Building Sandcastles at Siloso Beach SG50

I had promised El that we would take him to see the sand sculptures at Sentosa over the weekend. The Sands of Time sand sculptures showcased some aspects of Singapore’s history, as part of the SG 50 Golden Jubilee celebrations. We had already gone to Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum earlier.

On National Day itself, we drove to Sentosa and then walked to Siloso Beach. It was a Sunday and National Day itself, so the place was packed. There were so many people! We were dressed in red!

After walking for ages, we still did not see the sculptures, so we decided to just find a place at the no swim zone and start digging. We had some of our sandcastle building tools with us.

sandcastle building tools

el at siloso beach el building sandcastle el digging

Initally, Gar was throwing a tantrum as he is highly sensitive and he hated the sand on his feet and shoes. The moment we cleaned his feet and shoes, he would put his feet down and then get sand on him again. It was only after his father took him to the sea to wash his feet, then dumped sand on him, that he overcame his aversion to sand and was a happy boy again.

gar and daddy soaking their feet

elgar brothers father building sandcastle Gar helping out
gar building sandcastle

The bigger castles were harder to do. We had to do them three times before we got them right. We needed to add water to make them more compact. This place is better than Labrador Park and Bishan Park because we have easy access to water and the sand here looked relatively clean. I think the sand had been imported.

our sandcastles at siloso beach This is the best one, but Gar went to dump some sand on top.
sandcastle siloso beach gar

El said it would have been better if we could build a moat around the castles.

We left and headed to the other far end where the sand sculptures were. It was a long walk on the sand, and we took turns carrying Gar.

siloso beach

Finally, we saw them. The first one was about people at a kopitiam listening to the proclamation of independence on 9 August, 1965.

children at a coffeeshop sandcastle

Watching the parade for the first time at Parliament House

watching the first national day parade at parliament house

Having a swinging good time

having a swinging good time

Sentosa and MerlionSentosa Some favourite activities of Singaporeans – playing mahjong and buying 4D.

we are the champions

After that, we decided to rush home and try to get glimpses of the fireworks at my relative’s house.

Unfortunately, despite being at 38th storey, we were blocked and did not get to see much. Oh well. We had enough of crowds and did not want to jostle with others.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

On a whim, we decided to visit the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum on 7 August, on one of the SG 50 Golden Jubilee weekend. I had gone online and found that tickets at 5.30pm were available, so I booked it and printed out the tickets (a troublesome task).

elgarmummy and boys

To avoid overcrowding, the museum only allows a certain number of people in. The first part of the museum was about plants. I used to pick up flowers in my primary school and keep them as pressed flowers in my books.

plant specimens

I was intrigued by the carnivorous pitcher plants! The plants are sweet smelling to attract insects. When the insects crawl near, they will slip into the pitchers and are unable to climb out. The enzymes will start dissolving the insects as nutrients for the plants.

pitcher plants

There was a model of rafflesia, one of the the largest flowers in the world and also extremely smelly. It is supposed to smell like rotting corpse.

rafflesia model

There is another flower that is large, has a similar name (corpse flower) and it is called titan arum.

titan arum model

There were also fungi specimens.

fungi

There was a light show at the sauropod fossils, which was nothing much. We went upstairs to take a better look.

dinosaur fossils

dinosaur light show

Gar kept asking where the T-Rex was. No T-Rex fossil dude!

At the second floor, there were many stuffed animals. The young sun bear was seated alone.

baby sun bear

There were so many stuffed birds! I cannot remember their names.

bird taxidermy

There were a few tiny cubicles for people to listen to. Only managed to get a blurred shot of the two boys here.

brothers

There were many collections by famous people from the past. My colleague who has a lot of bugs at his cubicle would definitely like this bug collection, or perhaps his son would enjoy it more as those collection belonged to him.

bugs
There was a pangolin. It looked too glossy. I am not sure whether it was stuffed or a model.
pangolinAfter we were done with upstairs, we went back to check out other exhibits at the ground level.

I liked the big cats category. There were clouded leopards, leopards, civets and others.

big cats

There were other Malayan animals, such as tapirs, and orang utans. I wonder how they died. Did they die from being captured? Or did they die naturally? The Singapore zoo also had similar animals.

malayan animals

I happened to discuss a passage on leather and other animal by-products. The processes were cruel. Some of the animals were skinned alive, and left to bleed to death. Others were clubbed to death. Kid goats were boiled alive to produce gloves.

