Thursday, 26 January 2012


I know that most of us are still in the midst of Chinese New Year celebrations but if you want to get away from the usual. Here's a list of 5 meaningful things you could do to mark this festive season and the weekend. These activities may excite you and for the most part, many of them are FREE

1. Capture the visits with your relatives 2012 style
The spirit of Chinese New Year doesn't only need to last 15 days. Make it memorable. Take snaps, videos and compile them in a photo album or email images to give out on Day 15 of Chinese New Year. Make this a new tradition for yourself and your family.

2. Rise and Shine! 
Greet the morning with a run or a walk along the beach with your family. Burn off all the excess we've indulged ourselves these last few days. The weather forecasts that there will be scattered showers throughout the day. The sun will rise at 7:16 am.

3. Learn the Stories Behind Singapore Streets
Go to the library to catch these exhibitions! 
Time: 10 am to 9 pm
Where: Central Library at Level 7 & 8

4. Appreciate the German language 
While you're at the library, go visit the Germany Bite-Sized Exhibition (Suitable for families)
Date: Jan 28
Time: 10 - 1030, 2 - 230 for guided tours
Competition: Win a 4-week language course in Germany with flight included. Details can be found at 
German Puppet Show for 4 - 8 year olds
Registration Needed: Go register at or library eKiosks
Date: Jan 28
Time: 2 - 3 pm  
Where: Multipurpose Room, Central Public Library, #B1-01
About: Three friends visit their grandma to celebrate her birthday and the cake gets stolen. The friends have to think of fantastical ways to get their cake back. 

German Films
Date: Jan 28
Time: 6 pm
About: The Flying Classroom or Das fliegende Klassenzimmer
Click to preview the film at the 12 minute mark. There are subtitles in English. Please note that they didn't indicate if they are showing the 70s version or the 2003 remake. 

5. Catch A Movie
We Not NaughtyI know I said that the activities are free but I'm sticking my neck out here and making an exception. I'm not the biggest fan of movie theatres but
I'll only do so if there is a film worth sitting through. A film that is not only family friendly but advocates strong core family values. I have to admit that I haven't seen this myself but I was given a preview of it and it looks promising. It's called 'We Not Naughty'. It has received strong reviews by friends in the media who have seen the movie.

Don't be put off by the fact that it's a Jack Neo directed flick. He is a talented director who has always managed to cut through to the social consciousness of Singaporeans. This time, he addresses the social issues faced by children in Singapore today. Once again, he addresses a topic that is not only timely but  relevant in our society. Let's hope he addresses the issues head on without the histrionics.

Reviews are most welcome!

Click here for the movie preview: We Not Naughty

Have a Great Weekend! 
And a Wonderful 2012


If Chinese New Year is anything to go by, the Chinese should be the masters of festivities. There are 15 days of celebration and every day is significant and earmarked for certain traditions.

Singapore marks Chinese New Year as a two-day public holiday. As long as I've celebrated Chinese New Year in Singapore, there are only 5 days that truly mattered.

Sumptious feast
Eve of Day 1 - The eve of Chinese New Year is reunion dinner. That's when the immediate family comes together to partake of a sumptious feast which includes all the animal protein you can find on this earth and noodles to symbolise long life.

Day 1 - The first day when you visit your parents and the eldest of the familly. If your parent is the eldest in the family, the rest of the family will then come to visit you. They will be expecting to be fed so there will be
lots to do.
Two Mandarin Oranges and Hong Baos

Day 2 - The second day is when you visit your extended family -- the relatives that you are closer to. It's always a bonus when they have great food to serve. And the added bonus is when other relatives also gather at the same place which means that you've technically covered ground with those relatives you'll otherwise have to visit. There will be a systematic and organised ritual that follows. You greet with hands clasped uttering Gong Xi Gong Xi with gusto, exchange oranges and receive or give out the much anticipated hong pao or red packet.

Day 3 - The third day is when you rest. It's also generally considered bad luck to visit relatives and friends on this day but I think it's the excuse my parents had passed down to us so that they could have a break from all the eating and handing out of red packets. I haven't heard anyone else say that it was bad luck to visit on the third day so if your family believes that too, it must have come from somewhere! Superstition aside, Day 3 is when I visit friends. I don't think I'm bringing them bad luck and vice versa. I guess we've been lucky that no one has turned us away yet. However, if Day 3 falls on a work day, it's back to work and visiting friends will only happen over the weekend.

Day 15 - Chap Goh Mei is when families come together again to ceremoniously mark the end to Chinese New Year and all that excessive eating. How do we do that? By partaking of a meal again! The last big supper of the Chinese New Year. In my family, we call it Reunion Dinner deja vu but this time, it's without the Yu Sheng, oranges and hong pao's.

What happens between Day 4 to Day 14? I don't ever remember earmarking the days for anything special or significant. What did our Chinese ancestors have planned for those 10 days? Is there anything we have been missing out? Have those days lost their significance today?

I read this article about the 15 days of Chinese New Year. I can't vouch for its authenticity but it makes for interesting reading.

