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Published by cogent media

MCI (P) 114/08/2013

He cleans, he cooks and his wife brings home the bacon Talking to your teenage children about sex! Planning your yearend family vacation? We got you covered

Keong Saik Love Affair Hotelier LOH LIK PENG bares all




Choice Products, Interesting News and More!


Standing Strong is hard. There’s the media, eing a parent in this day and age rnal influences offering the Internet and a host of other exte advice. you a lot of different opinions and


its rned-hotelier Loh Lik Peng, adm Our Cover Personality, lawyer-tu but , now to d pare com past in the how vastly different parenting was larly, DeFRED founder Fred Ho Simi 8). e (pag it at hard ing he’s work business life (page 10). gives you a peek into his family and

The Accidental Hotelier

An interview with hotshot hotelier Loh Lik Peng


itional approach, just when you decide to take a non-trad It becomes even more challenging Vong Hin would be a when the both of them decided that like Yap Vong Hin and his wife did, children (page 12). stay-at-home Dad to look after the

10 Love Amidst The Glitz &


Jeweller Fred Ho reveals his glitzy approach to parenting

children? We talk to too difficult between you and your But, what happens when things get yet manageable (page 16), reveals that conflict is inevitable mediation expert Dr John Ng who teenage children (page 17). t about communicating with your and chat with Dr Ian Gordon Mun

12 It’s A Hard Day’s Night

A Dad shares what it’s like to be a househusband in Singapore

14 A Smart Cookie, He Is

difficult but common th coverage as well, dealing with We’ve continued our extensive heal ren’s diets (page 22). childhood myopia (page 21) and child issues that today’s parents face -

Her world crumbled when she discovered her son’s condition

school vacations, we h, the tough go on holidays. For the Of course, when the going gets toug sea (page 26 and 28). ces both on land (page 24) and at cover a few interesting holiday choi exciting family activity children instead? Check out our Feeling like just a day out with the spread (page 30).



16 Lay Down Your Arms

What happens when parents and children start fighting

est that you would like azine with us or any topics of inter Share your thoughts about the mag or leave your us an e-mail at editorial@familyan us to consider covering. Just drop m/familyandlifemag. comments on our Facebook at

17 Houston, We Have A

Problem Teenage communication 101 18 Your Child, Future Fund Manager Teach your children how to manage

rding job in the world. nt, but many agree it’s the most rewa Yes, it might be difficult to be a pare

their money

Happy reading!


Managing Editor Gerald Woon

20 My Little Bundle Of


Depression Heading down into the depths of

post-natal depression

The fight against short-sightedness

Plan your children’s diet

21 Stop Childhood Myopia 22 Food For The Brood


24 Not Your Usual Vacation

24 30 BITES

32 Come Hungry, Leave Happy

A family-friendly dining destination

With A Contemporary Twist

Discover a side of Singapore you and your family have never seen

Paradise on the high seas

On board the family cruise line

Go outdoors with the family

Head indoors with the family

26 A Floating Metropolis 28 SuperStar Service

30 Certified Outdoor Fun! 31 Certified Indoor Fun!


A list of upcoming family events

Family & Life • Oct Nov2013 2013

Alethea Tan Chef Derrick Ang Dr Ian Gordon Munt Dr John Ng Dr Sandy Umboh Robin Leong Syafiq Rafid Manager | Jessica Ong

Family & Life is published monthly by Cogent Media Pte. Ltd. 100 Beach Road #32-01 Shaw Tower, Singapore 189702 Tel: +65 6704 9266 Fax: +65 6396 3045 Registration No: 201231255H

36 What’s Happening



Senior Marketing Executive| Emily Choo

All materials printed within Family & Life are Copyright 2013 © and protected under the Copyright Act. All rights reserved 2013.


Being a young grasshopper

Designer | Zach

Distributed by MediaWheel Singapore 31 Toh Guan Road East #07-01 LW Technocentre, Singapore 608608 Tel: +65 6560 5272 Fax: +65 6560 4090

Lobster A fun recipe for the family


Writer | Farhan Shah

Colour Separation & Printed by Times Printers Private Limited 16 Tuas Avenue 5, Singapore 639340 Tel: +65 6311 2888 Fax: +65 6311 2801 Licence No. L021/09/2012

Asia’s nutritional kitchen

38 My 2 Cents On...


Gerald Woon

MCI (P) 114/08/2013

34 The Family Garlic Slipper


Managing Editor EDITORIAL

CONTACT US Editorial Enquiries Advertising Enquiries Tel: +65 6704 9279 Email:

33 Healthy Chinese Cuisine


No material of this publication can be reproduced in any form or means – graphic, electronic, mechanic, photocopying, recording, videotaping, etc. – whether in part or in whole, without the written consent of the Publisher. Family & Life will not be held responsible for any infringements of Copyright material in articles submitted by contributors. While every reasonable care has been taken in the compilation of information contained in this publication, the Publisher, editors or their employees and agents shall not be liable for any errors, inaccuracies, and/or omissions howsoever caused. All views expressed in all articles are solely those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Publisher and editor. Family & Life reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or advertorial for any reason and are not liable for claims made by advertisers. The information provided in this publication is solely for reference only. Readers are advised to seek the professional advice from the appropriate advisors, professional or institution for advice and instruction with regard to their personal health issues.

Nov 2013 • Family & Life


SNIPPETS A list of choice products, Ready To Grow interesting news and cool Active growing children require more key nutrients in diets than adults, so as to support the development developments, handpicked their of their bodies and minds. This includes at least two by the Family & Life team glasses of milk a day. Unfortunately, according to a that will interest parents study by the National University Hospital done in 2011, and families! a majority of kids aren’t consuming the recommended amount of milk!

Recognising this, Abbott recently launched GROW Readyto-Drink, a delicious beverage filled with 26 vitamins and minerals and prebiotics. It’s specially designed for children aged between three and 12 and comes in two flavours, vanilla and chocolate. We personally like how convenient the drink is, making it easy for you to pack it into your children’s lunch boxes.

GROW Ready-to-Drink is available at all leading supermarkets. A pack of six goes for S$7.20 (with GST).

A Space For Your Tweens They’re one of the thought leaders and leading retailers in children’s play and now, IKEA has launched a new range of home furnishing items specially catered to the tweens (eight- to 12-yearolds) in your family. Inspire teenybopper dreams, add a touch of attitude or go psychedelic – whatever your child’s aspirations are, there are furniture pieces to achieve it. We appreciate how these pieces, which are part of the Children’s IKEA range, have been lovingly developed based on expert knowledge from both child psychologists and children, and not stodgy, boring adults. Our personal favourite is the quirky RETSAM door tags that help to convey the different moods of your tweens!

The new Children’s IKEA range for eight- to 12-year-olds is available at IKEA Alexandra and IKEA Tampines. Let your kid be a part of the exclusive kid’s club called småles to enjoy even more benefits. Registration is absolutely free. Discover more at

Nutrition On The Go The number one brand for children health supplements in Singapore just created a new flavour for its bestselling Scott’s Multivitamins & Minerals supplement and we’re big fans of it! A natural progression for children who grew up with Scott’s Cod Liver Oil Emulsion, Scott’s Multivitamins & Minerals has only been grape-flavoured for the longest time until just recently, with the new addition of tangerine into its line-up. Thankfully, everything else that is wholesome about it remains consistent. The chewable supplements contains Vitamins A, B, C and D, Calcium and other ingredients that help to maintain the good health of children. We say: reach out for one when you’re at the pharmacies the next time!

Scott’s Multivitamins & Minerals – Tangerine can be purchased at leading supermarkets and pharmacies all over the island. 4

Family & Life • Nov 2013

Ol’ McDonald Took A Bath

Your children will look forward to bath time now with the Funky Farm Bathtime Fun Kit by Baylis & Harding! Suitable for both kids and adults, the bath items comes in three fruity flavours – strawberry, bubble gum and mint – but we wouldn’t recommend tasting them to find out though! We love the cute animal illustrations and vibrant colours on the bath and shower gels, and we’re certain your child (and perhaps even you!) will love it too. The kit items are hypoallergenic and pH-balanced, so delicate and sensitive skins won’t get irritated when using the products.

Funky Farm Bathtime Fun Kit retails at S$14.90 and can be purchased at Watsons outlets.


Cars For EvEryonE In ThE FamIly It started out as a humble mission to give Japanese children small die-cast cars that resembled the vehicles produced by the country’s automobile makers. Today, the Tomica line of toy vehicles has grown in size and popularity across the globe and has become a brand enjoyed by children and parents across generations.

After all, from the age of three, children become interested in the world around them and start to re-create the things they’ve seen and experienced. The model cars provide the perfect platform for your kids to create new stories, have fun and ultimately, learn.

TakaraTomy, creator of the Tomica models, have remained true to its vision four decades after releasing its first car model and have continually churned out vehicle after vehicle. In fact, in Japan, the third Saturday of the month is Tomica Day, as that’s the day the company releases a new model to the public. TakaraTomy don’t just restrict themselves to Japanese car companies now too; they’ve made mini BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis and more!

If you’ve also ever wanted to introduce your children to the intricacies of the roads and transport system in a city, TakaraTomy. has you covered with its Tomica Town series, featuring highways, multi-storey car parks, road tracks and more. There’s even a PlARAIl Train System expansion if you ever decide to expand your children’s town to include a functioning railway system!

But, what makes Tomica so special and appealing to children? Each model is specially designed such that it fits snugly in their hands and some of the models even come with interactive features such as extendable ladders and swinging car doors, making playtime even more fun. There is even an Eco Tomicaseries of car models that emit lights when pushed along the ground, and without needing any batteries.

So, fire up your metaphorical engines, grab your favourite car model or three and dive into a make-believe world with your children, where there is no noise and environmental pollution when you drive around town with your Tomica model cars.

Fun Facts! • • • •

More than 554 million ToMIcA cars have been sold since it was launched There are more than 800 models of ToMIcA cars available If you put all the ToMIcA cars sold bumper to bumper around the world, they would reach all the way around the globe In the year 2000, on ToMIcA’s 30th anniversary, a ToMIcA model made out of pure gold was released and was priced at 1 million yen (S$12,733) SMS your details (Fl<space>Full Name<space>NRIc<space>Email Address) to 8364 1888 and win a ToMIcA hamper worth $150! No purchase required.

And as your children push their Tomica model cars along the ground while lost in their make-believe world, they are not only entertaining themselves but also stimulating their minds and improving their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

Fo u n d i n m a j o r d e p a r t m e n t a l a n d t o y s t o r e s

Nov 2013 • Family & Life


SNIPPETS And . A Pampering Experience awaits

What Are You Curious About?

“Science is cool beans!” Kindle your children’s curiosity for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with, a new online and mobile destination that curates the best and most relevant content the web has to offer in the STEM field. features articles, videos, games and hands-on activities from a myriad of sites, all vetted by a team of experts who ensure the content is of a certain standard and is appropriate for tweens and teens. The best part: it’s completely free! Whether your child is looking for relevant material for his school project or just curious about a certain topic, will keep them occupied for hours while learning at the same time. We should know; we were on the site for quite a while too! The site also incorporates social media and gamification elements that will keep your kids coming back for more. So, why not let your child be entertained while learning about the world at the same time? is jointly created by Twin Cities Public Television and 3M. The site has been extensively beta tested by hundreds of teens. Check it out at

In today’s fast-paced society, sometimes, it’s great to take a short breather and receive a little pampering. That’s exactly what new high-end And . A salon promises to give to you, elevating the humble act of hair styling into a sophisticated indulgence. Your pampering experience begins in the posh waiting room, complete with plush, comfortable couches. You are then led into the inner sanctum where experienced hair stylists, all of whom were handpicked by the founder Angela Lee, work on your crowning glory. While most, if not all, hair salons have a communal washing area, And . A boasts individual glasswalled hair washing basins and state-of-the-art Takara Espoir shampoo stations.

You’ve probably heard about probiotics, the friendly bacteria found within your body that’s responsible for many things including healthy digestion and body immunity. However, what you might not know is that most of the probiotic supplements you consume are actually destroyed by your stomach acids before they actually reach your colon, where they do their work.

grab a box today. Your body and those of your family will thank you for it!

Neobiotics is available in Guardian, Unity Healthcare, Watsons, Mustafa Centre, hospital pharmacies and more. They’re also suitable for vegetarians.

The Neobiotics range of probiotic and prebiotic supplements don’t face such problems. Their clever scientists have micro-encapsulated the good bacteria so that they can travel through your stomach safely before doing what they’re good at within your colon – making you healthy. Specially formulated for your whole family, Neobiotics are easy to consume and has five strains of live probiotic bacteria, so go ahead and

The number one fear in a lot of adults is surprisingly not death but giving a speech in front of a group of people. If that scares you, can you imagine how children feel about it? The folks from InHerShoes and The School of Positive Psychology understand this more than most, and have joined forces to create Puddleworld, a public speaking and drama course specially designed for children. During the 3-day workshop, your kids will: • Build self-confidence • Overcome stage fright • Learn public speaking skills and relaxation techniques • Have fun! No lectures and tutorials at Puddleworld! Instead, your children will discover more about themselves through educational games and fun-

Family & Life • Nov 2013

And . A is targeting to open its doors to the public on 11 November 2013. Discover a posh pampering experience at 14 Scotts Road, #02-29 Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213.

Fortify Your Body

Conquer The Soapbox


Give your tresses an unparalleled experience and walk away after the session not only looking fabulous but feeling great as well.

filled activities, facilitated by experienced trainers and actors like Amanda Tee, a regular face on the okto channel, and Kim, a children’s instructor from The School of Positive Psychology. Puddleworld is undoubtedly fun, immersive and engaging while still being beneficial for children! That’s a winner in our books. We highly recommend Puddleworld, a healthier and more entertaining alternative to a whole day of iPad swiping.

Puddleworld runs from 11 to 13 December 2013 from 10 am to 1 pm at The School of Positive Psychology, 100 Orchard Road, #03-20 Concorde Hotel. The course fee is S$350 but early bird discounts are available! For more information about Puddleworld, e-mail or fire up your browser and head on to

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



The Accidental


Thirty years ago, you would have never guessed the young boy with the messy mop of hair would become the owner of Singapore’s hottest hospitality group and be married to a classical violinist. But, that’s Loh Lik Peng for you. He is the master of his own destiny.

Being married and having a kid has made work that much more meaningful. I have to be honest; it’s been a real plus.

“Thank you Mr Loh. It’s been a pleasure,” I said at the end of the insightful interview.

