Friday, July 31, 2015

Where to go with the family during the Jubilee Weekend?

[Sponsored Post]

After seeing the SG50 logo everywhere since the beginning of the year, maybe in your mind you might think, “enough is enough lah”. But before you start going, “What? SG50 again?” think again. How many SG50’s would one get to experience in a lifetime? Perhaps there may be companies that wish to ride on the SG50 hype and sell collectibles at a premium by just embossing SG50 on its otherwise normal product. But there are many others who have joined in our Jubilee celebrations by offering great discounts, free services or products for Singaporeans / PRs, all in the name of the “Kampung” spirit! 

Both my wife and I are full-time working parents and any of our non-working time would be spent with the kids. This coming Jubilee Weekend (7-10 Aug 2015) presented yet another ideal opportunity for our family to enjoy some quality bonding time together. It is just a matter of finding out and deciding where to go that is the lightest for my wallet! 

The kiddos at Jurong Bird Park, one of the attractions offering 50% off on admission from 01 – 31 Aug 2015. Get a free SG50 animal-themed woven tote bag from 07 – 10 Aug too! – Check out their fun play here
I am sure that you would have noticed a long WhatsApp message or Facebook post that had been making its round on social media, listing the fun places to go during this long weekend. Many mommy and daddy bloggers have also compiled their own list of places to go during the Jubilee weekend but these lists are definitely not comprehensive enough, for there is just that much space and info for a message or blog post. So now how? Do you know that there is actually a #‎SG50‬ app (on both iOS and Android) available for free download now? This app actually lists out all the places offering free / discounted admissions, deals and all the fun activities (free or otherwise) that are specially meant for our #SG50 celebrations and there is no need for you to take down any notes! Everything would be at your fingertips with just your smartphone.

Download the official app for SG50 for the full calendar of events. Just type in ‘Celebrate SG50’ in your iPhone or Android app store and search!
What? Cable cars also free ah? Yes, you heard that right, cable cars on both Mt Faber Line and Sentosa Line will be free for Singaporeans / PR on 10 Aug 2015 between 9am – 9pm too!
Gardens by the Bay Celebrates SG50 too and offers 50% for admissions to Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Seniors above 60 enters for free as well!
There's free admission for Singaporeans to Science Centre Singapore (SCS) and Interplay: Where Science Meets Art and 5 other attractions – Human Body Experience, KidsSTOP™, Snow City, The Cliff @ Snow City and Omni-Theatre!
It is not all about activities, but there are also some great food deals found in the app too!
To be absolutely truthful, I had doubts on whether the Jubilee Weekend will be enjoyable for the family at all, if the attractions were free for all and overcrowded as a result. I was even joking with my fellow daddy and mommy friends that the WhatsApp message they got should be a list of places to avoid over the long weekend!

But I believe if Singaporeans can continue to help each other out by being gracious and patient in the queues, it will not be so bad. The deals offered in the app is also not restricted to just one or two attractions, but there are really a whole lot more places to go up till the end of the year! We will be sure to “jio” (cajole) all our friends to go for some of them so as to not disappoint the organizations for their goodwill! Jubilee Weekend here we come!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Kids' First Time on the Singapore Cable Car

[Media Invite]

The kids were no strangers to taking the cable car, and we had done the touristy thing by hopping onto the Mao Kong in Taiwan and the Ngong Ping Hong Kong. But we had never taken the Sentosa cable car yet! In fact, the last time I took the cable car was probably in primary school. It was definitely an exciting way to get to Sentosa and we even had the option of taking the ferry from World Trade Centre back then! So when Mount Faber Leisure Group (MFLG) extended an invite to the family for the launch of its new Cable Car Sky Network, I knew I had to take leave to bring the kids along!

The excited kiddos at Mt Faber Station.
Striking a pose high above, with no fear at all.
We were able to see the activities over at Adventure Cove from the cable car.
Reaching the final station for the Mt Faber line.
We were obviously excited and we even went over to Sentosa much earlier than we were supposed to, taking the Sentosa line in from Mt Faber. I grew up in Telok Blangah Rise at the base of Mt Faber and only moved to my current place when in my twenties, My childhood was all about catching of spiders (not those puny fighting spiders, but big tarantulas), centipedes and snakes and what nots from the nooks and crannies of Mt Faber with my friends and neighbors. It was my giant playground then. How time flies, revisiting Mt Faber after all these years brought back wonderful memories of yesteryears but everything is so clean, beautiful and sanitized now, in our usual efficient Singapore way. We actually felt like tourists, especially so for the kids who had never tried our Singapore Cable Cars before.

