Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anna's Neighbourhood -Introducing Ice Kachang to Little One

We read up the book, Anna's Neighbourhood (one of the book in the EFI early readers series). We decided to explore our own neighbourhood and learn a bit more about ice kachang, the dessert that was mentioned in the book.
We are reading this set of books! It comes with an activity book and a parents' guide

There is a short paragraph in the book describing ice kachang as colourful snow mountain with red beans, yellow sweet corns, soft green jellies and sweet sticky seeds (presume it's attap chee/ seeds of nipa palm). We have in fact eaten this dessert 3 times at different locations ever since we have read the book. Reason being: I can't find soft green jellies in any of these. Do you know of any places that sells ice kachang with all the ingredients as mentioned in the book?

Our last location was at Golden Swallow Desserts in Ghim Moh market. This market will be close end of this month and relocate to the temporarily market across the road.
Little One loves eating ice kachang after being introduced to the dessert. However, due to the huge amount of ice, I have to share with her. Otherwise, she would develop a cough. The ice kachang featured in this picture is bought from, Golden Swallow Desserts, located in Ghim Moh Market, a place which I am familiar with. It has been around for as long as I remember. Coming back to this market always brings back fond memories. I love their Bo Bo Cha Cha and Chendol. The market would be closed by this month's end for renovation. I am not sure whether the owners would move to the temporarily market which is located opposite the current location. Even if they are, I am not sure whether pricing would be the same. If you are around the region (15 min walk from Buona Vista MRT) this weekend, do drop by to the market before it is closed for renovation!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happiness is :-Hidden in Plain Sight

When you see the title of the post, are you thinking that I am going to blog about happiness that is hidden in plain sight? No! Not exactly! I found happiness in reading books I enjoy and this " Hidden in Plain Sight" is one of them!

Do you like puzzles, mysteries and adventure? If you do, this book is something you should read!

Hidden in Plain Sight by Su-Lin Ang

The Lee cousins love Kong Kong's (Grandfather's) story of the family treasure but none of them (except the youngest two) think it is a true story, until they accidentally dislodge a chinese puzzle hidden in an heirloom (an old chinese sofa). The cousins suddenly finds themselves in an exciting treasure hunt trying to break down codes and ciphers to solve the mystery of the puzzle which may lead to the treasure.

My review
Set in Malaysia and Singapore of the 1960s, this book is addictive! As a child I love solving puzzles and reading storybooks about mysteries and adventures such as Nancy Drew! This book is the right mix of all these.
The book  also touched on cousin bonding, Hence, there was a couple of nights, I dreamt about my own cousins of whom we have gradually lost touch since we grew up.
Recently, I have also developed a love of local historic places. What I like best is the book is being set in Singapore, so a lot of landmarks, language and games mentioned in the book are familiar even though it is a pre-independence period.
This book is the second runner up in Scholastic Asian Book Award in 2012. This award is a search for new Asian children stories that is written in English. Although it is an award started in 2011, I find the works of these authors rather substantial. I have read three books who were shortlisted for the award so far and this being my favorite due to the fact that I love puzzles and this story developed is set in Singapore. I wish there would be part 2.

Activity: Landmark hunt
This book is suitable for upper primary students. Before reading the book, bring them to the Singapore River near Victoria Memorial Hall to do a mini landmark hunt. The following clues was being given in the book. Tell them to find the place that has a bridge, a lantern, a circle within a circle and a big X going through both of them, a lion and 3 crescent, a river, a cow with a cross over it and a horse with a cross over it.

The answer to the above question is :

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chinese Custom - Wedding

While I attending a talk about Chinese motifs on ceramic in library @ Chinatown. These are what I saw exhibited in the library on the way to the programme zone. It was as though I had stepped into a mini musuem.

Qun Kua 裙褂(Traditional Chinese wedding dress)
It is a two piece garment. Qun being the skirt and Kua the jacket. Originated from the Manchurian but was later evolved and being widely worn by the Cantonese during weddings. There should be a dragon (symbolising the groom) and a phoenix (symbolising the bride) embroidered down the front of a traditional qun kua. In the past, only the king and the imperial members can wear dragons and phoenixes on their robes. The qun kua can also be adorned with auspicious embellishments like peonies (symbolising prosperity) or pomegranates (symbolising blessed with numerous offsprings). It was originally black top and red bottom. Now, this combination is reserved for elderly women. Then, it has evolved to entirely red as red is a lucky colour for chinese. In olden days, only the first wife is allowed to wear red, concubines have to wear lighter shades such as pink or peach.

