May 30, 2015

Top 10 Picks of Children's Season 2015 that Kids should not miss!

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If there is only one kid-centric festival that you should bring your kids to in 2015, Children's Season is it.

Presented by the National Heritage Board, Children’s Season is an action-packed festival during the June school holidays and is held across various museums and institutions island-wide. How many? A total of TWENTY, with over 50 fun-filled yet educational programmes and activities geared towards kids. Yes, FIFTY. Any wonder that Children's Season is my face festival of the lot?

And even though Children's Season lasts for a full month between 30 May and 28 June 2015, there is absolutely no way that my monkies can finish visiting all of them. So it pays to get started early and visit the museums! To help you along, I have picked out some of the most notable programmes to bring your kids to.

Masak Masak 2015
30 May - 10 August 2015 | 10am - 6pm daily
National Museum of Singapore
Free Admission

A key event of the annual Children’s Season, Masak Masak 2015 returns for its second edition with a variety of interactive and engaging activities for parents to bring their kids to the National Museum of Singapore. There are lots to do, from bouncy playgrounds reminiscent of our familiar neighbourhood mosaic playground, crafts such as traditional woodblock prints, to a massive maze and up-close giant illustrations!

Here are some of the interesting installations to look out for:

Luma-City | Perform @PLAY (Level 3)

Light up the kids' imagination at Luma-City, an immersive play-space filled with toy vehicles that
leave glowing trails as they are pushed around. Kids will be surprised by the luminescent trails that appear and gradually fade beneath their feet.

Spectrum of Paper | Rotunda (Level 1)

In this colourful rainbow origami suspension,  immerse yourselves in a kaleidoscope of colourful, suspended origami boats and planes! Composed of thousands of strings, look up and spot your favourite origami animal or toy.

Sol’s Journey | The Salon (Level 1)

Sol’s Journey is inspired by Jeanette Aw’s latest illustrated book, Sol’s World: Somebody to Love, and is a collaborative effort between various artists.

Sol is a curious young girl on a quest to find the answers to her endless questions. Embark on a colourful and fantastical journey of self-discovery with Sol as she finds out what truly matters to her.

Spectrum of Paper 

Spectrum of Paper continues in Sol’s Journey with a colourful origami mural to complement Jeanette Aw’s illustration of Sol holding onto a string tied to a bird in flight.

Queen of the Forest

Presented via an installation of specially created puppets, the story features a young princess who wanders away from her palace, only to be tricked by spirits of a nearby forest.

Puppetry Performance Schedule: Sat & Sun, 30 & 31 May, 13 & 14, 20 & 21 June, 8 & 9 August | 2.30pm (20 min session each)

Simple Pleasures in Life

Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that make you smile. It’s time to look around and discover the people who bring colour to your life. Pick up a crayon and fill this wall mural with your favourite colours!

Garden Games | Concourse (Level 1)

In this second edition of larger-than-life games, students from the School of The Arts (SOTA)
reimagine nostalgic games with a modern, outdoor twist. Share your favourite childhood games like flag erasers, ring-in-bottle and pinball with your children, but with a different take. The games are transformed into a life-sized scale, with the rules tweaked slightly for the while family to play together. Definitely something the kids will enjoy!

Flag Attack!

Flag Attack! is a larger-than-life version of the old-school flag eraser game. The aim of the game is to flip one’s “eraser” to land on top of their opponent’s. Visitors can also gain extra points by matching a famous icon to its corresponding country flag!

Hello, Hello?

Inspired by the tin can telephone, this giant flower challenges visitors to figure out which cans are connected amid a tangle of coloured strings.

Can or Not?

In the original version of Ring-a-Bottle commonly found in amusement parks, participants attempt to toss a ring around coloured bottles to win a prize. This adaptation, Can or Not?, requires players to communicate and coordinate with one another to win.


Pinball machines and ball-in-maze puzzles are combined in this new vertical game, where players have to navigate a ball out of the maze by spinning the entire maze.

Dancing Solar Flowers | Concourse (Level 1)

Blending renewable energy with art, breathing life into a field of flowers and transforming it into a beautiful, hypnotic piece of work, this poetic and playful installation inspires children to question our current use of energy and to think about sustainable energy sources for the future.

