Combat Zone: New Team-building Activity With Nerf Blasters

Combat Zone Singapore

As I don’t work in an office now, I don’t get the opportunity to participate in team-building or team-bonding (or call it whatever you will) activities. So it was a lot of fun joining my pals from a financial advisory firm in their post-branch-meeting game time at Combat Zone Singapore, located at the third floor of *SCAPE. There were 9 of us, but our facilitator gamely (pun fully intended) joined in so we had 5 players on each team.

It might seem odd that adults are engaging in play, with foam darts no less. But hasn’t it been said that “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”? And it’s true. ๐Ÿ™‚ Someone would ignore instructions and cross the ‘line’, someone would bravely step into the line of fire while everyone else hides behind boxes, someone would stock up on lots of ammunition before the game begins, and there will be a few who have to win at all costs.ย And you can tell everyone that head shots aren’t allowed, but you’ll still get foam darts grazing your cheek during battle. No harm done though, since getting hit by foam darts is painless. But you just might want to wear the goggles provided to protect your eyes, just in case.

And the best part is that if there’s a colleague you’ve always wanted to shoot (foam darts) at, well, now you can. ๐Ÿ˜€

The good thing about this business is that the set-up is relatively inexpensive. I’d think it’s pretty easy to set up shop just about anywhere in Singapore. You’ll just need the boxes (likely collapsible), nerf blasters and ammo, and netting or some other fence to keep the darts from flying out of the game area.

nerf war singapore

Combat Zone allows for up to 10 pax per game. We completed 2 ‘missions’. The first entailed shooting down the cans located on barrels behind the opposing team. *It was rather amusing to note how we were all hiding behind boxes and firing at the cans but since we weren’t aiming at the other players, there was no real need to hide in the first place ๐Ÿ˜€ The second mission involved shooting the foam darts at the players on the opposing team, and getting all of them out of the game for 20 seconds (once they got hit) so we could retrieve the vests on their side and win the game. Tough but we managed to accomplish it. My team won both times. ๐Ÿ˜€

The aftermath:

indoor team building singapore

Halfway through the game, I was already feeling hot and sweaty – it’s a good workout! It can get quite frustrating when the foam darts get ‘jammed’ within the blaster. I can deal with paper jams, but when my nerf blaster’s jammed during ‘battle’, URGH, it’s awful. I didn’t know how delicate these nerf guns are. And the foam darts need to be handled gently as well because the foam tears quite easily.

We got to play with only the Retaliator nerf blasters as the Mega guns came with only 3 foam darts each (which wouldn’t be of much use in our missions). And we didn’t see any available Rampage or Zeus blasters there.

*Right now, Combat Zone doesn’t allow customers to bring their own blasters. And kids have to be at least 12 years old in order to play here.

*To find out more about pricing and other matters, head to combatzone.sg.

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I’m surprised Combat Zone chose to set up shop in *SCAPE. I don’t know if there’s enough of a crowd there, especially during weekdays, for the business to be sustainable. I would think an on-demand sort of business model would bring in more money, like how some companies supply bouncy castles for birthday parties and other events. Combat Zone could provide the facilitators and equipment for off-site team-building activities. Also, I suspect these ‘missions’ would be popular in malls such as Tampines Mall, on a weekend.

But it’s great for small groups, such as with my pals from the financial advisory firm. After the gameplay with nerf blasters, the group can even head over to Manekineko for a good KTV session. So, hopefully, Combat Zone continuesย doing well and brings in even more awesome nerf blasters so the next time we play there, it’ll be even more fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

CNY Floral Arrangement at Bright Hill Evergreen Home

Bright Hill Evergreen Home

When a local florist contacted me regarding a sponsored Chinese New Year flower display, I asked that they donate it to the less privileged and spread the festive cheer. They then outdid themselves when they invited me to a floral arrangement workshop they organized at Bright Hill Evergreen Home which is within my neighborhood. Interestingly, I’ve gone past the home before, but didn’t know it’s a nursing home. I thought it was simply a foreign workers’ dormitory located just next to a Chinese temple. And even though I was (and still am) greatly hampered by my inability to speak dialects, I truly relished the opportunity of spending an afternoon with some elderly folks who like floral arrangements.

