Navy @ Vivo

Have you tried balloting for the tickets to board 1 of Singapore Navy's biggest ship RSS Persistence?  It is now docked at Vivocity until 1 June 2014. 

Photo Credit

How about the Fast Craft Utility (FCU) ride?

Photo Credit

Freak not if you have not balloted for it or have missed your chance to!  Here's a final chance for you.
Visit Singapore Navy info booth at VivoCity Lobby F to ballot for tickets at these times:

9-10:30am: ballot for 12-2pm slots. Successful winners will be notified via SMS at 11am
12-1:30pm: ballot for 3-5pm slots. Successful winners will be notified via SMS at 2pm
3-4:30pm: ballot for 6-8pm slots. Successful winners will be notified via SMS at 5pm

We went this morning & had lots of fun, especially riding on the FCU.  You should come if you have any opportunity, it is an experience not to be missed.  I'm sure your little one(s) will enjoy the ride to bits!

The ride was about 30mins.  Sunblock, sunglasses & sunshield (hats/caps) are absolutely essential!  Here are some photos taken on our FCU ride as well as 2 videos taken while on it.  

The boy was waiting patiently to ride on FCU (with life jacket on)

Sitting on FCU.
It has limited seats, so most adults would have to stand.
It is more fun standing anyway!



As the FCU cruised, we sailed through many places along the coast of the main island as well as Sentosa.

Bye RSS Persistence!



Rasa Sentosa Resort

& here some photos taken on board RSS Persistence:

All ambassadors on board were friendly & helpful, & most were good looking too! (bonus!)

We had an enjoyable time this morning.  Thank you Singapore Navy for organising this & thank you for your effort in protecting our country!

Homschooling 8 Children

This is a monthly post on 'Homeschooling'. Every 5th week of the month I will interview parents who are homeschooling their children of age 7 up.

Jan - Homeschooling A High Ability Child

I am passionate about homeschooling, if you have not already known.  But AJ is not ready for it, so I leave it as it is.  In January this year, I interviewed Eric Kong, who homeschool his elder daughter who is a high achiever.

This month, I got into contact with a couple who homeschooled 8 of their 9 children.  Amazing parents, to have 9 children, in Singapore's context.  To homeschool 8 of them is even more amazing!  Let's hear their story:

Uncle Paul & Auntie Soh Yeng, with their 9 children. Photo was taken about a decade ago :)

(1) Auntie Soh Yeng, would you tell us how old are your children now?

They are 33, 31, 29, 26, 25, 21, 19, 16 &14.

(2) Wow! Did you homeschool all of them?  When did you start homeschooling them?

We started homeschooling in 1996.  All except our eldest daughter went through homeschool.  They were at different grades in the public schools when we pulled them out.

As our eldest daughter was going to do her 'O' level the following year, we encouraged her to finish her 'O' level before deciding whether to join the rest in homeschool.  She went on to join Ministry of Education after her 'O' levels & taught Home Economics in government secondary schools thereafter.  She is no longer teaching & is now a Manager in a Before & After Care Center run by a church.

(3) What caused you & uncle Paul to decide on homeschooling your children?

There were many factors that led us to homeschool our children. 

Firstly, we wanted an educational system whereby our children's character & Christian faith can be strengthened.

Secondly, we felt that the public school system was too pressurising (still is) & we wanted them to enjoy studying at their own pace. We found out later that 2 of our children are slightly dyslexic (they needed more time to do their work), thus they may not have done well under the pressurising public school system. 

We also wanted to spend more time doing things together as a family & we felt that only homeschooling will enable us to do that.

What caused us to finally take action to homeschool was the behaviour of our 3rd child, (our 1st son), in school.  We realised then, he needed personal attention & guidance that only homeschooling can give.

(4) What were some of the struggles you faced in homeschooling?

Juggling household chores like the usual cleaning & cooking, & yet being disciplined enough to start school on time!  Teaching & grading their work were really challenging, not to mention that I still had to care for 1 or 2 toddlers running around then.

However, much to my surprise, homeschool turned out to be a good 'training ground' to teach me & my children co-operation, self-sacrifice & self-discipline.

(5) What were the achievements/satisfaction you & uncle Paul achieved when homeschooling your children?

We were very happy & comforted to see them behaving responsibly & in a matured manner.  Progressively, we also felt safe to let the older kids take care of the younger ones when we needed to be away for some meeting or function.  In fact, their sibling bonding is very strong, even till today.

We are also very gratified that our 3rd child (our 1st son, who was the cause of our choosing homeschooling), went on to become an officer during his National Service.  During the many crisis that our family encountered, he has given us good advices & support that we needed.  We are very proud of him.

Recently, because of some health issues that my husband & I are facing, we are so grateful that all our children 'rose up to the occasion' & took on roles that enabled our family to move on together.

