Building a world of fun together (ft. Miclik)

Months ago, Thumper was reaching the stage where he was starting to push himself around the house. He grabbed everything in sight and the first thing he’d do is shove it into his mouth. He was so excited to learn about the world, he just crawled everywhere with his little tongue hanging out of his mouth like a puppy.

Of course, this meant that it was time to put all the Legos away, as the tiny pieces are all potential choking hazards. I also had to put away our beloved Citiblocs away as prolonged chewing and sucking on the porous wooden pieces would probably ruin them. I brought out our trusty set of Duplo blocks, hoping that this would appease J and Little E, who complained loudly and at length as I put away their favourite construction toys.

Unfortunately, the Duplos no longer interested them (I mean, once you start on Legos and Citiblocs, it’s really hard to go back!) so I started looking out for toys that would be fun for my 8 year old, challenge my 5 year old but still be safe for my little crawler.

This is when local enrichment center, Explorer Junior (not to be confused with Junior Explorers Singapore) , introduced me to the wonderful world of Miclik – and I’m glad to say that it’s a toy that all my three kids can play with together.

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I find Miclik to be such an elegant and innovative toy. Really, I expect nothing less from a building toy that is created in Barcelona, one of the leading centres of architecture and design. Marc Castelló, the founder and designer behind the boutique toy company, Mitoi, aims to spark children’s imagination and creativity through his unique and ingenious toys, and I really think that he has succeeded in doing so!

The Miclik toy is a modular construction toy that basically consists of colourful flat hexagons of firm plastic. Each hexagon is hinged in the middle allowing the pieces to be bent back and forth like butterfly wings. It is this very flexibility that the key to opening up a vast world of creative opportunity.

The pieces snap together quickly and easily, and my kids quickly immersed themselves in creating elaborate 3-dimensional structures and wearables for role-play. Best of all, the Miclik toys have undergone rigorous lab-testing to ensure that they are safe and non-toxic – so I don’t have to worry if Thumper uses them as chew toys!

I brought these toys out during a party and they were a real hit with all the children present, who were completely engrossed in making crowns, bracelets and swords, even a pair of handcuffs!

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I have never had another construction toy that was so quickly used for interactive, imaginative play.

This is now our toy of choice in the living room, and I often peek in on the three kids to find them on another Miclik adventure. Sometimes they are wearing helmets and defending Thumper with swords and shields, other times they are making hiking boots or snowshoes for expeditions across the Arctic, sometimes I stumble across a herd of Miclik cows and chickens. It’s amazing where this toy has taken them!

Buyer’s Note: Explorer Junior is currently the sole distributor of Miclik toys in Singapore (click here to go to their online store). They may seem pricey at SGD$49.90 (for 48 pcs) or SGD$79.90 (for 96pcs) but they are worth it. I would be very cautious in purchasing cheap imitations as they will not be certified non-toxic or made from the same durable materials.

P.S. Explorer Junior is very kindly offering an exclusive discount code for all Owls Well readers! From now until 15th June 2016, just enter the code OWLS10 at checkout to take 10% off your order! Thanks Explorer Junior!

Engagements and Secret Keeping: A Becky Lee’s Proposal Story

After The Boobook and I had been dating for three months, we started vaguely talking about marriage.

We even went to a marriage preparation course held by the local church, which helped us shape ideas about whether or not we were compatible and whether we could align our individual goals enough to be married. I know that this sounds very rushed, but bear in mind that we had been best friends for more than 10 years before we commenced dating[1], so there was very little that we didn’t know about each other.

Anyway, Australia tends to have jewellery sale seasons sometime around April every year.  So, when the sale season rolled around, The Boobook took me to many stores to take a look at rings. Romantic AND practical[2].

I was shown diamond ring after diamond ring, but I didn’t like ANY of the rings, mostly because they were all plain and sparkly white (and BORING). I did have a good laugh at many of them – my personal favourite ridiculous ring being a giant multi-diamond ring that the sales guy kept trying to hawk us. The diamonds spelled out “Jessica”. I have no idea why he thought that it would be a good idea to sell that to someone called “A Becky Lee”.

