Sunday, 29 August 2010

I love button mushrooms

A mushroom fan, I bought some white button mushrooms without knowing how to cook it exactly.

I simply cut them into halves and cooked them with seasonings, after that, I added them into my cai xin. They ended up tasting very strong. Fortunately, I didn't empty all that I had. I left half the supply for dinner.

Youtube is my saviour:

1) How to clean white button mushrooms and remove their stems

2) How to slice white button mushrooms

3) How to cook white button mushrooms

So now, I am going to slice them before I cook them.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

'I am exciting'

Just yesterday, I was going through the English CA2 answers with my Primary 5 students.

And I experienced an earthly revelation.

The statement in question was:

The fundraising carnival was the _______________ event of the school last year.

The answer was of course 'most exciting'.

But my students expressed puzzlement: why isn't it 'most excited'? It happened 'last year'.

And I was puzzled: what has being 'excited' got to do with 'last year'?

Time came to a standstill for a few seconds ...

Suddenly, it came to me - they thought that 'excited' is a past form, and 'exciting' is a continuous form!

Oh my!

For so long, I have always wondered why children persistently wrote 'I was exciting'. Now I finally know!

These poor children! They read ZERO English storybooks (or ANY storybooks) all their lives. Now, their nil reading has caught up with them.

I tried to explain to them that 'excited' and 'exciting' are adjectives, not verbs. Only verbs have past forms. But they still looked like they were shrouded by a cloud of great puzzlement, with their tender eyebrow in-between fiercely wrinkled and their heads slightly tilted.

And adjectives and verbs are not new to them. They not only are slackened in their reading, they are also poor in listening skills, so they hear but do not listen. What you say in class simply fleet across them. Retainment is rare.

God bless these children!

Blog translation

Oh my goodness! I was looking at the links that surface my blog when I came across this: a translation of my blog!

Some Chinese mainlander must have stumbled upon my blog via the searchword 'Create Talents' (probably he or she have been 'scouted' too!) and had problems understanding English, so resorted to getting my blog translated into Mandarin!

I thought some of the translation is hilarious eg. 'model' is translated as '型号' or '模式'; 'if'(as in 'whether'), '如果'; 'recognised', '承认'; 'A Pte Ltd some more','阿私人有限公司多一些'.

The translation is clearly done by a software which does not decode the words based on context, but simply rigid interpretation.

Hadn't had a good laugh over language for so long!

The translation even had a Chinese name for my blog: 阁楼的思考. :) I like that.

Create Talents Pte Ltd 建立人才私人有限公司
I was in town last Wednesday and walking past Orchard MRT (underground).我是上周三在城里走过去和乌节地铁(地下)。

A Chinese Mainlander approached me and told me that she was looking for models.一个中国内地走过来告诉我说,她要查找的型号。 She passed me a namecard which read 'Create Talents'.她递给我一个名片内容如下'建立人才。

I asked casually if they accept child models.我随便问,如果他们的孩子接受的模式。 She said,"Yes, yes."她说:“是的,是的。” And she asked me for my phone number.她问我对我的电话号码。

I turned her down a few times, as I was sure it was a bluff.我拒绝了她几次,因为我确信这是一个虚张声势。 How many talent scouts in their right mind would approach an auntie to scout as a talent?如何在心智正常的方法很多人才球探球探作为一个阿姨到人才? My share of unpleasant cheating experience with Chinese Mainlander helped and I recognised that accent.我与中国内地不愉快的经验分享帮助作弊,我承认这样的口音。 Seeing that I refused to back down, she took the namecard back from me, without a word of apology and walked away.看到我拒绝让步,她把我的名片回来,没有一个字的道歉走开了。

I remembered the website and googled for it under .我想起了GOOGLE上搜索网站,并根据 。

The home page looked promising.主页上看起来前途无量。 A Pte Ltd some more.阿私人有限公司多一些。

But as I googled for reviews on it, I realised that it is a scam.但正如我为它评语GOOGLE上搜索,我意识到这是一个骗局。

The 'talent scouts' earn commission by bringing people to the 'modeling agency' and make them pay more than $500 for a portfolio.在'人才球探'赚取佣金,使人民的'模特儿公司',使他们付出的投资组合超过500元。