Day 1: Welcoming the Gods of the heavens and earth. Abstain from meat to ensure long and happy lives. (LionCityMum: So I guess that cancels out the BBQ pork, duck, goose, chicken, beef, mystery meats and fish)

Day 2: Pray to ancestors and Gods. Feed dogs well and be kind to them as the second day is the birthday of all dogs. (LionCityMum: It's official. All dogs have a designated birthday)

Day 3 and 4: Sons-in-law to pay respect to Parents-in-law. (LionCityMum: I guess I can understand why my parents said it 
was a day of bad luck) 

Day 5: Stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one should visit friends and families as it will bring both parties bad luck. (LionCityMum: I think this is the excuse to gamble)

Day 6 - 10: The Chinese visit their relatives and friends freely. They also visit temples to pray for good fortune and health. 

Day 7: This is for farmers to display their produce and concoct a drink from seven types of vegetables to celebrate the occasion. (LionCityMum: Drink up! Go down to your nearest fruit stall for that all important drink. Make it a lunchtime meal). It's also the birthday of human beings. Noodles and raw fish should be eaten for longevity and success. (LionCityMum: Happy Birthday all!)   

Day 8: The Fujian people have another reunion dinner and at midnight, pray to the God of Heaven.

Day 9: The Chinese make offerings to the Jade Emperor. (LionCityMum: Is this the excuse to get jewellery?)

Day 10 - 12: Invite friends and relatives for dinner. (LionCityMum: Just another reason to eat and party again)

 Day 13: Take a break and eat congee and mustard greens to cleanse the system. (LionCityMum: Note to self: Do the Master Cleanse!)

Day 14: Preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival which will be held on the 15th night. (LionCityMum: Lanterns? I thought that's for the Mooncake festival?)

So the question begs. How would you spend your 10 days?

- As we age, we should rage less and encourage more -

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


It's the second day of Chinese New Year 2012 and instead of partaking of friends, family and goodies galore. I'm partaking of over-the-counter medicines and dipping into my son's cough mixtures while I wait for the GP clinics to open up again. 

It isn't the most auspicious start to the New Year's but like the saying goes, for every dark cloud, there is always a silver lining. Or in the case for my son, every cloud has its silver lining but this year, it's a little difficult to get to the mint (aka red packets). 

We didn't waste the day, well, most of it anyways. 
The Rubik's Cube

I spent it with family but mostly in the company of an Italian with beautiful hands and a haltingly arresting grasp of the English language. Despite my constant hacks and occasional clearing of various orifices, the Italian carried on, undeterred and with unfailing determination to impart what can only be an experience that eludes mere mortals 
- the solution to the 3x3 Rubik's Cube. 

'Lucatn', or 'Luigi-as-we-who-cannot-pronounce-his-nick' so fondly refer to in our household, is the only coherent voice in the world wide web of Youtube contributors to unlock the mysteries of the Rubik's cube. He didn't try to confound the viewer with mathematical algorithms or narcissistic (did I spell that right? ) buffoonery. He used simple terms like 'front', 'top', 'left', 'right' and the occasional 'back' side to explain the various twists and turns to get all the pieces to line up.  

If you're like me, who has come of age and still haven't worked out the solution to the Rubik's Cube. Have no fear. Lucatn is near. He has a 4-part video series that will take you through some of the many different turns that you'll unwittingly find yourself in. 

Go check his video out! 

- As we age, we should rage less and encourage more

Information courtesy of

Fantastic facts you might not know about the legendary Rubik's Cube

  • The Cube is the world’s biggest-selling toy EVER, and has sold in excess of 350 million units worldwide
  • The Cube has 43 quintillion different possible configurations (or 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 to be precise) and only ONE solution

CUBE HISTORY – let’s put it in context ...

  • The legendary Rubik’s Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian Professor Erno Rubik, then a lecturer at the Department of Interior Design at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest. It was originally called the Magic Cube.
  • After winning the highest prize for outstanding inventions in Hungary, in 1980 the Cube won top toy awards in Britain, Germany, France and the US.
  • Its worldwide launch also took place in 1980. Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was chosen to host the Rubik's Cube's launch in America, at a Hollywood party. (LionCityMum: In case you didn't know, the actress is probably the most popular export of the country, perhaps with the exception of Hitler) See site for more famous persons born in Hungary -
  • In 1981, the Rubik’s Cube was included as an exhibit within the hallowed halls of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
  • By 1982, the Cube had achieved such a universal presence and penetrated the fabric of British society so deeply, it was included in the revered Oxford English Dictionary.
  • If you made a single turn of one of the Cube’s faces every second, it would take you 1,400 million million years to go through all the possible configurations. (By way of comparison, the universe itself is only 14 thousand million years old.)

