Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Review - Axel & Theo: My Dog is the Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the lower middle grade book "Axel & Theo: My Dog is The Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy" by Amberly Kristen Clowe from June 22 to 28, 2015. This one is a great choice for reluctant readers!

Axel and Theo - Blog Tour Button

About the Book

Axel and Theo: My Dog is the Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy
Title: Axel & Theo: My Dog is the Emperor of a Faraway Galaxy

Author: Amberly Kristen Clowe
Publication Date: November 15, 2014
Publisher: Smooth Sailing Press
Pages: 44
Recommended Ages: 6 to 10
Summary: Theodore Howard wants a white flag. The kind of white flag that will show Riverwood Elementary’s biggest bully, Theo’s given up on ever surviving the fourth grade, and achieving his dream of becoming a real-life astronaut. But, Theo’s seemingly pathetic future gets a glimmer of hope in the form of a very talkative weenie dog named Axel. Theo learns that his best friend on four legs, is actually an alien from the planet Doglin, and just when he begins warming up to the idea of having an alien for a best friend, Axel is kidnapped by two cats from the planet Catlat. Theo chases after Axel and his kidnappers, embarking on an adventure he could have never imagined.

Book Preview

My Review

"Adopt a stray when  you see one at your doorstep."   Sure!  And then expect the unexpected when the stray dog turns out to be an Emperor of the galaxy, on a run that is, until it was captured by  a group of cats.  Yupe, you read it right! Dogs rule the galaxy and the evil Cats try to over throw them and then a Humans boy helped saved the day.  Cool!

I was as excited as the young Theodore the minute he stepped into the rainbow colored light  and traveled from Earth to a planet ruled by Cats that carries deadly weapons.  This book is great for kids who  are avid readers and transiting from easy board books to chapter books as the chapters are short but filled with all the fun and adventure at every page turn.

Now you will never look at your pet cats and dogs the same way after you read this book.

More Buzz About the Book

"When I saw the subheading of this book — My dog is the Emperor of a faraway galaxy, I knew I had to read it. After all, how often do you see a sci-fi kid’s book? Being the sci-fi nut that I am, I couldn't pass this one up. I was not disappointed."~ Shari T., Amazon

"Fun book!! The story is imaginative but told with enough familiar themes to make young ones think, "I can see how this could happen!!" And in a world jam-packed with princesses and girl power, it's nice to see fun stuff for boys, too." ~ Valerie S., Amazon

"What a nice story! Got this for my son and he chuckled through it all. He loved the characters and their adventure. He is looking forward to the next one." ~ Nathalia G., Amazon

"It is a great book! My kids loved it (as did I).
I can't wait for the second adventure!" ~ John, Amazon

About the Author

An avid story writer since elementary school, Amberly Kristen (Krissy) Clowe truly discovered her passion for writing after enrolling in a college, children's literature class, where they read and analyzed children's books. After completing her BA in early childhood education she began her teaching career.

"After my first year of teaching second grade, I had so many ideas swirling around in my head, I had to write. I might have gone crazy if I didn't!" Clowe tells.

Axel & Theo is the first chapter book series written by Clowe, though she already has two other children's picture books in print, and another due for publication in 2015. Today, her children provide the inspiration to her many stories, along with everything else she loves in life.

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice
Giveaway ends: July 5, 11:59 pm, 2015
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher, SmoothSailing Press and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Images of Singapore + Madame Tussauds Singapore = an hour plus of FUN!

Images of Singapore LIVE
The original attraction opened in 1983 as the Pioneers of Singapore & Surrender Chambers museum. A new section called Festivals of Singapore was later added to the museum in 1994 and the attraction was re-christened to Images of Singapore that same year.

