Sunday, 31 May 2015

Children's Season: Masak Masak 2015 at the National Museum

I must admit I don't expose my kids enough to the arts. The intention is there but it's hard to find suitable activities which will interest them. So when we were invited for the bloggers' preview of Masak Masak 2015, I decided there's no excuse not to take them. There are 10 installations on exhibit by both local and international artists, and here's a peek at some of them.
Playgrounds on the Lawn
Spectrum of Paper

Artist: Mademoiselle Maurice, France

To Maurice, the bird is a symbol of hope and she has created a colourful origami mural. Her works can be found in urban spaces in San Francisco, France, Italy, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

What's fun: Origami session with Mademoiselle Maurice ($20 for one parent-and-child pair, 4-7 years old, 1.5 hours) Tickets available from Sistic.
Spectrum of Paper
Simple Pleasures in Life

Artist: Jeanette Aw, Singapore

Yes, the actress. Besides her love for performing, she also enjoys creating whimsical worlds through her illustrations.

Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that make you smile. It's time to look around and discover the people who bring colour to your life.

What's fun: Pick up a crayon and fill this wall mural with your favourite colours!
Simple Pleasures in Life
Dancing Solar Flowers

Artist: Alexandre Dang, France

Alexandre Dang was previously an engineer with the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris and aims to raise awareness for eco-technology by incorporating solar energy into his kinetic works of art.

What's fun: Be mesmerised by this field of flowers. It allows children to ponder our current use of energy and to think of sustainable energy sources for the future.

Dancing Solar Flowers
Take the escalator down and you'll find 2 more installations.

Wanderlust

Artist: Crystal Wagner, USA

What's fun: Explore this enchanting forest maze made from crepe paper.
Wanderlust
Head back up the escalator, and up the stairs all the way to the 3rd floor. Tucked away in a corner room is an interesting installation in semi-darkness created by 2 NUS Division of Industrial Design graduates.

Luma-City

Artist: Lim Kim and Alfred Lim, Singapore

This immersive play-space hopes to light up children's imagination and get them to think about what happens beneath when vehicles move.

What's fun: Push these vehicles around in the dark and be surprised by the luminescent trails that appear and disappear beneath your feet.

Luma-City
And before you leave the museum, if you haven't already taken your kids here, check out this kids arena on the 3rd floor, which is a permanent installation at the museum, where they get to Explore, Create and Perform!
PLAY @ NMS
Of course, the kids will not leave without having a go at the jumping castles. These recreated playgrounds pay tribute to the familiar mosaic playgrounds designed by the HDB in the 1980s.

Do note, the jumping castles are available on Weekends ONLY.


Having a jumping good time!
Children's Season: Masak Masak 2015 is currently on until 10 August 2015, daily from 10am to 6pm.

Sane tip: By the time we got out, the kids were jumping around under the hot sun. Best to play on the jumping castle first then head inside if you're going in the morning, or vice versa if going in the afternoon. Have fun!

Save tip: Admission is Free.

National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Monday, 25 May 2015

{Interview #2} Jeremiah Choy - Creative Director

Jeremiah Choy, 52, is the Creative Director of Sing50, a concert to be held at the National Stadium to commemorate Singapore's 50th Jubilee celebrations. In 2015, he was also creative director for May Day Rally, Singapore Day (Shanghai) and Spotlight Singapore, a platform in cultural diplomacy in Mexico City. He will be directing ChildAid 2015 in December this year. He was an Adjunct Lecture with the Singapore Management University and was the President of the Association of Singapore Actors. He founded the Orangedot Group of Companies comprising Productions, Entertainment, Management and Talents.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life's path.

Your qualifications

LLB (Hons) NUS, Singapore


Describe your job

I am now a creative director, producer and curator. 

In my younger days, I used to be an actor, dancer, choreographer and writer. Oh, I used to be a lawyer too. 

My present job is to think of ways to help my clients “sell” a message, create an experience, or simply curate a series of happenings.

The greatest pleasure in my job is that there is no real definition of what I do. I can be directing a show in theatre one moment, auditioning for a concert the next, or writing for an exhibition. I can be going around to shop for costumes, meeting like-minded people to brainstorm ideas, be alone to dream of concepts or travel the world to do yet another production. The freedom of creativity is what keeps me going.

