Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Bye, Little Ones!

The kittens will all be rehomed this week. Two have been adopted by an uncle who has two existing cats. 

A Caucasian is going to see the kittens at my neighbour's house to adopt at least one of them. 

I feel a little sad to see them go. After all, I provided the shelter for these babies to be born. 

But I know such a day will eventually come.

I hope their new owners will treat them well.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Grateful for the Little Angel

Each time I washed the sofa covers, the thing that dreads me most is the need to dress the covers back onto the sofa skeleton.

Mine is a two-part sofa. After I dressed the first and easier set with the help of Baby, I panted and perspired as I slouched on the newly washed cover.

After resting for half an hour, I saw Baby dressing the second part of the sofa. I was more than pleasantly surprised! "How did you do it? And you seem to have done it effortlessly!"

She smiled and replied,"I just placed this (gestured to the cover) on the sofa and pull it down."

"Thank you! What will I do without you?"

Monday, 29 August 2016

A Glimmer of Weight Loss Hope

I finally saw a '45' on the weighing scale! Yes, never mind even when it's closer to '46'?"!

I had been stuck with '47' for some weeks and the more I hoped to see a number smaller or lighter, the more dreadful it felt to see myself stuck at '47' and '47.1'. As if I would never get to '46', much less '45'!

I have to credit my weight loss to the elusive Pokemons.

I have downloaded two apps, Poke Alert and Go Radar, to allow me to see the rare Pokemons when they appear in my area.

Often, they appear in places I usually take a unhurried walk of 7 to 15 minutes to reach, but these apps show the Pokemons' appearance such that the player is given 5 to 7 minutes to get to the Pokemons! The longest time frame I was given for a Venusaur was 13 minutes. I jumped out of bed and ran-cum-walked-hurriedly to the spot and I managed to get there in good time, with about 2 minutes to spare.

There have been times when I was a few seconds late, or I managed to reach there in time but my avatar did not move close enough to the location for the Pokemon to appear, and I made wasted trips.

I have not run so fast and at such high frequency for the last twenty years, I believe. 

This morning, I saw a Lickytung ticking down at 6 minutes at a mall 7 minutes' quick walk from my house. I made a dash for it, but I missed it by a few seconds. 

In my despair, I checked out the Poke Alert app. To my pleasant surprise, I saw Lickytung at a block of flats two or three traffic lights away, and the clock started ticking at 8 minutes!

I geared myself up and walked quickly to the spot, half-running my way there. 

When I was down to the last two minutes, I sprinted to the place and found the Pokemon there at the last few seconds!

I was pooped! I started my way back to the mall when I checked the Poke Alert app again to make sure I wasn't missing out on any rare Pokemons before I left.

And I saw a Dratini ticking at 3 minutes at a school nearby!

I decided to try my luck and dashed to the spot.

Again, I caught the elusive Pokemon before it disappeared a few seconds later.

My legs were going jelly by then!

I realised I had covered more than 1km by foot in that short span of time!

Other Pokemons that had me run like that were Hitmonchan, Porygon, Venusaur, Jynx and a few others that I can't recall at hand. I caught some and missed others.

When you run so often, I guess it is possible to lose weight!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pikachus At Play

I saw from the Poke Alert app that a Pikachu was awaiting me to bring it into captivity, so I walked down a few blocks of flats and ventured into the slightly muddy grass field after a shower to look for it.

Another five or six other sillies like me were also searching for Pikachu in that wide expanse of green. 

After a little searching, there I found it with the help of the app!
A low-cp (combat power) Pikachu which warranted an effortless catch. 

After the easy catch, I saw a red Pikachu playing in the field:
Don't worry. No outrage of modesty there. She was wearing a pair of denim shorts. Her top was a little long though.

She was playing with her favourite plant, mimosa. The cutey kept saying it was a flower. I reminded her that the flower is pink and she was touching the leaves. She immediately responded,"Oh yah! The flower looks like a dandelion!"

