100 Doraemon Secret Gadgets Expo: JB City Square – Now Till 4th Jan

I went to City Square last week to check out the 100 Doraemon Secret Gadgets Expo. I have been to the one in Hong Kong some time back, but I still enjoyed this expo in JB (actually, I enjoyed this one more than the one in HK! LOL!).

Located on level 1 of City Square mall (a favorite of Singaporeans), it is easily accessible via public transport into JB; very near the checkpoint. Or if you’d like to drive there, it’s a bit of a roundabout to get to the carpark but still fairly easy to find.

Tickets are at RM25 for adults and RM15 for kids. Really young children and senior citizens get to enter for free; do check at the ticketing counter. You can buy tickets when you get to the venue. The best part is, there is free re-entry on the same day. You get a stamp on your arm when you leave the exhibition so you can head for some food and come back again! :D

Beyond the exhibits, there is a gift shop, a whole area dedicated to Doraemon merchandise and even a cafe on level 5. Don’t miss the game booths too – they are really difficult but offer loads of fun!

Here’s a sneak peek…

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

Doraemon Secret Gadgets Doraemon Secret Gadgets

And guess what, I never knew Doraemon was originally yellow in color. I’d thought he was blue all along…

Doraemon Secret Gadgets Doraemon Secret Gadgets

The exhibition offers more than just photo opportunities with the many Doraemon figures on display. There’s also a gift shop and a lot of Doraemon merchandise waiting for you at the end.

Doraemon Secret Gadgets Doraemon Secret Gadgets

You’ll definitely enjoy visiting because there is something for everyone! There are photo opportunities at every corner, and kids and adults alike will be sure to find something they want to get a photo taken with…

Doraemon Secret Gadgets Doraemon Secret Gadgets

*My Fav Pic*

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

You can also approach the official photographers at these two booths to get a photo within these homes – RM 25 for 1 photo, RM 40 for 2 photos:

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

Doraemon Secret Gadgets 15

And for some Doraemon-themed food, head to the cafe:

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

Here’s what I purchased that day at the expo:

Doraemon Secret Gadgets

An eyemask and some postcards which totally made me smile! :D

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For more information:

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/DoraemonMY

City Sq: http://www.citysqjb.com/index.php/component/content/article?id=337

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Terminal 21 and Nana Square

[Day 2 in Bangkok - 'Live' report :D]

To get to Chatuchak, take the BTS to Mo Chit station, head out of exit 1 and literally, “follow the crowd” right to Chatuchak Market. ;)

*Keep an eye on your belongings! Police patrol the area but it does not necessarily stop all crime! If you need a map of Chatuchak (and some air-conditioning), head to the police post.

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We reached Chatuchak at about 12 noon. And the heat was amazing. I was just sweating buckets! It’s a miracle we didn’t get heatstroke. (Bring a handheld fan if you are coming by Chatuchak)

We were done shopping in about 4 hours’ time. Here are some pictures:

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I bought a pair of shades for 39 baht. A ridiculously low price! That’s not even 2 Singapore dollars!

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(Above) Big guy cooking a big pan of paella. He was throwing ingredients, such as long beans, into the pan as he was walking away from it. Inevitably, many of them fell to the ground. But it still attracted many tourists.

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Hand-painted shoes at 350 baht. I really like colorful stuff. The first pair caught my eye.

Bf bought many shirts on this shopping trip. I didn’t even buy any dresses and shoes!!! Shopping skills gone rusty. Lol.

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Then we were off to Terminal 21 next to Asok BTS station.

We had a steamboat dinner at MK Restaurant (level 4 of Terminal 21). The bill came up to 676 baht.

When we got tired from exploring the huge mall, we stopped at a dessert place specializing in matcha desserts for a Matcha Latte Float (110 baht) which was yummy! The vanilla ice cream is really good! 
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We then walked all the way to Phrom Phong station where a mall – Emporium – was supposed to be. Sadly, it was under renovation. :(

On the way back to our hotel, we made a detour to Nana Square and had pizza at The Pizza Company cos the place is packed. It’s open till midnight too.

