We Don’t Do Much Playing Anymore

I look at my two boys who are fast growing up, and sometimes, especially in recent months, I question the purpose of their endless drills and stuff they do in school.

“I don’t like school. School is boring,”
“I don’t want to go to school,”
lamented my boys, especially the tween.

I look at their lives and the lives of some of my students, and I feel a tinge of sadness today. It could be because this is the examinations period, and kids are mugging for their papers.

It could also be because of the conversation I had with one of my students’ mom recently. “He has to be drilled. There’s no choice,” she said, “Every child in Singapore is studying this way.”

Hearing that makes me feel sad. I questioned myself: Do I have to drill my students, just so that they can do well for exams? Is this what learning is all about?

Somehow, I feel disturbed.
No, this is not how children should be learning.

And I am inspired to write this poem:


We Don’t Do Much Playing Anymore

I remember the days
when I played all day
I’d ask my mom,
“What are we playing today?”

My days were filled with
walks in the park
picking flowers
looking at bugs
and tiny ants and beetles
wondering where they were going
and what they were doing.

Splashing in tubs
Cutting papers
Painting pictures
Staring at snails after the rain.

“Go play,” mom would say.
I folded papers
Fixed an airplane out of cardboard boxes
Made parachutes out of tissue papers.

Now, my days are filled
with homework
endless drills
Math problem sums
that don’t make sense
Memorising spelling
practising Chinese
remembering Science facts
when did Science become so boring?

“There’s no time to play!” hollered Mom,
“You have classes to go to today!
Exams are coming,
have you prepared?
Where is your homework?
Your tutor is coming!”

I miss those days
when I could play all day
Don’t they know
that it is when I play
that I learned the most
and the world made sense?


SG50 Lego Exhibition: The Little Red Brick

I heard about this Lego Exhibition “The Little Red Brick” that showcases memories of Singapore built using Lego blocks.

Since our boys are Lego fans, and we are in the month of our Nation’s 50th Birthday, I wanted to bring the kids to take a look at this exhibition.

It was worth our time and effort travelling all the way to the Singapore National Library.

The boys, especially Zac, was thrilled to see the Lego models. I am also drawn to the details and intricacies of the Lego models.

Enjoy these familiar scenes of Singapore, delicately built with Lego blocks.
(Photos taken by Zac and I)
















“The Little Red Brick” Exhibition ends 28th August 2015. So if you’re a Lego fan or one who cannot resist the intricate details of Lego models, don’t miss this. What’s more, admission is totally free!

Venue: Singapore National Library (100 Victoria St, Singapore 188064)

Date: 1st – 28th August 2015

Exhibition Hours: 11 am – 8 pm (Daily)

Living In An Intense Family

I am an intense person. In that I have strong emotions towards things and people. I see this same intensity in varying degrees in my children as well. Which means there are at least four of us in this household who have very intense emotions.

What does it mean to be emotionally intense?


An emotionally intense person usually experiences feelings at a deeper and stronger level than someone who is not intense. These emotions can be so strong that they become overwhelming. It is often said that creative people tend to be emotionally intense. Emotionally intense people also tend to dwell on and brood over things longer, and the longer they think about something, the more intense they feel about it.

Growing up, I remember experiencing intense emotions, much to the stress of my parents.

Now, as a mother, the intense emotions of my children stress me out. And since I am an emotionally intense person myself, I feel even more overwhelmed by my kids’ intensity. It is a double whammy!

I came across this quote, which pretty much sums up, at least to me, what it means to be an emotionally intense person:

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SchTutors: Getting A Private Tutor For Your Child

Tuition for children is so common in Singapore that if a child does not attend any tuition classes, many will raise their eyebrows. Personally, I have my misgivings about our local tuition industry. As an educator, I find it disturbing that any Tom, Dick and Harry can become a tutor. It is not uncommon to have tutors who are students themselves, or those who have no teaching experience whatsoever. The most bewildering thing for me is, there are actually parents who are willing to hire a student to tutor their children.

I am glad to say that our three kids do not attend tuition, except for a once-a-week Chinese Class for Zac. But if we ever decide to look for a home tutor for our kids (which I doubt we will), I would definitely go for one who has both the qualification and the teaching experience.

Many parents approach tuition agencies to help them look for a suitable tutor for their children. The demand for tutors is a huge factor in the booming tuition industry.

I am not against tuition or tuition agencies. What I dislike are agencies that do not screen their tutors and have no idea what qualifications or background their tutors have. Yet, these agencies would recommend their tutors to parents.

