Dec 10, 2016

How You Can Free Up More Family Time

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I think we can all agree that life in Singapore is pretty fast-paced. Sometimes we are so caught up with everything in life that I wished I had more hours in a day so that I can do the things that are more fulfilling - like spending time with my adorable monkies.


Yes, I'm biased that way.

But truth is, they are growing up way too fast for me. So anything that aids me in freeing up time for them is always welcome. Something that a digital service called MyInfo promises to do.


Hands up if you are one of those who dreads filling and re-filling personal information for online transactions. I, for one, find it a hassle to keep providing the same information such as NRIC, address and contact number over and over again.

Compared to the time I first registered for the Baby Bonus when Ash was born in 2005, the convenience of filling up my personal details now is definitely welcomed. Back then, I remember having to fill pages of hard copy forms and when it came to Ale's turn, I still had to fill in every single detail all over again even though the medium had shifted online.

That is why MyInfo is such a lifesaver - if you transact online with Government agencies. Simply put, it is a personal data platform that enables seamless digital transactions by auto-filling data fields upon your consent.

So no more filling in the same data for separate transactions with different government agencies! FREEDOM!


What this means is the digital service allows fields to be automatically filled with data - such as name, NRIC number, registered address and property owned - pulled from various government agencies such as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

How does one get started?

As I found out, signing up is a breeze.


I effortlessly registered for a MyInfo profile at www.myinfo.gov.sg using my SingPass account. Once registered, my basic profile was created with personal information from participating Government agencies within 1 working day. And as an added security measure, I had log in via an additional 2FA mechanism, which provided protection to safeguard the data within my profile.

Once signed up, I can then choose to enhance my basic profile by providing additional details such as my highest education level or family relationships for even greater convenience during future transactions.


So the next time I transact online with a Government agancy, there is NO need for me to tediously fill any more online forms if the information had already been captured previously.

Compared to the time I first registered for the Baby Bonus when Ash was born in 2005, the convenience of filling up my personal details now is definitely welcomed. Back then, I remember having to fill pages of hard copy forms and when it came to Ale's turn, I still had to fill in every single detail all over again even though the medium had shifted online.

Now, all I have to do is to click the ‘Retrieve MyInfo’ button located on these online forms, and the participating digital service will be able to receive the necessary data fields from my profile for automatic field submission. Easy peasy!


But what if I do not want to share my data for that particular transaction? No worries, one's consent will always be sought every single time MyInfo is used for any government transaction. Additionally, I can choose to be alerted whenever a digital service uses my personal data. 


Not sure how to sign up? Here’s the video for you to learn how to sign up for MyInfo service:


Just how great MyInfo is a life hack for a busy parent like me?

Let me count the ways:

IT SAVES TIME

What it means: No more tedious form-filling and no more data entry errors. Relevant data fields will be filled in automatically, making it faster for me to complete online forms, and with fewer mistakes.

What it means FOR ME: More time to spend with the monkies, like wrestling on the bed - Tsum Tsum style!



GREATER CONVENIENCE

What it means: Verifications via physical documents are no longer needed to complete transactions. Upon my consent, government-verified information can be submitted on my behalf, freeing up precious time!

What it means FOR ME: Fuss-free and most importantly, stress-free because I do not have to fret about digging for past forms to submit. I win!


I’M IN CONTROL

What it means: MyInfo adheres to the same security standards as SingPass, and consent is always obtained before data is transferred. What's more, I will receive notifications whenever I consent to the use of my MyInfo profile , and am able to review records of my past transactions in my user profile.

What it means FOR ME: Peace of mind, knowing that I control the sharing of my information and that it will be there when I need to use it.

With that extra bit of convenience that MyInfo offers, I can now avoid the hassle of having to wrestle with paperwork. This adds up - not only can I get more done, but I also have pockets of time to re-connect with my loved ones and do the things that I love.



For more information and to sign up, visit www.myinfo.gov.sg.


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Dec 8, 2016

Catch 2 Comical Larvae & Their Friends from Larva at Marina Square this December School Holidays!

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After Tayo the Little Bus' first-ever live appearance in a shopping mall during the June School Holidays, Marina Square is bringing in another character show that will be making its debut performance in Singapore.

Say hello to the characters from Larva!


Okay, hang on... just what is Larva all about?