After much shopping, we found a store that didn’t immediately take us to the diamond section when I said I wanted a ring.  The lady listened very carefully to what I wanted and then helped us pick out a beautiful white gold ring set with diamonds and sapphires.

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Photo courtesy of Photography by Delvene who did all my wedding photos!

Now, you’d think that given how much I cooed over the ring that The Boobook would settle for that ring there and then, but no, he wanted the ring to be a surprise. So, we ended up going to 4 more jewellery stores to look at 4 more sapphire rings (some of which were hideous). Then, he took me to the local EB Games store and left me there while he made his decision.

Three months later, The Boobook and I went to Singapore so that he could properly meet my parents.  He had met my parents before whenever they visited me in Australia, but never for very long.  This time, he was to meet them on their home turf.  Little did I know that in the intervening time, The Boobook had been very busy!

First, he had been in contact with Debs G to determine how much of a show he could put on when proposing[2].  Then, he got in contact with my best friend, Minako, in order to arrange for a proposal venue and a plan of action.  I believe these E-mails had the subject “Singapore Covert Ops – For your eyes only”.  It was all very hushhush, you know?

While we were in Singapore, The Boobook asked the Aged P for my hand in marriage after dinner one night.  The Aged Ps were very happy to give their consent and planning began immediately for our engagement party to be held while we were still in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Minako gave me a call and said that she’d like to meet us both so that she could, and I quote, “Get to know your boyfriend.”  She suggested Clarke Quay as a place to meet.  This surprised me somewhat, because Minako is not normally the type to hang out at overprised, touristy places like Clarke Quay, but she promised me that we were only going there because there was “a really great tonkatsu restaurant there”.  Since I trust Minako’s judgement on food, we agreed on a time (the evening) and date (this weekend) and I promised to take The Boobook there.

On the appointed day, The Boobook stated that he would like to go sightseeing before we met up with Minako.  So, we spent the day in all the most romantic places he could think of.  We started the morning taking a stroll in the Botanic Gardens, where we looked at the beautiful Orchid Gardens, then promptly got lost and ended up walking about 12 km just looking for the exit.  We strolled down Orchard Road and even did one of those Puzzle Rooms (we did, in fact, do the Teddy Bear room that very day!) that everyone was talking about!  Instead of taking the MRT to Clarke Quay, we took the ferry down the Singapore River.

Minako was waiting for us at the last stop.

We bought some bubble tea and started strolling down the Singapore River aimlessly.  I was happy to see my best friend again, so we fell to chatting gleefully as we walked.  Minako turned to one of the bridges and started crossing it, so I followed.  When we got to the centre of the bridge, The Boobook got down on one knee and…

…Minako caught it all on camera.

It wasn’t the smoothest of proposals.  He got the ring box upside down and the ring wouldn’t fit on my finger because I was a little swollen from the Singapore heat, but it was sweet and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our engagement party was a few days later and well, the wedding was a few months after that.

The pork was delicious, by the way.  We also had a few ciders to celebrate.


This post is part of the Proposal Stories blog train hosted by The Chill Mom. If you would like to read some more romantic stories, just click on the button below!

proposal story

The next stop on your blog train is Adeline from www.adesays.com!

Adeline is a mum to a little boy. What started as a blog to document her passion in sewing women apparels has now evolved to include her motherhood journey of ups and downs, joy and challenges. She had wanted to keep her proposal story private but spurred on by all the love stories shared by others that she had to join in the fun. Click on to read about her love story.


[1] A summary of this relationship can be found here[a].

[2] I’m an accountant, okay? Saving money is like SUPER-DUPER romantic to me!

[3] According to Debs G, she told him that I would probably like “something over the top that doesn’t involve negative emotions, but not too over the top, as that would stop being sweet and start being cheesy[b].” I do believe she also told The Boobook “No Jumbotrons”

[a] What?!  I only just got married – I may as well get my money’s worth on all the videos that I paid for!

[b] I blame Debs G for The Boobook not proposing in Disneyworld as a result (too cheesy).