Of these links that I have googled, this has someone, a goon doo by the nick of goodheavenz, speaking up for them and pretending to be a neutral party.这些GOOGLE了联系,我有, 这有一个人,一个goodheavenz呆子斗尼克的对象,为他们说话,假装是一个中立的一方。

He offered a few links and claimed that Create Talents was likely a legitimate agency:他提供了一些链接,并声称,创造型人才,可能是合法的机构:

However, all the more I find it dubious, because all the blogs have only one or two entries and they are all about how great Create Talents is.然而,更我觉得可疑,因为所有的博客只有一个或两个项目,他们都对人才是多么伟大的创造。

Good heavens!天哪!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Food blogger's Private Affairs

There's been a buzz on the internet about the food blogger who refused to pay for his meal at Private Affairs.

At first glance, it does look like the food blogger was arrogant, unreasonable and too presumptuous to think that he's entitled to a free meal just because he was a food blogger, but after his clarification, I do think that he should be entitled to a free meal if it was really like what he had claimed - that he was invited to a 'food-tasting' affair (no pun intended), except that he should have kept to just one partner rather than 3.

From the first report on yahoo!, I would think that the blogger went to the restaurant to try out the food on his own accord. So naturally, I thought the restaurant spokesman painted a rather strange scenario when it was mentioned that the staggering arrival of the 4 different guests made it difficult for the chef to prepare the meal. I did not understand why they had to make special arrangements to cater for the four guests when they are running a restaurant. It was only after the second yahoo! report that surfaced which cleared my doubts: the blogger was invited by the restaurant to write a review on the food.

To me, it was justifiable that the blogger did not expect to pay for his meal. I am not sure about the arrangement, but I would think the restaurant should set aside the kind of food they want reviews done on and not allow the blogger to decide what food he fancies. I suspect the lapse in the proper procedure had thus resulted in the whopping bill of more than $400.

A 'food-tasting' event should not expect payment - I would think most people would agree on this. And he was 'invited'. It was not as if he went there uninvited, ordered as many dishes as he liked and tried to get away with nil payment just because he was a food blogger.

Of course, I am not in the best position to comment since I have no knowledge of what actually transpired. I have learnt that reports or articles are not necessarily accurate since they are written by mere human beings. But judging from the nasty comments following those reports, the blogger has made many enemies - the commenters dismiss what he clarified as 'lies', 'defence', 'damage control', 'cover-up' etc and I have good reasons to believe that restaurant-owners would think twice about inviting him for a food-tasting session in future.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Review on Music Schools versus Private Piano tutors

Coco went through different tutors before we finally settled for her present Music School.

An unorthodox music school

The first school she went to adopted a Canadian methodology which only allowed children to take their Grade One exam 3 years later. They used their own music book and composed their own music, some of which we felt the melodies were unusual. Although I understood where they were coming from when they insisted parental involvement in the music class, I felt that it was an extra mental burden for me. William and I didn't enjoy the lessons in fact. Come to think of it, if we as adults didn't enjoy them, how could I expect Coco to enjoy them?

Full-time private tutor

I sourced for a private tutor from the forums and found a very patient full-time piano tutor who unfortunately lived in the far eastern part of Singapore. She taught well, I thought, and never raised her voice at Coco. I was impressed.

But due to my pregnancy at that time, the distance proved to be too challenging for me. We had to travel as she does not come to your place unless you "live in Bukit Timah and have cousins" who learn from her as well. There were times I dozed off as I sat on the couch in the room with the tutor and Coco. I decided that it wasn't a permanent solution to engage someone so far away.

I almost engaged another private tutor whose name was 'announced' on a forum for cheating - she collected the fees but made excuses when it was time for her to teach. Fortunately, we felt that she wasn't able to engage Coco and spark her interest in piano, and so we let her go although we liked the fact that she was 'cheap' and could come to our place.

Part-time private tutor

I thought I was lucky when I found a part-time tutor who lived just a few blocks away. In fact, she was our competitor in Home Survivor. Recommended by one of the forummers, I thought she shouldn't be too bad and I had no issue with her being my ex-competitor on a gameshow.

I sat in for the first lesson which was the only sat-in allowed, and learned that there was a great difference between piano tutors. I had the misconception that all piano tutors were gracious and patient, from the previous experience. But this tutor's English wasn't great, and wasn't exactly very patient,"You huh! Sit properly! See how this girl sit!"

