[Rise & Shine] Registration Is Now Open!

If you are expecting a baby or have 1 now, you may be interested in these seminars & workshops specially cater for you.

Type: Workshop
Date: 27/9 (Friday)
Time: 2.30-4.15pm
Venue: Room 302
Price: $20
Please click link to details here.

Type: Workshop
Date: 27/9 (Friday)
Time: 4.30-6pm
Venue: Room 302
Price: $20
Please click link to details here.

Type: Workshop
Date: 29/9 (Sunday)
Time: 1.30-3pm
Venue: Room 302
Price: $20
Please click link to details here.

  • International keynote by Dr. William Sears: Keeping your baby healthy & understanding common childhood illnesses
  • Preparing for the arrival of a newborn: What must you know & be prepared for?
  • Healthy eating & nutritional diet: laying the foundation right for the 1st 3 years

Type: Seminar
Date: 29/9 (Sunday)
Time: 12nn-2pm
Venue: Exhibition Hall
Price: $30
Please click link to details here.

Are you interested in any of these workshops or seminar?  Register on or before 31/7 & you will get to enjoy 20% off.  The discount code to key in is earlybird20

As a partner of Rise & Shine project, I am giving away 5 tickets to Dr. William Sears' seminar on Master the art of attachment parent to bring out the best in the baby & the best in the parents.  Please leave a comment here on my blog post that you are keen & indicate your email address too.  Alternatively, you may also drop me an email at lilbookworm1234@gmail.com.  Please do so on or before 31/7/13.

I hope to see you there!

Singapore! A Musical Celebration II by Singapore Wind Symphony

We had an enjoyable time when we attended Singapore! A Musical Celebration by Singapore Wind Symphony (SWS) last year August.  Thus, this year, when SWS ran this the 2nd time, we did not hesitate to book the tickets.

The theme last year was on National Day songs.  AJ had a blast!  Children being children, they are generally very patriotic.  AJ is no exception.  Beside the National Day songs, the SWS also partnered with an Acapella group to present traditional songs like Di Tanjong Katong,  Geylang Si Paku Geylang, etc. How nostalgic right?  We felt as though we have been brought back by the time machine.  Oh, those childhood memories!

Following the success last year, this year, the SWS brought to us the musical collections by Singapore composers.  Those hits from stage to screen like Cha Cha Cha, Beauty World, Roytson Tan's 881, Forbidden City & 梁文福's songs were given new lives.  Many of the pieces, if not all, were not written for the wind instruments.  The SWS has got a total of 10 musicians to rearrange these performances pieces.  Such hard work has been put in to make this musical performance possible.

There were also 6 home-grown vocalists/musicians singing along with some of the performance pieces.  The climax of the whole concert was when the star artist Dick Lee made his appearance in the last 2 songs.  

I must also commend that this promising, young conductor Adrian Tan was the soul of the entire concert.  He was able to engage the audience really well.  He would explain the rationale why each piece was selected & its background so that audience, particularly novice like me, would appreciate the music better.  Adrian is also the music director of SWS, Braddell Height Symphony Orchestra & the Saigon Philharmonic.  Quite impressive.

The SWS has planned for Singapore! A Musical Celebration III next year 20 July & the theme would be on Pop & Jazz pieces by local composers.  Would we be attending?  Most likely we would. :)  What about you?

Linking with:

More Asian Children Wearing Glasses

Our homelearning subject this week is English & we were doing English Comprehension yesterday.  We came across this article, which I find it very interesting.  Something that I did not realise.

So not getting enough SUNLIGHT is 1 of the main reasons why our Asian children are wearing glasses earlier & earlier.  Now, we should all get out of our house, shouldn't we?

Photo: istock

Biblical History - Genesis to Judges

This is a workshop on Biblical History organised by my church.  All adults are welcome to attend.  There is a children programme running concurrently at the same time so you may also bring your children along. You may drop me an email (lilbookworm1234@gmail.com) to indicate your attendance if you are interested to attend.

