Indoor Playground at Waterway Point, Punggol: Exact Location, Opening Hours and Pictures! :D

Waterway Point Kids Playground

Waterway Point at Punggol is indeed HUGE. When I visited on opening day, in the afternoon, I did not even notice there’s an indoor playground for kids (and some say adults too). I found it when I visited Waterway Point again in the evening. The playground has an Alice in Wonderland theme, hence the playground is called ‘Wonderland’. :) Do check out my earlier post about Waterway Point and my 6 reasons why you should visit even if you don’t stay around the area. In this post, I’ll share with you the location of this awesome indoor playground that is FREE for all kids, and its opening hours, and the kind of pictures you can expect to take here. :) If you’re ready… let’s go…

Waterway Point Indoor Playground Rules

To find this playground, head to level 2 of the West Wing. It is just in front of the store ToysLand at #02-27. The FoodCourt called Cookhouse by Koufu is nearby too, at #02-20. On the same level, you’ll find kid-related stores like Cotton On Kids (#02-09). The toilet nearby is also kid- and family- friendly. For those who drive, the nearest lobby is Lobby B.

The playground is open from 10.30am to 10pm but we did visit today after 10pm, and it was still open! :) There were no other kids, so it was great for photo-taking! :D Footwear has to be removed first. *I’m pleased to share that there are no unpleasant odours – I’d expected a new mall to have the smell of paint, or thinner, or whatnot, but there weren’t any. So feel free to bring your kiddo!

Because there wasn’t anyone else, I felt this must be the best free indoor playground in Singapore! Haha! I believe toddlers and kids up to the age of, say, 9 or so should love playing here.

This one sure had fun. My neighbour’s lil prince (not princess ok!) –

Waterway Point playground butterfly

The ground here is kid-safe, made from that foamy material we now find at most outdoor playgrounds (in place of sand. Haiz. Old playgrounds are the best). The play structures here are also made from some sturdy yet not entirely hard material so even if your kid takes a tumble, he/she is rather unlikely to get hurt. If I had to describe the texture, I’d say “hard sponge”. Hahaha! #oxymoron

“Should I drink it or not… hmm…”

Waterway Point playground cup

Of course, the relatively safe-looking play area doesn’t mean you should take your eyes off your children. There are a lot of seating areas available (check out those comfortable and colorful seats!) for parents and helpers to get a breather while still watching the kids.

Waterway Point Indoor Playground Wonderland

It’s lots of fun, I can assure you. I even sat on this mug of *erm* hot chocolate??

Waterway Point playground

There’s a little slide within the “tree” at the playground… and a tunnel which this kiddo absolutely adored. Check out his cute face:

Waterway Point playground tunnel

Waterway Point indoor playground

I even took a video, which I’ll not upload here. It shows the lil prince impressing us all with his climbing skills. We did not think he’d be able to climb up this gigantic ‘cheese’ but he amazed us all. And even had fun sliding back down, to our amusement. LOL.

Waterway Point playground cheese

Yes, you should definitely visit this playground with your children when you pop by Waterway Point. If you want great pictures without other people and children around, head there near or after retail closing hours. *wink*

Waterway Point playground location

Update: This is what the playground looked like on Tuesday 19 Jan at about 4pm…

Waterway Point crowded indoor playground

*Forgot to mention that I love how the ceiling panels look like clouds. So cute! :D

If you want to read more about what to do at Waterway Point, check out my blogpost here. :) I’d recommend you take your kiddos to Times bookstore as well. There are many instagrammable spots there for you to snap pictures. Plus, it’s always a good idea to encourage your children to read. :)

Waterway Point Times bookstore

Waterway Point bookstore

Where food is concerned, I’ve done reviews of BurgerUP and Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh <- Click on the links to read :)

My Little Pony Friendship Run 2016: Tickets, Timing, Entitlements

My Little Pony Run

Yup! It’s time for another Run! :D I totally enjoyed the Hello Kitty Run – in 2014 and 2015. And I’m gonna participate in this 2nd cutest (‘cos Hello Kitty is #1) Run too. :D Grab your tickets fast (early bird discounts end tomorrow) and have a blast at this My Little Pony Friendship Run next month! :D

My Little Pony: Friendship Run 2016

Date: Sunday, 28 February, 2016

Time: 8:00AM – 2:00PM

Venue: Sentosa Palawan Green

Come and celebrate the Magic of Friendship with your favourite My Little Ponies​ – Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity! There are three different race categories to choose from: The 1KM Pony Kids Run, where the young ones can take part with their parent(s); the solo 4KM Fun Run for the young-at-heart or the 6KM Besties Run for double the fun! Grab your best friend and sign up for the run now!

