Monday, July 26, 2010

Forest Adventure

"It will be a wonderful experience for SW," Sis was highly recommending me to bring the kids to Forest Adventure at Bedok Reservoir.  And it proved better than I imagined!

Indian Bridge

About 3 to 4 metres above the ground, I did not have high hopes that my 6 year-old son, SW, would be willing to give it a go.  Joined by his two enthusiastic older cousins, LK and LJ, SW did not have a chance to think twice or back out of it.

Meeting the minimum required height of 1.1m, I could not help noticing how small SW looked up there.  Often suppressing excitement and not showing signs of fear, I could hardly tell what he was feeling except that he was very attentive to the young instructors giving instructions.

There were various obstacles to cross.  Each posed a different challenge of balance, strength, vigilance, and courage.  Although there were instructors at various points, it was such a blessing that SW had his cousins to help him with the safety line which needed some tugging to move on at the beginning and end of each obstacle.  He eventually learned to handle it all by himself. 

At one point, I feared for SW as it looked as if his height could barely make it.  But he managed to find his way to work around it.  It was a boost to SW's confidence and his parents were simply beaming with pride.

Below are some of pictures of the various obstacles. The course ended with a Zip Slide which the kids enjoyed - not without getting sand into their pants and shoes.

SW said this was the one he feared most as there was nothing 
on either side to hold on to.

There are similar activities for adults too.  But for that day, it was for the kids.  For more information, visit:

Quick Wraps

It was another box that I thought could be converted to something useful, an Essence of Chicken box, ideal for storing CH's clutter that she refuses to discard (becoming a junkie like me?).

CH picked the remainder of a gift wrapping paper
while I used the left-over drawer liner for the interior.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Matter of Life and Death

I was with CH at the playground near her school today when an old man who was seemingly taking pictures suddenly fell to the ground about 3 metres behind me. The flop followed by loud groan stopped us short and I turned around to see him lying head back, right between the hard concrete and grass.

He was motionless and when I rushed to his side, his eyes were rolled back with mouth opened. I gasped in horror and shouted for help. "Help! Somebody, please help!"

"Please, don't die," I thought, and called out trying to get the old man's consciousness. CH's school mate's mom asked if we should call an ambulance. I reached for my phone but realized I didn't have it with me. "Please do", I told her.

I continued to shout for help as I had no idea what to do. A slim Indian man in a cap saw us and came running over. He gently held the old man's head up to feel if there was blood. There wasn't. I continued to called out to the old man who looks to be in his 70s, using different languagues - Hokkien, Chinese, English, Teochew..."Are you ok? How are you feeling?" No response.

The Indian man lifted his head up higher with his arm and I put my finger out to feel for the old man's breadth. "He's breathing", I told the Indian man in relief. Just then, the old man started to groan. He seemed to be gaining consciousness but he looked lost. For a moment, I wondered if he could have been drinking. The Indian man put his head back on the ground and said there was a bump on his head. I used CH's bottle holder for him as a pillow so the Indian man could remove his hand.

By then, a few more residents have approached and some recognized him as a fellow Chinese National who lives on the 11th floor and went upstairs to get his family. Initially someone suggested to move him to somewhere cleaner, but no one dared to touch him for fear of head and bone injuries. A lady from a nearby childcare centre came out - possibly the nurse - and we tried to get the old man to lie on his side. I've recently browsed through a first aid book and knew the position, but the old man did not want to turn. After that, we all just waited for the ambulance while the old man, fully conscious, continued to groan in Mandarin and wanted help to get up. Once, I heard him muttering that he was going to die. The neighbours consoled him and told him the ambulance would be there any minute.

CH watched us, not knowing exactly what was happening. She asked why I gave her Hello Kitty bottle holder to the man. She scampered off to the playground and continued playing with her friends and only came back when the ambulance arrived.

The ambulance came with 3 medical assistants. They got a brief description from me what happened and attended to the old man. An Indian lady standing next to the old man said she saw him fall, head back. They asked him where the pain was but did not get any answers from the old man. He just continued to groan when the assistants tried to help him.

Just then, his wife came. When asked, she said her husband does not have any heart diseases or high blood pressure. "He has knee ache. He left the house early today and said he was going to take pictures. Maybe he's tired out." Even the lady medical assistant thought the old man behaviour was rather odd. She got her Chinese colleague to ask the old man's wife if her husband's behaviour was normal. She said she had never behaved like that.

The lady assistant put the old man's camera into his side pocket and they tried to move him up a stretcher. The old man groaned loudly for them to slow down. He seemed to be in great pain.