To find out more about the speaker, please click link here.

Keeping It Going

There were times people asked, "How did you get AJ to practise piano everyday?"

I know, it is not easy, especially with younger children.  Maybe for a start, when they were interested with that musical instrument, they will voluntarily take it out to practise.  As time goes by, it gets harder & harder to see this initiative.

AJ is no different.  He would rather read or write than practising piano.  Thus, we, as parents, have to strike the balance between enforcing and motivating.  *Tough*

These are few 'tried & tested' things we did to motivate him to carry on:

(1) Going for Concerts
Whenever there is any suitable concert for him to attend, we will try to bring him there.  The concerts we have brought him to were not restricted to having piano performances, we have brought him to concerts by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra & the Singapore Wind Symphony too.  The purpose is to exposure him to different types of music & instruments.

(2) Watching DVDs/Recorded Shows
We watched DVDs on musical performances or the recorded ones together.  They can be performances by Lang Lang, opera performances, acapella performances, etc.  We have not tried Chinese opera show though.  :)

(3) Performing for Others
Sometimes we would get him to practise the song for someone special.  For example, '爷爷 (paternal grandfather) in Kuala Lumpur loves to listen to this piece, could you practise this so that you could play for him when we go there?', 'XX (his good friend) would definitely love this piece, we could record this piece for him/her as a birthday present!', 'We heard this hymn in church this morning, maybe you could try playing?', 'Mummy loves this song very much, maybe you should learn it so that you could play it while I sing?', etc.  

(4) Parents as Entertainers
Daddy would sometimes offer to be the accompanist, playing recorder or harmonica.  Mummy would sometimes be the clown, who would dance gracefully to the beats of the music, or sing along.

All these strategies work so far.  We may have to come out with more ideas in time to come.  Then again, we hope that as he grows older, he would be more sure of his passion (be it music or not) & pursue it passionately himself.

Since he is into Chinese songs recently, I acted as clown to entertain him.  
Please bear with that horrible, squeaky voice.  
I hope I can do better with 小城故事 (his next target).

Link to view here.

The Asia Piano Competition 2013 (Preliminary)

Sharing here another joy that AJ would be elated because he would be surrounded with plenty of traditional Chinese words (繁体字) soon.  At the point of writing this blog post, AJ is still not aware of the results yet.

AJ participated in the Asia Piano Competition last year but he did not get into the Final.  This year, he tried again.

The episode that started before the day of competition was a drama that sent his piano teacher's blood pressure high.

We received the notification of this competition in March & we registered him in June before the closing date.  The day of competition was initially set as 7 July.  We did not receive any email notification since submission.  We were also so preoccupied with the Young Talents Project that we overlooked this competition. 

It was not until 4 July when AJ had his piano lesson that his teacher asked about this competition.  I told her I have not received any email notification.  Nonetheless, that moment I decided to keep refreshing the gmail a/c on my Android phone to check.  Lo & behold, 4 emails started to pop up, dated 29 June & 2 July respectively, & they were all about this competition.  The preliminary has been rescheduled to 6 July instead of 7 July!  Suddenly we were all panicked!  He has not prepared himself for this!  He has to play 2 repertoires & 1 of them he has not even memorised the scores yet.

*Panic button pressed*  The piano teacher was stressed, the mom here tried to stay calm & think of solutions, the boy did not know what's happening.

After some discussions, the resolution was this: 
(1) The teacher would go through the newer piece that he was supposed to play within the balance 45mins of the lesson;
(2) AJ would 'ponteng' (skip) school the next day to practise the 2 repertoires;
(3) Mom would supervise closely & send videos of the practices next day to the teacher for immediate feedback & rectification; &
(4) Lastly, 

Armed with those, we went ahead to face the battle field this morning.

We went off after the contestants of the category he was in had finished their pieces.  We were told that the results would be announced at the end of the whole competition & email would be sent out to notify all of us the results.

Tonight, the moment when I put him to bed, I checked for the email.  It came in.  Much to our surprise, we received news that AJ got into the Final.

