The Moment of Awe at National Day Celebration 2016

When SIL told us she (and her son) successfully balloted for tickets to NDP Preview, we were excited! Finally! We get to watch the parade together and in the SportsHub!!! We had enough tickets to bring in everyone in the family to catch the show, first for our parents, first for our kids. Three generations of us spending our Saturday together to catch the preview of our Nation’s 51st Birthday celebration.

The moment we sat down on the seats, I had my first Awe moment. I am inside the National Stadium like finally! Ohhh there’s some cool wind blowing from underneath our seats… this is so cool… look the stadium is huge! Wait! The SportsHub is closed?? So no red lions? No fighter jets? Awww… that’s sad leh. WOAH! They got their videographers on segway! Cool lah!

So we were seated and ready to start the pre-celebration… a little too early. It was 4.40pm, still 2 hours away… we tried occupying the kids with snacks, videos, and eventually they took a nap just in time for the show.

Helllllllloooooo Singapore!!! … the 4 hosts came on stage and we were all ready to roll! By now the stadium was completely filled and everyone in red or white! So pretty!

However, for NDP this year things are different.

The usual fanfare at the start of the show was not as happening as previous years. There was no man falling down from the sky so the audience didn’t get to go “Ooooooooooo”. There was no need for earplugs as there was not thundering sound of the jets. When the national anthem came on, we couldn’t even see the flag fly-by the stadium.

But all the above didn’t stop the 55,000 spectators from enjoying the show and be in awe.

National Day Parade 2016

Unstoppable Kallang Wave

The hosts got us all to bring back the Kallang Wave, back to where it originated. Yes we do this every year at National Day (which some call it the Singapore Wave), but this year, its just different. At the preview I was at, everyone was overly enthused about the Kallang Wave… we almost didn’t want to stop! I lost count how many times we stood up and cheered when the wave was at our sector. The sight of the wave going around the stadium was awesome! Another moment of awe.

A 360 experience

Though there was no air display, no sea action, neither was there wind blowing into your face like sitting at the floating platform, but this celebration is packed with hi-tech stuff which got everyone seated at the stadium to participate in all the performances.

We were given a LED wristband which didn’t light up nor blink when we wore it as we entered the stadium… Aiyah! Mine spoil one, cannot light… Mummy why no light??? That were our grumbles when we tested our wristbands. But when the magic happened… we went “Wahhhhh!!! Cool!” The next moment of awe.

The LED lights were controlled by the people behind the show! It is wirelessly programmed to blink in tandem with the show’s lights and sounds, and capable of emitting lights of varying intensity in 16 colours and four modes! It’s just awesome to see the whole stadium light up together with the performances, our girls were going… “Mummy look! Mummy look!“, asking us to look at the lights on their wrist. After the show, you still can get lights from it by waving the LED light, but the only colour you’ll get is red.

Because of the covered stadium, the show had some awesome hanging display which added wow factor to the show.

National Day Parade 2016
The “Singapore stones” hanging and later brought down to land as the story unfolds.
National Day Parade 2016
My favorite part of the show was these floating structures of Singapore.
National Day Parade 2016
A closer look at these beautiful floating pieces.
National Day Parade 2016
Mummy see unicorn!” When we keep dreaming… beautiful things can happen. Cool light show here!

The Pledge Moment and National Anthem

This is like once-a-year kind of thing for me where I take our pledge and sing Majulah Singapura. I had a huge lump in my throat when standing there together with the 55,000 others. Makes me feel a little more Singaporean lah. My girls didn’t know what we were doing but followed us and placed their fists on their chest too. I was a little emotional at this point.

National Day Parade 2016
Our flag lighted the stadium for the finale.

Everyone in the family enjoyed the show and we are very thankful to have gotten these tickets for the preview show.

The father-son moment, that’s Isaac you can read more about him on Punggolbabies.com.
National Day Parade 2016
My super enthuse brother and his son.
National Day Parade 2016
Ayra enjoying the show and catching confetti! The Mummy can only think of the mess and cleaning up after…

We’ll be catching the LIVE telecast of the actual day celebration somewhere on 9 August 2016, possibly somewhere where we can catch the full fireworks since we didn’t get to see any of it when seated inside the stadium.

