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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Railway track along Upper Bukit Timah Road

** updated 04Jul - train has since stop running, but avoid going on weekends, track is packed with people, look at our facebook album link**

Last Sun, Daddy brought Wei to participate in a railway trek along Upper Bukit Timah. Organized by TheGreenCorridor, who hope more people will be aware of Singapore's rich Flora and Fauna Railway corridor.

There are three treks available - "Old Jurong Line", "Upper Bukit Timah", and "Bukit Timah". Over 100 participants met up at RailMall for our Upper Bukit Timah adventure. Jerome (the train-guru from The LongAndWindingRoad blog) will be our guide today. This will be the last weekend trek, before KTM ends it's runs on 30Jun2011.

The Highlights along our track : (copy and paste from Fanpage GreenCorridor )
(1) Truss bridge at Upper Bukit Timah Road (start point)
(2) Girder Bridge at Hillview Avenue
(3) Gated Level Crossing / KTM Huts at Gombak Drive
(4) Widest Level Crossing at Choa Chu Kang Road / Site of the former Bukit Panjang Railway Station

Walking along our trail is also a lesson on history. This bank has been standing here since 1957's !! (Click to read Jerome's link)

We hear a distant Horn, and we quicken our pace to await the approaching locomotive.
Everybody waves and gesture spontaneously when the train pass us by. Even the passengers and driver wave back enthusiastically :)

If you have been reading the news, you will know :
- people are queuing up to buy the last Nasi Brani at Tanjong Pagar (some say Singapore's best Kopi)
- there is a farewell party on 30Jun when the last train pulls into Tanjong Pagar (click for Fanpage)

**Click to read full party-story here**

On 01Jul, Tanjong Pagar operations will ceased, and trains will depart from Woodlands instead. To some, this will mean a closure to their youth memories, when railway was still a popular mode of transport to reach our relatives in Malaysia.

**We heard this bridge along Hill View will be demolished.....

Have you ever try walking on gravel paths along the Railway track? Wei loves to kick the pebbles !

Kids' walk, a lot of parents brought their kids along, and we saw a sausage dog too!
Not many (modern) Singapore kids have a chance to walk on Railway track. But Daddy heard from a friend in those olden days, children studying in schools near railway regularly dash across the track everyday :)

As we had more than 100 participants today, it was not wise to walk on or along the track. Some sections are quite narrow, and the crowd might fall when they try to stay clear of approaching train. (the train is actually very fast, and we do not want any incidents to happen)

When the locomotive rush pass, you can feel the ground trembles, and a gush of wind! This is the third train we spotted this morning, CooL !!

Video : walking down Upper Bukit Timah

.. Walking down History...

**Very soon we saw a gantry blocking us. This is the level-crossing at Gombak, Mindef.

The gate-keeper uncle is responsible to stop all vehicles when a train is approaching.

Jerome explain to us that station master sometimes work long hours, and in the old days, their families will be housed in these buildings. These buildings are now uninhibited.

Crowd waiting to cross the junction.

We are advised to walk on the main road, as we have a big crowd today.

We went past a beautiful Indian temple.

..and a oldies overhead bridge. Is this one of the last remaining old bridge?

**We reach Choa Chu Kang's level crossing, the widest in Singapore (six lanes)

We could not resist paying a visit to our friendly gate-keeper :)

In theory, we are on Malayan land keke

We see LRT and bikes intersecting the railway track at this junction.

The trek last slightly over two hours. This is an experience which money cannot buy. Daddy hopes Wei will remember his "historic" walk along Upper Bukit Timah railway line.

It was unfortunate that Daddy could not squeeze in more time to bring our kid/s to more GreenCorridor treks. Daddy would recommend Upper Bukit Timah for families with younger kids (from age four and above), and you may refer to GreenCorridor's maplink.

If you should be interested to know more about trains or GreenCorridor, do drop by and support TheGreenCorridor's mission. We hope the GreenCorridor (or at least some portions) will remain undeveloped, allowing us to enjoy Nature and it's inhabitants.

Daddy wish more guided tours will continue after 01Jul. There are still so many things for our younger generation to learn about our rich Railway heritage!