I wasn't keen to engage her as a tutor but Coco didn't mind it, probably because she wanted to learn playing the piano. So the lessons commenced.

After some time, Coco complained that "piano is difficult" and was reluctant to practise. I thought she was in one of those giving-up moods and refused to give in.

I stopped the lessons for about a month during my confinement as no one was available to take Coco to my mother's place to practise her piano (I had moved the piano there when the banks issued the letters to seize goods and property) and the tutor said it was fine.

But when I wanted the lessons to continue from where she had left off, the tutor said,"Oh, I didn't know if you still wanted the slot so I gave it to another child already." I thought about it for a while and asked for a refund of the $50 which was meant for the remaining lessons, intending to withdraw. But the tutor said,"If you go to music school, you also cannot get refund. I am already very kind not to charge you for the lessons you skipped. If you want, I can finish up the two lessons, but I cannot refund you the money. It's integrity issue."

What the hell?!!

My money is with you and you claim that it's 'integrity' issue. Indeed. It's an integrity issue - it shows me the lack of integrity in you!

It was under the verbal agreement that she would not charge for lessons skipped that I engaged her as a tutor, but now she insinuated that it was out of good will and kindness that she didn't charge me for the missed lessons.

Her name is Fanny. And she wouldn't show me her 'qualifications' (if she had any) or even let me know her surname.

I could smack myself on the head for engaging her even though I had doubts about her integrity - her flat was shown as having very minimal furniture in Home Survivor at the time of filming. The caption when showing her place was literally '(pieces of furniture) so pathetic ... (少得可怜)' as they only displayed a set of sofa at the time of filming.

When I sent Coco to her place for piano, I realised that the flat was congested with furniture. Although I was a little uncomfortable at my first instinct, I told myself that for the sake of winning the contest, I could not fault them for being dishonest. They were simply 'smarter'. By doing that, a huge contrast would be obvious after the makeover.

However, I did not expect that this dishonesty would manifest itself in a greater form ie. as a lack of integrity even in something so small as being a part-time piano tutor.

At the commencement of the lessons, I had conveyed my wish to her that I would like Coco to take her Grade One exam the following year. That would give her one year to prepare Coco for the exam. With some piano foundation, I didn't think it would be a problem, and Fanny said she could. However, towards the end of the lessons, she said that Coco was 'not ready'.

I have good reasons to believe that she wilfully terminated Coco's lessons because she knew she lacked the competency to prepare Coco for her exam, because Coco took just about 9 months to prepare for her exam at the music school, and she started learning the exam pieces only 2 months away from the exam.

Oh, she suggested I let Coco learn piano 'for leisure, don't have to take exam'. I have no issue about letting kids learning for leisure if the kid is really not keen on piano, but before she tells me she freaks out at the thought of exam, I don't see any reason not preparing my kid for piano exam for grading purposes. Now, I wonder if Fanny herself would refrain her kids from taking piano exams and just learn for leisure.

This episode taught me a lesson: never engage a part-time tutor.

And for me on another level: not to engage a private part-time tutor

Present music school

I wouldn't say I am completely happy with it. However, I do appreciate the school's honesty to put on record the lessons Coco misses and make up for them as and when the schedule permits. There are times when I forget that Coco still had a few paid lessons that were skipped and the receptionist would kindly give her a slot and call to inform me to go down to the school to complete the lesson.

Coco started her lessons with the school since last November. We have had a change of 3 tutors due to the change in Coco's CCA schedule. These 3 tutors are very patient teachers. The current tutor Coco is under is young (only 20) but the fact that she underwent the same system and exam helps. She has realistic expectations and seeks to get Coco to improve each time she teaches.

My only grouse about the school is its late preparation for Coco's exam. Otherwise, I am quite happy with it in terms of its teaching method and the tutors.


I feel that it is always safer to go to music schools as we are able to seek recourse in the event the tutors are not professional in their dealings with you. Most importantly, there is no ambiguity, especially when it comes to the fees and number of lessons.

I like this present music school as it allows you to sit in to observe the lessons so that you can help your own child with the practices at home. Another reason I had doubts about the private part-timer's ability was because she didn't allow parents to sit in.

