Children’s Season 2017: Our Favourite Places at National Museum

How are your June holidays coming along?

It’s Children’s Season at the museums, and we went to check it out at National Museum last weekend.

Interestingly titled ‘Our Favorite Places’, the interactive children’s exhibition was adapted from  The Little Singapore Book by local authors Sim Ee Waun and Joyceline See Tully, with illustrations by Diane Ng Rose. It brings us back to what Singapore was like 50 years ago. Young explorers discover popular family hangouts in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as cultural sites and historical landmarks along the Singapore River. Parents and grandparents can take a lighthearted walkdown memory lane and relive wonderful memories of yesteryear!

My boys were very captivated The Soft Dome you won’t miss it because it is right at the entrance of the museum. The set-up was impressive and rather unexpected for a museum, I thought. We were invited to lie on the soft netting to admire the beauty of the National Museum’s iconic stained dome. My boys couldn’t contain their excitement and were clambering all over the netting, despite the minders’ repeated instructions to lie still (which is an impossible feat with my boys). Not the most children-friendly installation, I have to say!

Our next stop was Our Favourite Places Bumboat Trail at The Concourse, Level 1. Even though the significance of the installations was not immediately obvious to my boys, they certainly brought me down memory lane because they were the Singapore landmarks of my youth. Gasp, am I that old now?

The boys took a bumboat at Clifford Pier to ‘cross’ the Singapore River, crossed the Cavenagh Bridge, tried their hand at an old-school balance and sorted mail at General Post Office Building (now Fullerton Hotel). They even put up a puppet show at the Old Parliament Building!

Look who was at the basement? It’s The Giant (by Jean Jullien, France). Shh, don’t wake him! The boys had fun doodling on the tall sleeping blue giant and… err, shouting in his ear to wake him up!

Then there’s Our Favourite Places – Trolley Bus and Trishaw Trails on the Glass Atrium on Level 2.

I thought the concrete wall of glass bottles containing scents of all sorts was very cool! We got a whiff of a couple – Jo wasn’t too enthusiastic and ran away after he smelled one (I think it was ginger, haha)!

Quite a lot of fun interactive stops here. You could reach into earthen jars for old-school memoribilia like wooden clogs and Chinese drums, feel the textures of embroidered cloth used to make saris, hide in a tent on East Coast, take a whiff of spices and pose for a pic in a teacup ride or at the dragon playground.

There were two colouring stations too – too bad my boys had no patience to design their own Peranakan tiles or houses.

It was obvious a lot of thought had gone into the activities to truly make them fun for children!

We also managed to catch a few short animated films in the Young Cinema which is screened at 10-12pm and 2-4pm over the weekends in June. Snacks were provided too!

It was hardly crowded when we were there on a Sunday morning. Overall, I personally found the exhibits a bit underwhelming this year but I think you would appreciate them if you like low-key exhibits or with young children. Worth spending a few hours there!

Whilst we were there, we also checked out Story of the Forest, an immersive installation based on William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings exploring the intriguing relationship between man and nature. The boys had fun running down the spiral walkway and pointing out the many animals on the screen.

Children’s Season runs at National Museum from now till 30 Jul 2017. There are also storytelling sessions and workshops – you can check out the details here.

Arty fun at Faber-Castell Art Festival

The school holidays are here!

We had the best time today attending the inaugural Faber-Castell Art Festival at Marina Square Central Atrium.

Taking place from now till 4 Jun 2017, the Faber-Castell Art Festival welcomes everyone to be inspired by the possibilities of art in its many facets, and even try their hand at creating a form of art.

We took part in the Colouring Competition (Family Category) today. The boys were very enthusiastic about it and they really coloured their little hearts out. The Faber Castell colouring pencils and markers were lovely to use 🙂

My mum and I had to come in at the end to help the boys finish up because colouring is tiring business! And err, one of us even fell asleep halfway. No worries, Grandma to the rescue! HAHAHA! How do you like our psychedelic rainbow-coloured Singapore skyline?

