Monday, July 27, 2015

DinoBoy's Chinese Books Recommendation #3 - 老故事绘本·民间故事篇:十二生肖故事

Note : This is not a sponsored post. DinoBoy's Chinese language standard is not as great as I wanted him to be nor is it as good as his English language. Since he started his primary school journey I have pushed doubly hard on introducing more Chinese story books to him and ensuring that he read much more Chinese story books than before. Since many parents have voiced out that their kids are struggling with the language, I thought I'd share the books that I exposed DinoBoy to since day one in primary school. I hope these books will help parents choose the ones that are suitable for their kids' reading level and eventually help them conquer Chinese.

You can usually find these books at the neighbourhood public library, or if you prefer to get a copy to keep you can easily find them from local bookstores or overseas online bookstores such as 当当/dangdang

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This story needs no further introduction coz all Chinese knows about the Chinese Zodiac sign but a few, me included, may not know the sequence by heart, I only know Rat, Ox, Tiger and can't get past beyond that haha~ Yupe its that bad.

For my foreign friends reading this let me share a little bit of the Chinese astrology with you.  Similar to the western astrology or Horoscope, the Chinese version or Chinese Zodian or Sheng Xiao is based on a 12 year cycle hence the 12 animal signs namely Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.  Each year cycle will be represented by each animal, and like the Horoscope, the Chinese believe that the animal ruling one's birth year will have strong influence on the personality and destiny.  


So anyway, we know roughly the 12 Zodic signs and there are many versions to the ranking of the 12 animals but all of them are fun to read about.  And since its a familiar story, it is not difficult to read and understand the story.


Simple story but the sentences can be quite long due to narrative words. I like that there are a few Chinese idioms that are not commonly used in our daily conversation but it is good to use in composition, such as these;

跃跃欲试 yuè yuè yù shì - be eager to have a try;itch to have a go;be itching for a chance to do;Revved up
人见人爱 rén jiàn rén ài - loved by all; cute
一声没吭 yī shēng méi kēng/一声不吭 yī shēng bù kēng - keep one's mouth shut; not a word passed one's lips.; not say a word; not utter a sound; say nothing

I also like the colorful illustrations, the animals were drawn like the traditional Chinese paper cutting such as this;


The words in this book are fairly easy to read and understand, it also describe the characteristic of the animals like the Rooster crows to wake people up, Dragon summoning the cloud and winds.  DinoBoy was puzzled when the book described that the Horse is a 千里马 which he thought was Thousand Mile Horse.  I explained to him that in ancient days, people used to travel on horse backs and some of the finest horses can run non stop for a far far distance and uses 千里 or thousand miles to describe the long distance they ran.


We enjoyed this book a lot and will try to find the other other titles to this series in our neighbourhood library;
《老故事绘本·民间故事篇:十二生肖故事》
《老故事绘本·民间故事篇:老鼠嫁女》
《老故事绘本·民间故事篇:八仙过海》
《老故事绘本·民间故事篇:崂山道士》
《老故事绘本·民间故事篇:沉香救母》

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内容简介
《十二生肖故事》从中国流传几千年的传统文化中撷取最具有中国趣味、最适合幼儿阅读的篇章,以图画书的形式再现老故事的丰厚神韵,开阔幼儿的阅读视野,丰富阅读内容,为其精神成长打下传统文化的底子。

作者简介
金波,1935年7月生于北京。大学时代开始文学创作。出版过诗集《回声》、《绿色的太阳》、《我的雪人》、《在我和你之间》、《林中月夜》、《风中的树》、《带雨的花》、《我们去看海——金波儿童十四行诗》等十余部;童话集《小树叶童话》、《金海螺小屋》、《苹果小人儿的奇遇》、《眼睛树》、《影子人》、《白城堡》、《追踪小绿人》等多部;此外还出版有散文集《等待好朋友》、《等你敲门》、《感谢往事》。评论集《追寻小精灵》。选集《金波儿童诗选》、《金波作品精选》以及《金波诗词歌曲集》等。多篇作品被收入中小学语文和音乐课本。

作品曾多次获得国家图书奖、“五个一工程”奖、中国作家协会全国优秀儿童文学奖、宋庆龄儿童文学奖、冰心图书奖等。1992年获国际安徒生奖提名。

基本信息
出版社: 明天出版社
读者对象:3-6 岁
语种:简体中文
ISBN号: 9787533272432

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Confessions of an Imperfect Mum


Loosely translated as;

My Mum
Name : Lim
Work : Accountant
Hobby : scolding me and Dad
I wish to tell her: Do not scold me and Dad

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I posted the above photo in my facebook page for the pure purpose of sharing the #kidssaythedarnestthing or face palm moment.  The photo has since garnered 5524 views, 15 shares, 61 likes in my page and 32 likes in my personal facebook in just 21 hours.

