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5 Lessons Our Kids Can Learn From Mountain Climbing

14 January 2018 – 9:17 pm | One Comment

Someone asked our 6.5yo Brie about her recent Mount Lawu hike:
‘So did you enjoy it?’
And … Brie shook her head.
‘Oops!’, the man smiled and looked at Wilson. ☺️

To us, it is okay if our kids …

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Crafts & Activity Ideas for Kids

How many different things can we do with our little ones at home and outside? Too many.


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Three Kids and No Domestic Helper is …

20 January 2012 | Posted in: Daily, Parenting | 12 Comments

[Laundry-folding time]

… possible.

As long as the little ones are trained, since very young, to be involved – in however small ways – and to help out around the house, I say.

(Of course our home is not as clean, tidy and neat as others who engage a live-in helper, but then in the end, it’s a choice, and our family chooses to not engage one, and involve our children as much as they can instead)

Some of the things that Anya and Vai do everyday that I personally find helpful because they somewhat lessen my ‘burden’ are:

– Return plates, glasses and cutlery back to the sink after mealtimes
– Shower, brush teeth, pick and put on home clothes all on their own
– Get ready when we’re going out (put on shoes, clothes, etc) on their own
– Babysit Brie
– Take out and throw rubbish bags out
– Tidy up the shoes area
– Bring dirty laundry from our bathroom and place it in the laundry basket
– Clear toys *more or less* after play
– Fold their own clothes after wearing them
– Tidy up our beds and fold the blankets (something they both need to do together)
– Help get selected groceries during our supermarket trips
– Occasionally help and fold our clean laundry (I’d put aside home clothes and baby clothes for them to fold)

[Helping to clear and sort our plastic containers from the kitchen cabinets]

No, they’re not always willing to help ‘happily’.

And yes, they’d often prefer to delay or play elsewhere than to clean up their mess after playtime.

But anyway, I still thank God for our little helpers.

Their involvement around our home does make a difference.

And I always tell them too how I appreciate their help, … however big, however small.

Our Visit to ‘Sanggar Kasih’ orphanage, and Our Simple ‘Help Portrait’ Project

18 January 2012 | Posted in: Inspirational, Photography | 4 Comments

One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do is to bring Anya and Vai to visit an orphanage.

I hope for them to see how there are different kinds of people, coming from different walks of life.

I’d like them to learn how to share with others too, others who may not have as many things as they do.

And I, well I’d like to meet these children as well. I’m sure I have a lot to learn from them too.

A few weeks before we went to Jakarta last December, I did a bit of research and called up a Christian orphanage called Sanggar Kasih in Jakarta, to see if we could pay them a visit.

The lady in charge of the orphanage was very friendly and she even encouraged me to ‘just come’, and ‘not bring toys for the kids’. She said if we’d like to still bring something, please do bring books instead, as they’d like to encourage the children to read and learn. I was like wow, okay, I really liked that.

[Photo taken by Maja]

So together with another friend, her sister and kids, we all went to Sanggar Kasih, just before Christmas.

There are 11 boys and girls there. They’re all 10 and 11 years old.

The caretakers shared how the pastor who adopted them was actually inspired by an orphanage he visited while here in Singapore. He saw one where the number was kept small, and the place was maintained well. He then aspired to build one too.

He did in the end.

He adopted a total of 11 babies from two small cities in Indonesia, and brought them all back to Jakarta.

Eleven babies.

My heart ached when I heard how they were all less than three months old, left behind by their parents at the hospital soon after birth. That’s how tough life can really be to many.

[Special thanks to my sister and her son for these books]

After sharing with them the books we brought along for the children, I asked the caretaker if I could take photos of them.

Individual photos of the children.

And she said, yep sure, go ahead.

I could tell how they felt a little awkward as they stood against the wall. With my Canon S90 in hand, I chatted with them, while looking at them in the eye. I asked if they ever had their photos taken ‘alone’ like this (and they all said no.). I asked about their favourite food and drinks. They warmed up after a while, and I felt happy to have captured their smiles as we chatted away.

[The children playing with Brie – here carried by the main caretaker]

Now, I should mention here that I was very much inspired by the idea behind ‘Help Portrait’ (when I read about it on Karen’s blog –

Help Portrait basically is a project where photographers around the world get together with many others, go to less privileged people, take their photos, print, return and deliver the photos back to them.

Check out this video here to find out more about the project.

I like this line written on the Help Portrait site – This is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them.

