Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Young Mozarts

Date: July 30, 2011

Last saturday, my wife brought Jay Jay to "The Young Mozarts" concert performed at The Singapore Chinese Orchestra Hall.


You know Jay Jay, very excited about everything.


He is happy of course.  Mommy mommy, please take picture of the concert hall.


He is an observer.  He is more interested to know how the video camera projected the video on to the big screen, where the lighting are from, etc etc.


Ya the chair is comfortable.


First came the 4 years old boy playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars".  My wife was like, "huh?  Mozarts wrote this?"

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Then, a bunch of kids came out and pull the violin.  Jay was like, wow, all these kids are similar age or older than me, can I play the violin like that?

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Tiffany Tan Chao Min.  12 years old.  On violin Solo.


Nikolai Song.  8 years old.  On Flute.


The ochestra.  Display all sort of instruments, and play it together.

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Jay Jay did learn a lot of things during that concert.

The next day, when he is learning violin with Mr. Leong, this is what he told him...

"Teacher Leong, you know why today I play well?"

"Because I see other people play well yesterday."

OK... expose your kid to things they like, and keep encourage them.  This is the time to teach them about performance, and stage, etc etc.


Cook with Ken - White Wine Steamy Mussels

Date: July 31, 2011

Today, during lunch, I ordered a Thai Steam Mussles, and it is way to spicy for Jay Jay.  So, at the dinner time, I wanted to cook soem mussles for Jay Jay.


The ingredients for the mussles.  Basically, it is a steam mussles using white wine, lemon and garlics.

1.  Some garlics.  (1 and a half)


OK.  I found this convinient tool in the kitchen cabinet.  I don't know what it is called, basically, you just put your garlic into the this and squeeze it.


And wala... your garlic becomes diced.  fine dinced.


2.  Lemon.  (Half)


Now, you will squeeze the lemon into the garlic that you juse diced.


3.  Olive Oil.


Add some olive oil into the Lemon + Garlic.

4.  Salt.

Add some salt in.

5.  Live Mussles.


I got this from Cold Storage.  It is Live Mussels.  What?  Live?  Yes, these mussels are kept in a almost vacumn pack.  And they lower the temperature down to very low for them to herbinate.  Usually, what I did is to prepare a pot of salt water (yes, add sea salt into water), and then try to "wake" them up.  Welcome to Singapore, you said...


Add in what ever you have come up with just now into the mussels.  Let the mussels soaked inside the Lemon + Garlic + Olive Oil.  Marinate it a bit.  (not true, they are not opening their shell at all).  hahaha

6.  Lime Leaves.  (or Basils)


OK.  I ran out of basil leaves.  So, I used this instead.  My wife said is a lime leaves.  I tasted it, and its OK, can be used.  So, now you know keeping a few pots of herbs in your balcony can come in very handy.

7.  White Wine.  (Cheap)


I also ran out of white wine in my wine collections.  So, I have to run downstairs to grab one from the grocery store.  Oh ya, a good friend of mine taught me this.  "You don't have to use good wine for cooking".  But sometimes I disagree with him, because in Chinese cooking, when we cook some dishes, we always will sprinkle some cooking wine at the very last just before you died down the fire.  So that the alcohol in the cooking wine is not completely vaporized.  And yet you can taste the alcohol plus whatever flavor in the cooking wine.

So, when you cook the steam mussels, it shall be the same too.  If you used a good sweet wine, then, the sweetness will still be there.  And yes, the alcohol will be vaporized during the steaming, but don't forget at the end, before you turn off the fire, you always had a choice to sprinkle some additional white wine and leave it "uncook" so that it can bring up some alcohol taste.

But today, no choice, I ran out of white wine.  So, I bought a wine from the grocery store.  It's $26 Chille wine.

Cooking Now!

The whole process should not take longer than 15 minutes.

1.  Heat the wok or pan.

2.  When the wok or pan is very hot, pour in some Olive Oil.

3.  Pour in the mussels with the marinate sauces (Lemon + Garlic + Olive Oil).

4.  Stir fry for 20-30 seconds.


5.  Pour in the white wine.


6.  Bring it to boil, and then small fire, and cover the lid, and steam it for a while.


7.  Steam it for about 3-4 minutes.

8.  Use 1 finger to cover the white wine bottle, and sprinkle the wine on top of the mussels.

9.  Turn off the fire, and serve the dish.  Don't forget, you can always add salt + sugar to bring it to your taste before you turn off the fire.