Wedding procession
裙褂 - spotted "butterfiy motifs" which means "hu die" in Chinese. It is a phonogram for 福叠 "fu die" which means loads of happiness


Wooden craved Bridal sedan

Bride's dowry?

Even the chair in it is carved!
The exhibit showcased only these wedding related items. There are also panels describing Chinese custom such as wedding, baby shower, birthday for the elderly as well funeral. Do drop by if you are in Chinatown Point.

Linking with :-

The Jenny Evolution


Thursday, September 18, 2014

A glimpse at Ballet Class

Little One loves ballet and hence I signed her up for a library programme.
Pardon for the poor picture quality. They are taken by my handphone.
Sit in a circle

Start with some stretching.. feet together!

Bring your knees toward your face and point your toes
 The following proofs difficult for kids. I can only see 3 out of 10 doing the right thing.
Stretch out your legs as far as possible and reach forward. Straight legs, please!  

Stretch your back this way

Plies- 1st position. Your back has to be straight

Getting ready to move across the room in twos.

Kick your leg as high as possible and as straight as possible. Pointing your toes out.

Towards the end, Little One stomped her legs as if she was a giant. Epic fail!
Linking with :-

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Charms of Katong Part 2

A continuation of previous post... our trail continues...

What made up of Katong? 
1) ethnic communities (Malay, Straits Chinese, and Eurasian)
2) famous heritage food and establishment (laksa, kueh chang and tau kwa pau)
3) heritage properties
4) most popular beach in Singapore

Katong is a place where the new meets the old. I would not say this is the only place that has such properties. There are a couple of places in Singapore which has the similar properties.
Left: Nice furniture at Ali Babar, a coffeeshop by day and a hawker bar by night
Top Right : Some new buildings spotted with modern architecture
Bottom Right: Katong 112, a relatively new shopping mall opened in 2011

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Charms of Katong Part 1

The history of Katong begin as early as 1823 when Francis Bernard, the son-in-law of William Farquhar, started a coconut estate plantation in the district.This part of the land belonged to the rich and prestige in the past. It started mainly as mainly as plantations, then to a wealthy suburb, and now a residential area.

Katong is the name of an extinct species of sea turtle. It also means the rippling effect of a sea mirage when looking at a shoreline. Katong used to be near the sea. That is before the government reclaimed the land.

What does Katong reminds you of?
It reminds me of a very nice Malay song, Di Tanjung Katong. In this post "Charms of Katong Part 1" and "Charms of Katong Part 2", I would introduce some of these places shown in the video.

Where is Tanjong Katong?
Tanjong Katong used to be a beach stretches from upper East Coast Road to Tanjong Rhu. It is now residencial area. I just found out that there is a Fort Tanjong Katong . It is currently being reburied.

I went for the Katong Trail organised by Read! Singapore with a group of people lead by the very author of Sherlock Sam, Adan Jimenez. The authors behind the Sherlock Sam series is written by a husband and wife team under the pseudonym, A. J. Low which stands for Adan Jimenez and Felicia Low- Jimenez. To be very honest, I have yet to read Sherlock Sam series prior the tour, hence, I was quite surprised when I got to know he was the one leading the tour! No offence but I truly had expected a local born Singaporean to do it because of Katong's rich history. 

Adan introduced himself in the beginning of the tour at Marine Parade Public Library. He was born in California and immigrated to Singapore after he graduated in New York University. He lives here for 6 years. His wife is Singapore born and is a Peranakan! She used to live very near Katong and hence, Katong become the first place for Sherlock's first case. Unfortunately, she had an operation then and was not able to join us for the tour though she very much would like to do so. 

Adan said they have actually did a lot of research before writing the book, "Sherlock Sam and the missing heirloom in Katong." And I was taken by surprised that the author actually gave us an handout with loads of details about the places we were to visit in the trail. The authors (although Felicia was not there) were definitely very well prepared and full of passion about this place. 

Marine Parade Public Library and the Marine Parade Community Centre does appear in the story of the missing heirloom. These were the places Sherlock retraced and suspected Auntie Kim Lian may have lost her heirloom on her way to these places.
Author Adan Jimenez showed us where he and his wife got their inspiration to wrote the first book, Sherlock Sam and the missing heirloom in Katong.
I was so suaku (ignorant). I did not know that Katong is actually very near the library. I had expected a tour bus to take us to the destination! 
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