Academically, we were also greatly encouraged when our children (who had finished their homeschool education) sat for the SAT I (an international exam) & scored above average results.  1 of them has already gotten her degree in Finance from Singapore Institute of Management a few years ago.  Another has just completed his SAT 1 & has applied to study in National University of Singapore.

(6) In your opinion, is homeschooling for every child?
It depends on what goal(s) the parents want for their child & if the child wants homeschooling for him/herself.  It should be a mutual decision.

(7) What are the advices you would give to parents who are considering homeschooling their children?

Parents should find out all the pros & cons, the practical challenges they will be facing, & be clear of the goals they want for their child/children, before making the final decision. 

I am thankful to Auntie Soh Yeng for her precious time sharing with us their homeschooling journey.  I hope this post will serve you well, if you are considering homeschooling our child(ren).

The Changi Museum

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome

Not too long ago, I brought AJ to the Changi Museum.  As our country is approaching its 50th birthday, I thought it may be good to educate the boy that the peace & prosperity that this country enjoys now didn't come easy.

The Changi Museum is dedicated to all those who lived & died in Singapore, in particular the Changi area, during the dark years of World War II.  Through documentation of significant events of the Japanese Occupation, the Museum also serves as an important educational institution & resource centre for our younger generation.

The Open Chapel

The Indoor Chapel

This is the floor plan of a typical Changi cell

The trip to the Changi Museum got me very motivated to share more with AJ on the history of Singapore, I would really like him to know what we have now is the result of the sweat, toil, labour & fights of our ancestors.  I also want him to remember our founding father, MM Lee.  So I then went to bookstore to look for a history textbook which could explain Singapore's history in meaningful pictures & simple language. & I found this.

Slowly, but surely, we will do our very best to get him to read up more about this tiny red dot.  We will also explore more historical trail.

The Changi Museum is open daily & admission is free.  There is a paid 45-minute guided in-house tour (English) at 9.45am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm.  Do call them 1st to check on availability before heading down.  A guided tour or an audio tour is definitely more beneficial than roaming around on your own.

The Changi Museum
1000, Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707
Tel: (65) 6214 2451
Fax: (65) 6214 1179
Operation hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm daily
Admission: Free

Getting There
By MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) & Bus
SBS Bus No. 2 from Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4), or
SBS Bus No. 29 from Tampines MRT Station (EW2)
Alight at the bus stop at the Changi Museum
(after Women’s Prison / opposite Changi Heights condominium)

Free parking is available to those who drive but do note that it is a small carpark.

[Giveaway] No Queue. Why Queue? NoQ Bookstore Is Here!

We have recently exposed AJ to Science in a more systematic way, I mean, in accordance to MOE's syllabus for Primary 3 & 4.  We are, sort of, preparing for the 4th subject that is to come next year.

When we introduced this book to him, he became obsessed with the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Obsessed, yes he is.  He can now memorise ALL the elements, their codes & their atomic numbers.  He sings this silly Periodic Table of Elements song by Tom Lehrer more than 10 times a day.

On 1 hand I am irritated by his obsession, on the other hand I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity & ride on his interest in Chemistry to feed him more facts.

So I started googling for good, basic Chemistry books for him & chanced upon this.

As I googled more, I realised there are so many books that are useful for him.  Thank God that NoQ Store came to the rescue!  NoQ Store is the e-commerce arm of Times Publishing, so no doubt, their book collections is HUGE.  Yes, they have more than 14 million titles, spanning across genres like Children's, Educational, Parenting, Fiction, Cookbooks, & many, many more. What's better is there are quite a no. of reviews on each book giving me enough information to assess if the book is worth buying.  If you are getting books as gift, they can even provide gift wrapping service at a token fee, plus all local delivery is free (for purchase of $25 up)! How nice!

The good guys at NoQ store were kind enough to grant my blog readers 15% off on all purchases.  Just type in


upon checkout under the voucher code.  The voucher code will expire on 31 August 2014.  So start shopping now & have a book feast this June holiday!

Steinway Youth Piano Competition 2014

If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed that AJ participated in this competition & I was rallying a sms voting campaign for him on my blog post here.

He got in into the semi-finals.  Today is the Grand Finals.  It has been a long day for us, waking up at 6am to prepare ourselves to reach Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (NUS) at 7.45am for the Steinway Youth Piano Competition. I must say the entire process of this competition gave AJ & myself a very goodd experience on how International brands run their competition. We were awed by how professional this whole competition was run.

"That's me!" he said

No. AJ didnt get in into the Finals. I was expecting it though deep in my heart I really hope he would get in. The competition was so keen, the marks got as narrow as decimal point difference.

We were disappointed but we understand things don't always go the way we want/hope. 

I would like to thank ALL here who supported AJ by voting for him as The Most Popular Pianist. He came in 3rd among 17 contestants. He didnt win himself a masterclass in Hungary but he won himself a masterclass in Singapore with Steinway.

Thank you for your great love in the sms campaign. Words can't express how touched I am. My heartfelt thanks to all!

