‘Learning through Senses’ PLAY-DOH Challenge

[Event Highlight]

We all know the benefits of playing with Play-Doh.  The dough responds to each of the children's actions when they squeeze it, poke it, squash it, pick it up and pat it down. As a result, the children learnt that their actions have consequences. Working play dough with their hands also develops their large and small muscles and aids eye-hand coordination. It helps to improve fine motor skills which is beneficial to daily activities. 

It is a all-seems-wonderful toy except the mess you have to clean up after the fun.  Here comes the fun and the don't-have-to-clean-up activity which you might want to consider bringing your child(ren) to this coming Saturday 26th September 2015 at Raffles City Atrium Level 3.

This event is held on the 26th of September at Raffles City Singapore (Level 3 Atrium) from 11am to 9pm . This Rise and Shine Children’s Day event is called ‘Learning through SensesPLAY-DOH Challenge which is sponsored by SIMILAC.GAIN. The website for this event is http://bit.ly/1NeDazf

There are 2 categories for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The timings are listed in the website too:
11.00am - 12.00pm: Pre-Schoolers' Category (Aged 4 to 6 )
12.00pm - 1.00pm : Toddlers' Category (Aged 1 to 3)
1.00pm - 2.00pm: Pre-Schoolers' Category
2.00pm - 3.00pm: Toddlers' Category 
3.00pm - 4.00pm: Pre-Schoolers' Category 
4.00pm - 5.00pm: Toddlers' Category 
5.00pm - 6.00pm: Pre-Schoolers' Category

Price for
1 Parent + 1 Child (GST inclusive) is $10.70
1 Parent + 2 Children (GST inclusive) is $15.70

Competition details:
Contestants will need to create a Similac.Gain mascot mould assigned and the Top 3 fastest parent-child teams with the best-looking model wins a prize (worth $100 each). Every registered team will receive a goodie bag worth $30.

For TODAY only (21st September 2015 11.55pm), you may enter promo code: MLB20 to enjoy 20% off. Do register quickly, and enjoy a day of fun and bonding with your little ones without having to worry about the haze!

Re-opening of National Museum of Singapore's Permanent Galleries

[Media Invite]

After a hiatus of almost a year, the National Museum of Singapore is ready to re-open its permanent galleries this Saturday 19 September 2015. The re-opening will see an updated Singapore History Gallery, and the new Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years galleries which present snapshots of the way people lived in Singapore in the last century. The Goh Seng Choo Gallery also returns, featuring works from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings in a new exhibition titled Desire and Danger. The revamped galleries will not only present Singapore’s history in more immersive and innovative ways, but also showcase artefacts that have never been displayed before.

To celebrate the re-opening, the National Museum has put together a fun-filled Opening Weekend Carnival that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, 19 and 20 September. Everyone is invited to celebrate the museum’s re-opening at the carnival and to take a refreshed look at Singapore’s history in the new galleries. 

Here’s the programme for the 2 days:

The galleries now have a refreshed layout and updated narrative. They also promise a more engaging and an immersive experience, almost like stepping back in time to the different periods of our history but with a touch of modern technologies. You can expect innovative displays, interactive elements, compelling personal stories that make history and the artefacts come to life.

Let us now take a peek at some of the exhibit in the 3 main galleries.

Singapore History Gallery (Level 1)

The Singapore History Gallery's updated narrative charts the development of the island as it was known through the years as Singapura, Crown Colony, Syonan-To, and finally, Singapore. This gallery is refreshed with updated stories and content on Singapore's history, capturing the nation's defining moments, challenges and achievements from its earliest beginnings 700 years ago to independent, modern city-state it is today.

Japanese Tank (Replica) 

The Singapore Surrender Table (1940s) when the British surrendered unconditionally to the Imperial Japanese Army


The door of the prison cell 

 The journey of merger to independence

 The era when production factories started

Setron, Phillips Singapore and other brands were among the few manufacturing giants then.

 In those days, Rollei cameras were greatly sought after

Along with the urbanisation, was the very polluted Singapore River. Come, smell it!

A home for everyone was one of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's mission. A common scene in HDB corridor. 