Tickets! :D

My Little Pony Run Race Categories

Timing! :D

My Little Pony Run Flag Off Timing

A series of fun-filled fringe activities and merchandise booths of collectibles awaits you at the Ponyville Marketplace. Uncover your element of harmony with the massive glitter throws, run through bubbles and huge rainbow balloons sculptures. You will also receive a MY LITTLE PONY: Friendship Run 2016 t-shirt, race bib, exclusive finisher medal, MY LITTLE PONY plush toy and drawstring bag, as well as free entry to Sentosa, as part of your run entitlements.

My Little Pony Run Entitlements

My Little Pony Run Medals

My Little Pony Run Drawstring Bag

Registration is now open so sign up early to enjoy the early bird promotions till 15 January 2016. Registration closes on 12 February 2016 or once all available run slots are sold out.

For ticket purchases and more information, please visit www.mylittleponyrun.com.sg and follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mylittleponyrun/ for more updates.

Volunteering At A Cambodian Orphanage With ASEAN’s Youth Leaders

How did you bid farewell to 2015 and celebrate the arrival of 2016? I was in Cambodia on a volunteer + study tour (and of course, I did some sight-seeing too), and it was a most meaningful start to the year. :) First, here’s a quick 3-minute video that my Cambodian pal, Sodh, uploaded to Youtube:

All of us became pals after attending the ASEAN4U programme in 2015, and thought that this particular trip to Cambodia (visiting an orphanage, and learning more about the history and culture of the country) would be an especially memorable one. We had 2 delegates from Thailand, 3 from Singapore, and the Cambodians were fabulous hosts.

Of course, some of us had certain concerns regarding ‘orphanage tourism’, whether donations were actually channeled to providing food and shelter to the children, the psychological impact on the children (as we were only transient visitors), and what exactly to bring with us to the orphanage. [ Hence this blogpost, should you have similar queries! :D ]

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Have you heard of the term “Orphanage Tourism” before? According to UNICEF, there are some 228 orphanages in Cambodia, and these attract approximately 2 million visitors every year. The number of orphanages has risen by about 75% in the past 5 years. A Cambodian NGO – Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE Cambodia) – estimates that only 3 out of 10 children in orphanages are actually orphans. The others had been attracted by the prospect of getting food and education.

You are welcome to do some research online before heading over to Cambodia. Because we went with the local Cambodians, we were confident that whatever help we could provide would go to those who needed it most.

Our Cambodian Bong (“brother”), KK, took us to this particular orphanage: Sacrifice Families And Orphans Development Association, or SFODA in short. The address is #631, Group 8, Phum Deumkor, Sangkat Chroy Changwa, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh (Tel: 012 842 495, Email: sfoda_ngo@yahoo.com) Bong KK does a lot of work helping youths so we were happy to go along with his recommendation, and we know that Bong and his group of friends would continue the good work even though us foreigners are transient visitors.

We didn’t know when we would return, so it was heartbreaking to hear the children say “Come back again soon” or “See you again”.

Sacrifice Families and Orphans Development Association

I was told that there are some 50+ orphans staying here. When we arrived, we realized that there were some toddlers and others who were in their late teens! Apparently, the older ones are allowed to stay if they are unable to find work outside the orphanage.

*I believe that each child is beautifully and wonderfully made so this label of “orphan” is unnecessary. Henceforth, I shall refer to them as “children” :)

Because we experienced a delay in getting to the orphanage in the morning, the children were all waiting for us when we arrived:

Cambodian Orphanage

Some of them told me they were feeling hungry, so before we commenced any activity, we gave them the snacks that we had brought. We’d also brought soya bean milk for them (for that protein boost), stationery (as the kids do go to school), toothbrushes, paper balls for the younger ones to play with, and netballs / basketballs / rugby balls for the older ones, and more! :)

Here’s what my photographer pal (Max Clyne) donated, and which I helped bring over to the orphange, all the way from Singapore.

Donations to Cambodian Orphanage

I didn’t know why toothbrushes are a good idea… till I saw the lollipops and put two and two together. LOL! :D There were also some pencils, erasers, sharpeners and crayons.