Tell us about your career path

When I was in primary school, I had wanted to be a doctor. That was because everyone told me that it would be a good choice. Besides, I have terrible handwriting – the sort of squiggles you see when you consult your doctor (no offence to the doctors out there).

Then came secondary school, where I had dreamed to be a violinist. But that was quickly crushed when my squealing violin playing was declaimed by the people around me.

In Junior College, I had wanted to be a doctor again. But dissecting a guinea pig with four foetuses within her made me realise for the second time, that this is one profession I was not meant to be.

So after my A level results, I decided to be a psychologist or psychiatrist. But there was no such course in NUS, so I was prepared to take up Sociology. However on my way to submit my application, a good friend persuaded me to go to Law School. He said that there were a lot of creative people in Law School. Needless to say, I was persuaded. My inner performance cells needed no convincing. 

So after National Service, I went to Law School and stayed in Kent Ridge Hall. I started dancing, singing and participated in Hall activities that allowed my creative juices to run amok. But I studied hard enough to graduate as a Law student, and eventually became a lawyer. 

Came 1988, the first production that changed my life. That was Beauty World, the musical. My first professional theatre that made me sing, dance and act (even as a chorus). I was smitten by the theatre. 

In the 10 years that followed, I co-existed as a lawyer by day and performer by night. It was exhausting but at the same time exhilarating. I was involved in many ground breaking productions by TheatreWorks and Asia-in-Theatre Research Circus.

Then came 1997, the second production that changed my life again. That was Lear, a six country, multi-disciplinary performance that toured Asia and Europe. I gave up my legal career to be in it. At first I thought, I would try going full time as a performer for 2 years. That 2 years have become 18 years.

Over the years, I have gravitated towards Events and Theatre. 

I am fortunate to be one of those people who can truly claim that I love what I do and do what I love. The best thing is getting paid for that. 

How did you find your passion?

I think the passion is inbuilt in me since young. I have always been interested in performing arts since young. Participating in drama, choirs, etc in my schools. 

Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

Meeting and working with like-minded people. Getting inspired by the immense talent around me. Having the opportunity to dream, and to make my dreams come true. That is satisfaction. Guaranteed. 

You must be incredibly busy. How do you avoid being burned out?

I always remember to stop and have my me-time every now and then. Me-time can simply mean having a little quiet moment in the middle of all the hustle and bustle around me, just switching off the phone, computer, and all things electronic and indulge in a little garden-gazing with a cup of coffee in my hands. Or just taking a moment to literally re-connect with the inner-me. 

What does success mean to you?

Success is not about being famous and making money. Success is about being happy and enjoying what you do for a living. 

Are you involved in any charity work?

I have my once a year ChildAid Concert, which raises money for the School Pocket Money Fund and the Business Times Budding Artist Fund. I really enjoy doing this concert where I meet many gifted and talented children. They are being provided a platform where they can contribute back to society through their talents.

But more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to share with them some very important qualities of being a professional artiste. That is, the constant reminder to be “HIP” -  to have Humility and Integrity and to be Professional.

No matter how great a talent the young children have, they must be able to share the stage, onstage and behind the scenes, with the cast and crew. Everyone contributes to the success of a concert. 

What does it take for young people to succeed in the Arts?

First, you must truly love the arts and believe in the power of the arts. You must have something to say. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you think that being in the arts is about being rich and famous, then you are in for a huge surprise. People in the arts work very hard. Beauty and fame can only take you so far. It is the passion and conviction that will carry you further. 

One advice to parents

You may think your child is talented. But sometimes, it is your projection on your child. Give your child the space to explore his or her own talent. Sometimes, pushing your child too hard will create the burnout sooner. I have seen many talented 4 to 6 year olds burn out by the time they turn 15 or 16. 

If your child is truly talented, he or she will find the right way of expressing it. As parents, you can help to provide the platform. But by pushing your child beyond what is necessary, then the talent is like a flower that is over watered, which will wilt in due course, choked by the over-attention given. 

One advice to teens

It is alright to explore. You are young. You have dreams. You have a lot of time to decide what you want to do. But do not waste the talent given to you. Do not squander it away. Talent alone does not guarantee you the satisfaction of success. It is a lot of hard work.