For those who clicked "Like", I'd like to think that you did so because you are in the same shoes as me (regardless of gender) or perhaps you find humour in it or maybe you think this 9 year old is speaking the hard truth.

Regardless of the reason, I felt them, all A.T. T.H.E. S.A.M.E T.I.M.E. with roller coaster ride emotions in that 30 seconds while I was taking it all in and mouthing "What the hell" slowly.

Ok before I go on I have to put a disclaimer, I rarely scold DinoPapa, why in the world would I do that?  Most of the time I just grumble or nag at him, or we argue - sometimes too loudly too, not that I wanted to but I get all loud when agitated, its my character, can't help it.

So, the boy just pushed my reputation up another level, towards the negative side no doubt. *sigh*  Well, fierce and stern I am, Tiger Mum I admit though not 100% but but but *starts of dramatic crying* "Son~~ I am doing this for your OWN good~~~ How could you be so cruel to me~~~!!!!"  Alright alright!  Enuff of the Drama Mama!

The Hard Truth is, I am what he said in that one liner.  No shocking expression over here I believe, everyone knows that I am far from being the prim and proper, soft spoken type of Mum.  I see any behaviour I don't like from him I'll holler at him to stop, even if its like across the room.  I put my son under my tight reins, I nipped his undesired behaviour at the bud when he was very young BUT I praises him when he does well and is over the moon when he managed to accomplish something that he couldn't for the past weeks/months.  My motto?  I punish and I reward accordingly.


Yupe, that's what they said and they are right.

For all the horrible, monstrous things I said and did to my son, there are many more nicer, pleasant, happier, fun moments too (I've got proof!  Just scroll through my instagram or the facebook page), but.. what the heck, who can fight with the brain who tends to do the above constantly?

Parenting is such hard work, being a Mum just made the job doubly hard because we seems to be the one that the kids will run to for every thing and anything under the sun.  And, let's face it, we worry MORE about our kids than our partner, we have all these "What If"s or "I Wish"s or "I Want"s messing running constantly inside our mind that we try to find answers or ways to achieve that expectation.  In the process we got all uptight (in confusion too sometimes) when things turned out the other way and that's where it gets a little bit heated up which leads to some tongue lashing at the kids for "not trying hard enough", though most of the time WE, the parent, doesn't know how much effort is deemed enough.  We are being hard on ourselves so in turn we pass that onto our child in double dosage.

When we are dealing with kid's tantrums, they advised us to "pick the battles to fight", in this case I'll say the same too.  Choose your expectations you have on your child, keep the level realistic and reachable, guide them to become the person you wish him to be.  You can't possible be a perfect parent with a perfect child who scores all 20 expectations without any meltdowns, that only exist in the movie so you better get that off your head right now.

I have been quite lax with DinoBoy lately, not because I care lesser now that he is older but because I looked past all my expectations on him and the expectations from the others from me - the Mum who has to do all the right things.  Took me 7 years to realize this but thank God that I finally "opened" my mind and eyes.  I stroke off most of the expectations I have for DinoBoy and kept things simple .  From there on, we talked a lot, including the things that I would like him to do and the stuffs that I prefer him to stop doing.  I gave him something that makes him feel important... I gave him a sense of Responsibility.  He is responsible of his schoolwork, his behavior in school (no more outbursts no more fighting etc) and things around him.  It did not happen overnight, we are still working on it, hence the "scolding" episodes are still around because kids have a memory of a gold fish!  Arrgghh!!! What's so difficult to remember to pick up and put the dirty clothes into the laundry basket after he has showered and changed?  Or switch off the lights after he left the room?

All is not lost, recently I see great improvements from him, I gave myself a small pat at the back and said "We made it!".  You bet I let DinoBoy knows how proud I am and I even thanked him for doing things without being asked to.  He was grinning ear to ear and pretty pleased with himself too.


I hope this post serves as a reminder to every parent, to hold that tongue the next time you feel the need to lash out at your child, instead take a second to think if there are alternative ways to deal with the situation.  If you have been scolding or yelling at your child at any given moment and need suggestions to give you a head start, just hop off to one of my earlier post here, you should be able to get some ideas to curb that monster inside you.

Of course the said homework was corrected to show a much "normal and pleasant" Mum, his Chinese teacher will not be falling off her chair either laughing her head off or with disbelief in her eyes.