To those going for the preview tomorrow and the actual day show on 9 August, enjoy the show and rest your feet while you’re at the stadium. The real (and not-so-fun) experience is the after-show, where you try to get on the train or other public transport. That night the train stations were packed, walkways and roads around the stadium was filled with people. We walked all the way to the hawker centre at Old Airport Road with 3 kids in arms… it was really no joke.

Nevertheless, it was still an awesome experience for the family! Thanks Pris and Isaac for successfully balloting the tickets! Next year we try again ok?

Happy 51st Birthday Singapore!


About the Gears

That day I had 3 cameras with me – Canon EOS 7D Mark II with EF-S 15-85 USM (for wide angle overall shots), Canon PowerShot M3 with 55-200mm lens (for zooming and “spying” searching for familiar faces in the sea of red) and the Ricoh Theta S 360 camera (for fun shots, see posts on my Instagram). Each had its own purpose and I think I’ve lost touched with using pro DSLR camera as I’m too used to the PowerShot cameras.

I’ve been using the Canon EOS 7D Mark II for a few occasions over the past few weeks mostly for video shoot which I’ll share more in another post. This DSLR is in the Canon semi-professional series and is packed with many features and options for professional purposes I still haven’t figured everything out. (I’m a noob!) With 65-point all cross-type AF system and ability to shoot 10 frames per second, you control exactly what you have to shoot and focus; even in fast action situations. Think I’ll need to take more practice and hands-on with this camera in order to master it. I shall stick to my EOS M3 for now.

Activities for Kids at SAFRA Punggol Clubhouse

Whenever there is opportunity to bond with Zara one-to-one, I would try my best to treasure it and enjoy as much as I can. That’s what we did couple weekends ago at SAFRA Punggol – experiencing how a “Little Punggol SAFRA Explorer” was like.

It was time for Zara’s nap but I thought the activities and my companionship would keep her awake and excited. It was so at first, but it didn’t last.

We arrived way too early at SAFRA Punggol, me alone with Zara. The place was packed on a Saturday afternoon – with families and lots of kids! We waited around the lobby area and I could sense the sleepiness kicking in for Zara as the clock ticks by.

We were both relieved when we finally got the activities going together with other family bloggers.

First stop for us was at ARTARY at Level 4 of SAFRA Punggol. ARTARY provides art classes for kids and their space is very nicely done up! Love the interior and how the wall murals make the whole place very whimsical and fun.

2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer DayWith just less than an hour for this activity, we did our best to create our version of Sunflowers (or “whatever flowers” in our case) by Van Gogh. This was the first time Zara got to do painting work in a classroom setting. I must say her attention and focus was much better than I’d expected. Well I was admiring her concentration with the task on hand until she got bored and tired. 2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer Day

2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer DayOnce we’re done painting and got ourselves washed up from all the paints, we headed down to Pizza Hut for a special pizza making session. By this time (around 4pm), Zara’s level of tolerance is almost zero. She refused to walk, refused to wear the Pizza Hut chef hat, refused to take photo… she was just not ready to cooperate at all. 2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer Day

Until Ah Ma (grandma) came along.

2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer DayThis girl of mine is also Ah Ma ???. She adores her grandma and would do anything and everything as long Ah Ma is with her. Just look at that smile on her face! It was a relieved for me really, because I was super famished and tired by that time. I was happy to just hang around while Zara enjoys the rest of the day with her grandma at SAFRA Punggol. I took a back row seat being the photographer and videographer for the day. 2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer Day

Note: Pizza making session is still not available at Pizza Hut SAFRA Punggol at time of this post. You can contact them to enquire about events should you be keen to find out more.

While our pizzas were being baked in the oven, we headed to the highlight of the day. SPLASH!

