Monday, October 16, 2017

Andre's sweet taste of progress

This is a belated post, seeing as we just returned from Japan and all...check out my travel blog!

Ok, it's actually been two weeks but I have been trying to physically recover from the trip. According to my tracker, I walked a total of 54.5 km on my Japan trip - an average of 9 km a day. May not sound like much to some of you, but for a usually sedentary person, that's a heck of a lot. During the trip, I'd ignored the protests from my hips, knees and back, and simply popped Neurofen to beat them into submission.

We will soldier on! Right after this break...
Then I returned home and paid the price. They refused to be silenced any more and I ached in places I never thought was possible to ache. The ache has since somewhat dulled (though not completely dissipated). Never have I felt my age so much.

Lesson: never listen to all those folks who tell you they will wait until they retire to travel. You may have the time then but you will be limited by your body. Well, unless you're like the sturdy Japanese - there I was at Fushimi-Inari shrine, panting and groaning after the first two sections, while wizened 70-year-old locals were steadily forging ahead with their tong kat. Power!

Fushimi-Inari shrine in Kyoto
On the plus side, all that walking negated the massive over-consumption of calories accumulated during the trip. Quite to my delight, when I weighed myself back home, I found that I'd LOST weight and more importantly, gained muscle. As a friend said, this is the best weight-loss plan ever!

But I digress - this post is actually about Andre. We'd planned the trip on the last week of September to coincide with Lesley-Anne's one-week break and Andre's mid-year holidays. That's right, Andre has already completed one semester of poly. Where did the time go?

The update is that poly has absolutely been the right choice for him (so far). It's pretty intensive, with assignments and projects every week - Andre says it feels like he's been at poly forever. However, he finds the work meaningful and enjoys his lessons, which is a huge incentive for learning. He's also done some nifty stuff, like going on a trip to visit Fullerton Hotel. He's been up to the Presidential Suite which he says has a baby grand piano and bullet proof windows. Fascinating!

He has also become fast friends with a few male classmates, who are all different ages as they traversed different pathways to reach this point. They hang out together, which is great. Since one of them is Muslim, they can only eat together at Halal eateries. Andre told me most indignantly, "There are so few Halal dining choices! It's only fast food or expensive restaurants." 😆 It's probably an odd complaint from a Chinese Christian boy but I love that Andre's friends come from diverse backgrounds and cultures - goes a long way in nurturing understanding and empathy.

During the trip, Andre's mid-year results were released online, but he refused to check it until the very last day as he was afraid they would be bad. In the end, his fear was needless as he achieved a GPA of 3.82! Four As and two B+s. What a lovely surprise and validation that he had indeed, chosen the right path.

That was also the perfect present for his birthday, which was the day after we returned from Japan. Andre has simple needs and doesn't ask for much so as a gift, we just upgraded his data plan. He's mighty pleased with this as he had been surviving on 100mb per month for many years. (Yes, it's possible! Lesley-Anne still does!) Well, now he has 2GB a month which is a windfall in comparison.

Grandma wanted to get him something else and asked him to look out for a present in Japan. You might think: boy and gadget-crazy Japan is a no-brainer, right? Nope. Andre's favourite dog breed is the Shiba Inu, which is a Japanese breed. We saw a Shiba Inu in Kyoto - it's adorable.

So Andre decided Grandma's gift to him would be a maintenance-friendly version:


Simple celebration and strawberry shortcake for the newly minted 17-year-old. 


A happy child is a blessing like no other, and Andre has blessed us greatly with his big heart cocooned within an easy-going nature and an infectiously fun-loving personality. A very joyous birthday to you, my ray of sunshine! 🌞🌈


And here's a series of pictures of Ah Boy with chopstick action in Japan.


By the way, this next photo pretty much sums up the commencement of all our meals in Japan. "Can I eat now?" "Wait, let me take a photo!" "Hurry up!" "Wait lah!" "I'm starving!"
 
Oh deer!



Monday, September 25, 2017

In the food capital of Japan

Konnichiwa!

I'm on a week-long holiday with the family in Kyoto and Osaka. It's primarily a food trip, to satisfy our gastronomic cravings (plus some sights lah). Follow our adventures in the land of sushi and geishas on my travel blog. The first two posts are already up and I will try to blog when I can.




