“I’m not like you, mom! I’ll never be head prefect, always get good grades or prizes at my school Honours Day. Next year I just want to be in the tennis squad and make the cutoff for secondary school!” 🥺
The past two weeks have been rough. Hubby broke his arm and is literally handicapped for months, I came down with a viral infection, little bro caught a cold, and big bro received disappointing school results…. 😭
How to encourage a child who’s not wired for the local school system and struggling with ADHD? I wish I could post about his academic achievements. I wish I could say “grades don’t matter.” I wish I had more time for my boys. The journey ahead won’t be easy as PSLE pressure mounts but I was encouraged by today’s school MTP to keep affirming him and not be anxious.
B, you are defined by more than your grades. And we celebrate that you are uniquely YOU. Believe in yourself and know that you are loved! 💙💚❤️💜
“A bridge to the past, which reminds us what was here, what our previous generations did here, what our parents built here and what we have inherited and want to make here.” – PM Lee Hsien Loong, re-opening of the Pek Kio Community Centre, 28 July 2013
Pek Kio is bordered by Balestier Road, Kampong Java Road, Moulmein Road, and Serangoon Road. It’s named after a “white bridge” (in Hokkien) that once spanned Kampong Java Canal. When Singapore’s bridges were first built, they were named after the colonial authorities – and promptly nicknamed by the locals who couldn’t quite pronounce ang-mo names! So the areas around the bridges were named after their colours, such as O-Kio (Black Bridge) = Balestier, Pek Kio (White Bridge) = Moulmein and Ang Kio (Red Bridge) = Ang Mo Kio. Pek Kio was also known as Little England, as many roads are named after English places, such as Cambridge, Hampshire and Oxford.The (redesigned) Pek Kio Market and Food Centre was completed in 1984. Although not as large or popular as the nearby Tekka or Whampoa Markets, it’s a place we visit almost every Saturday morning as it has something for everyone: Eat, shop, play and exercise!
Then, hop by the wet market to re-stock on local goods and browse fresh supplies while the kiddo heads off to the (many) playgrounds nearby with dad. We don’t do our entire week’s shopping here – as there are 6 of us at home and we’ve got rather varied diets! IMHO, the selection isn’t that fantastic here, but it’s a good place to pick up something you’ve missed (or couldn’t find) – and it’s definitely cleaner and less crowded than many other wet markets.
How to get here:
Bus 131 – bus stop B50081 right in front of the center
Farrer Park MRT – 8 mins walk from Exit D
Ample parking around Cambridge, Dorset and Owen HDB sites
Follow our “To Market, To Market” Blog Train as we visit a different market each day with a different parent blogger!
Next up is Meiling, a mom blogger who blogs at Universal Scribbles about her parenting adventures with her two children and her personal growth as a mom, wife and business woman in sunny Singapore. While she has fond memories of her weekly trips to the Tiong Bahru and Chinatown wet markets with her mother, she has no such luck with her children who much prefers the appeal of newer marketplace. Check out her post next and see where she takes her kids to market to market…
Last weekend, hubby and I went to Maldives with little B to celebrate our tenth anniversary. It was a magical time where we unplugged, soaked in nature – sun, sand and water, ate fresh organic food, and rode bicycles, boats and buggies as our only mode of transportation from sunrise to sunset.
Last week’s trip did wonders for my soul, but this recent long weekend back in Singapore warmed the heart. The SG50 celebration meant a lot to us in big (national) and small (personal) ways, and it was this extended time – with family and friends, locals and expats – who all call Singapore home, that made it so special for us.
Like many, we had a wet start to the celebrations and tried to visit a few SG50 public events (e.g. Marina Bay Sands, Botanic Gardens). In the end, the highlights were the parties we hosted at home – an evening NDP 2015 viewing party with good friends, and a brunch playdate for B’s friends the next day. There was more fun and laughter, food and drinks, adults, kids and babies, and TV watching (i.e. live streaming via AirPlay) in our house than we’ve had in a long while! We spontaneously broke out into ooohs and aaahs when the jets flew past and the fireworks came on, sang along to HOME when Kit Chan took the stage, stood up to sing Majulah Singapura and recite the national pledge. Hubby and I also had a sense of nostalgia as this might be the last time we could view all of this – from a distance at our balcony as we will be moving next year.