Last but not least, if you are interested to read all the comments my lovely friends wrote on that photo, click here.  Have fun reading it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DinoBoy's Chinese Books Recommendation #2 - 魔法饼干的秘密

Note : This is not a sponsored post. DinoBoy's Chinese language standard is not as great as I wanted him to be nor is it as good as his English language. Since he started his primary school journey I have pushed doubly hard on introducing more Chinese story books to him and ensuring that he read much more Chinese story books than before. Since many parents have voiced out that their kids are struggling with the language, I thought I'd share the books that I exposed DinoBoy to since day one in primary school. I hope these books will help parents choose the ones that are suitable for their kids' reading level and eventually help them conquer Chinese.

You can usually find these books at the neighbourhood public library, or if you prefer to get a copy to keep you can easily find them from local bookstores or overseas online bookstores such as 当当/dangdang

*** *** ***

We got to know about this book during a discussion among a group of friends with primary school going children.  A couple of them who read it to their kids said this book is interesting and their kids love it, thus I made a search at our public library and reserved it.

At first glance, this book seems to be written for little girls because the main characters are 2 sweet looking girls who have cute furry animals from the forest patronizing their Pastry Shop. So cute right!!!!


I don't believe in stereotyping books, as in Girl books or Boy books, books ARE books and meant for every one to read.  So this series of books or rather this author's books are good for every kids to read. 

Synopsis

This story started off with 露露 Lu Lu and拉拉 La La getting ready to open their Pastry Shop for the day, with the arrival of their first customers they heard about the rumors in the forest of a tree in the centre of the forest that grows biscuits on the second day of full moon.  This makes both of them very excited and heads of to check out the tree.  As the story goes on, it turned out that the cookie bearing tree is the act of one small forest animal, 蜜朵 Mi Duo, the squirrel who lives in that tree.  She has no friends and felt lonely, she started the rumor so that all the other forest animals will gather at her house.

As the rumor travels 蜜朵 Mi Duo is troubled because she is unable to bake as many cookies to hang onto the tree for all the forest animals.  When 露露 Lu Lu and 拉拉 La La heard that, they agreed to help her.  Half way through the baking 蜜朵 Mi Duo came running back to the Pastry shop telling them that the rumors has gotten out of hand with the forest animals exaggerating the facts and now they are expecting cookies to be uniquely decorated and put into beautiful packages with each of the forest animal's name on it.  What will the girls do now!?


Our Review

Well, besides the beautiful simple but colorful illustration that I adores and even though there are no HYPY, the words used are simple since its written for 3-6 years old, so not to worry that you will be stuck with words you can't recognize.  I love it that it is a simple story that teaches moral to the kids too - telling lies or spreading rumors will not get you any where, only by telling the truth or be truthful to your friends and those around you that you will be rewarded in greater ways than you can imagine.

There is a cookie recipe too and according to other people's review that recipe works and they made some delicious cookies.  Of course DinoBoy bugged me to try out but I evaded his request every time by giving all sorts of excuses, me bad I know.


These are the other titles in this series too, I will try to find them from the library;

《杯子蛋糕的魔力》
《魔法宝石果冻》
《云朵棉花糖的魔力》

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内容推荐
《魔法饼干的秘密》是入选日本小学中低年级指定课外读物台湾诚品书店童书畅销排行榜第1名国内第一本教孩子动手做饭的书!森林里流传着一个传说:在月圆夜的第二天,“森林正中央的树”会长出许多的饼干。露露和拉拉很好奇是否真有这么一回事,于是跑去看传说中那棵神奇的饼干树。但是经过证实,这个传说竟然是来自一只松鼠。。。

作者简介 
安昼安子,生于日本群马县,东海大学文学部日文系毕业。曾在日本富士电视台卡通《蜜豆公主》等担任美术设计。现在从事玩具设计。主要作品有《爱抱抱的小孩在哪里?》、《魔女的魔法屋》、《小岛的森林》系列、《什么都行魔女商店》系列。安昼安子的作品图文并茂,风格简单温馨,在故事中穿插讲解着各式各样的生活技巧,令读者在不知不觉中提升了自己的动手能力与品位。

基本信息
出版社: 安徽少年儿童出版社
丛书名: 露露和拉拉
出版年: 1970-1
页数: 71
读者对象:3-6岁
语种:简体中文
装帧: 软精装
ISBN: 9787539737966

Thursday, July 2, 2015

DC Justice League Run 2015

Oh wow!  I've been a fan of Justice League for the longest time and DinoBoy is too.  We are very excited to know that DC Justices League Run will finally be happening first time in Singapore this August!


A plethora of fun-filled fringe activities and post-race events awaits you at the Race Village. With merchandise booths of collectibles, an exclusive running singlet (depending on which team you are representing) and an exclusive medal inspired by the DC Justice League Run logo, you don’t have to be the World’s Greatest Detective to deduce that this is an opportunity not to be missed!