Visit out Train album for more pictures -->

You might want to read a fellow participant's experience -->

Visit Jerome's railway stories -->

Our previous blogs on Train
~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
We brought the kids to Johor on a railway last Oct! -->

What will happen to Railway line after 30Jun? -->

Trip to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station -->

**updated 06Jul - part 2 Upper Bukit Timah railway track, with Wei and Kang

Video : interested to see where our Train brought us last round?

Good Bye Railway !!

** updated 04Jul - hello people !! avoid weekends haha **


Monday, June 27, 2011

Police Heritage Centre

As part of this year's Museum Children's Season, Daddy found out about "Police Heritage Centre". It seems that it was open to the public since 2002 (but why is it so low profile?)

The police crest at the main lobby.

Daddy told them we are in Police HQ, must behave.. but kids started giggling.
When will my boys learn to take my word seriously :p

Inside the gallery, uncle Steven explain to us :
- the different police roles (Prison, Riots, Traffic police, Coast Guard)
- how some brave Policemen die in the line of duty. Respect.
- some road name are named after old Commissioners (Dunman Rd, E Tong Seng, Duxton Rd)
- Wei even had an opportunity to photo-fit a snatch thief!

After the tour, kids got a chance to play police.
Daddy could not find those police attire from yesterday when police wear short pants. (direct translation from Hokkien)

Daddy showing boys the correct way to salute keke.

Overall, a fun experience. Our boys now know more about the police, and they understand it is sometimes tough to catch criminal (movies make it look easy). It is a pity that no photographs are allowed in the gallery, and we did highlight that the experience would be better if kids can "interact and role-play", maybe :

- play police catch thief, with baton, handcuffs. Taser would be a bonus :p
- wearing a helmet, riding an old-time police bicycle, or maybe take a spin on Traffic Police's Wrx
(... some points are exaggerated, please do not mimick at home with young kids ..)

Outside the compound, we could not resist posting infront of the drama poster.
Our boys are fans of this 9pm Ch8 show (which just ended 27Jun).
They understand Police motto CLIF stands for Courage.Loyalty.Integrity.Fairness

If you are interested in visiting Police Heritage Centre :
- call 64782123 for an appointment (at least 5 days in advance)
- you will need to furbish all participants' IC number for security clearance
- on the actual day, please bring along your IC/passports for yourself and kids to facilitate your checkin-in process
- Do not drive, as you cannot park in Police HQ. We recommend you take a MRT to Novena and walk 10min.

For more information on Children's Season or Museum activities, visit -->

ps..anybody know the website for Home Team vehicles? If your kids love the Police, view our video taken during last years' NDP mobile column


Friday, June 24, 2011

Dads for Life Conference 2011

Daddy went to 2011 DadsForLife conference at Suntec in May.
Actually, he only stayed for lunch.

Even before the conference starts, Daddy was surprised at the hugh turnout!
A lot of daddies are interested to learn more about how they can become better fathers, and to learn from the gurus.

Nobody is born to be a father, we all learn along the way.
(Daddy acknowledge that Mummies normally have a steeper learning curve)

What's up with the Online buzz? Tweeter, Facebook, Blog ?
DadsForLife would like to engage more Dads through the online medium

Got to know a few new friends, Isaiah (from J Babies) and Patrick (from PatrickPang). Not forgetting Jeremy and Hillary from team Dads. (Wave to everybody)

Interested to know more about DadsForLife?


Monday, June 20, 2011

Changi Airport Singkids, Hardrock, Sunflower, Butterfly

We are not sure which other airports offer so many activities for families, but would you believe we manage to linger at Changi Airport for 6 hours! Last Sat, together with three other families (Edmund, Daphne, Patrick), we were invited to tour Changi's latest activities.

We even got our own special Pass to access Changi's transit areas .. cool !
We started our Tour at T2 transit, no passports needed :p

First stop, FamilyZone. This cosy corner allows Mummies to nurse their babies, while the bigger kids can run at the playground, or watch some cartoons.

Mummies will always welcome some private moments for themselves.

For Daddies, maybe you can bring your boys to view some Sunflowers?

Kids will be treated to more aeroplanes up close.

If flowers do not interest you, maybe Movies and Lan-games?
Entertainment Deck should keep you and kids occupied, while waiting for that next transit flight. Cool xBox and PlayStation are available too !

What about Orchid Garden? This is like a mini-oasis within T2's metal facade.

