved 7 years off my actual age! I guess being around 3 hyper monkies everyday played a part...even though they drive me crazy at times!

But I guess at the end of the day, after all the talk about the medical and social implications of a greying population, a positive attitude towards ageing goes a long way as well. By taking the opportunity to pursue long-held passions and leading a fulfilled lifestyle, Singaporeans over the age of 50 will be able to do more, feel better and live longer.

Interested to take the survey to reveal your Inner Age? Find out yours at www.actyourinnerage.com.sg!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

LeapFrog LeapBand: Putting the Active into Interactive

Product Review

Faced with such awesome entertainment opportunities today's kids have, is there any wonder they love exercising only with their thumbs or index finger... and on a comfortable spot on the sofa?

If only there was an interactive electronic gadget with all the entertainment value that a game console or tablet has, BUT which demands that kids get off the sofa and MOVE. And earn points while moving. And learn why exercising is important. And learn why a good diet is essential.

What do you know? There really is something that does all that... and more


The LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker (for kids aged 4-7) is a wearable activity tracker that encourages active play and healthy habits while nurturing a personalized virtual pet. Instead of just tracking steps, this band gets kids moving and having fun with 50 different activities and challenges to track a child’s physical moves. So the more active a child is, the more points they earn with their virtual pet. It is like the old Tamagotchi craze but with the added incentive to move your butt!


The LeapBand comes in green, blue, orange and pink, making it suitable for boys and girls. But with Ale, it was only always going to be pink. And the moment I ripped off the packaging, there was only one place that the LeapBand is going to find itself plastered - on Ale's wrist.


Before using the LeapBand though, there was the small task of setting it up via the computer (with the provided USB cable). The set-up process is painless and fairly quick - around 10 minutes, although it felt like forever if you asked Ale!

Soon, the set-up was complete and it was time for some physical fun! Impressively, the LeapBand has a built-in accelerometer, high-resolution colour screen, rechargeable battery and water-resistant (but you can't take it for swimming!) design and the device also doubles up as both an analogue watch too.


By default, every kids starts off with a virtual pet that comes in the the form of a cute kitty. To level up the pet, as well as to unlock more virtual pets (dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn), there are 50 activities and challenges that kids can do to earn more Jewels (or Joules, geddit?).

Parents will be able to issue these physical challenges through the LeapFrog Connect programme on the computer, ranging from relatively obvious ones like 'Walk like a duck' to the more abstract 'Pretend to swim in a pool filled with honey'. Some even involve simple spelling, which is brilliant for my 3-year-old.


With a friendly voice giving instructions over the built-in speaker, and only four buttons on the LeapBand, it is easy for kids to who cannot read yet to figure out what to do. And the best part? Ale did not even realise she was exercising and using up some joules!


And because kids need a little quiet time between running around shrieking, the watch has some calmer activities too. Just like a Tamagotchi, the pet needs to be nurtured and cared for - feeding, sleeping or taking a bath - which is great for teaching about responsibility too. There are also some mini games that teach healthy living concepts, like eating fruits and vegetables.


But the one thing that I really loved from a parent's point of view is that I can set times when the LeapBand is strictly off-limits such as during school time, homework time, or sleep time so that my kids will not be able to play with the device during those hours!


Yes, notice I mentioned kidS in the above paragraph. Plural, because although the LeapBand is designed primarily for children aged between 4 and 7, that didn't stop both Ash and Ayd from using it too. In fact, they had such a kick out of leveling up the virtual pets and unlocking new ones in process that poor Ale filed multiple complaints with the wifey and me!

Oh, the LeapBand doubles up as a watch too when not playing or when it is in 'locked' mode. The watch face uses a pet's arms to point out the time, like a Mickey Mouse watch, which is perfect for teaching kids how to tell the time in a fun way.


At the end of it all, parents check out the Joules and pets the kid has earned over the past 7 days, along with graphs of their activity levels.


The fun can also be extended to include a free downloadable companion app called the Pentathlon Games where kids can compete as their virtual pet in six mini-games to win extra rewards.