Channel NewsAsia did a documentary about nursing homes not too long ago, and television host Anita Kapoor spent two weeks living in a home. She described it as being as if you were “in a hospital for the rest of your life”. While Bright Hill Evergreen Home appears to be a well-run home, I’m sure it’s still tough as long as you aren’t staying with family and if you don’t get frequent visits from family members. I hope the flowers, and the company of the volunteers, brought the elderly folks some joy that day.

Here, I help hold up the spongy base that had been pre-soaked in water while one of the elderly residents puts a rubber band around the wrapping paper to hold it in place:Bright Hill Evergreen Home punggol

The company was also very generous in sponsoring fresh flowers and other leafy plants so the elderly could put together their very own floral arrangements:

Chinese New Year Floral Arrangement

Aren’t they simply gorgeous? ๐Ÿ™‚

floral arrangement class

Floral Arrangement workshop

While I did not spend two weeks in a nursing home, what little time I spent there had me decide that being old and living in a home other than my own is not much fun at all. So, whenever possible, I hope to spread more cheer to those who are without family… and perhaps I might be able to pick up some dialect after all. ๐Ÿ™‚Bright Hill Evergreen nursing home

Many thanks to Floral Garage Singapore for sharing the joy with the elderly at Bright Hill Evergreen Home and to Hearted Moments for the lovely pictures.

Spring-Cleaning? Donate Your Pre-loved Books to Dignity Mama

dignity mama

Credit: Dignity Mama

A former student of mine is doing volunteer work at Dignity Mama, a social enterprise which helps kids with special needs, and he reached out to me to help spread the word regarding the good work that Dignity Mama does. And since many households are doing their spring-cleaning ahead of the Lunar New Year, I believe it’s a great time to round up those books we have lying around at home collecting dust, and give them a new lease of life while helping the less privileged.

Your donated books will be sold at the Dignity Mama stalls manned by youths with special needs. My pal volunteers atย the outlet in Ng Teng Fong Hospital and this stall sells used books and muffins. So do pop by if you live or work near the hospital and send them some love in the form of your used books, donations, or purchases of their muffins. ๐Ÿ™‚ The outlet is located at Tower A of the NTFGH Clinics, at #02-10.

Opening Hours:

Mon to Fri 10am to 9pm

Sat 10am to 6pm

*They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

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Some background about how Dignity Mama started:

DIGNITY MAMA is a second-hand book store started inย 2010 inside Dignity Kitchen by Mr Koh Seng Choon, founder of Project Dignity Pte Ltd. It aims to equip challenged young people and their parents with entrepreneurial skills to run and manage a stall within the public domain.

Their mission is:

โ€œTo build and return dignity to the disadvantaged and disabled through vocation with passion.โ€

The first outlet was a pushcart at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. This was followed by a stall at National University Hospital. The third outlet is at Ng Teng Fong Hospital.

All donated books are sorted and priced reasonably for sale to generate income.

So, instead of throwing away your used books, why not donate them to Dignity Mama? ๐Ÿ™‚ And while you’re at it, you may even find some pre-loved books at low prices that you’ll want to bring home.

For more information, please visit http://www.dignitymama.sg.

