Gardens By The Bay Christmas Wonderland

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome
May - The Changi Museum
Jun - Human Body Experience & Nature's Design Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre
Jul - Literary Trail: In Search of the Missing Heirloom in Katong
Aug - Fun For Free Sg: Gardens By The Bay - The Supertree Grove
Sep - Damnoensaduak Floating Market & Maeklong Railway Market (Bangkok)
Oct - Gardens By The Bay - The Garden Troopers! (Junior Horticulturists)

[Media Invite]

We are not sick of the Gardens By The Bay, at least not yet.  It is so big and there are so many things there we have not finished exploring.  Every festive season, Gardens by the Bay never fails to amuse us.

The dream of spending Christmas buried in snow remains as a dream because AJ can't take long haul flight and long road trip.  Both the husband and I had experienced snow, but for AJ, I guess it remains as a dream until he has outgrown motion sickness.

While waiting for that dream to materialise, we have to make-do with artificial snow in Singapore.  We do have many during this season in this little red dot, but the largest has to to be the 17-metre Luminarie light sculptures, the majestic Spalliera over at the Supertree Grove in Gardens by the Bay.  The spellbinding Luminarie light sculptures were specially handcrafted and flown in from Italy.


Stay on and watch the Garden Rhapsody - the Christmas Edition at 7.45pm and 8.45pm respectively and be immersed in the Christmas spirit.

This photo and those above were taken by my friend Amos Saw

Not forgetting the audio effect of choir singing carols at Casa Armonica that intensify the aura of Christmas.

Different school choir will present their items at 7pm and 9.15pm on Dec 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21

Stay on at the Festive Market for food, souvenirs, crafts, etc.

Don't forget to pop by Janice Wong to sample some of her exquisite sugar art and maybe get some as gifts for your loved ones too! 

I met 2 fairies!

Christmas Wonderland at the Supertree Grove
Festive Market
Date: Now till 21 Dec 2014
Time: 3 -11pm

Luminarie Lights
Date: Now till 1 Jan 2015
Time: 7pm - 12mn

Meanwhile, over at the Flower Dome ... ... the Yuletide

Yuletide in the Flower Dome
Date: Now till 6 Jan 2015
Time: 9am - 10pm

If you would like to meet Miffy at the Flower Dome, you can catch her at the Miffy Meet-and-Greet sessions on 13 and 14 Dec 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.15pm, 4pm and 5pm.

For more detail on the schedule for more activities, please click on the link here.

The Eighth Note Music School


AJ was blessed with a sponsorship by The Eighth Note Music School to have his hands on a Digital Music course.  He is considered IT savvy for his age and has a strong foundation in music, thus I think this holiday music course suits him well.

His music instructor was Justin Lu, who is a song writer and audio engineer and he plays drum.  Under his pupillage (albeit a very short stint of 4 weeks), AJ has learnt: 

1) Introduction to Audio technology (Digital Music)

2) The various names of the four main cables
- XLR Cable (Microphone Cable)
- 1/4 inch Cable (Instrument Cable)
- 1/8 inch cable
- RCA Cable

3) How to operate an analog mixer.

4) Basic recording set up.

5) Creating an 8 bar jingle using Garage band on the Ipad at 75 BPM.

7) Basic mixing techniques on the IPad.

8) Operating Reaper on a Windows computer.

9) Recording a real instrument using Reaper with the help of an audio interface.


The 4 weeks ended fast because AJ truly enjoyed the class.  He was thrilled to be able to compose music.

AJ with Justin Lu, his music instructor.
The boy wasn't too pleased that it was the last lesson with Teacher Justin.

While the boy was having lessons, I had the chance to observe how the music school functioned.  Frankly, I liked what I saw.  Here are the reasons why:

1) The centre is child-friendly
Considering that I have brought AJ to a few music schools to learn music or to 'look-see-look-see' since he was 2 years old, I noted that this was an essential factor. 

In the light of quite a few encounters that I've had with music schools, in the quest of a good musical education since AJ was 2 years old, I consider this as important.  

The environment at the Parkway Centre branch which I went to was extremely conducive for young children to pick up music.  They had a display of violins, guitars and ukuleles at the lobby not for the sake of display only, but for children to pick up and play with them.  I could hardly believe my eyes at the scene of young children bringing those instruments down from the rack and making 'music' with them.  I haven't come across any other music school that allows that.  The Eighth Note Music School has such a rare culture of allowing young children to explore music freely.

Children can play with these musical instruments freely

2) The staff treated both adults and children with respect
I expected the staff to treat us adults with respect, but I was amazed how they treated the children with utmost respect too.  The folks there were truly warm, friendly and genuinely care for the children.

I saw it with my own eyes - this little girl who was playing with a set of 'musical bells' (see video below) while the counter staff were discussing some operational matters.  The sound she made was loud enough to affect their discussion, but they didn't stop her.  I was so pleased with what I saw.


Are you still in the midst of planning holiday activities for your little ones?  How about some music exploration courses for them?  This is one good way to find out which musical instruments best fit their interest.  The folks at The Eighth Note are giving my readers a waiver of their usual registration fee of S$38. All you need to do is to quote "Mylilbookworm" and 'like' their fanpage to enjoy the waiver!