Step into the kitchen of an HDB flat from the 1970s to 1980s 

Life in Singapore: The Past 100 Years

Spanning the last 100 years, there are four galleries (Modern Colony, Surviving Syonan, Growing Up and Voices of Singapore) presenting snapshots of everyday life through the different eras in Singapore's history. 

The typical ceiling of an old colony bungalow. You can smell the yummy pastries and tea upon stepping in.  

 The truck in 1930s, which we called luggage bag now.

The types of shoes worn by women in the late 19th century to 1920s 

Severe shortages of basic necessities during the Occupation compelled people to re-use materials from old clothes, curtains, bedsheets to make new garments, and mend new ones. Sewing machines were an indispensable tool in many households for this purpose. 

During the Occupation, all residents were forced to learn Japanese 

 The Ago-Ago days

This bicycle belonged to our current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. It was given to him at his 11th birthday by his paternal grandmother. Mr Lee has kindly donated it to the National Museum of Singapore.

Remembering the Jurong drive-in cinema

Those were the days, 50 cents.  How much is it now? 

Goh Seng Choon Gallery (Level Two)

Discover the fine line between Desire and Danger at this stimulating new exhibition here. It features creatures that arouse appetites and instil fear, and exotic plants sought for their ability to induce pain or pleasure.

The museum has received support from leading fragrance and flavour developer Givaudan to develop scents that add another sensory dimension to the galleries. This is 1 of seven scent stations for you to discover scents such as tembusu flowers, the breadflower and even the old polluted Singapore River.

Come join the fun at the Carnival this weekend 19 and 20 September 2015!

Visitor Information
Gallery Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm
Admission: Free for Singaporeans, Singapore PRs and visitors below 6. Other adults $10, children and seniors above 65 $5.
Guided Tour: Available on 19 and 20 September 2015, and 3 October 2015 onwards.

Kids Witness News: A Global Film-Making Education Programme

[Media Invite]

Kids and teenagers today are more opinionated than ever before, but often lack platforms to express their thoughts and intentions. With this in mind, Panasonic developed Kid Witness News (KWN), a global film-making education programme that aims to help children around the world between the ages of 12 and 18 develop their self-confidence, creativity and communication skills through video journalism. 

KWN is a hands-on video education programme that Panasonic organises as part of its efforts to support education. The company lends video cameras and other broadcast and video production equipment to participating primary and secondary schools. Since the programme began in the United States in 1989, more than 175,000 children have participated over the last 26 years.

This is the first time the global awards ceremony was held in Southeast Asia, Singapore. Montfort College of Thailand won the Grand Prix for its video "Blind's Diary" in the Panasonic Kid Witness News (KWN) Global Contest 2015.  And the team from Clementi Town Secondary School of Singapore clinched the "Creative Media” award with its production “Social ME-dia” as they explored the way youth perceive their self-worth through their persona on social media. You may watch all their videos here.

With Singapore's team: Clementi Town Secondary School

I had the opportunity to attend a Sports Video Workshop conducted by the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), Head of Production, Mr Mark Wallace. The amount of work put in to bring out the best visual effect to the audience in front of the television is beyond what I had estimated. The numbers of camera, the types of camera, the lens to use, the tools needed to install the camera, the locations to install the cameras, the angle to shoot, the lighting, even the sound effect, are all carefully planned and executed!

If you are keen to have your child learn video journalism, do check out his/her secondary school's Course Curriculum Activities (CCA), some schools may have this activity.  Alternatively, you may check with Singapore Media Academy for their courses available.

Coffee Appreciation Workshop by Toast Box


I am a coffee junkie, but that doesnt make me a specialist.  The appreciation of coffee is an entire study on its own, something I have yet to get a full grasp of. 

Photo credit: BreadTalk

When it comes to Nanyang Coffee, I have a special preference for Toast Box coffee. Somehow, over the years of drinking Nanyang coffee when I was outside, I realized that that the quality of coffee in Toast Box (and its tea too) is pretty consistent regardless which outlet I visit. And the reasons could be because they roast and grind their own coffee beans, have their proprietary blend of 3 types of coffee beans, and their ‘baristas’ are not ordinary shift workers, they have to go through months of rigorous training before they can be graduated as one.   

I had the opportunity to attend the Nanyang Coffee Appreciation workshop conducted by Toast Box. I was pretty excited about it as I was able to learn a little about the science and art of making a cup of good coffee.

