Those interesting cheongsams from Lai Chan

Laichan never fails to surprise with  his new designs.

Two weekends ago, I received images of new denim cheongsams from Eddie, and I thought they look really cool. The replacement of buttons with zip adds a touch of edginess to the cheongsam, and yet it doesn’t lose its character.

There are two designs: one where the zip goes all the way to the hem, and the other ends at the lower thigh. As the fabric is thicker than usual, the denim dresses are not lined, and a little stiff.
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When I checked out the dresses at the boutique two Mondays ago, Eddie told me there was a red denim piece as well, but he couldn’t find it. According to him, it was a pinkish red color with silvery sheen. A day later, he found it and sent me the pictures, and I like it more than the blue denim piece.

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Eddie also sent me pictures of an absolutely gorgeous white cheongsam with floral applique, that will make a stunning wedding dress.

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While at the boutique, I was shown non-cheongsam designs, including these flamboyant oriental jackets, which screams “look at me”. (By the way, those are emu feathers that you see attached to the sleeves.) I have to admit though these jackets are not what I would wear, but I think the celebrities might go for them to stand out at the red carpet.

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During my visit, half the time was spent on the men’s jackets, which Lai Chan has started producing in numbers. The one below is a blueish-grey cape jacket with a removable collar insert. It is made using summer wool which Lai Chan explained the it helps to whisk off heat. Note that the agate buttons are along the side unlike the usual center row, reminiscence of the Chinese long gown of the past.

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A regular black jacket. Note the center seam running  down from the collar? This is seen in almost all the jackets. Lai Chan and Eddie explained to me that this feature is keeping with the traditional cut, where in the past, the old Chinese looms could only produce fabrics with narrow width, and hence the tailors had to sew two pieces to make a panel for the bodice.  Of course, the modern loom can produce the width the tailor wants, but Lai Chan wants to preserve a little bit of the tradition though it makes the tailoring process more laborious. I noticed that the seam only appears on the front panel and not the back.

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An interesting jacket with differing lengths for the front and back. I noted that this is the only jacket without the center seam.

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A long jacket gown befitting of a kungfu master. I’m sure Yip Man, who popularized the Wing-Chun martial art style, would have endorsed this.

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Note that the attention to details is everywhere. On the right picture, you can see there’s a pocket sewn inside the jacket, and on the left, a seam midway along the sleeve. Again, the seam is another traditional feature incorporated into the jacket.

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For those who are hoping to see more dresses instead, I hope to feature more of that in the future. Meantime here is a uniquely Lai Chan design.
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Checking out the museums on SG50 weekend

During the golden jubilee long weekend celebration last week (Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence this year), we were tempted by the various activities organized to coincide with the National Day Parade. One of them was the free entry into the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. There were a couple of interesting exhibits, The Deep, which features animals living in the depth of the ocean, and DreamWorks Animation.

We should have expected that it was going to be crowded since entry was free. After all, the fees for both exhibitions would have costed S$37 per adult. In fact the friendly barista at this specialty coffee joint which I frequent warned me that lines were long and we should be there early. So we took his advice.

When we arrived at MBS at around 10.15am and approaching the museum (which opens at 10am), we spotted people standing in line, and we couldn’t see the beginning nor the end. We suspected this could be the museum line, and walked as fast as we could to the end of it, while a couple of families near us literally ran. Yes, there was a freaking long queue by then,  which was like almost a km long!

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As the queue snaked along, there were signage indicating how long we had to wait. The nearest one read “3 hours”! My husband went ahead to check out, and returned to assure me that wait-time would be shorter than expected because the museum staff were moving people along at a fast rate. True enough, we were only in line for about an hour before we reached the museum.image

It turned out there was a third exhibition: Singapore Stories.image

We were ushered into the elevator which took us to the upper level to the Singapore Stories exhibition. When the door opened, only we stepped out, the rest of the passengers remained inside the lift. My husband then said, ‘Ok, so the staff want us to come here first. Let’s take the next lift down. And when anyone asked, say we had checked out the exhibition, and that the first thing we saw was LKY on the front page papers.” Yep, as you can guessed, there were not many visitors at this exhibition (which is free by the way), and instead most were interested only in the other two, especially DreamWorks Animation.

