Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Little One @ Singapore Sports Hub

Thanks to The Gingerbread Mum, I got to know we can go to the Lazy River for free till 15 April (Afterwhich, there will be a charge of $2 per person)! 

We visited the water play area (FOC) as well since it is nearby. We went on a Sunday and the place was pretty crowded. It looked pretty fun but my heart almost come to a standstill whenever I see children dashing around the playground. Everything is wet. I am sure the slides are very slippery. The orange slide is pretty dangerous in our opinion. Children who slide down from that particular slide tend not to move away from the base of the slide because there is a built up of water and they love play in that pool of water. Children would not be able to see whether there are children at the bottom of the slide because the slide is covered up. Some parents including my hubby were near that slide to ensure accidents do not happen. According to him, the water at the base of the slide is rather dirty.

The Splash Area next to the water play is closed for maintenance unfortunately. The picture on the right was taken during our first visit
Then, we proceed to the Lazy River.
Sharing with you, below are some photos taken before Chinese New Year.

National Stadium at Night

If you are interested, you may want to visit the Singapore sports Museum and Sports Hub Library

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Farewell, Father of Singapore...

Yesterday, we woke up to know a piece of  news that sadden Singapore. The Father of Singapore , Mr Lee Kuan Yew, had left us after battling in Singapore General Hospital due to pneumonia. We know this day is soon to come  because his health had been failing and yet when the news was announced, we could not help but grieve.

Hence, this week, instead of continuing a post on playground fun, I am to dedicate this post to him. 
I am going to share with you photos I had taken during Little One's last excursion to the Learning Gallery at the Singapore Art Museum last June. 

Portrait of Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Self-Portrait (No More Tears Mr. Lee) by Jason Wee

His inspiration comes from the iconic 9th August 1965 moment when Mr Lee broke down on TV while announcing Singapore's separation from Malaysia. He used 8,000 Johnson and Johnson bottle caps because Johnson and Johnson is famous for their baby shampoo "No more Tears".

Why using no more tears bottle caps?
The artist is conveying now Singapore is doing well, Mr Lee need not to cry anymore (No more tears).

8,000 Johnson and Johnson's shampoo bottle caps, creating a portrait by opening or closing the caps.

Self-Portrait (No More Tears Mr. Lee) by Jason Wee is currently at Learning Gallery of Singapore Art Museum
It was not easy to build a nation then. It was tough times. But he did it. He successfully lead his team to build Singapore. I doubt there are many people who are as capable and influential as he is.

Little One is not aware who Mr Lee is. All I can tell her is that the Singapore that she live in is built by a team led by Mr Lee. I hope, in years to come, I can let her know more stories of Mr Lee.

Farewell, Father of Singapore,
we will remember how you brought the 3rd world Singapore to her present day. You are a great, amazing man! We shall miss you! Now that you are away, we wept for you. At least, you are with your beloved wife. It is somewhat consoling to think about that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Little One @ Hort Park

We are not new to Hort Park. It is a 23-hectare park located in the South-Western part of Singapore. It is the first one-stop gardening lifestyle hub in Asia that integrates gardening related activities together under one roof in a park setting. This park is unique because it gives you ideas how you can decorate your garden or balcony if you have one. They have showcase garden design.

If you love gardening, you can check this park out especially Gardener's Day Out which happens quarterly. Do check here for more details. Though I have been to the park countless times but I have not gone for any gardening events as yet.

The park is a rather small, you could walk through it and get done with it within an hour. (Our fastest record was within 15 minutes because we were just passing through to Pasir Panjang Nursery Open House). You will not find any fun activities such as cycling although there are people who picnics in the park. (I personally do not recommend as there is not much shade) The only fun activities for the children is probably the playgrounds, the swings around the park and fishes in the Water Garden near the Hort Centre. To add on, it is rather hot towards noon till late afternoon. Then, why do I keep coming back?