If you are a parent who really needs to look for a tutor for your child, I would think that a tuition agency that does proper screening and stringent checks on their tutors is more credible.

tutors MOE teachers

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Solution for Hazy Days: Novita Air Purifier

Haze is not something new in Singapore. In recent years, we have been affected by haze during the hot and dry months. One of the items that many wish to own when haze hits is a powerful air purifier.

Novita has added a new air purifier to their wide range of products: The Novita PuriClean™ Air Purifier NAP 620


When my two boys first saw the Novita Air Purifier, they remarked that they have seen it in their school music rooms and AVA rooms! I was pleasantly surprised that there are air purifiers in schools.

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INTERPLAY: Where Science Meets Art

Most people think of Science and Art as two very different and distinct subjects. If you think it is un-un-un-un-un-believable that you can combine Art and Science, you’ve got to check out INTERPLAY, the latest exhibition at Singapore Science Centre.

INTERPLAY is a truly unique experiential exhibition that blends Art and Science together with technology. The exhibition features 21 installations by both international and local artists.

As members of the Science Centre, we are regular visitors. Our kids were delighted to have a chance to visit a new exhibition and according to them, INTERPLAY is one of the best exhibitions that they have visited at the Science Centre!

The unique thing about this exhibition is, you’ve got to interact with the installations and experience them for yourself. There are some exhibits which require you to find your own interpretation and figure out what is actually going on. So, I’m not going to be a spoiler by revealing all the “secrets” here.

All I can say is, our family had a blast trying out all the installations.

Here are some highlights of our INTERPLAY experience.

– Sandbox Ocean –

A multi-user interactive installation which brings together physical and digital environments.


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Geronimo Stilton Comprehension Pawbooks {Review + Giveaway}

Zac bought his first Geronimo Stilton story book when he was in Primary 1, after seeing some of his classmates reading the colourful books. That’s the power of peer influence.

When he finished reading that first book, he asked for another, and another… Whenever we passed by POPULAR Bookstores, he would dash excitedly straight to the Geronimo Stilton section to check if the latest title has been published.

We ended up buying one Geronimo Stilton book after another.

Two rows of the boys' Geronimo Stilton Collection.

Two rows of the boys’ Geronimo Stilton Collection.

Jay took over these books when he was 6 years old, after Zac moved on to other books.

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Our Time Travel Machine

The kids received a new toy recently.

A time travel machine.

They wondered what it could do.

I told them, “It can take you back to whatever time you want.”

Their eyes widened.

Jay exclaimed, “Take me back to the dinosaur age!”

Zac shouted, “No! I want to go to the future! Take me to the year 5020!”

Elly couldn’t contain her excitement, but didn’t quite understand the power of a time travel machine, requested, “Can I go back to the school holidays? No need to go to school!”

As the kids argued and squabbled over which time to travel to, I said, “You can all have a try, but first, let me bring you back to the time when I was a child, just like you.”

They agreed without protest.

After all, they have heard and enjoyed listening to stories of my childhood.
So, I keyed the year into the time travel machine, and in an instant, all of us appeared in another place, another time…

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A Day In My Life: a.k.a. The Adventures of the Zooming Mommy

I crave routine. Yet, ironically, my life is anything but routine.

Every day of the week presents a different schedule for me, due to the fact that:

– our 3 kids are in 3 different school sessions (which is insane!),
– our 2 boys having different CCAs and days of training (Jay has CCA once a week in the morning before school while Zac’s CCA is twice a week in the afternoon after school),
– the different enrichment classes the 3 kids are attending (2 of them are learning keyboard, 1 of them is learning drum, Zac goes for Chinese tuition – which means another insane set of different timing!)
– and the nature of my work (I teach 3 weekdays and at the same time buried in researching and planning to register a business).

My mom, who comes over to be with the kids when I’m not at home, likes to comment that I am always zooming here and there. It has become a joke in our family, that I am the zooming mommy.

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FTWM, SAHM And Everything In Between: My Personal Experience

The grass is always greener on the other side.

A working mother might envy the life of a stay-home mother.

A stay-home mother might think working mothers have it easier.

Which role is better? Or easier?

In my 10 years of being a mother, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing both roles.

In fact, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing all the other roles in between too:

– Full Time Working Mum (without maid)
– Full Time Working Mum (with maid)
– Part Time Working Mum (without maid)
– Stay At Home Mum (with maid)
– Stay At Home Mum (without maid)
– Work At Home Mum (without maid)

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