The weather in Singapore right now seems to be giving competition to the Agni Natchatiram summer in India. Making it worse is all the trees outside our apartment suddenly being trimmed as much as they could be. With no signs of shade anywhere, this hot and humid weather has been driving me crazy.
I have always loved travelling by train during day time since I can happily vEDikkai pAtthufy. From Madras to Mayavaram as the landscape changes from concrete jungle and dirty, smelly rivers like Cooum and Adyar to hillocks, hills, lakes including the huge Chengalpet lake and almost-dry rivers like Paalar to lush green fields and canals with the fields and water bodies inhabitated by cranes, storks and the like and cows and goats happily grazing in the open pastures, it has always been a nice, beautiful journey. The familiarity of the scenes and landscapes feel comforting to me.
Every time I take a train having overhead stretch in Singapore, it is this Madras to Mayavaram route that I remember. The views from MRT in Singapore predominantly comprise only of HDB apartments, private Condominiums and malls barring a few companies/offices. Cut back to the train journey in our vast country – isn’t it filled with nature’s beauty?
I also remember the train journeys in Europe – in the Belgium, Paris, Luxembourg regions. The countryside or so I think it was, were all very, very beautiful with nice independent houses having backyards with horses, gardens and slides and swings for the kids of the house. The cool weather further added to the beauty.
Stepping out of Cathay Cineplex at AMK Hub, I felt that the children deserved a good play time after the movie experience. So I took the escalator to the floor below hoping to see any toy ride-on vehicle which are usually a part of malls. A series of 7-8 different rides like this one below was enough to grab the attraction of both my children and before we knew it, it was already more than half an hour and they both still wanted to play for some more time.
Even as I was writing this post, I coincidentally chatted with a friend on the options for international schools for Student Pass holders. Here are some of my findings. I am putting the disclaimer that this may not be fully correct and you go ahead and cross-verify any information posted here.
For an international school to admit Student Pass holders, the school should have EduTrust certification and this link has the list of schools having EduTrust certification.
In this list, Global Indian International School seems to have the most reasonable fees.
There are 4 Indian International schools here in Singapore and these are the ones having the lowest fees compared to all other international schools. These international schools raise their fees almost every year and the fees are definitely going to only be on the increase. The websites of all these schools have detailed fee structure.
These schools follows the academic year schedule of April to March. Except NPS International School which follows the age criteria for primary 1 as completion of 6 years as on March 31st, the other three require only completion of 5 years of age as on March 31st. So, since a child completing K2 (Kindergarten 2) in a local school in November would already have completed 6 years, they allow them to directly join the last term of Primary 1 from January and move on to Primary 2 from April. It is up to the parents to decide if their child can manage to skip two terms of Primary 1.
Ask anyone who has a child studying in any of these schools and the common complaint you will hear is that there are no adequate number of teachers for all subjects and that teachers keep changing often. But, when, at the end of the day, a majority of foreigners here belong only to a community of floating population, that is bound to happen, isn’t it? You also hear varying opinions on the quality of teaching too.
All these schools have school transport services to all areas.
All these schools have at least a thousand students studying in it and it is easy to get admission in any of these schools at any time of the year.
It’s that time of the year again when the postbox of most of the foreigners, read not a citizen or a permanent resident (PR) of Singapore, awaiting primary 1 admission for their child in a local school get the rejection letter from the Ministry of Education (MOE). The MOE website clearly states that there are only limited vacancies in local schools for foreigners and it is better for them to look for alternatives in International schools well in advance. While no one knows how a foreigner can get admission in a local school, from the look of things, it appears that nothing more than luck plays a role in someone getting an admission. Let us first see the procedure for applying for a local school.
In early May this year, we happened to visit NTUC Club’s water park, Wild Wild Wet, during the NTUC May Day celebration. There was some nice water play area and rides for all age groups and even a person like me who is absolutely scared of water could enjoy it. That’s when we saw that there was a resort integrated with this water park – D’Resort at Downtown East.
A browse through their website showed super nice, clean rooms. The very thought of water play everyday during the stay at the resort was very tempting for the children. This place seemed like the perfect place to go on a staycation.
We rarely take a break during weekdays. This is one rare instance when we are doing this and started our staycation yesterday evening. We have one of the rooms of the ‘Mangrove Walk’ series.
This room has all the nice amenities with two big beds, a TV, a double door fridge, a microwave oven, an electric kettle and a clean, spacious bathroom – perfect for a family with kids.
The balcony of our room overlooks the big slides of Wild Wild Wet.
But the ground floor rooms have an open balcony without any grills and there are times when somebody is working on the plants on the other side. Centipedes are a common sight on the balcony too. So it is better to keep the door and curtains closed.
A walk behind the rooms leads to the exit to Pasir Ris beach – a beach with very shallow waves and having dense mangrove behind it.
A sheltered walkway through the different blocks and rooms of the resort leads us to E! Hub which houses the super fun-filled indoor playground of NTUC Club, eXplorerKid. E!Hub is your typical shopping mall of Singapore housing lots of shops including NTUC Fairprice, eateries, several extracurricular/enrichment classes, Cathay cinema Theatres, etc.
Adjoining Wild Wild Wet are several eateries including Pizza Hut, Subway, McDonalds and NTUC FoodFare housing a wide variety of cuisines. Of course, finding good Indian Vegetarian food outside of Little India or Downtown in Singapore, is still difficult. There is an Indian food stall in Foodfare, but for strict vegetarians like me, the smell from the place turns me away from it. For now, I will stick to the veg Sub from Subway.
There is also a Cheers outlet near Wild Wild Wet as well as at the resort.
So, yes, there is everything at or a stone’s throw away from the resort, making it a perfect place for a vacation.
I am enjoying every bit of this much-needed break from the usual cooking-cleaning-rushing crazy daily routine and we as a family have decided to completely relax for one more day after which we will be back to our routine starting Thursday morning.
P.S.: NTUC members, do check out all the awesome offers and promos at this resort.
5 years back, my husband and I wondered just why on earth would somebody want to go on a staycation within a small city like Singapore itself when there are thousands of places to explore all over the world. Today, we have ourselves come on a staycation! On the second day of the staycation, sitting back and watching the kids having loads of fun at the indoor play area, here I am, not complaining one bit and enjoying every moment of this wonderful vacation.
Anybody residing in Singapore and have kids will know that exhibitions/ fairs/ carnivals /seminars related to babies/ children/ kids education is a frequent happening. It has been more than a year now since we became regulars in visiting these.
Today, as yet another old lady started talking to me non-stop in a friendly tone, I only wished yet again that I put in the time and effort in learning at least a basic conversational Mandarin.
Right from the beginning, we have found the elders here to be extremely friendly. Be it the neighbours or random strangers in the bus/train, corridors and other public places, the elders here have always been very friendly. Saying a ‘Hi!’ or playing with the babies or stopping a crying child with just a ‘Sshh!’ uttered in mock anger or exchanging a sympathetic glance with me as I try to calm a crying child or giving kids candies, they are friendly all the time. Be it listening with rapt attention to the Chinese songs our daughter was learning in school or just striking a conversation with us. But language has always been a big barrier when it came to communicating with them since most of them do not know English. In our previous apartment, we had such a helpful neighbour, but, alas, language was the problem. We had to wait till her son came home to communicate anything important. If only I learn Chinese…