If you happen to be over at the Raffles City area today or tomorrow, do pop by the Philips' Take Care installation there, part of their ‘+’ project initiative to promote health and well-being.
There are free magnets drawn by the talented artists of the Organisation of Illustrators Council, each illustrating an area of health and well-being that can be improved. I took the Take Care of Work-Life Balance and Take Care of My Eyes magnets because I feel strongly about these areas.
Besides taking a magnet (or three), do also take the survey at bitly.com/sgpplus and vote for the initiatives (Philips will give US$50,000 towards the initiative with the most votes, you also stand to win up to $10,000 in prizes).
As part of a regional initiative, Philips is launching The '+' Project in Singapore, to work with local communities to identify areas of health and well-being issues in Singapore. I thought it would be fun to take the survey at bitly.com/sgpplus (take the survey, vote for the initiatives, win prizes!) and also do some tweets around the hashtag #TakeCareSG and #SGPlus
1. @mrbrown: I don't want my kids to have my childhood myopia so I teach them to take care of their eyes. No reading in poor light. #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
2. @mrbrown: I enjoyed cycling in Taipei & just chilling out. Time out for yourself to recharge is important. Also — buying new hats. #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
3. @AikBengChia We have to #TakeCareSG of our eyes especially nowadays we are spending more time staring at our smartphones & tablets #SGPlus
4. @mrbrown: With the coming worldwide bacon shortage, I shall eat more veggies. (Beer is a vegetable, right? Ok, I kid.) #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
5. @Nadya_HutaGalng: @mrbrown it's better for the planet to be more plant based anyway ;) #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
6. @jeffcheong: I played a super support role for my wife when we breastfed all our 3 kids. Ok that sounded wrong? #TakeCareSG #SGPlus (YES -mb)
7. @sonydjuana: At office, take a break every 30 mind by stretching my body, every 60min toilet break. #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
8. @Nadya_HutaGalng: Is it possible to make every HDB rooftop an urban farm? #TakeCareSG #SGPlus
We didn't get enough of Taipei's bikeways so we decided to ride westward on the Danshui River Bikeway (淡水腳踏車道), also known as the Tamsui Bikeway. This was way more challenging because there was a hill in our planned route.
We rode our Tern Link P9 and Bike Friday Tikit folding bicycles provided by My Bike Shop along the Danshui River Bikeway, which is not as pretty as the Keelung River one, but still very functional to ride on. The weather today was hot, and the sun was going to make us tanned hunks (or more like Bak Kua). We made sure to drink lots of water to avoid heat exhaustion.
We had a cold Chin Chow drink at the street of 景文街 (Jingmei St) where the 景美夜市 (night market) is. It was a much needed stop.
After we rode past the Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola (貓空纜車), we finally reached our biggest challenge: going up Fudekeng hill (福德坑復育園區, Fudekeng Repopulation Park). We tried riding for a while but eventually had to push our bikes up.
It was doubly hard because we made a wrong turn somewhere and bombed downhill only to realise we made a mistake, and had to push our bikes uphill twice.
There are two major things on the hill. The refuse collection services and cemeteries. Not exactly very lovely things to look. There were sculptures in the park and when we got to the top, the view was surprisingly awesome.
It was definitely worth the effort.
We then went downhill (the most fun part) towards 中華科技大學 (China University of Science and Technology) and cycled towards the Keelung River Bikeway that would take us home.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we had ridden more than six hours and my face was salty. But it was a fun and rewarding day. I spent a long time taking my shower (to get clean lah).
Here is map of the route we took on our Second Day of Riding:
Our mission today, ride the Keelung River Bikeway! We have heard so much about this bikeway in Taipei that we felt we needed to try it out. We spent a rather harrowing time riding through the city (traffic was madness) but once we got to the bikeway, the road was ours.
Along the way, the sights were great: open fields, the river, bird sanctuaries, and temples… sights we probably wouldn't see if we didn't ride in Taipei.
We even came across a baseball practice. And other happy riders.
We had the leisure to stop for tea and coffee, and even lunch, at cute little cafes along the route. We had hotdogs and coffee at this cafe.
And some lovely beef noodles with homegrown bamboo shoots at this cafe.
How I wish we could have taken one of these boats out with our bikes onboard. Maybe we can ask the next time.
We did get caught in some light to moderate rain, but nothing a disposable raincoat couldn't solve (NT20, or 86 cents only). We rode almost all day but didn't feel tired because the weather was lovely, with temperatures at around 25-27°C and light winds.
When we got back to the hotel, we washed up and treated ourselves to some unholy food at Shihlin Night Markets. There goes all that exercise. Ah well.