Images of Singapore LIVE in numbers
  • 15 immersive areas
  • Nearly 200 years of Singapore history from 1819 and counting
  • Actors undergo 6 weeks of training
  • 40-min guided attraction
  • 12 full time actors and 8 part time actors working in the attraction

Interesting Facts!
  • Images of Singapore LIVE is housed in the first British military hospital in Singapore, commonly known as the “Sick Quarters” during the 1893 – 1950.
Before we enter into Images of Singapore, we walked along a corridor with many old school things placed on either side of the corridor, like this mobile movie on a bicycle. There is also a drink stall furnished with bottled glass of soy milk, Spirit, Kickapoo, a simple tool to make ice-kacang etc, some wooden boxes & barrels that we used to see along the Singapore Dock, it instantly brought me back to early Singapore!

Images of Singapore LIVE is an actor-led attraction which showcases Singapore’s 200 year history. The attraction has been newly revamped, and now features live actors, special effects and immersive theming to create an almost theatre like experience.  In order for us to enjoy the 40min of journey fully, no photography was allowed so that our focus is on the actors who tell the story of the character they are acting; a Samsui woman, a fisherman, a coolie etc.  It probably was not a good idea to take photo too because 90% of the tour was in dimly lighted rooms, I wouldn't want to trip and fall on any props  that are around the places while my eyes are glued to the camera!                                      

We were taken onto a journey to uncover Singapore’s transformation from third world to first. Visitors will be led by actors through fifteen new highly immersive areas which weave together Singapore’s story. These zones include a quayside walk, Malay fishing village, Commercial Square, Jubilee Cinema, television shop and others.

An important thing to note is that since special effects (read - loud noise and bright lights) were used, children under 6 years old are not allowed into the attractions.  You wouldn't want to traumatized your child right?

Merlin Entertainment operates both Images of Singapore and Madame Tussauds, they are also the one who's responsible for The London Dungeon too. If you have been to the London Dungeon in UK, which I did decades ago, the live entertainment at Images of Singapore was much friendlier. The London Dungeon was many times scarier and eerier but that was the dungeon, if scare factor is not high than many visitors will be disappointed.

The Spirit of Singapore
At the end of the journey that is a boat ride that uses dynamic lighting and multi-sensory effects to showcase the best of Singapore and links both Images of Singapore and Madame Tussauds Singapore together.  An interest thing to note is that Madame Tussauds Singapore is the only Madame Tussauds attraction to have a water ride.

The Spirit of Singapore is a unique boat ride which will take visitors on a magical journey, celebrating everything that is iconic about Singapore from Marina Bay Sands to the F1 Night race.

The whole boat ride was probably about 5 mins (I didn't time it but it was a short boat ride), again it was too dimly lighted to take really nice photos without turning on the flash light; which I hate so I do not have any photos to show you.  Nonetheless, here is the official Spirits of Singapore  video taken from Images of Singapore LIVE website.

Madame Tussauds
Do you know that Madame Tussauds museum started in London at around 1835 and has grown to become a major attractions?  I have visited Madame Tussauds London years ago and was captivated by all the life size wax figures that look as real as a human being as it can be!  I was pretty excited that Madame Tussauds was finally going to set foot permanently in Singapore in 2014 but never really got around to do it till now.

This Madame Tussaud wax figure does not look anything like the one at Madame Tussauds London; a self portrait that Madame Tussaud made, perhaps this is a younger her?  Now when you look at this wax figure you may be wondering whether she is a serial killer or something because its so gruesome, with a severed head and blood too!  Well, it was said that Madame Tussaud made death masks by using severed heads of executed citizens, YIKES!  If you google about her you will find that her life is a tough one and not as gruesome as you may think.

Madame Tussauds Singapore in numbers
  • 1st wax figure attraction in Singapore
  • Featuring over 60 iconic wax figures from all around the world
  • Madame Tussauds Singapore is the 18th Madame Tussauds attraction globally and the 7th Madame Tussauds in Asia.
  • It costs approximately S$300,000 (Singapore dollars) to make each wax figure.

