Turning 7 - The Kindle Reader

We try to give AJ meaningful birthday present each year.  So far we have showered him with working camera for kids, ukulele & harmonica (more sophisticated one), 2-wheel scooter, as far as my memory can bring me back to.  Our wish is that these presents would be put to better use than showering him with toys.  :)

This year we decided to give him a Kindle Reader after reading about it on Petunia's blog

Photo Source

Here are 5 reasons why we love Kindle Reader:

(1) Slim & Light
It weighs less than 6 ounces, lighter than any paperback book & can fit into my bag or his without us feeling burdensome.  We always carry a book or 2 when we commute in S'pore so that the boy could read on the train or while waiting.  So carrying a light weight Kindle Reader is more than a pleasure.

(2) Storage
It has amazing storage capacity despite of its weight.  It can store over 1,000 ebooks in it so we have the least to worry about AJ not having enough books to read.

(3) Non-glare
It reads like paper, with no glare as it has no backlight.  We need not worry about myopia.

(4) Battery Life-span
It has such mighty battery life span that I can't remember when was the last time we charge it.  I think we haven't been charging it for the last 3 weeks. 

(5) Inexpensive Ebooks
Ok, we can't compare with borrowing library books, which is free.  But if we were to buy books, it will really cost us a bomb.  However, ebooks are cheaper (& some are free) so it is kinder to our pockets.

Reading Python for Kids

Overall, we find that Kinder Reader has served its purpose for the boy.  We have installed about 30 ebooks for him before we handed him this present.  The first book he chose to read was Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.  He is now reading Python for Kids, & he has also started simple programming on the computer.  Yea, part of programme for this December school holiday is to learn basic computer programming. 

Are you also considering getting an ebook reader for your child?  Basing on my experience in my previous job in a telecommunication company, I tend to trust CNET on their reviews.  You may like to visit their reviews here before you decide.

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End Of P1 - Certificate of Academic Achievement

We received this in our letterbox today.  A pleasant surprise as I thought it will just stop there at the school's prize award ceremony last Wednesday. I did not know there is such an award.  It doesn't matter whether we are eligible for the Edusave Merit Bursary that comes with it, we hope that such award would spur him on to continue to do well in school.

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[Giveaway] PSLE 小六会不会考

小六会考今天放榜了!  各位小六离校生及家长们,你们紧张吗?

家长们, 您是否有没有这样的感觉, 这小六离校会考好像是一考定终生?  这一考就这样决定了您的小孩会不会上直通车, 将来的五年都不用担心考试, 或和大部分的考生一样,上一般的中学, 三年后才来紧张‘O’水准或‘N’水准考试。

我相信您和我一样, 身为家长, 我们都是很重视这小六离校会考。 虽然未必是一考定终生,但这考毕竟断定了孩子接下来四至六年的教育路程, 我们又怎么会不重视呢?

我很荣幸被邀请参加“小六会不会考”舞台剧在上周末举办的交流会, 让我有机会与其他家长和马庆炎议员等人讨论这棘手的话题。

交流会里, 我们讨论到我们的教育制度和考试是否给孩子太多的压力, 孩子需不需要补习, 如何在饮食方面给孩子须要的营养, 孩子睡眠不足的后果, 什么时候该看心理医生, 谁该看心理医生, 是否每间学校都是好学校等话题。 马议员也分享了他的长女去年小六会考的争扎。

小六会考真的会扼杀孩子对学习的兴趣吗? 如果说我们能把这整个预备小六会考的经历都搬上舞台剧,大家是否会对这棘手的话题有更大的共鸣?


若您也和我一样对这部舞台剧有兴趣, 这里有个机会让您获得两张票前来观赏。请您:

(1) 在脸书选择‘喜欢’‘The ETCeteras’, 
(2)  再‘喜欢’这则在 'The ETCeteras' 脸书上的通知, 最后,
(3) 把这则通知转发在您的脸书上。

The ETCeteras 将选出三位幸运读者。 截止日期是十二月一日。 请大家踊跃参加。

Yes, the PSLE results are out today!  Are you nervous?

I am not sure if you have this feeling: this Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is so important that it sets to decide whether your child will be admitted into the Integrated Programme (IP) thus he/she will not have to worry about major exam until 5 years later, or will he/she be like the majority who will worry about major exams like 'O' level or 'N' level 3 years later. The PSLE results inevitably path the way the child would trod in his/her education journey for the next 4-6 years.  Would we as parents treat PSLE lightly?  No way!

I am honoured to be invited to join the 'PSLE' Conversation organised by The ETCeteras last Sunday.  The panel of the event was fronted by Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, Mr Baey Yam Keng, joined by renowned psychiatrist Dr Yeo Seem Huat & ex-teacher Mr Patrick Yeo.

In the event, we discussed burning questions like: are our education system & examination placing too much stress on our children, do our children need tuition, how do we ensure proper food nutrition, what are the consequences of lack of sleep, when should one consider visiting a phychiatrist, is every school a good school, etc.  Mr Baey also shared with us the struggles he & his family faced when his eldest daughter went through the PSLE preparation last year.