Yay, we are back at the Luge! This time round, we started from the top of Imbiah Lookout!
The more ride you buy, the cheaper it gets, check it out here. We would recommend at least 3 rides or the family pass! 
Happy family just before our luge rides again!
The kiddos getting ready, for a pose that is. They are too short to go on their own and would need to ride tandem with us!
It took us mere minutes to get to Sentosa Station from Mount Faber Station as we took in the sights of the greeneries Mt Faber offered, the bustling traffic along Seah Im Road and the cruises at World Trade Centre while the kids pointed to the puny humans swimming in the pools of the RWS hotels and Sentosa Adventure Cove. The kids definitely enjoyed this mode over having to walk over via the boardwalk which is our usual method getting into Sentosa! We had a lot of time to spare since we were early and we decided to pay our friends at the Skyline Luge a visit. We went there once in June last year, and then again in December. You see, “Once is Never Enough” and we went twice this time round!

We met the SengKang Babies and took the cable car in to Siloso Station together.
We are approaching Siloso Station of the Sentosa Line, where the party will be.
The kids had some fun at the beach after getting off the station.
The kiddos having a little workout before the party. Fun, is running carefree!
And then we met our friends from BPDG Travels as well! 
We finally took the Sentosa Line to the launch event and garden party at Siloso Point Station via Imbiah Lookout Station which is actually the second station, with the first being the Merlion Station. From our vantage point, we were able to see the beautiful sea with the small islets, and it would be an awesome way to view the sunset! We also happened to meet our friends, SengKang Babies and BPDG Travels at the party and managed to sneak together to the top of the Skywalk at Fort Siloso for a great view! It is always fun when the kids get together but there are way too many fun-filled activities in Sentosa nowadays, and simply not enough time in a day!

We sneaked over to the skywalk before the party started.
Took some nice photos of the kiddos at Fort Siloso.
Went up the tower for the magnificent view of Siloso Beach!
The glass walkway on the skywalk would prove scary for those with acrophobia but not for Stacci.
And how can the kids miss taking wacky photos at the photo booth?
Here's how the launch party looked like! With lots of friends from the media.
And here is Mr S Iswaran, Minister in Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry doing the honors of launching the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network!
The kiddos with their long lost brother, Louie the mascot. Ok, he shares the same name as their youngest brother that's all lah!
It is not exactly cheap for a family to get into Sentosa via the cable car and the prices for both Mt Faber Line and Sentosa Line are $19 for adults and $12 for children and this is for locals. This means I would have to spend $74 just to get into Sentosa via the Cable Car, but I guess it would be worth going at least once with the family. Non-Singaporeans would have to pay $10 and $6 more for adult and child tickets respectively. You can find out more details here. But having said that, there is also Faber License that you can sign up for $120 per annum that allows unlimited cable car rides for a family of up to 4 members with a host of other privileges. This would come in handy for those who stays near the Southern end of Singapore and/or wishes to visit the island multiple times.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Of Taxis & Wi-FI Connection in Bangkok

Taking Taxis In Bangkok 

I am no expert of Thailand but we had been to the country countless times for short getaways or shopping trips due to the close proximity, cheap airfares and great exchange rates. Our most recent trip was last June holidays when we went as a family of 5 sans little Louie, and with another 2 family friends. I was rather surprised when friends told us that the taxis over in Bangkok never go by the meter. Hence I would just like to share our humble experience with you. 

We had always travelled to Bangkok via Suvarnabhumi Airport, but this was the first time that we went via Don Muang Airport instead because the cheap budget airline we took this time only flew there. I thought of getting a bigger car for the 7 of us and found out online that the going rate for one-way airport transfer would be between 800 – 1200thb. In the end, we decided on taking 2 normal taxis instead. We just had to follow the prominent signs at the airports to the taxi queues and they ALL go by meter. In the end, we saved about 600thb in total, choosing public . One thing you need to note though, is that most if not all the taxis have a CNG cylinder at the boots and it would be a little difficult to stuff big luggage in. We had to use the front seat for our humongous luggage. 

This is how we squeezed into a normal cab with the 7 of us. It is also for practicality too as we do not want to run the risk of getting separated if we take two taxis.
We went everywhere via taxi because they were readily available and with so many of us, it was also more economical than taking the BTS. In all the tourist areas, you will find rows and rows of taxi waiting for passengers. When you near them, the drivers will start their usual friendly ”where you going Sir/Mdm” ritual and it will always end the same way, with them offering a fixed price. Every single taxi in these queue will NOT go by meter. So where do you find taxis willing to go by the meter? Simple, just step out of those taxis towards the road and flag down any other passing taxis! But always ask the driver a simple, “meter?” before hopping on. You may find one or two rejecting you, either due to traffic conditions etc, but there will always be taxis that go by the meter! 