Interesting Facts!
  • It takes 3 months, and the involvement of around 20 studio artists, to create each wax figure 
  • There are more than 250 precise measurements of the head and body taken so the wax figure is as accurate as it can be 
  • Our sittings take 2-3 hours in which we collect measurements, photos, costume donations, a hand cast, hair samples, a signature and eye colour matching 
  • A wax head weighs as much as a real head, around 4.5kg 
  • Each strand of hair is inserted individually, taking approximately four weeks to complete each head (including the eyebrows) 
  • Each set of eyes takes 15 hours to create and no two pairs are the same. 
  • All figures have their hair washed and make-up retouched regularly 
  • Because wax shrinks, wax figures are made two percent larger than the real life subjects they portray

Take a close up look at Zoe Tay wax figure, all that details right down to the wrinkles (opps!) around her eyes!  Despite that she still look as beautiful and stunning, one of my favourite Singapore celebrity.

A popular corner where every one would want to stop and take photo with, the loving couple Mr & Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.  DinoPapa wasn't keen on taking photo with any of the celebrity wax figures but he insisted on having a photo taken with them. 

PS :  Don't ask me why DinoBoy had that surprise look on his face.  Perhaps he was shocked that  he's  the huge media coverage on Mr Lee's passing earlier this year, maybe he thought he saw a ghost!

You may want to look around for some props near most of the wax figures, like the boxing glove DinoBoy put on in the photo below, this is to make you "blend in" with the celebrities and make your photo with them look as realistic as ever.

DinoBoy first got to know about this beautiful lady when he was in K2, the teachers used her song "Fireworks" as a dance tune for them to perform during their annual graduation concert.  He was feeling starry -eyed when he stood in front of her wax figure and was too shy to stand beside her to take a photo together.

I found some of my favourite celebrities too~ I was hoping to take a photo with  the museum's latest collection The Beatles but there were simply too many people crowding around that small area waiting for their turn. I gave up because I really hate to squeeze with people and the boys have walked off to another part of the museum.

Madame Tussauds Singapore feature famous Singaporeans like Stefanie Sun, Fandi Ahmad, Gurmit Singh, Jack Neo, as well as the wider Asian regional and international A-list celebrities around the world such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Lewis Hamilton, Johnny Depp, David Beckham and Lady Gaga.   Get your cameras ready to get up close with your favorite personalities and create the ultimate selfie!

Images of Singapore LIVE
Madame Tussauds Singapore
40 Imbiah Road
Imbiah Lookout
Singapore 099700
Telephone: 6715 4000
Getting There:
From VivoCity, head up to level 3 to take the Sentosa Express monorail to Imbiah Station (second stop) then head across Merlion Plaza to the escalators – they will lead you right to the Madame Tussauds Singapore red carpet.
*** *** ***

We had such a unique and learning experience (an extension of learning for DinoBoy from his weekend enrichment class) while visiting Images of Singapore and Madame Tussauds Singapore that we would like to give 2 families the opportunity to visit these 2 amazing attractions too! Look at the photo below and follow the Rafflecopter widget to enter our giveaway.

Giveaway Details

Prize : x2 sets of 4 tickets to Images of Singapore + Madame Tussards
Contest Ends : 25 June 2015 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
How to Enter : Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below
Terms and conditions of giveaway are as follow:
- To avoid being disqualified without prior notice for the giveaway, please read carefully the following and fulfill ALL the requirements stated;
- Winners will be picked randomly.
- Winners will be notified in their shared post of our giveaway. So remember to share you post as "Public".
- Winners will have 48 hours to respond by replying to our notification otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- Only one winner per household.
- This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer : We were invited to Images of Singapore and Madame Tussards for the purpose of this post & giveaway, no other forms of compensation were received. All opinions are 100% ours and based on our experience during the visit.  Images of Singapore photos in this post are copyright to Images of Singapore while all other photos, are copyrighted and belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use any of the photos for any purposes without seeking our approval.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ninja 101 Workshop at LEGO® Build. Play. Fun, Raffles City

This June holiday, if you are shopping at Raffles City be sure to head up to the Atrium on Level 3 for something exciting for your kids!  Yes!  Its the LEGO® Build. Play. Fun. Event happening now till 28 June 2015!  All LEGO® Ninjago and LEGO® Friends fans will be thrilled to see new additions to these 2 franchises.

