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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Of fake kidnaps and real worries

It's one of the greatest fears of a parent.  No, I'm not talking about the moment when your kids ask "Daddy, where do babies come from???".  I'm talking about the fear of your precious ones being kidnapped.  We may not have the millions of Sheng Siong's CEO (his mother was kidnapped), but to us our kids are priceless!  Surely they could be targeted by kidnappers?!

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that many were sharing a shocking account of an attempted kidnap at Legoland, Malaysia.  Apparently, after a search on the premises, the parents finally found their son and were horrified to see that "he has been shaved botak, changed his clothes and shoes, and was placed in a stroller being pushed out of the place."  Also, "... the kid was found to be in a drowsy state, believed to be given something to smell to knock him out.".

My first thought was that it didn't sound very bad, since somebody gave their son a free makeover with the haircut, clothes and shoes and even babysit him for a couple of hours....  Just kidding!

While the story was quickly clarified to be a hoax, the worry of losing your children to kidnappers or abductors is very real.  This video made by ad agency TBWA Kuala Lumpur sums it up very nicely - “A moment of neglect, a lifetime of regret”.

I then wondered, there must be some gizmo out there that can prevent such incidents from happening?  And true to the PriviKids belief, surely there is a gizmo that can also make a fashion statement at the same time?  I did some research, and found this!

Say hello to FiLiP, the world's first smart locator and phone for kids.  Yes, it's a phone too so you can literally (and verbally) say hello to it.  This device kinda brings us back to the future, as your kids would only be able to communicate (via messages and voicecall) with up to 5 preset numbers.  Remember those good old days when a mobile phone is only for making calls to your parents (and maybe the two friends you have)?  It is a smart locator as well, so alerts can go off on your phone when your kid wanders out of the pre-determined 'safezone'.  Needless to say, you can find out where your child is at any point in time.  It also comes with an emergency button which when pressed, sends you location data, starts recording ambient sound (scenes from the movie Taken anyone?) and gives you a call.  AND, it comes in a great design and in various colours.

This little thing is really perfect for parents like me who don't want to put an iPhone/smartphone in the hands of a toddler/tween.

Unfortunately, for us in Singapore, this is only available in the US for now (it was just launched in November 2013).  We contacted the makers in the US and tried to bring the device here through PriviKids, but I guess it's just not in their plans at the moment.  Do you think there is a sizable market for such a device here?
Friday, January 10, 2014

Us Before Ava - Family & Maternity Photography

Just five days before Ava arrived (this wasn't planned!), we arranged to have our family pictures taken by Bambini Photography. As it was a last minute decision to have this photo shoot done (when I was 34 weeks pregnant), we arranged for it to take place as soon as we could, when I was 35 weeks 3 days pregnant. We were also worried that Ava would arrive prematurely like her brother, Aiden, at 35 weeks. Darren jokingly said that our kids would wait till mummy has seen her maternity photography before popping. And true enough, as soon as I went through the pictures from the photo shoot on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, my water bag broke and that Sunday was our precious girl, Ava's birth day.

Here are some tips on taking family / maternity photography:

1) When to take maternity pictures?
Normally maternity photography takes places from 33 weeks onwards. However, if some of you would like to have your belly in full bloom, you can do it between week 35 - 37 but that would depend on the history of your previous births (if you had a history of early births, it would be better to schedule the shoot earlier).  I took mine at week 35 for both Aiden and Ava. Interestingly, both of them came as soon as I have reviewed the pictures, Aiden 1 day after and Ava 5 days after. 

2) Where and what time to arrange the shoot?
I would recommend the outdoors, somewhere familiar where you and your family spent time together. There would also be better lighting outdoors but this is subject to good weather which is often unpredictable in Singapore. We decided to take ours in the evening when the weather is cooler, and we could catch a glimpse of the evening sky. We chose Bedok Reservoir Park where we have taken walks, cycled and dined as a family.
For indoor shoot, we would do it at home, focusing on the balcony area.

3) What to wear for family and maternity photography?
We prefer a more relaxed and casual session where we can all enjoy ourselves while the photographer captures shots of our family. That said, we selected comfortable clothing for ourselves and Aiden in coordinated white, khaki and denim. Aiden is also wearing the denim shirt and khaki bermudas from PriviKids latest collection.
For those of you who prefer brighter colors or bold prints, it might be trickier in coordinating but as long as there is a similar element across each family member, go ahead!

The photographer was a young lady, Yong En, who was patient and took time to warm up with Aiden before the shoot. Here are some of my favorites from our session:

For those of you pregnant mums who are still considering if you should sign up for a maternity photography session, I would strongly urge you to do so as these are precious memories of yourself & your family before baby arrives.
Saturday, January 4, 2014

Three Things about the Heather Chua Episode

Move over MCE cos HCE is now in the spotlight!  The Internet forums and Facebook are abuzz again, but they are no longer talking about the $4.3billion Marina Coastal Expressway.  Instead, it's the Heather Chua Episode that is taking centre stage in the social media.  The million dollar HCE question seems to be, just who is this elitist 40 year old RGS alumnus that lives in Sentosa Cove?

Not Heather Chua. Not Sentosa Cove either.
Well, one thing's for sure, while the MCE is making a reputation for being all jammed up, Heather Chua is certainly letting loose and suffering from an extended bout of verbal diarrhoea on Facebook.

Singaporeans under attack?
The saga is still unfolding, with the infamous SMRT Ltd (Feedback) Facebook page getting into the act for an epic troll battle, but I'll just share three thoughts about the Heather Chua episode after reading through some Facebook/forum comments/reactions.

Elitism hits a raw nerve among Singaporeans

The signs that elitism is causing splits in our society are there for all to see.  Just take a look at some of the comments by people on her Facebook page.  So much resentment, anger and hatred against the rich/successful/powerful, against fellow Singaporeans.  People genuinely feel that the odds are unfairly stacked against them, and that they are in a lower class.  I reckon if the wounds are not so deep, we wouldn't be seeing so much backlash?

Common sense is not so common

Perhaps it is the emotions taking over, but it is quite disconcerting to see well educated people reacting to Heather Chua as if she is real.  Whatever happened to good old fashioned common sense?  What's worse is that our mainstream media (i.e. Chinese tabloids) have already picked up this story and presented Heather Chua as a real person.  In case you still have (no) doubts over the authenticity of Heather Chua, check out these links (here and here).  Also, just take a look at her Facebook page profile.  You'll be hard pressed to find a 40 year old woman who is a fan of Dennis Rodman, Kurt Angle, George Best, Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona?  And, she claims to have graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the NUS in 1995. Well, according to the NUS website, the programme was only launched in 2001??  Lastly, I really don't think anybody from RGS would be stupid enough to say what was said on Facebook.

Never go full retard

The person behind Heather Chua may be having a great time now laughing at all the reactions and emotions that were stirred up (HDB dwellers, opposition supporters, ITE students and non-luxury car owners form a huge sample size obviously) but I thought racial discrimination was uncalled for.  With racial harmony being such an important part of Singapore's social fabric, I won't be surprised if the police steps in eventually and finds out exactly who is Heather Chua, faster than you can say 'Messiah', or in her case, 'Mclaren MP4-12C'!

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