Debs G’s Marriage Proposal Story

There’s a running joke within Singaporean circles that an unromantic method of proposing involves the guy just saying casually, “Eh, when are you free? Let’s go and sign for a flat.”1. No surprises of candlelit hearts, no rooms strewn with roses, no treasure hunts with a diamond ring as a prize.

Well, this is precisely how the Aged Ps got engaged. They decided together that it was time to take the next step, so they went engagement ring shopping and applied for a flat.

If you ask me, I have always felt that this is the most romantic way to become engaged. It’s the simplicity of it all – when two people are so deeply in love that moving together into the next phase of their relationship just happens naturally with no hesitation or uncertainty.

My family is a very big proponent of the ‘friendship-courtship-engagement’ route to marriage. So for me, my potential dating pool consisted solely of people whom I already knew were good and faithful friends. I would only consider dating someone whom I could seriously see as a potential marriage partner. This means that for me, the decision to enter into courtship with the Barn Owl was the big one, mainly because of the intercultural aspect of our relationship.

I wasn’t at all worried about how my parents would react to the Barn Owl as a potential marriage partner. Our family is not new to intercultural relationships. The Aged Ps themselves are from different cultures as you can see from the different formalwear that their moms chose to wear on their wedding day.

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The Aged Ps Wedding – cheongsam vs sarong kebaya

The Barn Owl and I had been dating for nearly a year when the Barn Owl had to go away for work experience. We were chatting on ICQ (this was waaaaay before the magic that is Skype), missing each other dreadfully, and it was during this conversation turned towards relationship matters.

We mutually agreed that it would be possible to take our relationship forward towards marriage but before we did so, we would consult our parents and friends. The Barn Owl wanted to talk to his dad for advice and I wanted time to prepare my parents. I told the Barn Owl that he would also need to have a discussion with my dad. Additionally, I wanted to talk to trusted friends and mentors who knew the both of us well.

This delay was not because we were incapable of making this decision on our own. We just wanted to make sure that all the important people in our lives were in agreement with us and supportive of our decision to take the next step in our relationship. We also wanted to make sure that nobody had any objections or concerns that they felt we needed to address.

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At our engagement ceremony

Several months later, The Barn Owl made a trip to Singapore and it was during this trip that he had a long chat with the Aged P about our plans for the future. The Barn Owl was very nervous about this trip for the following reasons:

1. Although I had gone through great lengths to prepare the Aged Ps and had some idea of what their expectations would be, The Barn Owl wasn’t completely sure that they would make things easy for him. (This was made worse by reason #2)

2. The pastor of our church at the time was an Englishman who had a Singaporean wife. He took great delight in regaling The Barn Owl with his own personal experience dealing with Singaporean Parents which involved being thrown out of the house and barred from seeing his beloved for several days due to some error of communication.

In the end, I think my dad just wanted to make sure that I had graduated from university first before getting married (the Barn Owl and I had several classmates who were already married). He also felt that it would be appropriate for both sets of parents to meet in advance of the engagement. The Barn Owl felt that these were all reasonable expectations. This was also when the Aged P gave the Barn Owl a very special book about love that he had been given on the occasion of his own engagement! Awwwwww….

We went engagement ring shopping together the very next day, and by the end of the week, the Aged Ps had made plans to visit the Outlaws in the UK over Christmas.

We also picked out a date for our engagement ceremony, which would be in summer the following year and held in the Outlaw’s home. This was going to be an important part of our engagement as we wanted both our families to understand that we would always involve them in our lives. It was also because we knew that our wedding would be held in Singapore (to accommodate my large extended family)  and we wanted the Outlaws to have the pleasure of hosting this special occasion.

Our engagement ceremony was a very quiet affair, just The Barn Owls parents and mine (and the Barn Owl’s big sister who was able to pop down for the weekend). We sang a few songs together and each of our moms read a verse from the Bible, then each of our dads said a prayer for our relationship. Then our families retired to the garden for tea and cakes, whilst The Barn Owl and I changed out of our fancy attire and went for a quiet walk.