There are also official taxi stands at major shopping centers and there are also signs that says taxi must go by meter. We took the taxi back from one after shopping at MBK Shopping Mall and the taxi driver did not start the meter after we got on. I asked him why and he asked for 300thb for a short trip back to our accommodation! I asked him to stop the taxi immediately if he does not want to go by the meter and he relented after that. He was definitely trying his luck and I learnt that one should ask even if taking a taxi in an official taxi queue. Tipped the driver after the trip nevertheless, I just hated being taken for a ride though. 

And we also managed to squeeze into a tuk tuk with all 7 of us and the kids enjoyed the breeze very much! Don't take one during the day though, as the weather is really hot!
Holidays sure ends faster than anyone wished and with the additional luggage that we got over the few days of shopping, I decided to try to negotiate with one of the taxi drivers who is part of the big group of taxi drivers with vehicles parked near our hotel, for a bigger sized Toyota Innova taxi to the airport. We agreed on a price and also set on the time of pick up the next day. On the day of departure though, we arrived earlier and saw the driver, but he signaled that he will be back later and asked us to wait. I sensed that something was not right after he failed to turn up after the agreed time, and his compatriots starting offering other options such as taking two separate taxis at their inflated rates etc. They even went as far as saying that we will never get taxis that will take us to the airport. If we had been first time visitors, we would probably have been taken in. I highly suspect this was an elaborate plan by the group of taxi drivers. 

And we got to the airport safely despite the minor hiccup with the driver who never showed up.
Given my “ngiow" (erm thrifty) character, I never gave in and we simply walked out a little, flagged down two separate metered taxis right in front of the touts and got to the airport with time to spare. Although I was planning on taking one big cab together initially but I guess anything goes as long as we get to the departure hall in time for our flight back home! In the end, we only paid half of the inflated rates they offered for two cabs and saved a few hundred baht! 

Taxi drivers in Bangkok are usually quite friendly, or they don't converse much due to language barrier. The friendliest lot have to be the touts who wait along the major tourist traps but yes, metered taxis are everywhere.

Wi-Fi Connection 

This little device is the portable Wi-Fi that we got. The package come with charger, detailed instructions as well as a stamped return envelope. 
For our trip this time round, we were sponsored the use of pocket Wi-Fi from the friendly peeps from ThaiSmileConnect. In these days, having internet access on the smart phone when overseas is akin to having access to ALL kinds of necessary information for the travel without having to refer to cumbersome maps and directories. These can range from finding out places of interest nearby, how to get to your destination and even what to do! I know I cannot live without it. Ok, maybe I can but having it would definitely make my life easier. 

The device was already sitting at the reception of the hotel before I arrived and all I needed to do was to turn on the already charged device and viola, instant 3G connection and we were off on our way to great Thai food! Very convenient indeed. I was able to pinpoint our exact location on Google map and make our way around the shopping haven without a hitch. I also have the feeling that taxi drivers would also likely be more honest after knowing that I have access to online maps, not that they are dishonest to start with though! 

The battery life of the device is roughly around 3-4 hours, hence it would probably be insufficient if you leave it on the entire time you are out. My smartphone would only last that long, if not shorter if I am playing games too. So remember to bring along your portable charger, just like you would for your smartphone and everything would be ok!

For the return, all I needed to do was place the device and charger into the pouch, put it into the stamped envelope provided and mail it via EMS at the post office. 
There are post offices at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airport.
Rental of the device is at 275thb or slightly less than $12SGD per day for unlimited data plan. It will surely be cheaper to get a local data SIM card instead, but then it will also be a hassle to change SIM cards and be disconnected from your mobile number. Besides, the pocket Wi-Fi up to 7 different devices to be automatically connected at any time as long as they are within range. Returning the device for us was also hasslefree, all I need to do was drop the device off in the return envelope at the post office situated at the airport. 

Check out the official website for more information on the device rental before going on your Bangkok trip!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Singin' In The Rain

[Media Invite and Review of a not-so-critical Blogger]

Lucky Steffi at the premiere of Singin' In The Rain, with yours truly!
If I can recall correctly, I think I had never watched musicals before I had the kids. Not that I hated them, but because they seemed a little too "atas" for me I guess. I am also a cheapo la, and feels that it is more value for money to buy a CD rather than pay many times more just for a one-off performance. In any case, I would feel like a complete idiot if I held a conversation with a musical aficionado. I suppose I am more of a kampung person who is really easy to please, and would probably have given most musicals a miss if not for my kids. When I brought Steffi and Leroy to the musical, Beauty and the Beast the last time, I noticed that they enjoyed the atmosphere, the songs, the cast, the choreography and loved everything about the musical. I knew, because they were smiling and singing along throughout the show. 