To be a good creative director, it takes someone... who believes in himself/herself. Never doubt your own dream or vision. It takes a look of hard work to be ahead of the curve. But the satisfaction comes when you are riding the waves.


{Interviews} 101 Paths to Success

#1 - Dr Karen Crasta Scientist Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Friday, 22 May 2015

Thankful... that #3's surgery went well

#3 is back home and recuperating nicely. Actually, after the accident, I had taken her to see a GP but he assured us that everything was fine, and it was only 5 days later that we found out her bone had been fractured. I'm so thankful that the op went well and she was able to be discharged the next day.

The stay in hospital was much better than we anticipated, in most part due to the caring nurses at Ward 76 of SGH. Both the eye and paediatric wards were full, so she was placed in the orthopaedic ward.
Kate 'sayang-ing' her jie jie
Snr staff nurse Tai Saw Ying saw me trying to sleep on the chair and made the effort to go over to the paediatric ward to find a mini deck chair so that I could rest properly. It was all taken, so she brought over 3 chairs and made a makeshift bed for me. How thoughtful.

The morning nurse was also a very cheery young lady who never lost her patience no matter how busy she got. Maybe she was sent to demonstrate to me how we can still serve with a smile even though we are demanded to be octopuses.

We made friends with the aunties on the other beds and found out that one spritely old lady works from 3am to 3pm selling fishball noodles at Tiong Bahru market even though she's in her 70s! Inspirational.

We are indeed very thankful to Dr Chan Choi Mun and Dr Audrey Looi over at the National Eye Centre who handled her so professionally.

And of course, grateful to all our family and friends, and her teachers for their concern, encouragement, advice and prayers over the past few days. We know we are loved! :) Hmm, finally I see the benefits of social media. Friends from far and wide sent us their healing wishes and prayers so quickly. Haha. Yes, I know, I'm slow. My kids never fail to point out I'm from the 'old times'.

I'm real glad that #3 has been holding out so well. She is in a cheery mood despite all that she went through, and all the pain, aches and limitations post op. It was so sweet of her classmates to come over after school today to visit her and keep her company.

I guess there are always silver linings to be found.

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend my dear friends.



"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has" - Epictetus

Thankful… for the hub's cooking
Thankful… for our helper
Thankful… for my family
Thankful… for my mum-in-law


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

When your child needs surgery

#3 got injured in a sports accident and is now undergoing surgery. As the bone right under her eye got fractured, it is going to be a slightly tricky operation.

I followed her into the OT and held her hand while they administered general anesthesia, and watched her drift off to sleep.

As a mum, there is nothing more painful than watching your child go through any form of suffering. Yet you have to be strong.

She said that she regretted going into the match which resulted in this. I told her life is meant to be lived. We shouldn't be like porcelain vases, sitting pretty because we are afraid to be broken. Accidents happen.

It is in falling and getting up which makes us stronger, and in receiving the care and concern from friends and relatives which makes our lives richer.

It is going to be a 2 hour wait. When your mind wanders to what the doctor said about the risks involved which she had to inform you of, you can only surrender your worries to God. And it's times like these which make you stop and think about your priorities in life.

Thank you, to those who are united with us in prayer. May the op go smoothly and may she heal beautifully.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com - parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Monday, 18 May 2015

Discipline #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?

I was caught off guard when Kate's teacher informed me that she had told a lie. I have to admit that in my earlier years of parenting, when faced with such an awkward situation, I would have either fumbled for a reply, made some excuses or doubted the teacher. My kid? No way! There must have been some mistake.

Instead, I remained calm and wanted to know the whole story so that I could figure out how to deal with it. This was how it went.
Uh-oh
Kate had taken a new activity to play with, and her Chinese teacher asked if she had been taught how to work with it. Kate immediately replied, "Yes." Her Chinese teacher knew it was not the case and asked who had demonstrated it to her. Kate responded, "Ms Sha", without batting an eyelid. Ms Sha overheard the conversation and walked over. Kate knew her lie had been exposed and looked down, afraid to look into Ms Sha's eyes. Her teachers took the opportunity to teach her that lying is wrong.