The kids got on famously (thank God!) and devised their own impromptu games and craft (who said creativity is dead in our age of technology?) We even made our version of old school pick-up sticks with some paint and extra wooden chopsticks 🙂
B and I had some 1-to-1 learning moments together too, thanks to the Sparkanauts National Day parent bonding package:
My heart is full as this long weekend draws to an end. Happy 50th Birthday, Singapore! I’m grateful and proud to call you my country, my home.
Hope everyone is having a great, not too wet, start to our Golden Jubilee celebrations! I’ve been looking forward to the long NDP weekend all week. We caught a fleeting glimpse of the RSAF Black Knights before the aerial show ended early, lunched at MBS and snacked at the nearby home cooked food fair (tip: don’t bother). We’d also planned to visit the Art Science Museum but the queues were just too long. Still, that and the rain didn’t dampen on our spirits as we found other ways to celebrate while being thoroughly drenched!
I’m also excited to kick off a blog train on “What Singapore Means To Me” with my thoughts as a naturalised Singapore citizen. Links to all contributions will be updated below – do join us this month and/or simply enjoy browsing through the posts about Singapore 🙂
Home and a bright future. We relocated here 8 years ago from the US, and friends and family from all over the world would often visit or transfer in and out due to work. One day, I realised that hubby and I had stopped thinking about Singapore as a place to “transit” but one that we truly wanted to raise our family in, stake our careers on, and play our small part in nation building too. So I took up Singapore citizenship 2.5 years ago – and look forward to what lies ahead.
Little Green Dot. Growing up in Malaysia, Singapore was always perceived as the “atas” neighbour that was so lucky to have many parks and tree-lined roads. Today, from its freshly minted UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, to the ubiquitous sky-rise gardens, park connectors, nature reserves and neighbourhood parks, Singapore’s delightful and thoughtful approach to urban development has benefited residents and visitors alike, and inspired fans worldwide. What’s more, these are all FREE public spaces despite the immense effort in creating and maintaining them. So thank you, NParks, the late Lee Kuan Yew and our leaders for setting Singapore on a transformational path that started from the 1960s to become a Garden City and now, “City In A Garden.” What a living example of 前人种树, 後人乘凉 (“one generation plants the trees, the later generations enjoy the shade”).
Haven for multiple generations. Since making Singapore our home, we’ve also encouraged my overseas parents and siblings to not just visit, but consider staying on as longer term residents. Many cities don’t fully support the needs of a multi-generational family, with its complex mix of jobs, education, healthcare, transportation, security, social, emotional and physical needs. IMHO, Singapore meets and balances those demands better than many other countries. While not perfect, the government also constantly monitors changes and tries to make improvements on the quality and cost of living, childcare, eldercare, the school system and public transit, and has also acknowledged the role grandparents play in the decision to have (one or) more babies 🙂 Our lives have been so much richer and busier, with three generations in our family to care for each other and make memories together.
So, whether you’re Singapore born, a naturalised citizen, a permanent resident or just a visitor in “transit”, if you call Singapore home, this “What Singapore Means To Me” blog train has a stop for you. Hop on the MRT by adding your links below and include the blog button (copy the code) in your post. Majulah Singapura!
Next on the train is Jenn, who blogs at mylilbookworm. This is where she documents her thoughts on educational, parental, health and investment topics. Check out her blog post on what Singapore means to her and how she spent her National Day long weekend!
We stopped by Kallang this weekend and checked out the brand new sports hub which opened in June. The hub includes the national stadium, library, recreation room, museum, water playground and retail mall. This July, there are quite a few free or special events as many stores and features are not yet open. We used to visit the indoor stadium and waterfront for weekend brunches and family evenings, but hadn’t returned since the rebuilding works began ~2+ years ago. Last time we were there, B was a wee 3 month old baby! This time, he was an active and chatty 31 month old tot 🙂
A few weeks back, we redeemed a complimentary 2 night stay at the W Sentosa to coincide with our 9th wedding anniversary. This was B’s first staycation and he still asks to “go to Sentosa” and even “stay at the W again!” Don’t worry B, we will return soon but maybe not at the W though the hotel food, pools, design and decor were amazing. IMO, there wasn’t anything special for children (even though B was fine without at his age) and it’s located a bit far out if you don’t have a car – see the latest Sentosa island map here.
Here’s some ideas on what to do with young kids under 3 years at Sentosa based on what we did then (and previously):
Skyline Luge Sentosa: Newly revamped in early May, with a few more exciting rides planned, this is a must-do for families. Get there by 10a to avoid the lines and heat. Various fares are available depending on how many people, the number and type of rides. Kids need to be at least 80cm to be accompanied on the skylift and ride tandem for luge. To go solo, kids need to be over 110cm on the luge, or at least 135 cm on the skylift. BTW, head over to Gingerbreadmum’s family pass giveaway (4 sets of 1 skyride and 1 luge tickets). Good luck and good riding!