I have to admit that I was just as clueless when I heard of the impending show for the first time. So I did some research through my good friend, Google. It turns out that Larva is a popular computer-animated comedy television series from South Korea. After first hitting airwaves in 2011, the slapstick episodes of Larva have become firmly established as one of the most popular cartoons on television in South Korea.


In its episodes that are each only a couple of minutes long, two larvae, simply called Red and Yellow, engage in a series of comedic fights, with other creatures such as beetles and snails making appearances as well.

And no worries if your kids have no idea who the characters are, as there is a brief introduction session before the show of the various characters.


But judging from the kids in the audience, I have a feeling they already know who they are.


Turns out that the kids are more in tune with Larva (and the latest cartoon trends) than me!


And when Red and Yellow, the two mischievous larvae, made their appearances on stage, it is safe to say that all of the kids' eyes were transfixed on stage.



Along the way, a snail with a detachable shell named Rainbow also joined in the fray.


And when Brown the dung beetle danced its way onto the stage, the wacky factor just upped a few notches. Interestingly, he treats poop as either food or treasure!


I brought Ale to the show and initially, I was sceptical whether she would enjoy the performance since she had not watched the Larva cartoon before. Well, just like the many kids in the audience, they sat through the show all the same... thanks to the numerous dance numbers.


In fact, Ale enjoyed it so much that she did not hesitate when I asked if she would like to snap a photo with the Larva cast!


Larva will only be here until 18 December 2016 though. Show times are 3pm & 7pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays and 2pm, 4pm & 7pm from Fridays to Sundays. There are no shows on Mondays.

And if you wish to meet and snap a photo with Larva after the show, be sure to head down early. 60 Meet & Greet passes will be distributed at the entrance 20 minutes prior to each show. Passes are issued on a first come, first served basis.

After the show, be sure to soak in the sights at Marina Square too because this year, the mall has gone big with the Christmas decorations.


For starters, Marina Square’s Central Atrium has been transformed into a quirky and whimsical new world with a looming 10-metre tall Christmas Tree as its centrepiece.

Adorned with a fanciful combination of colourful baubles and topped off with a magical lighted star, the tree is home to Santa's cosy hideaway which is great for those Instagram shots!


Kids can also try their hand at riding Santa's famous sleigh too!


Or even come up with funny poses with the adorable polyfoam reindeers and bunnies engaging in various antics around the Christmas Tree. Yes, like what Ale did. LOL.


In addition to the Central Atrium, there are various Christmas decorations scattered in different parts of the mall too. And it will be well worth your while to hunt them down and snap a photo with them.


From now until 25 December 2016, join in the 'Capture the Quirky Moments' contest by snapping a photo of yourself with any of the whimsical Christmas decorations in Marina Square and stand to win $300 worth of dining vouchers! There are also five consolation prizes consisting of $100 worth of dining vouchers each. Simply upload your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #MarinaSquareXmas2016 to participate.


And don't say I never tell you... the Roof Garden at Level 3 is also decked out in all things festive too, complete with mesmerizing lights, bunnies and Santa’s sleigh.


So check out the Christmas Goodies Fair at the Atrium as well, and pick up some Christmas hampers, chocolates, candies and other sweets from Emporium Shokuhin and Marks & Spencer.

Even though the Larva show ends its run on 18 December 2016, the festivities continue from 19 to 23 December 2016 with a host of Christmas fringe activities. Expect activities for the kids such as colouring & crafts (12pm – 5pm) and catch a series of stage acts at 3pm featuring your favourite festive characters such as as Elf, Rudolph the Reindeer and Santa Claus. Enjoy a string of Christmas melodies at 7pm.


Shopping at Marina Square?

Spend $50* to redeem a Larva gift wrapper. Charge to your HSBC credit card and redeem 2 gift wrappers.

Spend $150* and above to redeem a $10 Marina Square Gift Voucher. HSBC credit cardholders need only charge $120 to qualify.

Spend $200* or charge $180 to your HSBC credit card to redeem a Larva cushion! Limited to the first 5,000 shoppers.


With so many activities taking place at Marina Square this year-end School Holidays, it really is every family's one-stop mall for all kid-centric entertainment!