The thing was, we were shocked that a 2.5 year old knows how to lie so blatantly!

On the way home, I reiterated that it was wrong of her to lie. However, I knew deep down in my heart that the problem lies with us, not her. After all, little kids imitate and absorb what they see and hear.

At dinner, I told the rest of the family what had transpired that day. The kids were old enough to point out that "adults also tell white lies, even you and daddy, so that must have been where she picked it up from". They recounted many instances where the truth was not spoken.
  • You always say, "Everyone is going". (to a child, everyone would literally mean every single person. Ok, I'd better wipe that one off my list of constantly used words.)
  • Dad tells whoever we are meeting that "We are almost there" when we had just left the house. I heard Uncle T say that last week too.
  • Aunt J always promise us that she's coming to visit soon. But she never does.
  • You said you'll be back in 15 minutes. You lied.
With 5 "witnesses" to our daily behavior, the examples came fast and furious.

I had nothing so say. The kids were right.

The next day, I was on high alert to what I was saying and what others around me were saying to Kate.
  • Kate spotted the Crocs shoes her cousin passed down to her and wanted to wear it. As we were going to the mall (we try not to allow Kate to wear Crocs on escalators), our helper said, "Cannot". Kate persisted. "I want". She quickly replied, "Cannot. Got lizard poo poo." Kate said "Where? Let me see." (of course, there was none.)
  • The girls were eating sweets and when Kate asked for some, they replied, "No more."
  • I went home and found #5 quietly giving Kate his snacks (which are too salty for her) and when I boomed, "Why are you giving her the pretzels?", he said, "Just a few.". I'm sure she had way more than a few.
  • There were countless instances where words came out of my mouth before I realised they were not the absolute truth.
I noticed a pattern here. We instinctively try to shade the truth to avoid her whining or crying, so that we don't have to deal with it. Unknowingly, we taught her to lie.

It's not about her.

It's about us.

It's about me.

So. Where do I go from here?

I've decided that I'll start focusing on improving one parenting skill at a time until I conquer it. Then I'll work on the next one.


Here's the first:

SPEAK THE TRUTH.

Anyone joining me?



Here are some good tips on how to help your child deal with lying, over at Life's Tiny Miracles blog.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Friday, 15 May 2015

Kate's antics: Mummy can have her churros and eat it

What do mothers with young kids really want for Mother's day? It's such a dilemma for me.  I want to be with my family, yet I also want to enjoy a day off without any sound of bickering or whining. I have finally found the perfect solution. Spread it over the weekend!

On Saturday, we went for a leisurely lunch with my parents as we don't like to squeeze with the crowds on Sunday and be limited to mother's day menus.

I used to have to sit next to Kate to see her through the meal but now that she is more independent, her sisters can handle her.
So many jie jies to dote on her
On Sunday, I declared a day off and escaped to Sentosa Cove for a lovely lunch with some friends. Kate was such a dear. She kept herself occupied with the art counter set up for the occasion and painted me a heart. When she had enough of that, she came back to our table for her lunch. She fed herself and when she was done, asked if she could go back for some face painting. Sure, why not? Anything that keeps you quiet, my dear ;)
Learning to be ambidextrous?
Soon it was her nap time and she automatically came to look for me and said, "I want to sleep." She drank her milk then promptly fell asleep in her stroller for 2 hours.
Quayside Isle
What bliss. Seeing your child sleeping soundly is always a delightful sight. And at a place as charming as Quayside Isle, along with good company? Nothing short of a perfect afternoon.
Sabio by the Sea
And the best part of our long lunch? Savouring the heavenly warm churros morsel by morsel, without having to deny (or share with) Kate such a sinful dessert ;)

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Dear Mum - You are Pretty Cool

For Mother's Day, I never know what I'm gonna get. When they were younger, I was disappointed when they did not make any effort at all to show their appreciation and I told them so. I mean, no point feeling upset and unappreciated when the poor kids didn't even know what happened right?

As a result, they got creative and prepared me an awesome 'breakfast in bed' service. They poured milk and cornflakes and placed some cookies on a tray. Of course, the loveliness lasted all of 15 minutes and after that it was back to settling squabbles and mopping up messes.