Here is map of the route we took on our First Day of Riding:
Before we departed for Taiwan on Scoot, I had pre-travel chores galore:
Change money, load music/videos into iPad, charge all devices (iPad, two smartphones), double check if I brought all the right cables, plugs, camera flash, camera lenses, spare camera batteries, spare spectacles, passport, etickets, hotel booking and paper directions, laptop, laptop power, portable hard drive, 4-in-1 USB charger plug, medicine, foldable bicycle, bicycle lights, fave jacket, fave cap, fave underwear…
Yes we brought two folding bicycles to Taipei, a Tern Link P9 and a Bike Friday Tikit, courtesy of sponsors My Bike Shop. This photo is our two bicycles unfolded in our hotel room in Taipei. We can't wait to ride around Taipei and beyond.
And looking at my list, I suddenly realised that I have a 4-in-1 USB charger plug. You know you have way too many devices when you need to charge four of them at once.
"Eenie meenie miney mo
Catch a bad chick by her toe
If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go"
After watching the video, I decided that my 9-year-old son's version made more sense.
On Sunday afternoon, I took Isaac and his younger sister, Joy, for a short supermarket outing (had to get them out of mommy's hair). Joy wanted to make popcorn after seeing the recipe in one of her books, which was why we went to get some corn kernels. I also had to replenish Faith's XXXL diapers.
As I was paying at the cashier, Isaac came up to me asking for some money "for the little girl".
"For whom?" I said.
"The girl statue, it's for charity," he said, referring to the famous Spastic Children's Association of Singapore donation box that comes in the shape of a little girl.
"Dowan lah," I said, absentmindedly, preoccupied with paying the cashier.
"But I want to be generous!" Isaac said, with all sincerity.
That got my attention. I didn't want to discourage the spirit of giving in my kids so I dug out a 50-cent coin for him to plonk into the slot but couldn't resist quipping, "Next time be generous with your own money ah."
Before I finished that sentence, Joy skipped over too, and put out her hand. And I had to dig out another 50-cent coin from my pocket.
The cashier couldn't resist laughing, and said, "Your kids very cute."
I smiled and said the most Uncle/Auntie thing in the world, "Aiyah, take them out is very 麻烦, they are so playful."
As we walked back to the car with our groceries, Joy insisted on making me buy some buns for her autistic eldest sister. "姐姐 will like some pastries, Papa!"
Sighing, I lugged the groceries over to the confectionery and balanced a tray in one hand and tongs in the other. We walked out with eight dollars worth of pastries for next day's breakfast.
We finally made our way home and after I parked the car, I got the kids to help with the groceries.
Joy to Isaac: “Bro! Help me with the groceries, Bro!”
Me: “You call your older brother Gor Gor or 哥哥, Bro what Bro.”
I guess we’re old-fashioned in our family. My wife calls my mom 奶奶 (Lai Lai) and my mom and younger brothers call my wife 大嫂 (Dai Soh). It’s a form of respect and we've always practised this.
In fact, half the fun is figuring out what to call cousins and other extended family when we meet up for Chinese New Year or other family occasions. Using the correct title defined by the relationship of the other party to you made it easy for all to know exact family relationships.
My late father was a strict enforcer of using the proper titles to refer to kin. We were not allowed to use Uncle and Auntie if we knew the relationship and correct title (don't know must find out). I suppose I inherited this practice from him.
Thinking of all these simple yet significant little things made me suddenly miss my late father a lot. He never said very much, but his words, both the scoldings and the rare praise, dwell within me, and will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.
Heard coming from the kids' bedroom: "Ehhhhhhh, sekseh laydehhhhh…"
Me: "Simi sekseh laydeh?! Isaac! Sleep. Or else."
Isaac: "Papa. Remember to buy my Beyblade I wanted."
Me: "We will see. It cannot be too expensive. What's the model again?"
Isaac: "Galaxy Pegasus."
Me *act blur*: "Prancing Pony ah?"
Isaac: "No! Galaxy Pegasus!"
Me: "Universal Unicorn ah?"
Isaac: "Papa! Galaxy Pegasus!"
Me: "International Coleslaw?"
By this time, I'm giggling my ass off and my son is also laughing. Sure, I can troll my 9-year-old now for the lulz but I have to do so in moderation. When he grows up, he may troll me back by hiding my dentures.
According to this report, The Malaysian Education Ministry had endorsed “guidelines” to help parents to identify gay and lesbian “symptoms". The guidelines list symptoms of gays and lesbians. Here are some symptoms listed for gay men:
1. Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes;
2. Prefer tight and light-coloured clothes;
3. Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out.
This means that in Malaysia, at least, there is no such thing as a fat gay guy. Allegedly, gay men are muscular and buff. V-necks and sleeveless clothes may see a huge plunge in sales soon. Ditto for big bags.
So this guy cannot go Malaysia:
Wonder Man may also fail the Malaysian Education Ministry Gay Test:
Wonder Man even carries a handbag on his belt. DOUBLE GAY!
So will the Malaysian Education Ministry set up a crack team of Anti-Gay Cops who will fan out and enforce the guidelines?
Malaysian Gahmen, you nair fail to surprise us. You the Boleh.