The workshop was conducted in Queens’s Coffee, at the BreadTalk Headquarters at Tai Seng, a place where BreadTalk group houses all its F&B brands – BreadTalk, Toast Box, Din Tai Fung, Ramen Play and Food Republic. 

The main difference between the Nanyang coffee and the Western coffee, besides the choice of beans, is the type of milk used. The Western coffee uses fresh milk or UHT milk, Nanyang coffee uses evaporated milk or condensed milk. 

Have you wondered where does the “C” come from? In the olden days, most of the coffee makers used F&N Carnation Milk (which is the evaporated milk). In those days when literacy rate was low, most of them found it difficult to pronounce “Carnation”, thus the short form “C” was crowned.

Here’s a little quiz for you, see if you know the colloquial order of our kopi menu:

Kopi O
Kopi O Kosong
Kopi C
Kopi Peng
Kopi Siew Dai
Kopi Ga Dai
Kopi Gao
Kopi Di Loh
Kopi Po

Score 10/10?    Scroll down for answers.

Types of Beans

Coffee Plant

Most of us may have known Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. The former are planted in highland (1000-2000m in altitude) and are generally more expensive; and the latter are planted in lowland (700 and below in altitude) and are generally cheaper. There is a third type of beans called Liberica, also planted in lowland. Toast Box uses a blend of Robusta for base, Arabica for aroma and Liberica for extra dimension. The proportion of the 3 beans is a trade secret.


There are 3 main types of processing:

This is the oldest method of processing. The coffee cherries are sun dried for up to 4 weeks before sending to the mill for hulling, sorting, grading and bagging.

The coffee cherries are soaked in water. The ripe cherries sink while the bad ones float. The pulp are then removed by breaking down the cellulose through fermentation followed by washing them with water. The beans are then sun dried.

This is perhaps the most interesting way.  The cherries are eaten by civet cats. The cats’ digestive juice act as enzymes and break down the cherry meat. The beans, which are indigestible, will then be passed out as waste. Come, smell these beans!

We were fortunate enough to have a taste of freshly brewed Coffee Luwak. Guan from BreadTalk Group told us that the beans cost US$1600 per kg!  


There are 2 main methods of roasting the beans: the Dry/Clean Roast and the Torrefacto Roast (Hainanese or Hock Chew style). In Torrefacto Roast, sugar is either both caramelised and added (Hock Chew style) or not caramelized but added (Hainanese style) to the Robusta coffee beans to add weight, thus making the beans even cheaper.  This is why Nanyang coffee is cheaper than Western coffee. And to my amaze, Singapore is the largest consumer for coffee in the world! It was estimated to be 4.4kg per capita.

The factory size roasting machine in Queen's Coffee


The cheapest and the least fussy way of brewing coffee is Filter Extraction method. But it is 1 of the most difficult skills to master. It takes considerable practice to brew a decent cup of coffee.

The tools used in Filter Extraction brewing method are: Filter (some called it Sock), Pots (Dragon pot and Coffee pot) and Agitator.

 Dragon Pot

There are many factors to take into consideration in order for the coffee to turn up well. These include ration of water to coffee, size of the grounded coffee, water temperature and extraction time.

What Makes Toast Box’s Coffee Special?

I had my questions answered that day, I began to understand why the quality of coffee (and tea) in Toast Box outlets is pretty consistent. Toast Box is the first in Singapore to adopt “Grind as you Brew” method to ensure the aroma of the coffee beans is kept intact. So, in all Toast Box outlets, you will see this machine that ground the beans. Beans are not grinded in the factory, packed in tins, and distributed to outlets.

Grounding Machine

Toast Box also has a proprietary blend of 3 types of coffee beans, their ‘baristas’ (Coffee Master) are rigorously trained (error rate less than 5%) and they practise standardized brewing methodology. All coffee will be discarded after 25 minutes if there is no order coming in to ensure the freshness of coffee.

Are you interested in attending the Coffee Appreciation workshop? Do drop an email to Toast Box to check out the dates. 

BreadTalk IHQ

Address: 30 Tai Seng Street, Singapore 534013

Email: toastbox@breadtalk.com