As they grew up, the girls planned elaborate efforts like hanging streamers from the ceiling which they got the younger ones to help colour in.

Now that they are older, I receive real gifts. Yup, store bought stuff like blouses, t-shirts, and dresses. Maybe my teenagers are trying to tell me something...

I have long stopped reminding them that "It's Mother's Day this weekend", as I'd rather they do something from their heart instead of doing it out of duty. So every year, I get surprised. Some years, they don't do ANYTHING. Ok, well, some of them. Luckily I have 6, so at least 1 or 2 will 'remember' me.

This year, I got one stalk of beautiful red rose, 2 cards and 2 drawings.

#5 drew me a lovely picture and helped Kate draw one too by guiding her hand.


But I was truly, truly surprised to find a proper card from #1.

Let me share with you a bit of what she wrote:

YOU ARE A PRETTY COOL MUM. I AM PROUD.

(hey, pause. For a 16-year old to describe her mum as cool is really something. Just a couple of years back when they started entering the teen phase, they thought I was pretty un-cool.)

Thank you for giving me the chance to develop my interests.

Thank you for always having faith in me.


Thanks for letting me be independent.


Thank you for supporting all my concerts.

Thanks for letting us be noisy and sing in the car.

Thanks for letting my friends come over and being nice.

Thanks for cultivating my love for chips together with dad.
Thank you for being so chill.


And hear this:

I REALLY THINK YOU HAVE A NICE BLOG.

(Yay! From my very critical teenager, that means a lot).

She ended her card with:

Sorry for my bad grades and thanks for trying to help pull them up. I will work hard from now on.

(I could cry. Isn't that what every mum wants? For their kids to acknowledge their mistakes and try harder next time?)

So. I was really happy. Not laughing happy, but deep down happy. Because I know she has come to her senses. She was not an easy child to raise during the teenage years. But I know it will get better moving forwards.

You know, it is easy for little kids to tell you nice things. "Mum, you are so pretty, your food is nice, I love you, I love you, I love youuuuu!"

As they grow into pre-teens, they are balancing between telling the truth and learning not to hurt people's feelings.

Thus it becomes: "Mum, you look nice in that dress, but your arms are fat."

(Er, ok. I've learnt not to get angry and to turn their comments into constructive criticism).

Subsequently, when they grow into teenagers, they don't say much.

So to receive an utterly sincere and honest letter from my 16-year old is something I will treasure for a long time to come.


This post is part of the Dear Mummy blog train hosted by June, a lovely mum of 3 who blogs at mamawearpapashirt. Click here to read the dedications from the beloved kids of the other wonderful mummies!





Tomorrow we have Karen, a mum to 2 wonderful children, who muses over at Mum's calling. She believes it is almost every woman's calling to be a Mum. While fulfilling hers, she finds the journey truly rewarding and enjoyable. She is convinced that Motherhood is life changing and full of surprises.





~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Friday, 8 May 2015

{Interview #1} Associate Professor Karen Crasta - Scientist

Associate Professor Karen Crasta, 38, is a Scientist researching basic mechanisms of cancer. She is officially an Associate Prof at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and Joint Principal Investigator at A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. She heads a team researching mechanisms of cancer biology and therapy. She also teaches Medical and Biological Sciences undergraduates at NTU.

This initiative is part of our 101 Paths to Success series of interviews to gain insight into how successful people came to do what they are doing, and enlighten parents that there is a vast array of occupations for our children to discover. Hopefully it might spark an interest in our children and youths to start their journey of discerning their life's path.

Your qualifications

B.Sc (Honours) in Microbiology from NUS
PhD in Cell Cycle Regulation from NUS
Postdoctoral Training in Cancer Biology from Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Associate Professor Karen Crasta
Describe your job

I love my job! There is no typical day.  It consists of training, guiding my team of postdoctoral fellows, Phd Students and research assistants. I hold weekly group meetings with the team members so we have discussions as a team on how to best solve problems and learn from one another.  I may also have to review journal manuscripts and grant proposals. I occasionally teach and set student assignments and examination questions, and mark them. And of course, there are plenty of meetings to keep me busy!