Monday, September 11, 2017

Closing the chapter on Danger Dan and Gadget Girl

Advertisement first! Lesley-Anne and I will be at Popular Bookstore @ Jurong Point this coming Saturday 2-3pm with the team from Sherlock Sam (AJ Low). That's right - 2-in-1! If you're free, do pop by with your kids. There will be games and prizes to be won, and we will answer any burning questions you might have about the Danger Dan books. We will also be happy to autograph any Danger Dan books you might have, so bring them along!


Second announcement: Epigram Books is holding a contest on Facebook for the very last book of the Danger Dan and Gadget Girl series: #5 The Robot Revolution, due out end of this year. If your kids love the series and want to see their name in print, get them to write a short praise blurb or review of the series (samples can be found on the first page of every Danger Dan and Gadget Girl book, but don't copy - be original please!)

If selected, the blurb will be printed in the book and you will receive a FREE copy of the book!

Just follow these steps to enter the contest:
1) Go to Epigram Books Facebook page. Like the post and Epigram Books
2) Take a photo of: your praise blurb of the series followed by your name (no need for surname!), age, school.
3) Post it on your FB page (or your parents’ page)
4) Tag Epigram Books and Danger Dan in your post
5) Hashtag #ddggpraise


Deadline: 24 September 2017

Talking about #5 The Robot Revolution, I'm feeling very sentimental. This is the last book in Lesley-Anne and my second fiction series, and it's safe to say that the Danger Dan escapades will end here. Now that Lesley-Anne is in university, she simply doesn't have time to write any more, at least not at the level of investment that a fiction series demands. We also think that Danger Dan has run his course and were very pleased with the way his story will culminate in this last book. As they say, best to go out with a bang!

Who knew, when we started the adventures of Danger Dan more than three years ago, that this spiky haired boy would end up dominating so much of our time and energy. Sometimes, he's just downright exasperating. (I have been known to argue with my own character while writing, to the amusement of Lesley-Anne.) Quite true to character, I have to say.

Writing children's fiction has been a incredible learning journey for me personally. It has forced me to work my creative muscle in a way that I was not accustomed to. Kids are the harshest critics and we knew we had to be extra funny, extra original, extra innovative, to capture their imagination. Seeing the characters brought to life by the illustrator was an especially gratifying part of the publishing process.

Elvin Ching, illustrator
Book cover options for #5 The Robot Revolution
But the most rewarding part of all is when kids come up to us clutching their Danger Dan books, talking excitedly about the characters.

Even as we close the pages on the fiction series (don't 😢😢, we will still continue with Secrets of Singapore, the non-fiction series!), I hope that the Danger Dan books will entertain kids for many more cohorts to come. 

If ever I had any doubts about this endeavour, this is the part that puts my mind at ease: to have given kids something to enjoy, something to laugh about. To me that's the absolute best part about being a children's book writer.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Exploring the world with Yale-NUS

In mid-August, Lesley-Anne moved back into Yale-NUS to start her sophomore (second) year. I can't wrap my head around the fact that her freshman year came and went just like that.


Even though I'm tempted, I won't repost pics of all the wonderful facilities because I'd already done so in this post about Yale-NUS. Well, except this pic of the dining hall area, which we didn't get to see the last time. There is even a live station which serves special dishes like laksa and noodle soup.  Don't you think it looks like a hotel buffet dining room? 😲


What I wanted to share in this post is the overseas opportunities that Yale-NUS offers. When Lesley-Anne was applying to universities, Yale-NUS was top of the list for local unis partly because of this. If she couldn't study in an overseas environment, this was the next best option.

In her freshman year alone, she went on three overseas trips. The first was as part of the freshman orientation to Kuching.


Sorry, the photos are limited - I have a daughter who doesn't understand why we need to have a look at every rock she sees or where she stays (instead, she sent us random photos of cute cats and a donkey 😑). 


She also had the opportunity to go to Taiwan with Yale-NUS badminton team, as I'd written about here.


However, the most significant trip for freshmen in Yale-NUS is the Week 7 trip. Called Learning Across Boundaries, this is a flagship programme to encourage students to take their learning into real world situations beyond the classroom. Students in the past have gone to far-flung places like South Africa to learn about wildlife reserves, Huizhou, China to study agricultural villages, London to study art, and so on.

For Lesley-Anne's Week 7 programme, she was fortunate enough to be selected to go to Tangier, Morocco; Ceuta, Spain; and Gilbraltar, UK, which are geographically close by but with very different cultures. It was to study national identity in contested spaces under Global Affairs.