This is 1 of the 3 pieces he played for the competition - Sonatina in C by Kabalevsky Op.13 No. 1 1st movement.  If you can't view it from the blog, here's the link to youtube.

It's now time for him to channel his energy & effort for his next graded exam.

[Review & Giveaway] The Rock & The Bird - A Book on Friendship

This is a monthly post on 'Book or Web/Mobile Application for Children'. Every 3rd week of the month I will post on a review on books that AJ has read or web/mobile application that he has tried on.

From pre-school to primary school, AJ has met a few close friends. At this age, they probably don't understand what true friendship means, but, we as parents know who are the friends they can develop further with.

I was gifted of this book which both AJ & I read.  It was written by this young teenager who won herself 1st prize in the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition in 2009.  This promising young lady is now in Havard University.

As I read it, I got drawn into the story deeper & deeper.  The friendship between a rock & a bird, how weird, but the author has expressed the intensity of the emotional attachment between the 2 so richly in plain.simple.words.  You may not be aware that the author was only 14 when she wrote this essay if I have not told you so.

"This was an astonishing & stunning story: a timeless fable which would appeal to readers of all ages.  The deceptively simple use of language allows a profoundly affecting story about mortality & friendship to unfold with an effortless ease.  The characterisation of the rock & the bird are skillfully drawn.  This is an entry that is unexpected, original, & enthralling from start to finish!" - Chief Examiner (The Royal Commonwealth Society)

Would you like to have a copy of this book?  Epigram (the publisher) through Rise & Shine is giving away 3 books to 3 readers each.  All you need to is:

(1) 'Like' Rise & Shine in Facebook
(2) 'Like' Mylilbookworm in Facebook
(3) Leave a comment here on my blog post informing me that (1) & (2) are done.

Draw will be carried out on 25 May 12mn & announced on the day itself.


The result of the draw:

Congratulations to Joanne Loo, Kirby Koh & trang thanh.
I will be getting in touch with you to get your mailing address.
Rise & Shine team will then mail the book to you. 

Textbook Candy 课本糖 (Rediffusion TV on Demand)

Photo credit

If you are a StarHub Cable TV subscriber, you may be already aware that Textbook Candy (课本糖) is already aired.  It is video-on-demand, aired in channel 325.  The programme is meant for primary school students, helping them to revise Chinese.  It is aligned with the Chinese textbook used in schools, each episode covers 1 chapter each.

The programme is broken into 3 sections, mainly 课文讲解, 词语讲解 & 小呼有话对你说.  小呼 is the talking panda, Eva (张美香) is the teaching parent & there are usually 3-4 teachers in the show as well.

The main cast (photo credit)

Here are some screenshots I have captured:

As we are StarHub subscriber, we get to watch an episode for free.  After watching the 1st episode, AJ has been continuing watching it.  It helps him in his revision, I didn't have to prepare him that much for the mid-year exam.  As such, anything that is textbook related, I am hands off.  I left it to him to revise himself by watching the programme.  I only helped in the comprehension & composition.

I have spread the word to other parents & some have given me feedback which I would like to share with you here:

I find the content educational & entertaining. It follows closely to the textbook covering essential topics in a light-hearted way.

My daughter only watched it once & hasn't requested to watch another episode since. She does watch TV but never remember to switch over to this channel. I guess it could just be too much like school work to her. 

Price wise, I find it way too steep for mass media content. It would be good if it is subsidized by Ministry of Education (MOE).

- TC, father of JQ who is 8.

The program is very much aligned to MOE syllabus.  The contents are exactly the same as in the textbook.  The host, 张美香, speaks good Mandarin & she is able to capture my son’s interest.  The panda mascot is attractive to kids of his age too.

The drawback is that there are too many conversations carried out between different characters in the show.  It requires a lot of listening & comprehending.  As my son is weak in Chinese, he was not engaged with the show after 30 minutes.   It will be good to have some songs or short cartoon clips in the show.

Overall, I would still give 2 thumbs up as it is not easy to find a suitable Chinese program that ties in with the textbook that well in Singapore.  The price of $8 per episode is reasonable as well.  

- Hannah, mother of Joshua who is 8.

So what is my verdict of this programme?

Like what Hannah has mentioned, it is not easy to find Chinese TV programme that is aligned with the Ministry of Education syllabus in the market.  In my opinion, this programme can easily surpass any after-school remedial lessons.  However, as it covers only the textbook, parents may have to find other means to help their children on comprehension & composition.

I concur with TC & I do find the $8 subscription for each episode on the high side.  With 12 chapters (12 episodes) in half a year, 1 would have to pay $88 (any 1st episode is free) for the half year revision, & $184 for a full year revision.

I also find that this programme is not suitable for potato children.  It is more suitable for children who already have some foundation in Chinese & merely use this mode as a revision.

Overall, I find this programme beneficial for most primary school goers if they watch it with the purpose of revising what were taught.  I will certainly approved AJ watching it.