As I am a National Research Foundation Fellow, my focus is more on the research aspect although I do find the teaching aspect gratifying. I try to find time to carry out my own research at the bench and make time everyday to read journal articles to keep up with the latest discoveries in the field.

Tell us about your career path

I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a scientist. However over time, it became apparent that my favourite topic was Biology. Additionally, my parents were a big influence. My mum, who stayed at home when me and my twin-sister were younger, taught us about nature and science in a fascinating way. My dad was passionate about his job as an Engineer and influenced our thinking process and the way we see the world.

I did well in CJC in Biology and decided to undertake Microbiology as a major at NUS. I was selected to the Honours Year where we were assessed on independently-carried out research projects and advanced course work. It was at this stage that I first encountered the appeal of research work. The independence of it, thinking about things, planning the steps to your next experiment, reading, discussing, trouble-shooting, making a hypothesis and predictions, testing them, failing or getting it right…. the lure of the experimentation process was exciting.

I worked for two years as a research assistant and ended up as a first-author in a reputable journal called Bacteriology! By then my interest in science was sealed and I decided to do a PhD at the then only premier research institute in Singapore called the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMB). In my final months of PhD, I went to a conference in Melbourne to present my graduate work on Cell Cycle research. At the conference, I met a Professor from Harvard whom I knew had a project in an area I was looking to pursue. He interviewed me in Melbourne and accepted me on the spot!

I packed my bags for Boston in July 2008 to start my post-doctoral training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. I was awarded the A*STAR International Fellowship in 2009. In 2012 I returned to Singapore and joined IMCB, now under A*STAR, as a Senior Research Fellow.

In 2013, I was awarded the National Research Foundation Fellowship from the Prime Minister’s Office which came with 3 million dollars in funding over 5 years. This allowed me to start my own lab in Sept 2013 and I'm now leading a team of like-minded people who share the same vision in solving the major problems my lab is addressing, namely toxicity and resistance of chemotherapy drugs.

My mothers' role:

I love my Mum! My mother, Stella Crasta, nurtured my love for science and the 3 of us siblings would not have come to where we are (us twins as successful scientists and my younger sister as a lawyer) without her example, dedication, sacrifice, encouragement, and unconditional love. She imparted good Christian values to us, and most importantly, kept us constantly in her prayers.

She has a double degree in Botany and Zoology, and also in Education. When my twin sister and I were born, she stayed home until we were 16 years old. Home was a loving environment as my mum was always there to turn to for advice and Dad came home promptly at 6.15pm everyday.

I am glad my mum was a stay-at-home-mum in our growing up years. She was up early to make breakfast and prepare our lunchbox. She went through our homework and taught us different subjects in inspiring ways. She particularly had a twinkle in her eyes when teaching us Science.

Not only did she take a keen interest in our academic work, she also made sure we were self-reliant. We had to do simple household chores to learn independence and help out as a family. My parents ensured we had a well-rounded education and encouraged us to play badminton, swim to relax, and learn to play the piano. Amidst all that, she made sure we had fun as well!

My mum is now the Principal of St. Francis of Assisi Kindergarten, and it was really inspiring to see her working so hard - working during the day, going for classes at night, and staying up to finish assignments. Although she was the oldest in class, she achieved top marks for all her assignments and it was obvious that her professors and classmates loved her! It was my wise dad who encouraged her to take up teaching as he said it is always important to have other interests besides family lest anything happens to him when we're all grown up. He passed away 3 years ago from cancer and on hindsight, it was good that she has her own interests and work to keep her busy as my Dad is no longer around as her companion.

How did you find your passion / area of interest?

It was more by trial and error. It was obvious that I did better in Biology than all the other subjects so it was natural that I gravitated towards it. Having an interest in cancer cells came from studying the controls of cell division during my phD. Understanding how cells turn cancerous became somewhat of an obsession and that intense curiosity about wanting to know more got me hooked on this path, in the hope of coming up with improved cancer therapies.

Which aspect of your job gives you the most  satisfaction?

When I see the joy of discovery on the face of someone in my team!

What does success mean to you?

Success at work is the ability to do my best every day in mentoring the younger generation so that they can become good scientists and good people. I try to always remember that any talent we have is from God and we must use it to the best of our ability.