The Barn Owl brought me to the most beautiful part of his little village, a wide grassy meadow next to a river, where he gave me the engagement ring that we had chosen. I also had an engagement present for him – a shiny new watch. I won’t tell you exactly what we said to each other but only that we sealed our promises with a kiss.

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Managed to capture the moment using our trusty remote controlled camera!

This post is part of the Proposal Stories blog train hosted by The Chill Mom. If you would like to read some more romantic stories, just click on the button below (or you can pop back on Friday – A Becky Lee will be sharing her story then!)

proposal story

The blog train continues tomorrow with the lovely Irene from AhSoh.com.

AhSoh.sg Profile PhotoOn the contrary to the image of your typical auntie, AhSoh very much into Consumer Technology as well as Photography. You won’t find hypocritical parenting and marriage advice here, coz AhSoh is real. She shoots her mind and she rants!

If you want a good laugh, here’s really where you should be. Take a glimpse of the proposal of between Singapore’s most unknown AhPek and AhSoh. Confirm + Guarantee! We promise there won’t be any crappy “would you buy HDB with me” kinda proposal, coz AhPek is too practical for all that FLUFF!


1. This is because only families are eligible to purchase a new flat in one of the housing estates built by the Singapore government, and couples who apply for a flat together have three months to produce a marriage certificate once they receive the keys to the flat.

Crazy Tales from My Old Apartment: Bone in, Well Done

One evening, I was in my apartment watching TV when I heard some banging on the door.

I didn’t answer the first set of knocks.  It was pretty late, almost midnight, so knocks at the door were pretty unusual for the time.  However, the banging started up again, this time accompanied by tiny squeaks for help.

When I opened the door, I was greeted by a pair of extremely pale faces, which I did not fully recognise.  They were people from one of the apartments across the hall and they were panicking.

“She’s broken her arm!  We need to call the doctor!” shouted one of them, a young red-headed woman who was almost in a panic.

“Uh, sorry?” I asked.

The other girl with her was slightly more composed, “Our friend fell down the stairs.  She’s broken her arm and she has all our phones.  Could you call the ambulance for us?”

Further down the hall, I could hear a woman screaming incoherently and also a man shouting slightly more coherently.

“Oh s***, she’s bleeding all over!” shouted the coherent shouting, “Someone get me some towels!”

I knew that I should help, so I pulled out my mobile phone.  At the time, it didn’t really occur to me that anything was strange about the situation.  Except for the screaming, which was definitely strange.

“Sure,” I said, “Which apartment are you from?”

“xxxx” said the other girl.

“Right.”

I walked with the two girls over to their apartment.  Their friend, had indeed, fallen down the stairs and broken her arm.  What they didn’t tell me was that their friend was stark naked, shrieking and sitting on what looked to be a pile of broken landlines and mobile phones.  Also, they didn’t mention the extent of the damage to her arm, which had broken so badly that the bone was jutting out of her skin.  Blood was dripping down her arm.  It was a gory sight.

They also didn’t mention that she was also very violent.  When I walked over, she raised the broken arm over her head and flung a towel at the coherent shouter, splattering blood everywhere.

“ARRRRRRRRRARRRRRGGHGHG GO AWAY GO AWAY GO AWAAAAAY!” the naked woman shrieked, “GO AWAY!”

The coherent shouter was now a little more cowed, “Look, just cover up, okay?  You’re badly hurt.”

“GOAAAWWWWAAAAAAYYYYY!” shrieked the woman, her words now just one long ululation, “GOAWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

She bounced on her nest of telephones, which made her shriek in pain again.  I immediately backed away and called the ambulance, the gist of the conversation went something like this:

A Becky Lee:  Hello?  000?  I’m calling from <Address>

Dispatcher: Okay, what seems to be the problem.

A Becky Lee:  Erm, there’s a lady here with a broken arm.  The bone’s sticking out of the arm.  Also, she’s screaming and naked.

Dispatcher: Are you her friend?  Can you give her first aid?

A Becky Lee:  No, but her friends are here.  She’s pretty violent though.

Dispatcher:  Can you put one of them on the line?

At which point, I had no choice but to surrender my phone to one of the girls.  They talked to the dispatcher for a while, then handed the phone back to me.