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We had 3 activities for them that day: an art session which I helped to lead, a language class led by the animated English teacher from Thailand (Tiffany), and fun + games with the SG “twins” Wylie and PS.

When our ‘students’ were told to draw what they’d like to have / see / do in this new year, some went straight to drawing and coloring…

Cambodian child

… while others wrote, in pretty good English, their hopes and dreams for this new year.

 Cambodian children

This particular kiddo was quite the star in the video you saw above and here he is doodling on another kid’s artwork:

Cambodian child drawing

And when we were leaving for our next destination, he even climbed (unassisted) into our van multiple times. Multiple times because he was carried out after each attempt. He’s so precious!!!

Cambodian kid

[ A final goodbye pic with Wow from Thailand. The lady in the purple pants is the Director of the Centre. ]

I got some pictures with the kids who so sweetly presented me with their artwork as gifts! I’ve brought these drawings back with me to Singapore :D

Cambodian child art

cambodian child drawing

* Kep is a province in southern Cambodia. It’s apparently known for its seafood. Now I want to visit Kep too! :D

Cute Cambodian boy

Another kiddo’s artwork – this child wants to visit Singapore:

Cambodian orphanage visit

Like many kids in Singapore, the Cambodian children want mobile phones (in particular, iPhones). Unlike Singaporean children though, they also want motorbikes! *I’ll share more about the roads and traffic in Cambodia in another post. Stay tuned.

The Director told us that they would appreciate donations of rice and other foodstuff, so if YOU are heading over to this orphanage, you can consider getting them some. :) I did also spot some chickens roaming the grounds. It may be a good idea to do some chicken farming and get a regular supply of eggs for the children to eat. Hmm.

~ More Pictures ~

Rugby ball toss with teacher Tiffany! :)

Cambodian orphanage visit

An adorable kiddo:

Cambodian orphanage visit

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

PS cradling a playful child as both enjoyed the lollipops from Singapore :D

Volunteering at a Cambodian Orphanage

Cute Cambodian kid

Lunchtime at the Centre:

Cambodian Orphanage lunch

Lunch for the children consisted of rice, some vegetables which were grown within the Centre, and a watered-down sauce which came to resemble soup. The children said they enjoyed these meals. To a foreigner, though, it may have seemed lacking in certain nutrients, e.g. protein. *Just an idea: if you’d like to visit, you may want to bring a tray of eggs with you too.

Cambodian Orphanage food

Yes, it is true that we may not have done anything ground-breaking or earth-shattering (ok, something like that did happen in the guesthouse but that’s another story for another time) in the orphanage, but I do think it was a fun-filled afternoon, and it was an opportunity to share with the children that people from other parts of the world do care for them too. Also some of us did make a few sacrifices in order to visit Cambodia. Wow, in particular, burnt the midnight oil for a few nights so he could clear some work assignments before heading to Cambodia, and on the return trip, he even took a 14-hour bus ride back to the Thai border!

I’m reminded of the story which involves a boy and a starfish…

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boy and starfish

– ‘The Boy and the Starfish’ story :) [Image from godvine.com]

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked, he could see a young boy in the distance, and as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man went even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.

The man asked the boy what he was doing and the boy replied, “I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen.”

“But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,

“I made a huge difference to that one!”

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While we may not have made a huge difference to the children’s lives in the grand scale of things, I do hope that we made a difference in their lives that day, by spending time with them, by teaching them some English and Thai, and by delighting them with presents and new stationery for the new year.

Volunteering at Cambodian Orphanage

My hope for these children is that their futures will be as brilliant as their smiles.

Cambodian kids

When I have children in future, I’ll want to bring them on these trips too. I’d want them to learn how to give with a cheerful heart, inculcate in them a desire to help those who are less privileged, and to know that leaving a country with photographs and beautiful memories is more satisfying than returning home with shopping bags and pretty souvenirs.

Till we meet again, Cambodia!~ :D

ASEAN youth leaders in Cambodia

Click on the links to read about:

  1. My Visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum a.k.a. S-21
  2. My Stay at a Singaporean-owned Guest House in Cambodia, and a study tour at Brown Coffee & Bakery
  3. My Top 5 Recommendations for Food in Cambodia, plus a few others for the adventurous palate.

Hello Kitty Run 2015: Much Better This Time Round!