Are you involved in any voluntary work?

I am involved in a church group that organizes activities to help the less fortunate, the elderly and the sick.

I am also an UN Women in Science Ambassador and open my lab twice a year to interested secondary school girls in the hope of inspiring and motivating them to see how fun and exciting making scientific discoveries can be!

To know more about the Girls2Pioneers program, you can visit this website - http://www.girls2pioneers.org/

One advice to parents

Support your children in pursuing dreams that make them happy; do not impinge your aspirations on them.

One advice to teens

Work hard with passion, determination and confidence to achieve your goals. You can do anything you set your mind to!

To be a good scientist, it takes someone... who is truly Passionate about science since it can be fraught with failures. Having said that, you need to be able to learn from the failures and have the ability to troubleshoot and design key experiments. You will also need to be curious about nature and how things work. Finally you need self-motivation, drive and hard work to pursue it.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

        Tuesday, 5 May 2015

        School stories #11: How #2 topped her level in English

        Some friends were asking me how did #2 manage to top her level in English? Well, the answer is simple. Don't go to a top school!

        Ok, seriously, the answer IS simple, and it spells R.E.A.D.


        When she was in P1, I was at a school function and a tutor in her 50s told us that for English, it was way better to get our kids to spend time reading than to do assessment books. I went back and told #2 to start reading everyday, and that was what she did. She never had any tuition for English except 3 months before the PSLE (which on hindsight I should have saved my money on as she was too set in her ways to change the way she wrote her compositions).


        If you have no clue what books to let your daughters read, these were some of her favourite books when she was growing up.

        P1:
        • Milly Molly Mandy series (Joyce Lankester Brisley)
        • Naughtiest Girl series (Enid Blyton)
        • Mary Poppins (P.L. Travers)
        • Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
        P2:
        • St Clare's series (Enid Blyton)
        • Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)
        • Matilda (Roald Dahl)

        P3:
        • Malory Towers series (Enid Blyton)
        • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)
        P4:
        • Nicholas series (Goscinny & Sempe) This is a popular French classic about a schoolboy and his antics.
        • Totto-chan (Tetsuko Kuroyanagi)

        P5:
        • Anne of Green Gables series (L.M. Montgomery)
        • The Mysterious Benedict Society series (Trenton Lee Stewart)
        • Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul series (Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen)
        P6:
        • The Twilight Saga (Stephenie Meyer)
        • The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins)

        By P6, she started to choose her own books and during that year, the Twilight Saga was very popular. These days they are into the Hunger Games series. I have not read either so I can't comment on whether they are good in terms of content and values.

        What about boys?

        For my son, he enjoyed reading different books from his sisters. When he was younger, he liked Dr Seuss, Curious George and Roald Dahl. In P1 and P2, the only thing he read was Young Scientist and Adventure Box (ordered via his school). Now that he is in P3, he is into Geronimo Stilton, like most of his friends. Perhaps you have some good recommendations for me! Books that boys would like which have good content and language, and have some pictures.

        Sane tip: Getting your kids to love reading is one of the best things you can cultivate in them. Not only are their minds being opened to new ideas, new possibilities and new worlds, but it gives you hours of silence in the house! Perfect.

        Save tip: The thing about #2 was that she was happy to read and re-read her books. She must have read all these books more than 10 times each! She was also very obedient in the sense that she would read whatever book I gave her at least once, even those which she felt was boring.

        When I had my first few kids, I was too busy to make trips to the library and I had the impression that the books there were sub-standard. After having more kids (and a smaller budget for books), I decided to check out the public libraries and I was so impressed! They are well-stocked with good books and I have since stopped patronising the bookshops.


        Related posts:

        Here's the story of our journey into reading. When #1 was about to enter P1, she couldn't even read 3 letter words like "cat" and "dog". I was stunned when the other kids could read words like "wisdom", "understand" and "praise". Now I know better, and I read to Kate daily.


        Here's many more good tips on how to go about reading to younger children.



        School Stories:

        #1 - When your son gets into fights in school
        #2 - My son the loan shark
        #3 - So kids can't play once they start school?

        ~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

        (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-43179904-2', 'mummywee.blogspot.com'); ga('send', 'pageview');