Down at the basement where the two popular exhibitions are held, there were more lines, and the one for DreamWorks was longer (see picture below). So we decided to go for The Deep first. Lucky we didn’t have to queue for long, only about 15 minutes.

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The promo introduction to The Deep exhibition is “Embark on a breathtaking journey through the oceanic depths and discover the remarkable beauty of deep-sea life in this immersive environment of extremely rare specimens, full-colour photographs and exclusive film footage”. Indeed we got to see many strange looking deep sea creatures, that might even pass off as monsters.

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I admit I didn’t spend a lot of time studying the exhibits, but I think I got the key message, which is the destruction of sea corals which harbor some of the sea creatures and as a result, disrupt the ecosystem. The problem lies is the non-ownership of much of the ocean where it’s free for all to fish indiscriminately. What is happening is that deep sea trawlers use nets to sweep across the ocean floor to catch prized fish, and destroy the corals in the process. These corals take ten thousand years to grow to where they are, and all it takes is a net to kill them in one fell swoop. The environmentalists tried to bring up an ocean protection treaty to the United Nation assembly but no country wanted to ratify it. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, since humans have no qualm about wrecking havoc on each other, so what more the other creatures. This is the tragedy of mankind.

After we exit the deep ocean display, we decided to bite the bullet and join the line for DreamWorks. Buddy was attracted by the dragon display hanging overhead.
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Here we have the penguins from Madagascar representing the animated film company.
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Upon entry, we were greeted by a roomful of beautifully sculpted figures and amazing illustrations of the famous DreamWorks characters.

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Look at this intricately made garden of Mr Peabody from the movie “Mr Peabody and Sherman”!

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Here we have the “Madagascar” display. Seriously I am impressed by how much painstaking effort goes to producing an animated film. The attention to details is incredible!

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Figures from “Moses”.

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“How to Train a Dragon”
There is a short 3 minutes clip showing the view from the perspective of a flying dragon. Though short, the artwork and direction is breathtaking. My husband suggested we get the DVD of the movie for Buddy.

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We only noticed the below dragon figures when we were about to depart from the museum. Buddy called them “dinosaurs”.

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This was the queue after we left the museum. It might be really 3 hours wait in line for the people.

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We went to the National Museum on Monday (the day after national day) since it was the last day of the children’s exhibition. Thank God it wasn’t as crazy as the Artscience Museum, maybe because admission is free even on regular days.

There were handicrafts and plays set up for the kids. But perhaps Buddy is not old enough or that many of the exhibits didn’t entice him, he didn’t show any interest in most of them. Instead we checked out the handicraft section for him to have some fun. For a S$2 donation, we got a craft box to make a puppet (Buddy chose a squirrel). Though it ended up my husband and I were the ones who worked on the crafts. I made the puppet while my husband made an origami bird, and Buddy spent the time playing with a paper plane my husband had first made for him. (Well, he did color the two squirrel hands.)
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There was a garden playground made using plastic bags. It was at this place that all the kids including Buddy had a blast.
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So it was basically a museum weekend for the family, which was pretty good since it was Buddy’s first visit to one (or in this case two). But we have learnt that there is no point taking advantage of freebies, because after we left the ArtScience Museum, we couldn’t find a lunch venue at MBS. The whole place was packed to the hilt, even getting a pita takeaway at Pita Pan took hell of a long time. We ended up going back to Raffles City mall for lunch in the mid afternoon. Instead of paying money, we paid with our time.

And they are truly delicious

On the title, I am referring to the bakery, And All Things Delicious, which I discovered a month ago after my husband sent me an article on a list of  bakeries that cater to our Muslim friends. It’s halal-certified, which means no pork and no alcohol, but the products are yummy.