Suffice to say, Ale has barely taken the LeapBand off since we got it. It's hilarious watching her (or the boys) hopping round my living room over and over again while giggling away at the challenges at the same time.


The LeapBand is such a great way to help kids be more active, and learn more about a healthy lifestyle at the same time... all these without really thinking about it. Definitely putting the active into interactive!


The LeapFrog LeaBand is retailing for S$49.90 at Toys 'R' Us and major departmental stores.

Monday, September 01, 2014

September School Holidays Activities for Kids 2014

What do you know? The September school holidays are here once again... and that can only mean one thing: EXAMS! But first, let us allow the kids some breathing space this one-week break and pick & choose from the many activities that have been compiled below. Have fun!

Orchid Extravaganza Floral Display
Now til 24 Sep 2014
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Entrance fees to the Cooled Conservatories apply


Designed by award-winning landscape architect Jun-ichi Inada, Orchid Extravaganza at Gardens by  the Bay showcases the rich heritage of the world’s most diverse botanical family - Orchids. Featuring some 18,000 orchid plants, Orchid Extravaganza takes visitors on an immersive journey into the world of orchids. The highlight of the display has got to be the 10-metre-tall orchid kaleidoscope, as seen through an orchid tunnel!

Cavalia
Now until 28 Sep 2014
Tue - Fri: 7.30pm | Sat: 2pm & 7.30pm | Sun: 12pm & 5.30pm
Bayfront Avenue beside Marina Bay Sands
Various ticket prices


Cavalia is an innovative multi-media and multi-disciplinary theatrical production that boldly explores the boundaries of equestrian arts and acrobatic feats. It deftly combines 50 magnificent real horses, 43 riders, aerialists, acrobats, dancers and musicians from all over the world - all of these coming together for a show fit for families and friends, young and old alike. Simply put, it is a show like no other and the monkies will attest to that who remained spellbound throughout the show. Check out our review HERE. For more information, visit cavalia.sg.

The Nightingale (Play)
Now till 14 Sep 2014
Tue - Fri: 10am & 2pm | Sat & Sun: 11am, 2pm
DBS Arts Centre - Home of SRT
Weekdays: $22, $25 | Weekends: $32, $35

SRT's The Little Company brings you a refreshing new take on Hans Christian Andersen's well-loved fairy tale. The Nightingale is a joyful burst of song that reminds us all to appreciate and value the world around us. Enchanted by the lilting birdsong of the plain-looking, brown Nightingale, the little Emperor of China captures and keeps her in a gilded cage for his daily entertainment. But soon, along with her freedom, the beautiful voice of the Nightingale is lost and a singing mechanical bird replaces her. Join the Nightingale and friends in their quest for her freedom. For tickets, click HERE.

Mid Autumn Festival 2014
Now til 28 Sep 2014
Chinatown


Mid-Autumn Festival 2014 promises vibrant lantern displays, captivating performances and great food. During this period, Chinatown and its nearby precincts will be spectacularly adorned with a myriad of colourful lanterns and dazzling decorations. The theme of this year’s Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival is a “A Blooming Mid Autumn” 《百花盛开牛车水, 月满中秋庆团圆》 where the streets of Chinatown will be lit up by a spectacular display of colourful lanterns of varying shapes and sizes. For more information, visit chinatownfestivals.sg.

Lantern Making Competition 
16 Aug - 8 Sep 2014; All-day
Chinatown Point

Festive Bazaar & Carnival
23 Aug - 8 Sep 2014; 11am -10.30pm
Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Sago Street, Smith Street and open space in front of People’s Park Complex

Street Light-Up
24 Aug - 28 Sep 2014; 7pm - 12mn (Sun-Thurs) & 7pm - 2am (Fri&Sat)
Along New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street , South Bridge Road and inner streets of Chinatown

Nightly Stage Shows
24 Aug - 8 Sep 2014; 8pm - 10.30pm
Kreta Ayer Square

Chinatown Mid Autumn Festival Walking Trail
30 & 31 Aug 2014, 6 & 7 September 2014; 2pm - 3.30pm & 5pm - 6.30pm
Information Booth in front of the stage at Kreta Ayer Square. The walking trail is free but registration is on first-come-first-serve basis. Each trail is conducted in English and limited to 10 participants.

