Friday, April 24, 2009

Learning to walk

Adam is thinking hard about walking. He climbs along the furniture and stands up at every opportunity. Couldn't resist this cute photo. Steve and Deanie are assisting while Celia looks on.


Jess talked me into buying this selection of sweet treats which she arranged nicely on the plate. We all then proceeded to sample each thing (don't ask me to name them).
Now I like cakes and bikkies, and I like lollies and dessert... but there wasn't one thing on here that I could eat. Nor could Jess or Rhian or Celia. It all got thrown out! Such waste.

2nd Netball Game

This is Celia getting ready to score the big game (though obviously not the official scorer!) Unfortunately the final score did not go in our favour - the girls' lost 42 to 21.
The worst part was that despite all the hard work and perseverance by the girls, the coaches were so gutted about losing they couldn't even speak to the girls afterwards! They just left! Hmmm... we're still trying to work that one out.

Pauline O'Connor

We got to see Pauline O'Connor (Invercargill) briefly on her way via Singapore after another successful high-school venture to Europe with 24 students. After a quick tour of our apartment, a sandwich, a chat, and a bus trip with us back towards her hotel - she was gone again. Her plan for the 10-hour flight home: marking the kids' Rome projects! Good effort guys - and hope you're safely back with the family Pauline.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Keyboard Duo

This is our first attempt at uploading a video clip. Let us know how you get on viewing it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

First School 'Nationals' netball game

The girls have their first tournament game under their belt, with a good 36-27 win last night at Kallang. Jess played a full game at Goal Keep, putting up a good fight against a very strong (as in fortress-like) Goal Shoot. 
The follow-up to their victory: a 10-minute fast run followed by 40 press-ups, and training again next morning!
Good luck for the next game girls.... you sure have the fitness for it.
Adam and Celia are the team mascots. We are the only parents that attend the games which of course we find difficult to understand. It is just not the culture for parents to attend their child's sports games, even if it is a big tournament.

Blue eyes

No wonder the locals make such a fuss of Adam's eyes: "so blue... so blue... so cute, la".
Jess has been asked a number of times if her eyes are 'real'. Tinted coloured lenses are a big thing here, and some refuse to believe her blue eyes are her own!

Jessie's Art

Jess's art class got to go to a local Art Exhibition on Thursday night, and some of their class work was on display. She said it was a real classy place, and the kids especially enjoyed the fancy snacks offered to them all evening!
The photos are of some of the pieces she recently added to her portfolio.

Celia's shop

Celia loves to create things - the photos are of her 'shop', from which she sold us all sorts of things for a week or so, and her Dolls House.
At the moment she has a hut taking up a whole corner of the living room!

Big sisters

Another very positive aspect of home-schooling is the time that Nadine and Celia get to spend with their baby brother. Adam thinks they are both there purely to entertain him!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Co-curriculum Activities (CCA's)

This week the State Schools' National Competitions begin for all the CCA's (or Co-Curricular Activities).  Steve is one of the teachers in charge of Hockey and  Floor Ball (Floor Ball is a variation of Hockey). Jess and Nadine are in the Netball CCA and their first competition game is on Friday night.
Anticipation is building as preparations began for the Nationals back at the very beginning of the year. Coaches and captains have been calling for more and more practices, and pressure is on in the training as there is a lot at stake (ie. placings and trophies!!!!) for the schools. Needless to say when it's all over there will be some welcome respite from such heavy training, especially for Jess. Deanie is in the team but is too young to play in the Nationals, so she will be side-lined!

Steve's Work Spaces

Staff Office spaces and a couple of classroom shots.

School Assembly

School Assembly is a very formal occasion and happens every morning at 7.40 am. The pledge is spoken and the National Anthem sung.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Singapore is in the middle of its worst-ever food-poisoning outbreak, which claimed a second life yesterday. It is very tragic, and all happened very quickly last weekend. Hundreds have been affected, and one woman also suffered a miscarriage as a consequence of eating at this particular stall.
The papers are now full of the pitfalls of hawker meals (local food stalls), especially hygiene standards in general and the risks of leaving food in the open. The market in question also has a huge issue with RATS! Scary stuff...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Likes and Dislikes