Saturday, 27 August 2016

A Low-Class Experience at Parkroyal Hotel's Crab & Lobster Buffet (Kitchener Road)

I am a big fan of crabs so when my elder sister asked if I was keen to go for this buffet for her birthday treat, I jumped at it.

There was a credit card promotion at two-to-dine-in at $118++ and we were joined by my mother, my third sister and her friend, my fifth sister and her youngest daughter and my youngest sister and her family. Children below the age of 7 ate free.

It was on the day we made our way to Parkroyal Hotel at Kitchener Road in Little India that I realised there are three Parkroyal Hotels in Singapore. The one that I always knew is at Beach Road, and for some reason, I kept thinking that the one at Pickering Street was another hotel. That buffet day, I learnt about the third one at Kitchener Road. I was very surprised that a Parkroyal Hotel would park itself in an area like Little India. Little India could be a tourist attraction to some but it is not the most affluent area where tourists would base themselves at or at least I thought.
The buffet started at 6pm but we only got there at about 7.15pm. Not my style. I believe in maximising the time I have at a buffet so I usually get to a buffet or afternoon a little early to settle down and 'get ready' to zoom in on the food or area I want. Very 'yeow kwee' I know, but if I am paying, I'd better make sure at least the time spent is worth the dollar.

The first thing that greeted us was the crowded long queues everywhere. I should have taken a picture of the massive crowd and queues but I was late for the buffet and the yeow kwee in me was worried that I would be shortchanged if I didn't join the queues as soon as possible so I missed out on the picture of the crowd.

My mother and I didn't even know what we were queuing for, but since there was a queue, it must be for something good, so we joined it.

It turned out that we were queuing for Mentaiko lobsters, baked lobsters with mayonnaise. Food was slightly above average but I didn't like the way it was given to us. 

I didn't read the sign that stated 'One serving per time' and asked my mother if we should get another serving for my sisters who were parking the car. The lady who was giving out the plates of lobster immediately shrunk her outstretched arm and said curtly,"If you want more, you have to queue again."

It made me feel like a yeow kwee.

Yes, I know I am a yeow kwee, but is there a need to make me feel like one in front of other guests? This is a hotel, you know? Parkroyal doesn't have the budget to send its staff for customer-service training, is it? I believe there are more tactful ways to word it, like "I am sorry, Miss. One serving at a time. You can queue up again if you would like to get it for someone else."
Then my youngest sister raved over the steamed live lobster, saying that it tasted superior to the Mentaiko lobster, so we queued up for it.

Nope. The rest of us respectfully disagreed that it was better. Could not tell that it was 'live' by the degree of freshness either.

To optimise the money's worth, we ate another two or three Mentaiko lobsters since it was better than the steamed live lobster.

One chef per station too!

We queued for the Pumpkin Crab, meaning crab in pumpkin sauce.

It sounded weird but the pumpkin sauce sweetened the crab meat so I had at least another helping. Queued again, of course.

My sisters and brother-in-law took their little children to the stations to show the chefs that there were two of them so that they could get two servings. *roll eyes (at the hotel's policy)* (in Singlish fashion) Have to do it until like that to get another plate ah?
There was a dessert station placed away from the crowd. I would have missed it if I hadn't come with my sisters.

Chin Chow with longan drink

Scallops should be fresh.

Other seafood as side-dishes

There was another station with other less popular crab and lobster options unmanned by chefs. Guests could form their own queue in the usual buffet style to pick and choose the food they wanted. They didn't look palatable enough to entice me to try them though:
Chilli crab

Kam Heong crab

Japanese Lobster Fried Rice

Not sure what this was but it looked spicy

Lobster Spaghetti

Pork Confit

Crustacean Paella

As we drove home, all of us unanimously agreed that the place was too crowded and packed for a comfortable seating. The (lack of) hotel ambience felt more like a market place. We had the feeling that the hotel was trying to maximise its space to contain as many guests as possible for the price it offered for the buffet. It made the buffet feel cheapskate and low-class. A stark contrast to every single afternoon tea we have been to.

