Archive for the “Infotorial” Category

this morning, while crossing the road to send the girl, she asked, ever so randomly: “when i grow bigger, can i read your Hunger Games?”

“of course! you can read whatever i read, as soon as you’re big enough. you read as much as you want!”

that seemed to please her. in fact, i can’t wait for that to happen. almost there, honey.

(thank god the Fifty Shades series is hidden in the Kindle.)

current read
ps: my obsession for dystopian adventures has not seemed to cease. coz they’re so good.

#currentread

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yesterday evening, i’d ambitiously attempted a copycat recipe for Subway’s chewy oatmeal raisin cookies because i really wanted to have some. but thanks to my dyscalculic tendencies, i wrongly measured out the amount of milk (like, by a LOT) and was totally dismayed when the batter refused to become doughy, remaining stubbornly dilute under the mixer. as i realised my mistake, i cursed at my profound stupidity and let out a moan of despair, and the girl, who was watching my progress while perched on her little chair, started to help me wipe the kitchen counter with a damp towel, parroting words of encouragement, “it’s ok, nememind, must try, try again, right?” disheartened, i dumped the watery batch and started again.

well, there is no happy ending to this kitchen adventure, because the batter still turned out weird, and the supposed chewy cookies turned out to be more like kuih bahulu with oats. i can’t figure it out!

the girl concluded with sagely advice – “you just buy the cookie from the shop lah.” seriously, did she read my earlier blog post or something?! -_-

and no, of course i shall not include a photo of my failwhale cookie-bahulu.

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speaking of adventures, the kids LOVE this show on Cartoon Network. it is my bargaining chip when i need them bathed before 6pm, which is when the show starts.

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i have to admit, i chuckle aloud myself when i watch it, it’s so funny. the jokes are not slapstick or kiddish, but more adolescent geek, and is actually rated PG (which gives an excuse for me to watch it with them heh). Finn The Human (i think he’s the last human in the world – hmm, the makings of a dystopian plot, there) was abandoned as a baby in the woods, and raised by Jake The Dog’s parents, and they’re best friends, out on various adventures in the land of Ooo. Finn has a teenage crush on Princess Bubblegum, who rules Candy Kingdom and is also a scientist. (i gathered this from auni, the word “scientist”.)

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her hair is made of bubblegum. here, she is with, no, not cookie-bahulu, but really, Princess Cookie.

all the characters in the show are quirky and hilarious, the dialogue at times mature, and i’m surprised the kids appreciate the humour.

anyway, i told them we’re going to Candy Kingdom this weekend. its citizens are all candies that talk, and they eat candies that don’t talk.

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ok, no, they’re not going to Candy Kingdom, but we did get an invite to visit the Candylicious shops in celebration of Candylicious Day, from 21st to 23rd September.

all you need to do is get a Candylicious tattoo from the mascots wandering outside the Takashimaya and Resort World Sentosa outlets from 12-7pm to get 21% discount for any purchase at Candylicious during Candylicious Day.

i believe there will also be free candies and cake to be given out, so, you know what to do… ;)

Ooo!

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hmm, just what is it about me and fishies this year? maybe it’s a sign i was meant to be a mermaid. ahhh, mermaids… maybe i can find a few at the Underwater World?

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yes, the Underwater World at Sentosa. which is where the new zebra horn sharks are. did you know the zebra is mummy’s favourite animal, and the shark is abang’s favourite animal? well, this must surely be their combined favourite animal then – the zebra horn shark.

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it’s all stripey, but not black and white like a real zebra, so mummy felt a bit cheated, coz she only likes the black and white kind, really. but it’s ok, i think they’re cute, although actually sharks scare me, ever since daddy showed us the movie ‘Jaws’ – what was he thinking letting us watch such a scary movie?? seriously.

Zebra horn shark

now, ‘Finding Nemo’, however, was a much better movie, doncha think? we did find a few Nemos in fact, and can you find Dory too? (clue: i am pointing at it.)

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you know what else we saw? jellyfish! they’re very pretty. but they can electric-cute, you know. (i don’t know why people laugh every time i say this word like they don’t believe us 4-year-olds can say big words, tsk.)

