RSAF Open House 2016

The RSAF Open House is here!

It was a very crowded event, with long queues for the shuttle buses.  But we got there early, and it was worth the wait.  The kids got to see planes and military equipment up close…

… like the F16 in Black Knight colours…

… and the Apache helicopter.

Queues to get up to the cockpit were long, but we got to go up a transport plane!

The highlight of the day was the air show!  We were thankful to get good seats at the grandstand, right in front of all the action.  We saw fighter jets scrambling and taking off as part of a mock intrusion scenario, with loud roars!

There were mock explosives as the attack helicopters simulated air-to-ground firing.

And the crowds were thrilled by the Red Lions display, cheering the parachuters as they landed in front of us!

A very memorable occasion indeed and we’ll be back at the next run!

 

Lower Peirce Reservoir

Have not blogged in ages!

We usually go to the Upper Peirce Reservoir, so we thought we check out the other side! As usual, the boys had their own way of interacting with nature – climbing, running and swinging legs over the water…

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Zeh Zeh, on the other hand, was immersed in insect scouting. It rubbed off on the boys and they too tip-toed around the boardwalk in absolute silence! Kudos to Zeh Zeh who has been well-trained by an Insect enthusiast. Zeh Zeh all serious…

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Here are her pics! She still needs to learn how to focus!

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I’m glad she has learned to listen out for the slightest rustle, and to keep her eyes open to movement. Even in the our everyday walkabouts, she can spot orioles flying! 🙂

Excavators

The boys love machines and vehicles, especially excavators.  See our previous posts on Excavators, Bulldozers, Making an Excavator, and Daddy’s Lego Mindstorm Claw / Excavator.   Growing up, they loved the Twenty Trucks music videos too!

So, when we had the chance, we paused to take a closer look:

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Daddy explained that many of these machines used hydraulic pistons.  The best illustration is this boy’s home-made excavator using syringes.

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We also got a chance to view the chassis, or how the tracks support the machine body, which rotates around:

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And best of all, was watching them at work, ripping up the tarmac and scooping up the earth!

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Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Visitor Centre

We brought the kids to the newly opened Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Visitor Centre.  It’s some distance away from the nature reserve, along Kranji Way and nearer to Kranji Dam.

There’re car parks, a small cafe, toilet facilities, and a small gallery where the kids got to learn about the nature of mangrove wetlands and the wildlife.

We were very happy to see such concise information presented in a friendly and visual manner, introducing the richness and diversity of our coastal habitats.

Nothing beats going outdoors!

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… exploring the nearby trails…

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…and bouncing along the suspension bridge…

The kids came close to a monitor lizard, observing it from a few feet away…

We got to the nearby observation pod, and gamely climbed up to get fantastic views of the estuary…

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We played at the play areas, and made friends with the smiley mudskippers…

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But the highlight of the day was…

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… spotting the estuarine crocodile!

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Wooden Car (Part 2)

Having made the bottom chassis for Kor Kor’s wooden car, it was time to add the upper part.

This time, Daddy had additional tools; a mitre box and a wood saw.  First, some lessons on the saw, and how it was different from the hacksaw that Kor Kor used the last time.  Kor Kor observed that the teeth were in alternative directions.

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Saw away!

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As we wanted an aerodynamic form, Daddy had to help saw away a wedge.  Well, we didn’t have a sander.  When it was done, it was time for Kor Kor to nail the pieces together.

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…Viola!  We used the small wedge as the tail spoiler.

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Wooden Car (Part 1)

Daddy thought that Kor Kor could build his own toy car as a way to pick up some simple woodworking skills!  We had salvaged old wheels from his damaged toy McQueen car from 3 years ago…

Having planned it out in Daddy’s head, we bought cheap pieces of wood from Daiso, as we didn’t have any other neighbourhood alternatives.  Kor Kor sawed the pieces to length.