We also felt that the constant need to queue, each time we wanted food, made us feel low-class. I said I felt like an orphan queuing in a food house, waiting to collect my food. My fifth sister said she felt like a prisoner waiting in the queue for her food.

When I related my 'One serving per time' experience, all of them agreed that it made one feel cheapo or yeow kwee. My elder sister summed my experience up,"It's an aunty preparing the food. What can you expect?"

Verdict: Parkroyal Hotel at Kitchener Road has a lot of room for improvement.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Pokemon Go is in Our Nature

My elder sister was relating to my youngest sister how she realised Pokemon Go draws out one's very nature,

"As a spender, I spend my coins from battling in the gym the moment I earn enough.
As a saver, she (meaning me) saves up her coins after battling in the gym."

to which my youngest sister replied,"Hmm ... that's true. I think about how to spend the coins even before I have earned them!"

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Mouth-Watering Lava Custard Mooncakes

I had read rave reviews about Mei Xin Mooncakes, especially its Lava Custard Mooncakes last year.

Unfortunately, by the time I made my way down to Takashimaya Mooncake Fair, the lava custard mooncakes were sold out. So did the egg custard mooncakes. Imagine the disappointment I experienced!

This year, I checked out Mei Xin Lava Custard Mooncakes earlier. The booth was still at the same place. For all my unluckiness, I gathered my courage and asked,"Do you still have lava custard mooncakes?"

Much to my delight, the lady said,"Yes. The stocks are running low though. I may not have any left if you return tomorrow."

I bought two boxes at $53.50 per box, careful not to overbuy in case I don't like them. 
The mooncakes come in a classic mooncake box.
Four small mooncakes sitting on the top tier and four more at the bottom.

Storage instructions: only open them when you want to eat them. There is no need to put them in the refrigerator. Shelf-life is about a month.
'美心 流心' is the embossment, with '流心' referring to the lava custard.
The crust is soft and easy at the slightest bite.
The egg custard forms the second layer within.
The core holds the watery lava custard. 

Yumz! Heavenly!

I had three at one go. Enough said.

I gave one box to my mother. When I called her to ask about her feedback, she was busy with my baby nephew. What was told to me by my elder sister was: Mother said,"Wow, this mooncake is delicious! Where did she get it from?"

I am down to two mooncakes on Day Two. I will be getting more when Mei Xin comes to the mall near my place at the end of the month!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Little Thing That Matters

I took Baby kick-scooting at a park near our place one evening last week.

Usually, I would slip the keys into my pocket but strangely, that day, I didn't. I held on to it all the time while I played Pokemon Go as I went along.

Baby needed me to hold her paper boat as she played at one of the playgrounds. I sat myself down at a bench and placed both the keys and the boat on the bench next to me.

After a while, Baby decided to go for the swing. I followed her. I picked up her precious boat and forgot the keys.

By the time I remembered the keys, we were at our doorstep, trying to recall where they were!

I made a 200m dash back to the park bench. I had not done such a long-distance run in at least 20 years of my life!  I ran worried and stressed, hoping against hopes that my bunch of keys would still be there.

As I sprinted, I realised I was more concerned about the pretty Hong Kong Disneyland keychain than the keys themselves. I reckoned very few potential criminals would bother to try opening the gates and doors of hundreds of flats around the park but the keychain could not be easily replaced, unless I fly to Hong Kong Disneyland again! 

Thankfully, there it was, gleaming in the setting sun! Relief and the untold joy of lost-and-found so overwhelmed me that I grinned widely at a strangerwho saw me picking up the set of keys! He knowingly smiled back at me.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Sleeping Beauty

Sometimes when I see Baby sleeping in a funny manner, I would take a picture of it and show it to her the next day. It never fails to make her smile or laugh.

Lounging like a boss


Like a ninja (before the bed was made!)
During dinner
During homework-doing

And finally ...
Just taking a nap

Monday, 22 August 2016

A Local Rendition of Hansel & Gretel

I had introduced Baby to her first play The Incredible Book-Eating Boy last year and she enjoyed it immensely, so I have been looking out for affordable plays to take her to. 