Festivities in Full Light @ VivoCity
Now til 8 Sep 2014
Sky Park, Level 3, VivoCity
FREE

Photo courtesy of VivoCity
Bask in the glow of an authentic Mid-Autumn atmosphere as the Sky Park is transformed into a realm of colourful lanterns and beautiful lightings. Enjoy an evening outdoors with your friends and family alongside this enchanting display!

FREE Admission to National Orchid Garden
Now til 14 Sep 2014


Enjoy free admission to National Orchid Garden for students and accompanying adults. Visit www.sbg.org.sg for more details.

RWS S.E.A. Aquarium Wonders: Manta Rays
Month of September 2014
S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa
Admission fees apply

Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium will launch a month of themed activities centred around
Manta Rays this September, to raise awareness for these gentle giants and seek to engage guests through fun learning activities to drive the message of conservation home. Key highlights include:

Manta Feeding
Go on an exclusive peek into our back-of-house operations to witness the aquarists feed the manta rays. Capped at 20 guests per group only, this rarely seen sight is a must. Registration on a first come first served basis.
Date: Monday – Saturdays, for the month of September only
Time: 12pm, 2.30pm
*Registration at Ocean Gallery, guest must be at least 6 years old

Manta Adventure Trail
An activity sheet will be presented to every child upon entering S.E.A. Aquarium. Through 9 activity stations across the aquarium, children can learn more about mantas and conserving marine life. Each completed activity sheet may be exchanged for a prize.

If you are a Teacher, even BETTER NEWS! You can get FREE ENTRY between 5 and 7 September 2014!


During this period, MOE staff will get free admission to the Aquarium as well as complimentary back-of-house tours. Up to six accompanying friends or family members can get a special admission price of $25 (usual price for adults is $38 while kids’ and seniors’ ticket price is $28). Remember to bring your MOE staff pass to enjoy the promo!

Geronimo Stilton 'Live' Show
3 - 15 Sep 2014 (No shows on 9 Sep)
Mon - Fri: 2pm & 7pm | Sat & Sun: 2pm, 5pm & 7pm
United Square B1


This September school holiday, get ready for some cheddarfic action as United Square presents Geronimo Stilton ‘Live’ show happening for the first time in Singapore! Kick-start the holiday with a fun fabumouse family vacation! Kids can look forward to an engaging mousey adventure filled with games, dance, songs and a whole lot of fun!

What’s more, the Meet & Greet sessions are open to all fans! Simply queue for a Meet & Greet pass 1 hour before each show and be the first 50 families to Meet & Greet Geronimo, Thea, Trap & Benjamin Stilton after the show.

Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay
4 - 14 Sep 2014
Mon - Fri: 6pm - 11pm | Sat  Sun: 3pm - 11pm
Gardens by the Bay
FREE Admission; Entrance fees to the Cooled Conservatories apply

Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay 2013

If last year's lantern display was anything to go by, this year's festival will be bigger and better! Mark the festivities with a visit to the Gardens as spectacular lantern set pieces, cultural performances and activities, including handicraft and lantern-making booths, transforms the grounds into a unique visual spectacle and celebration for the family.

Disney's Planes: Fire and Rescue
Opens 4 Sep 2014 in cinemas


"Planes: Fire & Rescue" is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous team, including spirited super scooper Dipper , heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

Moonfest 2014
5 - 8 Sep 2014; Various timings
Esplanade
FREE and Ticketed events


Launched in 2005, Moonfest - A Mid Autumn Celebration is an annual Chinese arts festival held in celebration of the mid-autumn festival, Chinese artists and traditional art forms. Through traditional Chinese performances, workshops and talks, it seeks to inspire and expose audiences to the intricacies of Chinese language, arts and culture. Featuring both ticketed and free programmes, highlights of the festival include Chinese opera, orchestra performances, puppetry, lantern riddles, Chinese chess and the popular lantern walkabout. For a complete listing of programmes and timings, visit www.moonfest.com.sg/2014/at_a_glance.php.