We headed off to Battle Dojo since DinoBoy is a huge fan of LEGO® Ninjago, he was given a Game Card (only for kids below 15 years old) and off he goes to tackle the challenges.  He was given a stamp after each challenge and upon finishing all 5 challenges he was awarded a Master Ninja Certifcate for his heroic victory against Morro.

Ok, so you think Ninja only exist in LEGO® or movies?  What if I tell you that you can find them in real life, yupe in real person.  I'm not kidding you!  Meet the 2 Ninja Masters who practices Bujinkan martial arts in Singapore, they will be teaching the kids cool Ninja moves, in the Ninja 101 Workshop which will focus on important Ninja values – including focus and discipline – that will help children excel in other areas of life.   

The kids trained hard with the tumbling, stretching, and practicing ninja moves and fighting skills, I think they will make great ninjas if there ever is an opportunity for them to be one.  They had so much fun at the workshop~

The Master shows you how to play the LEGO® Ninjago Airjitzu spinner, the Ninja way. Kneel on 1 leg, put your other feet firmly on the ground, hold the LEGO® brick handler with the vortex rotor attached to it firmly on one hand, put the rip cord in and pull as hard as you can to send the rotor with mini figurine flying high up.

He may look cool and calm but deep inside DinoBoy is mighty happy with the LEGO® Ninjago Airjitzu spinner. He told me that he can't wait to open it up and play with it but he has to be mindful and "not play in the living room in case I break the lights. I'll go to my room, close the door and play instead." So kids, this is also a good advise to all of you who wants to play the spinners at home.

Here are some more reasons for you to make a trip down to Raffles City for the LEGO® Build. Play. Fun.

LEGO® Build. Play. Fun. Event
Date: 29 May - 28 June 2015
Time: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Venue: Raffles City Atrium, Level 3

We are looking for Singapore's best ninja move to celebrate the launch of LEGO® Ninjago!  Join us by submitting your favorite ninja move by 28th June, be as creative as you can be! Stand a chance to win a NinjagoTM Airjitsu Spinner!  Not sure how to ninja move looks like?  Something like what DinoBoy did (we tried to do a front kick pose but epic fail because of space constraint) or you can google for it and find a move that fancy you.

Giveaway Details

Prize : x3 LEGO® Ninjago Airjitzu spinners
Contest Ends : 28 June 2015
Open : Singapore
How to Enter :
1. Be a Fan of DinoFamily if you haven't.
2. Submit a photo of your favourite ninja move at LEGO Facebook page with the hashtags #movelikeaninja #dinomama
3. Share this post and tag us @dinomama.

Terms and conditions of giveaway are as follow:
- To avoid being disqualified without prior notice for the giveaway, please read carefully the following and fulfill ALL the requirements stated;
- Winners will be picked on best ninja moves.
- Winners will be notified in their shared post of our giveaway.  So remember to share you post as "Public".
- Winners will have 48 hours to respond by replying to our notification otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- Only one winner per household.
- This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook

Disclaimer : We were invited to the Ninja 101 Workshop in conjunction with LEGO® Build. Play. Fun at Raffles City.  We received a LEGO® Ninjago Airjitzu spinner and no other forms of compensation was received.  All opinions are based on our experience during the workshop and LEGO® event.  All photos in this post, otherwise credited, belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use them without our permission.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Underwater World Singapore @ Sentosa

I mentioned in our facebook page that this June holiday is going to be Sentosa Themed and I am really not kidding. To start off I'll lead you to the Underwater World Singapore located at Siloso Road in Sentosa.  The last time I visited this place was about 6 years ago when DinoBoy was younger and we did not have a chance to visit Dolphin Lagoon.

It was not a cumbersome trip to Sentosa as we would thought, it only took us about 45 minutes by train to reach Harbourfront MRT station.  After that we went up to VivoCity level 3 to take the Sentosa Express to Beach Station follow by boarding either Bus 1 or 2 to Siloso Point.  The entrance to Underwater World Singapore is just a short walk from the bus stop.