2016 Apr 30 - SAFRA Punggol Little Explorer Day

When we shared about Splash@Kidz Amaze a year back, that post brought our entire site down because everyone was excited about the first and only indoor water playground in Singapore! We were looking forward to checking the place out since then, and finally we got to step into the real thing! But guess what?

Zara fell asleep!! This poor girl was totally exhausted after all the fun and lack of nap that afternoon, she knocked out after making her jellyfish art and craft. By the time she woke up, it was almost 8pm and the cranky just-woke-up-girl spent less than 10 minutes in the water. I was very upset for her, she had been looking forward to splashing at the playground for a very long time.

If you’ve not been to Splash@Kidz Amaze yet, this video you got to check out.

We will be back soon on a weekend evening, because that’s when the magic and music kicks in. Can’t wait to get splashed and have a hell lot of fun and wet time with my girls. Pricing and party packages at Splash@Kidz Amaze available on their website.

Here’s the list of other activities and things you can do at SAFRA Punggol:

  • Bikes @ Waterway
  • EnergyOne
  • Games Room
  • Manekineko (KTV)
  • Member’s Lounge
  • Yoga Inc.
  • i Darts LAVA (opens early May)
  • Orchid Bowl (opens 5 Jun)
  • The Spa by The Ultimate (opening date to be confirmed)
  • Artary
  • BazGym Gymnastics School
  • LCentral English
  • NurtureStars Preschool
  • Splash @ Kidz Amaze
  • StepUp Learning & Dance
  • Tien Hsia Language School
  • Yamaha Music
  • Stamford Education (opens 1 Jun)
  • Taekwondonomics (opens 1 Jun)

And with so many activities and families, there must be food too! Here are the dining options available at SAFRA Punggol:

  • issho family restaurant
  • Pin Si Superior
  • Pizza Hut
  • Siam Thai Tuckshop
  • Nom La La by Bakerzin
  • Jack’s Place (opens 30 Apr)
  • Culinary Experience Studio Powered by Bosch (opens May)
  • Heavenly Wang (opens early May)
  • McDonald’s (opens 15 May)

SAFRA Punggol is located at 9 Sentul Crescent, Punggol, Singapore 828654 next to Punggol West Loop – PW1 Sam Kee LRT station. You can also take a stroll from Punggol MRT station, which will take approximately 6 to 10-minute.

Old School Playgrounds in Singapore – A Play Day with Canon and Singapore Parent Bloggers

It was a fun day down memory land for the parents and a wild day at play for the kids. Together with families of Singapore Parent Bloggers and Canon Singapore, we visited some retro playgrounds (those with sand!) and hunted down a few wall mural art around Singapore.

It was also the day where I got to use my new photography baby, the Canon PowerShot EOS M3! Yes I finally bought it after a year of lusting over this nifty camera. My first day encounter with this after its launch was at a heritage photo walk hosted by Canon.

Dove Playground in front of Blk 10 Dakota Crescent

This is one of the few remaining playground nostalgic ones built in the 1970s. This and the Dragon Playground at Toa Payoh Lor 6 was built by Mr Khor Ean Ghee. There’s the concrete slides, tyre swings, sliding rod that let’s kids become a “fire-fighter” and walking bridge.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersSome shots I took of kids at play. Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersHere’s the street view from Google Map where you can see the playground sandwiched between the old school HDB blocks at Dakota Crescent. Yes this whole are smell super old school. I like!

Train Playground at Tiong Bahru Adventure Park

This is where you get to climb on board the train and climb through tilted carriages. The train playground at Tiong Bahru Adventure Park has got slides, a old school merry-go-round and also flying fox! The kids went crazy here and we stayed the longest, because there’s so many things to do. We even tried teaching the kids old-school rubber band game, Zero-point! Too much laughing took place here. PLAY! with Canon
Train Playground by Soon Koon.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Paintings on the Walls, Street Art and Murals Around Singapore

We checked out four street art murals by Yip Yew Chong that day. Two at 40 Everton Road – “Aha Ma” and “The Barber”, and two of his latest additions to our local street art around Tiong Bahru. There’s the “Pasar and Fortune Teller” at Block 73 Eng Watt Street and “Home” at Block 74 Tiong Poh Road.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Want to read more about that day’s adventure or see more photos taken at the above places? Check out the rest of the posts by Singapore parent bloggers who were with me that day.

