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Showing posts from February, 2014

When Plants Get Hungry

A review of the Feed Me! series of workshops at Gardens by the Bay. This is a bite-sized version of the review that was written for Little Day Out, a Singapore-based website that provides information and updates on the best of Singapore for families with young children. The amazing Venus flytrap! “Venus flytrap!” shouted the children. “Venus flytrap!” echoed our little son Z. It was a lovely Saturday morning and our little group of about 30 children and parents were huddled in a comfortable room engaged in a busy craft activity. Using the recycled materials provided, the children had created their version of the Venus flytrap, one of the three carnivorous plants we learned about that day. Children were then led in a simple game where they had to use their newly-created “insect-eaters” to trap their partner’s “flies”. And everyone was happy. The group of us had been specially invited to preview one of four children’s workshops taking place during the March holidays at G

Korea 2013: Gyeongju Chapter 3

Anapji Pond We were very excited when we got up the next morning. For that day we had planned to visit a number of traditional Korean landmarks. First up, the Anapji Pond. The Korean Tourism Board had a very interesting write-up on the place, and we were drawn to visit it: According to the historical records of ‘Samguk-sagi,’ Anapji Pond was built during the 14th year of King Munmu (in power 661-681 AD) of the Silla Kingdom (57 BC-935 AD). Small mountains were created inside the palace walls, beautiful flowers were planted, and rare animals were brought in to create an exquisitely exotic garden fit for royalty. The pond was originally built in Wolseung Fortress (erected in 101 AD during the Silla period), but the fortress was destroyed and now lies in ruins. In 1974, an excavation project revealed large spherical shapes (measuring 200 meters in diameter and 180 meters in height) which indicated that 3 islands had been located in the pond. Thanks to these important findings and

Parenting in the Mundane (Daddy's Version)

The two of us enjoying a rare moment without the kids. Valentines' Day has again come and gone. How did Sue and I spend the day? Well, we had a short window of time for ourselves in the late afternoon as the boys were at my mum's. So we headed to Holland Village to get some banking done, before getting a quick bite at a fastfood restaurant and buying a new iron and DVD player. We then spent dinner with my mum before heading home to send the boys to bed. The most "romantic" part of the day was then spent watching a historical Korean drama with our newly-installed DVD player, enjoyed with a glass of soothing iced  ocha . Indeed, as I posted in my Facebook update, there are more important celebrations to observe, such as our birthdays and of course our wedding anniversary. I then mused whether the mundane nature of the evening was a sign of being "old"; or perhaps it was just because we are comfortable just the way we are. I recall the time when

Korea 2013 - Gyeongju Chapter 2

Gyeongju Teddy Bear Museum With the weather getting colder by the day, we decided to head indoors to escape from the elements. One of our indoor choices was the Gyeongju Teddy Bear Museum. Located along Bomum Lake, near the site of our pension, it was an easy choice; especially since our 1-year-old has a certain fondness of soft toys and all things cuddly. So early the next morning (after a simple breakfast at the pension) we hitched a ride from  our kindly pension hostess Mrs Park, and  headed off to the museum.  The museum visit was an enjoyable experience, and as expected, we got to view many exhibits of teddy bears (which we learnt were named after the American President Theodore Roosevelt). What we did not expect to see, were many dinosaur figures. The museum had apparently spun a tall tale of a family of Korean scientist teddy bears, who were sent back to the era of the dinosaurs. There they rescued Back to the Future  heroes Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown. before trave

Annyeong - the Universal Language of Hello

This is the first article in a series, “It's the Little Things”, written for and contributed to Little Day Out, a Singapore-based website that provides information and updates on the best of Singapore for families with young children.  The Korean social culture can be rather informal at times, This is a scene from the foot of the Jeongbang Waterfalls in Jeju, where you can enjoy seafood freshly caught and served raw with a glass of soju. It's all in the name of camaraderie and fun. "Annyeong!" Our little boy raced out of the lift, with a bright smile on his face. He waved his hands in delight at the middle-aged couple waiting at the lift lobby, and greeted them enthusiastically.  The young boy expected a warm response in a similar manner to what he had experienced during his recent Korea trip. He instead received an icy glare, almost as if the couple was perturbed by his behaviour. During our recent 3-week trip to Korea, both our boys had bee

Korea 2013 - Gyeongju Chapter 1

Of Train Rides & Bouncy Beds The original plan was to head north from Busan, up to a delightful holiday resort in Chongju, where Sue's aunt had booked one week for us to enjoy. However, as the days went by, we began to receive reports of temperatures falling below zero in Chongju and Seoul, which was our planned alternative destination. While I was comfortable driving in Jeju, I was not prepared to drive on the Korean mainland under conditions of snow and slippery roads. We therefore made a series of last minute changes to our itinerary, and landed up instead in the traditional city of Gyeongju. We were at first hesitant about travelling on the Korean train, This was especially after our previous trip to Taiwan, where we almost missed our train a couple of times as we had to carry our numerous suitcases from one train to another. And all this in addition to getting two restless boys to sit patiently on the train.  The KTX, Korea's high-speed rail system, was a