Subtle publicity for breastfeeding?

I had something on at the People’s Association headquarters today and was surprised at the number of people who remembered me from “the learning journey”.

Now I must explain that learning journeys were things that PA conducted quite regularly so the fact that I shared at one two years ago really shouldn’t be all that memorable. The project that I shared on was one I am extremely proud of for sure – Ageing Gracefully at Home, a program that provided holistic care for the elderly staying alone in the one room rental flats in Chin Swee. I was glad that so many people remembered the sharing about how we assigned neighbours to the weaker elderly as befrienders who would remind the elderly to take their medicine and generally watch out for the elderly, and eventually expanded the program to even providing nursing care in the elderly’s homes. The elderly were also engaged socially and encouraged to come out for exercise if they could. Nutrition down to the point of arranging for dentures so that the elderly can eat well, and mincing their food in the interim was also cared for by a dedicated community nurse and her team of healthcare aides.

In fact, apparently the sharing about the program made so much impact that it appeared on a feature wall with, shock horrors, my face on it! And what was draped over my shoulders but a nursing cover! 

That was when I realised that what people remembered was probably not the program I shared, but the baby I brought along and was breastfeeding at various points. Advocating for breastfreeding while advocating for elder care – killing two birds with one stone! I wonder how many would notice the nursing cover……

Homemade iced gem biscuits

A child at church brought iced gem cookies to crèche and the kids started asking for them so we made some.

We used this recipe save that I replaced a third of the plain flour with finely ground wholemeal flour.

Sophia’s verdict was the cookie is yummy but not the gem part. Sandra spat it out once it touched her tongue. I Guess they are both Nor fans of super sweet things like meringue, which is fine since neither am I.


Or maybe the title should be unusual baby taste buds because my babies definitely have unusual taste buds.

The older one is quite the opposite of usually kids because she really likes green leafy vegetables. I’m not showing off here because it is really quite irritating that she only eats very limited things and the only thing readily available when we eat out is Chinese style green leafy vegetables, and either rice or noodles (lamian style, not Italian or Cantonese style).

The younger one has a broader palette but I still haven’t quite figured it out. She’s not a fan on chocolate wafer biscuits or sweet treats generally. She loves berries only outside the home (at frozen yoghurt places, on cakes etc when we eat out) but whenever we buy a punnet, she hates them.

And more surprisingly, she likes 龟苓膏, a bitter tasting herbal jelly usually rated with a sugar syrup, even when we haven’t added sugar syrup. Hmm..

Chocolate pokeballs (with Pokemon inside)

Gosh, how do the youtubers make it seem so easy?? It’s incredibly difficult. And mine turned out way ugly.

The concept is easy enough. Melt white chocolate, smear a layer on a spherical chocolate mould. Add red food dye to the melted chocolate, smear similarly. Place in fridge. When set, repeat with another layer. Remove from mould, join a red half with a white half, placing a small Pokemon toy inside, seal with more melted chocolate then pipe on the black line with chocolate coloured black.

What could go wrong? Well firstly coating the spheres was not as easy as the video made it seem, especially to get the sides thick enough. Then when I tried to join the 2 halves together, I tried to just remelt the chocolate that I used earlier and it turned lumpy. I had to make up a batch of royal icing to do the decorations instead but still it was not easy to make the icing stick to the ball.

Also, how do you prevent the yet undried black line from smudging and contaminating other Pokeballs, short oh holding each one until it sets (which runs the risk of melting the ball anyway not to mention being completely impractical).

So there’s the first batch of end product, definitely not a masterpiece but I guess you could say they’re not complete flops either. Glad my daughter is not fussy and is already mighty impressed with these.

Pregnancy insurance – is it really necessary?

This link about pregnancy insurance keeps popping up on my facebook page. Pregnancy insurance is something I have seriously looked into and have some views on. I have resisted commenting on the post even when my friends share it because I have good friends and some family in the family industry and I don’t want to offend them. However today it just popped up one time too many for me to resist.

Here is the link so you have a fair chance to see the original writer’s side of the story and take a view.

In this post, I will be presenting a different view. There, I’ve said it and incurred the wrath of all insurance agents and brokers out there. But let me explain. I am a believer in insurance – where it makes sense. My medical insurance cover is probably higher than most, and I utilise a combination of whole life, term life and savings plans to create a safety net for my family.

Pregnancy insurance is something that I have looked into ever since I conceived my first child. There are many more products now than when I first started looking. However, even with many more products today, none of them make sense for me for the following reasons:

1) They only cover very limited congenital diseases – 18 is the highest I have seen. Compared to the endless possibilities of congenital conditions out there, the chance that the pregnancy insurance will come in useful is slim.

2) Payouts are low relative to potential medical costs if something bad really happens. Generally the idea of insurance is so that you don’t have to worry about medical costs, but pregnancy insurance cover is typically something like $10,000 or less, which is nowhere near enough to cover medical costs for the alcovered conditions or complications.

3) Finally, the so called guaranteed insurability needs to be clarified. The promoters of pregnancy insurance claim that it is great for the unborn child because it gives him guaranteed insurability meaning even if he is born with certain medical condition he will not be rejected for insurance cover. Sounds good right? Well, look more closely. The guaranteed insurability is typically for savings plan, or life insurance, or some other similar very specific savings/investment type product. It is NEVER health and surgical or similar medical plan. That defeats the purpose then. What you need for a newborn is to get a plan that covers medical costs if he/she falls sick, even if the sickness is something he/she is born with. Unfortunately this most wanted cover is not available. Instead, the insured is enticed into getting a life/savings/investment plan she may not otherwise need.

If anyone knows of any pregnancy insurance that defies the above objections, especially item 3, I would like to know about it and would seriously look into it. Anything else is to me not useful. The cover is full of holes and any sense of security you may get out of it is false.

