Thursday, October 29, 2009 ;
11:20 AM
24 Oct

Dh had a lot of wood and supplies to bring in to work that day. Since we don't intend to get a car now that we will live right beside a huge and fully air-conditioned bus interchange, and MRT station, Dh has been taking the fast trains to work.

In fact, he has tried driving to work using his mom's car before and incurred ERP charges, parking charges totalling more than S$30 in a day. He was horrified. This is not inclusive of the fuel costs and his time spent in the traffic jams along the way. It takes less time if he goes by train since it is just one train journey right to his office in town, without need to switch to buses or other modes of transport.

Car-driving in Singapore definitely is only about convenience, like if you don't like to walk, or have lots of things to carry around, or if you have babies and many kids to lug around.

So anyway, that day he had stuff to bring in, yet he was reluctant to pay the costly parking fees in town, so he got me to drive him there. Since it was a Saturday, I brought the kids along.

When he got to the office, the kids went in to take a look since they've not been to his Sg workplace yet.

There're many sharp or dangerous tools, so I told them to just look, and not touch anything. They were very curious about everything, but I was unable to identify most of the tools! Dh was busy at that time. Too bad.

Then we drove off to nearby Plaza Singapura. It was very early, around 9+am but there were so many shoppers there already! I found out why very soon.

Spotlight was having a grand opening sale. There were long queues for the free sculptured balloons, hand and face painting for kids, and long queues for the curtains and other craft material that Spotlight has big discounts on.

The kids initially wanted the fancy balloons, and this artist can indeed make very elaborate stuff. Unfortunately, because each creation was so elaborate, the queue was hardly moving, and we waited for about 30min with no sign of progress. I asked them if we wanted to go explore other things instead and they were ok with that. So we left the queue, and then I met an old friend!

He was our junior in NIE, and now I bumped into him with his 2 kids, a boy and a girl! Wow, it's funny how you realise a lot of time has flown by only when you meet old friends. I still remember the times when we all went hiking in Pulau Ubin during our college days, and we even stayed in this dilapidated dormitory resort there.

And then the days we spent in the Biology Labs, doing all kinds of weird things. He was a Bio and PE student. So now he is teaching PE instead. (We can be posted out to schools to teach either or both of our trained subjects). Teaching PE must have done him a lot of good cos he still looks fit and young as ever.

We just chatted for a while and exchanged contacts. His wife was shopping somewhere around Plaza Sing so I didn't get to meet her. He was taking care of both kids and had just gotten the balloons for them.

I brought the kids to Carrefour next and we just browsed everywhere aisle for fun. After that, we had lunch at Manhattan Fish Market and Dh joined us later. Dh enjoyed his flaming prawns, while the boys enjoyed mainly the flaming. Ds1 even asked the waitress if he could do the flaming himself.

After lunch, Dh headed back to work and kids and I walked through the entire Spotlight store. It's really fun to examine all the various tablecloths, or party supplies and exclaim how pretty each and every scrapbooking material is. The boys gamely browsed with me because there were enough items to keep their imagination running wild. There were many Halloween dress-up ideas too.

It was 2pm, we still had time to kill. Dh wanted to knock off only at 5pm. So I drove over to the nearest museum, The Singapore Philatelic Museum. It was so empty. The few other people were all tourists. The boys were the only kids, and we're probably the only crazy locals to spend money exploring this museum.

But surprisingly, we had a lot of fun! And we all learnt a lot. The curator or I/C was a very kind lady who saw how appreciative we were that she waived ds2's ticket fees. That saved me S$4.

The kids collected stamps into their notebooks, did wood block shadings, took silly pictures, and tried out every interactive exhibit.

That's the old mail carrier scooter. Nostalgic indeed.

They also learnt how stamps can be collected as a hobby, how educational stamps can be, and how mail is delivered - the entire process. Here they are, putting in mail, seeing how it is air couriered now, to reach the destination. There was also an exhibit to show the kids how mail was delivered by foot, bicycle, then horse, then ship/ train/ truck and then air. They were shown how much faster each mode could be.

Some silly pics...

Then there were cultural exhibits too. This was old Singapore, the historical past, I think. There were drums to play and clogs to wear. You can put on the lion's head and do lion dances.

Post office in Chinatown in the past?

Stereoscopes to view rare and old stamps in more detail.

A room dedicated to F1 Grand Prix races. The history, all the stamps involved and all the little die-cast model cars. ds2 was taking notes in his spiral bound notebook. He mostly drew his notes in, although he will sometimes copy what he sees on the board or exhibits. I gave them free reign, and did not dictate what they should write, draw or take down.

Hence their notes don't look very impressive, but they have a great sense of ownership in their learning and maybe it is a good start to a healthy note-taking habit?

I liked this exhibit cos it showed all the different postboxes countries around the world use. The actual replicas of the mailboxes are mounted onto the respective country on a big colourful map of the world.

They have many of the mailboxes for sale too, and I bought a modern Sg one and the old orange Sg one. We already have the USPS one that we bought as a toy and souvenir in USA, so now they can play air mail from Sg to USA at home, haha. We have the USPS mail truck toy also, and we have JAL and SIA airplanes, so somehow, they can string all these together.

I learn a lot more about how stamps are printed and made, things I never knew before. It was 4.30pm when we were done, just nice.

All in all, a great day spent downtown... :-)

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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