These three cities are considered contested spaces because they geographically close by, yet belong to three different countries. Gibraltar is next to Spain but it's a English colony. Tangier and Ceuta are right next to each other - you cross the border on foot. In Tangier, she stayed in the Medina which is the historic part of the country. This is where you find lots of traditional markets with strong Arab and Islamic influences.

The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Since Tangier is right next to Ceuta, so you would expect Ceuta to follow the Arab heritage. Yet, the minute you cross the border from Tangier to Ceuta, you suddenly feel like you are in modern Europe. You'll find people walking dogs, whereas in Tangier, there are many cats. This raises the question: do people identify with cultures geographically or politically? I thought it was a fascinating topic.

When in Tangier, eat couscous
Ceuta
Week 7 is not just an excuse to have an overseas holiday, though. A lot of work is expected. During the trip, Lesley-Anne had to complete 10 short write-ups PER DAY of each of the places visited. At the end of the trip, the students had to submit a final essay of about 1,500 words, due the night they returned home. Most of them were feverishly typing up their papers on the plane ride back.

Not everyone goes overseas for Week 7. Some, especially international students, may choose to do their project locally or nearer home, like in Malaysia. But for those who value overseas experiences, it really is a fantastic opportunity. During the summer holidays, Lesley-Anne had to intern with her scholarship organisation but she had friends who successfully applied for summer school at Yale, US and other places. Of course, these trips are not free but I understand that many of the students apply for financial aid and subsidies. You may also apply for semesters at overseas universities, if you so prefer.

In short, if you're looking for lots of overseas opportunities in a local university, I think it's hard to do better than Yale-NUS.  


Friday, August 18, 2017

Fancy yourself a copywriter? Here's a job opportunity

This post is a job ad of sorts as I'm currently looking to take on another copywriter for the Hedgehog Communications team. In the past, I've only gone on recommendations from friends but this time, I decided to open up to applications from the public.

About Hedgehog Communications

With 15 years in the business, Hedgehog Communications is one of the most established copywriting agencies in Singapore, especially for the public sector. There are currently 12 copywriters on the team (excluding me), with diverse backgrounds and experience. All my copywriters work on a freelance basis, although some of them write exclusively for Hedgehog Communications.

What the Job Entails

Depending on your background and experience, you might be asked to write for a specific collateral, typically an annual report, brochure or human interest article. However, what's more likely, especially for writers new to Hedgehog Communications, is that you will be asked to be part of a writing team, for a larger project such as a website.

Projects may be ad-hoc (in which case the work will be in intensive bursts) or regular (eg. monthly newsletters). This is an ideal gig for those who wish to engage in meaningful work with flexible hours that allow you to juggle other responsibilities. Read this post about the philosophy behind Hedgehog Communications. 

Requirements
  1. Experience in corporate or business writing, eg. annual reports, brochures, websites, newsletters, human interest stories.
  2. Writing flair and ability to write to the brief, and communicate clearly and simply. This sometimes involves helping the client organise their content in a way that makes sense for the reader.
  3. Confidence in meeting and working directly with clients.
  4. Reliability and trustworthiness. I can't stress this enough. We always deliver what we promise. 
  5. A strong sense of ownership and desire to be part of a collaborative and dedicated group of writers.
Things to note

Although I have writers who write full-time for Hedgehog Communications, I cannot guarantee work. In short, if you're looking to fill your rice bowl, this is probably not for you. Also, while my writers all work on a freelance arrangement, this doesn't mean the outfit is any less professional. Hedgehog Communications has been around for 15 years and the agency has earned a reputation of being one of the most established and reliable in the business.

In other words, I'm not interested in the following:
  1. Anyone who has done "some writing" or can string grammatical sentences together and think they can therefore be a copywriter. I'm looking for people with years of copywriting experience.
  2. Anyone who wants this gig just because they want flexi hours. The jobs require writing and more writing. You've gotta really love doing this. 
  3. Anyone who is in between jobs or not sure what they wanna do so is looking to fill the time before they move on to the next thing. We are not 7-Eleven. 
  4. A freelancer just looking for more kang tao to boost their own portfolio. Thanks but no thanks. When you write for Hedgehog Communications, you represent the brand and therefore have to be prepared to own it.
Another thing which I've in the past assumed was common sense but realise that it needs to be said: If you want to join us, I expect you to find out more what we do and what we stand for. Interview 101 lah, don't meet me then ask what we do. Waste my time only.

Why Join Us?