Hello Kitty Run 2015

Alright, last year’s inaugural Hello Kitty Run hit a snag with the sudden downpour, and an issue with medal collection. (I’ll blog about the medals and plushies in another post) This year’s was so much better in comparison. There was no rain (though we’d already received a poncho each in the racepack), and we each received a cute medal after the run/jog/walk. The Hello Kitty Run 2015 reportedly attracted some 11,000 ‘runners’. I wouldn’t know the exact figure, of course. But there were so many people, both male and female! I think the boyfriends and husbands who were forced invited to join their sweethearts for this event really deserve a pat on the back! :)

And there were a lot of gentlemen this year! I was rather surprised!

Last year’s run was at Harbourfront / Sentosa. And I didn’t exactly arrive earlier than the stipulated time so I was probably in the 2nd or 3rd wave of runners to be flagged off. This year, I resolved to head to the Hello Kitty Run real EARLY so I could get to the front, spot Kitty and Daniel, and also get to start (and end) the run ahead of the throng of people behind who were more content to walk / sit / snap selfies.

Alas! The Floating Platform had been transformed into a gigantic carnival. There were many games booths (play for FREE, and win candy), photo opportunities (see pictures below), merchandise booths, and even one which gave out free Pokka drinks (in small cups) and a dried cranberry snack packet.

Hello Kitty Run 2015

Hello Kitty Run 2015

I’ve omitted the pictures of the games booths because too many faces can be identified. But there were hoop-throwing booths, kitty tic-tac-toe, claw machines to ‘pick up’ candy, and all sorts of other carnival games. It was such fun! We won so much candy. BUT we ended up not making the 1st wave of runners AGAIN! :(

The wait for the flagoff was pretty uncomfortable. We had to deal with the heat from the setting sun, the distance from the stage (which meant we did not see Kitty at all), and the emcee not being very helpful (he initiated a countdown for the light-up, but which everyone mistook for a countdown for the flagoff and people actually ran off and had to be told to come back).

Last year’s Kitty Run had many huge balloon sculptures for Kitty fans to get pictures at. They were sorely missed at this year’s edition.

I guess the organizers were banking on the scenic route to be sufficient. We ran past MBS Shoppes, the Fullerton Bay Hotel, the Helix Bridge, etc.

And if all else fails, just take a photo with MBS in the background. :D

Blogger Grace Tan

A big thank you to Pink Apple for the pair of complimentary passes! :D I like this year’s tee as much as last year’s, the plushie is adorable, and the medal is so cute!

Watch out for my next blogpost about these runners’ entitlements, which people have already begun to sell on Carousell. :P

SIA Training Centre’s Open House 2015 – An Unforgettable Experience :)

You might have read a news report that some 5,000 people attended SIA Training Centre’s Open House last Saturday. I was one of the 5,000 and I have to say that it was one Saturday afternoon well-spent! Mind you, it was not a media invite. I signed up online and paid S$5 for a “Cabin Crew Training Tour”. It was probably the best S$5 I’ve spent this year. :D And I’ll show you why…

On Saturday afternoon, I hopped onto a free shuttle bus from Tanah Merah MRT station and got to the SIA Training Centre which is usually not open to the public. It’s located at 720 Upper Changi Road East, Singapore 486852.

Went to register for my tour, which I’ve pre-booked and paid for online… and I was given one of these souvenir-worthy boarding passes:

SIA Training Centre Open House

I can’t bear to throw it away yet (>_<)

And before the actual tour started, REAL cabin crew popped out of a mock-up plane and handed us drinks and snacks (just like on an actual SQ flight)!!!

Get a picture with these stewardesses-in-training:

SIA Training Centre Open House

Orange juice or water? Granola bar or chips?

SIA Training Centre Open House

It was such a pleasant surprise! I skipped the chips and took one of those Nature Valley granola bars. :D It’s now fuel for me as I hammer out this blogpost. Ha!

And not forgetting that goodie bag (I collected the ice cream from a SATS food truck) –

SIA Training Centre Open House

The chocolate ice cream tastes really good, by the way!

And now that we’ve gotten the snacks out of the way, was the actual tour as good?

I signed up for the Cabin Crew Training Tour (all of 30 minutes). I’d wanted to go for the Flight Simulator Tour but tickets were all sold out FAST.

However, I got to see the mock-ups of planes in the Training Centre, find out what the new Business Class and First Class seats are like, and got an introduction into the grooming standards expected of the cabin crew (courtesy of a Lancome instructor).