Bbq chicken wings and Seafood Cocktail pizza cost us 528 baht. Both items were dripping in oil. The pizza had lots of butter, strangely. I like the chicken wings, don’t quite fancy the pizza.
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Time for bed… and MBK tomorrow? :D

Quick Guide To The Five Cat Cafes in Singapore (Cat Cafe Comparison Chart)

It was in January this year that I visited Singapore’s first cat cafe. Read my first cat cafe blogpost here. And now, we have FIVE cat cafes in Singapore! Quite hard to believe actually, with SG being so small. It’s amazing how, in a span of barely 9 months, cat cafes have popped up like bubble tea stores. So here’s a quick guide to the five:

singapore cat cafe

Best value for money: Definitely The Cat Cafe as they charge on a per entry basis. And you get a drink too. I think students will have a lot of fun camping here and studying for exams while surrounded by wonderful cat energy.

Cuddles Cat Cafe has 20 cats (more than any of the other cat cafes) but I am concerned about how the cafe is open daily. Don’t the cats need a break from adoring customers? And how about for grooming of the cats and general maintenance of the cafe??? The cafe is open from 11am to 11pm. There’s not much time for cleaning work, it seems. Hmm…

I think cat lovers are certainly spoiled for choice now. It’s good such pet cafes exist as many animal lovers may not have the time or space to keep these pets at home. I, for one, know that keeping a pet is a huge responsibility, kind of like caring for a baby, I guess. I’d happily pay pet cafe owners who take good care of the animals so I don’t have to.

Which of these cat cafes have you visited? Leave me a comment or drop me an email! :)

Raising Productivity: How a Small Change Made a Big Difference

Megazip Sentosa

Last month, I went for a Megazip ride after almost 5 years or so since my very first ride there. :D I still remember vividly the ex-boyfriend screaming and shivering, which got me so amused that I forgot about my fear of heights. LOL! This time round, I had no boyfriend in tow and it was a little scarier than I remembered.

You basically go from above the treetops, past the trees, fly over the beach, the waters, and finally ‘land’ on a little ‘island’ at the end. I guess it was also scarier this time because I had read about the accident on the Megazip in 2011, when an Australian tourist broke his back after his crash landing when the braking mechanism did not work. So, this time, when I was racing down Imbiah Hill faster than the other two people on the ziplines next to me, I panicked and wondered if the brakes had failed again. Thankfully, they are much safer now as the company has learnt from and moved on from that unfortunate incident.

The operations manager shared with us that previously, queues would snake from the ticketing counter at the top of the hill all the way down, as the ticket processing was slow and inefficient.

Megazip was using a manual system. It was tedious and time-consuming for staff to pre-assign the wristbands to the customers by tallying it with the sales receipt. Also, at closing time, staff had to count the wristbands! Previously, the staff would have to pay for the difference if they issued the wrong wristbands.

The old wristbands in this filing cabinet:

Megazip Singapore

SO many price options – easy to get confused with a manual system:

Megazip Singapore

And where service standards are concerned, what’s different now?

Registration was a breeze as wristbands get printed very quickly:

Megazip wristband

Now they don’t have to do the unnecessary paperwork, as wristbands are printed on demand, and with the time saved, this allows for more focus and time on customer’s safety and improves interaction by 50%. They can now also track visitorship and activities which the customer has signed up for with ease.

So with improved productivity levels, does the company up wages too?

The answer is YES! With an increase in productivity, more customers could be served and thus profits soon increased. In fact, there has been a 24% increase in pay for lower level staff. They also believe that all staff should have equal opportunity to progress up the career ladder, hence internal promotion is also highly encouraged. This concept is not something new. This follows the Progressive Wage Model that NTUC has been advocating for quite some time. With an improvement in productivity and skills upgrading, salary can then increase and career advancement can take place. It may sound complicated, but it’s relatively simple really. The video below will help you to understand it in less than 3 minutes!

Megazip Pricing:

If you are curious about how much the Megazip ride costs per person, it is S$39. You can find the other pricing options and packages here.

Directions to Megazip:

Find out how to get to Megazip here.

Disabled Theatre: Disabling Misconceptions, Enabling Dreams

Disabled Theatre

Earlier this month, I had the most interesting theatre experience ever. I went to watch ‘Disabled Theatre’, whose director is the renowned French choreographer, Jérôme Bel, at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA). It’s not everyday that you get to see professional actors with learning disabilities on stage. Plus, the way that Disabled Theatre is presented gives you surprises at every turn. Starting from the beginning…

11 seats are placed in an arc facing the audience, and the translator, Chris Weinheimer, explains that Jérôme Bel would like the 11 actors to stand before the audience for a minute, one by one. So each actor came on stage, and then left, one at a time, to stare at (or stand before) the audience in utter silence.