Jellyfish

i may want to be a mermaid, but look at abang’s eyes and mouth – looks like he wants to be a goldfish, i can hardly even tell them apart. he fed a few fishies bigger than the ones we have at home. that reminds me, let me tell you about those fishes. we bought another four colourful fishes to add to the two still alive, and guess what? THEY ATE THE FOUR NEW FISHES. we kept finding fish scary-tons floating in the tank. (again, i don’t know why people laugh at me – a scary-ton means ‘scary skeleton’, ok?) now the two old fishes are so FAT. eww. mummy says they’re like “cannibals”. abang says they’re like “zombies”. i think they’re like, “very hungry”.

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mummy’s friend Aunty Denise from Bookaburra was there for storytelling, but we missed it because we couldn’t see where the Living Fossils Hall was. but if you are there on weekends this whole month of june, try to catch her at 11.45am and 3pm. Aunty Denise always picks good stories, and every time mummy and her start talking about books, they sound like two very excited birds. which is probably what bookaburras sound like, i don’t know, i will have to go to the Jurong Bird Park to find out.

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we did some crafts though. abang made a black shark, but i made a rainbow shark, because i’m a girl and i like my aquatic predators cute and colourful, thanks.

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we watched some dolphins perform (they’re clever and PINK, i absolutely approve!), and only during this June weekends, a roving magician appears at 1.15pm and 3.15pm, if you’re interested in magic. (we’re very into magic these days, and you’ll know why in mummy’s next blog post….)

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anyway, i want to go again. because… I STILL HAVE NOT FOUND ANY MERMAIDS!

cheesy family photo

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(ps: thank you Aunty Nina for the passes. :))

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Hola!

Since Earth Day is just around the corner, I’ve lined up a few activities for the kids during the weekend to create awareness on the importance of doing our bit for mother earth. If you don’t know what on earth is Earth Day (where have you been?), let me try to break it down for you, ya? ;)

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment, and will be held on April 22. We can show our appreciation by getting involved in environmental activities such as beach clean-ups, tree plantings, or park restoration.

Appreciation for Earth Day begins at home, too. Parents can teach their children about energy conservation by turning off lights and appliances when leaving the room. (something that I’m guilty about not doing, sometimes!) Teach them to turn off the water while brushing their teeth and use a mug to wash up.

Parents can also encourage their kids to recycle things in the house. Teach them about the value of a product that can be turned into something with a new life, such as an aluminum can or a plastic water bottle. Well, the list goes on!

And to commemorate Earth day, Playhouse Disney will be airing Handy Manny and Friends’ episodes that deal with the importance of preserving the environment on 22 April, Thursday.

There will be also a Handy Manny Earth Day contest. Enter Manny’s Mini Garden and tell us how you can get handy with the earth by drawing on a sketch pad. Hey, you stand to win a Handy Manny Garden Tool!

Help Handy Manny save the planet by sending your green messages!

Just log on to www.playhousedisney-asia.com/earthday.html and click on Handy Manny’s Earth Day icon to enter the site. Click on Manny’s Mini Garden and get creative! There are plenty of brushes and colours to help you and your kids to send your green message.

And don’t forget, let your children learn more about Earth Day on Playhouse Disney (Starhub Channel 34), 22nd April, 9am – 2pm.

Adios, amigos!

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(Ok, last post about G-Force, promise…!)

So, everybody loves a hero, right? Well, duh! Aniq especially knows a superhero when he sees one!

Darwin is the guinea pig leader of the G force unit in the movie. With his badass hi-tech gadgetry and weapons which include his IR goggles that helps him navigate in the dark using heat signatures and his standard issue electro whip together with the plasma gun that can shoot long range targets, no wonder Aniq was literally “gunning” for Darwin in the show.

Aniq loves his toys and so does Darwin. With his arsenal of deadly “toys”, Darwin always has something up his sleeve. Not just that, Darwin also kept the audience on their toes with his agility and strength in doing his stunts which Aniq tends to re-enact too enthusiastically at home, much to the disapproval of his mother! :p

Anyway, Darwin’s never-say-die attitude and the purveyor of everything good is indeed a role model for all the kids out there.

aniq with gforce
When i grow up, i want to be just like Darwin, i want to fight bad people! Check out the movie site here.

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So we caught G-Force the movie over the weekend, and what can I say – the boy loved it!

And being the impressionable boy that he is, Flo Rida’s Jump is now “my song” to him.