When your plane seat can become a ‘bed’ – a luxury the well-heeled enjoy:

SIA Training Centre Open House

Of course, you also pay a 5-figure sum for this privilege (on a flight to London) (@_@)

Spacious and filled with mirrors, the training room where our SQ girls learn about makeup, skincare and the hairstyles permitted by the company:

SIA Training Centre Open House

There are strict standards to adhere to – for instance, the bun should only be 6.5cm to 7cm in diameter, pins must be neatly hidden and the bun must not come loose when you shake it. Cabin crew should also have good skin – if you have a breakout, you’ll be given a few days of rest.

And I don’t know how these ladies can keep looking good in the very unforgiving kebayas.

If you don’t already know, the 4 colors represent the different ranks: Blue for Flight Stewardess, Green for Leading Stewardess, Raspberry Red for Chief Stewardess and Aubergine for Inflight Supervisor. The same applies for the tie color of the male cabin crew.

Cabin crew undergo 15 weeks of intensive training to prepare them for their first flight. I’m definitely curious about the training sessions because I’m always amazed at how SQ cabin crew can maintain their composure when customers are being extremely difficult. Even at this Open House, there was a “gentleman” who kept asking weird questions, such as “How come your flight stewards can wear eyeliner?! Is this allowed?!”, to which the Lancome instructor said that it was not permitted, that it was most unusual, and thanked him for the feedback.

And guess what’s the minimum height requirement if you want to join as cabin crew? Just 158cm!!!

I could have, but…

I’m not the best at hiding my emotions. Like the time I witnessed a passenger asking the crew for more bread, then asking for tea – and when it was served, requested for coffee instead. And when the coffee came, decided she’ll just have tea anyway. I had half a mind to head over and ask her what her problem was. So nope, my dream of being an SQ Girl will stay just that… a dream.

There were food and games booths that day:

SIA Training Centre Open House

And performances plus exhibits too! :)

Thank you, SIA, for that wonderful experience. I believe it was an event enjoyed by both the adults and the children. :)

SIA Training Centre Open House

If SIA Training Centre organizes another Open House next year, I’ll be sure to sign up once again! :)

The Main Reason I Visit Rivervale Plaza: Nasi Padang

Rivervale Plaza

I kid you not. The main reason I look forward to visiting Rivervale Plaza is for a meal at the Indonesian Padang stall. Some people call it ‘Chumpo Chumpo’ while others call it ‘Chumpo 2’. Either way, this is the one:

Rivervale Plaza Chumpo Indonesian Padang

One thing you need to note about this stall is that the good food runs out really fast. And I don’t know why they can’t just cook more of it. Go for dinner at 7+? Well, you might not have many dishes to choose from already. You need to head there early. This is the reason why I’ll sometimes pop by wanting a nasi padang meal, but end up heading next door for some laksa instead.

If you’ve never visited Rivervale Plaza before, well, drop by and try the nasi padang.

Also, this HDB shopping complex looks rather small from the outside, but it houses over 40 shops for all your shopping needs. There’s NTUC for your groceries, a number of bakeries, fast food outlets, a wet market (there’s a stall selling durians for S$2 now!) and there’s not just one but TWO foodcourts (imagine that) within Rivervale Plaza!

Anyway, the main reason for this post is to have you join me in voting for your favorite shop in your favorite HDB shopping centre. I’ve voted for Chumpo in Rivervale Plaza, of course. *wink*

Vote for Chumpo Rivervale Plaza

From now till 31st October, you stand a chance to win prizes in the Top 50 Favorite Shops contest. And oh, I voted for Unity too. Just did a S$15 health screening there on Monday. The staff are really nice – no Monday blues at all, which is weird. :D So, thumbs up:

Vote for Unity

If you’d like to vote and stand a chance to win some prizes, download the app (for Android) – it’s called ‘myfavHDBmall‘. Sign up for an account and you will be sent an activation link via email to verify your email account, before you can access the app.

Also, I found the HDB Gift Redemption (temporary) booth near the security guard post at Rivervale Mall. Just spend S$20 and redeem a luggage cover:

Luggage Cover

Take note of the redemption dates though! :)

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There are also two other contests you might be keen on, with more prizes to win…

1) #myfavHDBmall Photography Competition: 

Photography Competition

Register here: https://myfavhdbmall.com//register

2) Help create the largest SG50 logo made from stamps!