OK.  简简单单又一餐.





Front Seat In The Train

Date:  July 31, 2011

You do not need to go too far to let your kids enjoy the front seat in a train ride.


Welcome to LRT!


There is no driver room, so, your kids can sit in the front row!


They can sit side by side.


And they can see the tracks!


They can see far far away too...


Oh ya... You can see MRT too...


And it is quite fun most of the time... answering your son questions....


Once a while, bring your kid to experience a train ride is a fun thing to do!

Kay Has Stopped Crying During Hair Cut

Date:  July 31, 2011

Today, we have quite a success story ... It's our monthly family hair cut day.  Again, we went to Kimarie, a hair salon in Suntec City.


As usual, Jay Jay will have his hair cut first, and Kay Kay will sit beside him and watch.  Then, it will be my turn.  This is after we had our lunch.  And Kay Kay had his power nap (1.5 hours).


As usual, when ICE 姐姐 cut the hair, mommy will also pretend cutting Kay Kay hair at the back.


So, when ICE 姐姐 cut Kay's hair, we all were surprise that Kay Kay stay calm, and try very hard to stay still.  Oh ya, the plastic bag he is holding is his reward.  We told Kay only when he cut his hair and don't cry, then, we will reward him that.


As you can see, sometimes is very itchy when the hair drop onto your neck.


Don't forget your gadget, let him watch a video ... distract him a little...


As promise, if you cut your hair without tears and crying... we will let you wear the Angry Bird t-shirts.


OK.  In additional, we let him eat the Ice Cream cone.


So, what is the secret again?

1.  Must sleep, take a power nap before the hair cut.

2.  Must promise to give him a present.  In this case, Angry Bird t-shirt.

3.  Must feed him an ice cream cone (his favorite) before and reward him another one after.

4.  Must sit beside Jay Ko-Ko to watch every single details.

5.  Daddy & Jay Jay must help too.

6.  Must distract him with a movie or cartoon on the iPhone.

What a big success!  And we had a great time cutting hair today!

Some Good Advises From a Father

Date:  July 31, 2011

The original article is in Chinese.  I found it from this web site...  I thought it was beautifully written ... Got to learn .... and got to share too... and I will add in some English comments (beware of grammer mistakes and typo ...)

But I think the Author is 吴晓明 from


Some good advises from a father:  Do not let your child to fulfill your dream.  Here are 18 advises for you.

Raise your child to become a "Normal Person"...
#1.  In your life, perhaps there are a lot of dream that you have not fulfill, please do not make your child to help you fulfill.  Please remember, those are your dream, not your child's.  If you just become a parent, there are still time for you to fulfill your dream, go and fulfill it and make it an example for your kids.
[Comment]  This is true.  I wished I could play better in tennis, but it does not mean that your kids love tennis.  So, no wonder, when I sent Jay to a tennis course, he does not show lots of interests.  But we pull a full stop on that, and let him choose what he want to learn.  Violin, swimming are all what Jay wants to learn.



#2.  Please kneel down and speak to your child.
I like to talk to him/her this way.  To your child, you must give a certain "respects".  For those child who is more than 3 years old, you cannot treat him like a "kid" or "baby".  And you shall need to treat him with a certain equality.  What do you mean by equality?  First, let talk with the same height.
[Comment]  As a parent, this is very valid indeed.  Although it is not possible to kneel down to talk, but I think it is a very good idea especially to young toddler who is becoming brighter by the days.  I love this!



#3.  When the kids playing together, let them handle their own problems.

They fought, they argues, I think this is between them.  As a parent, usually don't put yourself in between them.  For kids, once they fought, they will forget.  5 minutes later, they are playing again.  For adults, it is usually not the case.  At the same time, parents need not to "lecture" the kids on this sort of matters, what can be done is to provide guidance (not using words).

[Comment]  My Kay is still a 2 year old.  He always get what he wanted.  The brother Jay is 5 years old.  Sometimes, this is how I guided him.  "Jay, you know why your brother behalf like that?  That is becomes, you never teach him to behave properly.  Have you ever teach him that?" Jay said.. "nope..." ... "See that explains why Kay Kay always do that to you.  Also, don't forget he is 2 years old, and he is in PG class, he needs time to understand."  Jay noded his head.




#4.  Patiently play with your kids.  Even though you think their game is quite boring.