There are many things to see, explore and learn in the Underwater World Singapore, I shall highlight to you the things that we enjoyed on that day.

Touch Pool
The minute the kids entered gantry, they made a bee line to the Touch Pool.  At first they only looked at the stingrays, star fishes and mild banded bamboo sharks swimming in the pool, when I said that they can put their hands in to try to touch they went mad BUT not before listening to the rules 1. Be gentle with the animals.  2. Touch gently, no shaking or pressing too hard on them.  3. Do not bring them up above the water.  They were really amazed that the bamboo shark swam up to their hands.  At first they were afraid of the sting rays but when I explained to them that their barbs have been professionally removed, they started to reach out to them too.  

Living Fossils
When you leave the Touch Pool, Ray of Fun pool, on the right you will see the Living Fossils section. It feels quite eerie for me because the area was dimly lighted, it does not help when you came face to face to giant fishes like as the alligator gar, red-tailed catfish and lungfishes.  They can be quite intimidating even though they are behind thick glass fish tanks.  DinoPapa was fascinated by them and went close to the tank, I would only dare to admire them from far.

Inside this section you can also see the Japanese Fire-bellied Newts.  These brightly colored freshwater amphibians are cute to look at but they are actually poisonous creatures who can produce lethal skin toxins from the sides of the head.

As much as I love to eat them *ahem* I also like to admire them as they comes in all shape and sizes with their own uniqueness too.  They can be as huge as the Japanese Giant Spider crab, or love to done on seaweeds, shells or debris to decorate themselves; hence they are called Decorator Crab.  Check out the other crabs in the area too.

The Tunnel
Other than the 6 meter deep Vertical Tube, the Tunnel is the other highlight of the place.  There is a travellator in the tunnel so you can either choose to walk slowly or let the travellator moves you forward while you look at the breathtaking view of hundreds of fishes swimming around you.  Or you can do like what these 2 imps did, which I strongly suggest against it unless it is not crowded.  They sat on the travellator while watching the giant fishes swim passes above them.  We went a few rounds looking at the fishes and never gets tired of them because there are simply too many to see in just one round around the tunnel.

The travellator did show it's age by its creaking sound while moving but I quite like it as it gives a sense of mystery and eeriness to the surrounding.   I even took a spectacular photo of the fishes swimming in the tunnel.

Dome Tank
While we were mesmerizing the jelly at the Jelly World, the kids were giggling and squealing, crawling in and out of the Dome Tank, looking at the clown fishes from the inside.  I saw that they had such a fun time and couldn't resist but to crawl into it with them.  It was truly a different view!  I feel weird with Sis looking at me, now I know how the clown fish feels like when we gawked at them.  The kids squeezed in with me and we did a different kind of #welfie too!

Note : Well, it is definitely not made for adult size, so if you want to have a go, just be careful and move slowly lest you bump your head or shoulder or butt.

Island Cuisine
All those running and walking makes us hungry and we head off to Island Cuisine for our late lunch.  It was a decent spread of local delights such as mee siam, Hainanese chicken rice, dim sum, rice, soup and dishes.  I guarantee you that there are more food than you can see from my photo, my tummy was complaining while I was taking photo of the food so I decided to had my fill instead.

I love their dim sum while Sis says their otak is good and of course the kids' favourite is the ice cream which they can eat to their fill.

Pink Dolphins & Fur Seals Show
The highlight for the show for some could be the Pink Dolphins and Fur Seal show which lasted about 30mins.

Even though they are affectionately known as the Pink Dolphins because of the blotches of pink in contrast to the usual grey coloring, their actually name is Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins.  These Pink Dolphins wowed the crowd with their magnificent acts and every one simply love it when they leaped out of the water.

The Fur Seals performed well too, they danced to the beat of a funky tune, catch hoops, bounced balls etc.  Plus they can really swim so swiftly and cuts through the water like a knife!  They even come up close to the audience to say "Hi!" but remember to admire them from afar and no running forward to hug them (I know its hard!), you wouldn't want to create some unhappy accidents.