After watching the movie, he is yearning for his own G-Force collectibles. The boy is ready to show some of his G-Move in “The G-Move contest” to earn his own ‘toys’. The contest? You have to create and upload your video doing the G-Move (click here to watch how to do the G-Move by Hurley) to this Facebook page .

Now, check out his G-move. Wade Robson, eat your heart out… :p (pardon his pyjamas, it’s supposed to be bedtime, you know.)

The movie’s 3D special effects were fantastic. It figures, coming from a director who’s a visual-effects veteran with a list of SFX blockbuster hits under his belt such as The Rock and Armageddon. Rodents and debris flying out of the screen – ok not exactly terrifying like the above two movies, but still – neat!

The story is basically about three specially-trained guinea pigs on a mission to save the world, but the team gets thwarted by an FBI agent who totally underestimates the trio, so they end up in a pet shop and… well, let’s not spoil it for you now, shall we?

In all, Aniq and I give it 4 popcorns (or, as he would say it, “pop-tohn”!) out of 5. There are enough thrills and spills in the movie to entertain both the young and the young-at-heart (like, ahem, yours truly).

And there’s even a corny (or, in Aniqspeak, “tohn-ny”) twist at the end, so look out for it. :p

Already open in cinemas and a great movie to watch for the school holidays!

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Our soon-to-be 4-year-old has a near-obsession with action figures. Which ‘normal’ boy doesn’t, right? Erm, right.


Oh, he loves super furry animals too.

Anyway, what would typically happen whenever he catches sight of characters toting fancy gadgets and – *gasp* – guns on screen, coupled with highly-charged hi-jinks and exciting explosives? He’d freeze in his tracks and produce an awe-induced “WAAHH!”. Naturally.

Yes, the testosterone runs deep with this one.

And since the school holiday is imminent, another family trip to the movies would definitely be in the cards. IF he behaves, that is. :p

Nuffnang has given us a whiff of a new animation comedy adventure in 3D coming out soon, G-FORCE. G for Guinea pigs, that is, along with Gizmos and Gadgets. Trained secret agents, furry little James Bonds! Haha! (BTW, you can participate in the G-Force “The G-Move” contest to win exclusive movie premiums to the movie.)

Showed the little fella the movie trailer on YouTube and his eyes popped wide open (oops, and this was just before his bedtime, my bad). And yes, that “WAAHH!!”. Ever the obliging daddy that I am, I replayed the trailer over and over again as demanded.

Check out the movie site!

The voices cast would be interesting to look out for, among which are Nicholas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi AND Jon Favreau (who directed and acted in mine and Aniq’s all-time favourite action movie, Ironman).

And in 3D! He’ll definitely get a kick out of watching the characters come to life.

So, Aniq, behave, ok!

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my cousin is such a passionate writer when it comes to cars. so proud there’s someone in the family who actually writes for a living (unlike rubbish me who only gets to write replies to the public and draft speeches and papers that get chopped into pieces and…  oh enough about me.)

thanks for thinking of aniq. and i’ll get him to like the colour yellow. 

ps: this one’s still up for grabs, girls… (and i mean the cousin. ok, the car too.)

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The funky little one

Story & pictures by Azfar Hashim – 28 May 2009
Small and fresh, that’s what the 107 is all about

Peugeot 107

Aniq is my four year-old nephew, and for a boy his age, he’s rather chatty, smart and active. Case in point – I can get breathless just going after him, and his never ending questions can easily numb my mind. But fortunately, he’s a very obedient little boy. You can let him loose – running around like any other child his age – but call him out, reason out with him and he’ll gladly listen. And he never fails to put a smile on my face.

Driving Peugeot’s updated 107 pretty much reminds me of Aniq (you’ll understand why I say so along the way – read on).

I smiled widely at the first sight of the 107. And in this particular shade of yellow, well, is such an attention grabber. Somehow, I swear the car winked and smiled back at me every single time I unlock it. Err…really.

Exterior

The bulk of the update focuses on the face of the car. It gets a slightly reshaped bumper (that gives an additional 15mm length) with wider honeycomb grill, topped off with a chrome strip running horizontally across. There are also additional vents at the sides, but those are merely for aesthetic purposes above anything else.