 

Vegan Fast Food @ nomVnom & Christmas @ Botanic Gardens

nomvnom menu

A Malaysian pal was in town recently and I brought him to try vegan fast food at Clarke Quay. At Central, which is linked to the Clarke Quay MRT station, is nomVnom which serves up decent meals – I don’t even mind that they’re vegan, which is rare. Then we went to the Botanic Gardens where I (happily) got to clock my 10K steps, equally rare these days too. ๐Ÿ˜€

In the picture above, you see my favorite nomVnom “burger” which features the blue pea flower. My pal told me that this flower can be found right outside his home. So he wasn’t inclined towards eating it here. ๐Ÿ˜€ It happens to be my favorite item there as the burger “buns” are actually potato patties, like hashbrowns. YUMMY!

nomvnom clarke quay

nomvnom promotion

I love their truffle fries and avocado smoothie too. I don’t usually order avocado smoothies as they usually come laced with gula melaka and I think it tastes horrible. But here at nomVnom, they use banana, coconut, etc to add to the otherwise bland taste of avocados.

There’s a promotion at nomVnom right now in which you can purchase their vouchers ($10 each) and get one free when you buy nine. Our meal for 3 cost just over S$50.

As for the Botanic Gardens, I love how there are so many Christmas trees there right now. The trees are decorated unlike your usual Christmas trees, some using very interesting materials, such as this one with roses made from plastic bags:

Plastic Bag Rose

And here’s a novel way to upcycle your (bubble tea) plastic cups and straws ๐Ÿ˜›

Plastic Cup decorations

And since my pal is a yoga master, I brought him to the famous Botanic Gardens gazebo and had him do some yoga poses while I snapped pictures for him. ๐Ÿ˜€

We also found a “new” attraction at the Botanic Gardens: this guy with his canine buddies. I think I counted nine of them. I suspect he’s a dog walker, because I cannot fathom having this number of dogs at home. OMG. Pretty cool occupation too, if he’s indeed a professional dog walker, since he getsย paid to exercise. ๐Ÿ™‚

botanic gardens dog walker

If you’ve enjoyed your Christmas feasting, maybe today’s a good time to head out and burn off some of those calories! ๐Ÿ˜€

What Dementia Reveals About Us As Children

NTUC Health Silver Circle

Nurse He Li Jun (center) chatting with one of the clients at NTUC Health’s Silver Circle Senior Care Centre [Pictures courtesy of Hearted Moments Photography]

Dementia has memorably been portrayed in Channel 8 dramas by actors playing the pitiful-looking senior who repeatedly says “็ป™ๆˆ‘ไธ€็‚นๅƒ็š„ๅง” (“Give me something to eat”) even though he/she has already eaten, who goes missing after wandering out of the family home, or who views family members as unrecognizable strangers. But what is dementia, really? And if you are unable to care for your family member who has dementia, who can you “outsource” the care-giving to?

Dementia cases are on the rise in Singapore (by 2030, some 80,000 people aged 60 and above would suffer from it) and so, when I was offered the opportunity to ‘job shadow’ a nurse who works with elderly clients (some of whom have been diagnosed with dementia), I jumped at the opportunity to find out more about this illness which 1 in 10 of our elderly folks suffer from. Nurse He Li Jun shared more than just tips for caregivers, but also gave me an insight into her job and the importance of maintaining healthy parent-child relationships.

I was told that some people send their parents to these centres and when the nurses ask them about their parents’ likes, dislikes and hobbies, the children are clueless. Some might say “My mother is a housewife; she has no hobbies” and the nurses go on to discover that the elderly lady loves to sing and write, etc. And the children get a surprise when they discover their parent’s beautiful singing or stunning penmanship. What does this say about the state of our parent-child relationships these days? Would YOU be one of these clueless children? ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the way, if you think dementia is a “normal” part of ageing, think again. Nurse Li Jun emphatically pointed out to me that dementia is anything but normal – it is a brain-related illness, and it leads to memory loss, changes in personality and even a decline in intellectual ability. An early diagnosis can be very helpful in combating (but not curing, sadly) this illness.