People started shifting in their seats, some cleared their throats, most just didn’t know what to make of it.

The actors just came on stage and stared at us, and us back at them. Some took close to a minute, while at least one came up to the front, did an abrupt about-turn and marched right off, providing some comic relief.

I can only hazard a guess at what Jérôme’s intention is. But I came to understand that these actors with learning disabilities are not that different from us. Are we able to look upon them as equals? If you have to avert your gaze, or stifle nervous laughter, or find yourself shifting in your seat, then you have something to think about.

Then came the round of introductions. One by one, they told us their name, age, and occupation (which was either actor or actress). After that, they each performed a dance solo and you can see the immediate transformation of each actor and the unbridled joy in each performance. I love the pieces imitating Michael Jackson and Psy (in Gangnam Style)! :D

And that got me thinking, there is so much potential in the Singapore arts scene, great musicians, actors and actresses, sculptures, and the list goes on. Yet, theatre and acting has never been a flourishing industry in Singapore. Recently, the hot topic on ASPIRE addressed issues about moving away from this “paper chase” mindset to one that focuses on skills and experience. Also, it is not the first time we hear about the emphasis on skills and experience. The Labour Movement in Singapore has also been pushing for Singaporeans to respect every job and worker regardless of their paper qualifications. Mr Seah Keng Tia, Chairperson of Young NTUC once said “The Singaporean society must be one that respects every worker and every job. We must strive to create a culture that supports the pursuit of happiness and balance, as success is more than economic growth and wealth alone.”

Not So Different From Us After All

One actor shared that he has a fear of asking questions because he doesn’t know what the answer might be. And I thought that’s not too bad. Many students, even in University, don’t speak up in class for fear of asking what could turn out to be a stupid question.

These actors are not that different from us. We have similar fears, similar aspirations (get famous and travel around the world) and we just learn things differently.

Standing Ovation

The audience was, simply put, blown away by the cast of Disabled Theatre. In 90 minutes, we were made to confront our perceptions of people with learning disabilities, marvel at their unique skills and talents, and come to the realization that we each have our own weakness and there is no need to think any differently about people with Down’s Syndrome – they are just like us.

I noticed, too, that some of the actors had a really good sense of humor, delighted in making the audience laugh, and in general, just loved to have fun. One lingering thought remains though…

With ages ranging from 21 to 43, the actors truly succeeded in making us wonder – “Are these selves presented on stage fictionalised or real?” (Germaine Cheng / The Straits Times 5 September 2014)

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It’s truly wonderful how people with learning disabilities can turn to theatre as an avenue to display their talents. I think parents of children with Down’s Syndrome would be comforted, after watching Disabled Theatre, in the knowledge that their children are not disabled, they are simply able in other ways.

I hope more opportunities open up in the arts scene in Singapore, especially for this community so that the next time we see someone with Down’s Syndrome, we’ll think ‘He/She has Down’s Syndrome. So what?’ and know that we are all the same – humans with our own fears and weaknesses.

What Makes Happy People Happy?

Some people I meet are just so happy all the time. And I can’t help wondering what’s the secret. Are they on drugs? Can we bottle ‘happiness’ and sell it? So I’ve asked a couple of them, discovered my own secrets to happiness, and in this blogpost, I’m HAPPY (hur hur) to share with you the 4 keys to happiness I’ve discovered. Let’s go…

#1: Have Many Things Which Make You Happy

If you have just 1 thing that makes you happy, you might not be happy very often. For instance, if ONLY becoming a millionaire will make you happy, then for the number of years you take to get to that level, you’ll be unhappy. And if you die without becoming a millionaire, you’ve just led a sad life.

Find joy in as many things as you can. Little kids who smile at me make me happy. Eating ice cream makes me happy. Eating soggy fries makes me super happy. Great books, wonderful conversations, good food, a yummy cup of bubble tea, a funny movie, comments from readers and fans who love what I do, clients who love me, travel, shopping, etc – all these things make me happy.

#2: Be Happy For No Reason

Most people don’t know this. But I was a teacher at an enrichment center before I started work at Adam Khoo’s company. And I taught the most adorable 4 to 6 year olds, who came in to class every single day just brimming with joy. And they can’t tell me why. I ask if it’s because they went to McDonald’s before class. The answer is no. They’re just happy to be in class, happy to be with their friends, and maybe, happy to see me too. :D

#3: Allow Yourself To Be Happy

Then, of course, I have met some people who are unhappy or just stuck in that middle zone (between feeling happy and feeling unhappy). Some don’t give themselves permission to be happy because of something that happened in the past, something someone (or a fortune teller) said to them, something they are still beating themselves up over, or because they just don’t think they deserve to be happy.