I came across the Players Theatre Facebook page and saw that they were putting up a familiar Grimm Brothers classic Hansel & Gretel at Ulu Pandan Community Club. I bought the Preview tickets for the  play some time in June to get the second-row seats.
The theatre didn't start admitting the audience until 1.20pm, something I thought was unusual for a play. Admittedly, I don't watch plays or musicals frequently but my impression is that plays should start punctually.

The storyline is similar to the paperback classic but Players Theatre added in a few twists:
  • the stepmother had a short soliloquy about how her mother had tried persuading her not to marry the woodcutter
  • the stepmother hid the better food and money from the children
  • a crow being the guardian angel of the children
  • the addition of a bunny who helped the witch to trick the children 
  • the addition of a talking gingerbread man similar to the one in Shrek movies to help the children out of their predicament
As usual, Baby enjoyed the play while I dozed off at a certain part of the play. I had woken up at 3am yesterday so the stupor was getting to me after about a twelve-hour cycle, but I managed to wake up at one of the climaxes where the children were tricked into the sweets-and-chocolates house.

Hansel was portrayed as an impulsive and gullible boy who was easily bought over while Gretel was portrayed as a brainy girl who questioned what she thought was unusual eg. why did the witch have a house in the middle of the woods?

At the end of the play at 2.55pm, the actors thanked the audience and had a Q&A session for the children who, surprisingly, unabashedly shouted out their curious questions. Some of the questions asked were:
  • Why did you choose to put up Hansel & Gretel?
        (It's everything rolled into one ie. sweets and chocolates, children emerging successful)
  • What is the cage made of? 
        (Wood and PVC pipes)
  • Why did you make the cage (instead of purchasing it)? 
        (A big cage is hard to find and it's easier to customise it to what we want)
  • How long did it take for you to prepare for the play?
        (A little more than three weeks)
  • Is this your first performance?
        (For this play, yes. This is a preview and a preview is meant for you to do the actual acting on a stage and see how everything including the moving of the props fits in.)
  • What is the gingerbread man/bread made of?
  • How did you get out from the oven?
       (There is a covered opening at the back of the oven. After I was pushed into the oven, I got out from the opening.)
At the end of the Q&A session, children were welcomed to form a queue to take pictures with the actors. 
We were glad to have stayed for the Q&A :)

Baby loved Gretel!

Sunday, 21 August 2016


He bought me a power bank!

I have been on a lookout for power banks recently as the battery-drain when playing Pokemon Go is ridiculously rapid. I had one pathetic experience with a power bank and unbeknownst to me, it was meant to be an emergency charge for a one or two percent battery life for its user to make his last call or send his last sms before the phone dies out. I had a refreshing experience with a 10,000mAh power bank which an acquaintance loaned me a couple of months back and started viewing power banks in the new light.

So far, the 10,000ma power banks I have checked out are expensive, huge, heavy and usually so not pretty.

He surprised me two days back by passing this to me. It comes in a petite package and is covered in gold soft felt synthetic leather. Really pretty! Expensive though, I thought. The price tag read $99.90.

Price aside, it works really well. Charges up my handphone battery very fast and each time, about 25% of the power bank is used so technically, one full charge of the power bank can provide my handphone with three to four times of charging, although I haven't the need to charge it more than once when out. Form and function fused into one. Love it!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Food Donation Drive Experience


Baby and I participated in a food donation drive jointly organised by Yong-En Care Centre and the school's parent-volunteer group on Wednesday.

The food to be distributed to the needy elderly were a loaf of bread and a small bottle of kaya each.

Each parent-volunteer was invited to bring her child or children along so that the little ones could witness how the food was distributed to the needy.

We were given a list of names and unit numbers and we were urged to knock on the door instead of pressing the doorbell as most of the doorbells were not working, like mine!

Baby was a great help. I am terrible with numbers and forget them the moment I look away, but she remembered them like clockwork and pointed me to the units right away after I had read them off the list,"It's here/there!"