When the show emcee asked for volunteer to have a up close and personal encounter with the pink dolphins, DinoBoy wanted to have a go so he raised up his hand.  I told him that to catch his attention he must wave his hands wildly in the air.  And guess what... I got chosen instead (I did ask DinoBoy if he wants to go but he doesn't want to coz he was afraid).  So I had my 2mins with this magnificent creature.  How could I NOT buy the photograph @ SGD20 for such a rare opportunity with the Pink Dolphin?

After the show, you can purchase tickets @ SGD20 to have your photo taken with either the Pink Dolphin or the Fur Seal, do take note of the photo taking timing of both animals.

Daily Dolphin and Fur Seal Show
Show Time : 11am, 2pm, 4pm and 5.45pm
*Every Wednesday 2pm: Come experience our exclusive pink dolphins behind-the-scene enrichment play session with our trainers!

Photo Taking Opportunity
Pink Dolphin : 11am and 4pm shows
Fur Seal : 2pm and 5.45pm shows

Before we left Underwater World Singapore, the kids wanted to have another round at the Touch Pool, shortly later they ran excitedly back to us asking if they can feed the fishes.  "Why not?" I thought so I went off with the kids to buy the fish food from the vending machine.  We went up to these 2 HUGE tank and before I could figure out how we could feed those fishes, the kids immediately soaked the fish food in the water at the opening in the front of the tank, trying to soften it so that they can break them up for the fishes.

Wile they were doing this I stared at the tank wondering as if something seems to be amiss.  Then it donned me!  Why did the water not gush out from the feeding opening???  Well it seems that the clever people behind this genius idea uses the laws of physics to create the tank.  The name Magic-T or Mystical Anti Gravity Interactive Concept Tank gives itself away, the tank defies gravity with its specially designed mechanism that creates a vacuum at the top of the tank and maintains low pressure such that water does not come gushing out of the outlets.  Amazing!

Turtle Pool
After all the excitement inside the Underwater World Singapore the sight of these giant creatures swimming peacefully in the pool gave us a sense of serenity and a chance for the kids to calm down before we make our way home.  

The Turtle Pool is located outside the main entrance and are safe haven for a number of highly-endangered species such as hawksbill turtle, loggerhead turtle, green turtle and olive ridley turtle.  Many of the turtles in the pool will be returned to the wild as part of a conservation programme conducted with Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

Underwater World Singapore June Holidays Promo (For Locals only)
Underwater World Sum of Fun! The One-and-Only Pink Dolphins Experience + Sumptuous Buffet for just $19.90!  *Terms and conditions applies* Click here for more details

From now till 28 June 2015, Underwater World Singapore will be treating families with an unique One-and-Only experience with pink dolphins! What’s more, get to enjoy a sumptuous buffet at the waterfront with local delights (Lunch/Dinner)! Visitors can also flash their UWS tickets at selected attractions for fabulous deals and all of these add up to just $19.90*! (U.P 65% off!).  To enjoy this amazing promotion, simply present your local ID to enjoy more treats for you and your family - it’s as simple as that!

Additional perks can be enjoy at other attractions when you flash your UWS admission tickets*!  These include
  • 20% off Tiger Skytower Admission Ticket
  • 20% off any MegaZip Adventure Park Package
  • $15 off a pair of Alive Museum Singapore Adult Admission Tickets
  • $15 only for 2 Rounds Segway Fun Ride @ Sentosa
  • $5 off 4D AdventureLand Pass.
Underwater World Singapore June Holidays Sum of Fun
Date: 30 May 2015 – 28 June 2015
Opening Hours: 10am-7pm (last admission at 6.30pm)
Address: 80 Siloso Road, Sentosa, Singapore 098969
Last seating for Buffet: 8.30PM
Telephone:  6275 0030

YES!  We had so much fun at Underwater World Singapore that we would like to spread the joy!  