Okay we didn’t win any prizes – there were many really beautiful pieces around us! – but it was a fun experience for us!

(Psst. There will be another Colouring Competition (Individual Category) on 3rd June 2017 1130am. Details below.)

There are many art-related activities happening around the atrium so it was quite fun to walk around. Lots of Faber-Castell products (such as stationery, colouring books, colour pencils, markers, paint, goodie bag fillers) on sale too!

There are also many creative workshops by local and overseas artists encompassing a wide range of genres from brush lettering, watercolour painting, fashion illustration to botanical illustration:

  • Art Experiences with The Lettering Workbook, Singapore

Taught by Kai Yun, these fun and breezy workshops encompass a variety of styles and media. Brush Lettering and Watercolor workshops are priced at $85 each, with a special price of $150 if participants sign up for both. Sticker making is priced at $50 per person.

Brush Lettering

  • 27 May, 1.30pm – 3pm
  • 28 May, 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • 4 June, 5.30pm – 7pm

Watercolour Floral Wreath

  • 27 May, 4.30pm – 6pm
  • 28 May, 7.30pm – 9pm
  • 3 June, 11am – 1pm

Watercolour Lettering

  • 27 May, 6.30pm – 8pm
  • 28 May, 6pm – 7.30pm
  • 4 June, 7pm – 8.30pm

Sticker Making

  • 28 May, 3.30pm – 4.30pm
  • 4 June, 4.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Fashion Illustration with Clayrene, Singapore

28 May, Sunday, 1pm to 3pm, $130 per person

In this exclusive session, the artist will be using Faber-Castell’s watercolour pencils and nail polish. http://www.artclaytion.com | @artclaytion

  • Colour Pencil Illustration with Tiffany Yao, Singapore

28 May, Sunday, 11am to 1pm, $30 per person

For this workshop, the artist will be working around the subject of ‘Cupcake Fantasy’, allowing participants to learn basic drawing and colouring skills, while letting their creativity go wild as they decorate the pastry of their dreams.

  • Creative Journaling with Abbey Sy, Philippines

4 June, Sunday 1 to 4pm, $120 per person

  • Floral & Foliage Illustration & Mixed Media Workshop with Lucinda Law, Brand Ambassador of Faber-Castell, Singapore

4 June, Sunday, 10.30am to 12.30pm, $85 per person

Free Activities

  • Family Bonding Art Competition with Hans Art

 3 June, Saturday 11.30am

Free to enter (with any purchase of colouring materials), contestants with the use of Faber-Castell products will engage in a friendly competition to create a unique masterpiece in a bid to win attractive prizes. Participants who pre-register at workshops@faber-castell.com.sg will receive extra perks.

  • Badge Making with Puffingmuffin

From 28 May to 4 June, the public can design their own badge with any purchase of $30 and above in a single receipt.

  • Creative Mind Mapping by Mr Thum Cheng Cheong

28 May, Sunday, 11am to 1pm

Using the brand’s versatile PITT Artist Pens, the public will be treated to a demonstration of how to represent ideas and concepts in a ‘mind map’.

The Faber-Castell Art Festival runs from now till 4 Jun 2017 at Marina Square Atrium. Lots of arty fun for the whole family!

The inaugural Children’s Biennale at National Gallery

The first ever Children’s Biennale at National Gallery opens today! It runs from now till 08 October 2017.

Themed Dreams and Stories, the festival offers a wide array of interactive art showcases specially created by local and regional artists for the Children’s Biennale, as well as performances and activities curated for children and the young at heart.

We spent a good few hours checking out the many art installations today, and didn’t even manage to cover everything!

 

From Rochor to Kallang (by local artist Vincent Leow) was inspired by the impending demolition of the iconic Rochor Centre, one of Singapore’s first public housing estates. A majority of the estate’s residents have been relocated and now live in Kallang. The artist created this work in response to ideas of moving, migration and relocation.