You might be thinking, after this stern and naggy read (so typical of an auntie), why would you want to join Hedgehog Communications? Mainly because I look after my writers. 
  • You will get the opportunity to write for major clients and be involved in national level projects that freelancers usually find difficult to win on their own. If you hate chasing down jobs and later chasing clients for payment, I take care of all business and admin aspects so you can just focus on the writing.
  • There's a lot of undercutting in the market and freelancers usually don't have much negotiating power. I compete on quality, not price, as I believe in paying my writers a fair fee. The rate you will get at Hedgehog Communications is generally better than what freelancers can command on their own.
  • If you love writing and want to improve, I (and other very senior writers) are always happy to mentor and guide you. 
  • It's as flexible an arrangement as it can get. You choose to take on as many or as few projects as you want, as long as you're committed to whatever you take on.
  • Finally, the Hedgehog team is simply marvellous to work with - all super friendly, fun and collaborative. No politicking or bitching. Most of my writers have stayed with me from the time they joined, I guess this speaks for itself.  
How Do I Apply?

If you are interested, please send your cv and writing samples to monica@hedgehog.sg by 31 August 2017. It's also important that I know more about you and your motivations, so tell me why you want to join the team and how you see yourself contributing.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Our favourite cafe

Like many Singaporean families, we like going to cafes, especially for Saturday brunch. We look up recommendations online and make our rounds to those that sound interesting. However, many of these cafes turn out to be unmemorable, for a few reasons:

1) The coffee served in some of these cafes is weak and insipid or has a nasty acidic aftertaste, like the beans have been over-roasted.

2) Many cafes have very limited food options. Seriously, there's only so many times you can eat poached eggs before it gets really jelak. Quality too, is questionable. More often than not, I attribute a cafe's popularity more to its ambience than its food.

3) Price is a huge factor. I know cafes have to pay rent lah but I balk at having to cough up $16++ for Eggs Benedict or $6 for a latte. By the time you add service charge and GST, you can end up with a bill close to $100 for a family of four. For nothing more than a fancy version of breakfast.

So this post is to share with you the Tan family's favourite cafe to date. This is NOT a paid post. I'm also not related to the owner in any way. I'm spreading the word simply because we love it and all good things should be shared. We started coming here a few years ago and over the years, we've discovered that amidst our cafe hopping, we somehow wind up back here, and the experience has been consistently great. We're like the fickle boyfriend who keeps checking out the new pretty young thing, and eventually realise that the best one is the one he had all along.


The cafe is Oberstrasse on French Road, right behind Lavender MRT station. It's opened by an enterprising young man and is named after the street in Switzerland where he stayed when he was studying there.


The interior is simply decorated but welcoming. You order and pay at the counter, and they serve your food. The menu is typed on A4 paper and the food selection itself takes up 4 sheets. Drinks take up another page and there's one for dessert pies. It's a crazily wide variety of food and we're always amazed at how just two cooks in the kitchen can whip up so many different dishes.

We've met the owner and he told us he's constantly looking at ways to improve the menu and add new items (as if there's not enough choice!) What an enterprising spirit.

You would think that with such a long list of food items, there would be hits and misses, but honestly, we've tried loads of stuff and we haven't found anything we dislike yet. Most of the dishes are seriously delish. We even brought my mother-in-law a couple of times (she's a notoriously fussy eater) and she said the taste reminded her so much of the great English breakfasts she used to have in London.

Here are some of the items we've tried over the past few years:

Norwegian rosti (with smoked salmon) $14.50
Do you know how difficult it is to find good rosti in Singapore? I only know of Marche and the rosti here is better. Crisp on the top, perfectly cooked in the centre and without any oily residue. There are four types of rosti on the menu, just choose your topping.

Mushroom baked rice $9.50
They don't stinge on the cheese so it's a plate full of cheesy, gooey goodness. Again, there are four types of baked rice. Personally, we like the chicken baked rice best.

Grilled cajun chicken with baked potatoes $9.50
According to the owner, this is one of their best sellers. A very tasty option for chicken lovers.

Crabmeat Arrabiata $15
Yes, they serve pasta too! 12 different types, in fact. Their cream sauce pastas are pretty good. This one is loaded with crab meat.

Classic French Toast with berry compote $10.50
I only tried this on my recent visit and I was completely blown away. It is honestly the best French toast I've tried. The combination of berry compote and mascarpone cheese with granola bits elevates this usually boring dish to a whole new level. The portion is huge though - three thick slices, so unless you have a very sweet tooth, I recommend sharing this with someone.