“Please, call me Peng,” the hotelier says, shaking my hand before placing a friendly, reassuring hand on my right shoulder. Then, he whips out his smartphone to attend to the next pressing issue and, just like that, he’s gone. Barely forty minutes ago, the two of us were total strangers but by the end of the interview, I was completely at ease in his presence and we’ve become, dare I say, acquaintances. That’s the magic of Loh Lik Peng, or Peng as he likes to be known – an innate ability to comfortably draw you in with a wide smile and a hearty guffaw. It’s the same philosophy his guests can find in his sprawling hospitality kingdom, spanning across three countries and two continents. And he’s already making headway into the Land Down Under, overseeing the construction of his new hotel in the gritty, inner suburb of Ultimo, Sydney. Peng is the founder and Director of Unlisted Collection, an empire of hotels and restaurants that he’s carefully nurtured. The organisation’s inception was more accidental than planned. In the late nineties, Peng, a lawyer by training,

stumbled upon a run-down building in Keong Saik Road, a former redlight district in Chinatown. He fell in love with it, bought it for a song (thanks to the Asian financial crisis) and revamped it to become Singapore’s first boutique hotel, the ever-popular Hotel 1929. It was sold for S$35 million this September but Peng continues to operate it and its in-house restaurant, Ember, which he co-owns with Chef Sebastian Ng. Despite the massive success of Hotel 1929 and the Unlisted Collection’s ensuing expansion, Peng never actually considered himself a hotelier, but a barrister on an extended break. “When I first did [Hotel 1929], I thought I would take a year off from practice to complete the hotel before returning to law. I guess you always assume that when you study that much for a law degree, you would never give it up,” Peng ponders. Numerous hotels and restaurants later, Peng finally (and reluctantly) embraced the mantle of Singapore’s fastest rising hotelier-restaurateur with the Midas touch. Now, Peng is juggling an additional responsibility, one which he considers even more important than managing his buffet spread of properties and restaurants across the globe – being a husband to his wife of three years, Min Lee, and a father to his son, Conor. Chortling loudly, the 41-year-old reveals conspiratorially that “it’s my third wedding anniversary today”, the day of the interview. And if you’re wondering whether he’s planning to bring his wife out to one of his many dining establishments, he laughs and emphatically shakes his head. “Going to my own restaurant to have a meal is like going to work! My staff will keep asking me about stuff. No, no, I’m going to bring my wife to a different restaurant,” says Peng. Once upon a time, before Peng tied the knot, the self-professed workaholic would have jumped at that chance to accomplish two objectives at one go. Now, the dedicated father of one understands


Family & Life • Nov 2013

the importance of balancing work and life, and drawing that crucial line in the sand. “It definitely is about finding the balance between your daily life and responsibilities, and the people who rely on you. When you get married, your family unit is an important consideration, perhaps even more than yourself,” shares Peng, “I have to admit though: juggling demanding work schedules with family life is not easy lah.” But, juggle he must. When he would previously leave his office at 9 pm almost every day, now, Peng aims to power down his laptop and walk out the door by 6.30 pm so that he can head home to be with his wife and son. Overseas business trips have also drastically shortened from a few weeks to a few days. The key, according to the frequent business traveller, is to squeeze as many back-to-back meetings as possible into one day. And after three years of marriage, Peng, who tied the knot at 38, has become adept at compressing his busy working schedule. He proudly shares that he’s able to accomplish more things within a shorter period of time now, a shining example of the productivity drive currently in full swing around the country. His secret: prioritising. “I still have to work hard and I still have to travel. I try to get as many things done as possible during my work trips, which means cutting down on the time spent shopping,” the avid collector of curios laments. To Peng though, the sacrifices he makes are very much worth it. And it’s not just about having a lesser amount of time to shop during his travels. Peng had to adapt to his wife’s living habits. The collector has amassed a wide variety of small trinkets and large novelties, some of which are prominently displayed at his different properties while the rest have been safely stored away in a warehouse. If he could, Peng

would have kept them at home – a condominium in River Valley – but Min isn’t a big fan of clutter. “We still have constant battles about this,” Peng says, guffawing, “when I’m considering bringing a piece back, she would go, ‘No! You can’t bring that home!’” It’s just one of the compromises Peng has had to make in the marriage. But lest you think Peng is bossed around, he says Min does make some concessions, “though she probably doesn’t let me know it’s a concession!” Peng and Min really are the epitome of two halves becoming one whole, despite their battles. Connected by a deep-seated passion for travel, the award-winning hotelier and the accomplished violinist realised how similar they were in terms of values, ideals and aspirations, and slowly, fell in love. “It definitely wasn’t a thunderbolt kind of love!” Peng laughs. Naturally, a few years later, Peng went down on one bended knee. Then, he turns contemplative, rubbing his hands on his thighs as he ponders how far he’s grown. “[Marriage] has been a great journey. Although it’s only been three years, it’s been quite a settling experience. Being married and having a kid has made work that much more meaningful. I have to be honest; it’s been a real plus,” says Peng quietly. “Being married, it gives you that sense of grounding.” In fact, if there was one regret he had about his marriage so far, it was not getting hitched earlier in life.

Hold on there. Getting married earlier? Not many people feel that way in this day and age! Peng laughed. “Well, I didn’t know how fun it would be! If I knew it was going to be this incredible and enjoyable, I would have definitely taken the plunge when I was younger,” says Peng with a grin. Surprisingly, one of the aspects of fatherhood Peng thoroughly enjoyed was changing Conor’s diapers. While most traditional Dads would delegate such tasks, Peng made the decision to get stuck in. He and his wife even dispensed with the idea of a confinement nanny, choosing to be as hands-on as possible with their son’s upbringing. For Peng, he jokes that it made him “feel a bit useful” because otherwise, he

would feel a tad left out from his son’s life. “Getting involved in his life, whether it was replacing his diapers, bathing him or waking up in the middle of the night to feed him, was quite memorable. I grew a lot, both as a father and as an individual, through these experiences,” Peng says. Of course, the journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing. After all, marriage is not always a bed of roses. There is a lot of work involved to make the union between two different personalities work. For Peng and Min, this means setting certain ground rules for their marriage and sticking to it through thick and thin. Besides compromising on issues the two of them have different opinions on, Peng reveals the final two ingredients to his successful marriage: open, unfiltered communication and teamwork. In the Loh household, there is no dominant personality who has the final say in all decisions. Instead, Peng and Min make choices together, working through any disagreements that might come up along the way.

innovate and a mind that’s flexible and can do different things. I feel these are important, classic skill sets to have, even as the world becomes more borderless each day.” They are the same tenets and qualities Peng applies each and every day, not just in the office but in the family home.

And as I watch Peng speed away with his smartphone in his hand, I was struck by the playful pep in his step. As the cliché goes, choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life, and it looks like Peng has never worked a day in his life ever since he bought his first property in Chinatown.

It definitely is about finding the balance between your daily life and responsibilities, and the people who rely on you. When you get married, your family unit is an important consideration, perhaps even more than yourself.

“We make sure we agree on all the major issues and we make life decisions jointly. And once we reach these decisions, we stick with it,” says Peng. “At the end of the day, the both of us have to be able to live with the choices we make as a team.” Peng admits that, at the moment, most of their differences come from how to raise Conor, especially where they should send him to school. Peng hopes to be able to send him to St. Columba’s College in Ireland (where his father studied at and where Peng too made his mark) to continue the proud family tradition but Min, on the other hand, prefers to entrust Conor’s education to the Singapore system. “I also hope he’ll take over the family business, i.e. Unlisted Collection, one day but naturally, Min is praying Conor will follow in her footsteps and pick up the violin,” says Peng, his signature boyish grin spreading across his face. Ultimately, the two of them want Conor to be well-adjusted and happy with whatever he chooses to pursue, be it business or music. Peng just wants Conor to chart his own course in life, just like he once did when he broke family tradition by pursuing law instead of medicine, and then when he exchanged his robes for 1000-thread-count bed sheets. “The world we live in is so complex now. Professions such as doctors and lawyers will become less relevant 20 years from now and new trends will rise to take their places,” says Peng. “It’s more valuable to have a willingness to Nov 2013 • Family & Life



love amidst the

Glitz They regularly make the society pages, turning heads with their impeccable sense of fashion and pictureperfect smiles. But, behind the glitz and glamour is a family who enjoys going for foot massages and visiting orphanages. We sit down for coffee with Fred and Sharel Ho, jet-setting jewellers behind the ultraluxe DeFRED brand.

&Glamour By Farhan Shah

Fred Ho signals me to take a seat before humbly apologising, telling me he needs to make a quick trip to the washroom. Here is a man who has been unofficially christened as the jeweller to royalty and who helms multimillion housing development projects, apologising to a journalist for having to make him wait. And, Fred, despite his success and nose for business opportunities, still turns into an eager, enthusiastic artist happy to show me his amazing eye for jewellery design, regaling me with the story behind each piece that he painstakingly worked on.

As his wife, Sharel Ho, purrs adoringly, “He is an incredible artist.” At the age of 12, despite not receiving any formal artistic training, Fred was already sketching beautiful shapes and intricate patterns with a pencil. He managed to win so many awards that his father pulled him out of school, training him as a designer instead at the family’s jewellery factory in Hong Kong. Six years later, Fred enrolled in a New York art school where he honed his artistic chops. When he graduated, his entrepreneurial zeal pushed him to venture out on his own instead of returning to the safe embrace of his family business. Fred chose to come to Singapore in 1984 as a precious stones distributor. Unfortunately, at that time, the citystate’s jewellery market was still in its infancy and not quite ready for Fred’s

vision. Instead of throwing in the towel, Fred focused on the retail sector, opening a store – DeFRED Jewellers – in Lucky Plaza, at that time the heart of the country’s shopping district. Before long, his reputation for impeccable quality and eye for design spread far and wide, and regional royal family members soon came knocking, requesting that Fred design special pieces for them. And they kept returning, year after year.

We have to know that the roles we play are very different and the [separation] has to be very clear. When it comes to work, it is genuinely just work. We cannot bring the roles we play at home to the office. It was in 1997, when “Hong Kong still belonged to China,” Fred jokes, that he met the effervescent Sharel in Singapore through mutual friends. Fred, who has an eye for beauty (his first wife, whom he parted ways with in 1995, is Belinda Chua, the CEO of Flower Diamonds), was immediately enamoured by Sharel’s elegance. A year later, the both of them got married. Two children and 15 years later, their union is still going strong. “I believe it was match made in Heaven,” Fred says with a smile. Heaven or not, both Fred and Sharel acknowledged that laying the foundations to a successful marriage requires a lot of hard work and mutual understanding between each other. “There are three ingredients for any successful marriage


Family & Life • Nov 2013

– space, trust and respect,” Sharel shares. “We have to give each other space. If we are glued to each other all the time, there will not be any more sparks in the relationship. And when there is space, there needs to be trust. I have my own friends and he too has his own friends, and both of us can go out with our own companions without having to justify our reasons to each other.” Fred chimes in, “We rarely hit the discos or head out for a spot of drinking at night. After all, we have three children and we cannot come back too late. We try to come back home by 10 at night after both of us are done with work.” And what about respect? As the inimitable Aretha Franklin yelped in her 1960s hit, and a mantra Sharel subscribes to, all both of them need “is a little respect when they get home”. Such an attitude is even more important in their relationship since Sharel is the Managing Director of Fred’s business. Despite coming into the business as Fred’s significant other, Sharel sought to prove herself as a capable and visionary leader, and not one who was just riding on the coattails of her husband. She consumed as many sales tomes as she could get her hands on and listened to audio tapes that taught her the skills she needed to be a better salesperson. She packed display drawers in the store to better understand their strategic locations and brushed up on her knowledge of ring guards and diamonds. She even served tea to the customers. With such an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the business, Sharel could make better decisions that would help propel the company forward. However, the most important thing that she has learned from her career and family life is to have a clear distinction between her role as a businesswoman and her responsibilities as a wife and mother to three lovely children – Sabrina (20), Khai Lie (14) and Khai Ling (10).

generation squandering the money that their parents have painstakingly accumulated, it is refreshing to see parents taking the initiative to educate their kids on being financially savvy. And Fred and Sharel’s efforts are paying off.

“We have to know that the roles we play are very different and the [separation] has to be very clear. When it comes to work, it is genuinely just work. We cannot bring the roles we play at home to the office because if we do, then misunderstandings are bound to arise, which detrimentally affects the marriage,” Sharel muses. Even when Sharel disagrees with her husband’s business decisions, she waits until the both of them are away from the glare of their employees and are behind the scenes before expressing her opinion. To his credit, Fred does weigh his wife’s own views before arriving at a conclusion. Ultimately, Sharel always respects whatever Fred decides on when it comes to the business, much like how Fred respects his wife’s activities and hobbies. She explains, “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and when it comes to the business, this is his strength and forte. As a greenhorn, I cannot just come in and ask to do things my way. I respect his authority, much like how he respects the choices I make in my life. For example, I genuinely love horse riding and he tolerates and respects this hobby of mine even though he thinks it is risky, as he knows it makes me happy.”

My youngest daughter loves going for foot massage and we regularly go to Great World City to enjoy the foot massages. “Daddy spoils them,” Sharel says while Fred, sitting in his plush office chair, lets out a hearty laugh. She continues, “Sometimes, I can tell that Fred wants to say ‘No’ to them but as I look into his eyes, it is clear he cannot bear to say it, so he will make eye contact with me.” Then, Sharel will have to step in and tell their daughters that their requests cannot be granted. When it comes to the issue of finances, Sharel works doubly hard to hammer into her daughters the value of money, especially since the two younger ones are at impressionable ages. Previously, Sharel only gave her eldest daughter S$2 and her younger daughter S$1.50 for their daily pocket money, and would fine them S$0.50 if they failed to finish their dinners.

And as much as Fred is the king in the business arena, he reveals that he accedes to Sharel in the domestic front. At home, Sharel is the queen, Fred says with a smile.

She also regularly brings them on outings to orphanages and homes to not only volunteer their services but to let them appreciate how well they have it in their lives.

As the domestic goddess, Sharel admits she rules with an iron fist, albeit in a velvet glove. Growing up in Ipoh, Perak as a young girl from a humble background but with big dreams, Sharel hopes to inculcate the values of hard work and money into her daughters as well. The high-flying socialite takes it upon herself “to be the bad cop” in the family, reining in her daughters’ lifestyles and ensuring that they do not live too excessively.

“I want them to value what they have. We will buy goodie bags [for the residents] and pack them together as a family, and when we are giving them out, I will tell them, ‘You see, this people need someone to give them simple things such as stationery while you can buy it at any time’,” Sharel explains.