Giveaway Details

Prize : x5 pairs of Underwater World Singapore's Sum of Fun tickets. Terms & conditions applies
Contest Ends : 21 June 2015 @ 2359hrs
Open : Singapore
How to Enter : Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below
Terms and conditions of giveaway are as follow:
- To avoid being disqualified without prior notice for the giveaway, please read carefully the following and fulfill ALL the requirements stated;
- Winners will be picked randomly.
- Winners will be notified in their shared post of our giveaway.  So remember to share you post as "Public".
- Winners will have 48 hours to respond by replying to our notification otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- Only one winner per household.
- This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook

Terms and conditions of Underwater World Singapore's Sum of Fun promotion are as follow:
1. Promotion is only applicable to local residents of Singapore. (i.e. Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Holders of Employment Passes, work Permit or Dependent's Pass)
2. Promotion is valid for both adult and child.
3. To qualify, visitors are required to produce relevant identification, subjected to one admission ticket per local ID.
4. This promotion is not applicable with any ongoing promotions.
5. This promotion is not applicable for group tours.
6. This promotion is only valid for watching the dolphin show. Charges are applicable should invited visitors wish to participate in the dive or have contact with the dolphins.
7. Point-of-exchange for promotion: Underwater World Singapore ticketing counter.
8. Promotion is only valid for communicated date of visit
9. Guest must retain and present this invite for entry
10. Guest must retain and present this invite to redeem buffet meal at Island Cuisine.
11. Guest are only allowed to use this invite once.
12. UWS reserves the right to refuse redemption, entry and/or participation if the above conditions are not fulfilled.
13. UWS Shall not be liable for cancellation of any programmes due to wet weather or unforeseen circumstances.
14. Island Cuisine will offer local delicacies in a buffet format daily from 11.30am - 3pm (Last seating: 2.30pm) and 5.30pm - 9pm (Last seating: 8.30pm).
15. Island Cuisine is not a halal certified restaurant. Dishes do not contain pork/lard.
16. UWS reserves the right to substitute the buffet meal with another item of equivalent value.
Disclaimer : We were invited by Huntington Communications on behalf of Underwater World Singapore to experience a different kind of oceanarium for the purpose of this post & giveaway, no other forms of compensation were received. All opinions are 100% ours and based on our experience during the visit. All photos, unless otherwise credited, are copyrighted and belongs to the DinoFamily, you may not use it for any purposes without seeking our approval.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review of Singapura: The Musical

Capitol Theatre, after 17 years, I am back to this place, it's like visiting a long lost friend, familiar yet refreshing.  Everything around this place has changed, it was no longer hidden in the alley behind the Capitol building, instead facing the building is a beautiful atrium and a fountain.  Impressive~

It was such a grand scene that night as Capitol Theatre was donned with red carpet for the Gala Premier of Singapura: The Musical.  Champagne and wine were served during the cocktail reception, every where you turn you have a feast of the eye with the ladies in their beautiful elegant dress and shimmering accessories while the men were in smart looking suits and stylish tie.   

Well, I don't own an elegant dress (the dress code as stated in the invitation) and I am not prepared to spend a bomb on a dress that I'd probably wear for that event once  only.   So I put on my best dress and went off to the gala premier with the boy.   See~ I'm not the only one who is not in cocktail dresses or some fancy elegant gown.

Enough of the theatre and the dresses, now lets talk about the musical.

Taken from Singapura: The Musical facebook page - Singapura tells the story of Singapore during the years of 1955 to 1965 — a decade which included significant events such as the Hock Lee Bus Riots, the 1964 Racial Riots, and the struggle for Singapore’s independence — as seen through the eyes of the ordinary men and women who lived through those turbulent times.

Simple enough intro about the musical that took 3 years of intensive research and interviews about the amazing stories of the unsung heroes in Singapore.  I assure you "simple" it is not, take a look at the number of cast involved and the elaboration of stage props, the songs, the lyrics, the choreography, the historical facts and photos.  Some of these actors and actresses not only have strong legs but a strong heart too to climb 2 flights of stairs to the top of the steel towers to sing or dance or do both at the same time.  My heart skipped a beat just by watching them!