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To fit the axles, we needed to drill.  This was of course done with Daddy’s help, as the drill was quite heavy…

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Once we got the drilling done and the axles put in place, it was time to nail them together, first by marking out the positions carefully…

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In one session, Kor Kor got the bottom chassis made!

Tamiya Motorcycle

As part of Daddy’s focus on STEM education, we got a Tamiya model kit for Kor Kor from a trip to Japan.  Prices are much cheaper there!

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Without ado, we started work,  familiarising ourselves with the pieces and following the steps.

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For some parts it involved gluing the pieces…

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…while a screwdriver was needed for others…

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Daddy helped to do the complicated parts, such as wiring the motor to the battery holder and bending the handle bars.  It was enormously satisfying for Kor Kor as he saw his motorcycle take shape…

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… viola!

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The motorcycle works on a single AA battery connected to a switch and motor.  This powers a rubber band drive train at the back wheel.  The wheels are thick enough for the motorcycle to stand on its own.  Whilst the model can turn, well, there is no other control, so it will go generally straight on until it hits something.  It’s a simple well-made model that can be completed in one or two sessions, relatively easy with adult supervision – high recommended!

Pulau Ubin 2015 (Part 2)

So, what did the kids do in Pulau Ubin after we had our coconut drink?

At the village, we got them to observe the different buildings and shophouses; ones you would find in many villages in Malaysia and Indonesia, but rare in Singapore.  And well, I mean, well; a contraption they’d never seen before.

As first-timers heading out of the village, we took the simplest and shortest trail that would be most suitable for them, the loop leading to the Sensory Trail.

We walked past fenced-up properties, fruit trees, timber houses.  “Would you like to stay here as your vacation home?” asked Daddy.

“Too hot!  Too many mosquitoes!”  quipped the city kids.

Passing by a pond with water lilies, we paused and the kids pulled out their little sketch pads.  Even Shayne too…

Water lilies!

Continuing the walk, we went past fruit trees and other plants along the Sensory Walk…

… and past a few ponds where folks were fishing and catching crabs…

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…before heading back towards the main village.

It was a fantastic trip and it won’t be our last!  Next time, we’ll plan to take a tour to Chek Jawa, and be better prepared for a longer day out!

A final farewell…

 

 

Pulau Ubin 2015 (Part 1)

We decided to bring our city kids to Pulau Ubin for a 1/2 day excursion!

The kids were excited when they got to Changi Ferry Terminal and saw the bumboats.  They have been to Batam before, and couldn’t quite fathon that Ubin was an island in Singapore…

Once on the bumboats, the excitement grew as the boats throttled away from the mainland and across the Straits.

Very soon, we reached Ubin!  It must have been almost 20 years since Daddy set foot on the island.

The kids had to get used to a few things, like wild dogs, roads with no sidewalks…

…but it was just as crowded as any mall in the mainland!  Many hikers, cyclists and bicycle rental shops…

We sat down to have a drink of refreshing coconut juice…

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…before setting off for our walk!

to be continued…

Changi Point Coastal Walk 2015

Fast forward a few years, from our previous post, on our outing to Changi Point Coastal Walk.  Zane is bigger already and even Shayne is running about!

We started out near the Ferry Point, and being a wet morning, saw…

… snails…

… and hornbills!  It was the first time that the kids saw hornbills in the wild.  (Btw, this is one of Singapore’s successes in biodiversity over decades of efforts and collaboration.)

The kids were excited once they saw the sea…

…and enjoyed playing on the boardwalk…

Around the corner, near the chalets, we spotted more wildlife, like a gecko…

… and a not so ‘live’ fish.

The waterfront is really about sandcastles by the beach (by others), with a picturesque background of sailboats…

… bumboats and diesel-scented air…

… and running free!

Finally, it was a long walk, and we ended near the SAF Changi Seaview Resort…

… and headed back along Netheravon Road, where the roadside boardwalk framed the majestic trees.

Lovely, corner of our island; we’ll be back again!

 

He has made everything beautiful in its time – Ecc 3:11