The Eighth Note Music School

Main Branch
19 Lorong Kilat #01-04 Singapore 598120
Tel: 6465 1418

Parkway Center Branch
Parkway Centre #02-02 Singapore 449408
Tel: 63480628

A Reflection on Academic Performance

This is AJ’s second time going up the stage to receive a prize from the school during the year end prize giving ceremony.  I do not know if he will be up there again next year because the level of difficulty increases each year.  Beside, it is no longer honeymoon for the children Primary 3 onwards.

To score well in Primary 1 and Primary 2 aren't that difficult.  The true challenge will come from Primary 3 onwards.  The system in his school rewards the top 3 in respective classes and the top 3 in each level, in addition to top in respective subjects and model pupils.  So if a child is placed in the better class, yet cannot make it to the top 3 in the class, he/she will not be rewarded.  But, if a child is placed in the last class and made it to the top 3 in that class, he/she will be rewarded.  Is it a fair system?  No, it is not.  But there is no fair system, because every human being has his own point of view.  

Honestly, I was feeling the heat when I saw those students who were 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the top class were also 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective levels.  Suddenly, I wondered if these awards were necessary.  No doubt that they served to recognize the effort the children have put in in their studies in the last one year, but they have certainly added pressure to the audience (aka parents and grandparents) as well.  There is a tendency to compare and the children would be pressurized by their parents (and maybe grandparents as well) to keep up or outperform each other as a result.

While I was standing in the hall watching those prizes being awarded, many thoughts crossed my mind. I recalled an incident that AJ shared with me regarding his classmate.

This classmate of his (I named ‘X’ here) is a very bright child. X did very well in all the 3 subjects in Primary 1 and 2.  However, on the day of Math year-end exam paper, X spotted a mistake but didn’t have time to correct it.  He broke down and cried. Yes, over 1 mistake (and you have guessed it right, X scored 49/50 because of that mistake).  When the classmates asked why X cried, X replied that the parents will be very mad.

What? Over 1 mistake? My heart sank when I heard that!  Was it necessary to put so much pressure on the little child who is only in the lower primary?  X has so many schooling years ahead, how is X going to cope with the possible setbacks in time to come?

The Physic tutor said he has students who are already scoring A* continue having tuition to maintain their scores.

This Physic tutor is my husband's distant relative.  I think many of you would have seen his face before in the newspaper.  He is famous for his incredible tutoring income.  In this interview that 晚报 did with him, he mentioned that he has students who are already scoring A* but continue with the tuition to maintain their scores.

I later found out that X is from an affluence family and has tuition since kindergarten days.  X has tuition for all 3 subjects.  X does not go to tuition centres because X didn’t perform well in the academic subjects, X goes to tuition centres in order to continue scoring A*.  How sad.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of rat race.  Life is not just about academic excellence.  Achieving academic excellence now, at this young age, also does not promise academic excellence in the later years.  What is important for my child is to live up to the moral values of perseverance, resilience and kindness.  What I want to see in my child is having the spirit of doing his best for the glory of God.  What I desire most of him is to honour God and be never depart from his faith. 

Bangkok - Safari World

I believe Singapore has one of the best zoo (caged animals) in the world but to experience a Zoo Safari, one has to go overseas.  So when we were in Bangkok, this is one of the must-go.

The Safari World Open Zoo and the Marine World is Thailand's biggest Zoo.  Safari World is a drive-in zoological park divided into two parts. The first part is Safari Park, an open zoo with wild animals.The second part is the Marine Park where there are a variety of marine animals and shows of trained dolphins, birds, seals and apes.  It is not very far from Bangkok city, but given its notorious traffic condition, we took about 40 mins to reach the destination.  You may book your day tour via this website (ours was a private tour).

This was the second time we have been to an open zoo.  The first time was Melbourne's Werribee Open Range Zoo when AJ was only 3.  I think he could barely remember.

Anyway, the Thai's Safari World was truly worth a visit.  As we booked a private van, we were able to go real close to the animals.  The van provided us with a good height for photo shooting too!

The female zookeeper inside the cage was feeding the hungry lions.

We got so close to the tiger!

Camels were sunbathing

Behold! A bear!

After the private van tour in the Safari, our English speaking guide brought us to watch the Animal shows.  As he was an experienced guide, he was able to time the Safari tour well so that we wouldn't miss the Animal shows too.  Check out the timing of the shows below!

After the elephant show, AJ got to get near the elephant and even touched it.

The Cowboy Stunt show wasn't impressive.  You could give it a miss if you have anything better to do and have watched one in Singapore's Universal Studio before.

My brother-in-law volunteered to have his money stolen by this parrot.

The parrot got reprimanded and was ordered to return the money to the rightful owner.

Our day tour package came with a International buffet lunch in Safari World itself.  It sounded glamourous but expect nothing more than our local Economic Rice please.

It was overall an educational trip for AJ, particularly the Safari tour.  If you do bring children along to Bangkok, do attempt to include this in your itinerary.  If you have 4 or more people travelling together, booking a van for the Safari tour is worthy because you have the comfort and convenient of the whole van to you.

AJ read <Bangkok Guide for kids by kids> before we left for this trip.
We stayed in Glow Pratunam Hotel and visited Madame TussaudsDamnoensaduak Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market.