Their three daughters are sociallyadjusted and incredibly disciplined. Sometimes, they even work harder than their parents. Occasionally, when Fred returns home at 10 pm after a hard day’s work, he still sees Khai Lie, his middle daughter, deep in her books and only turning in at midnight. It worries him as “she has to wake up at six the next morning”, but the absurd amount of schoolwork she has to deal with means burning the midnight oil. Knowing this, the five of them turn the weekend into an exclusive day out for the entire family, free from the pressures of business and school life. Mum and Dad let their three princesses decide what they should do for the entire weekend, whether it is going shopping, watching a movie, pushing multiple trolleys along the supermarket aisles or even going for a massage. “My youngest daughter loves going for foot massages and we regularly go to Great World City to enjoy the foot massages at My Foot Reflexology. The place employs blind masseuses and gives really good massages, so I see it as our way of giving back to society at the same time,” says Fred.

at Disneyland Los Angeles when he sat on those thrilling carts and screamed his way through the entire ride. “When I came down, I could not walk straight! I even vomited,” Fred shares conspiratorially with me, explaining his aversion for the normally popular amusement park ride. However, Fred has no regrets taking the roller coaster with his daughters. For him, every moment shared with his daughters together is a moment to be treasured, even if the ride caused him to be slightly ill. And while most successful parents with a flourishing business would want to groom their children to take over them one day, Fred has a different opinion, preferring his daughters to make their own way in the world instead. His eldest daughter, who is majoring in Business Management at the Singapore Management University, has not shown any interest in taking over the reins while Khai Lie, harbours dreams of being a veterinarian. “When I heard that, I said, ‘Good!’” Fred says adoringly. To him, it is important that his daughters have their own dreams, whether it lies in the business or somewhere else. After all, having a dream might not guarantee success, but having no dreams is a definite route to failure. As far as successes go, Fred and Sharel are winning not just in business, but in their family life.

In fact, there is nothing that Fred would not do for his daughters, even if it means overcoming his own fears. The senior Ho recalls forcing himself to strap on the handlebars of a roller coaster and hang on for dear life, at the behest of his three daughters, who wanted to share the memory of the ride with their father. It was only the second time Fred had taken a roller coaster in his entire life. The first time he took a roller coaster was almost 40 years ago

In today’s materialistic society, where it is common to see the younger Nov 2013 • Family & Life



HardNight It’s A

With his polo tee and defined forearms, Yap Vong Hin might strike an onlooker as your typical, no-nonsense father who works hard for his family. Well, that isn’t actually far from the truth. Vong Hin does work hard, just not in the role that most people would expect. Vong Hin is a stay-at-home Dad.

Day’s By Farhan Shah

It takes a special man to be a stayat-home Dad, to be unruffled by any remarks thrown his way and to see his supposed self-worth, measured by your earning capacity, diminish in our traditional Asian society.

Dr Lim Poh Lian fell in love with that special man when their paths crossed 15 years ago in the US. It was a mutual friend who played the role of Cupid. “My friend said to me, ‘You know, there is this guy I would like you to meet.’ And I went, ‘Okay sure.’ After all, I had nothing to lose. If things did not work out, then at the very least, I’ve made a new friend,” Dr Lim reminisces, laughing at the memory. That man was Yap Vong Hin. Fortunately, things did work out between Dr Lim and Vong Hin, and they began seeing each other in spite of the distance between them; Vong Hin was working in California while Dr Lim was practising in New Orleans. Six months after they crossed paths, while backpacking around Europe, Vong Hin went down on one bended knee in Salzburg.

We have never looked at work as the thing that defines us or money being the determinant of our self-worth.

Fifteen years and three children later, the two of them are happily married, raising their family in a quiet neighbourhood at the north of Singapore, with a dog in tow. “When we first moved to Singapore, for about a year and a half, we were both working full-time, dropping off the kids at the childcare centre at 7 in the morning before returning 12 hours later to pick them up,” says Poh Lian. “After a while, we realised that this was probably not very good for the kids. They spent more time in childcare than they did with us.” Vong Hin graciously stepped down from his architecture career to stay at home with the children. It was a decision borne out of passion and practicality. Dr Lim had a great desire to continue helping people. She also earned more than Vong Hin. “The benefits are better too when you are a doctor!” Dr Lim says, chuckling.


Family & Life • Nov 2013

It has been an arrangement that has served them well for close to a decade and although they had to make a couple of trade-offs such as living more modestly and giving up certain extravagances, the happiness they received in return far exceeded what they gave up – being there for their children every step of the way. For Vong Hin, making the switch from an office cubicle to home turf was a seamless transition. After all, back in the US, the kids were mostly left to his able hands on weekends while Dr Lim went to work. What was slightly more difficult was dealing with the ill-meaning advice from well-meaning friends and family members, most of whom had never come across such different gender dynamics in a family. Vong Hin usually just waves away the comments. “We don’t care what [they] think. Most of my friends know me well enough not to try to impose their opinions on me because they know that my wife and I never do things on a whim. We understand the cultural reasons but when we disagree, we are quite firm with our stance and not easily swayed,” says Vong Hin, cutting an impressive and imposing figure with his arms crossed across his chest. Indeed, such an arrangement could only work in Singapore if both husband and wife are on the same page and in this household, Dr Lim and Vong Hin are singing the same tune. As Dr Lim jokes, she is the “Minister of Finance and Trade & Industry” while Vong Hin is the “Minister for Education, Home Affairs and Culture, Youth & Sports”, and the both of them work together to keep the household progressing forward like a well-oiled nation. The three kids – two of whom are taking their Primary School Leaving Examinations this year with the eldest one in NUS High School – also help with the household chores, cleaning the toilets (“one toilet for each child!”), washing the clothes, and clearing the dishes.

Their refreshing perspectives on each other’s roles and responsibilities is a welcome change from the dominant patriarchal view most Singaporeans hold. “We have never looked at work as the thing that defines us or money being the determinant of our self-worth. I value the work he does as much as my own work because I know how hard it can be at home,” says Dr Lim. “You never feel like you achieve as much at home as compared to at work because there are no projects, timelines or KPIs. But, when you step back after two or three years and realise how far your children have developed, you realise the difference you’ve made in their lives.” “His work, which is taking care of the kids, is as real as mine and the fact that the work is paid or not paid is immaterial to the value of the work,” Dr Lim extols. Work. It has been the central theme of our conversation so far and when I ask Vong Hin whether he had any advice for families who are considering heading down the path he has carved out, it’s no surprise that work pops up once again. “Being a stay-at-home Dad is not as easy as you think. There is a lot of work involved, most of which will most probably go unappreciated. But, if the reason you’re doing it is important enough to you, then go ahead and do it, regardless of what people say,” says Vong Hin. After all, Vong Hin is only famous for being a male doing what every female homemaker around the world does on a daily basis. And it is hard work. Very hard work.

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



A smart By Farhan Shah

Cookie, he is

Dr Jia Jia became famous after a YouTube video he made with his brother, pretending to be a Minister addressing the country’s issues, went viral. However, beneath the toothy smile lies a child battling dyslexia.

“When I found out about his condition, I cried my heart out. I didn’t want to accept that my son was afflicted with this, at that time unknown to me, disorder,” Mrs Chua reveals, her voice slightly shaking with emotion. Prior to this emotional episode, Mrs Chua and her husband had no inkling of their son’s condition. But, their world came crashing down during a routine Meet the Parents session at their child’s pre-school. The teacher was puzzled with Dr Jia Jia’s performance. Although he was outspoken, smart and popular with his schoolmates, Dr Jia Jia, whose real name is Chua Jin Sen, always struggled when it came to written assignments. “It was something we never expected,” Mrs Chua says, “We went home and tested him on his reading ability, and realised he had problems recognising even the letters in the alphabet.” Mrs Chua spent the rest of the weekend trying to guide her son to read but it was like crashing into a brick wall again and again – there was barely any progress.

When I found out about his condition, I must admit I cried my heart out. I didn’t want to accept that my son was afflicted with this, at that time unknown to me, disorder. Jin Sen is wearing the hat

Exhausted, confused and out of ideas, the mother of four finally broke down. The following Monday, Mrs Chua’s husband, a professional in the IT industry, despondently went to work with a million thoughts running through his mind. During a conversation with one of his colleagues, he casually mentioned the difficulties his son was facing. That was when his colleague suggested that his son might have dyslexia.

At that moment, everything suddenly clicked. He excitedly told his wife what his colleague told him once he reached home and together, the two of them did extensive research on the topic. The more they found out about dyslexia, the more they realised that the symptoms described Jin Sen’s difficulties to a T. To confirm their suspicions, they went to the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) to get their son assessed. The test proved them right – Jin Sen was at risk of having dyslexia. “Since he wasn’t six-years-old yet, DAS could not confirm with 100% certainty that he had dyslexia,” Mrs Chua says. Nevertheless, that risk was enough for the school to offer Jin Sen a place in its special pre-school programme, specially catered for young kids with learning difficulties to prepare them for their eventual transition to Primary One. In fact, on average, one child in a class of 40 will have some form of dyslexia. Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had mild dyslexia too! Mrs Chua watched, beaming happily, as her son progressed by leaps and bounds while in the programme. The litmus test, however, was to come when Jin Sen enrolled in Primary One and had to handle the faster pace of a normal classroom. Unfortunately, Jin Sen struggled to keep up. But, this time, Mrs Chua was not going to break down like she once did before. Instead, her mantra was simple. “My husband and I agreed that we should not give him any pressure. Instead, we wanted him to learn happily at his own pace,” she says. Two of the biggest problems Jin Sen had to grapple with was understanding the Hanyu Pinyin system and answering the problem sum questions posed during his Mathematics lessons. So, Mrs Chua readily agreed when the school suggested placing her son in a smaller learning group, knowing that the additional attention would only benefit Jin Sen.

The extra effort paid off in spades for Jin Sen during the recent mid-year examinations in 2013. The seven-yearold boy scored a commendable “30+” marks out of 50, and could have gotten even more as he amazingly got all of the answers correct! Unfortunately, as Mrs Chua laments, his brain was a bit too hasty for his own good. “Jin Sen can be a bit impatient, so instead of writing down the steps he took to arrive at the answer, he just jotted down the correct answer and moved on to the next question. These steps he missed are actually worth quite a lot of marks,” says Mrs Chua. Still, she is grateful with her son’s improvement. From a student struggling to understand the question, Jin Sen has morphed into a confident boy who can tackle problem sums with ease, perhaps a bit too easily, Mrs Chua jokes. Although the fight might be far from over, Mrs Chua is looking forward to the future. She understands the importance of a conducive environment for Jin Sen to study in and has done the best she can to ensure her son isn’t hamstrung by dyslexia. Indeed, Jin Sen’s three siblings are also very supportive and do their best to help him feel normal in spite of his condition. “My youngest daughter knows about his dyslexia and still asks him to read to her despite knowing that he’s a slow reader. She is quite supportive and encourages him,” says Mrs Chua. Ultimately, that is Mrs Chua and her husband’s wish, for Jin Sen to be independent and happy. “Being parents of a child with dyslexia, we must realise that our kid is uniquely special. Sometimes, we might feel a little discouraged because he is not learning as fast as his peers. But, be strong, be determined and never give up. When the time comes, he will shine,” Mrs Chua says with a smile. But, perhaps, Jin Sen’s attitude towards his dyslexia sums up the entire story. “Am I frustrated being a dyslexic? Not at all. I’m fine,” he says with his signature toothy grin.

Have you ever wondered how people with dyslexia see the words? Here are two examples, known as Rivers (left) and Halo (right), that will demonstrate the effect of dyslexia. Difficult, isn’t it? Haveyo ueverwonde redhowpeople withdys lexiaseethe wor ds?Hereare twoexamples, knowna sRiversandHalo,that willdem onstratetheeffectof dyslexia. Diff icult,isn’tit?


Family & Life • Nov 2013

Have you you ever ever wondered wondered how how people people Have with dyslexia dyslexia see see the the word? words?Here Hereare are with two examples, examples, known known as as Rivers Rivers and, and two Halo,that will demonstrate demonstrate the the effect effect Halo that will of dyslexia. dyslexia. Difficult, Difficult, isn’t isn’t it? it? of

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



Family conflicts make for good television but when it happens for real, it may cause irreversible damage to the relationship between parents and their children. Family & Life picks the brains of conflict and mediation expert Dr John Ng regarding family conflicts and methods for resolving them.

“Get out of the house now!” the man, whom once resembled her father, bellowed ferociously. Years and years of miscommunication and distrust had finally culminated in her dad throwing her out of the family home. What began as a situation of her father disapproving of her boyfriend had evolved into something more monstrous and deadly. Today, she is estranged from her family and lives with her then-boyfriend, who is now her husband, in a sparsely-furnished home in the northern part of Singapore. This is just one example of a simple family conflict that spiralled out of control due to non-intervention. Unfortunately, it is also an issue that is rarely highlighted, especially in Asia. After all, saving face is of utmost importance in the Asian culture and there also is the stereotype that good families never fight. However, the truth, according to Dr John Ng, is actually messier than that. “Some parents think that a family is healthy when there are no conflicts. Unfortunately, most times, conflicts in these homes are usually swept under the carpet. Healthy families must have conflicts and the key is learning how to manage them effectively,” Dr Ng says. Easier said than done, you say? Dr Ng agrees. He too grew up in a seemingly placid family environment, but underneath the surface, he and his siblings harboured many unresolved issues. Dr Ng and his brothers would bottle up their emotions concerning their father instead of talking about it, as their mother would constantly advise them “not to rock the boat”. However, approaching family conflicts with the right frame of mind can result in positive outcomes such as: • Better understanding • New ideas • Healthier relationships • Mutual respect • Fresh perspectives

What Contributes To Family Conflicts? Unrealistic or hidden expectations 1 Many parents have very unrealistic or unsaid expectations, e.g., expecting their children, especially

2 3



teenagers, to behave like adults, score A’s for every subject, be responsible and clean their rooms every day, etc. without actually telling them. Tired and stressed out Work can be tiring and exhausting for parents, and when we are emotionally exhausted, we rarely think properly and manage conflicts well. Most people who have less than seven hours of sleep daily lose their perspectives and can’t analyse situations properly. Disconnected with the children This is especially true in Asia, as most parents only connect with their children when they want to discipline them, leading the kids to become disenchanted. It is important for parents to connect with them on an emotional level or they risk losing the right to correct their children and their respect. Over-functioning parents Most parents in Singapore are guilty of controlling every aspect of their children’s lives, albeit with good intentions. This can exasperate their kids, especially those in their teenage years, when the parents become overly intrusive.