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Located at 462 Crawford Lane, #01-61, it is on the ground floor of a HDB block, alongside a Chinese restaurant, hardware and kitchenware store, and next to a Bistro. The mix of retail and F&B stores is rather strange, and yet interesting. Anyway, if you decide to take the train there (which I have been doing), you should alight at Lavender station, walk past the immigration building, and continue along the road until you see a HDB block ahead of you, near a traffic junction. Follow the left turning of the road as you walk under the sheltered walkway, and you will reach this cozy little bakery cum cafe.

AATD offers a light and healthy lunch menu, which I haven’t tried any yet, as I have been more interested in the sweets. But I will definitely get lunch there during my next trip.
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If you are looking for beautiful looking cakes or those with fondant icing, this is not the place for you. Instead you find good quality, no frill cakes made with passion. There are not a wide selections, but the taste rivals that of the more prominent bakeries. Like the carrot cake for instance. Personally I don’t like those with raisins in them, and thankfully AATD version has none of that, and is covered with lots of chopped walnut which I love. I find that it is almost as good as the one from Cedele. I said “almost” because I wish it has julienned carrot in it, like the one from Cedele, which adds crunch to the texture. Other than this, the cake is wonderfully moist with a lightly sweetened cream cheese frosting.

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Here at the window display, there is the mushroom gruyere quiche on the left, and scones. On a regular day, only two types of scones are available: Gula melaka and orange cranberry. Most scones I tried tend to be a little dry and rather crumbly, but not these, which are moist. I like both: in the former, there is a light saltiness imbued into the sweet palm sugar, while for the latter, the cranberry adds a nice crunch to the texture.

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I understand that the sticky toffee pudding is rather popular, but I must say I am not a fan of sticky toffee and so haven’t gotten myself to try it.

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There are two types of brownies available: the cherry brownie and the salted caramel brownie. I tried the latter which I was told is less sweet. Though I am not a fan of salted caramel, I fell in love with it! Again the mix of salty and sweet makes for a yummy combination. In fact I like it more than the Gula Melaka cake which was unexpected since I love palm sugar. I gave Buddy a taste of the brownie and he demanded to finish all of it.
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I will be making another trip to AATD to try other cakes available. Admitted the location is not very convenient for me, but the delicious food more than make up for it.

Cheongsam news for the month

The news on cheongsam have been a little slow lately. But here are some updates for the cheongsam lovers.

Mama & Misse

M&M has re-opened its store at International Plaza mid of this month. I haven’t been there to check out yet, but have seen some photos posted on its FB page. I must say the dresses do look rather pretty though they are more suited for formal wear.
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I like how the above geometric-print gives the cheongsam an interesting modern look while retaining it’s traditional design, and it’s my favorite of the four. The prices of the dresses range between S $288 to S $468.

Joli Pretty

JP launched its latest 13th collection last Thursday in the evening, a change from their usual 3.00pm launch. Though there are some “new designs” (at least from JP) out of the 10 dresses, the offerings are not exactly enticing. In fact they are more or less slight variations of the usual simple look, and nothing stands out in the prints or style.
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The below wrap dress reminds me of a similar design from Our Bitsy Prints, except that unlike the latter dress, this has a back zip and no pockets.
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The only dress that caught my eyes is the one below with scalloped hemline.
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Sissae

Sissae celebrates its 4th anniversary by giving 10% discount for its latest collections on its online store. If you have eyeing them, you can take advantage of this offer.

Lark & Peony

L&P will soon launch a two-piece cheongsam attire to cater to customers requesting for something that they can easily move around in, like riding on a bike. So L&P created this prototype of a cheongsam top with matching shorts. The design will be launched in batik and African prints.
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To be honest, I’ve reservations about the matching set. Maybe it’s the print, but it looks a little “aunty” to me. I rather get a simple cheongsam top and match it with jeans, tights or separate shorts.

Being dino-mad

I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts that Buddy loves dinosaurs. In fact you can say he’s dino-mad. Half of his closet are shirts with dinosaur prints, and so are half of his pyjamas. He also has dino socks which I managed to find at Mothercare, though out of the five pairs in the pack, only three have dino prints.