Nurse Li Jun is one of many outstanding individuals who are employed by NTUC Health to care for the seniors at their various centres.ย NTUC Health runs 12 Silver Circle day and senior care centres in Singapore. I visited the centre in Jurong West which has just over 60 clients and was greeted by a sight I did not expect:

NTUC Health Silver Circle Jurong

The centre was very well-lit with ample sunlight coming in from the windows. The sofas and dining area chairs are in bright, cheery colors and there were makeshift ‘stalls’ with items the elderly would recall from their youth. On the walls are sensory boards with items like cooking utensils and various kinds of fabric. New clients often gravitate to these sensory boards with items that are familiar to them, and this helps them settle into the ‘new’ environment. Those who like caring for their grandchildren will also take to the dolls prepared for them – apparently cradling these dolls in their arms help calm them.

And if you’re wondering, nope I did not encounter anyone who came up to us with the plea of “็ป™ๆˆ‘ไธ€็‚นๅƒ็š„ๅง” but I did meet one gentleman who kept asking me “how many brothers and sisters you have at home?” – I would provide him my answer, he’d talk about something else, and then he’d ask me the same question again. Nurse Li Jun told me that he is known for having a bad temper (which I did not get to experience, thankfully), likes to sit on the same sofa everyday and not participate in group activities, likes to tell her that he wants to marry her (and yes, I witnessed that happen), and that he might sometimes watch people walk past him and critique their appearance (oh dear).

Throughout it all, the nurse was full of good cheer, very patient and it was clear to me that keeping their clients happy and healthy is of utmost importance to the staff at Silver Circle. Watching the supposedly-fiery gentleman looking almost bashful as Nurse told him “I treat you to lunch, ok?”, I realized that it is possible to provide good care to people who suffer from dementia. You just need lots of patience, a good sense of humor, and the ability to cajole, comfort and convince them you have their best interests at heart. One elderly lady was invited to help out in the pantry to towel-dry some already very clean and dry cutlery because she will say she wants to go home if she’s not occupied with a task. Of course, when they return home, they may have forgotten what went on during the day, and tell their family members that the centre provided neither food nor activities for them. ๐Ÿ˜€ (This is why the centre has to sometimes take photographs to show ‘proof’ that their clients are fed, engaged and generally well cared for)

During my half-day at the centre, I watched some seniors play mahjong, singย ๆœˆไบฎไปฃ่กจๆˆ‘็š„ๅฟƒ (a Teresa Teng classic), and participate in various activities. Some of them are suspected to have dementia, but the condition is not formally diagnosed.

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Nurse Li Jun shared with me 5 tips for people with elderly folks at home who have either been diagnosed with dementia or who are suspected to be showing early signs of dementia…

Silver Circle

  1. Get an early diagnosis. Treatment can help slow down the progress of dementia.
  2. Validate feelings, not facts.ย Even if the patient is saying something which doesn’t make sense, it’s ok as long as he/she is happy.
  3. Be patient and spend time with your parents. Get to know their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, etc.
  4. Keep your home safe for the elderly.ย For those who like to cook, it can be dangerous if they leave the cooking unattended.
  5. Caregivers need rest too. In a week, schedule 2 to 3 days for breaks. Even a half-day respite would be most beneficial. Thus, Silver Circle centres provide ‘respite care’ for seniors who come in two to three times a week; during this time, their caregivers can take a break.

Silver Circle Jurong

In the picture above, you see the elderly folks participating in a group song / exercise activity. Many of these seniors are wheelchair-bound, and they reach the centre via a van which can take up to 6 wheelchairs at a time. Starting from 7.15am, the van ferries batch after batch of these elderly clients to the centre and work begins for Nurse Li Jun and her colleagues. There are about 16 staff at this centre and only 2 of them are foreigners. Nurse Li Jun herself hails from Hubei, China, and she has been working and living in Singapore for 18 years. I was particularly impressed by how proficient she is at reading and conversing in English. English language proficiency is definitely a prerequisite for her job as she has to do an assessment for each client, and the assessment can be 30 to 40 pages long. It’ll cover the client’s medical history, “life story”, etc in detail.