Family & Life • Nov 2013

Most family conflicts are surprisingly irresolvable, especially if it involves differences in values, perspectives and interests. It can be hard but parents need to recognise that their children will have their own personalities which might, at times, collide with their own value system, especially when it comes to issues such as hygiene and friends. “Traditionally, we like to think that we should resolve the matter, but resolving the matter usually involves deciding who is right and who is wrong. However, in most cases, there is no right or wrong but rather just a clash in interests. We need to manage these differences,” Dr Ng says. Dr Ng advises parents to follow these guidelines when managing intractable conflicts. • Lower your expectations • Refrain from fighting when emotions are high • Find compromises instead of insisting your right of way • Find the right time to discuss conflicts and discovering creative solutions that meet each other’s interests • Be flexible instead of constantly insisting on your way • Learn to listen to your children’s interests Also, once parents realise that conflicts are not only natural and inevitable but also part and parcel of life, it becomes easier to work around the disagreement.

How Should We Manage Conflicts? Dr Ng understands that parents might get over-emotional in the heat of the moment. In fact, researchers have discovered that our fight-or-flight response is triggered during times of conflict. To mitigate this, Dr Ng has created a G.R.O.W. framework, based on his years of experience, which allows parents to remain rational when they are knee-deep in conflict with their children.

Go away from the source of the conflict for 20 minutes. Get out of the heated situation. Re-frame the negative self-talk. Getting out of the situation is not enough as our mind still runs through the negative thoughts and feelings even when we are away from the scene of the conflict. Ask ourselves these questions: • What am I fighting about? Is this issue really worth fighting about so intensely? (A lot of the times, we fight over very small things.) • Why am I so angry? (Often, we fight because our pride has been hurt.) • What can I do differently to defuse the conflict? Own your problem and seek help. Wait for a better time. It is never wise to keep fighting when we are emotionally involved. Instead, find a better time to talk through, learn and recover from the conflict.

What Happens Next?

Lay Down YourArms

Understanding Your Growing Child

It is important for parents to understand that getting into conflicts with their children does not mean that they are bad parents or that their children have been brought up badly. Having a conflict with your kids does not automatically mean you have a broken relationship. By properly managing family conflicts, the relationship between a parent and his or her child can only improve. In time, coupled with positive, effective communication, the child will grow up to be a mature, well-adjusted adult who is capable of managing his or her emotions and who can handle conflicts well.


We Have A Problem Your once adorable toddler can become totally different once adolescence strikes. Fret not, Dr Ian Gordon Munt shares with Family & Life the methods that parents can use to make sure their teenage children grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

By Dr Ian Gordon Munt

Ah, to be 16 again, at an age when everything seemed possible and our dreams seemed limitless, unburdened by the heavy chains of reality and responsibility.

The first tentative steps into teenage-hood can be rather daunting, for both you and your adolescent child. Suddenly, the cheerful, lovable kid morphs into a surly, secretive teenager. While you grapple with this transformation, your teenage child is also trying to get a grip on the physical and mental changes he or she is experiencing. Your soon-to-be-adult child still has a lot of growing up to do, and from now until that time, you as a parent are in the best position to guide him or her to become a responsible human being.

Don’t be surprised and angry if your teenage child has the audacity to question some of your decisions.

RELATIONSHIP AND SEX ISSUES Dealing With the First Relationship One of the features of adolescence is that your child will start to show greater interest in people outside of their family and might want to have an adult relationship with another individual. This is a good sign, and not the time to press the panic button, as it demonstrates that you have done a fantastic job in raising your child to be a well-adjusted sociable person. Be genuinely interested in his or her friends, all the while keeping in mind that adolescence is also a time when he or she will begin valuing privacy more and more. If you have never displayed any prior interest in his or her friends, suddenly wanting to know where your child is going and who else is going might seem to him or her like you are spying. Of course, if your teenage child is dating someone, it is within your rights and responsibilities to know who he or she is seeing. However, that does not mean giving the person the third degree! Also, set reasonable rules about dating such as the curfew time and stress to your child the need to maintain grades and healthy relationships with the rest of his or her friends and family. The First Break-Up The ending of a first love may be an especially difficult time for your teenage children and it will not be the last time they will be facing heartache and disappointment. Most of the time, they will not want to discuss it with you but there’s absolutely nothing to worry about as

teenagers are extremely resilient by nature. One day, they could be moping and miserable and the next day, they could be gushing over their new love. That’s not to say that you should dismiss your teenage child’s breakup as a trivial matter. Adolescence can be an emotional time, so be prepared for sudden mood swings, but you should be especially concerned if this period of change lasts for an extended period – over two weeks. Let’s Talk About Sex Think back to how you learned about sex – would you like your children to learn the same way as you? Perhaps you might have learned it from the pages of a magazine or from your friends, and you would prefer teaching them yourself but you’re not sure how. A good place you can start from are news reports or television shows. Instead of being embarrassed when the television shows sex, take this opportunity to broach the topic with your teenage child. Although you might be tempted to leave your teenager’s sex education to his or her school, there is some debate as to the effectiveness of the human relationship and sex education courses, especially in influencing behaviour. Also, it is always good to keep in touch with the topics being discussed in school. Who knows, with the increased access to the Internet during this day and age, your teenager might even be able to tell you something about sex that you don’t know!

COMMUNICATION Communicating With Your Teen Although our teenage children might now seem to be more interested in hanging out with their friends instead of with you, the strong bond between parent and child can still remain, as long as it is constantly nurtured. Keeping the lines of communication open with your teenager is as simple as getting involved in their lives without being intrusive. Take the effort to discover what your child likes and dislikes, what makes him or her tick, and the ambitions or dreams that he or she harbours. Being interested in your teenage children’s thoughts and activities is the simplest way to remain an active participant in their lives. Building the Foundations of Trust Adolescence is a learning period for not only you but your child as well, and missteps will occur every so often. As much as possible, even though it can be tempting at times, refrain from telling your teenage children “I told you so!” when they take a wrong turn. Instead, guide them to the right path again and converse with them like how you would speak to an adult. In the early stages of adolescence, it is imperative that you keep a tight rein on your child without treating them like a toddler. This can be achieved by: • Setting rules and boundaries, and ensuring that this are consistent, transparent and fairly applied • Taking the time to explain to them the reasoning behind your decisions and hearing their side of the story As your teenage child grows older and displays signs of budding maturity, gradually give them increased responsibilities such as a later curfew time and more pocket money. Give them the occasional treat if they do well! Don’t be surprised and angry if your teenage child has the audacity to question some of your decisions. Communicating with an adolescent involves a lot more negotiation and compromise. You are now dealing with a young adult who is becoming increasingly self-aware and worldly. Treat them the same way you want them to behave: like an adult.

Nov 2013 • Family & Life



Your Child, Future

Fund Manager

Personal funds we mean! It’s never too early to start children on the importance of managing their money. Family & Life shares four easy methods you can use to teach your children about the importance of money management.

All of us live in a consumerist culture. You realised how impossible it is to satisfy the voracious need for newer, shinier things. You’ve heard people complaining about not being able to afford what they want to buy. You’ve read about young adults saddled with crippling credit card debt.


Every day is a learning lesson Children from as young as three can start learning the basic elements of money and finance. When asked where money comes from, children will most likely tell you it “magically” comes out of an ATM, since that’s where they see their parents withdrawing money from. So, the next time you’re at the ATM, take the opportunity to teach your children that the money inside the machine is actually money that you’ve worked hard for when you go to the office every day. Grocery shopping can also become a fun financial learning exercise. Teach your children how to compare the prices of the food or beverage items they love with other similar options, and explain how they can stretch their dollar by making prudent choices.


Start saving early Piggy banks are one of the best ways to inculcate the habit of saving in young children. Most children cannot grasp the idea of saving for a rainy day, so instead, teach them to save for an item they’re coveting for. Tailor the savings plan according to the age and maturity of your children. For example, asking a fiveyear-old boy to save enough money for an iPad might be a bridge too far. Ideally, the item should be attainable within a short period of time so that your children won’t feel that saving is a hopeless endeavour.

Be firm and tell them you won’t be giving them any additional cash. This will let them learn how to cope with the consequences of over-spending.


Family & Life • Nov 2013

Using a clear money jar or piggy bank is a great way of showing your children the progress they’ve made and also serves as a visual motivation. Another way of encouraging your children to save is to match cent for cent the amount they save every day as a reward. They will feel more motivated to save and the idea of saving money will also be reinforced in their young impressionable minds.


The difference between “needs” and “wants” Teaching your children the difference between “needs” and “wants”, which can be quite abstract, is one of the key

Then, you wonder. Will your own children be facing similar financial problems in the future? Fortunately, laying the foundations of sensible money management early can prevent your children from falling into the trap of living beyond their means. We collaborate with the team from MoneySENSE, the national financial education programme for Singapore, to share with you four ways to teach simple financial lessons to your children.

tenets of financial management. The best time to introduce this is when your kids are comfortable with saving and are familiar with pricing of different items. During the aforementioned grocery trip, you can show your children the receipt and run through the items purchased to explain which items are essential, such as meat, vegetables and rice, and which are optional. Also, take this chance to highlight discounts and weekly sales because by doing this, your children will be taught that in spending, they can save too, which means more money left over in the bank. Meals at restaurants are another effective method of explaining “needs” and wants”. Your children should be familiar with different food items and their price ranges for this to work. Read the menu together with them and point out the price of the dishes they always usually have, such as French fries, and compare it with cheaper places or even at home. Then, tell them you only have a certain amount to spend on the meal and let them work out what they would like to eat. Your children will realise the different prices for similar items in different locations and start making smarter choices.


Learning through experience Teaching your children money management habits isn’t just about telling them what to do, but also letting them experience things for themselves. For example, they can handle their own pocket money during field trips or at school. Another suggestion is to give them a weekly instead of a daily allowance. Through this, your children can learn how to manage their money during the five days they’re at school. If they over-spend and run out of money before their next allowance, be firm and tell them you won’t be giving them any additional cash. This will let them learn how to cope with the consequences of over-spending.

MoneySENSE is a national financial education programme brought to you by the MAS. To learn more about financial planning, visit

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



My Little Bundle of

Depression Everyone around you is making faces and cooing sounds at your newborn while congratulating you on how beautiful he or she is. But, all you want to do is to run far, far away. Post-natal depression is real and can be dangerous if untreated. Family & Life talks to Dr Sandy Umboh and discovers that men too can suffer from the baby blues.

Her children had become independent and rarely had time to relax and hang out with her. After all, they had their own mounting schoolwork to deal with. Her significant other was a capable father and a loving husband who worked hard for the family and returned home every night to her grateful arms. Unfortunately, the time between when her husband and children headed out of the house and then returned home felt like a void filled with meaningless household chores and silence. The homemaker felt lonely, and longed for another child that could fill that emptiness with laughter. Her husband, understanding how she felt, agreed to have another child. The pregnancy was thankfully uneventful but for reasons unknown, she became depressed after giving birth. Her husband, worried sick about her condition, brought her to the doctors. That was when Dr Sandy Umboh, an Associate Consultant in the Department of Psychological Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital first met her. “She did not describe herself as feeling depressed. Instead, she said she felt ‘bored’. However, she exhibited other behaviours that suggested she was suffering from post-natal depression – loss of interest in usual pleasurable activities, loss of appetite and insomnia,” Dr Umboh recalls.

st-Natal Checklist of SPyom ptoms Depression  Low mood  Crying  Irritability related to  Sleep disturbance un baby’s needs

 Appetite changes  Loss of energy or forgetfulness  Poor concentration e or guilt  Excessive self-blam ness  Feelings of hopeless self or baby,  Thoughts of harm to or suicide

se xes are ticked, plea If three or more bo re ca m a health seek assistance fro ediately. The KK professional imm rs ren’s Hospital offe Women’s and Child atment for women consultation and tre n. st-natal depressio suffering from po ca tment, please ll To make an appoin +65 6294 4050. 20

Family & Life • Nov 2013

She felt unmotivated and could not bring herself to do the household chores. Although she could still look after the baby, she could not bond with her newborn and therefore felt useless, unable to fulfil her roles as a wife and a mother. Cases such like this are not an isolated incident. In Singapore, up to 7% of new mothers suffer from post-natal depression. While this figure seems low, it is comparatively one of the highest in the region. The rates of mothers suffering from post-natal depression in Malaysia and Indonesia stood at 6.8% and 6.6% respectively, while in Hong Kong and Japan, 5.5% and 5.0% of new mums experienced the blues. According to Dr Umboh, there has been a marked increase in the number of patients seeking help for “psychological problems and psychiatric disorders relating to pregnancy and postpartum” over the past five years. She believes this rise can be attributed to two reasons – greater awareness in the general public regarding the condition and an increasingly fastpaced and affluent society that consequently leads to higher stress levels. “In today’s society, it is common for mothers to wear multiple hats such as caring for their children, supervising the homework of the older ones and organising the household, all this while working at the same time,” Dr Umboh explains.

Men Are Not Spared More and more men are starting to seek professional help for this condition. In fact, depression in new dads also has its own name – paternal postnatal depression – in recognition that the symptoms associated with this condition are also unique in their own way. Relatively new and recently recognised, paternal postnatal depression, or PPND, strikes 10% of men around the world, an astonishing one in every 10. Experts believe that the actual number of sufferers might even be higher due to the social stigma attached to the ailment. After all, boys aren’t supposed to cry. Just like mothers, new fathers also experience significant life changes with a new addition to the family and are also subjected to the same stressors. Some of the main causes of PPND include: • Sleep deprivation A new baby is always a joyful occasion but it also means constantly disrupted sleep, which can take its toll as the months wear on. Many new fathers severely underestimate how sleep-deprived they are and how the lack of sleep affects their mood! • Shifting hormones It’s not just Mums who experience shifting hormones with the arrival of a bundle of joy. Dads too can become victims during this period as testosterone levels dip and oestrogen levels rise, which explains why some males unexplainably become more emotional and weepy. Lower testosterone levels have been linked with depression in men. • Sense of helplessness A lot of men have been socially trained to be the protector and provider for the family, so they might feel excluded and helpless when they see their wives going through an experience that they cannot understand. This can be traumatic to a male’s ego and can lead to him becoming distant from the new baby and the family. Males suffering from PPND might start indulging in risk-taking behaviour such as substance abuse and become more prone to violent outbursts. Some will experience subtle changes in behaviour such as either losing interest in work or even becoming more of a workaholic, or having problems with concentration and motivation.

The Dangers When Mum or Dad are suddenly behaving differently, it is best to seek out professional help as soon as possible to nip this problem in the bud. Letting postnatal and paternal postnatal depression linger on for too long not only causes immediate harm to the family but causes significant longterm psychological effects to the parent and the baby. And what about that Mum, the one we mentioned at the beginning of this article? Well, thanks to her eagle-eyed husband who made an early intervention, she sought treatment. She was given medication and received support and counselling. Slowly, her mood improved and now, she is back to her usual, smiling self again.