She simply can't wait and kept asking when the show to would start! 
This time round, it was a rare date with just Steffi to the opening premiere of Singin' In The Rain and she was really excited to be back to the theatre. Truth be told, the only thing I knew about this broadway musical, was that few lines to the song "Singin' In The Rain"! But we were glued to our seats the moment it started, mesmerized by the set and the opening dance number. The only thing I found weird was the lighting and movement behind the Monumental Pictures sign and wondered why they didn't cover that part up properly, which they could have done easily. I felt that the music and the singing were fantastic though! I was amazed by the awesome singing throughout (except for Lina Lamont who got my hairs standing) and the beautifully choreographed dances as well. It must be a lot of hard work on the part of the cast in preparation for what I feel is already a perfect performance. But maybe critics would have lots more views to share.

Don, Kathy and Cosmo in one of their many cool dances together. (Photo credits: BASE Entertainment Asia)
The musical was the story about a pair of on-screen lovers, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont who were big stars in silent movies of the olden days, and the development of the off-screen love story between Don and another rising star, Kathy Selden. It was full of funny scenes and we found ourselves breaking into laughters so very often. Even Steffi was also very entertained by the comedic performance of Cosmo Brown, Don Lockwood's sidekick, and surprisingly she loved the very nauseating voice of Lina too! But it kind of scared me too when Steffi whispered into my ears that Don loved Kathy after just watching them meet in their very first scene together! Makes me wonder what I knew about love as a 7-year old. Kids, they really grow up first.

Colorful set, wonderful dance and very wet floor. (Photo credits: BASE Entertainment Asia)
Don's kicking got many many audiences wet, and the crowd loved it! (Photo credits: BASE Entertainment Asia)
Although I knew it would be a mad rush to catch the bus with Steffi to Johor Bahru right after the musical, I was so glad I decided to go ahead with the plan to catch it no matter what. The electrifying and happy feeling we felt after watching the musical must be one of the good reasons why many would spend good money to catch musicals live. It was only towards the end at the credits when I realized that there was actually a live band playing just above the sign, hence the movement and dim lights! See? The very "mountain tortoise" me again. The rain scene was amazing too. How often does one get to experience rain indoors? Unless it is some pipe bursting ala JEM incident. It got the audiences roaring in laughter too when Don started kicking water onto the audience in the first 4 rows, the expensive premium ticket holders. But luckily they were forewarned and had their Singin' In The Rain ponchos ready. Well, if you ask me, I say this show sure can watch!

Useful Information

Date: From 9 July to 02 Aug 2015
Venue: MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands

Performance Times:
Tuesday – Friday: 8:00pm
Saturday: 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm and 6;30pm

Ticket Price: From $65 (Excludes the booking fee of SGD$3 per ticket)

Internet Bookings:, or

Monday, July 6, 2015

Jewels in the Tale [Ticket Giveaway]


Steffi and Leroy would be catching the upcoming production, Jewels in the Tale by I Theatre this coming August. Having watched Aseop's Fables the last round, I have no doubts that this new production, with its mix of various folklores such as The Crane’s Gratitude from Japan, Tenali Raman and the Three Thieves from India, and The Four Dragons, from China, amongst others, will again be a fast-paced and entertaining performance.

(Photo credits: I Theatre)
We can't wait to catch the show soon and we are pleased to share along 2 other couples along with us for the show on Saturday 22 August 2015, 2:30pm. We have 2 pairs of tickets to give away and all you need to do before Friday, 17 July 2015 is as follows -

Giveaway Instructions
  1. Like I Theatre on Facebook;
  2. Like The "Perfect" Father on Facebook; and
  3. Publicly "Like", "Share" this photo post and leave a "Comment" stating it is done, and best if you can tag your friends too! (winner will be selected from the comments).
Useful Information 

Duration: Mon, 17 - 30 Aug 2015
Venue: Alliance Francaise Theatre
Ticket Price: Adult/Child $30.00,  Family Package (4 Persons) $114.00,  Big Family Package (5 Persons) $135.00 and Corporate Groups (min 20 persons) 24.00 (Book online via SISTIC Website)
10% off for Students / Seniors above 55 and 15% discount for the following:

  • Friends of I Theatre 
  • OCBC Baby Bonus Card Holders 
  • OCBC Credit and Debit Card Members 
  • PAssion Card Members 
  • IKEA Småles and Family Members 
  • NTUC Card Members 
  • eXplorerKid Members 
  • Toys'R'Us Star Card Members 
  • Civil Service Club Members 
  • The Gingerbread Man Ticket Stub Holders

Sunday, July 5, 2015

HeART Studio - Steffi Can Really Draw and Paint Now!