Discover the Unexplored at Changi Airport!
5 - 24 Sep 2014
Changi Airport, Terminal 3 Departure Check-In Hall Row 11

Gear up for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Changi Airport this September holidays! Explore multiple destinations – from culturally-rich China, to historic Sri Lanka, before taking a detour to beautiful Mauritius and finally, exotic Brazil! Behold the magnificent sight of the Terracotta warriors of China, explore the breathtaking Sri Lankan safari, get your adrenaline going with a shot at water sports in Mauritius and finally, discover the wonders of the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. What is even better is that you can start your adventure right here in Changi Airport by taking a ride on its first-ever mini rollercoaster that will have you soaring to new heights! More details to follow.

Heritage Trees of Singapore (walking tour)
6 Sep 2014; 9am - 11.30am
Duxton Plain Park, near Bodhi Heritage Tree
FREE

Go on this walking tour to discover five Heritage Trees in Duxton Plain Park and Spottiswoode Park. Along the way, we will also learn to identify the trees that provide us shade and beautify our urban landscape. IMPT: Pre-registration is required and you may do so HERE.

Saturdays@ACM: Crafty Kids
6 Sep 2014; 1pm - 5pm
Asian Civilisations Museum
FREE Admission


As part of the “Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Story Tree” Interactive Exhibition, join us on a journey to Explore, Discover, and Create! Be captivated by fascinating performing arts, go on a journey across Asia with our incredible storytellers, or make and take home your own masterpiece.  for more information, visit HERE.

Pasir Ris Mangrove boardwalk tour
6 Sep 2014; 5pm - 6.30pm
Pasir Ris Mangrove boardwalk
FREE

Specially for kids and families, explore Pasir Ris mangroves with volunteer nature guides from the Naked Hermit Crabs on this FREE guided tour of the boardwalk! During our evening stroll through this interesting but often overlooked mangrove, we are sure to see lots of crazy tree climbing crabs, delightful giant mudskippers and cool monitor lizards. Pasir Ris is also one of the few places where nesting herons are easily observed. And as the sun sets, we might spot some nocturnal animals like watersnakes. If we're lucky, we may catch a glimpse of the rare Mangrove pitta or the family of otters that have been seen here! IMPT: Registration is required and you may do so HERE.

Gardeners' Day Out 2014
6 Sep 2014; 9am - 5pm
HortPark
Click on poster below for more information and activities.


Wan Qing Yuan Mid-Autumn Festival 2014
6 Sep 2014; 10am - 9pm
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memrial Hall
FREE

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at Wan Qing Yuan with your family and friends. Check out lantern riddles, Chinese arts and crafts demonstrations, lantern-making workshops and more. For more information, visit HERE.

Party with My Little Pony
6 Sep (2-8pm) & 7 Sep (12-8pm) 2014
Cathay Cineleisure Orchard
FREE


Join Princess Twilight Sparkle and her pony friends to celebrate the magic of Friendship! Take part in fun-filled pony activities like, an Equestria Girls makeover at the Pony-fication station, Photo-taking with My Little Pony Equestrian Girls, Spread the Magic of Friendship & receive My Little Pony Polaroids, Popping Fun with My Little Pony Pop and many more! More details HERE.

RSAF@Heartlands
6 & 7 Sep 2014; 10am - 9pm
Simei MRT
FREE Admission

Learn more about the RSAF's capabilities and mission, get up close and personal with its weapon systems, meet the airmen and women, and even try flying a fighter jet at the simulator game! There will also be an RSAF photo booth and interactive games and activities, with great commemorative gifts and prizes to give away!

Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention (STGCC) 2014
6 & 7 September; 10am - 8pm
Marina Bay Sands
1-Day ticket at $19; 2-Day ticket at $25


Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) juices up the pop culture universe with offerings from the worlds of toys, games, comics, anime, manga and collectibles. Get ready to anticipate a weekend jam-packed with autograph sessions, stage performances and exciting exhibitors on the show floor.

