Solo Trip to Malacca with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

[Product Review]

What would you do if your child is going on a 3D/2N overseas learning trip and your husband is too busy with his own trip to accompany you anywhere? Well, I tagged along went for 3D/2N solo trip to Malacca with this little darling, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II!

Before I left for this solo trip, I have already read about the raving reviews of this award-winning entry-level mirrorless camera. So my expectation has been pitched higher, but I must confess, I am not even an amateur photographer. Just a layman photographer, if I may say.

The coach journey from Singapore to Malacca took me 4 hours, with no breaks (other than custom clearance) in between. When I reached Mahkota Parade at 1pm, I was famished. Fortunately there was Tim Ho Wan in Hatten Square where I alighted, so in I went to fill my stomach. Lunch like this cost me RM30 (S$10), super worth!

I have never been a pro in food photography, but this Olympus OM-D E-M 10 Mark II could pass me off as a budding one. They are effortless shots, really, because a hungry woman is an angry woman, I simply couldn't wait long to dig in.

After a satisfying lunch, I lugged my luggage to Novotel Hotel, which was about 5 mins walk from Hatten Square. It is a modern looking hotel, and very reasonably priced. Most importantly, it has WiFi in every room, no password required! In terms of its location, it is best suited for couples or singles. Here's a peep of my room.

And the lounge, and cafe.

The camera was able to capture vibrant colours quite well. I particularly like the shots of those red and blue chairs in the cafe.

After resting for a while, I went out for a walk, and saw these colourful trishaw by day and by night! Love how they dolled up their trishaws! 

It was a Thursday night, so Jonker Street wasn't opened. It would only open on Friday to Sunday. I ended up taking a River Cruise.

A friend of mine who owned an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II told me that I must get night shots with it because this little darling can really produce stunning night shots. And I did! What impressed me even more was its 5-axis image stabilization and the shutter speed because the photos you see below were taken on a boat cruising on Malacca River at a speed of about 60km/hr. With these two features, anyone can take beautiful, virtually blur-free images. Seriously!

I am totally in love with these night shots. I went to bed that night having a great sense of achievement!

Since Jonker Street opened on Friday, I made it point to tour that area from day to time. :)

Clock Tower

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

And along the way, I discovered this cute Mamee 'museum' cum cafe. Oh, my childhood snack! AJ loves it too, he will be thrilled to know of this place. Apparently, they have workshops for littles ones. My blogger friend, Cindy Gan, wrote about it. You may like to check it out here. If AJ were to join me on future trip to Malacca, I will bring him here.

A corner where they showcase how Mamee snack is made. Pretty interesting. 

Fresh watermelon juice, with flesh on!
They drilled a hole, at the same time, smashed up the flesh with the drill bit.
Then you drink the juice and eat the flesh with a big straw!

The Friday night stroll at Jonker Street was fun. I came back on Saturday morning. After this trip, I was completely sold. This Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, may overwhelm beginners like me with its extensive features (of which many I didn't have time to explore), the shooting experience was a memorable one. Over the 3 days, I didn't have to re-charge its battery. The WiFi feature also enabled me to upload photos easily to social media platforms. This little darling, when will I see you again?

"Mars Robot Survival" March Holiday Camp at The Keys Academy


When it comes to school holiday, I'll try to plan something outside the academic arena for AJ because all work and no play makes Jack AJ a dull boy. By 'play', I don't mean mindless or aimless playing. I believe, in all that we do, we should do with a purpose. That includes 'play'.

The Keys Academy offered AJ their March holiday programmes and he decisively made "Mars Robot Survival" his choice. I guess that is because he loves programming.

It is a 5-day camp, running from 9am to 2pm, with lunch provided. I thought that is a pretty good timing.  Parents who are working would only need to take half day leave if there is no alternative caregiver to pick up the children. Finishing the camp at 2pm would also mean children of higher primary would still have time to finish their homework (yes, I know, there is still home work from school during school holiday). And 5 days are long enough to learn something more in-depth.

And off he went. The first day was so interesting that he couldn't wait to go back again. I had no doubt about it after peeping into his work-in-progress.

The boys in this camp were trying to use logic and programming skills to rebuild their Martian Lander (robot) and this robot (that had a gyro-bot, and colour & ultrasonic sensors) was to maneuver itself through these obstacles. It was quite a challenge, I find, though I think this was why the boys loved it. They were using Lego robotics to learn basic block programming (EV3), at the same time, they were also given an introduction to ethics philosophy. 

What impressed me after the 5 days was not just that the boy was able to have his robot clearing the obstacles (though that was part of them) as seen here:

1) It was the dedication of the facilitator - Shazed. 
I had the opportunity to talk to him quite a bit and I noticed that he is quite a dedicated, hardworking and observant person. He gave me his observation about AJ which I appreciated.

2) It was the opportunity to explore outside the classroom.
On the third day, the boys were out for an excursion! They went to a restaurant where servers are robots! How cool! I didn't even know such restaurant exists in Singapore!

The trip opened up the boys' learning horizon as they witnessed for themselves live-sized robots doing job of a human. Relevant questions were asked by Shazed whether robots can replace human being absolutely, how many motors were used in this robot, etc. Shazed seized every opportunity to discuss with the boys. Thumbs up! 

3) Lastly, it was the opportunity for them to present their project.
This was really an added bonus as I didn't expect it. The boys were taught to make a presentation to some parents without reading from scripts. I was delighted that AJ didn't just get to learn about robotics, he got to pick up some presentation skills as well! And I thought he did a pretty good presentation too (though I could sense that he was nervous).

Overall both AJ and I had a good experience with The Keys Academy. The location is central which is very convenient for most working parents, the classrooms are of reasonable size and the whole place is well lit. I certainly won't rule out exploring future programmes with them. The Keys Academy provides both academic and non-academic enrichment programmes. Here's the website address if you would like to find out more:

The web link for the holiday camps is here