We had lots of fun peering into the small wooden bird traps. There were odd little trinkets inside like small animals like birds or rabbits, eggs or aeroplanes – with accompanying sound effects too!

Being Yourself features a selection of Chng Seok Tin’s artworks, recreated as beautiful textured woodcuts. Despite suffering a tragic near complete loss of vision, the artist learnt new life skills and continued to pursue art with courage and purpose.

Each of the woodcuts represents a significant moment in the artist’s life. I thought it was quite impressive how the emotions such as joy, anger, despair, hope and strength really came through. The boys had fun making prints of the woodcuts which made nice little momentos to bring home!

Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers by Mark Justiani (Philippines) was definitely one of the most show-stopping immersive display at the Biennale. You must not miss it!

The 12-meter-long bridge beckons you to take a dreamlike walk through infinity, and peer into the excavations of the former Supreme Court building. The work creates an illusion of depth, depicting an archeological site that stretches endlessly into the ground. Objects that could have been once treasured––toys, books, building blocks and letters––can be found within it.

It was truly quite a terrifying experience walking on the glass bridge whilst peering down into a seemingly bottomless abyss. You may want to stay away though if you are afraid of heights! I thought the artwork was beautifully executed – it will definitely stay with me for a long time!
The Obliteration Room by world renowned artist Yayoi Kusama was a hot favourite.

When Yayoi Kusama was a small girl, she started seeing the world through a screen of tiny dots. They covered everything she saw—the walls, ceilings, and even her own body. For 40 years she has made paintings, sculptures and photographs using dots to cover surfaces and fill rooms. Kusama calls this process ‘obliteration’, which means the complete destruction of every trace of something.

Super fun for the boys to go around covering all the white furniture and walls with bright colourful dots. Today the room was still largely white – I can’t wait to see what the room would look like over time!

Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön once said, ‘Stop waiting for some idealised moment when everything is simple and secure.’ Instead, we should try to be fully present in each moment. Duplet by Lynn Lu is a cute art installation inspired by this very idea.

We sat huddled together with our heads in the clouds quite literally, and listened to a series of questions which we would try to answer simultaneously. A thought-provoking performance art piece about being present in the moment.

This Changed My Life by Lynn Lu was inspired by the book, Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino where a nomadic community remembers important events in their lives by stretching strings across their rooms.

For this participatory art work, we were encouraged to pen down a wish or significant event in our lives on a piece of ribbon and stretch it across the room to form a collective web of stories.

We did not manage to see The Sonnet in BlueRock & Sphere and Homegenising and Transforming the World – we must go back again!

But we did manage to see a few more exhibits around the Gallery which were not part of the Biennale but really fun too!

The Blue Who Swims All The Way (by Betty Susiarjo) at the project gallery at Keppel Centre for Art Education is a mesmerising underwater wonderland of soft sculptures. So much to like about this place – the giant bobbling ‘sea creatures’, the cosy wooden alcoves, the stunning detail of the tapestry that adorned the walls, the adorable ‘pebble’ stools that my boys wouldn’t stop bouncing on (I really wanted to bring them home!). Possibly one of my fave exhibits of the day!

We also explored print-making at the Keppel Centre for Art Education. The boys went round stamping scenes on their paper and using rubber stamps to add details like birds and people. Very fun and interesting!

Overall, I was very impressed by the wide variety and high quality of the exhibits of the inaugural Children’s Biennale at National Gallery. The wonderful thing is, the place is huge so the crowd is really spread out. Be prepared to spend at least half a day there. There are workshops you can sign up for as well. It runs from now till 8 Oct 2017- don’t miss it! 

Singapore Repertory Theatre presents 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood)

We have been huge fans of Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company’s top-notch plays such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Charlotte’s Web and the most recent Peter Rabbit.

