Friday, August 31, 2012

Movie Review - TED

Sponsored Review


Alright, before you shift your cursor to the top right corner to close this post, just give me a few more seconds to explain why this show is probably not as bad as you think.

Reasons why you should watch the movie
1. Because it is a comedy, we all need some laughter from all the stress at work, right?
2. It’s a surprisingly sentimental bromance story, not because I’m gay, but because guy-bear thing is not a gross way to bring out the idea of bromance
3. Mila Kunis, do I need to say more?


Official synopsis
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish...and has refused to leave his side ever since.


Still not convinced, check out the 2 trailers.

Regular Trailer
Restricted Trailer

Before the movie
Me: Do you know what movie are we watching?
Wife: No.
Me: It’s about a bear.
Wife: Huh?
Me: A bear and a guy.
Wife: You like such movie?

After the movie
Me: So what do you think about the movie?
Wife: Funny. But it’s not very suitable for kids, quite a bit of coarse language.
Me: Of course, it’s M18 rating.
Wife: This is not your type of movie, but still a very funny show.
Me: I think the bear is very cute, maybe I should buy a bear too..

Thanks omy for the invitation. Gave me and wife a chance to par-tok on a mid-week night.

ted_facebook_profile_picture ted_facebook_profile_picture ted_facebook_profile_picture

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Revisited - Gardens By The Bay

Yes, we are back to the same garden in exactly one week apart. What else can I say? We love the nature and the new Gardens by the Bay provides just that. When we were there last weekend, the  Gardens just welcomed it’s 1,000,000th visitor in less than 7 weeks.


This is really a huge place, this time round we took a different route and realised that we have barely walked through half the place the first time we were there. Found this spot just slightly near the OCBC Skyway, great place to take a photo of most of the Supertrees.


If I have a garden at home, it would be so cool to have any of these benches in it.


Double up for photo prop.


Initially I thought the girls would be bored since we just visited the same place not long ago, but thankfully the smile on their faces were enough to tell us we didn’t make the wrong choice.



Time to visit the 2 conservatories and enjoy some air-conditioning. Thanks to Lisa, we were able to buy tickets to the 2 Conservatories for half the price. $10 for adults and $6 for child. Worth it!!


Flower Dome
Size – 1.2 hectares (approx. 2.2 football fields)
Temperature – 23°C to 25°C
Capacity – 1,400 people
Features – Plants from the Mediterranean and semi-arid subtropical regions, complemented by changing displays in the Flower Field to reflect different seasons and festivals


Once we stepped into the dome, we were in awe of the size and the spectacular architectural design which is already one of the icons of Marina Bay.



Pardon the quality of the photos, as I was not well prepared for the dim of lights.





These are Carpets of flowers – Mangle’s Kangaroo Paw.



Japanese Camellia


Hibiscus (supersize)



Cloud Forest
Size – 0.8 hectares (approx. 1.5 football fields)
Temperature - 23°C to 25°C
Capacity – 1,200 people
Feature – Plants from Tropical Montane regions between 1,000 to 3,500 metres above sea level. A 35-metre man-made mountain (Cloud Mountain) with waterfall.


Though all three girls were slightly drenched by the waters, their BIG SMILE says it all.


Didn’t take photos of the flowers since we had enough of it in the other dome, but the captivating part for me was more of  the magnificent architectural designs and settings.


Reflections of the waterfall on the huge window panes, coupled with the MBS lights as background.


Right before we left, it was my chance to finally put my tripod to work and take some night shots.




Took a short 2mins video clip of the OCBC Skyway show.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Maternity Leave vs Fertility Rate

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this field and I am just stating my 2 cents worth of comment. Do not condemn me if whatever I write is incorrect.

Recently our trade union (NTUC) in response to calls by the National Population and Talent Division for ideas to boost Singapore’s falling fertility rate, recommended that working mothers be given 6 months of paid maternity leave, with another optional 6 months of unpaid leave.

Quoting the NTUC President Diana Chia
"It's important for us to encourage employers to embrace better work-life (balance). Particularly after delivery, there are certain stresses for women. Many women, because of this difficulty, leave their job to take care of their family. And to get them back to work is also an enormous task. So we're actually looking at how we can phase in this.”

The Asian Parent wrote an article asking for some feedbacks from the public and from what I read, there are definitely more than just the maternity leave issue that is the main concern for parents or parents-to-be.

I like what Sher-li Torrey (founder of Mums@Work) shared in the article
“In truth, parenthood is lifetime and (parents) actually need more time off when the child is a toddler, goes to school, etc. Though the first 6 months is important, it’s the first 6-12 years that we need more support.”