All of a sudden, the old man wanted to throw up and they got him a plastic bag. As they tried to wheel him to the ambulance, he groaned loudly for them to stop. He said he did not want to go to the hospital. The medical assistants had to stop to convince him to have a thorough check. They could not leave him just like that. "If anything happens to you, we will need to make a police report," said a senior assistant. That seemed to work and the old man was quietly wheeled up the ambulance, accompanied by his wife.

"Don't worry about the medical bills. Your life is more important. Just rest at the hospital for 8 hours and you are free to go home if there is no serious injuries." The senior assistant was saying before the door closed.

I am reminded of how my fourth uncle died after slipping on the bathroom floor. He never ever woke up after that. Once, I hit my forehead really hard on the wall loosing balance whilst trying to help my then 3 year-old son in a public squat toilet - what a place to have an accident - I had a brief moment of blackout and must have lost consciousness for a few seconds, holding on to the walls because it took me a few minutes to remember what had happened and where I was. The pain on my head lasted for days.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Ballet Class

Last Thursday night, CH attended her first ballet class - ever!

CH - first from the right

'Ever' because she had waited a year for it. Indeed, it is a quarter of her life. There were classes for 3 year-olds but the lesson time was not right for us. We used to peep outside the classrooms, watching the older girls at their practice. She would smile as she watched, admiration beaming through her eyes.

"Ballet is not just about wearing pink tutus and looking pretty, you know," I used to whisper into her ear as we watched. "Can you see the jie jies (big sisters) are trying very hard to lift up their legs and keeping in balance? You need a lot of strength and practice..." I wonder how much did get in.

Personally, I am a believer of delayed gratification. Watching others at it do wonders in building up life-long interest and helps in identifying real wants. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine how long to delay and wiser to leave it to chance - I suppose. So, when we finally received the phone call that a class was starting at the time convenient for us, we were delighted! CH kept asking me,"Am I going for ballet lesson?" as if she could not believe it was true!

Perhaps we were already familiar with the place, perhaps it was the same teacher we have been watching - CH did not need any warming up and readily joined in the circle. I stayed and watch until she kept turning around to see me, loosing focus.

I was happy with the teacher. The little moves had stories to them and the girls took to them easily, with giggles and laughter.

Good toes, bad toes, naughty toes, walk on high-heels, mermaid's tail, (thigh-fly)butterfly, reach for the sky (to straighten their backs) were some of the terms the teacher used for some routine moves.

Before she stepped out of the classroom, she gave her teacher another smile, waved goodbye, and bent down to touch the wooden floor. Couldn't believe she's finally in a ballet class for real?

"When can I come back here for ballet, mommy?" CH asked as we left.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kind? Not with Kinderjoy!

Ah-yi (aunty) bought this for me and kor kor (brother),
but I want them ALL to myself.
So LA helped me put stickers all over them.
Princess stickers!
So they will ALL be mine!
You know, mommy, that's when good girls
become bad girls!

- CH, with a wicked grin, over Kinderjoy -

Monday, July 5, 2010

Living without TV

Seven years ago, when we bought our CRT TV, the smallest LCD televisions still cost thousands of dollars. 3 years ago, we got asked why we had not 'upgraded' our television when nearly every household had an LCD TV.

"What do people do with their existing TV if they still work?" We had wondered. It was not like we needed two television sets at home.

Recently, our CRT broke down. Just like that, for no apparent reason. It just would not turn on. We needed to pay extras for the service man to check and possibly foot another hundred to change a part. So we waited for a good sale to come along. We waited 3 weeks.

On the second week, we got asked,"And you could survive?" Surprisingly, we did.

On the last weekend before the arrival of our new Philips LED TV, my brother in-law lent us an Avatar DVD. With HM's 24 inch LCD screen plugged into his laptop and sound system connected, we watched Avatar. That was our 3rd weekend without TV, and it felt even more exciting than it would have been if our TV had not broken down. Deprivation has its pros.

"Why do we even bother to buy a new TV?" HM had joked.

We had wanted to go for a LCD since a good 42 inch these days cost slightly more than a thousand dollars. But along came a Philips half-yearly sale for staff. With the help of some good contacts, we managed to get hold of a 40 inch LED that had not already gone out-of-stock. It is a HD 8000 series with ambient light, anti-glare, 100Hz, comes with USB socket, and is internet connectible! HM and I fell in love with the unique round corners of the TV.

Even the box that contained the TV was put to good use! The board is so hard and sturdy it would have been a shame to throw away!


After - without any use of glue or tapes