At 3,445mm long, the car looks rather small and compact when viewed from the side. The upswept A-pillars which ends almost vertically downwards towards the C-pillar definitely gives the car a bulbous stance. Cute, ain’t it?

From the rear, you can easily mistake the 107 for the smart fortwo. However, the 107′s looks more prolific all thanks to your typical French design flair – a glass hatch that opens up wide, flared wheel arches and smoothly-shaped rear bumper.

Pity the factory-fitted tyres though. With 14-inch hubcaps wrapped in 155/65 R-14 Continental tyres, it looks way undersized – not doing any justice to the already lovable exterior.

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a while back, my cousin told us how his kids, who are about eight, would sometimes call him up from school. you know, to tell them that they weren’t feeling well, or to make last-minute after-school arrangements, or well, just to ‘report’ about something they deem as important.

to do so, the little fellas (who are twins, by the way) would need to fish out loose change from their pockets to use the school’s public phone. their daddy thought of getting them a handphone but, as i’m sure most parents do, felt that they were too young for such a responsibility.

yet i did wonder too – what if parents need to get in touch with their kids in school, other than having to inconvenience their teacher via the staff room phone?

and then i discovered online of this new mobile service by M1 called KidSAFE, i immediately thought of them!

a quick glance at the features and i knew it was perfect for parents – AND kids. well, at least kids who are just old enough to know how to function a handphone, lah. not, of course, for aniq (who’s all of 3 and more interested in playing with the torchlight function on my handphone) or auni (who’s all of 10 months and more interested in slobbering all over my handphone).

anyway, as i was saying, KidSAFE has all these child-friendly features that i think will most likely appeal to you young-ish parents of even young-ish kids.

first of all, the service uses a stripped-down-to-basics kinda mobile (a Samsung SGH E200, to be precise), so it’s easy to use (read: idiot proof! yes, that includes some of us who may be, ahem, gizmo-phobic), especially since it’s meant for kids who’ve never owned a handphone before.

and – here’s the important part – it’s actually SAFE to use.

let’s see, now…

  • parents can program up to 40 phone numbers that their children can make and receive calls from
    - hey, that’s a whole lotta numbers! but i would think the most essential ones would be, of course, the parents’ numbers, as well as their grandparents, close relatives, or even their neighbours and trusted friends. with these digits pre-programmed in the phone, there’s no worry about getting the numbers right, especially in times of emergency. i mean, there’s plenty enough to remember with all those spelling tests and math homework, isn’t there?
  • parents can choose to be alerted via SMS when the KidSafe SIM card is taken out and used in another mobile phone
    - so no tampering can be done on the phone – you know how sticky those young fingers can get!
  • the KidSAFE program and features can only be changed with a 6-digit parent PIN
    - and that secret PIN number, which only you have access to, will be required to amend the phonebook entries and any KidSAFE functions on the child’s phone. how’s that for All Mighty Powers?
  • there is internet restriction on KidSAFE phones
    - which, i think this is pretty important, as this minimises any chances of exposing your kids to violent and unsavoury content. let’s hope they don’t grow up too fast, shall we? :S
  • you have control over their viewing and downloading of games, music, or videos on the phones
    - so they are less likely to unintentionally access chargeable mobile services and chalk up hefty phone bills! yeah, they can forget about voting for their favourite Singapore Idol on those 1900 numbers. :)
  • you get to monitor the last 10 blocked actions
    - including details of numbers attempting to SMS or call the KidSAFE number, and attempts made to call or SMS unauthorised numbers. which means, your child is safe from being contacted by strangers, and at the same time, you can be assured that they’ll be unable to dial out strange numbers too. hey, you’ll never know.
  • phew! *pant pant*

    so, i guess it is possible after all for parents to have the confidence and peace of mind should they decide to give their kids their own mobile phone, eh?

    and you know, i think it could actually be a good tool for parents to teach responsibility. for faris here, he was afraid that the phone would get stolen when he brings it to school, so his dad reminded him not to show it off to his friends and to make sure that he brought it along with him when he’s out of the classroom. but kids being, well, kids, he did accidentally show it to his friend, then felt bad about it when his dad advised him that it might tempt people to steal it, so he’s been more careful with it since…

    faris and his brother, faiz, can now make calls to their parents and grandparents with ease. no more digging around for coins in their pockets to make calls on a public phone! can use the money to buy extra snacks liao! :D

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