He/she loves to play high and seek.  He does not have any technique in hiding.  He/she loves to play war game, and he/she has no technique mastering the war game.  But I like the idea of when he/she wants to play, he/she still look for me to play with him/her.  So, parents is the "best toys" for kids and we ought to become our children "big toys".

[Comment]  This is very true.  But some times I admit I cannot do 100% of this.  But try your best.  Yesterday, our cat died.  My wife have to bring the cat to vets and put him down.  So, I played with my kids, I sang song to them, almost 4 hours straight, three of us are in the air con room, playing all sort of games and toys.  I can see Kay Kay have lots of fun, and Jay Jay too act like a big brother.  However, every weekend, I do spents lots of efforts by bringing them out to see the world, to feel the world.



#5.  Try to take turns to read it aloud a classic story tale.
When your child get older, you can do this.  The child is the mini-you (parent).  He or she will copy all your actions.
[Comment]  I can still remember, when I read the books to Jay, I usually do not read it from the book.  But I turn off the lights, and tell him the tale from my mind.  I created the "Shinkansen Boy" story for Jay, and make him think that he is the hero.  And and the end, he start telling me his idea how the story should end.  That is a great fun, and that is a joy.


#6.  Every month, bring your kids to book store.  And every time stay there for 2 hours.
[Comment]  The collections in our National Library is great.  Especially you go to the Clementi one, all the books are still very new.  I would say, every 2 weeks we will spent some time at the library.  And Jay just love it.  He loves to go library.  And he start reading there.



#7.  Let your kids do the hard work then fulfull his/her wish.  In this way, he/she will learn how to cherish.

What the children lack of today is not "materials", they always feel good.  What they lack of is the "sense of failure".  For those was not raised from the poor environment, these kids will not know how to cherish.

[Comment]  It is true. What your child wants, you give.  This is not so correct.  But unfortunately, this is what all the parents do nowadays.  Even myself is doing this.   But buying toys or bring them to where they want to go will always bring happiness to the kids.  Sometimes, you do need to set some rules and let them earn it.  Like last time, if you can control your eating behaviour, Jay, I will give you toys based on your weight control.  Jay is overweight, where we put in rewarding systems to encourage him to do more exercise and have a habit of good healthy eating.





#8.  Besides praise, you need to punish.  But punishment is not equal to simply caning them.

This is very difficult.  In my opinion, you cannot punish too much, but it must be really meant it.  And it has to be effective.  Otherwise, your kids shall forget about it.  The recommended way is still using praise and encouragement, but don't always tell the kids they are good, but always encourage them to learn how to make it or becoming good.

[Comment]  Yes.  Once a while, you need to punish them, and you need very effective way.  Daddy can always be a bad guy, and mommy can always be the shelter to go to.  But when the kids has done something seriously wrong, a well effective punishment is in need.  And do not soften your heart.  Always give an effective punishment.




#9.  When he gets unreasonable, never negotiate and give in.

Never give in when the kids getting very unreasonable, and trying to get away with it.  However, when you have old folks around the kid, this is very hard.  If the kids face only us, the parent, then, usually it is very easy and effective.  Because we can shape the mind, and bring out the concept.  But when there are old folks around, they tends to side the children, then the teaching will become very difficult.

[Comment] Unfortunately, many of my friends cannot do this.  In day time, they leave their kids to the grand parents, sometimes they left the kids to the other grand parents. and Usually the grand parents will side the kids.  So, it will make the teaching become very difficult.  I am very fortunate, as both grand parents are staying in Malaysia, and Jay and Kay now are brought up in a very unify envinronment, where when you are wrong, you are wrong, and there is no shelter to go to.




#10.  Always remember the weakness among the parents.  When the kids grow bigger, we always will talk about their weaknesses.  Please treat them as if they are just borned.

Give more encouragement!  Dont say "Why you are stupid!  Other people know, why you don't know!" this sort of comments.  It will hurt your kids.  Let's put you in their should and some people say that to you what will you think...

[Comment]  YES!  Totally agree.  They kids are not flawless.  All these imperfections, you need to guide the kids to correct themselves.  Not to always point it out.  Think of a way to encourage them to change the habit, etc.  The most important thing is, hey, they are only 5 years old or 2 years old, let them have the right to enjoy their childhood.




#11.  Don't be afraid of computer.  Those addicted to TV is far more severe than computer addicts.  Please allow your child to move away from TV, cherish their lives.

However, the correct method is to guide them, encourage them, explain to them, but not to block them.