The Final would be held in Taipei.  AJ would be competing with the finalists from Singapore, Hong Kong , Taiwan, China & Korea in August.

Are we going to Taipei?  
Yes, we are.  It would be an excellent exposure for AJ.  It would certainly serve as a great motivation to him to excel further in music.

I look forward to updating this blog on our trip to Taipei.

Here's the video of the Preliminary this morning:

Nongsa Point Marina & Resort - Short Getaway to Batam

The June school holiday has just ended. 

AJ had his June timetable all planned out.  Beside the 2 Vacation Bible Schools that he has attended, he also has some cartoon sketching classes in Community Clubs & some Science classes.  We also managed to squeeze in a short getaway to Batam.

This is probably my 2nd or 3rd time to Batam.  After some research, we settled for Nongsa Point Marina & Resort because they were the only one that had 3 bedroom chalets for my sister's & our families.  We booked this 3 bedroom hilltop chalet for S$800 for a 4D/3N stay.  This included daily breakfast for 7 pax.  Quite a good deal, I find.

Much to my surprise, Nongsa Point Marina & Resort is really a beautiful place.  The coastal scenery is so lovely that we were so pleased to be greeted by this peace & tranquility everyday.

The View:
Nongsa Point Marina & Resort

The view of Nongsa Point Marina is gorgeous.  Imagine waking up every morning to this.  I could not describe more.  I have never felt more relax in my other trips than this.  Since I could not afford Sentosa Cove, this is probably the closest I can get.

You can have breakfast by the dock if you like

BBQ buffet setting by the dock under the stars

Turi Beach Resort

Turi Beach Resort is just next door to Nongsa Point Marina.  Not surprising, because they are both managed by the same holding company.  While Turi Beach Resort is a bustling resort with full marine sea sports,  Nongsa Point Marina is a quiet resort. Given a choice, I would prefer to enjoy the peace & tranquility that the latter offers.

Nonetheless, Turi Beach has its charm too.  Almost everyday we would take a stroll along the coast to get there for marine sea sports or food.

The Chalets:
Here are some snapshots of our chalets.  Apparently the chalets are open for long term stay too.  Wow! Sounds like a retirement plan to me.  :)

This was our unit

Simple & Cosy

The Pool & Marine Sea Sports:
We had the pool at Nongsa Point Marina almost all to ourselves everyday.  It was so unlike the pool at Turi Beach which you have to share with many people, especially during the school holiday seasons.

As mentioned above, we hopped over to Turi Beach Resort almost everyday for their Marine Sea Sports as Nongsa Point Marina does not offer these.

While the cousins enjoyed the Banana Boat Ride & Jet Skiing, the boy played with sand.
He is too young for those.

The girls went snorkeling

The Food
We had Seafood BBQ at Nongsa Point Marina, supposedly under the stars, but it rained. :(  We ended up having that under the shelter instead.  At S$30 per pax (children under 5 is free), it was expensive, of course.  But, this would be the rate one should expect for seafood delights offered by Resort, i believe.  Being our first night there, we just wanted to fill our stomach & get settled down quickly. 

The spread was reasonable, crabs, prawns, squid, satay, lamb chop, chicken wings & sausages were among some meat dishes they barbequed for us.

The food (well, not all of it)

There was live band entertainment too.  AJ did request a few songs :)
We also went to this seafood restaurant (Rezeki Rumah Makan & Seafood) on our last night recommended by my sister's Batam friend.  It is a kelong style restaurant, about 15mins drive from Nongsa Point Marina.  We had prawns, fish, scallop, a soup, a veg & some coconut juice at a total of S$65. Not terribly cheap, not expensive either.  

Overall, we had a good time bonding together as my sister & I do not meet often.  My nieces enjoyed the trip so much that we are now planning for another one at another place next year.  AJ had a good time mingling with his cousins & auntie.  It was a well rested trip.  

Do consider Nongsa Point Marina & Resort if you are planning for a short getaway.  It should not disappoint you.