Tutors at music schools are accountable to the schools so the likelihood of them teaching the wrong things is low, compared to private tutors. Like what I mentioned in the private part-time tutor segment, Coco complained that 'piano is difficult'. I didn't understand why until she was learning at the present music school - the private tutor had jumped from Skill Level One to Level Three! The bridging level (Level Two) was ignored and thus Coco found it a struggle to cope with a more advanced level. From what I heard from Coco, the tutor didn't do a good job of teaching her to read notes. She simply told her that this note is say, A. So whenever you see this note, press this key. Such an islolated, rote memorising method didn't work well for Coco. She ended up memorising when she should press this and that key, which could not apply to the next piano piece.

I used to think that a disadvantage about music schools is that we cannot skip lessons, even if we have valid reasons. The present music school has dispelled my misconception. So far, it has made consensus for the missed lessons and never fails to make up for them. With such a system, I haven't got enough reasons to turn to private tutors, what with the risks that come with them.

The Day

Today marks a significant milestone in Coco's piano-learning: she took her Grade 1 Exam this morning.

She has been taking piano lessons since primary one from different tutors ie. the Canadian-methodology school, a patient full-time piano tutor, a part-time cheat, and now this music school.

It has always been my deep wish to let her take Grade One exam so that she may start embarking on this journey of music.

I felt the pressure when Coco was only given her exam pieces in June, when she was due to take her exam in August! She was expected to play 3 pieces in all and she was only taught how to play the third piece 'Trudging' only 3 weeks before! I guess I can't expect a distinction from her since she was taught so last minute, but I must admit I was worried that she would fail after so many years of learning piano.

The school called me yesterday to inform me of the dress code: formal.

1) Long skirt - must be over the knees
2) Covered shoes

I actually bought the skirt and shoes without Coco last night.

I was pleasantly surprised to see her match the skirt so well with a nice blouse. She is a natural fashionista.

When she came out of the exam room, she was holding her exam pieces book with two hands, looking a little worried, and calling,"Ma ..." with some hesitation.

I was shocked when I saw her out of the room after a mere ten minutes. Crazy thoughts flashed across my mind: The examiner told her that she was not ready and should go home; she should come out to get the scales book from me since she could not recall anything, and could not play the piano.

It was only when she said,"It's over." and the registrar for the exam concurred with her that I believed that it was indeed over.

All the preps for a mere ten minutes. Whoa ...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The thinking of an idiot

I was doing some tidying-up when I opened a drawer where my ROM cert folder was kept.

It occurred to me that it's still empty. I had folded the smell-like-new certificate into half and handed it to the lawyer since a month ago.

The determination I felt then was still fresh in my mind: it would be creased if I folded it, and it wouldn't look new anymore. But what the heck! I'm going to divorce and it won't matter anymore. And I won't see this piece of paper after that day.

The lawyer hasn't called. Perhaps he is experienced enough to know that female clients would have second thoughts even after paying him the first instalment. Perhaps he is giving me more time to think about it.

And I am thinking about it.

Most of the time, I don't think about it. I just want to play by ear, or go with the flow - if the lawyer asks me to go down to his office for the second meeting, I will go. Whether I'll proceed with the divorce depends on what happens that very day he calls. If William is up to his antics, I'll just go ahead.

When I browse other people's blogs, it really hurts me when I see contented wives feeling blessed with their husbands. I actually try to find imperfections in the relationships to make myself feel better, but of course there's none. The husbands would be the ones taking pictures for the kids and the wives. The wives would look so happy with their kids. Even something so simple is what I can't have. I would ask losers' questions like: This girl isn't pretty, why does she get to enjoy such bliss?

What has this marriage done to me? I've gone back to the old days when my ex treated me shabbily and I was often alone albeit in a so-called relationship. Sometimes I went out shopping alone and asked myself,"This girl isn't pretty, why does she have a boyfriend?"

I find many negative common grounds between the two relationships. The signs are obvious. Yet, I am thinking.

I am an idiot.

Now you know why I truly deserve to be miserable all my life.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Brave New World

I did a very brave thing today.

I decided to call it quits - all my grumblings about my workplace, all my grouses about the meaninglessness, inefficiencies, ineffectiveness of the type of work done and to be done. I opted for a posting where I choose the clusters of schools and allow the ministry to post me wherever it deems fit.

The clusters I chose are in the South region. I definitely have to travel, and after the train, have to take a bus, whichever school I am posted to.


I am scared at the prospect, but at the same time, I really don't want to remain in a financially-strapped school with the same demographics of children and parents after four schools.