We are delighted to hear that come July this year, The Little Company will be presenting 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) in Mandarin

小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) is an uplifting story about a brave girl named Red who must journey through the forest to reunite her family and save Mother’s bakery from closing down.

Will she reach Grandma’s house in time? Or will the charming Big Bad Wolf distract her from her quest? Join Red on her adventure into the woods, where no one is what they seem!

Filled with humour and packed with original music, this is a fantastic show to be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages.

简介

成功呈献备受好评的英语制作之后,新加坡专业剧场旗下的小剧团继而推出音乐剧《小红帽》的华语版。在这激励人心的故事里,一个名叫小红的女孩勇敢地走进森林里,她想要一家团聚,也同时希望能解救母亲的蛋糕店生意。

她能及时到达老奶奶的家吗?她会被大灰狼诱骗而无法完成任务吗?让我们跟随小红走一趟森林冒险之旅,用眼睛发现一个非一般的世界吧!

幽默有趣的精彩剧情、悦耳动听的原创音乐,这部老少咸宜的儿童音乐剧肯定能让你放声大笑、乐不可支。

Here’s a trailer of the show:

 

The show is recommended for children aged 5 and above.

DATES: 20 July (Thu) – 1 Sep 2017 (Fri),  Weekdays : 10am, Weekends & Public Holiday : 11am & 2pm

PRICES: From $25 – excluding SISTIC fee

VENUE: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road

TICKETS: SISTIC at 6348 5555 or www.sistic.com.sg (Please refer to www.sistic.com.sg for more information about Group discounts/ Family Packages available.)

Giveaway!

Good news – I have one Family Package (4 tickets) to SRT’s 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood) on 29 July 2017, Saturday, 11am up for grabs. Please make sure you can make it for the show before you join the giveaway.

To participate, all you have to do is:

1) Visit both the Olimomok and Singapore Repertory Theatre Facebook pages. (It will be good if you could ‘like’ the pages as well).

Optional entries:

2) Leave me a blog post comment telling me why you want to watch the show. Don’t forget to leave your name and email.

3) ‘Like’ my Facebook post on SRT’s 小红帽 (Red Riding Hood), tag 3 friends and leave me a comment telling me who you would bring to the show if you win the tickets.

4) Add me (‘Olimomok’) on Instagram and tag 3 friends in my Red Riding Hood giveaway Instagram post.

Then complete the steps in the following Red Riding Hood raffle by 28 May 2017 (Sunday) end of day (Singapore time). This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. (This giveaway is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.)

Looks like a show my boys would enjoy! Hope to see you there!

Making Mother’s Day clay pottery at Da Vinci Group

Last weekend, I went for a lovely Mother’s Day date with Ryan and Jo (while Sean was at a soccer tournament).

We were going to make a special clay creation at the cozy studio space of Da Vinci Group– I think I was more excited than they were!

A bit of background first. Started in 2012,Da Vinci Group is an education enterprise that combines the ​collective specialties of neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, arts, and education to revolutionise conventional teaching and learning methodologies.

One of their pioneering programmes is NeuroCeramics™ where pottery is used as a hands-on platform to engage children and stimulate creative expression. It is something I believe in too – that children actually learn best when they are actively involved in an activity and using their hands.

To start off, we were given small blobs of lead-and-toxin free clay to play with. The boys held them gingerly in their hands slowly getting themselves with the weight and texture of the clay.   They described it as cold, sticky, heavy… then they proceeded to roll/squish/prod/flatten/pinch/poke the clay. As you do 😉

Since it was Mother’s Day weekend, we were asked what our happiest memory with our mother/child was and to make something to represent that memory.

Ryan said he liked to play soccer so he made a soccer ball. Jo flattened his lump of clay and drew a face with the satay stick and declared that it was ‘Mama!’ so I guess he is happy being with Mama 🙂 I made a rainbow because just being with my boys made me happy.

