Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Letter to 2014

This year has truly been a very different year. Penning down my thoughts and feelings is just a way to remember the things/people I have gained and the things/people I have lost.

This year is special because ever since I had a vision of what I want to do in life, I have always earmarked the year when I turn 40 to be a year that will change my life. Year after year, I will tell myself that when I reach 40 years old, my dream will be fulfilled. Little did I know what was in stored for me.

The year began with a sentence, "leaving your comfort zone". I knew it will be a year of new challenges and probably challenges in mindset as well.

On April 24, I lost my father suddenly. He just left in less than 8 hours. Without a last word, without a goodbye. The pain and anguish stays even till now after 8 months. I miss my father. And since that day, a part of me changed. For the first time in my life, I experienced sadness that cannot be removed. I was emotionally very weak. I started to think no one loves me, friends round me are suddenly not as close as before. Even family seemed a bit different. I felt like even family cannot understand how I feel. I felt lonely and that has been my nemesis for a long time.


On Aug 14, barely 4 months later, my father-in-law also left us. Battling with cancer for more than a year, he has been as close as my own father to me in the past 12 years. Physically and mentally I know it may be a relief for him to go but no one can be emotionally prepared for death. I can only thank God that I went through it first so that I can stand stronger for my wife and my extended family. Going through the same ceremonies struck a raw nerve I thought was buried.

Now, both Kless and I are only left with our mothers and we will do our best to keep them healthy and happy. That is my resolution for the rest of my life.


In work, for a 40 year old man, this should be the time for consolidation and stability. But far from it, I was asked to switch department in my office. To a very different job scope that in my wildest dream, I would never thought of doing. Like I said, this year is a year of "leaving the comfort zone", so I am ready to take on the challenge if I am needed. I have no time to slip into mid-life crisis as some may say. I can only go forward and stronger than ever. Usefulness creates purpose!

Personal - this year I did something I didn't plan for - a solo overseas trip. Without my wife, my family or my friends. Many friends came to me after the trip and questioned how did I get permission from my wife to go alone. Irony was, Kless planned the trip for me. She suggested the venue, chose the dates and booked the flights for me. But I'm thankful for such a great wife (not because she allowed me to travel alone), because she is truly one who cares for me and wanted me to be better. And indeed this trip changed me. I was more opened to risk and changes. Which probably resulted in my decision in the career switch as well. Now a few friends were jokingly saying, solo trips when you are 40 is the benchmark for a man.


There are a dozen more events that are significant in 2014, like career KPIs, ministry breakthroughs, family trips, etc. But to end off this year, I just want to say a big Thank You to my wife. She has been my support for as long as I can remember. She has been by my side all the time, through the bad and through the good, so much so, I told her that traveling with her alone is equivalent to traveling solo. We are just too close to be separated. I love you dear!

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Not a single year passed for the last 8 years I will not give thanks for my family. They have been my support and will be my support forever.


2015 will be another amazing year for sure. At least I know in work, I'll be expecting lots of changes and adjustments. For my family, I want to create more memories before my girls outgrow that stage of wanting to bond with me. For my mothers, I want them to enjoy life more than ever. For my friends who have seen me through the dark times, I sincerely appreciate your love and concern, we will grow stronger next year!

Last but not least, I pray that 2015 will be a victorious year for my spiritual family, all my leaders will be blessed and God's hands will not be shorten towards them.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Volvo XC90 Weekend Drive

Test Drive

Having driven a sedan all these while, it was a secret dream to be able to drive my family out in a ‘monster’ 7-seater MPV. And the surprise came none more than from Volvo, the Swede car-maker! With its spacious cabin for 7 and the elegant interior!

XC90 7-Seats

The photos were enough to woo any drivers. What are we waiting for?!? Let it go! I mean, let’s go!