For a very long time, he wouldn’t want to wear anything that doesn’t have dino on it. I had to resort to hiding his dino shirts to make him wear something different. Thank goodness he is now more open to wearing non-dino PJs. But for going-out shirts, dinos still rule.

A few days ago, I made a dino hat for him. I bought a bucket hat from Cotton On Kids for only S$2 and ordered dino appliqués from Etsy, which I then ironed on the hat and reinforced with some stitching. Lucky I did that because Buddy tried pealing the appliqués off.
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Then there are lots and lots of dino stickers that I bought for him, which ended up with them stuck everywhere in the house and the car. Problem is Buddy doesn’t like to stick them on papers to make a picture. Instead he likes to use them for make-believe play and then stick them anywhere convenient when he is done playing.
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Sticker on the couch

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Stickers on computer table

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Stickers on bathroom counter wall


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Stickers on his desk

Naturally there are stickers on the clothes, which I usually only realized after laundry, and even on the floor.

Buddy also loves to play make-believe with his dino figures, like organizing a party for them. He will make a dino strawberry cake for the birthday dino, and invites us to the party, “mama/papa, do you want to come to my party?”

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The birthday dino


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The dino friends

My father-in-law bought Buddy a big battery-operated Triceratop toy that moves and makes loud sound for his 3rd birthday, but it scares him and so we removed the batteries. Even then Buddy rarely plays with it; it seems Triceratop is not his favored dino.
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Buddy didn’t have any fluff toys when he was younger because of his eczema problem. But a few months ago, we got him a fluff T-Rex (as expected his name is “Rex”), and thank God it doesn’t caused any skin irritation so far (though I do wash it regularly). Still, Rex isn’t Buddy’s must-have bedtime companion. Instead it’s his beloved doggie cushion which he has since he was much younger (it’s his lovey).

Of course dino books are a given whenever we go to the library. That’s the first thing he will search for. We always have to borrow a couple of dino books during each trip, not just stories but also information on the dinos.

I’m not sure how long this love affair with dino will last, but I must say my knowledge of dinosaur has grown thanks to Buddy. Previously I only knew of T-Rex, but now I can recognize a lot more of them. Anyway Buddy tends to be rather specific and focused in his interests, and so maybe this particular interest will turn into a deeper passion.

Enrichment for Buddy

My husband and I are pretty cautious about signing up Buddy for enrichment classes. So far, he is only attending two classes a week: My Gym and Berries. We sent Buddy to the former last year to build his self confidence (at the advice of his teacher). When that ended, we then put him in the Speech & Drama class at Lorna Whiston (also on advice) before we cut that short, and return to MG. We sent Buddy to Berries for Mandarin enrichment class. So far, he has only been to three lessons so far and it seems like he’s ok with it and may even be enjoying them. The thing about Berries is that there are no parents in attendance unless it’s a trial class when exception is made. So Buddy wails whenever I leave him behind, but he’ll calm down soon after. We hope that this will allow him to be more independent and less clingy. The reason why we are putting him through Mandarin enrichment is for him to have a good foundation in the language.  Otherwise, it’ll be torturous for him in primary school when the curriculum requires a basic level of understanding. I have heard enough stories from parents whose kids hate Chinese so much that it became a nightmare for them.

I speak mainly in Mandarin to Buddy while my husband speaks to him in English. This is again on the advice of his daycare teachers who told us last year that he didn’t appreciate the Chinese songs despite being in a bilingual environment. We realized that if we didn’t want him to detest the language, we had better do something about it while there was still time. I must say it has been effective, and Buddy will converse to me in the language now. I also read to him in both English and Mandarin during bedtime.

Still, I can’t teach Buddy the Chinese language because, honestly, I don’t have the fluency due to the fact that I don’t use it much. My husband fares even worse; the only time he learned the language was at an elementary business Mandarin course taken donkey years ago, which he totally forgot not long after it ended. His comprehension level is similar to Buddy (in fact Buddy actually knows more words from speaking with me). So now that Buddy attends Berries and brings home the Chinese characters he learned in class, my husband is learning along as well. But he can’t stop griping, “why the hell is the language so complex?”