Perhaps I have been very fortunate - to be posted to schools within a bus' or an MRT stop's distance. But I am not happy despite what matters to me alot ie. distance. I feel that I am ready to move on to another workplace.

Another reason to move on is because I haven't heard people from other schools doing works as ridiculous as mine. Like what I always say, it's not the amount of work, but the meaninglessness of work that bothers me.

I do enjoy the short distance that enables me to come home quickly to see my babies, but sometimes I feel that given a longer distance, I may be able to end my day earlier so that would level things up.

For now, my department boss is on maternity leave and so the stress level is down, but I know once she's back in action, I will be highly strung again, week after week, because the work she gives is so minute and so much it is scary to receive an email from her. An email from her does not mean a job to be done. It usually means a few things to be done at one go, at short notices. Although I've been meeting her deadlines, it doesn't mean I enjoy it.

By getting myself posted to somewhere South, I am actually hoping to compel myself to move house. I love this area of Singapore. It's a more civilised area in the North, but I do find that it is very inaccessible and far from Coco's school. I'd always hoped that we could move to somewhere nearer to her school before she hits P6 so that she doesn't need to wake up at such unearthly hour at least for a year. Truth be told, I've always felt very guilty for making her wake up at 5am every morning. I didn't even wake up at such a graveyard hour when I was her age. I struggled, and still do, to wake up at 6am in fact. If I never move, then let me experience the pain she experiences.

I have read a few stories about "What kind of person you are maketh the place you move to" ie. if you are polite and nice, the people at your new place will be likewise and vice versa. I really think that no matter which part of Singapore I move to, I'll probably like that place as well. Before I marry, I had moved house more than ten times. I'd liked a few of the places we lived in, but I've learnt not to be sentimental about them because ultimately, the next place would have its own advantages, although I seriously do think that East is better than North in many ways ie. the food, the accessibility, the short distance between each MRT station, and to some extent, probably the civilisation of the people even.

I can just hope that it'll really be a much better school that I get posted to, so that the distance is worth the travel.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Baby at 21st month

She loves to feed herself, even if it means a great mess all over!
She prefers to eat from her sister's bowl. Loves noodles over rice.

She fought with another toddler over this doll at Toy 'R' Us. The girl pushed her at her neck while Baby tried to push her away. I brought it to the counter and the cashier went,"It cost $99.90. Beep!"

Loving her talking baby She loves to pull her cousin's trolley bag around, and brought it home with us.

She now knows a great many things. She tugged at her little tee when I told the father,"Baby's t-shirt is wet." She patted her diaper and gave a 'pop pop' sound when asked,"Do you want Mummy to beat your backside?" She nods her head in response to what you say, especially when you end in a rising tone, as questions often do.

She's oh-so-cute!

Beautiful babies

Aren't they just beautiful? And they are mine!

How strange that despite the 8 years' difference, they look amazingly alike at their toddler stage, except perhaps ... Coco's eyes are more rounded and bigger.

Other than that, both have thin, fine hair; both have round and chubby face, both have button nose, rose-petal lips.

A result of looking at Tweety Bird. I was thinking of the high forehead, big round eyes, long curly eyelashes, high cheekbones and little mouth when I consciously looked at the canary. I once saw a toddler who looked like Tweety Bird and she looked oh-so-cute!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The best parenting book by far

The nature of my job and motherhood does not allow me to read. Oftentimes, I buy the newspapers just to scramble for time to read it a few days later.

But recently, I found a good book at the recommendation of a fellow October mummy:

The author is a veteran educator and has a daughter whom she named 圆圆 in the book.

I have been reading the book, not because I want to groom Coco or Baby into another 圆圆, but I think most, if not all, of her values are in line with mine, but worded more vividly, more accurately and more consistently practised.

Parenting is a learning journey. As a mother, I find myself struggling with many sets of dilemma, inconsistencies and the like. Sometimes I feel that certain things ought to be done in certain ways, but I have no concrete reasons or logic to support what I believe in or what I do. This book gives a very good structure to many of my beliefs as a mother.

Eg 1: I always thought that a child should always be with her mother, no matter how busy I am. I don't think that leaving the child with his grandmother or caregiver for a few days in a week is the right thing to do. But the trend in this society today is such that it is a norm to do just that. The author writes about the innerworld of the child ie. how the child feels and the effect such an arrangement has on the child and his development. She gives examples of children who are raised under such arrangements and how they cause the child to behave in certain manner.