Founder Amu then taught us how to make a clay dish. Ryan shaped our clay into a round bowl shape adeptly and since Jo liked drawing faces, I rolled for him small balls of clay for him to draw our family of five. How’s that for teamwork? Ta-da, our family smiley face clay bowl!

Our bowl will be glazed and fired up in the kiln at 1200 degrees Celsius for a few days. Can’t wait to get it back!

It was wonderful looking around the room to see the other mother-child pairs working together to create something beautiful – there were rectangular trays, tea-cups, dishes, etc., all with lovely personalised touches!

My boys enjoyed working with their hands, as did I. I also really appreciated that the session was short and sweet, just right for my fidgety boys! I don’t often spend enough time crafting and chatting with my boys so this was a really sweet and meaningful way to spend Mother’s Day with them.

***

If you are keen to try out clay pottery, you can check out the following programmes:

  1. June holidays Da Vinci Group In-house Workshops for Kids ($100, minimum 2 sessions from dates below)

For 2 hours everyday, your child will experience fun in learning through DVG’s highly acclaimed NeuroCeramics® and NeuroTheatre® Programmes. While discovering new content in our classes, your kid will work with clay to mould their creations. Thereafter, using stories, drama, movement, and music, they will be exposed to embodied learning, which will show them how to take ownership as storytellers, and cultivate their creativity and divergent thinking. You can sign up here. Quote ‘OLIMOMOK’ for 10% discount, offer valid till 31 May 2016.

PS. There are also June holiday programmes at Trehaus CoWork at Claymore Connect, BibiNogs at Kings Arcade and Brick4kidz at Turf Club – get in touch with them to find out more!

Dates/Time:

Week 1: 29th, 31st May, 1st, 2nd June 2017: 3pm to 5pm

Week 2: 5th, 6th, 8th June: 10am to 12pm OR 3pm to 5pm

Week 3: 12th, 13th, 14th ,15th June: 10am to 12pm OR 3pm to 5pm

Week 4: 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd June 2017 – 3pm to 5pm

2. Dragon Kiln Tour ($90 for 1 Parent and 1 Child aged 2 and up)

Hop on our Dragon Kiln Tours this May and June as we bring you through the history and heritage of one of the oldest surviving brick-built kilns in Singapore. You and your child will be introduced to clay, ceramics, and the firing process in the two hour session. 

You and the little ones will also have a hands-on free play session where you will both get the opportunity to touch, feel, explore and appreciate the clay medium. To conclude the tour, you will each paint your very own ceramic coaster using underglaze.

**Minimum 20 people a session for the tour to start.

Choose from the following dates:

16, 19, 23 May, 5, 6, 8, 23 June: 1030 to 1230am

19, 30 May, 8, 12, 23 June: 230pm to 430pm

3. You can also try the KlayKit® (retail price is $180), an educational revolution in a box. The KlayKit® takes discovery with clay to the next stage, through practising Neuroeducation at home (or anywhere you choose to go). Retail price is $180, with 4 activities inside. Once again, key in discount code ‘MOM&I’ to get 10% discount. Valid until 31 May 2017.

Jo’s first school excursion

I joined Jo recently on his first ever school excursion.

I wasn’t actually planning to go, because I wanted to save my leave for ‘more important’ things like holidays but then again, I thought this was probably the last time I could legitimately join my last baby on a school trip. Sniff.

Jo was super happy to hold my hand, sit next to me and take the bus together. He had this slightly bewildered look the whole time – like he couldn’t believe I was there in school with him! Just him! Poor third child of mine – you really do get very little one-on-one time with me!