*All fans aged 5 & above need a ticket to enter STGCC on Saturday, 6 September 2014. On Sunday, 7 September 2014, attendees 12 and below enter for free when accompanied by an adult. Visit www.singaporetgcc.com for more details.

iCarnival 2014
6 & 7 Sep 2014; 12pm - 7pm
Infocomm Experience Centre (iExperience)
FREE

Visitors will have opportunities to explore and find out more about the services leveraging Nationwide Broadband Network (NBN) and technologies that could transform the way Singaporeans live, work, learn and interact in the coming years amidst the fun and carnival-like atmosphere. There will also be popular activities such as digital caricature, balloon sculpting, and Spin-the-Wheel!

Ecolife guided walk
6 & 13 Sep 2014; 9am - 11am
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
FREE

Go on a guided walk to learn about this picturesque park and the biodiversity found in the River Plains. Parents and children get to bond during the walk through the process of learning together. We take you through this tour with worksheets and fun hands-on activities. You even get to learn how to make your own underwater viewing scope! IMPT: Pre-registration is required. To register, please e-mail pauline_tan@nparks.gov.sg with the following details: Name of participant, handphone number.

Sentosa Buskers Festival 2014
6 - 14 Sep2041; 4pm onwards
Beach Plaza - Palawan Beach, Sentosa
FREE (Admission fees to Sentosa apply)


Back for the fifth year, be entertained with our line-up of new buskers and returning favourites from around and abroad. Think jaw dropping sword swallowing acts, a grumpy Queen Victoria, highly entertaining clown jugglers, a sizzling hot fire tribal performance and many more captivating performances! What's more, visitors will be able to learn acrobatic or juggling tricks from local contemporary circus arts company, Circus In Motion at the interactive corner too! For more details and show schedules, check HERE.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Total Turtle Takeover
6 - 14 Sep 2014
Mon - Fri: 2pm & 7pm | Sat & Sun: 1pm, 4pm & 7pm
City Square Mall, L1 Atrium


From 6 to 14 September 2014, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will rise from the sewers of New York City and hit the stage at City Square Mall in an all-action experience!  Look forward to meeting the Turtles – Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo – join in the action as they share some tips they have learnt from Master Splinter. Be ready to get up close and personal in a Meet & Greet session by redeeming an exclusive Meet & Greet pass with a minimum spending of $50. More details in the poster above.

Panda Party 2014
6-14 Sep 2014
River Safari
Admission Fees apply

It's Panda Party time at the River Safari from 6 to 14 Sep! Adults and kids alike have lots to look forward to at River Safari this September school holidays! Visit the panda awareness booth, register for Giant Panda Forest guided tours, catch the educational show & tell segments, plant your panda pledge on River Safari's pledge wall, and create your very own panda art & crafts. For more details, refer to the timetable below and pandas.riversafari.com.sg/panda-party.html.


LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display (LEGOLAND Malaysia)
6 Sep 2014 onwards
LEGOLAND Malaysia
Admission fees apply

The fully air-conditioned indoor attraction will be the first standalone complex of its kind in Asia where 2,000 LEGO models from Star Wars have been recreated using more than 1.5 million bricks. The themed attraction is housed in a uniquely shaped standalone octagon building (beside LEGO Academy) and recreates seven of the most famous scenes - six from the Star Wars films and one from the animated series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Meet your favourite characters like Yoda, R2-D2, Darth Vader  and the legendary Sith Lords, all made from LEGO bricks. 


*In celebration of LEGOLAND Malaysia's second Birthday, children who come dressed up as Star Wars characters between 6 and 30 September 2014 will be granted FREE entry to the theme park!

In conjunction with the opening of the LEGO Star Wars MINILAND model display, there will be exciting activities throughout September in the park.

Galaxy Hunt
Explore and challenge your knowledge in all 6 Star Wars Episodes.
LEGO Academy @ LEGO Technic - 11am – 5pm
(Collect your LEGO Star Wars Galaxy Hunt Activity Kit here and complete your Hunt before 5pm!)