Eg 2: Although Coco reads obsessively, I didn't think it was a big issue until William and my family members start to be critical of her reading habit - she abandons her schoolwork, sleep and food just to read. Likewise, I felt that reading has become a bad habit and wanted to stop her from reading further. I wanted her to read just textbooks, and study just textbooks. It sounds crazy, but you would understand if you were a mother.

The author feels that it is alright for children to underachieve a bit in primary schools, but the wide and vast reading will reap its benefits in the long run, for the child's rest of his life. And that as long as a child loves to read, he won't have any problems in writing compositions. 读破万卷书,下笔如有神。

The book is like a wake-up call ie. 当头棒喝. This was how I developed a love for writing (in Chinese), yet I was trying to stifle my own child from developing herself in the literacy area in a different language. And I am constantly grumbling that she isn't as competent a writer as I had hoped after all the books she had greedily devoured. Isn't that the greatest irony ever?

Eg 3: I once showed a colleague the video of a fellow October mummy who got her 18-month-old toddler to read. Instead of being amazed, the colleague expressed slight disgust at the attempts. She declared,"I don't believe in making your children read when they are so young! They should enjoy their childhood. Reading can wait!"

I was shocked at her proclamation. I always thought being able to read is the greatest gift ever and reading is always a pleasure, except for exam purposes. I reckoned that my colleague probably doesn't like reading herself.

The author said the same thing: that parents who feel that reading robs children of their childhood are the same parents who find reading a chore.

There are many other examples which are similar in that: I have the same beliefs, but do not have the author's amount of conviction to practise them consistently, and fully.

I think this book is one of the greatest parenting books ever.

The author has a blog. One of these days, I ought to write to her to thank her for sharing her gathered wisdom in this fine book of hers.

Of course, she is just a human being. Her views are not all perfect. There is at least one occasion I do not agree with her, like the chapter in which she talks about washing the feet of mothers.

Her child came home with the assignment of 'Washing my mother's feet'. She was required to wash the mother's feet and pen her feelings about the process, possibly to reflect about what the mother has done for her and express gratitude to her mother. This gesture is probably taken from the Bible in which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as an expression of humility and love.

Apparently, the author is not a Christian and does not understand the implications of washing one's feet. She criticised the assignment as not meaningful and even modified the assignment by asking the child to take a stroll with her instead and from there, write about the stroll. She reduced the washing of feet to a mere chore and questioned the need to wash mothers' feet if they are not blue-collar workers whose work involves a lot of walking.

Despite her ignorance about Christianity, she makes a great mother and educator, from the look of the book. I feel that her values are mostly correct and her instructions to impart the values are actually easy to follow, unless you yourself find it difficult to restrain yourself from doing the wrong things eg. watching TV obsessively but asking children not to watch TV.

Every family ought to have this book. It is not merely a good read. It educates parents as well.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dian Xiao Er 店小二

We ate at Dian Xiao Er at T3 so as to chalk up a receipt of at least $30 for the Giant Slide later on. Despite having had dinner at Dian Xiao Er the night before, I didn't mind having it again simply because I'm such a hard core Chinese food fan.
Seafood combo with vegetables and waterchestnut ($14.80)
The serving is quite small. I was expecting to see more florets of broccoli as per what had been shown on the menu. A nothing-out-of-the-ordinary dish.

Marmite Chicken Wings 妈蜜鸡翅皇 ($9.50)

Very hard. The chef broke up the mid-joints and the drumlets. For a while, I thought the shop had a different understanding of 'chicken wings' from me. I thought the meat was scraped to concentrate on one end of the bone but William commented that they looked like someone had scraped off some meat to use them for another dish.

Will never order this dish again.

Signature Dang Gui Duck 当归鸭 ($11.80)
We love the crispiness of the skin and the tasty sauce. The only dish we'd ever recommend to anyone.

With three servings of plain rice, and 2 drinks, the bill came up to $44.10.

I'm more forgiving when it comes to Chinese food, so despite the less-than-glowing comments, I will visit the restaurant again when I crave for their Dang Gui Duck.

I had tried their Xiao Kai Lan (小芥兰)the night before. Like how the rest of the Singapore cooks cook it, it's one hard vegetable I never really fancy.