Wanderlust | Canyon (Basement)

Adventures await in this enchanting forest that recreates earth’s many glorious landscapes. Immerse yourself in this fantastical world created from simple materials such as crepe paper, explore low terrain, burrows, narrow thicket passageways and crawl under overhanging branches – all within the Museum!

If your kids love scurrying about, this is one installation that you should not miss.

Playgrounds on the Lawn | Front Lawn
Open for play every Sat & Sun, 10am – 12pm & 4pm – 6pm

And so, we come to undoubtedly the fave installation among all kids (and maybe some adults) of the lot. 

Yes, the ever-popular bouncy playgrounds are back at Masak Masak 2015! These recreated playgrounds pay tribute to the familiar mosaic playgrounds designed by the Housing and Development Board for Singapore’s public housing estates in the 1980s.

The bouncy castles are modeled after the old Singapore Playgrounds so that they can offer a connection between parent and child - the child will obviously love bouncing and sliding on the bouncy structures but the parent will be able to share with his/her child the kind of playgrounds that they grew up playing as well.

And this year, a new bouncy castle joins the family - the Watermelon playground!

Oh, and if you head down to the National Museum of Singapore, remember to pick up your free copy of Baby Block's Day Out!

This storybook is a guide to Masak Masak 2015, describing bonding moments which you can share with your kids at each installation. You can download the guide HERE as well.

Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Animal Race
30 May -16 August 2015 | 10am to 5pm daily
Asian Civilisations Museum
Free Admission

Once Upon a Time in Asia: The Animal Race introduces the cultural tradition of the Chinese zodiac animals. Through original interactive ensembles, inspired by objects in ACM’s collection, as well as specimens and replicas from the Singapore Science Centre, and storytelling sessions, ACM’s specially curated exhibition engages young visitors to discover interesting animal facts using the five senses – from learning about animal poop (!) to exploring the symbolism of animals in other Asian traditions.

This year, the ACM has also collaborated with Kinderland to create a community display for the exhibition. Teachers, and students from four to six years old, worked with the ACM’s staff in making
art from recyclables.

On top of that, there are plenty of Play Zones to keep the little ones occupied:

Mighty Creatures
Inspired by traditional paper cut-outs and soft toys, Mighty Creatures provokes thoughts about our
relationships with animals. Cut-outs are one of the oldest and the most popular folk arts in Chinese
culture, often used in celebrations.

Tasty Treats
Plant-eating animals are called herbivores. Meat-eating animals are carnivores. Animals that eat
both plants and meat are omnivores. Tasty Treats explores the different foods that attract animals.
Find out what different herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores like to eat and why.

Animal Coverings
Different kinds of animals have different body coverings. Discover how these body coverings provide protection and insulation, as well as additional functions specific to individual animal groups.

Animal Poop
Get the scoop on animal poop and learn some turd trivia. You might be surprised by how poop is
used and what you can learn from it. Discover the many different names for poop. This is serious
business, but bring along your sense of humour, too.

Animal Tales
All cultures share the use of animals as metaphors and symbols. Discover wonderful stories about
the animal, art and recycling.

How about other museums? Here are some of my recommendations:

Cadets, Fall In! 2015
Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 30 May - 28 June 2015 (except 6, 26 and 27 June)
Free admission for Singapore Citizens & PRs
Army Museum of Singapore

Listen up, boys and girls! Back by popular demand, the Army Museum of Singapore proudly presents to you the “Cadets, Fall In” programme – a one-hour “Basic Military Training” experience, which features activities such as the “stand-by-bed” challenge, mini-standard obstacle course, as well as a laser tag game mission.

Don’t forget to check out the special exhibition titled “Our Time”, which centres around three generations of Singapore's Army. Through the different eras, the soldiers are connected by their common purpose in defending Singapore. Have fun trying out army uniforms from various eras at the Virtual Changing Room and snapping mind-bending photographs at our three-dimensional art installations!