I would, however, urge all Singaporeans to look seriously into a good healthcare plan that covers outpatient treatment. Most Singaporeans are seriously under-covered in this respect. The good ones also cover maternity and complications so you shouldn’t even need to think of pregnancy insurance.

Apart from medical, the second most important cover is to ensure that your life insurance payout is sufficient to provide for your dependants for their lifetime after taking into account inflation. Usually it would not be practical to achieve this with just whole life plans so use a combination of term and whole life if you have many dependants. It is important to note that life insurance here refers to life insurance for yourself and your spouse, not for the children. For the children, what is important to me is that his/her medical expenses are covered, not life insurance.

After this, consider some very basic savings plans as a form of enforced savings. However, if you are disciplined and/or a seasoned investor, then it may be better to just save and invest yourself.

Finally, of course, the usual fire insurance for homes, car insurance. Apart from that, those “special” insurances like pregnancy, or new funky ones like Zika insurance are not worth the money.

*Bracing myself to be flamed by insurance agents and brokers*

Baby speak

Inspired by Daphne (of Mother Inc)‘s post on baby Theo’s hilarious conversations, I thought I’ll post my very own baby’s funny speech. Nowhere near as advanced as Theo’s but equally entertaining (to me).

Frosty ABCs

Sandra: ABCDEFG, HIJK amehmehmo P, qoo ar S, TUV, WXY and Z, now I know my ABCs,

Me: next time won’t you sing with me

Sandra: next time won’t you sing with OLAF!

Missing her Cousin

Sandra: Sarah Lu Sarah Lu where are you? (with a big frown)

Here I am here I am how do you do. (with a huge smile)


Most children who go to childcare centres or kindergarten seems to learn the word “Mine!” quite quickly. Sophia never did but Sandra picked it up quite quickly and uses it often and fervently at home. Sophia has the table turned on her when…

(Enter Stage left Sandra innocently holding a soft toy Eevee by the ear)

(Enter stage right Sophia who spotted Sandra doing this. Sophia sneaks up to Sandra, crouches down to peer at her face)

Sophia (shouting suddenly): Mine!

Sandra: (jumps a mile shouting) Ahhhhh!

Pig coloured diaper

(The background to this conversation is that the supermarket ran out of the girl version of XL sized diapers right at the point we needed to upgrade Sandra to XL, so we bought XL diapers in boys’ blue. Henceforth, she decided that the blue ones are more comfortable)

(During diaper changing as I walk towards Sandra with a pink XL sized diaper)

Sandra: I don’t want!!!

Me: What don’t you want?

Sandra: I don’t want *thinks very hard during a very long pause* oink oink diaper

Me: *strugling not to laugh* then what diaper do you want?

Sandra: booloo (blue) diaper

Mini diaper?

(During diaper changing as I walk towards Sandra with a pink XL sized diaper)

Sandra: I don’t want!!!

Me: What don’t you want?

Sandra: I don’t want pim (pink) colour diaper (she has progressed from oink oink to pim after being laughed at many times)

Me: Then what do you want?

Sandra: mini mini poo 

Me: What??

Sandra: Mini mini poo

Me: *puzzled* mini mini poo?

Sandra: Yes. (Nodding with great relief at my understanding)

Solution to the mini poo puzzle: Mamy Poko aka Winnie the Pooh diapers

EVA Airlines review

Taiwan is an amazingly child friendly place so, come June holiday, we went again. This time, we took EVA Air because it is significantly cheaper than Singapore airlines tickets for the same period (about 30% cheaper) for the dates we were thinking of.

EVA seriously needs to update its corporate colours and logo because it is really not confidence inspiring. Just looking at the logo I had the impression that it is a very backward operation. However, a bit of online research showed that it is highly rated and has a very good safety record. On the back of research through Mr Google, off we went on EVA Air.

The booking of air tickets through its website was easy enough but the system showed that we were unable to select seats because we were travelling with an infant. However, we realised that the bassinet seats (there were only 2) were all booked up. We were informed that the other passengers called in to reserve those seats. So if you are travelling with infant, do call their reservation centre to book your seats. When we asked the air stewardess about the bassinet seats, they tried very hard to be helpful, calling their ground staff, even asking the passengers at the bassinet seats how they got the seats, all on their own accord without us making further requests. They also agreed to help us call their ground staff to reserve bassinet seats for us on the return flight. Throughout all these they kept asking us for information and apologising, they must have come to talk to us more than 10 times throughout the flight on this matter, which is fine for us since the flight is so boring anyway but some may get irritated. The bit that did irritate us a bit though was that they failed to deliver in the end. We did not have a bassinet seat on our return flight.

Apart from the failure to secure us a bassinet seat though, the service is amazing. The air Stewardess came promptly once the call button is pressed and always carried a genuine smile. The food is as good (or bad) as any other airline’s. Children were offered a choice of simple activity kits which my older child appreciated.

In flight entertainment (whether movie choices or magazine choices) is where it loses out significantly to my usual carrier of choice, SQ. Choices were far more limited and movies are listed under its new release section were movies already moved to favourites in SQ flights (I took an SQ flight immediately after returning from Taiwan so could make a direct comparison).

All in all, EVA is a good cost effective option for travelling to Taiwan. Positive points were warm service and good safety record; negative points are lack of bassinet seats on flight and limited in flight entertainment choices. If you don’t speak Mandarin, it may also be less convenient although I did overhear some stewardesses converse with passengers in Engligh and they were proficient.

I still am a supporter of my national carrier, SQ, but sometimes when bookings are done too late, their prices can be a bit ridiculous and that’s when maybe EVA can be a good option.

Where are you travelling to this December holiday? Here’s to a great holiday season for everyone!