Sep 8, 2021

We took the New Jaguar F-PACE for a Weekend & found an ulu Cafe with a Mini Animal Farm!

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Choosing a family car after the kids come along can be anti-climatic, because practicality no doubt ranks at top of the list - safety, fuel consumption, ample seating space and comfort. Gone are the days when acceleration performance, exterior design and interior details matter greatly. Yep, kinda boring actually. 😅




Ah, but that was because I haven't met the gorgeous Jaguar F-PACE yet.



After spending a weekend with the car, I can totally understand why the F-PACE performance SUV is the fastest-selling Jaguar ever since it was launched in 2016.  For those who love driving but require added practicality (because of family commitments) and luxury (because of well, personal comfort), the F-PACE is a tough SUV package to beat.


I wasn't the only one who said that though. The monkies did too, after we spent the weekend sussing out ulu (remote) places in Singapore to put the F-PACE to the test.



Their first impression on seeing the car? It's a beauty!


The new Jaguar F-PACE features significant exterior enhancements. The headlamps are now slimmer, with super slim all LED quad headlights while the larger grille is finished with a new mesh design that contains diamond detailing. 





At the rear, the rear lights and bumper have been refreshed for a more assertive presence.


But what really clinched for me (and the monkies) was its luxuriously crafted interior.



The F-PACE dashboard is entirely new, with an excellent split design finished in red and black with contrast stitching.



The monkies commented that the seats felt soft and comfortable. Plus, they get two independent climate zones as rear occupants! Yes, air-conditioning comfort is very important in their eyes. 😁



As for the front occupants, namely me the driver and the wifey the front passenger, we get lumbar support adjustment in our seats!



Now that's a comfort level I appreciate as we cruise to our ulu destination... as the monkies enjoy the changing view above, courtesy of the F-PACE's huge panoramic sunroof.



Speaking of cruising, we were headed to the east as I revved the SUV along the PIE - a most apt way to test out the car's performance. Boasting superb handling, the engine remained rev-happy and didn't feel overtly turbocharged, which complements the F-PACE’s fun-to-drive nature.



What made it more fun was the option to choose four driving modes: Dynamic, Comfort, Eco and Rain/Snow. Needless to say, I was in Dynamic mode most of the time, simply because the F-PACE is such a tremendous handler, with agility that belies its size and weight.


I have to give a special mention to the Pivi Pro infotainment system too, which made switching between the different driving modes (available as an optional upgrade) an effortless affair.



You know how some car infotainment systems are so complicated to operate? The F-PACE's Pivi Pro infotainment can be accessed through an all-new 11.4-inch HD curved glass touch screen which has been chemically strengthened. The glass screen features two coatings; one which is anti reflective to reduce glare and a second which makes wiping away fingerprints easier.


I love how the system has been designed such that I wouldn't require more than two touches to accomplish any tasks from the screen. In fact, I was told that the technology has been modelled after the smartphone's usage experience. So everything is kept as simple to use as possible - even my kids were able to navigate the system effortlessly at the first try!


Since our destination was located in the far-flung area of Changi, I had to rely on Pivi Pro's navigation map for directions which as you can guess by now, it was an absolute breeze to use.



And the 'long' travelling time of 25 minutes also breezed right through, as the monkies were kept occupied by blasting their kind of music through the 14-speaker Meridian sound system in the car... by connecting to their Spotify account through their phones via Bluetooth. All I can say is even though I have to say their taste in music is somewhat dubious, the songs' audio quality had immense depth and clarity within the car.


Since we are on the topic of cool technology, I love how the F-PACE's Interactive Driver Display allows me to customise all the essential driving information I require, according to my preferences. Oh, And I also have to mention the Head-Up display at the driver's seat! See the display projection directly above the dashboard?



Call me suaku, but this is super cool! Thank to the Head-Up display, I no longer have to look downwards to check my speed. I can even turn on Lane Keep Assist System which helps me to detect lane markings via video camera and actively assists me to remain in the marked lane.


We reached out destination soon enough - Johore Battery at Changi. But first, there was the small issue of parking the car and I needn't had to worry because the F-PACE came with not only a Front and Rear Parking Aid, it also had a 3D Surround Camera. I practically have a 360° view of the car's exterior from the Pivi Pro in the car!



Well, I could have seen this giant gun if I had parked right next to it! 😁



Johore Battery was built in the late 1930s as part of Singapore’s coastal defence system. It comprised three 15-inch guns, known as “monster guns”. Although the battery was meant to stop enemy attacks from the sea, two of its guns could be rotated to fire landward. The British destroyed the guns before the Fall of Singapore to prevent them from falling into the hands of the invading Japanese.