Well, before I get all the hate remarks or the boo-ing, I must let you know our seat location.  We were seated far, far FAR back,  "Just how far back?" you asked.  The furthest of the furthest, where we could almost touch the ceiling and when I turn my head I can see and smile at the lighting guy.  Get the idea already?  No?  Then take a look at the following 3 photos that were taken using my Olympus IXUS and its 8x Zoom in feature, I am seeing them in much smaller size.  Notice how the angle of the photographs are downwards?

I am not sure whether the sound system at our section is not working or not equipped well enough, I can't feel the heart thumping strong wave of music from the orchestra or powerful singing (if there is any) nor catch the words from the cast.

The story revolves around the Tan family where Mr Tan who works as a bus driver in Hock lee Bus Company, Mrs Tan who runs a kopitiam and their daughter Bee Ling who goes to a law school.  Now, the setting would be a good for the story as it slowly unfolds from a peaceful ordinary day to the chaotic days when the strike by Hock Lee Bus Company turns bad followed by the racial tensions among the friends and neighbours, eventually to the independence of Singapore.  However there were way too many minor distracting incidents that it confuses me and the story loses its focal point.

So, after sitting through the 2 plus long hours (with a 20mins intermission) in that small but comfy seat, with a 9 year old boy sitting besides me, what do I think of this musical?  I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I would have expected myself to be, I went there with high anticipation but I yawned a few times and almost dozed off once *opps!*   It seems to me that the production team tried to cramp as many historical events plus the life events of the characters in the story in the 120mins.  Too much info, too messy, making the cast look like headless chicken running around.

All is not lost, at least to us, I asked DinoBoy about his after thoughts on the musical, here's what he got to say (in almost exact words he used, I only made grammatical changes);

"I like the 2 friends who always argue, they are hilarious! "There's the newspaper you silly old fool!  Who you calling silly old fool you silly old fool!", and one of them use the newspaper to hit the other one."

"I felt astonished after seeing the photos of the bus riot.  The boy that died (in the musical) and the  (photo of) man with bloody head... so scary."

"Lee Kuan Yew!  The video where he cried because we are leaving Malaysia.  He was so sad."

"Now I know that the Macdonald House was bombed and its by the Japanese." *Actually it was the Indonesian saboteurs duo who did the deed*

"People at that time are struggling to find a country to live in peacefully with no war and riot."

"It's an interesting musical as it show me how the early Singapore looks like and they put in effort to produce the musical and I like their song! At the kopitiam~."

Credit : Singapura: The Musical

Credit : Singapura: The Musical

I have to agree with DinoBoy that it was hard work from each and every one who were involved in the production, they deserve some credits. Just make sure the next musical about our Singapore strikes a familiar cord in our hearts and its something we can related to clearly.

Singapura: The Musical takes audiences on a journey of love, hope, and new beginnings while exploring the strength of the human spirit during the formative years of Singapore’s history from 1955 to 1965. Through the eyes of ordinary men and women, audiences will witness how hope and youthful determination transcend the struggles of everyday life during this time period as Singaporeans strive towards a better future for themselves and their loved ones. Their passion and drive sees them dreaming, hoping and creating – against all odds – a place where they can truly call home.

Singapura: The Musical
Show Dates: Friday, 22 May 2015 to Sunday, 7 June 2015
Show Time: Tuesday to Friday, 7.30pm
Saturday to Sunday, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Venue: Capitol Theatre
Ticket Price:
$65 - $165 (Weekday evenings: Tue, Wed, Thur)
$65 - $165 (Weekend matinees: Sat, Sun)
$75 - $175 (Weekend evenings: Fri, Sat, Sun)
Ticketing: OR
Enquiry Telephone Line: +65 66029900

Disclaimer : We were invited to the gala premier of Singapura: The Musical, all opinions are based on our personal view about the performance.  All photos in this blog post, unless otherwise credited, are copyright to the DinoFamily, you may not use it without our permission.