Monday, February 27, 2017


For parents of young kids, the zoo is usually a popular venue for outings. For us, we were Friends of the Zoo, so we were frequent visitors. Then for some reason, when our kids grow up, the zoo shifts away from our radar. It really is a pity, since animal watching is hardly an activity just for children.

Recently, Andre suddenly had a hankering to visit the zoo. We tried to remember when it was we last visited the zoo and figured it must have been at least 8 years ago. Spurred by his enthusiasm, we decided to make a day trip to the far north of the island. Luckily, we had a 1-for-1 coupon for tickets. Honestly, we haven't been there for so long, I had no idea that zoo tickets had become that costly!

Lesley-Anne brought along her camera and tested out her wildlife photography skills.

Prowling cheetahs (behind glass)
Hungry otters
It was a little poignant to see Inuka, the 26-year-old polar bear, all alone, after his mother, Sheba, died in 2012. Polar bears in the wild tend to live only up to 10 years old, so Inuka is quite a senior citizen by now. I understand that the zoo will no longer take in any more animals from the Arctic due to concerns raised by animal welfare groups, so do go see Inuka while you still can.

Inuka (behind glass)
The Fragile Forest section is particularly beautiful. The animals are free-roaming so you can see them up close.

Flying fox
"I don't wanna move it, move it. Lemur alone."
This monkey was sitting on a stump with her baby, happily minding her own business and letting Lesley-Anne take her photo, when a squirrel jumped right on top of her. Both the photographer and subject were startled and the monkey let out an indignant screech. I guess squirrels are the pesky young brothers in the animal kingdom!

Mr Toad
Baby meerkat: "I wasn't going to do it, mum! Really!"
After lunch, it started pouring at the zoo. We saw this poor pelican at the seal enclosure, totally drenched and shivering.

"Stand guard, they said. Riiight."
Hamadryas baboons
Tree kangaroo
White tiger

This is not a paid post, so it's my true opinion. If you're looking for a fun and meaningful venue for a family outing, we highly recommend the zoo. No matter what ages your kids are, it really is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Admission fee: $33 (adult), $22 (children aged 3 to 12), $15 (senior citizens). Get 25% discount if you buy tickets online.

Monday, February 13, 2017

When the son shines

Ever since the end of Andre's 'O' levels and with Lesley-Anne away at Yale-NUS, I've been spending a lot more time with Andre. Since he will be enrolling in a polytechnic, he's officially on holiday till mid April. Shiok!

Personality-wise, I have a lot more in common with Lesley-Anne. We share many interests (we write books together, for Pete's sake!) and we interact on a similar wavelength intellectually. Andre, on the other hand, is sometimes quite alien to me. He loves sports, never over-thinks and seldom worries about what will come next. I once asked my kids, "I sometimes get backaches when I'm stressed. Do you?"

Lesley-Anne replied, "No, I don't get backaches when I'm stressed." while Andre's reply was, "No, I don't get stressed." 😳

In our family pictures, Andre is the one who features the most often because he's the most sporting. He doesn't mind appearing silly and he just makes us laugh.

Andre's happy-go-lucky nature is completely foreign to naturally anxious me but I realise that's precisely why it's so easy to be around him. Despite our differences, or maybe because of them, hanging out with him is very relaxing and I'm loving it.

Sometimes, we lounge about doing absolutely nothing. Other times, we indulge in the one common activity we love - eating!

Nom, nom, nom.

Lounge, eat...until guilt propels me to say we have to get off our butts. Then we attempt to get some exercise. Either going for a walk...

or playing table tennis, which is a challenge for me, with my almost iconic lack of hand-eye coordination.

Recently, Kenneth bought Andre a mini table tennis table from Decathlon. It's fun because you can play it anywhere, even in the comfort of your own room. However, it's not much of a workout because the table is so small you can even play it sitting down (see how small it is in comparison to the paddles?)

So Andre made up this rule: whoever loses a point has to do the twist or jumping jacks or simply jiggle about for 5 seconds. This plus the giggling that follows helps us break a sweat and shed calories (hopefully).

Part of the reason why it's great to hang out with Andre is that he's game for most things. I've scored tickets to the Coldplay concert in April and we'll be making it a mother-son evening, I can't wait. His enthusiasm is infectious and makes each experience fun. He's also the most fun to be with on holidays.

But fun-loving is not the only attribute Andre exhibits. Whenever we go out with my 86-year-old mil, Andre is the one who holds her arm and walks with her. When she came down with a bout of gastric flu and was vomiting, he was the one who stayed by her bedside, patiently holding her puke bag and rubbing her back. I was so impressed, I told him after that, "That's it. When I'm old, I'm so staying with you."

If nothing, we raised a son with a good heart. That's better than all the fun in the world.

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