I didn’t know if there’s any Help Portrait community in Jakarta at the time. All I know was that I had a camera and I could take photographs, and I wanted to do something similar to the Help Portrait project for these children.

The kids have always had group photos with each other. Since they were babies. But no portraits of their own.

I really wanted these children to know that each of them is special, and that they’re loved and regarded as ‘a unique individual’ in God’s eyes. That there’s hope in life, in God. That if they could belong to this group at Sanggar Kasih, out of millions of others out there, it’s a loving proof that God indeed has great plans for them, each of them.

[The final prints delivered to them. The children’s names are blocked for the purpose of this blog entry]

Eight days later, the kids and I returned to Sanggar Kasih, with printed photos in our hands.

I was glad to have returned – with the kids – to give them back their photos. To chat with some of them again.

And to have shared this verse with them :

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

[Photo taken by our 5.5yo Vai]

No, Anya and Vai didn’t become ‘givers’ overnight. And what we did may not even be ‘life changing’ to these two. But hey, why should something be life changing ‘to us and our family’ for us to do something for others? Shouldn’t we sometimes do things where the benefits are actually ‘for others’ more than for ourselves?

Personally, I don’t think we have done anything much at all. It really was just a little something that we did for these children. But if we could do it again in the future, I’d LOVE to, hopefully bringing the kids along again, and together with more others.

Here’s another Help Portrait video made in 2011:

If you’re inspired by this Help Portrait project like I did, go ahead and go out there! Reach out to the less privileged community around you and make a difference, however small.

Photo: Kids @ Tanjong Pagar

16 January 2012 | Posted in: Daily, Photography | No Comment

I was running errands with three kiddos in tow. We were at Tanjong Pagar.

Right after we crossed the road, I looked around and asked Anya and Vai to stay put while I go and take a panoramic shot of all three of them, using my Photosynth app on my iphone.

I just thought it’s nice to keep a shot of them against the Tanjong Pagar office buildings.

Because may be, decades from today they’ll be working in one of those buildings, and when they see this picture, they can then go, ‘AIYOH!! Look at how tiny we once were!!’ =)

Capturing everyday family moments. Precious.

Checking Out : Make*Believe Programme @ Singapore Science Centre

Our family believes that learning through play IS possible, ie. NOT just through reading lots of books, attending lessons in class and doing assessment papers.

School for most of our little ones has started last week, and so I thought I should share this trip we had towards the end of last year, where the kids got to play, had fun and happened to learn too along the way!

[Yes, I truly believe in bringing the kids out to play and have fun too, though it’s NOT during school holiday]

Anyway, here’s what I wanted to share: We checked out Singapore Science Centre’s Make*Believe Programme!

I shared how the trip went and also more photos on my Facebook.

Click HERE to check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones, everyone!

Thoughts : Trust and Respect are Built over Time

2 May 2015 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment

Recently I had a chat with a few friends, … and as we talked, some thoughts crossed my mind.
Here’s sharing them with you …
Nearly everything today is about being ‘instant’.
Instant messaging.
Instant noodles.
Instant printing.
Generally, the world …

Parenting: Feeling Bored IS Okay

10 May 2016 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 13 Comments

‘Mommy, what can I do now? I’m bored!’
‘What else can I do now? Give me something to do.’
(In the car) ‘What can I do now? I have nothing to do.’ 

Sounds familiar?
Here’s one undeniable fact we …

Sunday’s Food for Thought : What Are We Investing In Our Children Today?

30 October 2011 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment
Sunday’s Food for Thought : What Are We Investing In Our Children Today?

Today I’d like to post a few questions that I have been thinking about too, lately.

How much time do we invest in our children going to school, different extra-curricular activities, enrichment lessons, sports practices, music …

Marriage: Making Time for the One You Love

7 July 2010 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | 3 Comments

It seems to be the ‘situation’ everyone faces today. Even amongst married couples.
But. It IS the reality, isn’t it?
We’re all busy with something, every day. And during most of our ‘waking hours’.
With kids. With work. …

The facts of being married

26 February 2005 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | No Comment

This was Wilson’s conversation with the guy who cut his hair the other day:
Guy: Oh, so you’re married already? *really suprised* You would’nt have done it so early if you had the choice, would you?
Wilson: …

Marriage : Let’s Keep On Working on It!

4 December 2012 | Posted in: Inspirational, Marriage & Relationships | 2 Comments

How long have we been married ?
It’s been 11 years for us.
To some people, that’s pretty long already.
To some others, we’re just at the ‘beginning’ of a long journey, and there’ll be many more ‘interesting’ …