*Pre-registration is required. For activity timings and more details, please visit or

Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas
30 May - 19 July 2015
Mon - Sun 10am - 7pm | Fri 10am - 9pm
Free Admission for Singaporeans & PRs
SAM at 8Q

Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas, an exhibition for everyone and anyone with a head for ideas and a heart for adventure, is the new edition of SAM’s much-loved annual contemporary art exhibition for children, begun in 2010 and now in its fifth year. In the spirit of SG50, this year's exhibition is inspired by the crescent moon on the Singapore flag, a symbol of a young nation on the rise and with it, the capacity to dream big and think large. What might we be able to envision and aspire to? What worlds could we imagine for ourselves and create for others? Particularly targeted at children, Imaginarium is both immersive and interactive with hands-on activities at every turn.

I want to be a Policeman!
30 May, 4 & 5 June, 12 & 13 June, 18 & 19 June, 26 & 27 June 2015
Weekdays - 10am, 11am, 2.30pm & 4pm | Weekends - 10am & 11.30am
Police Heritage Centre
Free Admission

Children visiting the Police Heritage Centre (PHC) will be treated to an immersive experience as they don the various kids-sized police uniforms. Another unique feature of the PHC tour is the photo-taking session with police officers and a retro-fitted police radio car which was deployed to the scene of crime in the 1970s! 

*Tours are by appointment only. To register, please contact the Visit Management Officer at 64782123 or email 

30 May - 13 June 2015 | 10am - 6pm
Malay Heritage Centre
Free Admission

Get ready for a month of great fun for the family at the Malay Heritage Centre! Returning for the fifth year, ter-ba-BOM! takes you on a Heritage Hunt around Kampong Gelam and features an interactive storytelling session of Badang as well as the myths, legends and history of Singapore’s ancient past. For the first time ever, MHC’s courtyard will be transformed into a retro playground complete with swings, merry-go-round and slides! 

Children's Season @ Science Centre Singapore
30 May - 28 June 2015
Various programmes
Visit HERE for more details

MARITIME SINGAPORE – Discovery Journey
30 May - 28 June 2015 | 9am - 5.30pm (Closed on Mon, except on PH)
Singapore Maritime Gallery
Free Admission

Embark on a discovery journey at the Singapore Maritime Gallery to learn more about all things maritime and its importance to our daily lives. Learn how Singapore transformed from a trading post into a major global hub port and the vibrancy and dynamics of the maritime industry.

Colour a Story
Participate in a ‘free n easy” colouring activity daily as you visit the Gallery. The colouring booklet comes with a simple maritime-themed story to engage the children’s interest on all things maritime as they colour.

Passport Trail
Complete the SMG Passport trail to learn many interesting things about Maritime Singapore and kids can redeem a gift for themselves.

Straits Family Sunday – Supersized!
14 June 2015 | 1pm – 5pm
Peranakan Museum
Free Admission (1pm - 5pm)

Move to the beat of the yesteryear and dance to songs enjoyed by young Peranakans of the past. Create your own container inspired by old gramophone and vinyl records. Dress up in baba and nyonya costumes or relax with a good book in the reading corner. Enjoy a fun-filled experience with the whole family.

Children’s Season: The Gift of Friendship
30 May - 26 June 2015 | 10am - 5pm
Singapore Discovery Centre
Free Admission

Symbols of friendship have long existed since ancient times and are often significant reminders of the
bond shared between two persons. As a small nation-state, Singapore has benefitted from having
many friends from all around the world. In the spirit of celebrating international friendships, we invite you to create your own uniquely designed friendship craft, one that you could exchange with a special friend this holiday.

International Friendship Day 2015 Special Weekend
30 & 31 May 2015, 11am to 5pm (Craft and Booth activities), 12.30pm (Performances)
Free Admission

Come with your friends and families to celebrate the spirit of international friendship! Enjoy the sounds and rhythms of the world at our lobby on this special weekend and learn more about the cultures of different countries from our Embassy Showcase as you interact with friends from all around the world. You may even be treated to samples of traditional food or delights from these countries.