Anyway we chose Berries for Buddy after I did some online research, and found that it is the most popular Mandarin enrichment provider, and the lessons are taught in a fun manner to encourage learning. We were very lucky to get a slot in the weekend since classes are filled up rather quickly because of the high demand. The fee is non-refundable even if we terminate mid-way, but I paid for the whole term anyway, since, unlike Speech and Drama, Chinese language is a necessity, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll enjoy the classes. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear him singing a song, a couple of days ago, that he had learned in the class. I’m also pleased that he’s able to recognize most of the Chinese characters taught. He hasn’t started writing yet, which I understand will begin next year.

I know there are many kids who are going for more enrichment classes than Buddy, but I guess it’s probably because they are not in daycare, We only want Buddy to attend classes that will provide real value, and right now we don’t see any point in sending him to Math, music or reading lessons. Instead, for the past seven months or so, we provide in-house enrichment for him where we have a weekly schedule of activities that he works on almost every night after dinner, using learning products from The Learning Journey.

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Like Monday night is counting. Initially we had Buddy learned to count using the match-it puzzle pieces from The Learning Journey. Now, we got him to learn addition and subtraction.  However we realized that he still doesn’t really understand the concepts of add and subtract, and so we used actual objects like his toys and even fingers to show him what they really mean. But he is still a little confused, and I suspect it’s because he cannot visualize yet in his mind the concepts. We tried showing him how 1 + 1 = 2 using his dino figures and he was able to count the actual objects. But when asked, without the objects, he is lost. So we’re still working on it slowly.

We’re also working on Buddy’s spelling, which he has an easier time picking up. We also started with TLJ product but it soon became clear that Buddy was able to do it well because of his puzzle skill. So we tried a different tact, and instead asked him to spell the word with only pictures shown, while also testing his word recognition by only showing him the words without pictures.

Puzzle is Buddy’s favorite enrichment game. We exposed him to jigsaw puzzle when he was about 18 months old through the use of ipad app. We later bought him TLJ puzzles when he was 20 months old, starting with the simple 2 to 8-piece shape puzzles. It took him a few months before he could master all. We then proceeded to get more complicated jigsaw puzzles for him: 24-piece and 30-piece. A couple of the 30-piece puzzles were pretty tough like the Fire Engine and the Construction site because of some similar pieces. And Buddy is not the sort who looks at the completed picture on the box to put the pieces together, despite us telling him to do so repeatedly. Instead he looks at the patterns of the different pieces to try to figure out. Of course we had to help him out initially, and eventually he got the hang of it.

Buddy, being dino-mad, has to have dino puzzles, and we got him two: one easy 30-piece and later, a more complex 50-piece. For the latter, it took some time and he is now able to do it on his own.
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Recently we got him to work on a really difficult 63-piece pirate puzzle. Maybe it’s really complicated or that the picture doesn’t excite him but Buddy is reluctant to try it again.
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I’m going to tempt him to work on it again by tangling a 100-piece dino puzzle from Djeco, that once he is able to complete the pirate puzzle on his own, he can work on the gigantic dino one.
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We get other learning products for Buddy as well, and his favorites are the Goki’s Color Assorting Board  and the Djeco Ludo Logic.
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He doesn’t like the Plan Toy memory product as much though.
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We feel that It’s important for Buddy to enjoy learning. So when he gets upset after we press him a little hard on learning addition and subtraction, we lay off  the subject for a while before returning to it. So far, Buddy has been largely receptive to this little enrichment exercise at home, and sometimes, he even insisted on doing it when we suggested skipping for the night when it got a little late. To us, this is a good sign.

Quick updates on cheongsam news

A short post to update all on some news from the online stores.

The Happy Cheongsam
THC is having a sale right now (started on 1 July) at up to 40% off. It covers available dresses and tops from all its past 10 collections.