If not for her, I would have forgotten to give out the kaya because I was trying to remember what I needed to do, step by step ie. knock on the door, shout for the resident, say 'I am here to distribute the bread to so-and-so.", tick against the names that the bread was given out to, put a cross against those who were not home and write the unit number and the next day's date on the slip of paper given to us, and slip it under the door, so that they could collect the food at the Centre right below their block.

I had thought I had brought the little one along to give her a new experience, but the little helper proved to be an efficient assistant to me instead!

Out of twelve recipients, five were not home.

It was my first time doing something like this and I felt a little, just a little, apprehensive. Baby was super enthusiastic though. Reminds me of the Chinese proverb '初生之犊不畏虎', rudimentarily translated as 'the new-born calves are not afraid of the tiger'.

Much to my relief, most of the recipients received the bread and kaya with thanks and said goodbye to us. Others smiled and took the food in and closed the door.

We peeked into some of their flats and quickly realised that those were 2-room rental flats. Some were neat and tidy while others were a little messy, and one occupied by two male elderly had the 'men's smell', obviously in quite a neglected state.

After giving out the bread and returning to the Centre, I realised I was one of the firsts to have returned. That was when I found out that we were supposed to make small talks with the residents! The only comfort was the lady-in-charge assured me that it was only if I was comfortable to do so.

I also found out more about Yong-En Care Centre after a cosy talk with the lady. She shared that the Centre is run by only a few staff who oversee and help out with other activities as well, such as help rendered to young single mothers, families with children who need tuition and elderly with senile dementia. It takes a lot of compassion and grit to work in a place like this. God bless these caring individuals who work tirelessly for the love for the needy!

After waiting around for another 45 minutes when most other parent volunteers had returned, I decided to make a move first to shop for Baby's classmate's birthday present.

When Baby and I got home, we felt incredibly tired, but Baby enjoyed the activity very much and thought the act of giving out of the bread was fun.  

I fell asleep at 9.30pm and woke up at 4am the next day!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Schooling Fever

William whatsapped me last Saturday morning.
Following that, the mothers on Baby's class group chat mentioned the win and shared the famous Schooling joke about how children love Schooling too much to declare the following Monday a public holiday.

In the days that follow, restaurants have been giving discounts on food in celebration of Schooling's Olympic gold.

Wherever the Singapore hero goes, he is thronged by crowds so that they could get a piece of him on their Facebook or Instagram.

The vibes I get from this fever is that Singaporeans are very proud that they finally have one true blue Singaporean who won the Olympic gold medal for the country. Schooling has broken the myth that 'Singapore needs foreign talents if she ever wishes to smell Olympics'.

I don't have any problem with the crowd thronging him. It is only natural to be awestruck by a great star. If one doesn't, it only means that he has above-average will power. That's all.

Some people don't like what they see. They say,"Leave the boy alone!", "They didn't even play a part in his success." and "The companies are advertising using Schooling's name and face without paying him endorsement fees!"

For sure. Nobody except his parents and his coaches played a part in his success. But when one wins an honour, the whole world rejoices with you.

I am quite sure most of these critics do not know their Chinese well.

We have a Chinese proverb that goes 

An online translation that seems apt to me is
"After ten years' hard study noticed by none , his fame fills the land once honours are won."

We celebrate because we know it was sheer hard work behind that showmanship.

We celebrate because we are proud that someone who represents the country wins big, and defies what was previously told to us in our face - that we would never make it if not for the foreign talents, that we have to thank the foreign talents in getting Singapore close to smelling the butt of Olympics.

Sure, the boy needs a break, but he is young and strong. He is only 21. He will get a good rest when he gets home. If he wants to eat his char kway teow in peace, he can always asks his parents, friends or relatives to pack it home for him. I am quite sure he was ready to be thronged the moment he chose to eat out. I even suspect that he was happy to be thronged, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Let every true blue Singaporean rejoice with Schooling.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Bubble Party

Baby was invited to a classmate's birthday party last week. 