Their Dong Po Meat (东坡肉) is another signature dish which I do not think is up to standard as a specialty. The lean meat is not soft enough and the fatty meat is not fat enough.

Let's go to the airport!

We took the kids to Changi Airport Terminal 3 yesterday.

The draw is mainly the Giant Slide - a much-hyped three-storey high slide at T3.
To qualify for the Giant Slide which is located at Level 1, Arrival Hall, you need to spend at least $30 in a single receipt at T3 for an entitlement of 2 rides. Alternatively, the kids can take the one-storey high slide, located at B2, for free, unlimited rides.

The slides are situated at a corner of the airport, beside an expansive dancing water fountain.

One-storey slide
The Giant Slide
Don't forget there's a height limit to adhere to!
There goes Coco!
All the way down!
"There's no kick in taking the shorter slide after trying the Giant Slide!"
Dancing water
A totally intrigued Baby
Hmm ... I hope it's not something she has witnessed
Toddlers' playground beside the Slide
Fun Rides for pre-schoolers only. Baby was too young to be able to step on the accelerator while Coco had passed the height limit.
"Nevermind, we'll go to the arcade."
Youth Olympics Games exhibition
Boxing Challenge
You need to produce a receipt of at least $10 for a try at the Trampoline. I used the same receipt that I had used for the Giant Slide from Dian Xiao Er.
"Fun but tiring!"
Soccer Challenge
Bouncing castle
We saw this beautiful floral display on our way to the T2-bound Skytrain
The little princess dolling herself up at Mini Princess, T2
Genuine flower collage of Vanda Miss Joaquim. Very beautiful!
Changi Aviation Gallery at T2. A lot of did-you-knows about the airport.
The spacious Changi Airport MRT Station
The crazy queue at T2 taxi stand made us take a train to elsewhere to take a cab.

Baby pole-dancing on the train

The Changi Airport is like a long-lost friend to me. I used to visit the airport rather frequently when I was a secondary school student as I was living in Tampines and there was a straight bus (No. 27) that went to the airport within 15 to 20 minutes. It was very quiet and tranquil and used to be a studying venue. There were even students studying in the quiet and conducive toilets. The airport was so popular as a studying place that the Viewing Gallery had an area cordoned off for studying.

However, all these have changed. The airport is now a place bustling with life and activities. The locals are the ones who throng the airport for a day of family outing. T3 especially, has a B2 Mall where you get to do some shopping. In fact, I bought a mini Japanese umbrella at one of the push carts there. There are loads of restaurants and shops, and even an NTUC at the Mall. It's a vision that's implanted many years ago - that the airport would become a family outing place. Now it's come true. Yet, I feel nolstagic and melancholic about the change. The airport that once 'belonged' to me is no more.

Getting to Giant Slide:
Level 1, Arrival Hall of T3
Price: Minimum spending of $30
Operating hours: 12pm to 10.30pm

Getting to the free slide, playground and fountain:
Basement 2 of T3
Operating hours of free slide: 12pm to 10.30pm

Getting to Fun Rides:
Basement 2, Carpark 3A
Prices: $3 to $8
Operating hours: 11am to 10pm

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My sister's birthday

Our parents have got themselves a trip up Genting over the long weekend. Following the ardent tradition of celebrating our parents' birthdays and the two parents' Days, the siblings decided to be united for once and celebrate our eldest sister's birthday in the same fashion last night.

We went all the way to Suntec's Tony Roma's.

My youngest sister reached there first, by train. And she took it upon herself to place an order for a Family Feast. How apt! But the portion was not enough for the big family of siblings.
Original Baby Backs in full slabs. Still not enough.
Steak in medium-rare. Still ...

Pork burgers for the kids. 'Very sour!' they squealed.

Onion rings
Baby in an attempt to imitate the older kids on biting the corn
"Why does it seem so easy with them?"
"Must practice good table manners: wipe my mouth after eating."
The people. We haven't had a shot together ever since the formally taken family portrait The kids excited over the kois
For a Chinese-foodie, I should think Tony Roma's is great. The ribs, steak and chicken are nothing short of tender and juicy, topped with complimentary-tasting sauce. Muu...aa!!!

For food like this, the price is equally juicy. More than $170 for what we ordered, and most of our stomachs were still half-full.