Please Stop Learning for Exams or Please Start Learning Early?  This four-lettered-word questions life with no model answers to it.  This play explores a child's journey through the national examination that all Singaporean children (& parents) are familiar with.  Parents with primary school going kids, would you like to watch this play & learn on how you may help your child to better cope with this national exam?  The ETCeteras is pleased to give 3 lucky readers 2 pairs of tickets each.  To participate in the draw, please:

(1) 'Like' The ETCeteras in facebook;
(2) 'Like' this post in The ETCeteras facebook
(3) 'Share' this post in your facebook profile.

The closing date is 1st Dec 2013.  Do act fast!

Fact Sheet on 'PSLE':
Date: 6th to 15th Dec 2013
Venue: National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre

Ticket Prices:
$38 (8pm shows for 6-8th & 10-14th Dec)
$33 (3pm shows for 7th, 8th, 14th & 15h Dec)
Prices exclude SISTIC booking fee.

Ticketing: SISTIC
Medium: English & Mandarin
Duration: 1hr 30mins

The heavy-weight panellists

Top Left: Mr Baey Yam Keng (MP)                           Top Right: Dr. Yeo Seem Huat (Psychiatrist)
Bottom Left: Ms Lim Hai Yen (Director of PSLE)   Bottom Right: Mr Patrick Yeo (Ex-teacher) 

With Mr Baey

With the 2 main casts in PSLE (the mom & the tutor)

End Of P1 - Prize Award Ceremony

Wasn't it just yesterday that my little boy entered P1?  Oh boy.  Time flies fast, it is November already!

We were in school this afternoon for the boy's Prize-Giving Ceremony.  The boy doesn't have difficulty coping with the P1 syllabus, but he is careless.  Most of the time he hurried off to finish his work without spending time checking.  This needs to be reminded & reinforced.

But we are glad that he did receive something.  At least there is some kind of confidence booster.  I am sure you & me will feel good having to go on stage to receive an award for some outstanding performance or deed. & so the boy received a certificate & some book store vouchers.  I subtly encourage him using reverse psychology: "If you have gotten more awards, your textbooks for next year will be free."  

He got the picture.  I hope he remembers it. 

With his classmates in the first row

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Home Team Festival 2013

When I received the email from Public Affairs Department of Singapore Police Force informing me about this Home Festival exhibition, I was very excited.  One glance at this e-flyer sent to me set me to put down the date on my calendar.  I had to bring AJ there!

So we went on 9th November after lunch.

Looking at the brochure, we head straight to 'Family & Fun' & 'Vehicle Gallery', but the bulk of the time was stuck at 'Vehicle Gallery'.  Knowing AJ is only 7, the rest of the categories I find to 'cheem' for him.

We missed the K9 dog show, which was the greatest regret.  So if you are heading to Home Team Festival tomorrow, please go early to watch.  1 of my friends who has watched it told me she took more than 50 photos on the show itself (& she is not a blogger!).  So you can imagine how interesting it must have been.

I took many photos & videos at the Vehicle Gallery.  I shall let them do the 'talking'.


They said we can't sit on the boat because it is not floating on water.  Make sense.

I know, this is 1 vehicle that drivers hate to see on the road.

No matter where you are, we can hunt you down!

Certainly, we won't like to be the person-in-custody.

It is nice to be carried by a police officer, not nice to be captured by one though.
Watch out for the cannon, I heard it can shoot strong flow of water as far as 10 metres!

Look whose head popped out!

I saw this in Changi Airport & had secretly wished to ride on it.  My dream came true. 
Btw, 'Hands On' means you can try the live set.

This is a mobile command centre. See how compact it is when 'folded'.
I was super impressed that they can set it up in less than 45mins.
The latest usage was at F1 race.
No photography or videography was allowed inside, but we were given briefing.

No water? No worries, this fire engine uses air foam to put off fire.

This is the 'place' the fire fighters rest if they are on long assignment.

Looks like Osim chair? It is not as comfy. Good enough to rest for a short while, cool down & have their blood pressure measured to ensure that their health are not affected by the assignment.

This is a stimulation. Not real earthquake!
S'pore is not in the earthquake belt but we will feel the tremble if a strong earthquake hits Indonesia.

How we see others in that trembling cubicle.

How we see ourselves in the trembling cubicle.

We had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It is amazing how sophisticated these defence equipment are.  I guess we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. We don't know many secrets & they cannot be revealed to us.

Event Details
Date: 10 November 2013
Time: 11am to 7pm
Venue: Singapore Expo Hall 4
Last day tomorrow, don't miss! 

[Media Invite] Science Street Fair 2013

Have you headed down to Singapore Science Centre yet?