LEGO Star Wars Miniland Character Hunt
LEGO Academy @ LEGO Technic - 11am – 5pm

Characters Meet N’ Greet (6 Sep onwards)
LEGO Darth Vader appearances
The Beginning - 4 pm & 5 pm
Hotel Lobby - 11.30 am & 5.30 pm

LEGO Star Wars Mini Showcase
Hotel Daily - 11am to 4.30pm
LEGO Academy - 11am to 4.30pm (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Speed Build Workshop
Learn how to build LEGO Star Wars Models, crash course!
LEGO Academy @ LEGO Technic - 3.30pm (Registration only)

Colouring Contest @ LLM Hotel 
Daily from 29 August to 30 September  - 1:30pm, 3:30pm

LEGO Star Wars Mystery Mural Building Activity
Daily from 29 August to 30 September  - 11am - 5pm

Monsters Under the Bed's InvestigateINK
8 - 10 Sep 2014; 10am - 1pm
The Arts House
$280

InvestigateINK is an expository writing (creative non-fiction) workshop for students aged six to 12 and combines role playing with social interaction, analytical thinking, and writing skills. Trainers will simulate “crime scenes” in different rooms, replete with physical clues and “witness” actors. Participants will act as journalists in competing newspapers (player groups), who attempt to identify the culprit and motive. At the end of the workshop, the newspaper groups will be scored on the accuracy of their investigation, their conduct, and how well written their story is. This workshop will also improve the participants’ analytical thinking skills, and introduce the key elements of good writing. For more information and to register, visit HERE.

Potted Potter
9 - 14 Sep 2014
Tue & Wed: 7.30pm | Thur - sun: 5pm & 7.30pm
Jubilee Hall Raffles Hotel
$70, $85


Potted Potter takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into seventy hilarious minutes. This fantastically funny show features all your favourite characters, a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon, endless costumes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic! For tickets, visit HERE.

Bubble Magic - Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles
10 - 14 Sep 2014
Wed: 1pm & 3.30pm | Thu - Sun: 11am & 1.30pm
Jubilee Hall Raffles Hotel


Bubble Magic - Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles is a brand new show from the world-renowned bubble whizz. Direct from a Europe-wide tour, the joyful two-man show combines the fleeting beauty of bubbles with clowning, ingenious lighting, colourful music and crazy costumes. The two turn everyday elements into a magical, wonder-filled world. They compete, collaborate and surprise us, with fishbowl bubbles, animal bubbles, bubbles on a highwire, sliding bubbles, puppet bubbles and even a train inside a bubble tunnel! For tickets, visit HERE.

Looking for Mama 小蝌蚪找妈妈
12 - 18 Sep 2014 (Mon- Thurs); 10:30am & 2:30pm
Goodman Arts Centre 
$15


[Performed in Mandarin] A re-run production by Paper Monkey Theatre, Looking for Mama, tells the adventure of a brave little tadpole in search for its Mama. Come and join us at this heartwarming journey as we show-and-tell with drama, handcrafted puppets and popular sing-along children’s songs! For tickets and more information, visit HERE.

SAFRA School Holidays Activities 2014
Various SAFRA locations

Rio Movie Party
SAFRA Tampines, Theatrette Room
12 Sep 2014; 4pm - 6pm
FREE for children 12 years and below
Each child will receive 1 popcorn and candy pack to start off the journey into the Amazon adventure with Rio and his family.

Stargazing
SAFRA Jurong
13 Sep 2014; 7pm - 9pm
FREE

For other activities, visit HERE.

Families for Life Celebrations 2014
13 & 14 Sep 2014; 3pm - 9.30pm
Singapore Sports Hub
FREE Admission


Families for Life Celebrations 2014 is a mega family carnival happening on 13 & 14 Sept (Sat & Sun) at the Singapore Sports Hub. Families can look forward to a diverse line-up of free activities from family bonding activities to adrenaline-pumping sports tryouts. Visit www.familiesforlife.sg/celebrations/celebrations.html for more information. Highlights:

Movie Screening (Sat & Sun) 
Enjoy some family-friendly entertainment with the family with a free movie screening under the stars. The first 600 participants will receive free snacks!
13 Sep (Sat), 8pm: Despicable Me
14 Sep (Sun), 7.30pm: Despicable Me 2

Segway Fun Rides*, 3pm – 9pm (Sat & Sun)
Hop on the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) for a free introductory experience on this futuristic mobility device. An exciting experience for everyone! *Minimum height of 105cm & Maximum weight 120kg

Kayaking, 3pm – 7pm (Sat & Sun)
Always wanted to try out kayaking? These free kayaking tryouts are perfect for families to learn some basic kayaking skills and have a blast!