We thought it was time for a reality check, so what is it that we all like and dislike about Singapore - and what do we miss about home?
Steve likes seeing new places, meeting new people, and swimming in our apartment's pool. He likes ice-blended drinks, finding new bus routes, and reading the paper after school.
Markelle likes the malls, seeing new kinds of food, the pool, and new adventures. She loves the movies being so accessible, not having to rush out of the house in the morning, and the huge masses on Sunday!
Jess likes the rain storms, the climate, the food and the malls. She likes the clothes, massages, and getting a tan.
Deanie likes the pool, the heat, and the malls. She likes learning about new places, planning trips, and Sentosa Island.
Rhian likes his mates, the independence, and Tioman Island in Malaysia. He likes drum lessons, chicken cutlets from the stall at school, and orange juice cans.
Celia likes the pool, the doll shops, and the drink vending machine! She likes playing with other kids at the playground, letters in the mail, and playing on the computer. She also likes having her friend Chantal over.
Adam likes the loud cars on the motorways, his walker, and his meals!

Steve doesn't like getting up early or the travel time, crowded buses, and he's getting sick of rice. 
Markelle doesn't like high humidity, loud fans on all night, or meals that include fish heads or bones! And none of us like the ants..... dozens and dozens of ants, always.
Jess doesn't like 5.30 am starts, school, sweating, or having a leg injury.
Deanie doesn't like long netball practices, long journeys on the bus, or thunderstorms.
Rhian doesn't like having so much science homework, maths homework, or LA (english) homework!
Celia doesn't like too much heat, science, or missing her classmates during the day!
Adam doesn't like ...... hmmm.... there's not much that Adam doesn't like.

What we miss:
Steve misses wide open spaces; mountains, lakes and rivers; and New Zealand food.
Markelle misses texting Grandma, a swift breeze through the clothes on a washing line, ventilation in the kitchen, and 'real' chocolate biscuits.
Jess misses her friends, and she misses.... EVERYTHING, except for hoar frosts in winter.
Deanie misses the snow, 9a Netball team, and friends. She also misses Letts Gully.
Rhian misses basketball, cricket and rugby, and his trumpet outings with the Roxburgh Brass Band.
Celia misses her friends, school, fish'n'chips, and biking.
Adam doesn't miss much.
We all miss TIMMY the dog :)

Jessie's mates

Jess had a night out on the town with some mates from school - they are from left: Wen Jia, Jess, Amrit, Gwen and Cara. The first photo is of Jess and Cara.

Palm Sunday

We won't ever forget Palm Sunday 2009.  We headed off to 11 am mass on another very hot humid day heading for 38 degrees again like the past 3 days. Parishioners were asked to take a palm branch, and gather for the procession in. Dozens and dozens of people kept arriving till well after the mass started - the masses here are huge. Once inside, the mass progressed as usual, but half way through it started raining outside. By the time we came out at the end, there was TORRENTIAL rain. This was the Singapore we had always imagined!
Despite it being only a 20-minute walk/bus/walk to home we were very quickly completely and utterly drenched. People came from everywhere to help us with the buggy, the baby, an extra umbrella etc ... 'random acts of kindness' as Steve put it. One lady gave us paper hankies for the children, saying to wipe their chest and back so they didn't get pneumonia!
It turned out to be quite fun, walking/running in the pouring rain, soaked through - and Adam didn't mind it one bit. I really wish I'd had the camera handy.
A memorable Palm Sunday - Happy easter week everyone :)
Note: the photo is of a St. Joseph's mass (our local) taken about 3 weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Straits Times

We endeavour to read the newspaper as often as possible, knowing that there is so much to learn in this vast region of Southeast Asia. This week in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, they started the trial for Kaing Guek Eav, otherwise known as 'Duch' - the first of the Khmer Rouge leaders from the Pol Pot regime to be tried for crimes against humanity. I'm not sure if you have this news at home. It is incredible to think that so much has been kept quiet for so long. Kaing Guek Eav is now 69 years old and has confessed his crimes - so of course this will help the cause of historical accuracy a lot as he now prepares to 'tell all'. There is a lot about it each day in the paper, and much of the trial is being broadcast live in Cambodia on radio and television.
In Cambodia for the first time in the last 30 years school students only now finally have a textbook that actually deals with Pol Pot and that whole era of atrocity.
On a lighter note, yesterday's newspaper also had a photo and article about the latest Water Reservoir about to be completed near here. Did you know that Singapore's water comes from 15 of these massive reservoirs, which convert sea water into salt-free water for the population's use. Jess is annoyed as she recently thought of this as an idea and is gutted that someone has got it first!