Silver Circle Day Care

Patients with dementia might have trouble with various aspects of daily living. Here, the nurse helps him button his shirt correctly.

Nurse Li Jun used to work at NUH (she spent 8 years there) and her current job at Silver Circle can involve anything from assisted feeding, diaper changing, to dressing of wounds. And even though each client has a nametag with his/her name, picture and other details, the nurses know them all by name, and regularly communicate among themselves regarding which clients to particularly look out for each day.

For instance, there is a client with dementia who is prone to hoarding. He would frequently attempt to bring items from the centre home. Nurses have found him taking toilet paper as well as food home in the bag he brings with him to the centre. And when he arrives at the centre, he’ll look for newspaper. I asked if it’d be a good idea to simply prepare a copy for him. But the nurse told me that it’s better that he walks around looking for newspaper and in the process, communicate with the staff.

All in all, I think Silver Circle staff are very creative in the way they engage their elderly clients (with or without dementia) and appear to be a special breed of people who have superhuman patience. Looking after 1 person with dementia is tough enough. But they care for over 60 seniors in one centre. Thankfully, they also have a passionate group of volunteers who help in the day-to-day operations.

To support the efforts of the staff, their employer also has to be understanding towards their needs. For instance, Nurse Li Jun shared with me that working at NTUC Health has been a joy and a relief for her as she was allowed to work part-time, half-day or 4-day weeks when she has to take care of her two young children. These flexi-work arrangements are definitely helpful for those with kids, and even for those without kids but who simply require adequate breaks to rest and recharge.

~

Do you have friends who lament about how tired they constantly are now that they have kids? If you have children of your own, do you remember how taxing it is to care for them and how prone they are to asking certain questions incessantly? I think there are similarities when it comes to caring for children and caring for elders with dementia. And in both cases, you have to be extra patient while being very observant as their moods, and even their likes and dislikes can change from day to day. And above all, take some time out of your busy schedule to really get to know your parents as people. Because there is a possibility that one day, they may not remember you due to dementia, but you should be able to recall what their hobbies are, what life experiences they’ve shared with you, and when the nurse has to complete the 30 to 40 page assessment with your input, it should be a breeze and not a bother.

How Singaporeans React To Children Behaving Badly In Public

When kids behave badly in Singapore

At the polyclinic yesterday, I observed a mother with infant strapped in front, trying to pacify her other child who was creating quite a ruckus with his crying, whining, and incessant pleas to “go home”. The mother tried to explain to him that they were thereย simply to pick up some medicine and creams but the boy, who looked to be about 5 or 6 years old, just went on and on. The mother finally got him into a seat and she slumped down into the next one, utterly exhausted. After a bit, she looked as if she had spaced out but the boy was not done yet, constantly crying and pleading to go home. Interestingly enough, people around them displayed a variety of reactions…

#1 IGNORE

The majority of people within the clinic simply went about their own business. A teenage girl seated next to the mother even continued with her reading! How one reads a novel near a child who’s crying, I don’t know. But hats offย to her.

#2: STINK EYE

Stink eye

Other people were less kind. I watched as one middle-aged woman strode past the mother-and-child and gave them the ‘stink eye’. She seemed absolutely disgusted at the mother and out-of-control child. And she went off in a huff as if she couldn’t stand being in the same space with them anymore.

#3: WATCH & JUDGE

Judgemental guy

There’s a group which would just watch and wait to see what happens. Would the kid just shut up on his own? Would the mother lose her cool and scream at him? Would they eventually just up and leave before seeing the doctor? Others would silently judge the mother’s inability to control her child. Admittedly, I was wondering why the mother didn’t simply respond with a threat since patient explaining didn’t work. Do parents no longer keep canes at home to ensure obedience? Hmm.