StopMyopia By Alethea Tan


An astonishing 60% of 12-year-old Singaporean children suffer from myopia, a number that is only set to rise even higher in the future. Dr Gerard Nah and Chew Wai Kwong reveal what parents can do to halt childhood myopia.

Dear parents, while it’s tempting for you to give your child that tablet or television break, please don’t.

According to various studies done on myopia in Singapore, 15% of fouryear-olds, 20-30% of seven-yearolds and 60% of 12-year-olds suffer from childhood myopia.

Unfortunately, there’s also a hereditary element present in myopia.

Unfortunately, there’s also a hereditary element present in myopia. Children whose parents suffer from myopia have a higher chance of being shortsighted. Of course, there are good habits children can adopt to retard the progress or even prevent myopia.

Dr Gerard Nah, renowned senior eye surgeon, believes lifestyle and environmental changes are the main causes for myopia.

more time outdoors and 1 Spend less time indoors as sunlight has

The indulgent usage of electronic products is one of the main reasons why myopia is becoming prevalent amongst children these days.

“In comparison to our great-grandparents’ or grandparents’ generation, the urbanised society today places a greater emphasis on academic achievement at an even earlier age, contributing to greater near work activity and lack of outdoor play that contributes to myopia,” explains Dr Nah.

been proven to help with myopia

that there is ample lighting for 2 Ensure when your child is studying or reading

3 4

indoors (white is preferred over yellow lights for reading as it mimics the sun’s spectrum for natural light better) Discourage your children from reading while lying down or in a moving vehicle Encourage a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and fish oils

But how can you tell if your child is suffering from myopia? If your children tilt their heads while watching their favourite cartoon or take a little longer to discern bus numbers, book that eye appointment immediately. In fact, doctors recommend that parents should start bringing their children for eye checkups from the age of five onwards. “At five, it is still possible for parents to take preventive measures against myopia, and also start correcting bad habits that might contribute to shortsightedness,” explained Mr Chew Wai Kwong, Manager at W Eye Optics. The good news: childhood myopia progression typically stabilises around the age of 18.

Eye Myths Debunked!



glasses will cause a child to be dependent 1 Wearing on them

Atropine eye drops 1 For children aged between six and 12, atropine eye

Ways To Slow Down Myopia Progression

drops may be prescribed to control myopia progression. Use of prescription glasses is to correct a child’s It is a simple method that only requires parents to drop blurry vision that can be caused by myopia. Not one drop of atropine into each eye once a day, and it has wearing spectacles on the other hand might cause shown an efficacy of 50-60% in retarding myopia prothe myopia to progress even more. gression. This means that if a child typically progresses It’s not necessary to go for an eye check unless my by 100 degrees each year, using these drops would child complains that he can’t see clearly reduce the progression to 40-50 degrees. The recommended age at which children should Ortho-K lenses start going for an eye exam would be at age five. This Another alternative to control myopia progression for is so that if necessary, the progression of myopia can children between ages five and 12 is the Ortho-K lenses. be determined and measures can be put in place Worn at night, these lenses help reshape the cornea in earlier to control myopia progression. order for clear vision during the day. Ortho-K lenses can Pinhole glasses control myopia slow down myopia progression by up to 50% and is recPinhole glasses work by restricting light, which ommended for daily use, with a one day rest each week. might give the illusion of helping one with myopia see clearer and better. However, it does not help one to improve their natural visual capacity or control the progression of myopia. Seeing green is good for myopia Many associate looking at green objects Things To Take Note with being outdoors, which slows down my Of When Spectacle Shopping opia. This is not entirely true. Rather than green objects, it is the balanced spectrum The fit of the spectacles around the nose bridge. This can be and brightness of the sun’s rays that is one checked by sliding the glasses down the nose. If it can slide down of the most significant factors that help prowithout much resistance, the nose bridge is too big or wide for tect a child’s eyes. the child. Eye massage exercises will improve one’s The length of the temple. It should not be too long, or the spectaeyesight cles will not be firmly secured on the child’s face. Eye massages can help to relax the eyes, The material of the spectacles. Young children can perspire a against overstraining as a child may be lot, and perspiration can cause corrosion. Parents should opt for doing a lot of near work activity such as acetate or plastic frames, or even one made with hypoallergenic studying or reading. However, myopia is a materials. Also, it’s important that the frames should contain no situation where the eyeball becomes too screws or other small parts that can be detached. long, and doing eye massages will not help to change the shape of the eye or cornea.





3 1


2 3

Nov 2013 • Family & Life



Food for the brood

Necessary Supplements Nowadays, pharmacies are swamped with vitamins and supplements for children, but are they important?

By Syafiq Rafid

We all look forward to watching our kids grow up and want only the best for them, but how do we know what’s best to feed them? Dietetic Consultant Jenny Ng gives us the answers!

Why is it important for our children to eat right? The answer is simple. According to Jenny, children need to eat right because they experience a rapid period of growth from birth to puberty and it is important that they have the right nutrients in adequate amounts for them to develop strong and resilient bodies and cognitive abilities. A healthy diet also reduces the risk of childhood and eventually, adult obesity. Thus, Jenny advocates a wide range of foods to help our kids eat right.

The Good Diet Jenny lays out the right meal proportions for children in different age groups. Six Months to A Year Old • Three cups of milk • Half a serving of meat, fruits and vegetables each • One to two servings or rice or other alternatives daily

What are the important food groups? Do they have the right minerals and vitamins? We have the answers right here!

Three- to Six-Year-Olds • Two cups of milk • One whole serving of meat, fruits and vegetables each • Three to four servings of rice with two of the servings made of wholegrain Seven- to 12-Year-Olds • One to two cups of milk • Two servings of meat, fruits and vegetables • Five to six servings of rice, half of them wholegrain 13- to 18-Year-Olds • One to two cups of milk • Two servings of meat, fruits and vegetables • Six to seven servings of rice, half of them wholegrain It’s important to note that fruits and vegetables are not interchangeable as they contain different nutrients. Remember, everyone has their own preferences and it’s important not to overfeed or under-nourish your children!

Children can be fussy eaters! So, what can a parent do?

A healthy diet also reduces the risk of childhood and eventually, adult obesity. 22

Family & Life • Nov 2013

Making food interesting may help children eat better and be less fussy at mealtimes. Dish up cute cartoon-shaped meals or fun finger-foods! Get the kids involved in the preparations! But don’t write off any food that a child might not like. Keep serving it in different ways to pique their interest. Here is a simple and delicious recipe that includes all the food groups, which may help picky eaters get all their nutrition. Stir Fried Chicken Udon with Chinese Cabbage • Two packets of udon • Three fillets of chicken breast

But, Jenny urges us to remember that supplements are not adequate replacements for proper food and that nothing matches a healthy meal. Children also require less vitamins compared to adults, so don’t go overboard with too many supplements.

The Good in Food

A Year to Two-Year-Olds • Three cups of milk • Half a serving of meat, fruits and vegetables • Three servings of rice, with at least one wholegrain serving

Helping Picky Eaters

Most children already get enough nutrients from the food they eat. However, occasionally, it’s important to supplement their diets with extra vitamins due to bad eating habits or rushed schedules. Scott’s Emulsion is a popular multivitamin that helps children get the right levels of nutrition.

• • • • • • •

PROTEIN is an important body building block and it comes mainly from lean meats like poultry and fish. Other sources include eggs, nuts and beans. CARBOHYDRATES act as fuel for our bodies and come from bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. CALCIUM strengthens our bones and facilitates growth. Foods like cheese, yoghurt and milk contain calcium. IRON aids the circulation through the production of red blood cells and can be found in foods like spinach, beans and lean red meat. FIBRE, found in vegetables, fruits and grains, help the digestive system. GOOD FATS act like proteins and aid growth. They are found in foods like nuts, oily fish like salmon and tuna, canola oil and avocados FOLATES are vitamins that help cell regeneration, important for good skin. Spinach, various beans and Brussels sprouts, are great sources of folate. VITAMIN B12 keeps the nervous system in check and is rich in foods like eggs, milk and yeast extracts like Marmite.

Chinese cabbage, finely chopped One clove of garlic, chopped Half a small onion, chopped One tablespoon of tomato sauce Half a teaspoon of salt Two eggs, beaten Pepper, to taste

First, brown the garlic and onions in a non-stick pan before adding the chicken fillet. Once the chicken is done, add in and stir-fry the cabbage till its soft. Add the udon and enough water to cover the noodles and leave them to simmer. Once the noodles are cooked, add in the eggs, tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer until the eggs are cooked and you’re ready to enjoy your meal!





Nov 2013 • Family & Life


RELAX What To Do Around Chinatown With The Family! The zoo, the Night Safari, Universal Studios Singapore? Pfft, leave those to the tourists. We’ll show you a side of Singapore you’ve never seen. It’s like travelling to another country, just using your own currency. Guest Ambassador Shawn Chan reveals a few gems you can explore with your family.

1030 am

Start the day with coffee and breakfast at the cosy Oriole Coffee Roasters! The third Oriole outlet is dedicated to experimenting with new beans and methods. There’s a training lab on the second level where coffee appreciation classes are held. Customers can dine on latte and poached eggs on toast for breakfast or have an afternoon snack. Location 10 Jiak Chuan Road Opening Hours Monday to Friday: 10 am – 6 pm; Closed on Saturday and Sunday Web

1130 am

After breakfast, do a little shopping at Rose Citron, a specialty boutique featuring exclusively designed handmade bags, children’s wear and soft home furnishings such as table runners and cushions. The designs are a unique fusion of French and Asian influences. Location 23 Keong Saik Road Opening Hours Monday to Friday: 10 am – 6 pm; Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm Web

1215 pm

Have a short break and head on to PortaSpa. PortaSpa is Singapore’s first foot hydro-therapy wellness centre that leverages on world-class spa technology, relieving aches and pain and burning 300 calories in just 15 minutes. Location Blk 333 Kreta Ayer Road, #01-15 Opening Hours Monday - Friday: 12 pm - 8.30 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 2 pm to 6 pm Web

Planning a vacation with your children this school holidays? Why not stay in Singapore instead? Discover a few gems hiding in plain sight on this small island with some help from the folks at Unlisted Collection:.

Family & Life • Nov 2013


Keong Saik Road Formerly notorious as a red-light district, this lane filled with quaint shop houses has been significantly overhauled and is now lined with classy restaurants, boutique hotels and more.

New Majestic Hotel The most amazing thing about this boutique hotel: each of the 30 rooms are different! Hotelier Loh Lik Peng brought in different designers to put their own unique spins within each space, ensuring a new, charming experience every time you return to this hotel. Our favourite rooms: The Samsui, Cheshire and Bliss suites, simply because the bathtubs right smack in the middle of the room make for interesting photo opportunities!

2 pm

Not to be missed, lunch at Keong Saik Snacks. Blending local and British cafe culture, and giving modern twists to great classic comfort foods from around the world, Keong Saik Snacks is the new go-to social bistro that is part brainchild of Michelin Star Chef Jason Atherton with an unpretentious environment, and serving familiar yet new and deviously clever food options. Location 49 Keong Saik Road Opening Hours Tuesday - Sunday: 12 pm – 10 pm Web


Not Your

Vacation Keong Saik Road

Hotel 1929 The first boutique hotel to be launched in Singapore, Hotel 1929 is still going strong despite being a decade old! And when you step into the lobby and the rooms, you can see why. Clean lines, eclectic furnishing and just the right touch of whimsicality welcome you when you open the doors to your hotel room. Splurge on the incredible terrace suites, which feature a private outdoor bath set in a tropical roof garden and which overlooks the bright lights and bustling streets of charming Chinatown.

What To Do Around lITTLE iNDIA With The Family! A feast for all your senses, Little India is a metaphorical platter of spices, sights and sounds. There’s so much to see and so many things to do. Put on your walking shoes and head out with an open mind. This place might just surprise you.

1030 am

Kick off your Little India exploration tour with a plate of Hainan Chicken Rice Ball at Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre. This style of serving chicken rice has been around since the 1960s, and is no longer common in Singapore. Despite its simple appearance, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Poached chicken and balls of rice are served with a bowl of the fragrant stock they have been cooked in, along with a selection of sauces: chili, ginger and dark soy. Location 43 Jalan Besar, Shin Boon Hwa Food Centre

1130 am

What’s a trip to Little India without visiting the famous Mustafa Centre? Open 24 hours, this dizzying multi-storied complex has a hectic market vibe and stocks everything from clothing and household items, to cheap and gimmicky gadgets you didn’t even know you needed. Location 145 Syed Alwi Road Web

1 pm

It’s time to refuel after all that shopping and what better than tucking in to one of the best fish head curries in town at The Banana Leaf Apolo Restaurant. Be warned: it is fiery hot.

Little INDIA

Little India An enclave for the adventurous voyager with curious children in tow, Little India brings you back to a different time and place, where romance walks side by side with kacang puteh push cart sellers and where the tallest skyscraper is perhaps just four storeys tall! Throw all the notions you have of this place out of the window; there are lots of undiscovered gems waiting in the charming alleys.

There are also plenty of Indian staples for the less adventurous. If you really want to fit in with the locals, eat with your hands, wash everything down with a refreshing lime juice and fold your banana leaf in half to signal you have finished. Location 48 Serangoon Road, #01-32 Little India Arcade Opening Hours Monday - Sunday: 10.30 am – 10.30 pm Web

2 pm

Wind down with a massage at Amrita Ayurvedic Centre. Wanderlust Four floors and 29 rooms of eclectic designs from award-winning studios Asylum, phunk studio and fFurious and architectural firm DP Architects. That’s the experience that awaits you and your family in Wanderlust – a visual feast in which every room and every floor is a treasure chest just waiting to be explored. Your kids will love the Whimsical series of rooms, especially Spaceship Silver and Tree – colourful and playful chambers that will transport your child to another world where anything is possible. It might even transport you back to the time when you were once a wide-eyed kid too!

This traditional Indian massage center offers a variety of therapies to cure whatever ails you. Ranging from treatments to release tension and treat head to toe pains, to those using traditional herb pastes, oils, spices. Location 11 Upper Dickson Road Opening Hours Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 9 pm; Sunday: 9 am – 3 pm Web

Exclusively for Family & Life readers! Enjoy 15% off the Best Available Rate for any Unlisted Collection: hotels in Singapore when you book via with the promo code “LOVEULC”. Terms & conditions apply.

Nov 2013 • Family & Life



A Floating Metropolis

Landlubbers ahoy! Put on your sea legs and plan your sail-cation with the impressive Mariner of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International, a world-class cruise line.