Useful Information

LARVA LIVE SHOW
Dates: 1 - 18 Dec 2016 (No shows on Mon)
Timings: Fri - Sun 2pm, 4pm & 7pm | Tue - Thur 3pm & 7pm
Venue: Marina Square, Atrium

Christmas Fringe Activities
Dates: 19 – 23 Dec 2016
Timings: 12pm - 5pm (Stage act at 3pm & 7pm)
Venue: Marina Square, Atrium

Capture the Quirky Moments Photo Contest
Dates: 18 Nov - 25 Dec 2016

For more details, visit Marina Square's website.


*Maximum 3 same-day combined receipts. Limited to 1 redemption per shopper per day. Up to 3 combined purchases may be charged to the same HSBC credit card. Redemption must be made personally on the same day of purchase at the Customer Service Counters on a first-come, first-served basis, while stocks last. Other terms and conditions apply. Visit www.marinasquare.com.sg for more details.


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Dec 5, 2016

Are You Hoarding Gadgets? Here's How You can Convert Them into Cash Vouchers!

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I have a confession to make.

I am a gadget hoarder.


I love the latest and greatest in gadgets... although looking at my drawers of old phones and other gizmos, it appears that I am not able to let go of the old stuff just yet.


Because somewhere buried in those drawers - and shelves, if I may add - are:

- Old mobile phones that have not been switched on for at least six months.

- Ancient PCs and laptops that I have hung on to because I worry about their data falling into the wrong hands.

- Other electronic gadgets, together with numerous power cables - stashed away because maybe, just maybe I will need them some day.

- Electronic devices that are not working but I have kept them because well, I intend to repair them one fine day.

Problem is, that one fine day never comes.

Does any of the above scenarios relate to you?

Welcome to the club... and I have got good and bad news for you.

The bad news is both you and I need help.

The good news is there is an incentive for you and I to trade those old electronic items for e-recycling in exchange for CASH VOUCHERS!


Newstead Technologies Pte Ltd, a Singapore based electronics store offering the latest devices from all of the big international brands, is embarking on a campaign to lead and encourage e-waste recycling in Singapore. And hopefully in the process, more people will be made aware of the importance of data cleansing and security.

Titled 'Gift Your Tech', the campaign ties in with the festive season's spirit of giving too, as Newstead aims to raise funds for its beneficiary, TOUCH Community Service, at the same time.

So how does the campaign work?

- From now until 27 January 2017, simply bring down your old electronic items to Newstead's 12 participating stores to exchange them for vouchers.

- Electronic items accepted are PCs, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

- For items that can be traded-in, i.e. in a resalable condition, the trade-in value will be evaluated at the store. A Newstead cash voucher of equivalent value to the agreed trade-in amount will be given to the customer.

- The voucher can be combined to purchase a new item and is valid for one year from the date of issue.

- For items that are not eligible for trade-in, Newstead will help to do a complete data cleansing and recycle the product. In return, you will receive a booklet of discount vouchers to be used in Newstead stores.

- The 12 participating Newstead stores include:

  • Marina Square, #02-276 (Newstead Technologies)
  • Marina Square, #02-261 (ASUS Concept Store)
  • Marina Square, #02-254A (Dell Concept Store)
  • Marina Square, #02-213 (HP Concept Store)
  • Marina Square, #02-275 (Lenovo Concept Store)
  • Suntec City Mall Tower 3 #01-618 (Digital Style)
  • Suntec City Mall, #02-480 (Newstead Technologies)
  • Jurong Point Shopping Centre #B1-92 (Digital Style)
  • NEX Shopping Mall, #04-55 (Newstead Technologies)
  • Causeway Point, #03-11 (Asus Concept Store)
  • Causeway Point, #04-21 (Lenovo Concept Store)
  • Sim Lim Square, #03-50 (Newstead Technologies)

In addition, Newstead has pledged to donate 20% of the trade-in value of each item to its TOUCH Community Services beneficiary!

So not only can I now get rid of my unwanted electronic items at home and exchange them for cash vouchers, TOUCH Community Services will also be benefiting from my e-waste disposal.

Yes, including disposing that old laptop that I got when Ash was still a (cute) toddler!


Looks like I need not be a gadget hoarder anymore!



Keen to find out more? Newstead will be conducting a roadshow on 28 December 2016 at Marina Square. Besides being able to bring old electronics items to the event for trade-in, visitors will be able to attend a discussion about data security and e-waste recycling as well as witness a live demonstration of proper data cleansing for electronic items.

For more details, visit giftyourtech.newstead.com.sg.