Useful Information

Children's Season 2015
30 May - 28 June 2015
Various Museums and Heritage Institutions
For a complete listing of ALL programmes, visit

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May 28, 2015

7 Eco-Farms in Johor for Families

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If you are looking to expose your kids to the wonderful world of nature in the form of farm stays, you do not have to fly to Australia or other countries to do that. Our neighbouring state up north, Johor, offers farm stay experiences at a far more economical level.

So if you are on a shoestring budget, here are a few suggestions where to take the family for that farm experience during the school holidays - with 4 out of the 7 listings offering their own accommodation options.

1. Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm (KOREF) Resort

Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm Resort is a no ordinary farm. Or resort. A little more than 2 hours by car from Tuas Checkpoint, the Eco Farm spans 260 acres of arable land at the fringe of the tropical Malaysian Rainforest Reserves.

Top draws of the Eco-Farm include the wide range of outdoor activities that families can partake in. Kids can row on a bamboo raft, pretend they are participating in Ninja Warrior on the Water Obstacle Course, scurry like little hamsters in a Water Ball and go zipping down a Flying Fox line suspended over the lake. For something calmer, there are rabbits, ducks and fishes to feed.

It is also the first and only certified organic rice farm in Malaysia that provides free and easy eco-farm stays. Stay in its Floating Chalets on the lake for that simple kampong-living experience. Nature lovers will enjoy this rustic getaway.

Read more about our experience here:

Address: Km 43, Jalan Kluang Mersing, 86700 Kahang, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +6 07 771 3431 | +6 012 720 8158 | +6 012 768 3149

2. UK Agro Farm

Situated in Johor - about an hour’s drive from Singapore - UK Agro Farm Resort is Malaysia’s largest goat and sheep farm, with 100 acres of grazing land for 4,000 sheep. It offers a farmstay experience but the farm is also good for a day trip. There are tons of farm activities to do such as touring the Herb Sanctuary and Mushroom and Fruit Farms to learn all about plants. The highlight of the farm tour is probably feeding and cuddling sheep at the Sheep Farm. Kids can try bottle feeding baby goats, or feeding grain to ostriches at the Ostrich Park.

If the kids still have energy to expend after that, they can partake in the Sheep Challenge where they would be given 3 minutes to catch sheep in an enclosure, and stand to win a prize if one is successful. Or if they prefer something less exhaustive, families can sign up for UK Agro Resort’s DIY activities ranging from lantern-making, kite-making to baking their very own goat milk muffins or curry puffs.

Accommodation is at the ‘Long House’, a traditional house structure that has its roots in the Iban community in Sarawak. Built on stilts and with long corridors, the rooms overlook vast green meadows and grazing pastures. Rooms come with the usual amenities like air-conditioning and water heater so they are pretty decent, clean and functional.

Read more about our experience here:

Address: Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +607-759 7555; +607-759 5018; +607-759 5991

3. HS Farm

This is one farm that I stumbled onto online while researching for farmstays in Johor. We have yet to pay it a visit but from what I read, it is surrounded by lush tropical greenery and situated within a 15-minute drive from Muar Town and Muar Jetty.

Photo from HS Farm's website

Guests can enjoy activities including fishing, cycling, horse riding and a mini zoo. The rooms look simply furnished, and come with a fan and a flat-screen TV. If you are planning to go with the extended family, this may be a good choice as the extra large rooms can sleep up to 8 persons.

Photo from HS Farm's website
Address: PTD 4116, Parit Pajar, Jalan kesang, 84000 Muar, Johor. Malaysia

4. Tanjung Sutera Resort

The only listing here that does not have 'Farm' in its name, I too stumbled upon this resort while searching for unique resorts in Johor to bring the family to. But the above average online reviews that I had read cemented its inclusion status into this list.

Tanjung Sutera Resort is located 40 metres above sea level in the East Coast of Johor, Malaysia. Once a coconut plantation, it spans a hilly area of more than 20 acres of land, overlooking the true blue South China Sea and comes with a touch of kampong ambience.

Photo from Tanjung Sutera Resort's website

From the resort, trek to Tanjong Sedili which is located at the South eastern coast of Johor adjacent to Jason Bay. This area is home to a stretch of scenic rocky coast and beach that contain rich inter-tidal marine life and geological rock formations which pre-date to the Jurassic period! Other facilities include water sports and a swimming pool.