Arts and craft for creative minds

..although some kids will always be different, and might try catwalk keke :)

Next stop, we hop onto SkyTrain and head for T3.
Pooh Bear greeted the kids as we went pass Cocoa Trees.

Butterflies and pupa, who would expect a Butterfly Aviary housed in an Airport?
Kids love the lifecycle of a butterfly, from caterpillar to pupa to butterfly.

If you are interested in more nature, Koi pond will keep the kids excited.
** note no swimming, fishing and feeding allowed **

A kind uncle supply fish-feed for the Kois. Daddy thought the Kois are hungry, just look at their gaping mouths !

Maybe Wei is hungry or tired, does he look like our Kart driver?
Wei decides to relax in front of a hugh Plasma Console.

We were treated to an early lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (HRC). Yes, we did not know T3 Transit got a Hardrock presence. As kids enjoy their lunch, they can watch the planes cruising on the runway.

Hainanese Pork chop for Daddy, Fish and Chips for kids. Wei and Kang only remembered their Haagan Dazs !

..the blogger parents did realized that the free-internet Terminals conveniently located outside HRC were a major distraction. For today's generation, Internet got a higher priority than meal time !!

**Changi even has a webpage to recommend your Transit options from duration of 2 to 5 hours! Swimming, Nature-trail, foot massage (by Osim or fish), too much to list down.
** A reminder, please remember to board your plane on time haha!

All you techies out there rejoice, free charging for your mobile devices.
No ipad charging yet, and do remember to lock your iphones!

"Let's Play" at T3. This is a mockup "Terminal 1 Control Tower" bouncing castle. We already see long queues when we arrive, and everybody were entitled to 8 mins playtime.

When you are having fun, time flies ! Look at the happy faces.
**Let's play will end on 26Jun2011, and you just need a same-day receipt to bring your kids in

After the running and sweating, our hosts brought us to a quiet corner for some arts and craft. "Kids' Painting Corner" is just next to the slide.

Kids can indulge in SandArt or GlassDeco. Wei and Kang pick Nemo and Bear for their projects.

All the kids were very focus in completing their masterpieces. If your kids love arts, this corner should let them cool down for 30min.

From our previous experiences, we know Changi Airport is hugh and offer expansive areas for kids to run about. Today, we really appreciate the Airport Map for unlocking so many hidden corners!

T3 slide again, we believe this is a must try whenever you are at T3.
Read our previous experience.
Sorry if you are on Transit, this slide is only available to the public area.

**The bigger slide is available for every $10 spent, and the smaller slide is free.
There was a small jam at our slide, try to see who is stuck :)

Kids arrive at Candy Empire. Candies buffet awaits them. They can select all-they-can-eat and tabao (bring home). It is like Kids living in their own sweet dreams !
Ironically, the Candy-Knight might have underestimated the kids attacking prowess :)

No wonder the kids are all smiling, they can play, eat, and have candies all in one day! The Mummies and Daddies are tired by now (almost 3pm), but there is one last playground.

Are you ready for Singkids !

We know SingKids must be very popular, as we arrive to a Full-house!
Let the kids show us how to play !

Our big hamsters

Giant balls, roller-racers, and all sorts of obstacles to swing, climb or simply jump around.
It does not matter, as long as you are having fun !

** SingKids is situated at T3 Basement 2 mall
- $18 for first hour, and $10 for second hours

Fortunately for Daddy, Mummy arrive and pick us up. Otherwise, Daddy suspect Wei and Kang can play until dinner time ! (we broke our Changi record by staying here for six solid hours !)

This plaque says it all, Changi aims to set a high benchmark for service, and Fun-factor.
If Daddy is stuck at Transit, or if you would like to spend a few hours at Changi (fully Air conditioned), read Changi's recommendation below.

- Join Changi Fanpage
- SengkangBabies like Changi Airport because...

Parking is cap at $2.50 for first three hours.

~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~

SengkangBabies would like to take this opportunity to thanks Changi Airport Group's Melvin, Ivan, Yvonne and Joreen for hosting us last Sat. We would like to say a big "ThankYou" to our goodie-bags sponsors too (Cocoa tree, HardrockCafe, CandyEmpire, SingKids, Kids' Painting Corner) !

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