Get out of Auto mode!

All photos taken above by me are shot with the Canon PowerShot EOS M3. And instead of trying to get the right setting on the camera on Aperture (Av) mode, which I usually do, I set it to the Program (P) mode and played with just the ISO setting. It was so much easier and all the shots turn out great! If you’ve got a camera with manual settings available, go try it out and get out of your Auto mode.

New Ride In The House and We’ve Got One To Giveaway! #FrisoExperience

Friso is giving away Free Ride-On Cars and we just couldn’t resist getting these cool rides for our girls. This mummy is a little crazy (not!) to purchase total of 13 tins of Friso formula milk for the two girls just so we can redeem two of the free cars! So soon each of the little ones at Punggol Babies will be riding on a Friso Powered Ride-on Car come June. For now, we’ll just have to take turn zooming in this cool red ride.

LockNutri Technology

During the launch of this promotion, Friso also launched their new Friso Gold 2,3 and 4 formula. They now come with enhanced LockNutri technology which protects the protein in Friso products from overheating and becoming damaged during the production process. Nutrients in their natural state facilitate absorption. Providing our little ones with gentle nutrition, so they can be #StrongInside.

Zara is on Friso 3 since she was 1 and soon she’ll be upgrading to Friso 4 in a few months time. So I’ve also switched Ayra to Friso 4, this way I’ll only have to keep stocking up on the same formula milk for both of them. This is also why I was willing to part with my money on 13 tins of Friso for redemption of 2 more ride-on cars.

So how cool is this ride and what features does it come packed with? Let us give you a run-down of this free Friso Powered Ride-on Car which you can redeem with every $380 purchase of most Friso products.

Close-up of the Friso Powered Ride-On Car

These ride-on car comes with seatbelt and a good sized seat for one pax. It will hold a child for up to 30KG as I’d read on their Facebook post.

The car is powered by rechargeable battery and you will have to “pump some gas” power into it through the fuel tank. Kinda like that this is well hidden and at an appropriate part of the car. We had another ride-on car and the seat need to be removed before we could charge it.

There’s the horn and a music-play button on the steering wheel. Both the girls love turning the music on and dancing to it! I’m just glad that its a decent english song vs the other ching-chong tunes we have in our other rides at home. You know those that will give you massive headache? Yup!

On the right side of the steering wheel is two switch, one to turn power on/off and the other for the driver to control if the car should go straight or backwards. You can switched it to Stop too so the car doesn’t move even when the gas paddle is stepped on. Ideal for the little ones who has “no license” to drive yet.

And on the left side of the wheel you have a switched that let’s you choose to have the car in manual mode or t c mode. Manual is where the rider can step on the gas paddle to move the car and steer it on his/her own, while in t c mode, you will need to control the car via the remote control that comes with the car. Do note that the rider is still able to control the steering in t c mode.

Not bad right? This Friso Powered Ride On Car is worth $369, and is yours to redeem with every $380 spent. And according to their replies in Facebook, you don’t have to worry if they will run out of stock for the car redemption. They assure every customers will be able to redeem for the ride-on cars, however the colour available will be on first-come-first-serve basis. There’s the red and blue for you to choose from.

Friso Powered Ride-On Car Redemption

From April 1 to 31 May, customers can redeem a Friso Powered Ride On Car worth $369 when they spend $380 on Friso products* at Friso Online, FairPrice, Cold Storage, Market Place, Giant, Seng Siong, Prime Supermarket, Mustafa and Guardian.

The Friso Powered Ride On Car is suitable for indoor and outdoor play**, and is available in red and blue.

*Friso products included in this promotion are Frisomum, Friso Gold Cereal, and Friso Gold 2, 3, and 4. Not included is infant formula for babies aged 0-6 months.
**Not suitable on loose dirt, gravel or wet areas that can affect the engine and moving parts.