#4: HELP & SMILE

Lady giving out candy

Something happened yesterday which took me by surprise: one smiling lady walked up to the mother and offered her some candy for the child. Interestingly enough, I noticed that the child stopped crying when the lady offered this sweet distraction. But once she was gone, he picked up the pace and continued where he had left off. Bummer. Seems like he was simply kicking up a fuss and wasn’t crying because he was hungry, genuinely in pain or truly distressed. Still, that lady’s kind gesture taught me this: we can choose to react in disgust, or respond with empathy.

All too often, we meet parents whose kids are behaving “badly” in public and we are quick to “blame” the parents for not being able to control their kids’ behavior. Unfortunately, sometimes children have meltdowns in public because of autism, for example. Read this post written by my pal. Whenever possible, we can reach out with a smile, some candy, or a few kind words. Ultimately, I believe no parent wishes to be embarrassed in public by their own offspring.

~

Read too: How Singaporeans Reject Credit Card Promoters

RUN 350: How I Ran A Half-Marathon With Barely Any Training

Run 350

Today’s RUN 350 was especially memorable for me. It’s my 9th race so far, and my first half-marathon. I’ve been rather busy lately and haven’t trained for the race, so I did what I knew how to do, i.e. read a book on running, scored some tips and used them today. *Of course, I do not advocate your trying the same thing because I was lucky it worked for me today, and I cannot guarantee what will happen if you attempt to do the same. ๐Ÿ˜›

Let me just share about how I’m feeling right now. I did take some precautions such as putting on plasters on my feet even before the race started BUT it’s still not 100% foolproof. For one, I still ended up with one blister in an awkward place; the 2nd toe on my left foot. Apparently the 2nd toe had been rubbing up against the big toe, and a blister formed on the side. How weird! Otherwise, I have no other blisters. The chafing, though, is horrible. My chest felt like it was on fire during the shower. I think my sports bra might have been a little too snug so it cut into my skin. Argh.

Interestingly, the race went very well for me and him. Yes, our legs are sore right now, but we sustained zero injury even though we had not trained for this half marathon. What I did was:

  1. Regular breaks. After the first 30 minutes of running, I stopped for a 5 minute (walking) break. Thereafter, I took 5-minute breaks after every 15 minutes of running. It REALLY helps!
  2. Instead of stopping at all the hydration points, I had my own (squeeze) water bottle with me so I could take sips as and when I felt a little tired or thirsty. I’d filled the bottle with 100plus ๐Ÿ˜€ The area around each hydration point is very wet and littered with paper cups so it’s best to avoid it if you have your own bottle with you. You won’t want to slip and hurt yourself.
  3. We did stretching exercises before, during and after the race.
  4. We went for a massage after the race. It definitely helped.
  5. Mindset: I was there not to win the race, but to complete the race. So even when people were running past me while I was on my scheduled 5-minute walking break, I honored that break and did not feel the need to compete. We made it to the finish line hand-in-hand and yes, 2hr 45min is not a timing to shout about, but hey, we did it without sprains, pulled muscles or worse, any injury that required an ambulance ride. ๐Ÿ˜€

There were some interesting sights during the race. For one, there were THREE people who donned shark costumes for the run. The first guy I met was perspiring profusely. I didn’t get to see the other two. Or maybe I’d mistaken them for the first one I saw. Running a half marathon is very difficult in itself. But running one while wearing a costume that covers most parts of your body except for your face and feet must feel like torture. But those guys did it to send a message loud and clear: stop consuming sharks fin.

I also spotted other runners in Captain America and Spiderman outfits. But what was really mindboggling was one female runner’s tee with an image of a hand showing the middle finger. It IS kind of offensive when she’s running just in front of you. But… what to do?

Towards the end of my race, one male runner took off his shoes, and told the race marshal that he did so because of blisters. Ahhh… thankfully I’d already put plasters on the back of my heels and on the sides of my feet where blisters tend to form.

