Monthly Archives: March 2018

Nyan Thomas, Athlete

Well, maybe not so much. But he tries!

On a sweltering Friday morning in February, everyone at Nyan’s school headed over to a sports track near the National Stadium for the school’s annual Sports Day – a morning of running, throwing, jumping, and general sweating. Let’s see how our hero did.

The kids made sure to do plenty of stretching.

Then it was on to the competitions! Okay, it wasn’t a competition – just kids doing athletic things, like throwing things.

There was also a sprint:

And a longer run – maybe 100 meters? You can see Nyan pulling up the rear here, mostly (we think) because he’s more interested in looking around rather than in running. We still think he could be a decent runner, if he focuses, and in fact Daddy took him on a 1-kilometer run around the block the other day. So maybe it’ll become a habit.

There was jumping too – from a stand-still and from a running start. (Sorry – not sure what those are specifically called. It’s been many years since your humble blogger was in PE class.)

All in all, it was a hot, sweaty and fun morning.

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Posted by on March 31, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Happy Birthday, Jonnie! 

Jonnie is the younger brother of Nyan’s bestie, Jayden. He turned 4 in February, and his family threw him a party at a place called Amazonia, a sort of indoor playground place where we’ve actually been before, for Kyle’s 4th birthday a few years ago. It was the one with the giant dinosaur, here.

It’s quite a place, Amazonia, with climbing structures, a huge slide, function rooms, and a room dedicated to these cannons that fire soft missiles at targets on the wall.

There was also a large room with a putt-putt golf course. And it had black-light special effects!

Was there cake? Of course there was cake.

And lots of balloons, which lots of kids had lots of fun with.

Beyond all that, we also saw plenty of simple, random silliness.

And finally, the slide. The same slide that, three years ago, Nyan refused to go down at first. (It *is* pretty big, it’s true.) But once he finally went down it, he wanted to go down it again and again. And it’s still enjoyable today.

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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Uncategorized



A Friendly Soccer Match

In February, Nyan’s Saturday afternoon soccer club arranged a friendly match with another club. They had done this before, with a team that was several steps higher in terms of skill and experience (see here). This time, the organizers promised a friendly against a team that was more on the level of Nyan’s.

Were they right? Eh, no. The other team jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, although some shifting of players from one side to the other definitely staunched the bleeding, and the game ended up being almost competitive by the end. But whatever: the kids all had fun, which of course is what really counts.

Here’s a good example of the skills on display:

Nyan certainly got into the spirit; check out the celebrating when his team scored on a penalty kick.

Probably the most fun that Nyan, and many of the other kids, had was when the ball would roll off-field, down a slight slope and into some bushes. That’s because the kids had discovered a little tunnel under the bushes, so they could crawl away and into, presumably, some world of imagination. Check out the mad rush for the ball as it headed to the bush:

We can’t recall what the final score was – it’s possible that no one was keeping very good track – but, again, it didn’t really matter. The kids had a blast, got some exercise – and even showed some sportsmanship at the end.

We do think Nyan is showing some slight signs of improvement in his soccer, though these things are relative, and we’re not expecting him to play in the World Cup anytime soon. But, as we’ve said many times, the point is to get him some exercise, expose him to team sport, mix it up with other kids, and all that. So it’s all good.

We close with some group shots of the soccer warriors, celebrating their near-victory.

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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Nyan and the Student-Led Conference

In February, Nyan’s school had a day devoted to “student-led conferences.” It was a time for the parents to get up to speed on what the kids had been doing in school — and it was up to the kids to show them. Nyan took us around to various stations, showing off his skills in reading, math, PE, music and more.

He’s been learning about Singaporean history, so he shared some of his knowledge:

He read some Chinese. Translated it too!

For the music section, he taught Daddy how to do some rhythmic clapping. There were bells to ring too.

For the PE segment, the students were getting ready for their Sports Day exhibition, so Nyan demonstrated some of what he would be doing. Like long jumps:

There was throwing as well:

And sprinting too!