Customers can redeem their Friso Powered Ride On Car from 7 June to 31 July with their original receipts and completed entry form at:

Global Opus Solutions Redemption Centre
Blk 265 Serangoon Central Drive
#02-275 Singapore 550265
Operating Hours: Tues-Sat, 11am-1pm, 2pm-6pm. (Closed on public holidays.)

*This promotion is valid while stocks last. To avoid disappointment, customers should call the Global Opus Redemption Centre at 6282-1555 to find out if there are Friso Powered Ride On Cars available for redemption, before heading down.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

If you would like to win one of these cool rides, here’s your chance!! Thanks to Friso, I’ve got a blue Friso Powered Ride On Car to give away to ONE lucky winner. Here’s how to get your chance to win:
Blue Friso Powered Ride-on Car Giveaway

*1 winner will be picked at random to win the blue ride on car. Winner will be announced on Instagram.

Giveaway period: 20 April to 30 April 2016. Good luck!

Shutter Happy at Singapore Heritage Tour with Canon

It was an afternoon of fun where I got to spend some quality me-time doing one of my all-time favorite thing – Photography. After my previous photography escapade with Canon Imaging Academy I have been itching to do more photo walks. This time around, Canon together with National Heritage Board, they brought us on a Heritage Tour to three of the Singapore National Monuments.

Sharing some of the photos I took from that day with the latest Canon cameras, the Canon PowerShot G3 X and the Canon EOS M3. After the half a day shoot out, I was left lusting over these two cameras because they each have got their own awesome features which I love. Hope to get more quality time with these cameras soon so that I can share about them with you here.

Now let’s see the photos from that day. Nice or not?

Yue Hai Ching Temple

Yue Hai Ching Temple is one of the oldest Taoist temples in Singapore. It was started in 1826 by the Teochew community.

The restoration of the Yueh Hai Ching Temple was completed in January last year, more than two years after works started. 45 craftsmen from Shantou, China were brought in to work on parts of it, final work is simply amazing. The colours and details in all the figurines, the wall and structure, you just have to see them in person!

Retaining the building’s original patina and historic ornamentation was a key reason it was awarded the UNESCO Heritage Award. Read more about this temple here.

Location: 30B Phillip St, Singapore 048696

This is me taking a arm-stretched selfie with the Canon PowerShot EOS M3. This camera not just looks great, the quality of shots and speed is in fact very powerful too. Many (including myself) mistook the EOS M3 as a micro four third aka mirrorless camera due to is compact size and ability to switch the lenses. But in fact, the Canon PowerShot EOS M3 is packed with the same CMOS sensor as all the EOS cameras (aka Canon DSLR cameras). No wonder I fell in love with it instantly that day.

Masjid Abdul Gafoor Mosque

The mosque was constructed in 1907, and major restoration of the building was completed in 2003. Standing on a total area of 2,449 sqm, the mosque’s unusual symmetry, layout and incorporation of Moorish details set it apart from other mosques. Architecturally, it is modelled after Saracenic and Roman designs. Apart from Islamic details, many Western classical motifs are also used in the architectural decoration of the mosque. Read more about this mosque here.

Location: 41 Dunlop St, Singapore 209369

I am amazed at the details I get in this shot with the Canon Powershot G3X. The 25x optical zoom was tested and this shot below shows the details you can get with this camera. This camera is a digital compact suitable for those who need an all round anytime anywhere and can shoot anything kind of camera.

Saint Joseph’s Church

Saint Joseph’s Church was gazetted a national monument on 14 January 2005. Saint Joseph’s Church has one of Singapore’s largest collections of religious stained-glass windows. These magnificent windows were produced by Jules Dobbelaere, a Belgian who was arguably the world’s most well-known stained-glass craftsman of his time.

Location: 143 Victoria Street, 188020

The above three places are part of Singapore’s National Monuments and you can read more about the other National Monuments here.