Rock Climbing, 3pm – 9.30pm (Sat & Sun) 
For families looking to try something new, rock climbing is a great way to scale new heights and have fun bonding at the same time. This free tryout session is suitable for beginners and makes for an unforgettable experience.

Stage Performances (Sat & Sun)
Be entertained by our exciting line-up of stage performances and activities, highlights include the viral sensation Grandma Mary – a 78-year-old rocker grandmother, as well as a unique father-and-son mask changing and magic puppet show!

SJI Concert at Singapore Botanic Gardens
13 Sep 2014; 5pm - 7pm
Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, Singapore Botanic Gardens
FREE

Join in for an evening with talented performers from four St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) schools and enjoy classical and contemporary melodies by symphonic orchestras, string ensembles, and more. There will also be fun activities such as balloon sculpting, face painting to engage the younger ones. Don’t forget to pack a picnic meal too for the evening as you enjoy the performances!

Straits Family Sunday
14 Sep 2014; 1pm - 5pm
Peranakan Museum
FREE Admission

Craft something to take home with you based on the museum's collection, or go on a special, themed tour of the galleries. Dress up with the whole family in a batik shirt or sarong kebaya. See the handling collection up close or relax with a good book in our reading corner.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What to Eat at Gelang Patah (Near LEGOLAND Malaysia)

Whenever the monkies clamour to go to LEGOLAND Malaysia, they predictably will be looking forward to the rides. I, on the other hand, will be pondering on what food to gorge on. But let's face it - food options within LEGOLAND Malaysia and at the adjacent Medini Mall are no culinary extraordinaire so I am always on the lookout for something to excite the taste buds.

During our recent stay at Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, we struck gold.


We ventured slightly further away from LEGOLAND Malaysia and Puteri Harbour and found ourselves in Gelang Patah, a small town in Johor which is approximately 10-minute drive away from Puteri Harbour (and less, if you are leaving from LEGOLAND).

Gelang Patah is a sleepy rustic town where its shops seem to have froze in time, exuding an extremely laid-back vibe. In short, the wifey and I loved it... made even more so when we stumbled onto a small kopitiam located smack in the middle of hardware and provision shops.


Instead of the hotel's buffet breakfast, we decided to try something different during one of the mornings and we were glad we did. Wee Hoi Kopitiam (惠海) is your typical old-style coffee shop which serves the usual kaya toast and kopi... complete with a selection of dim sum!


Okay, the dim sum selection is not great but there were the standard siew mai, har gow, chicken feet, spare ribs in bean sauce and lor mai kai. Pretty decent fare, but the lor mai kai definitely stood out for the monkies. Or so they declared, as the wifey and I were too slow to even snag a bite before the everything was walloped clean. So we just had to make do with the kaya toast, which was okay but nothing spectacular.


What is a kopitiam breakfast without soft boiled eggs? Wee Hoi's soft boiled eggs come from kampung chickens, which supposedly taste different from the usual eggs we are familiar with in Singapore. At first glance, the soft boiled eggs do look different, with the yolks being a slightly darker yellow in colour.


Taste-wise, I found the egg yolks to be so much richer compared to the local ones we have here. I loved how the soft boiled eggs tasted more flavourful, with its texture being less runny. The monkies though, did not exactly take to the taste as readily, presumably because they were more used to the usual taste of soft boiled eggs in Singapore.

I then washed it all down with a cup of kopi, which I found to be very aromatic and strong in flavour. Not the best I have had, but above average.


But clearly, the monkies enjoyed their breakfast... even though it was not the equivalent of a hotel buffet breakfast!


Oh and apparently, Wee Hoi is super famous for its handmade bao (or buns)! But alas, the buns are only delivered daily at 1pm (except Thursdays) and get this, they are usually sold out in less than 30 minutes! Or at least that was what I read from the newspaper cutting. Looks like there is one more great excuse to come back another time.