The shrieking woman was still shrieking, but her heart didn’t seem to be in it anymore.  After some time, one of her male friends managed to drape the towel over her without her throwing it back at him.  I kept my distance.

I’d like to say that I made myself marginally useful while we waited for the ambulance, but I didn’t.  Mostly, I hung back far enough so that the shrieking naked lady couldn’t throw anything at me and generally didn’t get in the way.  Honestly, I didn’t know very much about first aid at the time and was pretty wary of approaching someone so hostile.

A while later, the ambulance men rang my phone.  They were outside, but couldn’t get past the security doors.  I headed downstairs and showed them through to the 12th floor.  They had brought a stretcher with them.  I don’t know what they did, but the next thing I knew, they’d managed to get the naked girl into the stretcher, covered her in a towel and were whisking her away.

Her friends thanked me and that was the last I ever saw of them.

Well, almost.

About a month later, I got to see them again, as they were being arrested for distributing drugs.

The moral of the story is always make sure that you are wearing clothes when they come to take you away.

Incidentally, if you ever run into any trouble in Australia, dialing 000 will get you the emergency number, which is shared between the ambulance, police and fire department.  Hilariously, if you do, in fact, dial 911 during an emergency situation, you’ll be put through to an automated voice message instructing you to hang up and dial 000.

 

Motherhood Hacks: The 3rd month

It’s the 3rd month and by this time, you are starting to want to get up and about more – maybe you just want to get back to some semblance of what your life without a baby was like, or maybe you are gearing up to go back to work at the end of the 4 months maternity leave.

The little one is very alert now, starting to move around a little bit more and is definitely finding their voice both literally and figuratively. Many babies will be going through growth spurts or wonder weeks, maybe even teething, so there will be plenty of fussy days and nights when baby needs more cuddling and more feeding.

Hang in there, RAWKmums! Here are some Motherhood Hacks that have helped me maintain my sanity in the 3rd month!

Motherhood Hack #1: Time to play

Babies in their 3rd month are definitely much more responsive. They smile. They coo. They can recognise familiar objects and faces with more certainty. They turn their heads towards sounds. They start looking up and around when they are on their tummies.

Talking and singing to them, playing with their hands and feet, showing them rattles and colourful dangly toys, even reading little books with them is so much fun because they interact with you so much more for really very little input on your end! They’ll even be happy just sitting next to you and watching you read a book!

Best of all, they still get tired pretty fast, so their total wake time is still between 1 – 1.5hours whilst their sleep time is slowly increasing in length. So, all you have to do is put in a little bit more effort during their wake time with a few rounds of ‘peekaboo’ to get them all nice and tired out, and they’ll sleep like logs.

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Three month old Thumper says: ‘I’m so much more fun now!’

Motherhood Hack #2: It’s time to start practising Mummytime

Right now, your baby will be amused by pretty much anything and can even play by happily for a few minutes at a time. If your baby is completely happy in a cot with the mobile or on his tummy in the playpen with a few soft toys, take this opportunity to say ‘bye-bye baby’ and then leave the room quietly for 3 minutes for some Mummytime.

This is actually much harder for you then it will be for baby, because you’ll probably find yourself hovering just out of sight for the first few days worrying that they’ll freak out or choke themselves to death on something. But trust me, before long you’ll be SO happy that you started doing this!

Here’s what you do:

  • Set the alarm clock in the room to beep after 3 minutes, then smile and wave bye-bye to your baby and leave the area to a place where they can’t see you.
  • Return if you hear your baby start to fuss or when the alarm clock goes off, whichever comes first.
  • When you return, make an ultimate fuss of your baby for playing by himself with plenty of cuddles!
  • You’ll find that if you slowly increase the time that your baby plays alone by just 3-5 minutes each week (depending on your baby’s tolerance – ideally you want the alarm clock to go off BEFORE he or she starts to fuss), very soon you’ll have a baby that can play 15-20 minutes on his own!

IMAGINE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES TO YOURSELF! WOOHOO! PARTYTIME!!!