SG Book Of Records

Donate your used or unused stamps at the specially designed post boxes at a HDB shopping centre near you: details HERE. A total of S$2000 cash vouchers are up for grabs!

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving all the freebies, competitions, and activities surrounding the celebration of our nation’s 50th birthday! :) I’m glad that even malls in the heartlands are joining in the fun! Time to celebrate with more nasi padang! Haha!

9 Must-Buy Hello Kitty Items From Daiso Japan

Here’s a picture I took of my Daiso Hello Kitty loot after I got back from my most recent Japan trip: Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

And yes, there are obviously more than 9 Hello Kitty items, but I think some are sold in Singapore – either in Daiso stores, or elsewhere, so I’m leaving those out of this post. These kitty items cost 108 yen (about S$1.25) each in Japan and are quite a steal for this price! :) If you’ve always thought that Hello Kitty items are expensive or that everything is more costly in Japan, think again. ;)

Here are the 9 Hello Kitty items from Daiso Japan that you must buy if you are in Japan for a holiday, because they are most likely not sold in Singapore at the moment:

Hello Kitty Sponge Holders

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

Have you ever seen a sponge holder that can be attached to the sides of your kitchen sink? Can’t say I have. I guess I don’t notice these things till Daiso decides to come up with one with Kitty’s face on it.

And these are just too kawaii. So one is never enough. LOL!

Hello Kitty (extendable) Hangers

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

The hangers are very pretty – what with the bow and Kitty’s cute face on each one. But they are also rather cool as they’re extendable too, so you can hang your coats, jackets, winterwear, etc, on them.

I saw 4 of them at one Daiso store, and bought them all. XD

Hello Kitty Clothes Pegs

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

Laundry days will be a little more fun and a lot more kawaii with these clothes pegs. LOL.

I wonder what the neighbors will say when they spot these! :D

Hello Kitty Hooks For Bags & Rubber Bands

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

Rubber bands usually end up in a small container or in a drawer, right? Well, not anymore.

Hello Kitty Clips – Fridge Magnets & Food Bag Clips

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

Some of these food bag clips might have been available in Daiso Singapore stores at some point. But I don’t think they’re available anymore. But it’s ok, I’ll get them in Japan during my next trip. :)

What Do You Call These?

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

It’s like a cute rain shower for one’s kitchen sink. LOL. Am saving this for my new place, just to make guests go “Aww so cute!” :D

Hello Kitty Paper Napkins

Daiso Japan Hello Kitty

Because plain paper napkins are boring.

Have you spotted any other Hello Kitty Daiso items while in Japan? Let me know as I’m heading back soon and look forward to getting more of these. :)

Celebrating 20 Years Of Community Support For The Anti-Drug Cause

Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival 2015

(From Left to Right) Mr Victor Lye, Chairman, National Council Against Drug Abuse, Guest-of-Honour Minister Masagos, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Mr Ng Ser Song, Director, Central Narcotics Bureau launching the Official Opening of the Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival 2015

Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival 2015

(Top row, left) Mr Ng Ser Song, Mr Henry Tan (Senior Director, Singapore Polytechnic), Mr Daniel Tan (Director, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Singapore Polytechnic), Mr Victor Lye, Minister Masagos, taking a selfie with student volunteers from Singapore Polytechnic during the VIP Tour of the carnival

(Pic Credit: Central Narcotics Bureau)

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I attended the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign last Friday and had so much fun at the two-day Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival that I popped by Suntec City Convention Centre Hall 403 on both days! :D

If you weren’t at the Carnival over the weekend, here are 3 things you missed:

1) The Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival

I applaud the organizing committee for doing a fantastic job in making what sounds like a potentially boring carnival into one which was a lot of fun. I have to admit that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed visiting the Carnival!

I found it to be a good mix of Education and Fun. We danced, shot hoops, fired Nerf guns, took a quiz and even learnt a bit of skateboarding! :D

Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2015

Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2015

Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2015

I’m hopeless with a Nerf gun but my fiancé is really good at this. He made the Drugs Shootout look too easy!

And it’s always fun to spin these wheels and win a prize, eh? I won the Folder Speakers! :D #solucky

Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2015

The highlight of the carnival is a special 20th anniversary photo and timeline exhibition showcasing how the community and government have worked together since 1995 to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and to rally support for the anti-drug cause.