Running Medals

If you haven’t already attempted a half marathon, I’d highly recommend that you try one, assuming you’re in good health and have been exercising regularly. It’s truly a test of willpower and discipline. And yes, please train before you go for one, ok? ๐Ÿ™‚

Rats Did Not Just Appear In Punggol

Rat

[ Image source:ย http://www.funny-animalpictures.com/ ]

If you haven’t already read, rat activity has been detected at Waterway Point at a “food shop” and in the false ceilings within the mall. A diner had been waiting for her food at The Coffee Houseย at Waterway Pointย when a rat fell from the ceiling. Are you shocked that there are rats in Punggol? I’m not. In fact I watched a rat dash across a field on my way home today.

Me: “There’s a rat!”

E: “Are you sure? Look for the tail.”

Me: “Yes, it’s a rat. There’s that long tail. Where’s it going though?”

*rat scampers into drain by the side of a road*

There have been rats in Punggol for the longest time ever. It’s not uncommon to see them hanging out in my neighborhood, sometimes near the lift lobbies too.

A friend of mine who owns a stall in a coffeeshop somewhere in Singapore said that many coffeeshops have rats. And that is why stall ownersย keep their canned food and canned drinks upside down. Why? So that rats can walk across them at night. But you can still flip the drink right side up, and drink from them or open the lid of the can. Items like eggs also have to be wrapped and stored in the fridge because rats will eat them if they are left out in the open!

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Rats (Especially Those In Singapore)

  • Last year, NEA received over 6,700 complaints about rats (Source: ST)
  • The NEA also found over 10,000 rat burrows across the island (Source: AsiaOne)
  • Rats can potentially cause fires if they chew through electrical cables (Source: Rentokill)
  • The gestation period for rats is about 3 weeks and they give birth to many young rats per litter. So rats can have up to 60 “babies” a year! In short, it’s VERY difficult to rid Singapore of rats.
  • Rats are a “delicious delicacy” in some countries! In India, Cameroon, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, etc, people eat rats even when there are other meats available because they like the taste of rats (Source: BBC)

Well, if we run out of food one day due to war or famine, we can always look for our friendly neighborhood rats. ๐Ÿ˜‰

RUN 350: Free Snacks, Free Insurance And Free Foot Scan :D

RUN 350 Race Pack Collection

RUN 350’s race pack collection has to be one of the best I’ve encountered so far. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I popped by on Friday, there was no queue at all as the staff were really very efficient in processing all documents and handing out the race packs. And the fringe activities can be summed up as being every freebie-loving Singaporean’s dream come true. Haha! ๐Ÿ˜€

I guess everyone wanted to win the fitness tracker (worth S$198), but only 2 were given out each day and they were all fully redeemed by the time I got onto the bike. You can choose to pedal using your feet (left) or hands (right) and generate enough electricity to make the bulbs light up and the wheel spin. Such fun! We should have bicycles at home which we can cycle to power up our TVs, washing machines, fans, etc! Wouldn’t that be absolutely brilliant?

RUN 350 games

After some (quick) pedaling, we won granola bars, cashew nuts and coconut water *yay*

RUN 350 freebies

And we also received 1-month free personal accident insurance *no cycling required*

RUN 350 free insurance

I’m not sure why the NTUC agents were wearing shirts which stated ‘READY FOR BATTLE’ on the back, but erm… I’m happy there’s free 1-month insurance to cover any accidents during the race period! ๐Ÿ˜€

And there was a long and slow-moving queue for the free foot scan. I didn’t queue for this because it seemed like it’d take forever.

Nice Nike shoes and socks though:

RUN 350 Free Foot Scan

At another booth, I got to know more about my carbon footprint, and what contributes to the total score (things like travel, meat consumption, transport mode, etc), and that my carbon footprint is below Singapore’s national average BUT way above the world’s average. Like, how can that be possible? I don’t even have air-conditioning at home! And no car! And I’ve been cutting down on plastic bag usage! Conclusion: I need to do more.