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Pink Poppies

THC - LPR

La Petite Robe

THC - katwalk

Katwalk

Joli Pretty
JP‘s sale starts today, at up to 65% off. Just like THC, it also covers all past collections.

Fly High

Fly High

Sweet Apple

Sweet Apple

Cloth.ier
The online store is offering discount at up to 70% off, with additional 20% discount for minimum purchase of S$88.
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Our Bitsy Prints
OBP is back after a vacation break, and yesterday the retailer launched its 24th collecton – State of UTOPIA. There are only 6 designs available, including a couple of new ones. Here are some pictures.
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Lark & Peony
LP launched new “Princess” design cheongsam dresses with obi belts  on 1 July. They look good on well-endowed women, and unfortunately I’m not one.

Red momiji

Red momiji

Blue fujisan

Blue fujisan

Emerald Asanoha

Emerald Asanoha

Now that Buddy is 3

When we took Buddy for his 3 – year development assessment earlier this month, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that his height was 98cm (38.6″). We had always felt that he was growing taller, albeit a little slowly, but didn’t know he has grown this much. (I guess, subconsciously, we are hoping he might be like Jeremy Lin.) Of course the development will continue into his teenage years and there will be more charting going forward. Right now, we’re glad he is taller than expected, and his weight has only increased slightly to 13.7kg (30.2 lbs). He has come a long, long way since he was a tubby sumo baby at 3 months old.

So far, Buddy quit the pacifier when he turned two rather easily without any fuss, and since end of last year, he has moved to a big boy bed. However he doesn’t want to fall asleep on his own, he always wanted me to lie down with him. I don’t think it’s because of the dark, though sometimes he says he is scared of the big triceratop toy that grandpa bought him and sometimes it’s T-Rex. Even for his afternoon nap, he wants me to be with him too. It has been a little frustrating for me because I have chores waiting, and sometimes it takes quite while before he falls asleep. I have tried leaving him alone, and he would end up standing at the door looking out into the living room. If not, he will cry when I leave him. I checked out the web to see if there is any effective way to get him sleeping on his own until I read this article from Your Modern Family “Mommy Will You Lay With Me”. Yes, before I know it, the boy will not want me to lie beside him and so I should spend this time with him when he wants to cuddle with me, and gives me kisses. Though I have to admit that sometimes the thought of the chores do get the better of me. Like the author, my husband also told me to spend the time with Buddy while he still asks me to. Besides, motherly/fatherly love is one of the three key ingredients for the mental development of a child (the others being diet and exercise).

There are still a couple of things that I am trying wean Buddy off. First, he still gets up in the early morning, between 4 ish to 5ish, asking for milk. Initially, when he moved into his own room, he would stand at the door and cry after he woke up. After some coaxing, he now comes into our room and stands by my side of the bed and says, “mama, I want milk!” After the feed, he will lie on our bed instead of returning to his. It looks like he wants company during bedtime. Again, I checked online for ways to get him to sleep throughout the night. One suggestion was to change the milk to water, though i seriously wonder if this will work, and I don’t want a wailing child in the early morning when I am still desperate for sleep.

It is obvious that Buddy has developed a habit for bedtime milk. I used to try to give him a full bottle so that he doesn’t feel hungry and wakes up in the early morning. But that didn’t work, and worse Buddy peed so much that he caused his PJ to get damp. I have since reduced the milk by half so that he doesn’t get woken up by the soiled pants. But it looks like he may be waking up because he is hungry.

I am also trying out a reward system. I keeps telling him that if he sleeps through the night, I will draw a star for him, and when he gets five stars, I will give him Emily Train (from Thomas and Friends series). He did it last Saturday morning, and was very happy when he told me he had woken up for the day as he thought he could have the train. But I explained he only has one star and needs another four more. He hasn’t repeated the feat since. Maybe I have to show him the train to motivate him further.

The other thing that we need to work on Buddy is potty training. We bought a potty for him and even put dinosaur stickers on it to get him to try it out.
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He only used the potty once or twice, and refuses to continue after that. Instead, he wants the dino stickers. We read him this book “Dinosaur Doo” about dinos using the potty, and we encouraged him to be like them (since he calls himself a “baby dino”), but he still refuses to comply.