We headed to Toa Payoh Amaze for the morning. Indoor playgrounds are not my cup of tea. Very physically challenging to run with him through the made-for-children-not-adults rabbit warren of tubes/slides/tunnels. I gave up following him after a while. He was fine on his own anyway, and it was really nice to see him play with his teachers and little friends. Made me realise I don’t see him enough in school 🙁

Few funny observations of the day: As Jo is enrolled in an all-Chinese program, I realised he would call his beloved Lao Shi all the time to get her attention or show her something cool but then he’d just stop there because he didn’t know how to articulate what he wanted to say in Chinese. He also could not tell me any of his friends’ names, even though most of them could call him by his name. He is quite the popular boy in his class – I think because he is quite playful and chatty. His teacher also pointed out to me the girl he is always with – I was like, huh, what girl? How come he never tells me anything from school? 😉

The children had Macs for lunch and then we called it a day. And we boarded the bus back to school. I had a lovely morning – just my baby boy and I.

Labour Day Campout at Pasir Ris Park

We have been thinking of camping with the kids for a long time and we finally got to try it out over the long Labour Day weekend. We were not gung-ho enough to stay overnight so we just did a day camp. Baby steps!

We arrived at Pasir Ris Park at noon, which was not very wise because it was scorching hot.

We found our pit (which you can book through the NParks website for $20 – the pits get booked really quickly!) and made a few sweaty trips to and fro the car carting all our barang-barang over. It’s amazing how much you have to bring for just half a day at the beach!

We laid out a few mats on the grass and set up our tent (a last-min $29 buy from Decathlon!) and hammock, which thrilled the boys to bits.

We tucked into our packed lunch (fried beehoon from home) on the mats. Many fun first experiences for the boys that day – they climbed trees, chilled out in the hammocks and even took a quick shower from a bucket. At one point, Jo gleefully decided to take a bath in our one and only clean pail of water!

Our friends popped by for a visit in the afternoon as well. The kids played on the beach, scooted around and munched on watermelon slices with juice dripping down their elbows. The stuff of childhood 🙂

The hardest part was probably trying to make Ryan and Jo take an afternoon nap that day. The sun was directly overhead and the tent really felt like a sauna! In the end, they fell asleep out in the open with the sea breeze blowing.

Foops and my mum started the BBQ in the evening whilst I brought the boys to the playground to play. Even though it is quite dated, I still think this is one of the bigger, better playgrounds in Singapore. The boys could really play all day there!

We made our way back to the BBQ when the sky started to darken. We tucked into delicious BBQ food – chicken wings, hot dogs, sweet potatoes, etc. My sisters played a few hilarious rounds of ‘What time is it, Mr Crocodile?’ and ‘Eagle catch the chicks’ with my boys. It was quite lovely just watching them play and enjoying the sea breeze.

The boys got quite upset when we packed up to go home. ‘But we have a tent, Papa/Mama!’ I, on the other hand, was really grimy and exhausted from being out in the sun all day and couldn’t wait to go home to take a shower and crash into my comfy bed. Sorry boys, maybe next time ok!

It was a fun experience. Am glad we got to try it out albeit for a few hours. I am still not a fan of the hot and humid weather so if we ever do it again, it will be purely out of true love for my boys, haha!

Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth

It’s that time of the year again – Singapore Art Museum (SAM)’s family-focused exhibition, Imaginarium, is back for its seventh year running. It is the one arts event in Singapore we never miss so we were thrilled to be back over the weekend to check out this year’s offerings.

Through inspiring and engaging artworks, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth invites us to take a closer look at the surroundings and environments we reside in and see how people, flora, and fauna, adapt to their ever-changing surroundings.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a lovely picnic-like set-up at the very entrance of SAM 8Q. I also really loved the locally-inspired floral backdrop (by Fleurapy) made out of old-school calendars, chaptehs, and paper balls. Super cute and great for photo ops!

Our first stop was Lizard Tail (by Hiromi Tango). Walking in to the room filled with psychedelic-looking sculptures bathed in a warm orange-red glow, I felt like we were transported to another world.

Entirely hand-crafted out of materials such as wires, yarn and cloth using various techniques (macramé, patchwork, knitting, pom-pom making, etc.) complete with real bells and whistles, the details of this intricate artwork are truly astounding to look at in person. I could probably study it all day!