Smoked salmon avocado sandwich $10.50
This is one of Lesley-Anne's favourites - the sandwich is generously filled with chunks of smoked salmon and a hefty spread of avocado. It normally comes with chips and a small salad but she always asks to replace the chips with more salad. They're very flexible that way. Note: you should order this only if you like chewy bread, which is typical of German bread. If you prefer soft pillowy bread, you probably wouldn't like this.

Chicken mushroom pastry pie $10.50
One of the newer additions to the menu. There are two types of pie: chicken and beef. We prefer the chicken as it comes in a creamy white sauce. The beef pie sauce is a tangy tomato base.

BBQ Babyback ribs $18
This is possibly the most expensive item on the menu but you get a long slab of fall-off-the-bone ribs in an addictive BBQ sauce.

Buttermilk waffles with berries $10.50
Comes with butter and maple syrup (the waffle, not the kids). The waffle is light and crisp, not soggy like in some places.

Flat white $4.50
And finally, the coffee! A very decent cup of joe at a very decent price.

We've sampled more food than the above, but I only posted the ones I had pictures of. The poached eggs and big breakfast here are superb, so are the duck confit and molten lava cake. The full menu is available ALL DAY, so you can eat breakfast food for dinner, or dinner food for breakfast, however you wish to define them.

The prices here are truly reasonable, considering the portions and quality, and have I mentioned, all prices are NETT? That's right - no service charge or GST.

Some other plus points:

1) Free wifi (so you can post food pics without using data).
2) Free water (help yourself at a counter).
3) Accessible - it's located a #01-50 Kitchener Complex, which is just behind Lavender MRT station. If you drive, there's coupon parking along the road.

They open every day from 9am to 9pm, except Saturdays when they close slightly earlier at 5pm. I recommend making reservations for lunch as it can get quite crowded. You can book a table online via Facebook.

So support small local businesses and make your way to Oberstrasse! Your tastebuds will thank you.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A question of integrity

Yesterday, there was an article on Channel News Asia about how you can easily pay someone to write your essays for you. One service provider claimed to have a “team of Rafflesians ready to help”, while another said their writers were graduates of “elite junior colleges with placements in top universities.” Essentially, you pay a few hundred dollars for someone else to write your assignment, some even with a guaranteed pass grade.

I found it extremely depressing. Not so much regarding the practice - I know this has existed for years. What I found discouraging was the angle of the article. You see, even though the article painted the practice negatively, it was only because the journalist found one of the bought essays to earn a failing grade. A seller interviewed boasted about the quality of his essays while a buyer talked only about the risk of getting caught. University spokespersons warned about both. 

In fact, a long section was dedicated to the marker slamming the quality of the essay. Yet another long section was devoted to the harsh penalties meted out to students who were caught outsourcing their essays. NOWHERE in the article does the journalist or any of the interviewees mention that this practice should be condemned simply because it is wrong.

This is one of those cases where there is no grey area. To me, it's not about how good the bought essay was, or whether it passed any plagiarism checker. The point is that getting someone else to write your essay and then passing it as your own is cheating. Plain and simple. It's the same as going into an exam and copying from your neighbour. It makes a mockery of the education system where one is supposed to learn and be evaluated on that learning.

I find that people have become increasingly creative when it comes to justifying their own actions. Everything is acceptable as long as you can argue it so. But I believe that when you strip down all the justifications and rationalisations, you'll find that the intent of the individual is often wrapped around one main value - integrity or the lack of it. Integrity is something you have or you don't, and is the value that drives your very core. For example "I can pay my maid late since I give her food" or "It's ok to under-declare my taxes since the government doesn't need it anyway" or "I will pretend I didn't know my son stole his classmate's toy since that classmate is very rich".


Unfortunately, integrity is not a value that can be concretised or assessed in a neat package so it's often undervalued and under-measured, whether in school or at the workplace. People of integrity are seldom recognised simply for being upright. In fact, they're usually scoffed at for being "old-fashioned" or "naive". In many instances, people adopt honesty only when it suits them or when something hurts them personally. Often, people with questionable integrity are the quickest to point a finger at others' honesty (cough*Trump*cough). In other words, society has evolved such that even the boundaries of honesty have been redrawn. That in itself, ironically, is a lack of integrity.