We’ll have more on Sports Day in an upcoming post. We’ll also share excerpts from Nyan’s portfolio — the big book chock full of some of his recent writings, drawings, and other school work. Stay tuned!

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Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


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A Visit to the Istana

In the middle of heavily-developed central Singapore, there’s a big estate – just over 100 acres – of rolling hills, gardens, forests, and a grand old building called the Istana, which serves as the official residence and offices of Singapore’s president. Kind of like the White House, except Singapore’s president usually doesn’t actually live there. (Plus, the Singaporean president is much more of a ceremonial role than that of the U.S. president.) The Istana and its grounds are closed  to the public except on a tiny number of days each year.

One of the days it’s open is during the Chinese New Year holiday. Nyan had been learning about the Istana at school, so during the new year break in February, we paid the Istana a visit.

Here’s the building itself, and a guard outside the gates. We did get to tour the building, but no pictures allowed inside.

The grounds, though, are quite something,  swan-filled ponds, vast expanses of open field, and huge jungle plants.

We tried to take some family portrait selfies, which was a little difficult because the morning sunshine was quite bright.

We also played around with shadows in that bright light.

And we admired the decorative artillery gun in front of the main building.

We had been warned that if you don’t get to the Istana early, you have to stand in line for a long time to get in. We got there early and waltzed right in; a couple hours later, as we left, we saw that we were very glad to have been early.


And finally, after our trek around the Istana grounds, we headed to a shopping mall next door for a late breakfast. This particular mall features some very long sloping escalators, which our boy wanted to go up and down, but only on his own. So off he went.

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Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Happy Birthday, Adriana! 

Sadly, we don’t get to see much of Adriana or other old classmates these days, now that the MMI kids have all scattered to different schools. That’s why we were extra excited to hear that Adriana was getting a few of her old friends back together for an afternoon to celebrate turning 7 years old — at a trampoline park, no less! Nyan was there with proverbial bells on.

Besides Nyan and Adriana, attendees included Kyra, Abi, Valentina and Ning Ning, plus various younger siblings and parents. Here are some of the old gang:

There were cake and snacks, of course.

But the real draw was the bouncing. Look at how patiently they lined up, waiting their turn:


Turns out that our boy is a natural on the trampoline.

Besides trampolines, there were spring-y bounce-y slide-y climbing wall thingies:

Finally, check out the brave birthday girl, doing a special thing where they basically, I guess, throw her off a ledge.

She was the only one who was allowed to do that one, which is probably for the best — Nyan is a lot more brave and risk-taking than he used to be, but we don’t think he’s quite ready for that one just yet.

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Posted by on March 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Celebrating the Year of the Dog

Chinese New Year — a.k.a. the Lunar New Year — is a big, big deal in Asia. In Singapore, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas, with nearly every store closed down for a couple days (whereas many stores and restaurants stay open for a normal business day on Christmas). There are family reunions constantly during the Chinese New Year celebrations, plus plenty of other activities. We took part in as many as we could, just to get into the spirit.

That included a visit to the official residence of Singapore’s president — more on that in a later post — and an evening spent in the heart of the action, Singapore’s Chinatown.

This year is considered the Year of the Dog, so Chinatown was full of dogs of all shapes and sizes. Like these giant inflatables towering over the main intersection:

There were also lots of these sort of foam rubber dogs, at a more human scale, all over the place too.

Lots of lanterns and lights everywhere (click to enlarge):

Nyan really enjoyed a permanent display of an old rickshaw that’s along one of the pedestrianized streets, I suppose to give a taste of what life was like back int he day.

We also popped into a giant Hindu temple that’s downtown, just for the heck of it. Not very Chinese New Year-y, but it’s a pretty amazing temple, plus there’s a nice patch of grass to roll around in.