A colleague sent me an article on potty training, and the author wrote that one of the key tasks is that the child has to choose the potty so that there is motivation to use it, and the same goes for the underpants. I understand from the daycare teachers that he is willing to use the child toilet in the center, and actually knows how to pull down his pants and pee into it. But he doesn’t want to use the adult toilet at home. Maybe he’s intimidated by the size. We don’t think it’s advisable to get him a child toilet seat since he’s still not tall enough to get onto it. So I took him to a Mothercare store and he likes the Thomas Train potty. However my husband felt it was too small for him. Instead, he suggested that I removed all the dino stickers from the potty at home and replace with Thomas stickers, like Buddy’s scooter helmet. Perhaps he will be willing to give it a go.

Anyway, I guess it’s obvious by now that Buddy is dino mad. Dinosaur is his fav, followed closely by Thomas Train. He is not into superheroes or transformers, or guns and soldiers. I bought him Superman socks once and he refused to wear them. And it’s very difficult to get him to wear non-dino shirts; same goes for his PJs. It comes to a point when my husband told me to hide the dino shirts so that he can’t find them and is forced to wear something else. Needless to say, I can only get him dino shirts, at least for now. Strangely they are not very common, but good thing that the movie, Jurassic World, is being shown now and there are promotional shirts available.

The phrase “Terrible Twos” is something many parents have experienced from their toddlers.
Buddy has his fair share of tantrums though they are non-violent. He doesn’t throw things and only occasionally rolled on the floor. Basically he just wailed and whined. We usually tell him off with a firm voice, and if he persists, he will have to sit at the naught spot (on the play mat facing the patio), similar to the naughty corner advocated by Super Nanny. He can only get up when he is ready to say sorry.

To be honest, the naughty spot is not exactly a bad place to be. It’s not like Buddy is staring at the wall, instead he gets to look out at the palm fronds, which may be therapeutic. But he doesn’t like it one bit, and so far he only ended up there a few times. Now he tend to stop his bad behavior when we threaten him with the naughty spot.

We usually use the star reward system to persuade him to do as we say. We tell him, for instance, if he takes a nap, he will get a star sticker. Initially, he would get a toy of his choice after he accumulated 20 stars. I now up the ante to 30 stars since he was able to achieve the feat within a month. I must admit it doesn’t work all the time though, especially when he is upset.

We had a parents-teachers meeting at the daycare last Saturday, and was happy to learn that Buddy has improved a lot since he was in toddler class. He is more participative, more sociable, and has developed self-confidence. He has also learned how to communicate with his friends, like asking them to play instead of getting their attention by patting on the back. Like what my husband always says, “it doesn’t matter how Buddy compares vis-a-vis other kids as long as he shows progress”.

The amazing cheongsams from Lai Chan

Last week I visited Lai Chan boutique again, hoping to see some new designs. Eddie, Lai Chan’s brother, told me that the new collections are again delayed because of custom orders, but they managed to complete a couple of pieces. As expected, they were sold out in a jiffy once they hit the store. Thank God Eddie managed to take a few pictures before the customers collected them! Check out this interesting denim design! It is a cool rugged look.

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Take a look at this cheongsam with unique rope binding and wooden buttons. I find it absolutely gorgeous!

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It also comes in red (see below), but I thought the bright yellow looks better. Some customer has the same view and bought the yellow dress (again, thanks to Eddie for providing the above pictures).

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Here is a stately looking dress, glammed  up with beads and ready for formal occasions.

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For those looking for office wear, there are dresses in polka dot prints and come in navy blue and black. Personally, I prefer the navy blue with the contrasting white buttons. The black version looks like something a school teacher or principle will wear. It has a no-nonsense feel about it.

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Another cheongsam for office wear, made even more convenient with back zip instead of the usual buttons.

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A whimsical design from Lai Chan, with a zipped front panel and a crochet pocket. I think a mini version of this dress will look good on little girls.

