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?

Cheongsam updates again

Shanghai Tang is having its seasonable sale now, with discounts at up to 40% off. I checked out the dresses and picked out some pretty ones. Top on my list is this sophisticated cap-sleeved dress with embossed panel.
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Check out the beautiful fabric panel on the dress and the zip detail along the seam.
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Another amazing black dress in jacquard fabric, featured previously, which also comes in white.
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A simple ivory cheongsam dress with cotton-acetate blend fabric.

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Here’s one with a flare skirt, with an elegant belt to accentuate the waist.

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This is another dress which I had featured previously, under the limited edition range. A beautiful orange floral lace dress that looks really chic with the heeled gladiator sandals.

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I must say Shanghai Tang really knows how to accessorize their dresses. I love how the complementary the belts are.

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Dayglow Vintage is participating in the Public Garden Consumer Trade Show this Saturday at Suntec City Convention Hall 403 (from 1.00PM to 7.00PM). For those interested in their vintage-inspired dresses, do check out the event when you have time.

Since Chinese New Year, Dayglow has only launched a few cheongsam dresses, and they’re all in the same designs: flare skirt with sash. I must say they don’t seem much different from previous collections, and after while, the design gets a little stale.

Dayglow owl dress

dayglow sakura dress

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Hana
Some cheongsams on display.

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I have to say the print on this dress makes me go a little crossed-eyes.

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Another cheongsam news update

Here are a couple of news from the online retailers.

Lark & Peony is having a summer sale for the entire month of June at 20% off on all merchandise. Use the code: SUMMER2015 at the checkout to get the discount. You can choose from the modern cheongsam dresses such as these:

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This dress looks like the collar height has been raised slightly.

Otherwise you can consider the classic cut with an obi belt.

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Or, the peplum cheongsam top.

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L&P has also launched accessories recently, specifically brooch, in cutesy Japanese designs.

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Sissae launched its latest collection a couple of days ago, and called it “Swoon”. I am not sure if I would swoon on the dresses, tops and vests, which are the typical dramatic and over-the-top designs. Most of which are more suitable for formal events, such as this dress with the thigh-high slit. I have to say it’s an eye-turner though, and does look amazing.
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I wouldn’t go for this garish cheongsam dress which would be most appropriate on a “Getai” stage.
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Sissae also has some elegant classic designs with a twist, like this embroidered dress which appears to have an assymetrical side slit.
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Another classic design with beautiful details on the collar.
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A loose fit cheongsam top, which doesn’t look swoon-worthy to me.
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A vest with a stunning back! Just look at the intricate cutout.
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The front view, which has a regal look about it.
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I notice that Sissae tends to use sateen fabric, and as a result, the dresses can be very unforgiving: any bulge will be exposed for all to see. You literally must have a flat tummy to look good. I think the designers should consider other fabrics or look at innovating the designs or cut to flatter the woman’s body, since very few of us have the model physique.

Buddy’s third birthday

I started preparing for Buddy’s birthday one and a half month ago. For him, it’s  not so much about the venue sourcing or invitees, since we don’t hold any birthday party for him. The main reason  being Buddy doesn’t go on play dates. His friends are all in day care since he has been attending one when he was an infant. So we have a mini celebration in school which save me the trouble of getting a party venue and the cost as well. Because of this, I splurge on his toys and the goodie bags for his friends.

I had wanted to get a sculpted Thomas Train chiffon cake for Buddy from Loving Creation for You, unfortunately the date I wanted for delivery was already reserved by another person. Anyway when we asked Buddy what he wanted, he said, “dinosaur cake!” (The boy is very big on dinosaur now.) So my husband suggested we get a rainbow cake from Jones the Grocer and decorate it (like what we did last year).

However as things would have it, Jones filed for bankruptcy in Australia! (I thought it closed it’s outlets in Singapore and turns out they are still open.) I did a little research on where I can get really good rainbow cake and an unexpected source was mentioned: Dean and Deluca. To be honest, we used to be regulars at the first store at Orchard Central. However as time passed, the quality went south, and so we stopped going. Still, I decided to check out the cake at the Far East Square store, and bought a slice for taste – test. The cake, which has a fruity sweetness to it, was a hit with Buddy and my husband, though I prefer the Jones’ version. My husband suggested having it with strawberries as they go well together. So we will add some on the cream icing, and decorate the cake with mini Bullyland dino figures we got from Natures Collection. These small ones are affordable at S$5.90 each and can fit on the cake.
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I also got a Take N play Rosie train from Amazon to go with the dinos. It’s like poor Rosie has ended up in Jurassic Park. (The toys double up as Buddy’s birthday gifts,)

