Saturday, July 26, 2014

A different birthday at Balik Kampung

Instead of dining in a restaurant to celebrate my birthday, this year, I decided to do it slightly differently. A more down to earth approach. Remember the group, Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) that I mentioned previously on my blog on Bottle Tree Park and that one of the programmes I intended to attend in June? This is it!

"Ground Up Initative is a place to connect with the earth. We are a community of volunteers - of Thinkers, Warriors and Farmers. Thinker doesn't mean book smart - it means holistic and compassionate thinking - looking at the whole. By warrior I mean people who are hands on and have mental resilience - they are adaptable and have inner strength. And to farm is to connect with the land. It grounds you. You understand in a deep sense that what you plant, you will reap. 

GUI is a place where all are invited to come and learn what true kampung spirit really is. It is a place to connect and heal. You come here to learn to connect with yourself then to those around you. People who come here find comfort, peace and clarity. They find purpose and meaning. We have people of all ages and all walks of life. They do not live here but come on weekends to participate in the activates: farming, cooking, carpentry. Some just come to take their shoes off and walk in the stream. It's a kind of leadership training - life training. You learn to care. You learn what is important to you and how to build towards it, to speak up for it. "
- Kampung Chief Tay Lai Hock 

I signed my whole family up for a programme known as Balik Kampung in June. We were actually late on that day. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! The programme starts at 9am and ends at 1 or 2 pm. We saw the gang proceeded with morning exercise just outside SL Kampung. Then we were to find someone new and introduce ourselves to each other. I realised many are volunteers. Then we were divided into groups. Cooking, planting or woodwork. We got to choose what we wanted to do. Children were being asked to play kampung games as it was raining outside. Otherwise, they would be ask to rack fallen leaves- important nutrients for growing plants. Very organic right? They do not use chemicals.
A different sort of birthday celebration with Mother Earth , I decided to get my hands dirty and did some planting...

and at the same time, bring Little One closer to Mother Nature. The kids here had fun filling up the bags with soil. Some of the kids decided to help us out. Little One, too , tried to fill up bags of soil for planting. She did a few, then started to play with the soil.
The volunteer with the children. GUI is into recycling, of course!
I think the place looks really nice. I particularly like this lamp. I wonder whether they make that themselves.
Chalk on wooden blocks. Who would have thought of that? You could also used markers though.

The rickshaw that looked so antique

Wow! Trishaw! I doubt I have seen one this colourful!

A spider spotted in the nursery

After a morning of hard work, we had lunch made by the chefs. The cleaning process is rather new to me. All of us are used to cleaning with detergent. But the process we are going to be introduced is quite unheard of. First you get to clean by rubbing coconut husk on the used plates, the used coconut husk will be used as a compost for plants. Then wash with a plant based powder which was mixed in water. After that, raise in a couple of basins of clean water.

The session ends by listening to a story shared by a volunteer of GUI. Then, we were to do a sharing session by splitting into groups and discussing about what we have learnt from the story and what have we learnt for this trip.


I love being near to nature. I love learning about how to make our life more sustainable. I am glad I learnt a few tips on how to plant. Most importantly, I learnt we can actually clean up our utensils in a more eco-friendly way. Wait till I get my hands on that powder, I shall share on my facebook page.

GUI is an interesting group. They have been appearing in libraries programmes and even the recent Singapore Heritage Festival.  Thank you GUI for making my birthday so memorable, I do hope to see you again!

Sweet Day's Lifebook

This post is part of the "Care for the Earth" series

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Little development (Apr to Jun 14)

1.  Imagination grows wild!
Little One imagination has grown wilder than before, nowadays, she keeps "pestering me" to participate in her "Flower Fairy Show", which is sometimes quite tiring. At other times, she keeps insisting there is a baby in my tummy. I am pretty sure there is none though.

2. Learning to accept wider range of food choice.
She is accepting and requesting for food which she used to dislike. Eg Apples.

3. Learning to spell
Currently, I am only making her spell 2 letter words. The longest word that she knows to spell is "SINGAPORE". That was quite an impromptu decision to do so.

4. Cooking
Unfortunately, we have yet much development besides the usual washing and mixing of ingredients. We only did some pancakes together. However, it is noted her cutting skills is starting to improve with quite cutting up of roti prata and pancakes.
5. Drawn to nature
Due to the pretty bloom in late March and early April, I managed to get her to be slightly more interested in nature. Hopefully, in the process she gets to be more observant about things going on around her.

6. Exposure to Chinese Ink, Batik Painting and creating a Clay Bust
These are some crafts which she learnt in the library.

7. Gearing up on her addition and subtraction skills.
She is adding and subtracting within 10 without much problem.

8. Exploring the soil, sand and sea
I love the idea of exposing Little One to nature. These are some of the things I had exposed her during the June holiday. We went Balik Kampong where she learnt to grow plants with me. Also, by bringing her to Palawan beach, she learnt to enjoy the waves and playing with sand and shells.

9. Had her 'first' official dental visit

10. Growth rate
Her growth rate seemed to have slowed down. I am not sure whether it is due to the fact that I had changed her to drinking fresh milk rather than formula milk. I shall be reverting back to formula next quarter and see how it goes. Despite the fact, her growth rate had slowed down, she is now tall enough to post letter at the pillar box located just outside The Philatelic Museum

11. Went exploration in various new places
We went to Singapore Discovery Centre, Kent Ridge Park, Pasir Ris Park and Westgate Wonderland.

12. Progressing to less bed wetting
It is now reduce to about 2-3 times per month.

Urban Art - Graffiti #3

A continuation of previous WW series this month, we continue to explore graffiti.

In Singapore, there are only 6 places where graffiti is legal. 
1) Somerset Skate Park
2) *Scape  
3) National Youth Council at Toa Payoh
5) Bukit Batok Skate Park
6) wall at Labrador Park

Last weekend, we drop by Orchard to have a look at more graffiti.

Somerset Skate Park
A lot of throw ups are seen in this park

What is more entertaining that watching skateboarders doing their stunts?

A graffiti artist at work
 Youth Park ( I am not sure whether this is part of *Scape) 
But I love this on the bench

More graffiti on the walls

PS: Graffiti is considered a vandalism act if it is done without permission.

Linking with :-
The Jenny Evolution