One practical reason is that it is probably the nearest park to our home. It is rather serene view with loads of pretty plants around, particularly the view of the Hort Lawn from Level 2 of the HortCentre. It makes me relax. I love the vegetable garden which the scarecrow stands. I am toying with the thought of growing my own vegetables but where should I plant them. I do not have a balcony and the sunniest spot in the flat is the bedroom. I like the English gardens that the Park had recently included. Sitting in a swing with such nice view is calming, not to mention, my favorite part of the playground as a child is always the swing.

Hort Park entrance @ 33 Hyderabad Road. Little One used to love playing with the mosaic wall.

Little One loves climbing these stairs
Swing! Swing! Swing! Swinging in such ambiance increases the happiness level! 

Such pretty gardens!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

1st Exposure to Amezaiku

In the midst of Chinese New Year, which is celebrated on the first 15 days of the 1st Lunar month of the Chinese Calendar, I attended and exposed myself to Japanese Candy Art Sculpturing (Amazaiku). On the 3rd March, it is Hina Matsuri Festival (Doll Festival or Girl's Festival) which is celebrated in Japan. I am very interested in cultures and hence went ahead to the Lecture & Demonstration on Amazaiku conducted in Japan Creative Centre (JCC).

I brought Little One along too as there was no one who could take care of her that day. There were also a few parents who brought their children along.

The whole session was conducted by Ms Minori Baba, a Japanese born in Kobe. Before the session start, she prepared her ingredients required for amazaiku in front of us using a portable induction cooker.
A sticky glob of hot candy. 

Ms Baba speaks Japanese and fortunately, there was a translator to help translate to English. She introduced herself as a passionate candy sculptor artist. She loves to cosplay and she works at a Japanese Radio Station as a DJ. As that day was Hina Matsuri, she introduces to us why Japanese celebrates this special day. At the same time, she introduced various types of Japanese sweets which are enjoyed during the celebration , before proceeding to introduce the traditional Japanese Art Candy Sculpturing "Amezaiku".

Introducing the Hinamatsuri Sweets

What is Amekaiku?
It is a traditional Japanese art of sculpturing candy into various.animals, things and characters. Today only about 40 people are practicing the art in Japan. Ms Baba started her candy art skills in 2006 and she mastered her amezaiku skills by herself. Since then Ms Minori has been doing candy art shows everywhere, she is able to handle hot candies which are of 80-90 degree celsius without gloves in order to sculpture a candy into different forms. Her amezaiku equipment includes a special scissors called "Nigiribasami", brushes and food colouring. Sculpting candy had to be done fast before it hardens.

The artists start with balls of soft candy,dyed with food colouring, attached to the end of wooden sticks. The candy is pinched, pulled and cut into the desired shape. Finishing touches, like eyes, the whiskers are painted on with food dyes.

In the past, amezaiku artist blew into the balls of candies to help enlarge them but nowadays, for hygiene purpose, they use pump instead.

After the lecture, Ms Baba demonstrated amezaiku in front of us. According to JCC, she is the only candy sculpting artist who can make candies while singing a song. Ms Baba made 3 candies, (a dragon, Ponyo in a shape of a goldfish, and Totoro) in front of us. It was such an eye-opener! The candies were given to 3 lucky children. The candies can be stored for a few months if not eaten. I was glad Little One enjoyed watching the making of candy art!

Ms Baba singing to the tune of Totoro while making one. She used a pump to pump the body of Totoro.

Look at these cute candies! Too lovely to be consumed in my opinion.
I believe Amezaiku is a dying art in Japan because it is not easy handling hot candies at 80 degree Celcius. Many beginners burn their hand. Candy Sculpturing Artist such as Ms Baba had trained herself to get used to the heat. She had trained herself to make these amazing and beautiful candies. The reason she likes doing amezaiku is because of passion. She loves to put a smile on everyone's face when they see her candy art.

I could not upload any of the video I have taken at JCC. But here is a video of Ms Baba sculpting Hello Kitty. Hope you enjoy watching too!

Ps: The video of Ms Baba in action is on  my facebook page

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Little One @ Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

Jacob Ballas Children's Garden is a place we love visiting. It is located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens. For me, the easiest way of accessing is to take the MRT to Botanic Gardens Station and stroll in from there. 
It is supposed to be a 10 minutes walk from the Bukit Timah Gate (There are various entry points to the Botanic Gardens) to Jacob Ballas but usually we would take half an hour because we would be pausing and admiring the beauty in the park.