Through the colourful and interactive soft-sculpture environment, Hiromi Tango shares tales of adaptation and survival based on the metaphor of the lizard’s unique ability to regrow its lost tail. Entirely hand-crafted out of materials such as wires, yarn and cloth using various techniques (macramé, patchwork, knitting, etc.), the details of this intricate artwork are truly astounding to look at in person.

There was a small activity station where my boys made pom-poms to add to the artwork 🙂

If you asked my boys’ which was their favourite exhibit, I think they would unanimously say ‘the mushrooms’!

Sited in oft-overlooked corners of the museum, Where am I (by Calvin Pang) is a series of clustered mushrooms painted in vivid colours.

My boys were giggly with excitement running up and down the stairs with their binoculars in search of the elusive mushrooms. Made out of real white beech mushrooms, they were super tiny and tucked in obscure corners so you can imagine the excited squeals when they do manage to spot a new cluster!

This whimsical work attempts to illustrate how surprises come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found even in our most well-trodden routes – and the delight one experiences in making these discoveries.

Next, I found The Tree and Me by Nandita Mukand a bit underwhelming.

Inspired by the old trees along Singapore’s East Coast Park, this artwork is made of newspapers coloured with natural dyes such as henna, turmeric and coffee. This ‘tree’, like the old trees of East Coast Park, carries within it the stories of generations.

In the next room, we also checked out Another Island by Nipan Oranniwesna.

Embedded in the floor were 598 photographs of Singapore, each encased in a tiny bubble. Like a constellation of dew drops, these images of our urban landscapes, natural landscapes, and scenes of the everyday are miniscule and almost imperceivable from a distance. Nipan invites viewers to step upon the platform to look at these vignettes of Singapore from a different and more intimate perspective.

The boys enjoyed getting down on all fours to peer at the pictures in the ‘bubbles’. Even though I found the photographs completely unrecognizable, I appreciated the quiet, unassuming nature of the artwork which draws viewers in (quite literally) for a closer look.

The whimsical aptly-named Wanderland by Mary Bernadette Lee was another definite crowd pleaser.

Your senses will be in for a treat as you walk through the suspended teepee tents with hanging mobiles, lanterns, textile birds, birds drinking from a deep well, pastel raindrops, paper cones with bells, etc.

With its interactive and immersive nature, Wanderland evokes vivid memories and imaginings of our experiences with the natural environment, be it a trek through the tropical rainforest or a stroll through a park.

Personally, I wish the exhibit was a bit more ‘hardy’ and children-friendly though because it was really hard for the museum minders to keep reminding my hyperactive boys from tearing through the entire exhibit and not bringing down the roof. Nevertheless, a very charming and pretty exhibit you must not miss!

Imaginarium is never complete without weird and wonderful creatures. My Wonderful Dream by Eko Nugroho imagines lands without borders – where fantastical characters float freely across islands and continents, and where people recognise the similarities rather than differences within each culture.

My boys especially Jo (who refused to go anywhere near) were very spooked by the strange characters – they described them in the funniest ways: one resembled Piloswine from Pokemon, another had a box for a head and was hugging a red bolster and another looked like a rooster. I liked the bold and vivid artwork on the walls – another great place for photo ops!

My WonderfulDream suggests that life would be beautiful if we lived in peace, happiness, tolerance, and togetherness, but it also ponders the reality of humanity’s complex psyche. With our yearning for advancement, and with the pressures of rapid change introduced by globalization and technology, is a harmonious world achievable or is it just a dream?

We were quite taken by Floating Mountain by Unchalee Anantawat. Inspired by the imaginary landscapes in her dreams, the work expresses the artist’s certainty that there are indeed other worlds – be they dream-worlds or universes that humans have yet to explore.