Photo from Tanjung Sutera Resort's website

Accommodation includes standard rooms, family suites, cottages and even a seaview suite. All the rooms have air-conditioning and are fitted with water heaters.

Address: Lot 901 Kuala Sedili Besar, 81910 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Tel: +6019 776 76 77

5. Zenxin Organic Farm

You may recognize the brand 'Zenxin' as its organic vegetables are sold in our supermarkets here. And that should not come as a surprise as Zenxin Agri-Organic Food is Malaysia’s leading producer, distributor and retailer of organic produce. Situated just before the turn-in to UK Agro Farm (so its a great pit-stop if you are on your way to the sheep farm), Zenxin houses an Organic Park which is the first open-to public organic farm in Malaysia, combining the educational and recreational purposes.

Admission is chargeable (Adults RM10 & Child (4-12) RM8) and visitors will be able to one go on a tour of the huge farm and learn more about how various vegetables and fruits are grown. There are even bicycles for rent, or longkang fishing for the kids. There's also a mini petting farm with rabbits, ducks and quails for kids to feed and play with.

Photo from Zenxin Organic Farm's website

Remember to head to the restaurant after the farm visit for an affordable organic steamboat meal!

Address: No.8, Jln Teknologi 1, Kws Perindustrian Mengkibol, 86000, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 9am - 9pm

6. Desaru Fruit Farm

Desaru Fruit Farm is great for a day trip to Johor, with more than 100 varieties of tropical fruits for kids to see. Go on the guided farm tour to visit the 180 acres of natural tropical fruit land, view the agricultural gallery, fish pond and vegetable and herb gardens. Kids will no doubt be smitten with the Petting Zoo, and also have the opportunity to learn more about bees and taste local raw honey. Lunch is usually included in the package.

Photo from Deasaru Fruit Farm's website

Prefer to stay over for the night in Desaru instead? The nearby Lotus Desaru Beach Resort is a great option with one, two, three or four-bedroom apartments AND... a huge ‘spash-tacular’ water play park located in the middle of the resort. Read more of our stay HERE.

Address: No 1, Sungai Cemaran, Desaru, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Takzim

7. Sri Tanjung Leisure Farm

This is one farm that I have not brought the monkies to but I figure if your kids love animals like mine do, Seri Tanjung Leisure Farm might just be worth checking out. Besides being able to see various plants and tropical fruit trees, kids can visit the mini zoo which is home to ostriches, fishes, horses, ponies, rabbits, birds and more. Admission is chargeable at RM10 for adults and RM88 for children.

Address: Ptd 5577, Parit Lan, Kayu Ara Pasong, 82010 Pontian, Johor


Enjoyed this post? My book comes out in the next few days and it contains three chapters (10 listings each) of travelling ideas and activities for the kids!

So YES, you will be hearing more about it in the month of June. Because it is the most important book in the world and will change your life for the better. Without it, you will feel incomplete and lost whenever the school holidays, weekends and public holidays come along.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate when I say Got Kids, Go Where? is the most important book in the world. BUT I'm not kidding when I say the book contains brand new 50 chapters - each consisting 10 listings - which works out to a whopping 500 family-friendly activities! So pre-order yours today and stand a chance to win some cool prizes too! Closing date for pre-orders is 29 May 2015.


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May 27, 2015

Peranakan Hospitality at Village Hotel Katong

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The great thing about staycations is it allows the family to enjoy a relaxing break from the usual routine without hitting the road, or skies. Especially if it involves a hotel that is located in the culture-rich district of Katong. Relaxation has never been so close to so much good food!

The Village Hotel Katong, as its name implies, is located in the eastern side of Singapore and is formerly known as Paramount Hotel. I know, the exterior of the hotel looks pretty jaded and uninspiring but after an extensive round of refurbishments, I assure you that I was taken aback - in a good way - when I first set afoot into the hotel's lobby.

The lobby exuded a warm and homely charm, with references to the rich Peranakan heritage of the surrounding Joo Chiat and Katong areas. Of course, the make-or-break factor of any staycations with the monkies relies primarily on the hotel room and on first impression, it did not disappoint.