Today, the site has been taken over by an F&B operator which is Halal-certified. Named Duit SG (27 Cosford Road Singapore 499549), it serves a wide variety of food, from zichar to western to pizza & pasta to Indonesian dishes like Ayam Penyet. 


Prices are reasonable and average about $8 to $10 per mains.


But the real draw for kids is the vast open space that they get to enjoy before and after meals. There are swings and this contraption where kids can test their strength by lifting the heavy weight at one end from different parts of the bar.



There is also a mini animal farm where they get to see rabbits, birds, chickens and even tadpoles!



Somehow it doesn't really feel like Singapore; more like a kampung in Malaysia... which is good enough for now since travelling is out of the question for now. 😅



TIP: Go for dinner because the entire area is lit up come nightfall, which makes it seem even more like a pasar malam in Malaysia. It's great for the IG, I think. LOL.




Time to head home after our meal and I was secretly excited to be able to drive the long way back home again. #cheapthrill



And since we were all full from our meals, it gave me the perfect excuse to test out the F-PACE's boot space. So in went the monkies...



SUCCESS!!! 😂😂😂


Don't worry, no monkie was harmed in the making of this GIF.


Suffice to say, the boot space was exceedingly generous. If you want to get technical, it's 793 litres with the rear seats up, and 1,842 litres with the seats down. Which again gave me and the wifey the perfect excuse to load up our foldies the next day to go on a couple date!




I parked the F-PACE at Queenstown and we cycled along the Alexandra Canal Linear Park to connect to the Alexandra Park Connector to reach Robertson Quay. All in a day's worth of fun (and couple time).


Did I mention that I didn't have to take the car keys with me? The Jaguar F-PACE comes with an Activity Key which essentially looks like a smart watch. So all I had to do was to wear it on my wrist and it can lock and unlock the car!



No bulky keys poking me through my pocket while I exercise or even swim (yes, it's waterproof too!). Fantastic!


Personally, the weekend jaunt with the Jaguar F-PACE felt too short and fleeting. So when the time came to part with it, I was terribly reluctant. I suspect the monkies were too.


Because not only is the F-PACE huge and delivers power in abundance to all four wheels, it is luxurious yet user-friendly. It definitely doesn't disappoint.



But don't just take my word for it.


Feel the power & luxury behind the wheels for yourself at the Jaguar showroom!



For more information, visit HERE.



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Sep 6, 2021

Strengthening Ale's Chinese Oracy Skills with LingoAce's Online Lessons

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Ale first tried out LingoAce about 4 months ago and she loved the online Chinese classes!


An online Chinese Learning platform, LingoAce offers authentic, engaging, and effective live Chinese classes for young learners aged between 3 and 15 years old with flexible class scheduling and personalised 1-to-1 learning methods, complete with engaging multimedia teaching methods.



What sets LingoAce apart from other online enrichment platforms is it strives to create an optimal environment for learning Chinese which appeals to kids and engages them so as not to put them off in learning the language. You read more about what LingoAce has to offer in my previous post HERE.



Long story short, Ale was offered the opportunity to try out LingoAce's classes again last month and let's just say she jumped at the opportunity as she remembered how fun the classes were previously!


A few things have changed since the last time she tried the online platform. For one, LingoAce's programs have EXPANDED from four previously to a whopping ELEVEN programs!!!



LingoAce recognises that students have different abilities and needs, which is why they offer different ways to learn with LingoAce.


Singapore Blended Learning Program

LingoAce's Blended Learning programme complements Singapore’s Ministry of Education syllabus and school learning. The programme targets to prepare Primary 5 and Primary 6 young learners for examination excellence in their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) through honing of examination skills and application of techniques.



The great thing about its Blended Learning model is it allows students to learn via both online and offline platforms. Every week, they will have one 1.5hrs of online lesson and one 1.5hrs of offline lesson. Online lessons will be the ‘learn’ phase whereby our learners will learn examination skills and techniques. Offline lessons will be the ‘Apply’ and ‘Relearn’ phases whereby our young learners will apply the skills and techniques learnt during online lessons and teachers will reteach and reinforce the gaps that our learners have. It's the best of both worlds, if you ask me!



In addtion, the Blended Learning curriculum aims to enrich learning experiences and support academic performance. Its curriculum builds students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through skills-based modules. These modules facilitate deep learning and increase potential for them to level up and experience more successes in their learning.