Rubik’s fastest/craziest Speedcubers
  • In official Rubik’s Speedcubing competitions (national and international gatherings are held by the World Cube Association), timing is done with a special StackMat. It’s average times that count: contestants solve 5 Cubes in each round, with the fastest and slowest times being discounted.
  • Since 2004, the number of WCA competitions escalated from 12 during that year to 24 in 2005, 33 in 2006, 53 in 2007. By 2008 the figure had reached 110, and last year 169 competitions were held – in 38 countries. This year WCA co-founder Ron van Bruchem forecasts that well over 200 competitions will be organized, in 45 to 50 countries.
  • The first official World Rubik’s Championship was held on 5 June 1982 in Budapest. The winner was American Minh Thai, who solved a standard (3x3x3) Rubik’s Cube in 22.95 seconds. (LionCityMum: GO ASIANS!)
  • The World Record for a single solve on the 3x3x3 Cube is held by Erik Akkersdijk (pictured, left) from the Netherlands, who achieved 7.08 seconds at the Czech Open in 2008.
  • The current youngest official Speedcuber is China’s Enxi Xie, a little girl aged just 4 years, 6 months and 10 days, who solved the Cube in just 1:28:06! (LionCityMum: GO LITTLE ASIAN!)
  • The current oldest Speedcuber is also from China – Xinxian Li, at the grand old age of 88 years, 6 months and 6 days, with a time of 4:43:52.  (LionCityMum: GO GOLDEN ASIAN!)
  • There are also official records for solving the Cube one-handed (currently held by Sweden’s Gunnar Krig in 13:80 seconds), blindfolded (Haiyan Zhuang of China in 35:96 seconds) ((LionCityMum: GO BLIND ASIAN??) and with the feet (Anssi Vanhala of Finland in 36.72 seconds).
  • The current World Rubik’s Speedcubing Champion is teenager Breandan Vallance (left, centre of podium) from Scotland, who won the title in October last year, with an average solving time of 10.74 seconds.
  • On 20 December 2008, 96 people in Santa Ana, California broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people solving a Rubik’s Cube at once.
  • On 11 April 2009, Adam Morgan solved the Rubik’s Cube in around 47 seconds while in a freefall skydive! (LionCityMum: I won't be putting that into my Bucket List anytime soon)

Note: All these facts are correct as of 1st February 2010. Please check the website for the latest information on Speedcubers/Speedcubing records

Fun Cube Facts
It is estimated that one eighth of the world’s total population has laid hands on the Cube. (LionCityMum: Hmmm...)

In Britain, the ultimate collectible of 1981 was a Rubik’s Cube showing Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Frau Schmit of Dusseldorf, Germany sued her husband for divorce in 1981, citing the Rubik’s Cube as co-respondent: “Gundar no longer speaks to me and when he comes to bed, he is too exhausted from playing with his Cube to even give me a cuddle.” (LionCityMum: Hmmm?)

With over 350 million Rubik’s Cubes sold worldwide, if all the Cubes were placed on top of each other they would reach the top of Mount Everest a staggering 1,937 times! (LionCityMum: Let's not! The toppling won't be pretty)

In 1992, the UK’s Prime Minister John Major used the Cube to demonstrate to his TV audience the virtually insoluble complexities of the Maastricht Treaty. In November 2009, when EC President Jose Manuel Barroso presented the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt with a Rubik’s Cube to congratulate him on solving the puzzle of gaining consensus on the new EU appointments, following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, he chose to do it live – on worldwide TV!

The most expensive Rubik's Cube ever produced is the Masterpiece Cube, created by Diamond Cutters International in 1995. This actual size, fully-functional cube features 22.5 carats of amethyst, 34 carats of rubies, and 34 carats of emeralds, all set in 18-carat gold, and has been valued at approximately 1.5 million US dollars.

So compulsive can Cube solving become, it has given rise to two recognised medical conditions amongst some hardcore enthusiasts – Cubist’s Thumb and Rubik’s Wrist. (LionCityMum: Not quite as lethal as the plague of WoW but serious enough)

The actor, Will Smith, star of films such as Men in Black, I am Legend, Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, can solve the Rubik’s Cube in 55 seconds. It was for the latter film that he learned to solve The Cube - with the help of 
Speedcubing champions, Tyson Mao and Lars Petrus.

Teenager Daniel Kaczkowski not only solves Rubik’s Cube while Ripstiking (an advanced skateboard with only two wheels), he also finishes with his eyes closed! (LionCityMum: Another blind challenge?)

Welcome to LionCityMum


Welcome to M.u.m. in Singapore! 
This blog is devoted to identifying and celebrating the joys of being a mum in the Lion City. 

I'm no Martha Stewart but I do subscribe to what she has to say about investing in oneself and improving the lives of people around me. 
"Once you realise that you have identified a passion, invest in yourself. Figure out what you need to know, what kind of experience and expertise you need to develop to do the things you feel in our heart you will enjoy and that will sustain you both mentally and economically." 
I'm passionate about my friends and family and sharing information that will hopefully open doors and ignite new passions!  

I'm hoping to capture the happenings, events that should be on every working mother's calendar! To seek, review and share insights into the world of technology - home appliances, consumer electronics and IT - that enhances our living and interactions with friends and families! 

And last but certainly not the least, to promote, make and serve long forgotten desserts to unsuspecting friends and family! Willing samplers are always welcome! 

From: LionCityMum 

"As we age. we should rage less
and encourage more!"
-- LionCityMum