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Check out this new design: a cheongsam capelet. It even has a Burberry-print binding. It can be an alternative to the cardigan or jacket, though it’s not something I will go for.
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This time, there are more cheongsam tops available, and the designs are beautifully done. Look closely at it.
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The top is not made from a whole piece of fabric unlike the usual blouse. It is actually different colored blocks of varying shapes sewn together. The workmanship is simply astounding!
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Below is an amazing-looking blouse, and I really like the assymetrical length and the combination of different fabric materials.
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Look at how the different fabric pieces are sewn seamlessly together. It’s a stunner!
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Eddie told me that, hopefully, the new collections will be available in July, and he will alert me when they hit the store. I can’t wait to check them out.

True Freedom and True Love?

During the past couple of months, I have been receiving messages from some Christian friends urging us to stand up against the liberal views of the LGBT community. (If you’re wondering what LGBT stands for, it is “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender”.) Apparently, some Christians are convinced that the LGBT community has dominated the media, and is now trying to impose its lifestyle on the rest of us, and would eventually lead to legalization of same-sex marriage. What horror! Think of the damaging influence this will have on our kids!

The latest outcry from the Christians came from this article True Freedom and True Love: a love note to the supporters of Pink Dot, supposedly written by a young lawyer. (FYI, Pink Dot is an annual rally in Singapore that supports the LGBT community and promotes inclusiveness and a freedom to love.)

Anyway, the letter,  written in an obfuscating style typical of the legal profession, is less of a love note and more of a biased and presumptuous I-Am-Right & You-Are-Wrong message. It states that only a marriage between a man and a woman is considered true love and only such union can have true freedom. Hmmm… now I wonder who are imposing their views on others. My question to these Christians is what made you so damn sure that your views are right and that God is on your side? I cannot remember that in the bible Jesus called on us to condemn the LGBT community. There are several mentions in the book that he socialized with the marginalized and the down-trodden, and was very compassionate towards them. In fact, I myself is convinced that if he was to appear before us today, he would have LGBT friends and accept them as they are. And I am also sure that Jesus would get heavily criticized by the righteous Christians for that, just like he was criticized by the Sadducees and Pharisees in the bible.

I’m not sure what’s with this obsession with the LGBT community, but I feel there are serious human-right issues  that we have to grapple with than to worry about same-sex marriage. I don’t see any outcry over mistreatment of foreign workers nor anyone from the Christian community standing up for their welfare. For instance, how come there is no open letter calling for better protection for foreign workers against employers’ abuses? We have a modern-day indentured slavery within our midst: low-wage foreign workers took up huge loans to come here for jobs, so that their families can have a better life. Some of them are cheated of their salaries by their employers and others are abandoned when they are injured. If this lawyer author is so full of love for fellow humans, shouldn’t he be fighting for the rights of these workers? How about we start questioning the Ministry of Manpower why we allow agents to charge these workers an arm and a leg to work here? These workers build our roads and houses, but the mentality among the locals seems to be that they should be kept out of sight and we don’t want them near us.

And why is the Christian community not up in arms over the proliferation of Singapore Pool betting stores in the heartland? Isn’t that a subtle encouragement for gambling among the populace, which is far worse than the LGBT issues? Or perhaps, spending money on the lottery is alright; let the hoi polloi have some fun throwing money away, but same-sex marriage is dangerous. (Of course the fact Singapore Pool has government endorsement is not lost on anyone.)

Anyone who calls himself a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. But really, do we understand the teachings of Jesus? He was the social conscience of his time, a person who went against the norms. He came into the world with nothing, and left with nothing, and he urged his disciples to accept only the basic essentials of what others gave them and nothing more (rejection of materialism). He enjoyed the company of prostitutes, money-lenders, tax-collectors, the outcasts and the poor. He called on followers that when they were slapped on one cheek, to offer the other cheek, one of his many unconventional philosophies, even by today’s standards. So I think it’s apt we should ask ourselves, do we truly follow Jesus’ teachings?