Since we are not throwing a party for Buddy, I decided to splurge a little more on the goodie bags for the kids. I decided on a Peppa Pig theme for the girls and Thomas Train theme for the boys. I bought the recyclable goodie bags from Qoo10 instead of from Melody Gift which the activity books cannot fit in.
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Of course they have their matching activity books. I also added in a hanging PP plush toy, two sticker sheets, a small hand fan, and bookmarks for the girls.
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For the boys, I included a dinosaur squirter (from the Better Toy Store), a sheet of vehicle sticker (pretty good quality ones from Etsy), bookmarks and a small TT jigsaw puzzle.
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Now, since Buddy is the birthday boy, his goodie bag is different from the others. Other than decor toys mentioned earlier, I also bought him a Talking James from the Trackmaster series, which he has been asking for a long tine. He does have his activity book, and in fact I bought him two, one on dinosaur and the other on TT (of course).

So here’s the birthday cake with strawberries added. Earlier I had given Buddy a glimpse of the dino figures, and I asked him what he wanted on the cake. He named the Brachiosaurus, Pteradactyl and the Stegosaurus. It’s just as well, ’cause though I bought quite a large cake, but with the fruits included, there is only enough room for the there figures and Rosie.
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And to complete the themes, I bought PP lunch plates and napkins, as well as dino dessert plates. Here’s Alex looking delighted with the rainbow cake on his dino plate.
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The cake, as expected, was a hit with the kids, with some having cream on their noses as they gobbled it down. When we arrived at the daycare, the teachers told us that Buddy had been telling everybody about the dino cake. They thought it was in the shape of a dino! Anyway, most importantly, Buddy loves it with the DIY decor.

The appalling and the ludicrous

The appalling
Some people might be aware of the humanitarian crisis going on in the Southeast Asian region. We have a  boat migrant disaster at our doorsteps which was about to turn into a tragedy of massive scale. For those in the dark, I’m referring to the Rohinya and Bangladeshi  migrants who are leaving Myanmar in the thousands by boats, hoping to go to Malaysia or Indonesia for work and a new life. The Rohinyas  are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world because they are stateless, deprived of education, legal rights and have very limited or no job opportunities and even no access to adequate healthcare in Myanmar. For the Bangladeshis, they are economic migrants because of the shitty economy in their country, which is basically a basket case.

We know how the Myanmese junta treats it’s citizen, which is bad enough. So you can imagine how it treats the minorities. And worse, for a Buddhist country, some people including monks even resorted to violence against the Rohinyas, partly because these minorities are Muslims. These buddhist nationalists claimed that the Muslims breed like rabbits and will take over the country, killing the Buddhists and imposing shariah laws. So to prevent that, the Buddhists took violent action first, burning the Rohinyas’ villages and chasing them away. Out of desperation, the rohingyas sold off their valuables to pay traffickers to take them to neighboring Malaysia. The hypocrisy of the so-called religious people is nauseating.

The same applies to another predominantly buddhist country, Thailand, where government officials are suspected of involving in trafficking of Rohinyas and Bangladeshis into the country on the promise of sending them to Malaysia for jobs. The migrants were treated no better than aninals during the journey. Recent discoveries of mass graves point to terrible endings for many migrants.

Human right groups pointed to the recent crack down on land trafficking in Thailand that forced the traffickers to send the Rohinyas and Bangladeshi out into the sea. It is terrible enough on land, It was hell in the sea, as the refugees were robbed of anything they had, deprived of food and water, and were abandoned in the boats by the traffickers. It is a bleak sight seeing not just men, but women, children, some very young, and old folks cramped inside the boat in appalling conditions. A NYT journalist reported that when his team approached a refugee boat, the people cried for help and water. They alerted a nearby Thai navy ship of the refugees’ plight, and all the Thais did was to throw packets of instant noodles into the water for the refugees.

The Thais refused to take in the migrants. The Malaysian government (which by the way is a predominantly Muslim country) had initially closed an eye to the initial trickle influx of migrants looking for jobs, but when that turned into boatloads of them, they refused to allow the boats to reach shore. The Indonesians (the biggest Muslim country in the world) also refused to take in the refugees unless the boat managed to reach shore. But after a couple of days, they were considering even sending away those who succeeded.

We know that those junta and nationalist thugs of Myanmar, as well as the useless Bangladeshi government, are wholly responsible for this exodus. But the other Southeast Asian countries should have shown compassion to fellow humans. The act of forcing the refugees to stay in the boats out at sea is condemning them to die. Just because the navy ships gave them food, water and medicine do not assuage the guilt of abandonment.