Truth is, all of us deserve to be happy. And in the search for the meaning of life, we are given clues into our life’s purpose. If something isn’t what you’re meant to be doing, you’ll likely not be very happy doing it. Take that as a clue to move on to something else, till you find one that makes your heart sing.

#4: Help Someone Out, Even When You Need Help Yourself

When you help someone, even if you don’t meet the person, you instantly feel good about yourself. And good things will start happening too, miraculously. Give to charity. Volunteer your time, even if you have no money to give. When you are feeling down and out, being able to help someone else will immediately help ‘elevate’ your position. You don’t feel powerless anymore. You feel empowered.

Give – every time you get an opportunity.

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Someone bought my $22 ‘Blogging For A Living’ book today and gave me $30. I didn’t have change for him – I said I can do a bank transfer to him later. He told me to donate the change to charity instead.

 House Of Joy

Later on, I spotted a booth at Vivocity selling these handicrafts made by the elderly at House of Joy in Mounbatten. And I just wanted to support them in some little way for providing these elders with meaningful activities in their centre.

So I bought $24 (multiplying the book change by 3) worth of gifts for my friends.

It made me happy knowing that I’m contributing to a meaningful cause. I believe it’ll make the book buyer happy that I not only gave away the money on his behalf, but tripled it! Also, I’m sure the elderly folks who pop by House of Joy daily will continue deriving joy from the workshops held at the centre. And I believe the people who receive these handicrafts as gifts will get a slice of the happiness pie too.

Make someone happy today. You cannot put a smile on someone’s face without putting one on yours too. :D Go be happy!

I Created My Own Perfume at Singapore Poly’s Scent Lab! Woohoo! :D

Boys and Girls, you can call me Professor Tan! :D

SP Scent Lab

Upon SP’s invitation, I made my way down to their Scent Lab today. Truth be told, I once took a module on cosmetics and perfumes in NUS, so I’m no stranger to top notes, base notes and all. But making my own perfume? It was definitely a first for me, and super exciting. :D

SP offers a Diploma in Perfumery & Cosmetic Science (DPCS) – the only full-time diploma course in Asia for people interested in perfumery! For more information, head to http://www.sp.edu.sg and search under ‘Courses’.

And back to the perfumes I created…

SP Scent Lab

I’m holding Grace No.1 in this picture above, named after Chanel No.5. LOL. There is a Grace No.2 as well – it comes with a hint of jasmine.

The perfumer and lecturer were both impressed with my formulations. I guess it is because of several factors:

1) I chose only the scents I liked. So cedarwood, for instance, did not make it into my formulation.

2) I wrote the ‘ingredients’ down on paper first and listed the quantity by the side, before trying to put it all together. Sniffing and mixing as you go does not help. Even if you get a fantastic scent, you’ll have no idea what went into it, and in what proportion too. :)

3) I used more of the Apple Base and the ‘CK One’ base (the CK One fragrance is one of my all-time favs)!

Did You Know?

  1. There are Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes. So do not hurry to buy a perfume at first sniff. Once the top note wears off, you may or may not like the middle and base notes. ;)
  2. The ‘Apple’ scent is synthetic. Unlike oranges, you cannot extract oils from the skin of apples.
  3. If you are experiencing nasal fatigue from smelling too many scents, you can take a sniff of coffee beans OR smell your own sleeve!
  4. Any scent with jasmine is likely to be expensive because you need 8,000 flowers to get 1gram of jasmine for your perfume.
  5. CK One is the first unisex fragrance ever created.
  6. There is a machine which can distill any perfume and figure out its composition. So you can re-create your favorite ‘branded’ perfumes in the lab. Hehe. ;)

If you’re a student about to enrol in this diploma course, good for you! *envious* You’ll definitely have a lot of fun! :D

Pay As Little As $3 To Learn A New Skill! I Chose Yenji Clay Craft :D

I was invited to attend one of the Xpress classes at selected community centres and I chose to attend the Yenji Clay Craft Xpress class at Tampines East CC. :) The classes cost only S$3 for senior citizens (aged 60 and above)! And the younger folks pay only $10 with an additional $1 off if you are a Passion Card member.