The other fantastic thing about Gelang Patah is there are no lack of seafood zichar restaurants. Chua Kee, Tian Lai and Star Chef are some of the more popular seafood restaurants that I have came across online. But since we did not have the luxury of time to savour all of them, we settled for Star Chef Seafood Restaurant (星名厨) this time around.


Star Chef is opened for both lunch and dinner, and the location was not exactly that difficult to get to. As a seafood restaurant, it is as no-frills as it can get - no air-con but airy place, wooden tables and plastic chairs... but the food is what ultimately mattered and my word, it did its job splendidly.

Let's just get down to the food, shall we? The Lala (Clams) cooked in broth with ginger and spring onion (RM12) was up first and as you can probably tell from the photo below, I only managed to snap it AFTER the clams have been depleted in half.


The clams were very fresh, and the broth was so good that not a single drop was left after our meal. But nothing could have prepared us for the next dish, Tong Po Pork (RM13). The price is for one portion but we ended up ordering two portions instead which on hindsight, was the best decision ever.


Simply put, I had never tasted Tong Po meat this good. The meat was savoury, and everything just melted so effortlessly in the mouth.

Next up, Fried Chicken in Mala (麻辣) Sauce (RM16 for half-chicken).


Despite its name, the dish was not overly spicy. The chicken was well-marinated, with its crunchy fired skin the main highlight. Overall, it was pretty decent but not something I will order again.

And since the chicken was a tad spicy, we ordered the Braised Duck for the kids.


I think the adults ended up having more of the duck than the kids! The braised gravy was very flavourful with a hint of spices, and the duck meat was tender with a a tinge of sweetness.

Even for the madatory fibre dish, there was no running away from seafood.


We had the Stir Fried Grouper with Broccoli (RM28) and what surprised me was the huge thick chunks of fish slices that came with the broccoli... plus the fish slices were very fresh too!

Of course, it would be criminal if a crab dish did not feature in our orders. And we decided to to be a tad more adventurous and try something new as opposed to the usual Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab or Steamed Crab.


Say hello to Butter Cream Crab with Coconut Milk (RM108 for 2 average-sized crabs). Its taste was somewhat similar to that of Butter Crabs, but with the fragrant accompaniment of fresh coconut milk and shredded coconut. I loved how the buttery, creamy and sweet taste of the sauce complemented the juiciness of the crab meat... though the wifey found the taste to be slightly too sweet for her liking.

But overall, the food was immensely satisfying because you just don't get food like this anymore in Singapore - unpretentiously tasty food in a no-frills environment.


Come dinner time, we were once again on the prowl for more food in Gelang Patah. While driving around, we came across this open air food court.


Restoran 777 Food Centre serves up the usual Malaysian hawker food, in an al fresco setting. Lots of stalls, selling a variety of food like bak kut teh, chicken rice, yong tau foo, satay celup, char kway teow, orh luak, rojak line the road and it was a hive of activity!


But with the monkies' energy level fast depleting after a full day at LEGOLAND Malaysia, we decided to pack our dinner back to the hotel room instead. And we obviously over-ordered once again.


The next time you are at LEGOLAND Malaysia or Puteri Harbour with the family, why not head down to Gelang Patah for more food choices at cheaper prices? They are just a short drive away. Besides, there is only so much pizza, pasta or sushi that we parents can take!


Useful Information

Wee Hoi Kopitiam (惠海)
6, Jalan Kacang Panjang, Gelang Patah, Johor (Map)
GPS: 1.446838,103.587325
Opening hours: 6am to 5pm (closed on Thursday)

Star Chef Restaurant (星名厨)
51, Jalan Gelang Emas 1, Taman Gelang Emas
Gelang Patah, (Map)
GPS: 1.450726,103.585367
Opening hours: 9.30am to 10:30pm (Closed on alternate Thursdays)
Tel: +60 19-772 6606

Restoran 777 Food Centre
2 Jln Medan Nusa Perintis 8, Taman Nusa Perintis 2
81550 Gelang Patah, Johor (Map)

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