Nine girls were invited with a turnout of eight girls.
A party entertainer was hired. 
She came dressed up as Ariel The Little Mermaid and the trick in her hat was the bubble show.
Bubbles in a bubble
The girls could not wait to touch it!
She had a magic table which changed colours!
Multiple bubbles in one!

She taught the children and adults who were present that bubbles are sphere-shape.
Every girl had her turn to be an assistant to the magician.

Baby was asked to wear a pair of gloves and hold a bubble in her hands. Look at how careful she looks!
Ariel The Little Mermaid explained that bubbles burst when come in contact with smooth surface but last for a while when on rough surface, that's why the gloves.
All the girls had their turn in being encased by a huge bubble! 
Before she left, Ariel created a bubble crown for each little guest. The girls loved it! 
 Second round: meow!

It was a most enjoyable and inclusive party for all the little guests. Most party host focus on the birthday child alone to make the child feel special but this party host not only make the birthday girl feel special by asking her to be the first to assist her in her bubble tricks, she also included every child in every part of her show to make him or her feel special. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

We Must Be Crazy

I had slept early the night before and I woke up at 4am this morning.

I couldn't sleep after that and decided to do some chores before going down to inform the school bus driver at 5.30am that I would be taking Baby to and from school today. 

At 5.15am, I saw the silhouette of Snorlax, one of the rarer Pokemons, in my 'sightings' window at 5.15am. For those who don't play the game, a sightings window tells you that the listed Pokemons are within 200m of your radius for about 15 minutes.

Vincent, my neighbour's son, had taught me how to use the sightings window: Keep walking in a direction. If you are walking in the right direction, the Pokemon will show up. If you lose the Pokemon in the sightings window, that means you are walking in the wrong direction and you should walk in the other direction. If you see Pokemon Go players walking around, ask them if they have seen it. Chances are, they would have captured it themselves and would be willing to share where they found it.

Since Snorlax is so rare that Pokemon Go players would travel to other parts of the island just to look for it, I decided to try and look for it in my area.

I started walking in the direction of a particular Pokestop which I had caught a one or two Pokemons from the sightings window yesterday, but suddenly, Snorlax disappeared from my radar.

I turned back immediately and saw a smoker walking in my direction, holding his handphone and swiping his phone upwards. I decided to try my luck and asked if he had seen Snorlax. He pointed to the playground next to where we were standing and said,"Yes. I saw it there." I thanked him and moved towards the playground. Before I went further, he raised his voice a little,"229 only." referring to Snorlax's Combat Power.

I continued to walk down the slope towards the playground and before I reached it, my phone vibrated and lo and behold! Snorlax was just standing behind the Pokestop, huge and smiley.

Made a few attempts and finally caught it.
The guy was still waiting for me back there. When I returned to where we first met, he asked,"Did you get it?" I smiled and replied and shouted back,"Yes! 1761!" 

He asked further,"Did you use an 'incense'?"
I answer,"No."
He was surprised,"No incense also can ah?"

As I walked back, I thought to myself,"Someone is as crazy as I am - came out at 5.15am to catch a Pokemon !"

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Awakening

Recycling was never a part of my life.

As a young teacher, I used to cut out pictures or type out students' works and laminate them, much to the disgust and dismay of an environmentally conscious colleague. I didn't know what I did had irked her until I overheard her telling a colleague that 'some teachers' did a lot of laminating and it was 'very bad for the environment'. Come to think of it, she must have said it with a purpose since I was just sitting in front of her cubicle.

Fast forward thirteen years later, the mass media education must have done some good because I am starting to be more conscious of the need to protect the Earth. I begin to collect used plastic bottles from my household use and put them in the blue recycling bin below my block. When I read that food would contaminate the recyclable materials, I wash the containers and bottles clean before putting them in the bin.


Some of my 'collection'

However, William was not as environmentally conscious. He would throw his empty drink bottles into the trash bin. I had to keep reminding him that he could recycle the bottles. Occasionally, he remembered it and put one empty bottle in the sink.

This morning, I woke up to see this:
Bottles were unwashed, but nonetheless some effort towards protecting the Earth I guess.