Port of Lost Wonder: Entrance fee cost S$15 per child, and free for all accompanying adults (!). Each admitted child gets a Port Pass and 100 curios (5 curios cost S$1). We went around collecting stamps (exchange 5 for a prize), redeeming curios (e.g. Wonder Craft workshops), ate at the Port Belly cafe, and then got stuck at the Pirate Ship water playground because B refused to leave! There’s so many other activities we didn’t get to and will definitely return. Note: Coming (back) soon is the BBQ under the Stars, now on the first Saturday of each month.
Beaches galore: We were at Coastes and Siloso Beach a while back for an Easter playdate, so we checked out Tanjong Beach and Palawan Beach this time. I found Siloso more suited for nightlife, older kids and adults, Palawan toddler and family friendly, and Tanjong the most peaceful and quiet (read=romantic)
S.E.A Aquarium: Worth going if you haven’t been, good 1.5 to 2 hour visit that’s very doable with tots (or babies in strollers). B’s been there 3 times already! At our next visit however, we may just do a Resorts World Sentosa hotel staycation on a non-holiday season or weekday, and spend time at the newer attractions at the Marine Life Park, Trick Eye Museum and Universal Studios.
Dine as, when and how you like: Sure, we had our share of kids meals and bites-on-the-go. But we also took time to just chillax at the W and have relaxed meals out. We strolled along the luxury Quayside enclave, a lovely marina with al-fresco eateries and tot-friendly play areas. We splurged on a RWS celebrity chef dinner (It’s our anniversary after all!) although we’ve also eaten many times at the Malaysian Food Street too 🙂 We made a quasi-healthy pitstop at Jamie’s Italian for lunch before heading home.
We went down to the National Museum in the opening week of the annual Children’s Season. There were many toddler-friendly play areas and activities – all free – for this year’s exhibit on Masak Masak: My Childhood. If you are planning a visit, note that the outdoor lawn dragon and watermelon bouncy castles and some workshops are ONLY on weekends. A bit odd as school holidays are starting and families would rather come on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Anyways, in line with the theme, B enjoyed masak masak the most. Who said pretend cooking was only for girls? Watch chef B whip up his specialty dish of fish and prawns with veggies, even adding sauce and tasting it before serving!
Here’s other sections we enjoyed:
At a time when Singaporeans are questioning if they are cultural orphans, it’s good that museums are stepping up to showcase our rich Southeast Asian heritage, and (re)imagine it in a creative, sustainable and relevant way for the next generation.
May hasn’t been a merry month so far 😦 Once again, the flu bug hit and everyone got sick – at least once. As B and I are still recovering, I decided some fresh air and a little exploring would do us good. So we headed to Tiong Bahru: B liked the tilting train though the slides and flying foxes were challenging for a 2.5 year old – thankfully it was cloudy, the park looks like it could get real hot! Later on, we strolled through the neighbourhood, stopping by Wu Hu Aquarium (oddly, B wanted to eat fish after this!), Woods in the Books and Tiong Bahru Bakery. Will be back next time to visit Ah Chiang’s Porridge, Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, Flock or PoTeaTo (with or without B, haha)
Watten Estate lies between home and B’s school, so we’ve driven past countless times but hadn’t explored till recently. If you venture beyond Bougainvillea Park which is a tad overgrown, the larger shady Watten Estate Park (off Hillcrest Road, near Greenwood Avenue) is lovely BUT there’s no washroom for the wee ones 😦
A mom friend also told me about Shelford Road Playground, a hidden gem nearby (junction of Shelford and Watten State Road) that’s perfect for tots:
One thing I love about Singapore is the abundance of greenery amidst its modern, urban cityscape. Here are some more parks near us that we just discovered:
Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West: Right opposite the AMK public library, it boasts a large sand playground, 120-step staircase to a viewing plaza, landscaped pond, jogging track and footpaths through the nearby forest. We usually scoot around Bishan-AMK park but this was less crowded and more convenient if you’re planning a library, shopping and meal outing
One-North Park: Hilly, breezy with a touch of playful “science” due to its proximity to Biopolis. Beware the red ants though!
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Raising a family while releasing it all to God through each season of work and life