We were put up in one of the hotel's Family Rooms which comes with two queen beds - ideal for families with kids and certainly more than enough for my family. The wifey and I loved the overall design of the room which was modern and clean, with a hint of Peranakan influences through the use of its furnishing motifs.

For the monkies though, the main draw of our room has got to be the spaciousness of the room - which is pleasantly huge and it also comes with a walk-in wardrobe area. Yes, the monkies spent a long time playing hide-and-seek with those wardrobes.

The toilet is fairly spacious as well. There is no bathtub but it boasts a fantastic rain shower.

All rooms come with complimentary wired Internet and Wi-Fi access, including a 46-inch LED TV with in-built port access to portable electronic devices. 

Somehow, watching TV at home doesn't quite cut it like watching Cartoon Network while slothing it out on a hotel's bed. Perhaps it was due to the ultra comfy queen beds but I had a hard time in trying to get the monkies out of bed and explore the vicinity of Village Hotel Katong.

At least I had the awesome balcony view as a consolation.

But it was not long before the monkies wanted to get those feet of theirs moving... which we did. Besides the all the Katong coffeeshops/cafes/restaurants one can visit in the vicnity, the hotel sits above Katong V, a cosy shopping mall that is adjoined to. Desperate for more shopping options you say? How about a mere 5-minute walk to the Parkway Parade Shopping Mall - a mall which is notorious for its terrible car park jams during weekends.

Even East Coast Park is just a 10-minute walk from the hotel! Walk towards the direction of the expressway towards Parkway Parade, cross the underpass and come face to face with Parkland Green.

Parkland Green is a newly-opened low-rise development that comprises of a mix of family-friendly restaurants, casual cafes and sports retail shops. Families will love the 1-hectare lush green lawn nestled in front of the restaurants and cafes, providing kids with the perfect open space to run, jump and tumble while parents sip on a cuppa nearby.

Oh, there is also an hourly complimentary Shuttle Service to Big Splash at East Coast Park from 8:35am to 10:35pm should you prefer not to walk.

Or if you prefer to keep things really sloooow, then there is always this.

Swimming pools in hotels never fail to excite the monkies and even though the one at Village Hotel Katong is nothing more than a fairly big round pool, the monkies still managed to clock in more than one hour's worth of pool time!

See what I mean?

Do note that one half of the pool is 1.8m deep, while the other is 1.2m deep so for parents with young children, you will need to be in the pool with them. There are also noodle and foam floats available freely so those kept the kiddos pretty occupied for most of the duration.

Of course, a staycation is never complete without a hearty buffet breakfast to round up the experience!

Katong Kitchen is an international concept and halal restaurant featuring Nonya, Macanese, Asian, local Chinese and Western fare.

The breakfast buffet spread is rather decent, which serves up quite the wide spread of American-styled breakfast to local eats like Nasi Lemak and Laksa. The chicken congee deserves to be singled out though, especially since Ale had THREE bowls of that!

Clearly, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Village Hotel Katong. It is pleasant, not too overly crowded compared to other hotels and its location is an interesting one - from some of Singapore's best food and shopping options to activities at East Coast Park for the kids. If you are looking for an interesting staycation for that relaxing escape from the bustle of city life, the hotel is a great alternative for families!

From now until the end of 2015, bring out the Peranakan in you when you stay at Village Hotel Katong! The Peranakan Family Experience lets everyone in the family experience the life in a Peranakan kitchen when you learn to wrap rice dumplings the Nyonya way at Kim Choo. Understand more about the Peranakan culture and history and get to sample Nyonya favourites!

For just S$285*, enjoy:
• One night’s accommodation in Family Room
• Unlimited WiFi access
• Buffet breakfast for 2 adults, 2 children at Katong Kitchen
• FREE 2-hour Peranakan experience at Kim Choo
• Late check-out at 3pm (subject to availability)

*Rates are exclusive of 10% Service Charge & 7% GST

For more information and/or to book, visit

Useful Information

Village Hotel Katong
25 Marine Parade, Singapore 449536
Tel: +65 6344 2200

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