Pre-School Program

This course is specially designed to use the prime time of children's growth to learn a new language. Children aged 3-6 have their own unique needs at each stage. For example, children aged 3-5 have certain emotional needs. Children aged 5-6 are generally curious by nature, and they need tailor-made teaching styles. 


During the course of development, the curriculum is divided into stages according to the "3-6 Years Old Children's Learning and Development Guide". The "multiple intelligence" is fully implemented in the teaching. The entire curriculum is designed to respect children's development and cognitive laws. 



LingoAce's pre-school program offers undivided 1-1 private tutor attention for focused, live Chinese language teaching. With high learning frequency and a game-like atmosphere to increase a child’s level of enjoyment and drive high level of learning motivation.


Advanced Program

The syllabus is adapted from the new Chinese curriculum standards set by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, and LingoAce has designed and developed live-streaming classes that are synchronized with primary school Chinese lessons in China. The lessons are designed to meet the needs of parents who want their children to receive Chinese curriculum education, it is suitable for students with strong listening and speaking skills to further improve their language knowledge and language literacy. This edition focuses on traditional Chinese culture and language application skills to help students understand complex texts, be able to discuss specific topics and be able to accurately write personal opinions.


International Program

The curriculum is designed for learners who study Chinese as a second language. The knowledge and skills are benchmarked against domestic and international authoritative foreign language learning syllabuses and standards. The main goal is to cultivate and improve learners' basic Chinese listening and speaking skills, daily communication skills, and comprehensive oral expression skills; add basic Chinese character learning content to establish a preliminary foundation for learners' future Chinese character learning and Chinese reading. 


WHICH PROGRAM TO GO FOR?


If you have a child who is studying in a local Singapore school - like Ale and most of my readers' kids - then the Singapore Blended Program is a no-brainer.


The program mirrors the structure and learning pace of the MOE school syllabus, and gives a lot of exposure to what is being taught in the school classroom. The structure systematically follows the MOE requirements of Oral, Comprehension and Essay Writing. 



I like how the individual components can be broken down into standalone programs. So what this means is if your child is weaker in Oracy but proficient in writing and vocabulary, you can enrol him/her in an Oracy class.


Which was what I did for Ale.




After experiencing Essay Writing earlier, I decided to focus on her Oracy skills this time around. That's because while she is rather okay with her Vocabulary skills, she is not as skilled when it comes to oral examinations.... primarily because she is not confident of her oratory skills.


And I have to say the one-to-one 55-min session worked marvels for her. That's because LingoAce offers that safe environment where a child isn't afraid to make mistakes (or say the wrong hanyu pinyin) when it's just him/her and the teacher.



Essentially, the entire session was like a huge gamified Chinese lesson that was was filled with games to identify characters and learn phrases. But it wasn't all play - instead, she was brought though the process of crafting her oral answers in a sequenced manner. And when there is a system in place, the fear of not knowing what to say gradually disappears.



Also - and I have said this before - the online interface was visually appealing, and her teachers used a wide range of interactive tools to make each lesson unique and captivating for Ale.


Did I mention that ALL LingoAce teachers has to attain a minimum of level "2-A" on the Putonghua Proficiency Test before they can teach? Because language accents can differ across countries and within regions in each country, the Putonghua Proficiency Test is an official test that measures native Chinese speakers spoken fluency in “Standard Chinese,” including pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax. 



Hence, all LingoAce Teachers have to attain a minimum of level “2-A”, to ensure their students learn to speak Chinese correctly.



Personally, what I found useful about LingoAce beyond the lessons is the ability to keep track of Ale's progress every lesson.


All I have to do is to log into LingoAce's website and review the study materials that Ale had gone through for her past sessions and if the need arises, revise the materials with her again.




Even better, I can even play back the entire video of the lessons that she had attended to see what was exactly taught during the lessons.



Fees start from S$21 per lesson for the pre-school program and S$30 per lesson for the 1v4 class size or S$42 per lesson for the 1v1 class size.


You can also opt to purchase the lessons in packages, which reduces the average cost per class. Click HERE for more details.



But before you commit anything, why not try it for yourself FOR FREE?


Yes, LingoAce is offering a FREE trial class for students. No registration fee and zero deposit required and the lesson is scheduled at your convenience.


The trial consists of:

- A personalized recommendation on program and teacher most suited to your child’s learning needs and personality

- Actual live online trial class based on recommended program and teacher

- A detailed assessment of your child with insights on your child’s strengths and areas to work on


Simply head HERE to book your free trial lesson!

*With my referral link, you can get additional classes when you purchase any packages!



Click HERE for more information about LingoAce.




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