The beautifully-landscaped volcano spewing bright orange lava across the room was truly quite a stunning spectacle. The boys enjoyed touching the giant ball of lava (yarn) that looked invitingly soft and sprawling on the floor to check out the glowy underside of the volcano.

There was also a small activity corner where children were invited to make their very own dream mobile but my hungry boys had no patience to sit down that day. Sigh!

My boys were rather intrigued by LICENSE 2 DRAW by UuDam Tran Nguyen which was essentially a robotic drawing machine which drags marker pens across a sprawling canvas.

LICENSE 2 DRAW can be accessed and activated from anywhere in the world, highlighting how our once vast and uncharted world has now become ‘accessible’ with one simple ‘click’. The artwork demonstrates in real time, how we connect, communicate, interact and negotiate.

If you like playing with remote control cars like my boys do (husband included), you have to check this out!

Our last stop was Lie of the Land by  Bounpaul Phothyzan. Laos remains the most heavily bombed country in the world with thousands of undetonated bombs still scattered across its land. In this artwork, metal bombshells have been repurposed as planters filled with flowers and shrubs, making a powerful statement about the resilience of the human spirit and one’s ability to innovate in the face of obstacles.

It was quite a humbling, bittersweet experience seeing my innocent boys standing next to the beautifully-restored bombshells. Probably the most meaningful exhibit of the day. It is situated in the small room in front of the museum so please don’t miss it!

Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth is now running at SAM 8Q from now till 27 August 2017. Be prepared to spend at least a good 1-2 hours exploring the exhibits . Definitely worth checking out! There are many more craft activities for children in the various rooms too – I will have to go back with my boys again to try them out!

Piano recital at The Arts House

Last weekend, we attended Sean and Ryan’s piano recital at The Arts House (the old Parliament House). We have been practicing hard and looking forward to this day for the past few months!

Sean and Ryan have been attending piano lessons at Music for Young Children (about 3.5 years for Sean, 1 year for Ryan) and the once-in-2-years recital is a wonderful way of showcasing how far they have come in their music journey.

It was Ryan’s (5yo) first recital and true to form, he took it very seriously. He played the castanet in an ensemble. He bugged me to practise every night and would go over the rhythm with me ever so often. On the actual day, he was super excited and asked me many times when he could put on his bowtie and gel his hair. He really surprises me all the time!

He did great on stage. He was the most serious-looking one who never missed a beat – that’s Ryan for you 🙂

This was Sean’s (7.5yo) second recital. What a long way we have come from his ‘My Little Teapot’ days (what he played for his first recital two years ago)!

We actually had a hard time deciding on the concert piece. We finally settled on one of his Grade 2 exam pieces less than a month from the concert. He practised every night. He was cool as a cucumber and played fairly well on stage. Bravo, Sean!

I think it was a good experience for the boys to play on stage in front of an audience. I, for one, was beaming with pride watching the many beautiful performances put up by the children. In a way, it paid due recognition to the many tedious hours of lessons and daily practices  the children (and parents!) have put in.

I hope my boys will continue to make beautiful music and they learn that with hard work and perseverance, they can always do anything they set their hearts to.

PS. Starting on music lessons and Sean’s first recital.

Easter Egg Hunt

We had a little impromptu Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday.

We had a very busy weekend and I only pulled it together on the very day after a quick trip to the supermarket to stock up on goodies to fill up the plastic eggs (recycled from last year’s hunt). Would ideally like to have started with the real story of Easter and an art and craft activity like eggs dyeing/painting. Maybe next year!

Anyway, the boys had the most fun. Their little cousin joined in too! He just started walking and took the hunt very seriously.

I held Sean and Ryan back to give Jo and E a headstart. They were jumping like mad bunnies, straining to start the hunt and complaining how unfair it was they couldn’t start first and how unbelievably slow Jo and E were. Urgh!

It was good fun for all. I don’t know when they will tire of these treasure hunts but I must continue the tradition as long as they are willing. Hope you had a blessed Easter!

PS. Last year’s egg hunt.