XC90 Front Shot XC90 Dash & Steering

XC90 Interior

Without a shadow of doubt, I am not a car expert, neither do I think any serious car buyer will read my blog to understand the specifications of this car, but for holistic sake I will still list down some of the key specs you will find in this Volvo XC90 T5 R-Design.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Engine capacity: 2,497 cc
Max output: 210 bhp/ 154 kW @ 5,000 rpm
Max torque: 320 Nm @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 9.9 secs
Top speed: 210 km/h
Fuel consumption (combination of city/ highway driving): 11.4 L/ 100 km

Automatic, 5-speed

Wheelbase: 2,857 mm
Kerb weight: 2,112 kg
Fuel tank: 80 L

So there you have it, the ‘boring’ specs. Now for the real review, the experience from the users and passengers.

As a driver, one of the most important thing I feel personally is the touch or feel of the interior design. Which is like why certain people like Nikon or Canon cameras, because the settings, the dials, the buttons are designed differently and they like it. As for the Volvo XC90, the design was just right, with a touch of everything within reach.

You can connect your mobile phone via Bluetooth and not worry about the new regulation of using your mobile while driving. The selection buttons on the dashboard are neatly presented and pretty organized in the way I like. I prefer the simple layout compared to certain cars with more fanciful styles.

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Another aspect that should be vital for all drivers is the stability and performance. With the car’s cruise control feature, the drive along the highways were definitely less tiring and translates to better fuel efficiency. Talking about fuel consumption, we barely used up half a tank for a full 3-day round the island traveling, which is amazing for a SUV. I’m talking about traveling from Woodlands to Pasir Ris to Sentosa to Gardens by the Bay to Sembawang to Pandan Gardens to Yio Chu Kang to Sentosa (again). Alright, you get the picture.

The drive was smooth. Even thought it was a bigger car, the maneuverability was relative easy, assisted by the high driving position and a commanding view of the road ahead. This was especially so proven when we had a raining afternoon during the 3-day test drive. There was a reassurance of knowing we won’t be stuck in some flash flood. Plus the All Wheel Drive helped to give some additional safety assurance too.

Volvo’s classic touch for safety was enhanced in the XC90 with its Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which warns driver if you haven’t noticed another vehicle entering your blind spot as you prepare to change lanes. Cool right?


For the space, what can you ask for more in a 7-seater car? The space is huge! Having driven mostly sedan cars, the change to a ‘family car’ is a true blessing. The kids had so much more fun and space to bring their favorite barang barang on board.

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The second row has an in-built car seat for younger kids. Just a pull of the handle and viola, a child booster seat reveals and transforms the center seat just suitable for my small-sized girl.

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For the third row, within a minute or so, you can transform it from a seat setting to a gigantic boot space.

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Most suitable for family picnic.


Did I mention the sun roof? Though not very applicable for the sunny weather in Singapore, where we would most of the time just close the sun roof, but it’s still a novelty to have, especially for the kids.


Thanks to the team from Volvo, inviting us to have the chance to enjoy such a wonderful family car over the weekend and helped us had an even more unforgettable bonding time.


The wife says:
What I really love about the car was how comfortable and relaxing the rides in it were. Not only was the car stable and steady, the engine was quiet as well. Quite a few times, I found myself asleep in the passenger seat because it was just so cosy.
The spaciousness of the car interior was another plus point, in my opinion. Family outings with both sides of the family would be much more convenient and comfortable in a car of this size. It’s a perfect choice for a family car.

The children say:
Can we keep the car please? I like the back seats, because I can have it all to myself, I am the Queen!

The mother says:
哇!Volvo 也有那么大辆的车。能够坐这辆车去KL 就好。
(translation: Wow! Volvo has such big cars too. It would be great if we can drive this car to KL.)
She is thinking of our CNY trip. Volvo, are you keen to bless us again? =p

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sentosa PLAYcation 2014

Sentosa needs no introduction when it comes to FUN. But still year after year, Sentosa and its team of dedicated staff never fails to bring us new and innovative FUN, especially for the families.

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The State of FUN presents Sentosa PLAYcation 2014, a chance to create larger-than-life memories, with giant inflatables!