My Carbon Footprint

Participants were also invited to make a pledge… Mine’s about using fewer plastic bags. One way I do this is by avoiding double-bagging. And when I buy fruits at NTUC Fairprice, I just place the fruit (those with skin I don’t eat, e.g. avocados) directly into the shopping basket instead of putting them into a transparent plastic bag first. And whenever possible, I bring my own recyclable bags, and save 10 cents in the process. ๐Ÿ˜€

350 Singapore

RUN 350 must be Singapore’s most eco-friendly race – we are even encouraged to recycle our medals. It’s something that, admittedly, I’m having trouble doing, because I really worked very hard in order to get every single medal I now own. Maybe, just maybe, when I stop running one day, I’ll send all my medals for recycling. For now, it’s part of my small medal collection. If you have a lot of medals at home and they’re not adding joy to your life and are simply collecting dust, why not consider bringing them down to Marina Square today and giving them a new lease of life via recycling? ๐Ÿ™‚

RUN 350 Recycle Medals

And oh! RUN 350 participants can also claim NTUC Fairprice vouchers if their utility usage is below the national average! ๐Ÿ˜€ My household utility bills are paid by my folks at home so I don’t think I qualify for this.

And frankly, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the race route. Who knew that a half marathon would involve such a LONG distance. *sweat* Oh dear… have to go train now! ๐Ÿ˜€

RUN 350 Route Map

Inflatable Underwater World Display @ West Coast Plaza

Balloon Mermaid

Is it purely a coincidence or what? There was the Fairytale Garden Balloon Exhibition at Marina Square and also the Inflatable Underwater World Display at West Coast Plaza last weekend! A case of ‘great minds think alike’? Anyway, both balloon exhibitions ended yesterday. I guess balloons get deflated pretty quickly, and it’s too much of a hassle getting the public to keep their hands off the fragile balloons. ๐Ÿ˜€ I think kids these days are really wayyyy more fortunate than kids in my time. There are all these wonderful exhibitions to enjoy, and best of all, parents can just use their handphones to snap pictures and record videos of these beautiful moments.

I found Nemo:

Balloon Nemo

He looks like a cross between a clownfish and a flowerhorn cichlid (or luohan fish) with that protruding forehead. ๐Ÿ˜€ And I thought I saw some teenage mutant ninja turtles too:

Underwater World Balloon Exhibition

Underwater World

West Coast Plaza

Would You Encourage Your Child’s Dreams To Be A Balloon Artist / Sculptor ?ย 

Both parents and children alike LOVED the balloon sculptures at Marina Square and at West Coast Plaza. In fact, I even spotted Celebrity DJ Jamie Yeo and her daughter at Marina Square yesterday, taking part in the balloon sculpting workshop. (Jamie was sitting in the audience instead of emceeing, for once) ๐Ÿ˜€ And I wondered…

If those kids demonstrate a passion for balloon sculpting, and aspire to be balloon artists, would their parents support them or shut down their dreams?

After all, it IS a legitimate career choice, and best of all, it brings joy to people – both the young and the young-at-heart. I guess the main factor that would make parents frown on their kid’s career choice would be the $$$ factor. There’s possibly not much money to be made unless you are an award-winning balloon sculptor who gets commissioned to put together these large-scale exhibitions. Even then, it will not be a solo effort. Many artists have to work side-by-side. It would be too taxing for just one individual to accomplish.

Of course, I think there are those who make a living by performing at kids’ birthday parties and other events. But competition is fierce in that space too. Go search for ‘balloon artist Singapore’ on Google and you’ll find quite a number of ads (I counted 7 of them).

ย If you’re a parent, my question to you is: Will you encourage your child’s dreams to be a balloon sculptor? Assuming nothing delights your kid more than crafting balloon sculptures that bring joy to people and which enliven and beautify any space? ๐Ÿ˜€