Motherhood Hack #3: Rock your baby, get in shape

Okay, your 3 month old is getting heavy, but what with all the teething and growth spurts and wonder weeks, settling her down to sleep can be a little bit challenging. Your baby still loves to be rocked or bounced into a stupor but she probably is getting too big and wiggly for the yaolan and your back and shoulders are starting to feel the strain.

You can use this time of baby-rocking to get yourself back in shape using simple exercises, whilst reducing the strain on your back and putting your baby to sleep! Three for the price of one!

So here’s what you do – carry your baby so that you are standing with your back straight and shoulders down (but not hunched). Try to make your spine straight by sucking in your tummy and tilting your pelvis forward so that your bum is tucked in. Keep your feet a little more than shoulder width apart so that you are standing tall with feet firmly planted on the ground.

Make sure your baby’s weight is as evenly distributed across your body as possible by the doing one of the following:

  • If she prefers to be carried upright, put her head on your chest, then cross both arms with one arm under her bum and the other arm across her back. You can always switch arms after a few minutes.
  • If she prefers to be carried laying down, put her head in the crook of one elbow and put your other elbow between her legs, then cross your arms under her back.

Next, try these motions:

  • Instead of rocking your baby using your arms and back, do side lunges instead. Keep your arms still and make small side lunges with your legs instead. Keep your feet in place and your back straight, then bend your knees one at a time, sliding your body from side to side. Your knee should go just directly above the toe so that your weight rests mostly on one foot. This works best when you are trying to keep the motion as even as possible.
  • Instead of bouncing your baby using your arms and shoulders, do demi-pliés (feet turned slight out) or squats (feet in parallel) instead. Bend both your knees, making sure that your knees do not go beyond your toes and your feet are firmly planted on the floor. If you want to be fancy, you can tiptoe (relevé) as well at the end of each demi-plié. If you want to work different muscles, put your feet and knees together to do sitting squats.
  • Instead of walking your baby, march in place, lifting your knees up higher than normal.

Contemporary Art for Kids – Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea

Over the weekend, the kids and I were invited to attend the opening of the Singapore Art Museum’s annual contemporary art exhibition for children, Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea. This is the sixth edition of the children’s season over at SAM at 8Q, and we always look forward to the many beautiful, thought-provoking and inventive art installations on display each year.

During our exploration of Imaginarium, we were very privileged to have the opportunity to meet with the artists (you can see some of them in the picture below) and find out more about their creative process.

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The exhibition is very thoughtfully curated this time to provide a fully immersive experience. As we were moving from one level to the next, it actually felt as if we were deep sea divers swimming from the bottom of the ocean to the surface!

We started out in a room full of kooky and colourful sea creatures knitted out of yarn, floating over a crocheted seascape. This was definitely Thumper’s favourite room as he was free to crawl around and over all the soft sculptures and play with the hanging mobile fish and octopi.

The installation, entitled Dimana Mogus? or Where is Mogus? is created by the Indonesian artist Mulyana. Mogus, according to the description of the artwork, is an imaginary octopus who is exploring the underwater dreamscape with his friends. When I asked Mulyana which of the sea creatures present in the room was actually Mogus, he cheekily replied that ‘Mogus’ is represented by anyone playing inside the room and experiencing the different textures and colours. “Mogus is me, Mogus is you, Mogus is everybody in the room playing together,” Mulyana said quietly, with a soft smile.

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Dimana Mogus? by Mulyana, and ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski

J’s favourite piece was definitely ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski, who designed and built what she lovingly referred to as an ‘Art Making Machine’ inspired by bioluminescent deep sea creatures. Karina also told me that the phosphorescent flickering reminded her of the LEDs on electronic devices turning on and off in a darkened room which is how she sees ADA, a giant glowing helium balloon studded with charcoal spikes, bobbing about, leaving long black lines on the walls, floor and ceiling in her wake.

The children loved chasing ADA around the room – although it was sometimes hard to tell if ADA was actually the one chasing them – and at the end of it they emerged from ADA’s lair with charcoal smudged hands and faces like little chimneysweeps!