The core line-up of the race features: Superman, the most powerful hero in the world; Batman, the apex of physical and mental human achievement; Wonder Woman, the Amazon’s princess and greatest warrior; Green Lantern, an intergalactic cop armed with his own power ring; and the super-fast Flash.

With pre-registrations already over, make sure you don’t miss the early bird promotions and sign up at $60* per person from now till 31 July 2015. Registration closes on 14 August 2015 or once all the available run slots are sold out.

All participants are entitled to an exclusive runner’s singlet and an exclusive medal inspired

So which team will you join? 






The DC Justice League Run 2015
Date: 30 August 2015, Sunday
Time: 7:00am – 10:00am
Flag-off time: 8:00AM
Venue: Sentosa, Interim Carpark
Ticket Price:
SGD55 (Pre-registration)
SGD60 (Early Bird rate till 31 July 2015)
SGD70 (Normal)
Registration closes on 14 August 2015 or once all the available run slots are sold out. 

Disclaimer : We were invited to participate in the DC Justice League Run 2015. No other form of compensation was received. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Playtime comes to Life! Hamleys Toy Fair at Plaza Singapura

I went off to Plaza Singapura to run an errand for the company and saw that there is a toy fair at the atrium.  Usually I'm not interested at any toy fairs but a few people caught my attention.  They were playing with some toys, toys that I don't usually see and what attracted me most is - they were having SO MUCH FUN!  I wish ALL toy fairs can be like that, where the sales assistants, adults and kids having some fun together playing with the toys that the fair is promoting.

So I sneaked around... ok ok I pretend to look at the toys on the shelves but I was actually watching them from the corner of my eye and inching my way towards them.  You may think that I am crazy but wait till you look at the toys they were playing!

Here's a couple of them.  The Air Blaster Gun looks normal and uninteresting but I guarantee you that it will be a hit (no pun intended) with the kids!  Imagine getting shoot at by blast of air, they don't hurt you but instead you will burst out into giggles or laughter.  Tried and Tested by Me.

Meet Steven Wong, Air Blaster expert and Manager of Hamleys Malaysia

The Mini Drone needs no further introduction, any one will fall in love with it instantly!  Look at the height it can go!  There is a bigger version where you can mount a camera (sold separately) onto it and fly it around.  Ok, I am not sure whether licence are required to fly drone of any size with camera mounted on it, so please check with the authorities before thinking of doing that, IF you get caught, not my business ok.  And also IF you break any of  breakables or any valuable antique while playing with these drones in your house, also don't come after me for compensation.  



Now, if I have this Squid swimming with me I will not want to get out of the bath tub EVER!



I saw this and immediately wish that we had one of these when I was introducing human bones to DinoBoy a few years back.



I did a web search about Hamleys and found out that it is the oldest toy shop in the world and one of the world's best-known retailers of toys.  Wowzers! O.L.D.E.S.T. toy shop... in the WORLD?  For a toy shop that old or exactly 255 years old, the things that I saw at the toy fair are not old and dusty, instead what I saw are some toys that will drive anyone age between 1 and 99 crazy with excitement and wanting to grab every thing off the shelves!  The old school in me saw these and was so tempted to grab them home but stopped myself.  These traditional board games look so exquisite and they are made from solid wood, some are even handcrafted!  It took me a lot of self control not to grab a shopping bag just swipe them into it.


I strongly suggest that you make a trip down to Plaza Singapura to see these amazing toys from Hamleys!  

And if you prefer toys from other brands such as LEGO, Hasbro, Takara Tomy or Fisher-Price, there are special deals for some of their products too.


Playtime comes to Life! Hamleys Toy Fair at Plaza Singapura
Date: 29 June – 12 July 2015
Time: 10am – 10pm
Venue: Plaza Singapura Main Atrium, Level 1

Some of you may have saw this photo in my IG, its very badly taken and gosh, what's with those shocked look in the face plus a typo in my comment.  And yes that is the red post box I am posing with, too bad my arms are not long enough to take a full body photo.  The reason for this photo?  Its for the IG contest by Plaza Singapura.


Pose with the British icons and win attractive shopping vouchers! 
Contest period: 29 June to 26 July 2015. Winners will be announced on 5 August 2015.
Prize: Top three contestants will each win shopping vouchers worth $500, while seven other finalists will receive shopping vouchers worth $50 each.
Requirements:
1. Capture a photo of you with your family or friends at Plaza Singapura with the replicas of British icons such as the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Bus, telephone booth, post box and Royal Guards.

2. Upload the photo on Instagram

3. Like our @plazasingapura Instagram page. Tag @plazasingapura in your caption.

4. Add a funky caption and hashtag #psplaytime in your caption.
*Terms and conditions apply.

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post.