It is so true that a child’s development is not just the first 6-12 months. In fact any parent would agree that parenthood is a lifetime commitment. The idea of increasing maternity leave is not a bad thought, but it is just a blanket solution to a very complex problem. A simple fact that we do not feed the same food to all  children just because it is nutritious, goes to show that we can not have one blanket solution to tackle the problem of falling fertility rates in Singapore. In my own opinion, an extension of maternity leave form the current plan is not going to work at all.

From the companies’ point of view
I’m not sure how many companies will be happy with an absence employee for 6 months. Plus the child care leave, annual leave, medical leave, etc. Any company who is employing a working mother will be expecting only about 40% performance. I am not a boss, but that maths does not look good to me.

From a mother’s point of view (pardon my ignorance)
I have spoken to several mothers before and as much as all of them wants to have more time with their kids, but sometimes working hours away from home is a very good break for them, both emotionally and mentally. In other words, working is a good form of balance for some mothers. Of course, there are the SAHMs, I can just totally salute them for their tenacity and patience.

From a father’s point of view (again I do not represent all fathers)
I do not see giving more maternity leave will encourage me to have a 3rd child. I like what another parent said in the above-mentioned article, Parenthood ≠ Motherhood. If the nation do not look into paternity benefits, what good will it be even if the maternity benefits are very tempting? Remember it takes 2 to clap, it takes 2 to have babies.

So, what can the nation do to help fertility rates? Here are some suggestions:
1. Increase paternity leave (maybe 1 month, or at least make paternity leave mandatory), fathers experience all the sleepless nights during the first few months too, in fact when mothers are resting during the “first month”, we are the ones who takes care of everything like feeding the baby, buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc.

2. Lower early child care cost, currently most parents are paying anything from $400-$1200 to send their children to childcare centres, and that is just for one child.

3. On the same note of child care, we should really look into having more child care centres. I wanted to send my 2nd girl to a nearby centre but one year before, the centre is already full. What can we do? We have to send her to another centre which is much further. More cost!

BUT… It’s not just the responsibility of the Nation to make it happen. I think a change in mindset is needed to understand the importance of having children. If the younger generation of couples do not see the need or importance of having kids, then no amount of “monetary bait” will help to boost the fertility rate.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum

When we visited the Chinese Garden recently, at the same time we visited The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum.


Opens daily from 9am to 6pm, the museum is about 15mins walk from the main entrance of the Chinese Garden.



Okay.. from outside the museum seems to be nothing spectacular, and with a paying fee of $5 per adult and $3 per child, I was initially not very keen to go in.


Though $16 (2 adults & 2 children) is a gamble, but the girls were very excited to see some tortoises.


Ended up, we were totally surprised to have learnt so much about turtles and tortoises. You can never imagine that there are so many different species of tortoise.


Alligator Snapping Turtle
This is one of the biggest freshwater turtles in the world, holding the record for maximum weight of 99.5kg.


Pig-Nose Turtle
It leads an extremely aquatic life in rivers, lakes and lagoons. It’s diet is omnivorous, based on aquatic plants, water insects and small fish.


Red-Footed Tortoise
The common name arises from the red scales on its forelegs. It has attractive red markings on the dark-coloured carapace and sometimes on its head. The Chinese valued it for its “8-shaped” carapace which is deemed auspicious.


It has a flat and slightly distorted head with tiny eyes, very close to its snout. It is known to the Chinese as the “dragon-head turtle” and this species is the only known turtle that can smile. It’s a weak swimmer; therefore the nasal region of the turtle is elongated, enabling the nose to be used as a snorkel for breathing as well as lurk quietly for long periods when the turtle is in shallow waters.


Radiated Tortoise
This tortoise is very long lived with specimens known to be over 100 years old. It lives principally in forests. Mating is preceded by long courtship displays on the part of the males.


Ornate Box Turtle
The shell of this turtle is uniquely formed such that it is able to withdraw completely or lock itself up and looks like a box when under threat. This species is commonly found on land thus often mistakenly taken as a tortoise.


Chinese-Striped Necked Turtle
It lives in stagnant or slow flowing water. The elongated carapace has three conspicuous keels and is up to 24cm long. An endangered species, captured indiscriminately for commerce.



Enough said for the different species of turtles and tortoises. I’m quite sure if you are still interested, you will definitely visit the museum to learn more. As for the girls, besides being scared captivated by the weird turtles, they enjoyed the chance to just get close to some of the more common turtles and even fed them.




As for me, it was a one of the rare chance to take some animal shots whereby the subject is slow-moving and I have lots of time to frame my shots.



Caught you eating…



A small swing for the child & the child-within-us.


It was a fun and educational trip.