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Damien, I’m Famished (After Damien Hirst), Bryde’s Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp), and Surrealism Spiced (After Salvador Dali) by Krit Ngamson

The next room we visited had these cheeky kinetic sculptures by Kris Ngamson, a Thai artist who combines elements from iconic surrealist artworks into his work to demonstrate the juxtaposition between the rural and urban societies in Thailand.

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Plastic Ocean by Tan Zi Xi

Our favourite installation is definitely the Plastic Ocean by homegrown artist, Tan Zi Xi. This was an amazing maze of tunnels made entirely of over 14000 pieces of non-biodegrable waste products suspended in a room dimly lit from above. Zi Xi explained to me that this was a recreation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island made entirely out of nearly 300000 tons of plastic debris adrift in the Pacific Ocean, and it only took her a month to amass this quantity of items from her circle of friends and interns. Yikes!

Underneath the sea of plastic garbage are a few wooden blocks for undersea explorers to rest upon and contemplate the impact of all this trash upon marine life.

J and Little E were most impressed by this installation, as well as by the accompanying series of art prints that show our puny efforts to try to clean up the ocean.

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An Effort Most Futile by Tan Zi Yi

Afterwards, Little E remarked upon the importance of recycling plastic and reducing waste whilst J was appalled by how much light was blocked by just a few layers of plastic.

Suara Muara (The Sounds of the Estuary) by Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia was definitely a room that provoked a visceral reaction in me. The installation tells the story of Lasem, a tiny town that used to be an important port, where old secrets hide beneath the everyday surface.

I was both intrigued and repulsed by the completely immersive experience that the room provided, with each sculpture accompanied by gentle tinkling music and the quiet roar of the waves. Watching the cloth sea billowing and listening to the recorded sounds through the headphones made me feel as if there was a whole secret history that I was somehow missing.

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Suara Muara (The Sounds of the Estuary) by Papermoon Puppet Theatre

In one piece, an elderly man and a woman sit quietly in their house surrounded by old photographs, whilst behind them, a small man peers out at them from the inside of a porcelain vase. I asked one of the Papermoon artists who the creepy vase man was, and he replied, ‘Oh, that’s their neighbour.’

I had a cold shiver up my spine.

To round off our visit, we spent some time in the Submaroom, which features periscope stations and origami folding consoles as well as some beautiful paper origami sea creatures on display in shadow boxes.Submaroom-origami-Imaginarium

We weren’t able to visit every one of the installations in one morning, but we will definitely be back for another visit. We might try to see if we can take part in the artist-led workshops, storytelling sessions, or perhaps join Imaginarium Curator, Andrea Fam, on a special family night museum tour! See you there!

Mummy Tip: There are no covered walkways from the busstops, MRT stations or carparks surrounding SAM at 8Q, so bring your umbrella with you! We learned this the hard (and soaking wet) way.

Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea is open at SAM at 8Q (8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535) from 14 May 2016 – 28 August 2016. 

Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday 10am – 7pm, Fridays from 10am – 9pm. Admission is free for children under 6 as well as for Singaporean Citizens and PRs.

  • Family Night at the Museum with Andrea Fam: Wed, 1 June, 7-8pm
  • Edible Art Workshop with Janice Wong: Sat, 11 June, 2-4pm
  • Storytelling with Rosemarie Somaiah: Fri and Sat, 17-18 June, 11-11:45am
  • Knots Workshop for Junior Explorers: Sat 23 July 1-3pm
  • Illustration Workshop with Zi Xi: Sat 30 July from 2-3:30pm, Tues 9 August from 10.30am -12pm

Baby Essentials: Packing my Diaperbag (ft. Baby K’tan Smartgear Diaperbag)

Since Thumper started weaning, I’d been on the look out for a diaper bag that would fit all the extra barang-barang that I would need to carry around with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Skip Hop diaper bag that was part of the SG50 Jubilee Baby Gift. It was more than adequate, but it wasn’t as large as I would have liked it to be.