I was awoken by the first tendrils of the morning sun creeping in through the slightly drawn curtains. The fresh ocean breeze wafted through the opened door; I had left it ajar the previous night specially for this moment – being woken up by a refreshingly different sight and smell to what I’m used to in the city. Watching a sunrise from the privacy of your own balcony in the middle of the ocean beats anything the city can offer hands down. And as I look out into vast, deep

blue as far as the eye can see, I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to be. Where am I? I’m on board the Mariner of the Seas, one of the ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet, cruising somewhere in the middle of the Malacca Straits. It’s a small city cruising in the middle of the ocean, just without the maddening traffic jams and towering skyscrapers.

Clamber up the signature rock wall and admire the view overlooking the ocean some 40 feet above deck. Head down to the ice skating rink and swish (or in my case, waddle) around the rink. In fact, Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line to offer ice skating rinks with complimentary shows featuring professional skaters.







Get your kids to make new friends at Adventure Ocean led by the certified youth staff with programmes such as scavenger hunts, face painting, talent shows and more.

Length 1,020 feet (310 m) or about three football fields Guest capacity Comfortably takes in 3,807 guests with 1,185 crew members tending to your every need

Before I knew it, the sun had begun its descent and I headed to the open-air deck to partake in the glorious view of the ocean, coloured golden by the hue of the sun’s rays. Once the sun had disappeared into the horizon, it was time to head for dinner.

SPEED 22 knots (about 40 km/h) Number of decks 14 decks (or floors)

The DreamWorks Experience!

Your kids will love the DreamWorks experience on board the Mariner of the Seas, exclusive to Royal Caribbean! Beloved characters such as Shrek and Princess Fiona and Po from Kung Fu Panda will delight and entertain young and old alike during their parades and even your meals! The iconic animated characters will drop by as you’re tucking in to mingle with guests and maybe, even steal a French fry or two.

Family & Life • Nov 2013

Dismiss the notions you have of cruises only being for retirees and punters looking for their gambling fixes. The Mariner of the Seas offers a plethora of exhilarating activities and attractions for the entire family. The best part: almost all of it is included in your cruise fare, removing the hassle of bringing money on board for your daily needs. Everything else is charged to your card.

Channel your inner Tiger Woods and putt your way through the mini golf course.

Mariner of the Seas Fun Facts


I enjoyed a leisurely complimentary breakfast on my balcony, brought to me by the affable room service staff, while savouring the incredible ocean view.

The dining options on board the Mariner of the Seas are nothing short of spectacular, with the Main Dining Room complemented by three speciality dining restaurants – Johnny Rockets, Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table. Following a satisfying multicourse dinner, I was once again spoilt he er of t iple n i r a M t for choice with 17 bars and lounges o mul sails t region. Opt s offering a post-drink tipple to a e S e nd the t jaunt to th u o r toast to a satisfying day past. a n a igh cities ult for u ree-n a h v t r t r o ho es ees yo for a s ing countri that s e I went back to my room, g r a u k o c b i Minh neigh ht-night pa g to Ho Ch sufficiently buzzed and satiated, n eig isi ai. exotic r family cru nd Shangh and left the door ajar to u ga and yo Hong Kon welcome the following day’s at City, ation c a v y sunrise and refreshing salty famil g. r next u o ocean breeze. y k rib Boo oyalca .r w w w



Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



SuperStar The search for your next family holiday destination is over. It’s time to head for the high seas.


The thing I most fondly remember about my experience on board SuperStar Virgo, the largest vessel in the Star Cruises line-up, was not the seemingly endless supply of food during buffet times (but really, where do they find the space to store so many ingredients) or the gorgeous, postcard-perfect view of the vast ocean from my balcony. No, it wasn’t any of these.

waitress who treated me like royalty and in doing so, transformed a normal dining experience into an unforgettable evening with her poise and subtlety.

It was the staff. The smiling chambermaid who cheerily greeted me every morning without fail the moment I stepped out of my room; the guest relations officer who painstakingly answered my numerous questions and dealt with my requests for access to different places so that I could take photographs; the

“For infants, please help them to put on life vest A. For kids below 20 kg, please put on life vest B. For kids above 20 kg, please put on life vest C. For adults below 140 kg, please put on life vest D. For adults weighing above 140 kg, I’m sorry to say we don’t have suitable life vests for you. But, don’t worry. You’ll float.”

Even the mandatory lifeboat drill that was held before the ship set sail turned from a routine affair into a laugh-athon, as the staff expertly blended safety advice with memorable jokes.

Every night, each room is given a brochure that extensively details the different events happening on board the next day. There is literally something going on every hour, whether it’s a simple game of charades with the other holiday-makers and the staff, or an elaborate musical in the ship’s theatre. There are also plenty of activities specially catered for children, and as I went around the vessel with my camera, I saw a number of smiling parents with kids in tow as trying their hands at balloon twisting or just enjoying the wide array of familyfriendly facilities available on board. Of course, on those rare occasions when you feel like enjoying a bit of alone time with your significant other, you can leave your children to play with their peers in the Kids’ Activity Centre, which is helmed by a crew of trained facilitators. In the Centre, there is a playground masquerading as an obstacle course, a play pit filled with balls and a sitting area with enough crayons and papers to stock a stationery store. Besides the Kids’ Activity Centre, there are a plethora of amenities on board the ship that your children, whether they’re three or 13, would love, including a mini water theme park, complete with water slides, mermaid statues and Poseidon himself eyeing the scene, and a rock wall for the little ones who love climbing and giving their parents a mini heart attack. Depending on the time of the year, the vessel’s crew also put together thematic celebrations, inviting everyone, from the young to the old, to join in. When I was there, it was just in time for their version of “Oktoberfest”. There wasn’t a pitcher of beer in sight, but I feasted on a chocolate buffet, suitable for the whole family, and made my two left feet do some work during the dance-off at the main atrium. My time on board SuperStar Virgo came to an end far too soon, but as I left the vessel, I didn’t feel any sadness. Instead, my heart was warmed by the friendliness and dedication demonstrated by the entire crew. I’ll be back, soon enough.

superstar virgo Fun Facts Length 879 feet (268 m) or about two and a half football fields Guest capacity Comfortably accommodates 1,870 passengers SPEED 24 knots (about 44 km/h) Number of decks 13 decks (or floors)


Family & Life • Nov 2013

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



Outdoor Fun!

Wondering what to do together with your kids during the school vacation? Family & Life gives you a list of activities you can do, all of which we give our family-friendly-fun stamp of approval!

i g n a h C Karting t i u c r i C

Climb Asia

It’s time for you and your children to go vertical with Climb Asia! One of the most prominent climbing Fun Notes gyms in Singapore, • Climb Asia Climb Asia is run by recommends wearing a dedicated group of shorts that are kneeprofessionals who length or longer as well want to give back to as socks the sport they fell in • Rockids classes are love with. held on Saturdays and Sundays And what better way to give back than to start ‘em young! Climb Asia offers a programme specially catered for

MegaZip Adventure Park

Parents and children, it’s time to relive the F1 race. Rev your engines and duke it out for the chance to spray champagne (or fruit juice if you’re under-aged) on the podium! Okay, we kid. There are no liquids available to be sprayed or a podium but you can still race with your children at the Changi Karting Circuit, an international-sized track located right on the eastern edge of Singapore. Put the pedal to the metal and speed your way around the track on fun karts that go as fast as 60 km/h. And don’t fret, safety is topmost at Changi Karting Circuit. Helmets are provided and cushioned corners make sure you and your child are protected. Eagle-eyed safety marshals also keep Fun Notes everything safe and need • Future Vettels snug. m 1. t to be at leas 5 tall to kart Changi Karting fety, • For your own sa Circuit is at sleeveless shirts Aviation Park Road, not and slippers are Singapore 123456. allowed You are required to

be a member to use the track. For a full breakdown of charges and opening hours, speed your way to

Forest Adventure There are no leopard printed loincloths here but you’ll still be screaming your head off while swinging in between the trees a la Tarzan! Forest Adventure is a tree top course that will see you and your kid traversing swinging logs, rocking on a trapeze and flying safely over the waters of Bedok Reservoir. There are 34 obstacles and four giant zip lines to tackle in the Grand Course, some of which are more than 5 m above the ground! 30

Family & Life • Nov 2013

There’s also a downsized version for kids shorter than 1.45 m, which offers 16 crossings and an awesome zip-line. The Kids Course has an on-going safety line that can only be detached once the child completes the course, so parents can put their mind at ease.

Want to have a taste of climbing? Climb Asia also offers sessions lasting an hour where you and your children can discover the sport alongside an instructor in a controlled environment.

Climb Asia is at 60 Tessensohn Road, Singapore 217664. Clamber up to www. to discover what awaits you at the top.

Fun Notes rs need to • Adventure 1.2 m tall if be at least nied or unaccompa if a 0.9 m tall guardian ib s respon le is available

Wh at do yo u ge t wh en yo u co mb ine a gia nt pla yg ro un d wi th lot s an d lot s of ro pe s? Yo u ge t th e Me ga Zip Ad ve nt ur e Pa rk , a sp ra wl ing ad ve nt ur e fac ili ty wi th fiv e att ra cti on s – Me ga Zip , Cl im bM ax , Pa ra Ju mp , No rth Fa ce an d Me ga Bo un ce . Ou r pe rs on al fa vo ur ite is th e ex hil ar at ing Me ga Zip , a zip -li ne th at me as ur es a wh op pin g 45 0 m lon g. Yo u sta rt fro m th e pe ak of Im bia h Hi ll an d en d on th e be ac he s of Sil os o. Re ac hin g sp ee ds of up to 50 km /h ,

kids between the ages of six and 10 called Rockids, which teaches basic climbing techniques, top rope climbing and more. Your children will not only develop their physical and mental strength but also learn soft skills such as resilience and fortitude.

th e zip -li ne sw oo sh es yo u pa st th e be au tif ul be ac h sig ht s. Do op en yo ur ey es ! After you and your kids are done zip-lining, the re is still lots more to do in the park. From simulatin g a parachute landing to cla mbering up rocks, you can be sure your kids will rem ember this fun day out for months to come.

MegaZip Adventure Park is along Imbiah Hill Road, Sentosa. Zip over to to book a fun day out wi th your family. Fun Notes e of 18 elow the ag • Tarzans b d by accompanie need to be bove ed 21 and a an adult ag kes d Course ta • The Gran plete ours to com about two h ut o s Course ab and the Kid an hour MUST hoes are a • Covered s

Forest Adventure is within Bedok Reservoir Park. Book your day of adventure at

Indoor Fun!

Want to have fun with your children during the school holidays but the weather is a big concern? Family & Life gives you a list of activities you can do indoors no matter the elements!

LilliPutt Indoor Mini Golf LilliPutt might be four but the 10,000-square-foot indoor mini golfing facility is still a great place to have loads of fun! If you haven’t been introduced to this themed indoor mini golf course, you’re missing out.

Fun Notes playing age is • Recommended ove five years and ab golf takes of d un • One fun ro to 90 about 60 minutes e et minutes to compl is • Casual clothing d all an d de recommen r socks on ea w patrons must the course

Horse around with your kids in the sixstorey Jungle Play Gym, featuring an eightmetre-tall wave slide. Then, engage in an inter-galactic shootout in Space Ball! Pseudowarfare not for you? Check out the glow-inthe-dark nine-hole mini golf course.

Amazonia Singapore

Featuring interactive putting greens that transport, swallow and push your golf ball around, the course is a fun and interesting challenge, whether you’re a seasoned professional or someone who has never touched a golf club before.

We highly recommend that you check out Amazonia Singapore, a family fun centre for the young and the young at heart.

We had a ball of a time (pun fully intended) putting our way around downsized attractions of Singapore and we’re sure your children will love it too.

And when you’re completely spent while your child is still eager check out the other offerings, take a break at the bist ro and be rest assured that your child is in safe hands.

LilliPutt Indoor Mini Golf is at 902 East Coast Parkway, #03-05 (Block B) Big Splash, Singapore 449874. Discover the themed attractions for each hole at

Amazonia Singapore is at 1 Kim Sen g Promenade, #03-08 Great World City Mall, Sing apore 237994. Admission prices vary. For the full list, visit

iFly Singapore s iFly y of the danger.” That’ of skydiving without an ill thr the ping out ce en jum eri no xp “E it. There’s and boy, do they fulfil u yo to ise om and no pr s ds re’ ee Singapo kneck sp ards the ground at brea tow ing ng plu no in the , fly es family of aeroplan aration as you and your hil ex re pu ly on is ere bad weather. Th nd tunnel! world’s first largest wi experienced sport or a stunt double, the in r ne gin be a e u’r ing process. Whether yo you through the bodyfly ide gu to nd ha on be on enough, instructors will uth when you begin, so mo ur yo in art he ur yo Although you’ll have and again! you’ll want to go again Fun Notes psuits and So, strap on those jum • B udding skydivers need to be ur flying with yo experience the thrill of at least seven-years-old you and your children. It’s time for • A nyo ne under 18 requires birds. family to be one with the signed permission from a parent or guardian Siloso Beach iFly Singapore is at 43 • A bodyflying experience lasts 099010. Walk #01-01, Singapore abo ut 45 seconds (which is family flying Check out the different long enough, trust us!) packages at www.iflysin

Fun No tes • Funsters a re need to wea ed r socks • All ch ildren u nder 12 year s of ag e must be acco mpanie d parent by a or a gu ardian

Westgate Wonderland Fun Notes d S$60 eed to spen • Parents n child to let their in the mall o Club for tw play at Kids hours e ages between th • Children go wanting to four and six e b b need to to Kids Clu lt d by an adu accompanie

There’s a new kid in town, and they’re bringing out the big guns – literally! Westgate, the newest mall in Singapore at Jurong East, is immersing children in a larger-thanlife garden surrounded by oversized replicas of flora and fauna, a 10-metre tall tree house and even an enormous watering can! Called Westgate Wonderland, this fantasy theme park measures 11,000 square feet and is completely free to the public! It doesn’t just stop there. One floor above Westgate Wonderland

is the Kids Club, a specially supervised play area for children aged four to 12. There are thematic educational programmes, an outdoor playground, a reading corner and more. So, the next time you’re going shopping with your children, why not come to Westgate? You can have a ball of a time with your credit card while your kids will have rip-roaring good fun at the Wonderland.

Westgate Wonderland is at 3 Gateway Drive, Singapore 608532 and is scheduled to be opened before Christmas 2013. Nov 2013 • Family & Life



Come Hungry, Leave Happy That’s Spuds & Aprons’ promise to you and your family, and we certainly left the place after the meal in high spirits. Check out this new go-to family dining destination before everyone else knows about it!

“Come hungry!” I was told. So, when I headed down (or up) to the top of Mount Faber, where Spuds & Aprons is at, my tummy was already throwing a tantrum due to the lack of breakfast. The first thing that strikes you about the new restaurant is the breath-taking scenic view of Singapore, and the wind gently caressing your face. Being at the top of Mount Faber, one of the highest peaks in Singapore, gives you the luxury of almost-constant breeze and quiet sanctuary, a welcome respite from smoggy, urban Singapore. And the menu, western dishes with an Asian twist, draws you in with its colourful child-like palette and enticing descriptions.