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Dec 3, 2016

Go on a Dinosaur Adventure at Singapore Zoo's & River Safari's Zoo-rassic Park this School Holidays!

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Did you know that dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the earth in the fifth extinction? And sadly enough, we are staring at a possible sixth extinction in today's world. Because animal species are being wiped out at an unprecedented rate, just like how we are down to the final THREE northern white rhinos in the world.

Sobering thought, isn't it?

In fact, we have lost 67% of the world’s biodiversity in the last 50 years. And that explains why Wildlife Reserves Singapore has welcomed a pack of dinosaurs to Singapore Zoo and River Safari this year end school holidays - so that we can all discover how to save today’s species from going the way of the dinosaurs.


If your kids are crazy over dinosaurs, Zoo-rassic Park promises a fun-filled immersive adventure with its life-like dinosaur animatronics display and dinosaur-themed activities.


Ale isn't that great a fan of dinosaurs, but even she was fascinated with the numerous dino trivia that accompanied the dinosaur displays. Yes, she actually stopped and read each single word off the information panels!


Of course, nothing could get more exciting than coming face to face with either a T-Rex or Velociraptor at the Meet & Greet sessions.


And judging from the crowds and smiling faces, I think the roaming dino was a hit!


But the real highlight of Zoo-rassic Park at the Singapore Zoo is the newly installed Dinosaur Valley, which features the likes of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops.



The dinosaurs move and roar too, by the way so if you have younger kids, be prepared that they may get a little intimidated.

BUT a good distraction will be to pick up your free copy of the Same Same But Different Trail map, which complements the walking experience through Dinosaur Valley.



The immersive discovery trail draws parallels to Singapore Zoo's living animals. As we embarked on a misty walk on the Same Same But Different Trail, we learnt more about convergent evolution and how the animals of today - like giraffes, rhinos, and bats - share similar features and behaviours with these relics of the past.



It certainly piqued the interest of Ale!


Well, that and these cute little baby dinos too I guess.


For an even more engaging augmented reality experience at Zoo-rassic Park, download the Visual Discovery app Blippar on your smartphone before you head down to the Zoo and you get to scan the dinosaurs peeping through the foliage to unlock an interactive experience and learn fun facts about their relationship to other animals in the Zoo.


The trail journey continues at River Safari, where kids can learn about living fossils in the Extinction Escapees Trail and find out more about ancient animals still alive today such as the Alligator Snapping Turtle, Indian Gharial and Giant Salamander.

Kids having itchy fingers? Make your way down to the Rainforest Courtyard at Singapore Zoo or Boat Plaza at River Safari for some good old fashioned crafting fun!


At the Singapore Zoo, kids can try their hand at creating dino clothes pegs, dino masks and even indulge in fossil-making.


Over at River Safari, kids will be able to create their own dino finger puppet, dino scratch art or a dino clay art keychain to take home. And yes, all craft activities are FREE!

And for all those aspiring palaeontologists, they will be able to take up a brush and dust away at two large sand pits in a bid to unearth dinosaur fossils.


For some reason, finding dino fossils in a sand pit is always a hit with kids.



The dinosaur-themed activities are happening on the weekends of 26 Nov to18 Dec 2016. However, you will be able to continue to catch the dinosaurs in their new home at Singapore Zoo and River Safari until March 2017.

Which is fantastic news, because I loved how Zoo-rassic Park imparts valuable lessons about saving today’s species from extinction by learning from the past. Plus, we still got to visit some of Ale's fave Zoo animals after the dino experience too!


And because it is the school holidays, local residents can enjoy higher savings with the Dino-mite admission combo between 26 Nov and 18 Dec 2016! Purchase the Singapore Zoo and River Safari dual pack combo tickets at $39 per adult (U.P. $63) and $25 per child (3-12) (U.P. $42). The Dino-mite admission combo is available online and onsite.


Activities at Singapore Zoo

Dino Meet and Greet
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Times: 10.00am, 11.30am and 1.00pm (30 mins)

Dino-themed craft activities
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Fossil Finding Fun
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Same Same But Different Trail
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm

Activities at River Safari

Dino-themed craft activities
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Extinction Escapees Trail
Dates: 26 Nov – 18 Dec (weekends only)
Time: 11.00am – 4.00pm


For more information, visit www.zoo.com.sg/zoorassic-park.


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