Thank God the UN and outrage from international community has forced a change of heart, and now both Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to settle the refugees in camps within the country on the condition that they are resettled within a year. The US have also agreed to help to resettle the refugees. I had wondered where was the voice of Aung San Suu Kyi in this tragedy, and even the western media also questioned her silence. It looks like the sad reality is principles can be thrown aside for other interests.

Ironically, the western countries, often criticized for discrimination against Muslims, are also the ones bringing the plight of the Muslim Rohinyas to the limelight. I don’t see any Muslim countries or organizations fighting for their cause. This goes to show all those talks of fighting for Muslim rights are in reality are for purposes that serve their own interests.

The ludicrous
A few days ago, I was watching the local news on TV when there was a segment featuring a musical depicting one tumultuous event of Singapore history: the Hock Lee Bus strike that turned into a deadly riot, and how it affected one family. The musical is called Singapura. (Singapura is the Malay name of Singapore.) When I first heard the name of the musical, I presumed it was to commemorate SG 50 (the 50th anniversary of our independence which is this year). The news segment showed interviews with the composer, the director and a cast member, and it started to get more and more ludicrous.
The reason? A musical about Singapore history with the country’s name as its title, but written and directed by foreigners and it looks like more than half the cast are foreigners. I think the interviewed cast member realized how ridiculous it sounds and so tried defending the situation by comparing the musical to Miss Saigon which was played by Filipinos. My dear, there is a significant difference between that and this Singapura musical. Miss Saigon is a tragi- love story which happens to set during the Vietnam War period, it’s not about the war.

For this musical, the members had to visit the library to do research on this particular history, learn how a Chinese man would speak and learn to speak the local colloquial English, Singlish. All because they are mostly foreigners. Now, would the French engaged an Indian composer to write a musical about the French Revolution, and a Chinese director to direct it, and bring on board a mostly American cast? Do we not have theatre talent in Singapore? Or is it a case of hiring cheaper foreigners?

Cheongsam news (updated)

Let’s  start with sales.

Vourgeois (4th level One Raffles Place) is having a massive sale of at least 70% off. I didn’t get any as I either couldn’t find my size or that I didn’t  like the designs.

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Sissae is having an exclusive preview of its new collection in Singapore for the first time at the Blue Print trade show, and the collection is open to the public this Saturday and Sunday(16 & 17 May) from 10am to 6pm. If you are interested in the cheongsams, do check them out at Suntec convention hall 401 & 402, booth E-02.

Here are a couple of the more recent designs from Sissae.
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There is currently a sale of its current and older collections.

By the way, Miz Apparels is also having a clearance sale of its cheongsam dresses and little girl cheongsams at 20% discount.

Next, we check out the online boutiques. There had been a hiatus among them after the Chinese New Year. They only started launching new collections from March. I haven’t  been featuring them for some time and that is because I was hoping to write about something different instead of just reviewing the clothes. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, the plan had to be shelved.

Anyway, both Joli Pretty and Our Bitsy Prints have launched two collections since March, while Lark & Peony has launched one featuring cheongsam tops. The Happy Cheongsam has been quiet so far, and The Lady General is on an indefinite break.
(Update;) Ming from THC just had a baby and so she is taking a few months off.

JP’s latest collection has only one new design: a shift dress with lace appliqué. It may be that the dress doesn’t fit the model very well, but it doesn’t seem to drape well on the lower half bodice.
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As for OBP, it’s latest collection (launched last night) is vintage inspired and featured a lot of floral or psychedelic prints. Some of them might make your head spin even without having a taste of weed.

Here’s a wrap skirt cheongsam dress with a lace covered cape design. I find the pairing rather strange, and I am not sure I like the cape.
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A shift cheongsam dress with jarring prints that can make you go crossed-eyes.
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Another shift design, perhaps for the chubby ladies?
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OBP’s previous collection also featured some new designs. One of them is a dress with butterfly sleeves, which admittedly that seems to be the only difference from the usual flare skirt cheongsam.
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Then there is this short-sleeved front buttons cheongsam, which I seriously don’t find interesting.
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Another shift cheongsam dress. I wonder what’s with the deluge of shift designs? Are we going back to the days of the early 20th century when women did not show their waist?
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L&P showcased cheongsam tops this time, a first for the brand, but there is nothing new to the peplum design though.
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That’s it. These are the updates I have so far.