Beauty located just outside the garden itself.
I love the patterns of the gates of the garden.

Look! Who do we spot early that morning enjoying its stroll in the park too?  Usually, when we come, the swans are either hiding or swimming in the waters.
Do you see what I see?
Lovely place
If you are in a mood for learning (about plants), the Botanic Garden is a great place to do so, especially in the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden where many of the plants are actually labelled.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Little One @ Playground hop

It is a rare treat that I would bring Little One to explore neighbourhood playground. Usually, I would just bring her to a playground in our neighbourhood. Otherwise, it would be a playground in a park. Inspired by Ai from Sakura Haruka, she got me interested in other playgrounds in other neighbourhood.

It happened that all the relatives we visited in the first day of Chinese New Year are within Toa Payoh. We had set in our mind to visit the heritage dragon playground located in the region. When we stopped at the last stop, we realised we were so near Kim Keat Avenue that we decided to pay a visit to the Dinosaur Playground as well. 

Little did we know that these playgrounds are so near to one another. So in that afternoon, we did a playground hop from one to the other. See map below. We navigate using Street Directory app on our mobile.  
Make a guess which is Little One's favorite.

Dinosaur Playground
We found the Dinosaur Playground. This playground was introduced by Ai in her blog.  There were two dinosaurs sculptures and some dinosaur eggs. Next to them, there is a small slide in the form of Stegosaurus. 
Little One was interested in the slide while we the parents were more interested in the sculptures. We weren't the only one taking photos of the dinosaurs. LOL...

Castle Playground
This was featured in Ai's blog as well. The castle, though small, looked pretty awesome and I guessed it got Little One pretty excited as well. There were some kids playing here already. Comparing to the Dinosaur Playground, this play area is considered bigger to Little One.

Random Playground
This playground looked common so I called it a random playground. We labeled below our fear and our favorite in this playground. What I like about this playground is the 3 seater rocker, perfect from our family of 3 to play with. ha...

Dragon Playground
Welcome to the last stop! This playground is an icon of Toa Payoh. It is also an heritage playground.
Location: 28 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh

Notice how this playground is different from the rest that were mentioned above?
No modern plastic features, such as plastic slides
No soft ground padding.
Instead, it is on a raised platform full of sand.
The playground is made mainly of concrete and mosaic tiles.
Did I mention, the slides here were definitely faster?

This particular playground remains me of the one I used to play with - The Pelican and Tortoise playground with metal merry-go-round and a couple of swings with no safety gadgets attached at all. I think all the Pelican playground had been demolished some time ago. There is no chance for me to bring Little One to recap the memories I had with identical playground. Yet I am happy that we get to this dragon playground which was also designed by HDB's Mr Khor Ean Ghee.

True was that olden days playgrounds are more dangerous compared to modern playgrounds. Children are prone to cuts and grazes then. But we can't deny that such iconic playgrounds are more fun to play with. There is sand-play without the need to go to the beach. The slides are faster. (In other words, more fun) The only way to slow down is to 'squat and slide' or 'open your legs wide' to create fiction on both sides of slides to slow the whole process down. But one can't deny, accidents do happen regardless how safe the playground is made to be. If you look at a group of toddlers playing at playgrounds, you would know exactly what I mean. One slight neglect on supervision, accidents happen.

This is my first time to a iconic Dragon Playground. There were a few families here but we were the ones who spent the longest time here. Reason being, Little One loved this playground so much, she can't bear to leave.

This playground used to near former Blk 28 but the block was demolished. Take a look at how it used to look like here.

Tips: If you think you are going to spend quite some time down here. Get some cold drinks before coming. We got ours from Mac in SAFRA located just opposite the playground.

Designed by HDB's Mr Khor Ean Ghee, built in 1979. He designed the 1st theme animal themes, including dragon, pilican, giraffe and tortoise. 
PS: Did you know this dragon playground is not the earlier dragon design?
The earlier version has a longer spine, metal head and circular monkey bar and it was located in Toa Payoh Town Park.

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