Nyan’s school got into the New Year spirit too. Everyone dressed up in brightly  colored clothes for a school-wide assembly:

The kids also put on a very intricate and elaborate dance performance. We’re not sure what it actually means, but it’s actually quite impressive. Nyan can really move! This video is a bit long but worth it:

We close with a couple of shots of Nyan and Jayden. These two really do love each other.

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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized



Charles Darwin Comes to Singapore

Singapore’s ArtScience Museum hosted a traveling exhibit of goodies from London’s Natural History Museum, including some artifacts from Charles Darwin himself. Nyan’s always been a fan of Darwin — Darwin is, in fact, Nyan’s benchmark for if something or someone is old or not; if it’s older than Darwin, it’s old. If not, not so old — so off we went.

The Art Science Museum is downtown, part of the Marina Bay Sands complex, with great views of the city skyline.

Outside the exhibit was a fake tiger and gear that explorers would wear, which visitors could put on and be silly.

Inside were those artifacts from London, collected by naturalists over many years of exploring. There were lion statues and taxidermied tortoises…

And journal entries written by none other than Darwin himself!

We had fun messing around with shadows:

One of the conceits of the exhibit was, What if some of the skeletons at the museum came to life? And it showed video animation of the outcome – dolphins swimming through the halls of the museum; a pack of saber-tooth tigers snacking on some prey. Kinda cool. There was also a little light display meant to show a tiger’s footprints. Nyan enjoyed that:

They also had an interactive science lab, where kids could select items and actions on a computer screen and it would figure out the results of the experiment. Our boy was definitely into that.

But he said his favorite bit was the faux sailing ship that he could climb into and pretend to be steering across the ocean.

A very cool and informative exhibit.

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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in Uncategorized



A  (Potential) New School

The school that Nyan currently attends, Chatsworth East, is closing down at the end of this school year in June, relocating to a new campus on the other side of the island. We decided that we didn’t want to send him there — it’s too far to commute each day, and we didn’t want to move house — so we went back to the market for a new school.

One possibility was a brand-new school, opening this summer for the first time. It’s run by a company that operates several other schools across Singapore, and has a good reputation. So when we heard there was an open house at the new place one Saturday, we decided to go.


The building isn’t huge, but it’s been nicely done up inside. Here are some of the new classrooms:

Nyan was understandably most interested in the specialty rooms, like this music room.

They also have a science lab!

And a room full of tools for cutting, sawing, pounding and 3D-printing.

It was hard to pull Nyan away from this room, frankly.

There was also one of those wall-displays where you put pipes and shelves and whatnot and try to get marbles to roll down. Nyan loved that as well.

Finally, he had a blast exploring the gymnasium area, full of ropes and balls and hockey sticks and other fun things.

It was an impressive school, though it felt a bit small and lacked any outdoor space. Most crucially, it was still pretty far from our place and would have called for a long bus ride every morning and every afternoon. In the end, we chose another school, much closer to home, that he’ll enroll at starting in August. More on that later in the summer.


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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in Uncategorized



Happy Birthday, Kyle!

February is always chock full of birthday parties, and this year was certainly no exception, with no less than three weekend parties spread across the short month. We kicked the festive season off by celebrating with Kyle, whom we don’t see nearly often enough.

He was turning 7, and his parents threw a party at a recreational place that featured multiple climbing walls. A great place for hyper kids (and their parents too) to burn off some energy!

Nyan wasn’t too interested in climbing, but he did have fun playing around with the wall that had images projected onto it, images that would change when they were slapped.

There was plenty of cake and sweets and song-singing, of course.

A special treat was the dry ice they used to give the cake that foggy glow. The kids played with the leftover dry ice afterwards, too.

And a kid’s birthday party isn’t a kid’s birthday without plenty of random playtime, plus bubbles…

Look how big little Kara – Kyle’s sister – is getting!

We leave you with some images of Daddy scaling the walls. That’s right, the parents could climb too. Daddy had never gone climbing before but he picked it up pretty quickly. Well done, Daddy!


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Posted by on March 5, 2018 in Uncategorized



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