Laichan cheongsams: something new, something regular

I went to check out Laichan boutique last week, hoping to see new cheongsam designs in denim. But, unfortunately, there has been a delay.  Eddie told me that maybe there would be a few new ones coming in this week but most  would only hit the store later. Still there are some new interesting designs as well as the usual ones in pretty prints.

Let’s take a look at the regular ones first. Here is the usual floral print with the signature jade buttons.
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Another regular cheongsam in a pretty cotton kimono fabric which I really like. It also comes in another similar print with lighter colors. (The latter goes better for ladies with the tan look after seeing a regular customer with a sun-kissed appearance trying it on.)
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The underside seams are always beautifully sewn.
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When I first saw the below dress, where the fabric is a cotton linen mix, it didn’t appeal much to me. But the more I look at it, I start to appreciate it’s simplicity and contemporary look. I like the interesting juxtaposition of the color panels.
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An elegant and classic cheongsam in crepe fabric with floral appliqué pasted on it, and it comes with a white camisole.
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A close-up of the fabric.
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The underside seam.
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Now, let’s talk about the new designs. The cheongsam below has an interesting woven mesh covering the top bodice. Very modern but I must say a little avant garde for me.
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Look at how well made the mesh is and the amazing sewing skill that attached the mesh to the dress.
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I guess you can say that this maroon cheongsam is inspired by the flamenco dress. Though it is not something I would get, but I am very impressed by the excellent workmanship and quality.
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For those chubby ladies who don’t have proportionate figures, you can consider this loose fit cheongsam with a zip along the front panel.

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Here is a cheongsam top with ethic print that reminds me of the Ikat fabric.
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Laichan is now experimenting with an unisex mandarin jacket design. It has stone buttons that runs along the side, much like the Chinese blouse of the past.
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The embroidery of the jacket also reflects the same high quality workmanship. Check out the interesting details, like the button holder is made from a different fabric. Like some of his cheongsams, Laichan had piping sewn along the inner seam.

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Being tough on poor Buddy

I didn’t  think I would have done it when Buddy was a baby, but I have since sent him to enrichment classes even before he turns 3. Actually this is on the advice of his daycare teacher. When he was in toddler class last year, he was quite risk averse (might have gotten that from me, and even my husband is not the sort who goes bungy jumping). At the playground Buddy wouldn’t  climb up the steps on his own to get on the slide, and he didn’t try anything that seemed risky. Though I must say there are positive sides to it. Unlike other kids, he doesn’t put stuff on the floor into his mouth, nor does he play with electrical wiring or takes out the wash detergents and chemicals kept inside the kitchen and toilet cabinets. We told him “danger”, “no touch”, “dirty”, and he understood. He has quite a bit of self awareness for a young kid. Still, we realize he must learn that not everything is scary and that he can have more fun by trying out new things that are not reckless.

One of his teachers suggested sending him for gym class to build up self confidence and to get out of his comfort zone.  We checked out a couple of them and eventually decided on My Gym. Buddy had a lot of fun as he tried somersaults, climbing, balancing on the beam, as well as the games and puppet show. The young bubbly teachers are pretty amazing at getting the kids interested.

After two terms, Buddy developed a more adventurous spirit, and he now goes for the tall slides and crawls through tunnels in the playground. He really enjoys the physical activities, which is great since we want him to be an active kid (he definitely got this from my husband). Anyway we felt that since he has shown much improvement, the gym lessons have done the job and we could move on to something else.

During the parent-teacher season in December last year, the same teacher suggested that we sent Buddy for speech and drama class because he would only speak to the toddler teachers whom he was comfortable with. In fact he didn’t want other teachers to bathe him. He also didn’t join his play mates to sing in front of other kids and teachers, basically he was rather reserved. (Unfortunately this trait is inherited from both my husband and me. The positive side is he is wary of strangers.)

So again, we looked around. We went for trial classes at Julia Gabriels and British Council, and finally decided on Lorna Whiston. We only joined the first term mid-way but that was alright. Buddy was initially curious, and he observed intently during the singing, story telling and drama segments. My husband, who sat in with Buddy during the first class, warned me not to sit near to two rowdy boys because they were pretty disruptive. When I took Buddy in during my turn, I noticed one particular boy as being rather hyperactive, whereas the rest were actually better behaved.

As the classes progressed over the term, the same boy was as rowdy as ever, he would not sit still, but moved around the room as and when he pleased. He would jump and shout, and basically distract everyone. His mother couldn’t control him at all, and all she did was to apologize after him when he shoved other kids. The teacher tried to get him to sit down when he bounced around, but after a while he would be at it again. Still I guess it was not too intolerable and the rest of us put up with his behaviors.