[Sponsored Review]

I am thankful that Steffi got to enjoy a term of Little Picasso kids at HeART Studio Singapore recently after she expressed interest following the 3 kiddos' attended one-day holiday classes last Dec. During the holiday classes back then, I already saw with my own eyes how patient the teachers were with all the kids, and was awed that even my youngest Stacci was able complete a wonderful piece of art on her own with the right guidance. Steffi, Leroy and Stacci had so much fun with their canvas painting and all their works of art are still displayed proudly at home.

Steffi on the first day of her class!
The school is located in the private estate, along Charlton Road and just off Upper Serangoon Road.
Steffi's term consisted of 3 projects totaling 10 lessons with each lasting around 1hr and 15mins and her teacher was Teacher Pei. The first project that Steffi embarked on was Majestic Peacocks - the drawing of peacocks. For this project, the students were shown many different images of peacocks and were also given an introduction to the biology of the bird. The students were also shown the different shapes that would make up the anatomy of the bird and it's feathers too. They were also taught how color their drawing with different shades. It took 4 lessons, from the drawing to the final water-coloring.

Steffi with her classmates and Teacher Pei! Small conducive class size.
The kids were shown a slideshow on peacocks at the start of the lesson.
They were also guided on the different shapes that made up the peacock and how to draw one easily.
Steffi was also thought how to present the peacock from various other angles.
Steffi had decided on her favorite pose for her peacock and here's her drawing the outline.
This is how her finished art looked like! So proud of her!
Happy Steffi with her favorite Teacher Pei!
The second project was the drawing of Steffi's dream house and the surrounding. This exercise was about teaching the students the idea of proportion and perspective, as well as practicing the drawing of straight lines freehand to train her motor skills. As she filled the drawing with swimming pool, people, pet dog and what nots, she was also guided by Teacher Pei on the appropriate sizes that the objects should be, relevant to the depth and this drawing exercise took 2 lessons.

Steffi working on her free hand drawing of her dream house.
And here is her finished drawing with her pet cat, dog, her tree house, water slide, dolphin fountain and many more!
The last project was John Dyer-inspired Penguins- the drawing and painting of a colourful fun family day at the zoo watching the penguins. For this, the students were shown video clips on the different types of penguins in the world and then given a free reign as to how they want to incorporate them into the drawings. From the learning on how to draw the penguins and the enclosure, to the coloring of the different objects and the adding of different strokes to show movements took another 4 lessons in total. And the final product by Steffi was an awesome painting that I would show off to anyone, anytime! I would definitely have doubts that it was actually painted by herself if I had not been there to see it myself.

The kids were shown the works of John Dyer and his colorful style as well as the various species of penguins in the world.
Steffi sketched a few different types of penguins. 
To speed things up a little, Steffi used a hairdryer to dry the background colors.
The painting is starting to take shape.
And despite missing 2 lessons, Steffi was still able to complete her penguin drawing in her make-up class.
I am so proud of Steffi and this is her colourful work of art. It is definitely very well-done in my eyes!
We also sent Leroy to another class at our Community Club after he complained that we were being unfair. It was definitely much lighter for our wallets than sending Leroy to the same class, but his art teacher had to supervise 12 others students as opposed to only 4-5 students in Steffi's class. According to my wife who brings him to the class, the teacher hardly had time to guide the kids individually, which is actually understandable given the class size.

Over at HeART Studio, Steffi was being guided closely and was able to get help immediately whenever she needed any. Steffi was constantly given positive reinforcements by Teacher Pei and appeared more confident after the lessons. Not that I am encouraging the missing of lessons indiscriminately, but when Steffi was unable to attend 2 consecutive lessons, she was rescheduled make-up lessons without a fuss by the wonderful Aunty May! Kudos to the great service and awesome experience of all the staff over at HeART Studio! It was totally worth my time making the trip down to the classes every weekend!

Useful Information

Address: 1 Charlton Lane #01-04 , S(539631) - Map
Facebook Page:

P/S Steffi's art classes were sponsored by the kind folks from HeART Studio Singapore but all opinions and photos are solely mine.  No other monetary compensation was received.