Coming back to the practice of buying essays, the fundamental problem is a lack of integrity, both on the part of the buyers AND the sellers. The sellers are equivalent to scalpers who buy concert tickets and resell them at exorbitant prices. Sure, they're not committing a crime but they're engaging in ethically abhorrent behaviour). And the fact that the article didn't call them out on this, reflects pretty much the values of society today - one that values only results. How the results are achieved is secondary. If you have to get someone to do the work for you, so be it. Just don't get caught. (And if you do get caught, find some creative excuse to justify it).

In case you're wondering, I don't have a solution to offer. Penalties will only go so far and rewards can have a backlash where people do something only for its returns. Encouraging people to adopt a value for its own sake is an enormously difficult task. All I can say is that people with no moral compass are the ones who potentially cost the system and society a lot, especially when they are revealed in cheating or fraud cases.

Perhaps what we can do to uphold the value of integrity, is to speak up against immoral practices, while supporting and encouraging the upright among us, so that they might not weary in doing good. And as parents, we have an enormous influence on our kids, by setting good examples and living lives of integrity. In a world where everything seems to be negotiable for a price, may we have the conviction to say that our values are not for sale.




Friday, July 14, 2017

Win a Danger Dan book!

The good folks at Epigram Books have initiated a contest for Danger Dan fans - draw your favourite character and stand a chance to win a book!

The contest is on Facebook, the link is here. For the benefit of readers here though, I'm reproducing the details here.



Calling out to all Danger Dan and Gadget Girl fans! We want to know who your favourite character from the series is through your own hand-drawn version of him/her/it.

The best 3 entries will win any book of choice from the Danger Dan or Danger Dan and Gadget Girl series!

Your favourite character can be from any book from the 2 series. It need not be a main character; if your favourite character happens to be a snail that appears in one of the books, so be it!

Here is what you have to do:

1. Draw your favourite character and write 1 or 2 sentences
a) about the character and
b) why this character is your favourite.

Psst!: Colouring your character will definitely increase your chances of winning!

2. Sign off with your Name and Age.
Eg: Nicole, 10

3. Post on your FB page (if you don't have one, you can use your parents')
a) a picture of you holding the book your favourite character is from
b) a close-up picture of your drawing with the sentences

4. Tag “Epigram Books” and “Danger Dan” in your post.

You can post your pictures anytime from now till the deadline.
Deadline: 24 July 2017



And here's added incentive: the latest Danger Dan and Gadget Girl adventure, #4 The Zany Zombie-fest has just hit bookstores. If you win the contest, you can request for this book as your winning prize! So get your kids to put pen/crayon/marker/coloured pencil to paper and send in their entries 😃





Friday, June 30, 2017

Danger Dan gets a dose of culture

On Sunday, Lesley-Anne and I held the launch of our book, Secrets of Singapore: National Museum at...where else but the museum, and it was wonderful.

Frankly, we didn't expect such a great turnout. There were about 40 kids plus their accompanying parents - the place was packed. The museum told us some of them turned up specifically for the event, while others recognised the Danger Dan standee and registered for the event on the spot. How very heartening to know that Danger Dan has gained traction among kids!

We explained how we got to writing the book and cited examples of artefacts that were featured. There were at least a couple of kids in the audience who had already read the book cover to cover because they could tell us about the artefacts and even spouted back Danger Dan jokes to us!

Photo: Epigram Books
A treasure hunt was conducted where kids were given clues and had to run wildly wander around the museum and locate artefacts. The kids made us laugh a lot. "Can we take home the artefacts?" was one of the questions, which immediately made me imagine them doing a Mission Impossible-type heist.
Photo: Epigram Books
Elvin Ching, the illustrator of the book, did a live demo of the teams that won the treasure hunt. He is amazing.

Photo: Epigram Books
Winners got to take home a personalised drawing:

After that was the autograph session and again, I was astonished - there was a line! I feel almost...famous.


We signed lots of books and took many, many pictures.

Posting this one because Elvin is hilarious. He makes everything that much more fun.

At the end of the day, that's what writing the Danger Dan books mean to me - it's about making kids happy, and we met lots of happy kids that day. For all of those who came down, thank you for the support!

And here's something from a serious hardcore fan:


This is Sophie. 
Sophie is 7 and she loves spaghetti. 
But not as much as she loves Secrets of Singapore. 
Sophie has read Secrets of Singapore about a million times (she has lost count). 
She is an expert on facts about Singapore. 
She knows all the jokes by heart. 
She is Danger Dan’s number one fan. 
Be like Sophie.

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