Anyway when the term ended, Buddy had started to be more participative and learning to speak up, and as always, very eager during story telling. So we thought we should continue with the second term to reinforce the improvements. My husband and I were hoping the rowdy boy would not be back, but no such luck. He not only returns, but there are even more kids joining the class this time. In fact, with 10 kids and 10 parents, one teacher and an assistant, the room gets pretty cramp.

The second term got off to a good start, and Buddy seemed to enjoy going for the program. The strange thing is he doesn’t join in the singing in class, but he will happily sing the songs at home. Anyway I took him in for the first three classes. During the second and third one, he started to be more assertive, in fact he was getting a little rowdy by the third class. He would play act as a dinosaur and roar at a couple of other kids next to him. I was alright with it since this was speech and drama after all. But he also started to behave like the rowdy boy, hitting the mystery box and the flash cards that the teacher holds up. The thing is the kids are not supposed to hit the box. They are allowed to look for it and help carry it.

In fact it wasn’t just Buddy but other kids also got into the act. Aftter the rowdy boy started the ball rolling by hitting the box like it was a drum, it was a case of monkeys see, monkeys do, particularly since there was no consequence. Buddy also decided to continue with the dinosaur act, and only wanted to roar. I put a stop to him interrupting the teacher with his antics, and gave him a pep talk, and he wasn’t very happy.

My husband took over from me for the next two classes. When I met up with him and Buddy at the end of the fifth class last week, my husband had a grim look on his face. I asked Buddy how was it and he smiled and said, “so much fun!” My husband shook his head and remarked he didn’t even participate in the class.

We put Buddy through the third degree and grilled him for keeping quiet. He didn’t say anything. I told him to look at me in the eyes and I asked him again.The poor boy just looked at me with a helpless look on his face. When we asked him if he liked drama class, he nodded his head. But he remained silent when I again asked him why he didn’t participate in class that day. I then changed tact and asked if he was scared and he nodded again.

My husband related how Buddy refused to say anything to the teacher, and how he cried when my husband had a time-out with him, and he had to make Buddy sit with the other kids in front of the teacher during story telling. It also turned out the rowdy kid’s behavior had gotten from bad to worse during these two weeks. My husband said it was so difficult to focus on the teacher when the boy was shouting, and he even pushed a couple of kids around including Buddy, during story telling and caused one boy to cry.

I asked Buddy whether he liked gym or drama class, and without hesitation he said “gym”. Later when we asked him if he wanted to return to drama class, he said no.

As we reflected over what happened and our actions, my husband and I felt we might have unrealistic expectations that Buddy would enjoy the speech and drama class and show significant improvement, like the experience at My Gym,. He, being a perceptive kid, sensed it and gave us the answer that we wanted to hear. But Buddy doesn’t like the rowdy environment, and doesn’t like playing with kids who push their ways around. Of course he has to learn how to deal with them in future, but right now he’s still too young to handle them on his own. Besides as parents, we should be guiding him on how to manage such behaviors instead of expecting him to figure out himself.

We also realize that we told Buddy off for naughty behavior in class, but he must have observed that other kids got away with it and probably felt it was unfair to him. Perhaps he became stressed in situations like this, and coupled with the rowdy kids, he refused to join in. To make things worse we thought he was being naughty again.

Yes, we admit we have been too harsh on Buddy, even to the extend of threatening punishment whenever we felt he didn’t behave to our expectations. My husband told me that our actions put too much stress on Buddy and were detrimental to his development. So we have decided to change our hardline tactics and instead use persuasion with Buddy. Punishment should be used as a last resort.

Looking back, we realized that the differences in both gym and speech and drama classes make for different results. Gym class has the space to accommodate rowdy kids, allowing them to do their own things. Many times some kids didn’t want to participate, and the parents then took them away from the group to play at a corner without disruption to the rest. Gym class also has the equipment and lots of toy balls to engage the kids, making the class really fun for them. But it is not the case at the speech & drama class which is held in a small room. Any screaming or shouting can drive you up the wall. What we should have done was to find out if that rowdy kid is returning for second term, and we should not have signed up then. Anyway we will not return for the rest of the classes, and we will be taking Buddy back to gym class. We feel we had stopped it prematurely, and should have given Buddy a longer time to develop his self confidence. Besides it may be too early for him to benefit much from speech and drama. My husband believes that when Buddy gets more confident from the gym classes, he will become less reserved.

(Buddy enjoying himself at the gym.)
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