It was a 1 hour class, and I was very pleased with the result:

Yenji Clay Craft

Is that owl cute or what?! :D

I made the entire owl from scratch, and I must say it is really satisfying to see the end result! I noticed early on in the class that for this owl to look really cute, you have to pay more attention to the eyes. Doesn’t matter if the beak is a little crooked or that one wing is bigger than the other, and one foot more prominent than the other – it all makes the owl look more realistic.

Interestingly enough, before the class began, an elderly Indian lady took a seat next to me, and was shocked that I was attending the class. “Isn’t this class for senior citizens?!” she exclaimed.

An elderly gentleman corrected her and said seniors just pay a lower fee, that’s all. :P

I actually do think that young people should go for such classes. Simply because the duration is short (just 1 hour) and you know you must have something to show at the end of it. So you have no time to check your phone or your emails, and you just focus on the task at hand, and if you are lucky, you get into ‘the zone’, which is a wonderful, creative space to be in. :)

I get nervous if I am asked to draw or paint because admittedly, I don’t draw nor paint very well. Never had prior, proper training in those.

However, if I have to make something out of clay, I sure can. It’s easy to iron out any mistakes. And if I ruin one glob of clay, I just roll it all back together again and start from scratch. It’s not as easy with a painting. Haha!

Courses that might interest you: Pop Rock Guitar, Laughter Yoga, Paper Quilling, Flower Origami, Zumba Gold, Pilates, Inline Skating, Korean, etc

Find these courses at one.pa.gov.sg -> Search for Course Xpress. Sign up now! I might be your coursemate in one of these classes! ;)

Hello Kitty Run Singapore: Check Your Pre-Registration Status

Read my earlier post about the Hello Kitty Run – Singapore pricing, route and entitlements. I emailed the organizers to find out what happens after pre-registration. Their reply:

“If you signed up during the pre-registration period, an email with instructions for the official registration will be sent to you soon. Each participant will then be given a week to complete their registration. If registration is incomplete after a week from receiving the email, the slot will be automatically forfeited and given to the public for registration.

Further details of the race will be announced soon, so do keep a look out on our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hellokittyrunsg for more updates, thank you for understanding!”

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Remember to check your email, folks!

If you’d like to check the status of your pre-registration, head over here: https://www.digitalracesolutions.com.sg/cgi-bin/registration/hellokitty2014/closed.cgi

Hello Kitty Run Singapore 1 Nov 2014: Price, Route and Runner’s Entitlements

Hello Kitty Run Singapore

I heard about the Hello Kitty Run – Singapore this morning and just received the press release an hour ago. Needless to say, I have pre-registered! :D Pre-registration is free. Payment of S$65 can be made when you receive the formal invite to register, after the official event launch.

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“The world’s most famous feline character, Hello Kitty, will celebrate her 40th birthday on 1st November 2014 with an inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore. The only Hello Kitty birthday bash in Southeast Asia will flag off with a one-of-a-kind birthday cake and birthday song sung by 15,000 fans.

Hello Kitty Run Singapore will feature a five kilometre route covering iconic landmarks around the city. The run is open to participants of all ages and aims to gather Hello Kitty fans and non-Hello Kitty fans to join in a big day out to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 40th mega birthday bash.

Created 40 years ago by Sanrio, the legendary icon, Hello Kitty brings love, happiness and encourage the forging of friendships and sharing across the world. Since her first appearance in 1974, she has flourished into a global phenomenon that is well-liked by both young and old. The fan base is no less in Singapore, with the Hello Kitty craze beginning as early as 2000.

All participants are entitled to an exclusive runner’s t-shirt and a special edition commemorative Hello Kitty plush toy. Registration is now open via their website, www.hellokittyrun.com.sg and will close as soon as capacity is full.

In addition to the run, there will be a Hello Kitty Village and post-race fringe activities for participants to look forward to.”

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My (tongue-in-cheek) suggestion to the organizers: Have special Hello Kitty plushies for the Top 3 Runners. We don’t need any cash. Award us, say, a Swarovski crystal-encrusted plush and we will set a national record for running that day. Double confirm. :D

[Hello Kitty Run Logo - Picture Credit: Pink Apple Pte Ltd]

*UPDATE* In less than 24 hours, pre-registration has closed. That was REALLY fast! I hope I’ve snagged a spot! :D