[Comments]  That is true too.  TV programs in these days are really bad.  I don't expose the kids to Ben10, violent cartoon.  But rather, Disney Channel is the only channel they want to watch.  It is more healthier.  Also, don't forget to make them look at far side once a while when watching TV.  Also, try to watch together with them.  And also, plan more outdoor activities when you can so that they can move away from the TV.



#12.  No later than primary school, must give them some housework.

Small kind of housework, you can assign them to do while they are above 2 years old.  like cleaning the toys.  They have a sense of being regconized.  My son always take a cloth and mob here and there.

[Comments] Yes!  Do this.  For Jay & Kay, when their rice drop to the floor, we always give them the broom to sweep and pick up all those rice or veggie.  It is a habit but a damn good habit to train them to pick up their own mess!




#13.  Don't be too worry about your child results and performance.  What most important is whether he likes the school or not.

Result does not mean anything.  You must understand what is his interest, and does he/she likes to go to school, go to this particular schools.  As for results, in my opinion, the more imporant is to see if there is any improvements, and secondly, try to concentrate on how to concern and know the wrong doings.

[Comments]  OK, one of the disadvantages of not having the grand parents around is you got to sent your kids to school earlier.  OK, we don't call it school, but rather play group.  Jay and Kay went to Lorna Whiston as young as 18 months.  No choice, but rather than puting emphasis on whether they did well in their class or not, we always concern who are his friends, whether he has lots of good friends in school to play with or not.  As said, a childhood is still a childhood, I don't care if he cannot hold a pen right at 3 years old, what I care is is Jay or Kay happy in school.  As far as I know, they both are popular in school, and they love to be there, and there is a strong sense of belonging.  When they grow up, they will eventually learn all these things.  You have to let your kids learn things on his own, and at his own pace.  However, always check back once a few weeks.  Like what I did... I just learned that Jay now can count much faster than 8 weeks ago.  So, we never teach too much how to count, and we allow him to learn this from the school at his own pace.  Don't be frustrated at the beginning, as the kid will learn and find its way when it grows up.  The most importanting is to give him the happy childhood he should have.




#14.  Don't sent your kid to special class.  It is there that they always use "grooming talent" as the slogan to treat normal people.

There is a lot a lot of classes your kids can go, like piano, dancing, taekwando, etc.  Don't over do it.  Happy childhood is only once, and those kids who lives in the city already kill the childhood.  Let the kid enjoy and happily grow is the most important task.

[Comments]  As said, don't force your kid to become yourself.  Let them choose what they like, and don't push them too hard.  Let them enjoy it.  Let them play when young.  For me, I always bring them around and make a home video out of it.  And always play back the videos so that they can remember the happy childhood.  It is very effective and a lot of conversations can be created when watching back those vintage home movies.



#15.  There is no problem to teach them how to play chess, swimming, ride a bike, sing kara-ok.

[Comments]  All these are games that every one will learn and like, so, for these games, no harm let them try it when young.  Jay and Kay go swimming, bicycle and sing song.  They love Terrasa Teng's song.




#16.  Groom him with something that he loves as an intertest.  Be it big or small interest.  But don't do it just because for schooling purpose.

There are some of the interest, as soon as you know they like it, let them have a chance to learn it.  If they like it, they will spent time on it, and in future, it is a great conversation piece.

[Comments] Jay one day came back from school said, he wants a guitar.  So, the mom bought him one toy guitar.  Then, the next thing you see him doing is to put the guitar on his shouder, this is when we both know that we have to buy a real violin and sent him to a violin music teacher to learn the fun of it.  It's been almost half a year, and he still likes to go to Mr. Leong class.  That is a good sign.  Whose gene is that I wonder...




#17.  Let him be involved in sports.  Any sports.

Play from young, and the imporant is to guide him to have healthy lifestyle.  Good health is the best wealth.

[Comments] Yes, swimming, tennis, flying kites, running, bicycling... all these, we started young with Jay and Kay.  They love it.




#18.  Love your child.  And they will also love you.  Always, remember he will, how to love others and his future kids.  Love the grand parents.  And he shall remember how to love his own mom and dad.
Not to bad article and photos.  Please enjoy it.  For those friends who has kids, please try to follow some of these advise.  For those who has not kids, its your choice, your life.  But sometimes, put yourself into those parent's shoe, and try to see furthur, and see if there is anything that you have miss or not?  Always think about how your mom and dad loves you... and extend this loves to the next generations...