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Head over to Toyland (Palawan Beach Open Car Park), and enjoy the impressive gigantic inflatables. Available only till 4 Jan 2015, opens daily from 11am to 9.30pm (except 31 Dec, closes at 6.30pm).

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Daddy’s point of view – Santa with shades.
Girls’ point of view – Santa in “Jack-in-a-box”.
Difference in height sees different things.

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Again a proof that the girls are better than me in understanding the FUN. I thought this was a bear in a “Zoro” mask, a thief bear. But the girls immediately recognized it as a Super Hero Bear. And they are right.

Here they are trying to help the bear float higher, but the wind did the trick.

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This bear is so cool, even Kless and myself were so tempted to play.

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I have no idea what is this, but anyway the colorfulness of it attracted almost everyone who passed by to just lean in and take a photo.

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And a cheeky selfie with my dear wife.

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A Toyland is never complete without a playtent area for the kids. Spend $6 per 20mins playtime. A great break for the parents before heading off to other attractions on the island.

Bouncy Castle is always the girls’ favourite. Took us a tough time to pull them away from the fun.

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Right in the playtent, we found another bouncy thingy. But it’s more than just the normal bouncy fun.

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See the black patch on the bouncy castle? This is what you can do.

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Carry your kids up for a “sticky” good time! They will sure love to enjoy it!

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Don’t leave Toyland until you checked out the Snow Globe, a 4-meter tall inflatable.

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Chose your props by the side and pose inside the globe. $5 per try, up to 6 adults.

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As we were make our way to USS, we passed by another Fun place, the Candyland.

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Take your selfies or wefies with the super cute gumball machine and rainbow lollies.

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Universal Studios Singapore FUN. We took photos with all out favourite Sesame characters.

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And since we had the Universal Express passes, we took almost all the ‘bearable’ rides with minimum waiting time. So cool! For a personal record, I finally took the Transformer Ride. Now I can boost to my friends, I have conquered my fear. But still a ‘No’ to the more adventurous rides.

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Went for the new Water World show but sadly the show was cancelled halfway through due to bad weather.

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Ending off our day of FUN with snow in USS.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard K830


Have you ever wonder how to type in the dark? Or how to control your connected TV even in the dark?

Introducing the Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830. This keyboard is designed to enhance your connected-TV experience. It’s the best way to wirelessly control your computer when it is connected to the TV, and a must-have for the modern-day living room.

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The brightness of the backlit keys automatically adjusts based on the amount of light in the room, allowing you to easily type in the dark. Plus, the in-built touchpad gives you precise cursor control from up to 33 feet (10m) away.

Key Features
Backlit keys
: Keys automatically dim or brighten based on the amount of light in the room. If no typing is detected after five seconds, the backlight turns off to help you save power.

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Keyboard and mouse all in one: By combining a traditional keyboard and a touchpad into one device, you get streamlined navigation for your connected TV. The touchpad is smooth and responsive with accurate cursor control and enhanced gesture functions for easy navigation.

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Navigate from a distance: Lean back and browse with a fast, reliable wireless connection from up to 33 feet (10m) away. The tiny plug-and-play Unifying receiver allows you to start typing immediately, without installing software or pairing the devices.

Rechargeable: The micro-USB cable makes recharging easy. You can even use your keyboard while it is recharging. A full charge gives up to 10 days (based on 2 hours per day with backlight at full brightness) of power.

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System Requirements
Windows®7 , Windows 8 or later

1 set of Illuminated Keyboard K830 worth S$139.00.
If you would like to participate in the giveaway, please fulfill the following criteria:

1. You must be a fan of J Babies’ Dad facebook page. If you are not, you can like us here.
2. You must like and share this blog post on your Facebook wall with the comment, “I want a free Logitech Keyboard!” and tag Isaiah Kuan or J Babies’ Dad, so that I can track your participation.

Closing date of giveaway: Fri, 26 Dec 2014.