I mean, here is what was going into my SG50 diaper bag before I started weaning Thumper onto solid foods:

  • Nappies (4 cloth diapers max)
  • Baby wipes
  • Wet bag
  • A complete change of clothes for baby
  • Baby K’tan Sling
  • 2 x extra large muslin cloths
  • Toys for Thumper – usually a Cloth book and two small teethers
  • Stuff for J and Little E – mini colour pencil set, notebook, hand sanitiser, mosquito repellent, sunblock
  • My stuff – wallet, keys, pen, hairbrush, lipstick, tiny first aid kit and phone
  • Umbrella
  • Water bottle

Although I could fit all of those things neatly into the SG50 diaper bag, it only had a magnetic closure on the top, so I couldn’t shut the top of the bag. Not really great for security, and if my bag ever tipped over, everything just fell out. Plus, I needed the extra space so that I could fit in Thumper’s weaning paraphernalia which consists of:

  • Sippy cup
  • Food Thermos
  • Tupperware of snacks
  • Two flexible plastic spoons
  • Two bibs
  • Two face cloths
  • Extra wet bag

There was just no way I could fit the extra paraphernalia into the bag without taking out some of the other stuff that I was carrying about. I desperately needed to upgrade my diaper bag. This is why when Happy Coast Kids contacted me to ask if I would like to test-drive the new Baby K’tan Smartgear Diaperbag, it was like a dream come true!

When I first received the bag, I was completely smitten with the cute and modern Dandelion print. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it was a lot roomier than expected without being bulky. Not only could the bag manage to hold all the daily essentials as well as weaning apparatus, but there was also plenty of room to spare… AND it zips up securely on the top!

Baby-Ktan-Diaperbag

The Baby K’tan SmartGear Diaperbag in Dandelion print

I have been using this bag for nearly half a year now, and it is not only stylish and practical, but it has a couple of unique features that I find incredibly useful.

First of all, the Baby K’tan Smartgear Diaperbag has a built-in zippered wetbag that has an anti-bacterial, odor-resistant, leakproof, food-safe lining. It’s roomy enough to store all of Thumper’s weaning paraphernalia, along with some fresh fruit like apples and bananas for the big ones. I can also use it for storing wet umbrellas or sodden clothing without worrying about it messing up the rest of the baby stuff.

Secondly, it has a total of 12 compartments (including the built-in wet bag) which fits all my stuff whilst keeping it organised so that I can find everything at a glance – and two of those pockets are also lined with with same waterproof antimicrobial fabric as the wet bag. This means that I can store Thumper’s teething toys in there without worrying about them getting filthy. The inner lining of the rest of the bag is made from a BPA-Free, PVC-Free, polyurethane laminate which is waterproof, so it is not only easy to clean but is also baby-safe and I don’t have to worry about leaks.

Thirdly, the bag is lightweight and really comfortable. The exterior of the bag is made of 100% cotton and the carrying strap is soft and flexible, yet strong, so that it doesn’t dig into my shoulder. It is adjustable so that both I and The Barn Owl can wear them over-the-shoulder or cross-body depending on our preference. The straps also have a neat swivel hardware that clips on each end so that they don’t ever get twisted (a particular pet peeve of mine is carrying a bag with twisted straps). I also really appreciate the extra little clip-on straps that allow me to hang the bag from the handles of my stroller with ease.

Finally, the bag is machine washable and holds up well to multiple washes. Trust me, Thumper can be a very messy little baby when he tries, so I appreciate a bag that can be dumped into the washing machine at the end of the day!

baby-ktan-bag-smartbag

Out and about with the Baby K’tan Smartgear Diaperbag

As you can see from the picture above, I’ve been taking this diaper bag all over the place and it travels really well. The bag has been in attendance at picnics in the park, sandy playtimes on the beach and on long aeroplane flights. (By the way, if you’re wondering what I usually pack in my carry-on for flights, here’s my packing list)

I can see myself using this bag long after Thumper is out of diapers! It makes a great picnic bag and would also make a great swim bag or gym bag.

The Baby K’tan Smartgear Diaperbag is available in a variety of patterns at Happy Coast Kids and retails at SGD$99.80 inclusive of free delivery within Singapore – which I personally think is a real bargain!