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



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