Before it was Spuds & Aprons, the space formerly housed two fine dining destinations named Sapphire and Black Opal. The two restaurants were revamped and turned into a family-friendly establishment, complete with colourful chairs and a relaxed dress code.

When I was there, I saw two topless young boys horsing around with each other while their parents sat a few feet away, enjoying a cocktail and the languid afternoon breeze. However, the biggest draw of Spuds & Aprons is undoubtedly the food, all of which were conceived by renowned Chef Derrick Ang. The warm and friendly manager implored me to try the Wicked Fries, a serving of humble fried spuds liberally coated in the restaurant’s signature secret gravy and dollops of cheesy goodness. I’m always suspicious of the words “secret” and “sauce” when they’re put together since many eating places use these to draw the crowd in, only to leave them hanging. But, when I dipped the potato into the warm, luscious gravy and inhaled the aroma, I knew it was the real deal. Rich, aromatic yet light on the palate, the Wicked Fries was a fantastic appetiser and I only hoped it would get better from then on. Spuds & Aprons didn’t disappoint. The Japanese-influenced Tobiko Crusted

Cod Fillet was a harmonious dance on the taste buds. The cod, such a tricky fish to cook, was expertly pan-grilled and placed on the plate before being spread with a generous serving of Tobiko with mayonnaise. Complementing this combination was a bowl of cha soba, which might rock you at first. Don’t be alarmed. The pairing sings all the right tunes – the fishy taste of the cod soothed by the nutty buckwheat flavour of the noodles and aged Ponzu sauce. Another highlight was the Grilled Char Siew Lamb Rack, a simple enough dish to prepare yet so difficult to perfect. A minute too long and the lamb becomes a chore to chew; a minute too short and the lamb will be a touch undercooked. The lamb that came to my table was moist, tender and delicious, the mark of a chef who has been working long enough to know when lambs have to be taken off the grill. Spuds & Aprons was conceived in the spirit of family-friendly fun and in keeping with the theme, the servers (if you’re lucky) will put on aprons with catchy captions at different times of the day to indicate the promotion going on at that very moment. “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” “Dude with the food.” “My doctor says I need glasses.”

Win Spud a S$30 s dinin & Aprons g vouc her! Just s h

are wit h us yo or mo ur st fun d ining e happiest with y xperie our fa nce mily contes t@mou and send it to We’ll p ntfabe ick thr . s e g e . o who w ill wal f the best on k awa e s y with dining the vouch ers!

Who can resist such cheeky overtures to eat and drink even more? I knew I couldn’t, which probably explains why I left Spuds & Aprons not only very full but very happy as well. Spuds & Aprons | +65 6377 9688 109 Mount Faber Road, Level 2, Singapore 099203 Atmosphere relaxed, laidback and stunning views of Singapore Recommended wicked fries & gravy; tobiko crusted cod fillet; grilled char siew lamb rack; chilli crab in a tux; jar of happiness Price ranging from S$10 to S$30 for each dish depending on your choice of protein Opening times Sunday to Wednesday, 9 am to 11 pm; Thursday, 9 am to 12.30 am; Friday, Saturday and eves of public holidays, 9 am to 2 am

Reservations are highly recommended. The restaurant is working out credit card promotions with different banks, so do ask your server what’s on offer. 32

Family & Life • Nov 2013

Healthy Chinese Cuisine With a Contemporary Twist

Chinese nutritional restaurant; Asia’s health kitchen. Fung Ding Hung serves up winner after nutritional winner.

The quivering mass of chilled lamb, encased within jelly concocted from chicken leg stock, sat quietly on my plate. I eyed it warily, uncertain of its taste. Like most people, I am seduced by appetising appearances; a carefully plated arrangement of ingredients designed to not only look good but taste incredible as well. The chilled lamb jelly with black bean was plain-looking and the name itself raised eyebrows. Nevertheless, I picked up my spoon, carefully carved out a small bit and put it into my mouth. A cacophony of tasteful adjectives immediately rushed their way into my cerebral cortex; it was my brain’s feeble attempt to pinpoint what exactly I was tasting. In the end, it finally decided on one: amazing. Throw out all notions you have about chilled jellies. The chilled lamb jelly with black bean is a surprising wellrehearsed orchestra, a tantalising mixture of savoury jelly with tender lamb topped off with rich-tasting black beans. The dish is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its humble parts. I had to know how this was made and the manager discreetly summoned the chef out. “There are two parts to the dish. The first part of the dish is the jelly, which I made by simmering chicken legs in water for a few hours to make stock. While that’s happening, we prepare the lamb, which is actually collagen from the animal. Once the stock is done, we combine the two and chill it to arrive at what you’re eating,” Chef Chai Ngen Kin says. Formerly of Tung Lok Classics and Restaurant Ten, Chef Chai has expertly brought to life the items in the fertile culinary mind of restaurant owner, the vivacious Elsa Tong. They say you are what you eat and in Fung Ding Hung, the menu is geared towards health and beauty. “We like to call the restaurant the woman’s beauty salon and the man’s petrol station,” Elsa says, laughing. If Elsa is any indication of the effectiveness of the dishes at Fung Ding Hung, then Singaporean women would be beating a path to the doors of the restaurant. Nutritional value and tasteful rarely, if ever, belong in the same sentence but Fung Ding Hung bucks the trend. Monosodium glutamate or MSG, a food additive commonly found in many Chinese restaurants to enhance

flavours, is not welcomed in Fung Ding Hung. Instead, the kitchen carefully sources out natural ingredients with high nutritional benefits such as pigeon, which has high levels of immune-boosting nutrients iron, zinc and selenium, and black beans, filled with protein, fibre and antioxidants. Another highlight of the meal: stewed goose with crispy tofu skin and featuring the softest, fluffiest mantou I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming. Served piping hot from the kitchen, Elsa instructed me to stuff the mantou with the sliced cucumber, melon and the stewed goose before dipping it into the sauce. I did as instructed and was rewarded with a mouthful of complementary textures and flavours. The orchestral arrangement that began with the lamb jelly had transitioned into a soulful rendition of simple yet succulent flavours. But, Fung Ding Hung still had not yet finished unveiling its plethora of bountiful treasures and my interest was piqued when the waiter brought over a plate of black squares, braised with a sauce of pine mushrooms and bamboo fungus. This is the only place in the city, according to Elsa, that you can discover the wonders of charcoal bean curd (that’s right, the charcoal is infused into the bean curd, thus giving the dish its signature black shade). After my initial apprehension and subsequent delight with the chilled lamb jelly, I dug into the silky smooth charcoal bean curd with gusto. It was soft, tender and tasted nothing like char coal, and I inhaled the black square in five seconds, table manners be damned. Why charcoal? It’s famed for its health benefits, helping to reduce cholesterol

levels and keeping your intestines clean and problem-free. After the adventure that was charcoal bean curd, we returned to more familiar territory with cod in the restaurant’s iconic celery sauce, which gave the aquatic meat a delightfully tart bite, and soon hock in spicy peppermint sauce, which had the effect of turning the table silent for a few minutes as everyone concentrated on dunking the fish into the delicious sauce and savouring its slight kick. Satiated, I leaned back into the plush chair with a contented sigh. Elsa was right. Fung Ding Hung was really a petrol station for men. Now, if only I could find a way to steal the recipe for the celery sauce. Fung Ding Hung | +65 6333 9846 | 9 Bras Basah Road, #02-01 Rendezvous Gallery, Singapore 189559 Atmosphere old-school Chinese period drama with contemporary touches and family-friendly measures Recommended double-boiled pigeon with eight kinds of herbs soup; charcoal bean curd braised with bamboo fungus and pine mushrooms; rainbow noodles with goose meat in celery sauce; purple yam and mango pancake Prices affordable with many dishes suitable for a family of four ranging from S$10 to S$20 Opening times Monday to Sunday, 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5.30 pm to 10 pm

Reservations are accepted. UOB and Maybank card holders can enjoy 10% off the total bill. Nov 2013 • Family & Life



The Family

Garlic Slipper Lobster Here at Family & Life, we believe that cooking can, and should be, a family affair! This month, we What’s great about this recipe is how easy it is to obtain the ingredients. All of them can be found at your neighbourhood collaborate with Chef supermarket, so the grocery trip can be turned into a fun family affair along the aisles. Derrick Ang and present Back home, get your children involved by asking them to help coat the slipper lobsters in eggs and cornflour while you chop the the Garlic Slipper Lobster garlic. Sure, it’s messy and the clean-up might be a bit of a hassle, especially if your kids start re-enacting The Little Mermaid infused with coconut with the marine meat, but the end results are deliciously worth it. cream, a delightfully sophisticated dish that’s Have fun with this recipe and do share with us family pictures from your garlic slipper lobster adventures! actually very easy to prepare and serve. Serves: 1 person Preparations

Lobsters; they’re delicious and oh-so-delectable but are perceived to be difficult to prepare and cook. Chef Derrick would like to assure you that that’s not the case at all and has kindly shared with us a simple recipe from his collection of family-friendly menu favourites.

Degree of difficulty: Medium Preparation time: 25 minutes Total cooking time: 12 minutes

1 Coat the slipper lobsters with eggs and cornflour. 2 Heat up oil and deep-fry till golden brown. Place aside for later. Ingredients 3 Heat pan and place butter in medium heated pan. Add a Slipper Lobster little oil to prevent butter from burning. Slipper lobster 4 pieces 4 Sauté garlic and curry leaves and in the butter over low Cornflour 200 gm heat till fragrant. Eggs 2 5 Add in cooking cream and bring to boil. Cooking oil 2 litres 6 Season with salt and pepper and add coconut cream at Salt and pepper To taste the last minute. 7 Add deep-fried slipper lobster and fry over high heat Garlic Sauce until the sauce coats the slipper lobster. Kara coconut cream 200 ml Cooking cream 500 ml 8 Remove from the heat and garnish with garlic and Butter 50 gm Chinese parsley. Curry leaves 1 piece Chopped garlic 100 gm

Chef Derrick Ang is the Executive Chef of the Mount Faber Leisure Group and oversees food and beverage operations at three iconic restaurants, Spuds & Aprons, Faber Bistro and Sky Dining onboard Singapore Cable Car. 34

Family & Life • Nov 2013









Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life




Titans of the Past – Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals


Travel back in time to an era when large prehistoric dinosaurs roamed freely on earth, and mastodons and sabre-toothed tigers stood haunches to haunches with woolly mammoths in Titans of the Past – Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals, a new exhibition in the Science Centre Singapore. Featuring beautiful and valuable real fossils, stateof-the-art animatronics and our favourite part of the entire showcase, the largest T-Rex skull ever found, Titans of the Past is a majestic educational experience for both you and your children. This exhibition also features the extensive work of Dr Jack Horner, one of the world’s leading palaeontologists and consultant for the Jurassic Park films, so you can be sure of the veracity of the amazing information you’ll be consuming.

Where: The Annexe, Science Centre Singapore When: 25 October 2013 to 23 February 2014 Price: Admission fees are S$25 for adults and S$19 for children, and includes entry to the Science Centre

Jack & The Bean-Sprout! What’s a filial son to do when there are bills to pay, the cupboard is bare and the loan sharks are circling? Why, sell the family’s beloved pet cow, Ah Kow, of course. But, when Jack only gets a handful of green beans instead of cash for their pet, disaster looms. That is, until a giant taugeh springs up in Marina Bay! Follow the adventures of Jack and laugh out loud with your children in what is touted to be the funniest family show of the year. With side-splitting gags, catchy songs, snazzy dance routines, outrageous costumes and more, Jack & The Bean-Sprout! promises to catapult you and your kids to Cloud Nine (no need to climb the taugeh!) for the holiday season and keep you laughing well into 2014. Jack & The Bean-Sprout! is written by exciting young playwright Joel Tan and directed by the one and only Ivan Heng. So, if you can only watch one theatre production this holiday season, make it this one!

Where: Drama Centre Theatre When: 21 November 2013 to 14 December 2013 Price: Ticket prices begin from S$50 for restricted seating and S$70 for standard seating Children below the age of four will not be admitted into the theatre. Purchase your tickets now at SISTIC authorised agents islandwide or at


Family & Life • Nov 2013

This Joy – A Choral Concert There’s no greater joy than music and no better way to ring in the festive season’s good tidings than with the merry performance of the Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) Children’s Choir. Celebrate the spirit of sharing and giving as the children’s choir entertains you with their rendition of memorable holiday tunes such as Can’t Believe It’s Christmas, Silent Night and the popular This Little Light of Mine. The SLO Chorus, The Expressos and guest choirs hailing from a

variety of different schools will also be on hand to lend their heavenly vocals. But, it doesn’t just stop there. You, yes, you in the audience are also invited to sing along to the songs from the comfort of your seats! Come and celebrate the season’s spirit of love, sharing and giving, regardless of faith and belief in This Joy – A Choral Concert.

Where: Esplanade Concert Hall When: 7 December 2013, 7.30 pm Price: Tickets are priced from S$20 to S$35 This Joy – A Choral Concert is for children above the age of five and adults. Discounts are available for OCBC credit card holders. Purchase your tickets now at SISTIC authorised agents islandwide or at

KidsFest Singapore 2014

It’s back! First making its debut in 2012, the wildly popular KidsFest is re-appearing on our shores in 2014, bigger and better than ever. For three weeks, you and your children will be treated to a veritable feast of worldclass theatre adapted from best-selling children’s books such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Gruffalo’s Child and more. A whopping nine theatre productions will be shown during KidsFest Singapore 2014, the largest number to date. The team behind the festival is also introducing KidsFest Plus, an exclusive backstage experience on scheduled dates for selected productions where fans can get up close and personal with the cast for autographs and photo-taking sessions! Who knew theatre could be so fun? Get set for an adventure filled with catchy music, engaging scenes and a little audience participation thrown in!