Anti-Drug Carnival

I definitely learnt a thing or two from these information panels!

Did you know there’s a Clubs Against Drugs (CAD) Campaign? It was started in 2000 to “counter the increasing abuse of synthetic drugs, especially in night entertainment outlets”. Club owners are updated about the drug situation and receive collateral for dissemination within their outlets.

2) The ‘Nelzon’ App

Nelzon app

‘Nelzon,’ a preventive drug education mobile game application developed by students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive and Digital Media, was launched at the opening ceremony of the carnival by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs.

The Preventive Education Unit (PEU) in Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has been working with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)’s School of Interactive & Digital Media to enhance two mobile phone game applications created by NYP students in 2013. The game applications are targeted at youths between 13 and 21 years old.

‘Nelzon’ is a runner game based on the life of a troubled schoolboy Nelzon. Players assume Nelzon’s role to evade and battle the Evil Conscience who constantly appears to tempt Nelzon into taking drugs.

Guide Nelzon into jumping and sliding across the 5 different game scenarios and avoid drugs and collect rewards (Coins, Books and Power-Ups)…

Nelzon app

Nelzon app

Go ahead and download the app now – available in iOS and Android versions.

3) The DanceWorks! Competition 

DanceWorks competition

The carnival is also held in conjunction with DanceWorks!, a dance competition involving youth participants from schools and institutes of higher learning.

DanceWorks! is Singapore’s only anti-drug dance competition and it is into its 17th year. It aims to engage our youths in the anti-drug cause through dance and encourage the development of a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. The theme for this year’s competition is “Dance for a Drug-Free Singapore”, with 338 participants from 25 schools/organizations.

More pictures and the list of winners can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/lifedoesnotrewind

~

Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2015

It’s easy to overlook the importance of such anti-drug campaigns if you have never met people whose lives (or that of their families) have been destroyed by drug abuse. I have encountered a few of such ‘victims’ before and I believe in the cause of the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign. What is alarming is that there has been an increasing number of drug abusers arrested who are below 30 years old –  the figure has increased by 34% from 826 in 2010 to 1,110 in 2014!

Also, there are drug clusters forming among young people (when one drug abuser influences his friends into joining him). And contrary to popular belief, there has been a changing profile of youth abusers (especially cannibis abusers) with many of them performing well in their studies and coming from middle class families!

Some think cannibis is not harmful, mistakenly believing that it is a “soft” drug and that it is less harmful and less addictive than tobacco. Unfortunately, cannibis (aka marijuana, weed, or ganja) is addictive and harmful. It has been linked to impairments in teenage brain development, lower psychomotor skills, development of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, and even cognitive decline with a drop in IQ!

Spread the anti-drug abuse message and submit an anti-drug pledge now at http://bit.ly/1Fi2Tx8

If You Know CPR, Would You Save Your Enemy?

CPR Class

Photo from hcdps.com

Went for a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AED class today. And a question that came to mind right after I’d signed up for the class was “Would you save your enemy if the person had a cardiac arrest and collapsed in front of you?” In all honesty, that question stumped me, and I hope I don’t ever find myself in such a situation. ‘Cos those moments of deliberation could literally make the difference between life OR death for someone.

So, I’d love to pose the same question to YOU: Would you save your worst enemy? You know… the one who’s a thorn in your side, who makes your life miserable, and whom you wish would just disappear from the face of the earth? Yeah. That one. If you are the only one around who knows CPR, and that person collapses in front of you due to a cardiac arrest, would you save him/her?

Did you know that if no one does anything, and everyone waits till an ambulance arrives, only 1 in 30 would survive a cardiac arrest. Not very good odds of survival at all.

Ok, perhaps that first question is not quite fair. When I’m angry at someone, I might say there’s no way I’d ever save the person from certain death. But when placed in such a situation, I just might put the enmity aside and try to save the fella immediately. I may regret it later, but what the hell, saving a life is more important than petty differences, right?

Now, here’s a question that’s easier to answer: Would you save a loved one if you know CPR?

Do I hear a resounding “YES”? Good!

In Singapore, about 1,800 cardiac arrests occur every year. Only about three per cent of these patients survive the cardiac arrest compared to 20 per cent survival rates in Tokyo or Seoul, according to a Channel NewsAsia report yesterday.

And I believe more people can be saved if more of us know how to perform CPR. And in case you are wondering, after all those channel 8 dramas you have watched, that CPR involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, there is simplified CPR which only involves chest compressions.