One thing that I had seen was a tiger skin, with its tongue still intact.

tiger skin

 

The day before, my NCC students went on a course, and an instructor showed them survival techniques in the jungle. He showed them how to kill a live frog by flinging it around. They told me the frog’s organs were still moving. They also shared how chickens were killed. Some of them enjoyed the process! OMG!

There was a menacing crocodile which looked over tanned. There was also a false gharial. I enjoy getting my students to guess how to different crocodiles, alligators, gharials and other similar type of crocodilian reptiles. (Hint: Check out the shape of their jaws.)

false gharial

El poses with an elephant tusk.

fossils

I had also taught about narwhals before, which was the subject of a comprehension passage. They have a long tusk that young male narwhals like to use to joust. They were thought to be something like unicorns. I was amazed to see this for myself and admired the twirls in the tusk.

narwhal

There was even a triceratops leg!

triceratops leg

I quickly took some pictures of butterflies and some winged creatures, and then prepared to leave. It was also near closing time (7pm). Towards the end, Gar kept shouting for ‘milk’. I think he was bored stiff. El had enjoyed this trip because he loves animals. The moment we stepped outside, he stopped asking for milk.

butterflies

winged insects

We went to the shop and bought jigsaw puzzle, a science fossil kit, and a sticker book. I will probably write about the excavation of dinosaurs another time. While waiting for their father to pay for the items, we went outside and took some more pictures.

el and mummy

Their father finally emerges with the spoils.

elgardaddy

Closing thoughts: If I were to homeschool El, I think this place, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum would be a great place to go to. You can have a few ‘show and tell’ sessions from the vast amount of information here. I must admit if not for the dinosaur fossils which cost the museum millions of dollars, I would not be attracted to this place. In fact, I would not be interested in natural science if not for El. In trying to satisfy his curiosity, I have to read up a lot, and then I actually found all these interesting. My poor command of language when I was younger, also meant I would not understand all these exhibits then.

An idea suddenly springs to my mind. If students are exposed to these exhibitions at a young age, they would be able to comprehend many comprehension passages better. Many of the passages are about nature.

Gar is too young to appreciate this place, especially since his favourite T-Rex is not there. I guess slightly older children with strong interest in science (animals and plants) would enjoy this place more.The other place with a few similar exhibits would be the National Museum of Singapore, although I am not sure what they have after the renovation.

Since it is the SG 50 Golden Jubilee weekend, we wanted to go to other places that were free of charge, but we dislike crowds, so this museum at NUS is a great place for us to discover something about Singapore.

How To Be A Kor Kor Garisms

I had a hilarious conversation with Gar recently. He wants to be older than what he actually is. Even though he has just turned three, he keeps talking about being four years old. He also wants to be more senior in rank, so he was telling me that he wanted to be a kor kor (big brother). I cannot remember the entire conversation, but it should go something like this.

kor kor gar

Gar:  I want to be kor kor.
Me: But you do not have any didi or meimei (younger brother or sister). You need one in order to be a kor kor.
Gar: Ok, I want a didi or meimei.
Me: That means mummy must have a baby.
Gar: Yes, I want a baby brother.
Me: But Papa and I are not planning to have any more.

The thought of going through pregnancy and looking after a newborn was too much. The conversation became a little repetitive, with the both of us repeating similar things, so I decide to switch track.

Me: Ok, so if we have a baby, then you could be korkor.
Gar: Yes!
Me: That means you have to move out of the bed and go to the kids’ room, because the baby will need to sleep with mummy on the bed.
Gar: (suddenly throwing a jealous fit) No! Hmph! I so angry with baby.
Me: Why are you angry? When you were a baby, you slept here so that I can feed you and look after you.
Gar: The baby can sleep in the kids’ room!
Me: The baby is very young and we need to look after the baby. You will be big enough to sleep on your own.
Gar: No! I so angry with baby. I don’t want baby brother anymore.
Me: Are you sure? Then you cannot be kor kor.
Gar: But I want!

Finally, I came up with a win-win solution for both.

Me: I know how you can be a kor kor and not have your place taken up by the baby.
Gar: How?
Me: When jiu jiu (my brother) gets married and then have a baby, you will be kor kor.
Gar: Yay! I want jiu jiu to get married and have a baby.
So the ball is in my brother’s court.

When I spoke to my colleague, she said that her daughter told her she did not want any younger siblings. Her daughter is only 2! That shows that if we ever want to have more children, we should have them before our children can protest.

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