Where: 1DBS Arts Centre and Drama Centre When: 15 January 2014 to 9 February 2014 Price: Tickets are priced from S$35 to S$62. For full plot listings and schedules, head on over to or

LISTINGS paediatric CLINICS Anson International Paediatric & Child Development Centre 290 Orchard Road #13-07 Paragon Singapore 238859 Tel: 6836 2802 Belinda’s Clinic for Children 3 Mount Elizabeth #15-17 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510 Tel: 6734 5833 Chan Clinic for Children 6 Napier Road #09-09 Gleneagles Medical Centre Singapore 258499 Tel: 6472 2868 Chiang Children’s Allergy and Asthma Clinic 3 Mount Elizabeth Road #17-12 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510 Tel: 6734 5676 Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic 38 Irrawaddy Road #07-22 Singapore 329563 Tel: 6570 2303 Dorothy’s Baby & Child Clinic 1 Jalan Anak Bukit #02-20 Bukit Timah Plaza Singapore 588996 Tel: 6468 9803 Dr Warren Lee’s Paediatrics, Growth and Diabetes Centre 1 Orchard Boulevard #02-06 Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: 6235 2618 Dr Yvonne’s Clinic for Children & Babies, Paediatric, Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy 41 Sunset Way Clementi Arcade #01-07 Singapore 597071 Tel: 6463 5001 Elizabeth Kids Clinic 290 Orchard Road #06-08 The Paragon Singapore 238859 Tel: 6736 6331 The Child Development Centre 10 Sinaran Drive #09-04 Novena Medical Centre Singapore 307506 Tel: 6397 6627 International Paediatric Clinic 1 Orchard Boulevard #11-06 Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: 6687 4440 International Urology, Fertility & Gynaecology Centre 3 Mount Elizabeth Road #10-09 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510 Tel: 6838 1212 K K Tang Adult & Paediatric Neurosurgery 3 Mount Elizabeth #10-11/12 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510 Tel: 6737 0177 Kids Clinic @ Bishan Blk 116 Bishan St 12 #01-28 Singapore 570116 Tel: 6356 8909 Luxe Wellness Centre for Women 333 Orchard Road #06-25 Mandarin Orchard Singapore 238867 Tel: 6884 3433 Ng Baby & Child Clinic Crown Centre #02-10/11 557 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 269694 Tel: 6467 6092 Paediatric Cardiology Pte Ltd 6 Napier Road #02-03 Gleneagles Medical Centre Singapore 258499 Tel: 6479 7718

SpecialKids Child Health & Development Clinic 301 Upper Thomson Road #03-03 Thomson Plaza Singapore 574408 Tel: 6451 0028

PK Women’s Specialist Clinic One Doctors Medical Centre 23 Serangoon Central #01-55 NEX Singapore 556083 Tel: 6636 9909

SY Lim Children’s Clinic 402 Orchard Road #05-18 Delfi Orchard Singapore 238876 Tel: 6835 2868

S. B. Soon Clinic & Surgery for Women 290 Orchard Road #16-12 Paragon Medical Centre Singapore 238859 Tel: 6732 7773

The Psychotherapy Clinic for Adults and Children 1 Orchard Boulevard #09-03 Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: 6732 7557

See Toh Clinic for Women 6 Napier Road #07-11 Gleneagles Medical Centre Singapore 258499 Tel: 6472 2283

O&G & WOMEN’S CLINICS A Clinic for Women 17 Yuk Tong Avenue Chun Tin Court Singapore 596322 Tel: 6463 3366 Acufem Women’s Specialist Services 6A Napier Road #05-38 Gleneagles Hospital Singapore 258500 Tel: 6474 3821

Sincere Medical Specialist Center for Women 8 Sinaran Drive #06-19 Novena Specialist Centre Singapore 307470 Tel: 6507 0766 Tanny Chan Women’s Clinic & Surgery 6A Napier Road #06-10/13 Gleneagles Hospital Singapore 258500 Tel: 6472 6188 Dental Clinics

Brenda Low Clinic For Women 6A Napier Road #03-01 Gleneagles Hospital Singapore 258500 Tel: 6734 7340

A Line Dental Braces Clinic 1 Coleman Street #03-01 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: 6837 2722

Douglas Ong Clinic for Women-Fetal Medicine & UroGynaecology 3 Mount Elizabeth #03-06/07 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre Singapore 228510 Tel: 6737 6855

Aaron Dental Care @ Holland V Blk 8A Lorong Mambong Holland Village Singapore 277674 Tel: 6466 7313

Gordon Lim Clinic & Surgery for Women 6 Napier Road #03-06 Gleneagles Medical Centre Singapore 258499 Tel: 6472 9988

Aloha Dental Clinic 14 Scotts Road #04-125 Singapore 228213 Tel: 6738 2268

Haig Specialist O&G Clinic 36 and 38 Haig Road Singapore 438741 Tel: 6744 7686

Asia Healthcare Dental Centre 435 Orchard Road #15-02 Wisma Atria Office Tower Singapore 238877 Tel: 6737 2662

Jeanette Chen Women’s Clinic 339 Thomson Road #05-02A Thomson Medical Centre Singapore 307677 Tel: 6255 5963

Atria Pan Dental Group 290 Orchard Road #19-01 Paragon Medical Centre Singapore 238859 Tel: 6733 3133

KC Yeo Clinic & Surgery for Women 339 Thomson Road #05-04 Thomson Medical Centre Singapore 307677 Tel: 6254 6688

C & A Dental Studio 23A Lorong Mambong Holland Village Singapore 277682 Tel: 6468 7847

Kek LP Clinic & Surgery for Women 3 Mount Elizabeth #14-06 Thomson Medical Centre Singapore 307677 Tel: 6255 5963

Dennis Tan Dental Surgery 9 Raffles Place #02-23 Republic Plaza Singapore 048619 Tel: 6438 5622

Kusuma Lee Clinic Surgery for Women 304 Orchard Road #06-51 Lucky Plaza Singapore 238863 Tel: 6736 0405 (12)

Dhoby Dental Surgery 150 Orchard Road #02-09 Orchard Plaza Singapore 238841 Tel: 6836 7553

LN Sim Clinic for Women 339 Thomson Road #04-05 Thomson Medical Centre Singapore 307677 Tel: 6353 9270

Drs. Ernest Lam & Partners Dental Surgeons 163 Tanglin Road #03-20 Tanglin Mall Singapore 247933 Tel: 6836 2262

Motoko Clinic for Women 290 Orchard Road #11-13 Paragon Medical Centre Singapore 238859 Tel: 6838 5366 Novena Surgery 10 Sinaran Drive #08-18 Novena Medical Centre Singapore 307506 Tel: 6397 2251 Parkway Women & Fertility Clinic 80 Marine Parade Road #05-04/05 Parkway Parade Singapore 449269 Tel: 6345 5688

Foo & Associates Dental Surgeons 290 Orchard Road #09-03/04 Paragon Medical Central Singapore 238859 Tel: 6838 0903

International Tax Management 14 Robinson Road #13-00 Far East Finance Building Singapore 048545 Tel: 3152 0247

Icon Dental Surgeons 805 Bukit Timah Road #01-05 Sixth Avenue Centre Singapore 279883 Tel: 6463 5328

Origins Corporate Services 51 Goldhill Plaza #19-06 Singapore 308900 Web: Tel: 6353 5608

Irene Chua Dental Surgery 9 Penang Road #07-17 Park Mall Singapore 238459 Tel: 6333 4456 Kids Dental World 38 Irrawaddy Road #08-33 Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore 329562 Tel: 6684 3113

Personal Chef Singapore Web: Tel: 6386 1816 My Private Chef 61 Tras Street Singapore 079000 Web: Tel: 8123 1800

L C Lien Dental Clinic 501 Orchard Road #05-03 Wheelock Place Singapore 238880 Tel: 6835 3811

Amahs On Wheels 6 Ubi Road 1 #07-08 Wintech Centre Singapore 408726 Tel: 6837 2708

Lee & Lee (Dental Surgeons) 10 Collyer Quay #03-05 Ocean Financial Centre Singapore 049315 Tel: 6535 6113

A-Team Amahs & Cleaners Web: E-mail: Tel: 6846 0428

Madeliene Gunaratnam Dental Surgery 19 Tanglin Road #06-38 Tanglin Shopping Centre Singapore 247909 Tel: 6732 8087 Synergy Dental Group Pte Ltd 30 Raffles Place #03-05 Chevron House Singapore 048622 Tel: 6532 5483 The Kids Dentist One Orchard Boulevard #13-06 Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: 6235 7279 Fitness & Wellness Light Chiropractic 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-13/25/26 The Central Singapore 059817 Tel: 6336 4063 Asian Golf Centre Lessons are conducted at: Executive Golf Course and Driving Range, Track 7, Mandai Road, Upper Seletar Reservoir Singapore 779384 Tel: 8222 1121 (Enquiries and booking) The Moving Body Group 11 Unity Street #01-23 Robertson Walk Singapore 237995 Web: Tel: 6235 1051 The Pit Personal Trainer 50 Tras Street Singapore 078989 Web: Tel: 6222 4860 RITUAL Gym 11 North Canal Road #03-01 Singapore 048824 Web: Tel: 6536 7291

Dr HC Leong Dental Surgeon 8 Eu Tong Sen Street #20-86 The Central (Office Tower 2) Singapore 059818 Tel: 6222 7075

Alliance Professional Counselling 501 Bukit Timah Road #04-03 Cluny Court Singapore 259760 Tel: 6466 8120

Embrace Dental Surgery 360 Orchard Road #01-14 International Building Singapore 238869 Tel: 6235 6325

professional Services

FDC @ HarbourPoint Dental Centre 1 Harbourfront Place #01-02 Harbourfront Tower One Singapore 098633 Tel: 6271 8133

Home Services

CST Tax Advisors 96 Robinson Road, #17-02 SIF Building Singapore 068899 Tel: 6226 5566

Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning 85 Genting Lane #04-03 Guan Hua Warehouse Singapore 349569 Tel: 6749 3252 Concierge Services Singapore 14 Robinson Road #13-00 Far East Finance Building Singapore 048545 Tel: 9173 6570 / 9674 5716 Prince’s Landscape & Construction 53 Sungei Tengah Road Singapore 698998 Tel: 6763 7000 Tai Kwang Garden Landscaping Specialist 67 Sungei Tengah Road Unit 9 Farmart Centre Singapore 699008 Tel: 6793 7779 Ancerlot International Swimming Pool Services 20 Maxwell Road #09-17 Maxwell House Singapore 069113 Tel: 6408 9708 Hayward Pool & Services 52 Greenleaf Drive Singapore 279552 Tel: 6466 1491 Other SERVICES Asia Jet Charter 3 Pemimpin Drive #04-01 Lip Hing Industrial Building Singapore 576147 Web: Tel: 8354 8857 Lightfoot Travel Designer Travel Specialists 33 Pekin Street #02-1A Far East Square Singapore 048763 Web: Tel: 6438 4091 Impulse Flyer 9 Temasek Boulevard #09-01 Suntec Tower Two Singapore 038989 Web: E-mail: JNR Entertainment Pte Ltd SCAPE Underground 2 #01-B7 Orchard Link Singapore 237978 Tel: 9389 1853 Tanglin-Orchard Drycleaners 19 Tanglin Road #06-41 Tanglin Shopping Centre Singapore 247909 Tel: 6734 0725

Nov 2013 • Family & Life



My 2 cents on...

Being A

Young Grasshopper In this exclusive series, our guest columnistsparents weigh in on the issues that are closest to their hearts. This month, actor and martial arts aficionado Robin Leong explains why he believes every child should take up martial arts.

By Robin Leong

Today’s children have so many options when it comes to leisure – iPads, iPhones, Xboxes, etc. They live in a society where things are easy, and easily accessible. Now, wasting time playing video games or surfing Facebook is a sort of exercise for them. As a result, a lot of these children are dependent on these virtual addictions. As a parent, what can you do? The answer is simple. Help them to find a hobby in their lives that they will enjoy and will allow them to express themselves while getting fully fit and mentally focused. What could this hobby be? Martial arts, of course!

In the world of Chinese martial arts, respect is paramount, not just to learn but also to honour your parents, elders and teachers.

All the different forms of martial arts are fantastic hobbies and wonderful sports. They inculcate self-defence techniques in the practitioner and also build one’s physical and mental discipline. In my opinion, the most important aspect of martial arts is its ability to help create mental strength and confidence in people, especially in children. The physical benefits are just the cherry on top of the cake! Mental strength helps children to be self-disciplined and focused, and introduces structure into their lives. It also builds their confidence and prepares them for life. I always tell my students that they must always develop good training habits (work ethic), as it doesn’t only help them to excel in kung fu but also assists them in getting better grades in school and building better relationships with family and friends. Most importantly, it teaches them one important quality. Respect.

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.” Confucius To fully understand the importance of learning a martial art, one must learn to respect oneself and others, especially to elders. Nowadays, many children forget about 38

Family & Life • Nov 2013

authority. They feel that they don’t need to answer to anyone except themselves. This creates a lack of respect that frustrates parents. In the world of Chinese martial arts, respect is paramount, not just to learn but also to honour your parents, elders and teachers. Learning to practice diligently while showing respect to those who are teaching you equips you with the qualities needed to succeed in life. For example, there was one child who had anger management issues and constantly talked back to his parents and teachers. Initially, he didn’t even want to join the programme and had a haughty, snobbish attitude for the first two weeks. Something changed shortly thereafter though, and he actually began to participate in the exercises. I could tell he was directing his anger towards the punching bags. He used the classes as a form of release and slowly, he began to learn respect and most importantly, control. He also started channelling his anger in positive ways. Now, according to his Mum, he’s currently studying in the States and is doing very well. It is stories like this that motivate and inspire me to continue doing what I’m doing – helping children become not just martial artists but better people. What else does martial arts impart? Balance. Confidence. Chi.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius Exercising is always wonderful for the body, but learning a martial arts takes exercise to a whole new level as it teaches you to discover your chi. Chi is the inner energy force that everyone has. You just need to find it, nurture it and discover the strength it has on your mental and physical wellbeing. The balance of chi in martial arts is not just about keeping a strong stance physically, but by keeping a strong mind. Building confidence through martial arts is important in the development of your child. It helps them feel good about themselves and

it helps them attain goals they never thought was possible. I’ve seen so many children feel intimidated when they see a kung fu handset for the first time. They would say that they won’t be able to remember or physically do all of the moves. But step by step, they will get to their destination and goal by persevering and never giving up. No matter how difficult a task may seem to be, the child must have the mental toughness and confidence to finish it. What about confidence? Confidence is built through inspiration.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Confucius Children must be inspired, whether by parents, teachers, friends or even what they see on television! Many parents come to me and say their children loved what they saw on Kung Fu Panda, Ben Ten, etc. and it inspired them to want to learn kung fu. This is a great first step! Getting a child to be interested in something other than a video game is music to both my and many parents’ ears out there. When children begin experiencing kung fu in real time by learning and doing it, and not just by seeing it on the goggle box, soon they will learn its true meaning, which helps them to prepare for the challenges of life ahead!

Nov 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Family & Life



Family & Life â&#x20AC;˘ Nov 2013

Issue 3  
Issue 3  

Hotelier Loh Lik Peng Bares All, He Cleans He Cooks And His Wife Brings Home The Bacon, Talking To Your Teenage Children About Sex.