More Flora and Fauna!

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Yep, more entries.

  1. We saw several sea poison trees (Barringtonia asiatica) with their large pinkish-white, pom-pom helter-skelter in Woodlands Industrial Park (above). These spectacular flowers give off a sickly sweet smell to attract bats and moths, which pollinate the trees at night. Sea poisons trees are listed as “Critically Endangered” in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.
  2. The Preschooler spotted a Javanese grasshopper (Valanga nigricornis) atop a dustbin near her school. This yellowish-brown locust is huge, and I flinched when it darted at us. Its hind wings are a deep rose color, and we had the chance to marvel at them as it flew away.

Parent/Writer: Making a Creative Life at Trehaus

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How do lead caregivers squeeze in time to cultivate their craft between childcare, home care, and a day job?

IDK, but I have some ideas! I’m conducting a writing/creativity workshop, “Parent/Writer: Making a Creative Life”, on Tuesday, February 16 at 12PM at Trehaus, Singapore’s first and only co-working space with child-minding services and enrichment classes on premises.

This two-hour workshop for writers (or other creative professionals) will offer practical strategies for staying fulfilled as an artist and a parent. We will read a number of short essays and poems about the intersection of art and care work, and write and share several of our own pieces (created in workshop). I will not only arm you with time management and goal-setting tools, but will also help you battle impostor syndrome and recognize the importance of self-care.

Tickets are SG$40.00 and can be purchased via Peatix. Attendees have the option of dropping off their children at the Trehaus Kids’ Atelier for the duration of the event at a special rate (SG$15.00 per child).

See you there!

Sassy Mama Singapore February Meet Up

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Shameless self-promotion! If you have and/or care for little ones, join me at Sassy Mama Singapore‘s “Mama Meet Up” at Food for Thought at Singapore Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, February 13 at 9:30AM. More details and RSVP here.

I’ll be reading at 10AM from my acclaimed children’s book, Mama’s Saris, a beautiful story about a little girl’s desire to play dress up so she can look just like her mama! I will also be happy to sign books if you want to bring your own copy along.

International Lion Dance Competition

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On Sunday, my family and I went to Hong Lim Park to be awed and enchanted by the 9th annual International Lion Dance Competition. I love, love this acrobatic style of performing art and I really look forward to this time of year.  This weekend, we were wowed by the rhythmic beats of the drums and the jaw-dropping stunts performed by sixteen teams from Southeast and East Asia. Up close, it was such a joy and privilege to watch these magnificent “creatures” blink and bat eyelids, quiver in exaggerated fright, extended a coy paw.

(Illustrations via Singapore Hequan Institute of Wushu and Lion Dance 新加坡鹤權武术醒狮团.)

Trehaus

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On the invitation of its marketing team, I swung by Trehaus, a new co-working space, earlier today. Trehaus is Singapore’s first and only co-working space with child-minding services and enrichment classes on premises, which is truly groundbreaking. Most Singapore families either depend on grandparents or low-wage migrant domestic workers to provide childcare, and the sector (day care, babysitter/nanny networks, informal drop-off care, in-home care, and other arrangements that I am familiar with in the U.S.) is underdeveloped, understaffed, underpaid, or nonexistent.

Trehaus’ cannot provide full-time daycare (due to industry regulations), but does provide child-minding services for children 6 months to 6 years old in their Emilia Reggio-inspired “Play Atelier,” as well as enrichment classes in art and drama. The Atelier was clean, light-filled, and well-equipped with sensory materials, and the educators was warm and highly-trained. As an educator, I admit: I was impressed.

But its Orchard Road location, while convenient I suppose, makes being a Trehaus member a tad pricey, more so than other co-working spaces that I have visited/considered. At Trehaus, access for 8 days per month—regardless of how many hours one spends working that day—is SG$350, and does not include childcare. Drop-off care in the Atelier is an additional SG$15/hour, and enrichment classes are an additional SG$30/hour. In contrast, access for one day per week or two half-days per week at Woolf Works in Joo Chiat is SG$200 per month, and unlimited (24/7) access at Work Lor in Chinatown is SG$285 per month. (Both Woolf Works and Work Lor are women-only co-working spaces; Trehaus is not, and I saw a mix of genders there this morning.)

This Mashable piece details the challenges of setting up a successful coworking space with childcare, and Trehaus’ founders seem aware of the problems that can befall such a business (especially in the Singapore family/cultural context). Trehaus caters to a niche of the co-working market, and I look forward to seeing if such a business shifts current discussions around “work/life balance” and parents in the workplace.

More Fauna!

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We recently added three more entries in our nature journal!

1. An osprey (Pandion haliaetus) seen diving for dinner near Marina Bay. This massive bird of prey is a common winter visitor to Singapore, which is when we spotted it.

2. A yellow-eared spiderhunter (Arachnothera chrysogenys) seen soaring overhead in The Coastal Settlement (lovely setting, mediocre food) in Changi Village. We heard its penetrating, squeaky “chick” call from high on.

3. A dark-sided chorus frog (Microhyla heymonsi) seen hopping along a sidewalk off River Valley Road. This amphibian is minuscule (only 2.5 cm from nose to tail) and we initially thought it was some sort of hopping insect!

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