There is free admission to all from now till 11 November'13 in celebration of its 35th anniversary.  As far as my memory can go, this is the 1st time Science Centre is opened for free.  Wouldn't you wanna seize this opportunity to bring your little ones down & have great fun learning?  What's more, Science Centre is also holding its 1st ever Science Street Fair at its premise!  Wow, all these for free!  Wait no more!

We were invited to Science Centre's Titans of the Past, Science Street Fair & the Snow City yesterday.  I will touch on Titan of the Past in another post.  This post is about Science Street Fair.

Science Street Fair Stall Listing
We spent about 1.5 hours going through the Science Street.  2 stalls impressed me greatly, which I think you should not miss too.

The 1st is the NUS_MIT SMART stall.  There, they exhibited Autonomous Vehicles (Car & Buggy), a driverless innovation.  Here's a video of AJ sitting on the Autonomous Buggy with his friends (note: he did the video editing all by himself).  It can even negotiate a turn! 


The 2nd stall is the National Park Board.  They exhibited seeds that are dispersed by wind, water & human, the characteristics of each.  The children get to see, touch & do experiment on those seeds.  All these sensory activities help the children to learn better.

Seeds that are of water dispersal

Seeds that are of human dispersal

When you are in Science Centre, do watch the Fire Tornado show at the Annexe.  They will only show it once a day at 3pm to minimise air pollution.

After spending 2-3 hours in Titans of the Past & Science Street Fair, we headed to Snow City.  As no photography is allowed in Snow City, the boy posed outside with the gear on.

It was -5 to -12 degree inside.  Yes, freezing cold.  I could feel my nose detaching anytime soon after 15 mins.  Yea, we didn't stay very long there.  

AJ has not seen snow yet, neither has he experienced such cold weather.  Thus, this was a good experience for him.  But the 'snow' inside Snow City are not real snow.  They are very fine crushed ice.  

In the snow chamber, they exhibited ice sculpture of more than 20 dinosaurs - T-Rex, Styracosaurus & Velociraptor. This 'Dino World' Ice Gallery is certified by the Singapore Book of Records to be the largest Ice Exhibition. 

In view of the Christmas season, there is also a giant Snowman of 5.2m tall.  It was built by celebrity ice sculptor, Jeffrey Ng, & I heard that he took 160 hours to build it.  This is also certified by Singapore Book of Records, as Singapore's Tallest Snowman.

The free admission to Science Centre is truly a big draw to visit it, coupled with the bonus of the Science Street Fair.  If your children are keen on Dinosaurs, you could pack in a tour to Titans of the Past.  Or if they like cold fun, throw in a visit to Snow City as well.

Event Details
9 Nov'13 - 9.30am to 9pm
10 & 11 Nov'13 - 9.30am to 7pm

Turning 7 - The BBQ Party

The boy turned 7 on 5th November & there was a series of 'celebration' lined up for him (read here).

This post is about the BBQ party that was held on 3th November, a Sunday evening, as there was no school the next day in view of the off-in-lieu for Deepavali.

I did not plan to have any party at first but the boy kept bugging me about it.  At the very last minute, about 2 weeks before the party, I then decided to have a simple one - a BBQ party, inviting his friends who live nearby.

So I booked the pits, ordered the food & sent out the invite via Whatsapp. The most difficult stuff would be planning the activities for the children.

What should we do to keep the children occupied? It should be fun & engaging.  I thought over it for a few days, then I decided that I would be a Science teacher for that event!  :)

I flipped through the Science activity book that AJ & I refer to when we do Science experiments in homelearning, looked through the old you tube videos that I have uploaded on his kindy show-and-tell & researched a little on the Internet.  In then end, I came out with the theme - Air & Colours.

And this is the Activity Book that I had created for the children.

I covered primary colours, air occupies space, hot air rises, different gases (carbon dioxide & helium) have different weight & fire needs oxygen.

The Activity Book was packed in the clear folder with a neon colour pencil & an eraser.  There were also 3 primary colours clear sheets in the folder which the children can play with to reinforce the the lesson on primary colours.

1 for each child

How can a Birthday Party go on without a cake? After lunch that day, I brought AJ to Icing Room to get his birthday cake.  Since Icing Room offers DIY decoration on the vanilla fruit cake, that added the fun.

Thunderstorm came at 4+pm when I went out to get Helium balloons. I quietly prayed that it would stop at 5+pm so that the BBQ could go on. There was contingency plan to use the Function Room, but a BBQ would be more fun.  Thank God the rain stopped completely at 5+pm & we were able to proceed as planned by 6pm!

We had Science lessons first while the adults set the fire & grilled the meat.

The children enjoyed the Science experiments so much that they didn't want to eat! I had to finish all the 5 experiments before I was allowed dinner.  :)

Cake cutting time

I was grateful how well the party had turned out despite the last minute arrangement.  Not only the children enjoyed themselves very much, particularly the Science experiments, the adults also had a good time knowing each other better.  I was also very thankful for the foods that some parents brought to add to the varieties, & their help in setting up the fire & preparing the food.  Needless to say,  AJ had enjoyed himself very much.