And there is now a credit card-sized device* which can aid responders by indicating whether the rate of compression is good or too fast or slow. It can also tell if the compressions are of the right depth. Yes, sometimes applying too much pressure can lead to cracked / fractured ribs.

But as our trainer shared, which is better – broken ribs or death? Doctors can help fix broken ribs but they cannot do anything to reverse death. *wink*

(*The device is still in its trial phases, and yes I do own one, but hope I don’t ever have to use it)

And when it comes to the AED – the Automated External Defibrillator – which sends a controlled electric shock to the patient’s heart, it’s a lot less work as compared to chest compressions which can get pretty tiring very quickly especially if you’re not using your body weight correctly to assist you.

Do look out for those AED devices in community centres, schools, shopping malls, the airport, etc, so that you can be of assistance by fetching these devices even if you are unable to perform CPR.

And in the event of an emergency, please don’t take photos or videos with your phone. Use it to call 995 and get an ambulance instead. And, if possible, try not to hang up untill the ambulance arrives. Switch your phone to speaker mode and allow the dispatcher to communicate with the responder to keep tabs on the situation.

If you are trained in CPR, there’s also a free ‘myResponder’ app which you can download. Besides alerting you of cases requiring your assistance, it can also show you where the nearest AED is located. :)

If there’s no one in your family who is trained in CPR, well, you might want to go for a 2-hour or 4-hour lesson. I have no doubt that you will want to save your loved ones if they collapse due to cardiac arrest. They have just a 3% chance of survival if you are not equipped with the knowledge and skills to revive them! So… don’t wait.

Be Kind To Taxi Drivers

Comfort Delgro

Pic credit: taxisingapore.com]

Have you ever wondered why there are so many taxis on the road, and yet, when you desperately need a cab (when it’s raining, or when you are almost late for an appointment), there are absolutely no cabs in sight?

Have you ever felt frustrated when a seemingly empty cab just zooms past you without stopping? Or when the driver just makes some weird hand signal at you supposedly because he wants to convey the message that he needs to go elsewhere or for some other reason cannot stop his vehicle and let you board?

I thought I might be able to find some answers yesterday, as I was going to meet many taxi drivers in one place. But… by just observing, and by letting the cabbies do much of the talking, I got to know more about this profession. :)

You might already know this, if you read my blog regularly: In my free time, I volunteer with the Health Promotion Board as a Health Ambassador. And yesterday, by 8.30am, I was at Comfort Delgro’s workshop in Sin Ming Drive, where the drivers send their vehicles for servicing and repairs. My duties? To direct cabbies to the Health Screening area and also to provide them with information about the CHAS program if they’re keen.

I’ve long suspected that taxi drivers might be at higher risk of certain diseases because their job is a tough one – driving long hours, staying in a seated position, having to hold their pee when they don’t have access to a toilet while ferrying a passenger, stress brought on by unfavorable traffic conditions, etc.

What I observed, however, was that many taxi drivers experience eye fatigue and some of them have blood pressures outside of the normal range. One female driver even shared with me her concerns about liver and kidney issues that might come about due to her long working hours (before she managed to find a relief driver) and how she’s worried about getting diabetes. Also, being the sole hirer means she doesn’t get very much rest, and there’s no time to exercise too. Her relief driver thus comes almost as a lifesaver.

And I also noticed that some cabbies walk with a limp, but we won’t be able to tell as passengers.

So the next time a taxi goes past without stopping for you, perhaps it’s because the driver just did not spot you. And if he did, and makes weird hand signals, he might just need to visit the restroom (and how does one communicate via hand signs that one needs to pee?) so don’t get too upset. Despite being in an air-conditioned “environment” all day, the job of a cabby is a tough one.

If you know of a taxi driver who works for Comfort Delgro, share with him/her about the free health screening at the Sin Ming workshop – it’s available from 8.30am to 11.30am (Mondays to Fridays) and they should also fast for about 8 hours before doing the blood test. :) Likewise, if eligible for CHAS (e.g. per capita household income is S$1800 and below), they should also be encouraged to apply for a CHAS card for subsidies at CHAS GP and Dental clinics islandwide. More information here: https://www.chas.sg/

And if you ever meet a grouchy cab driver, know that you have the power to make his day (and your day) brighter; just wish him a great day ahead and share your best smile. :D Try it!