How to keep your lunchbox food safe

How to keep your lunchbox food safe

Since my boy has started schooling, I have been making lunchbox for him to enjoy during his recess time. I have totally no idea what to do and like everyone else, I turned to the Internet for help. Just typing in bento or lunch box ideas, you will get swarmed with tons and tons of beautiful pictures. It’s so tempting to make all of them. Don’t you think?

It’s easy to find ideas but how about maintaining and making sure your food is safe for your child to eat. I started to get stressed over this instead of what to prepare and did some research. After researching on food safety, I realized these are the basic 5 precautionary steps we need to take note of. If you follow these 5 steps, the precious food that you have spent your precious time to prepare should potentially be safe to tuck in.

Step 1: Clean hands, utensils, and equipment/tools
Make sure all your utensils and equipment that you used for making your lunch boxes are thoroughly washed and cleaned. Not forgetting your hands too! This may sound really simple and easy but waking up in the wee hours preparing lunch boxes can make one’s mind unfocus and hazy.

Step 2: Fully cooked food and fully cooled down food before packing (unless you are using thermal container)
Make sure your food is fully, 100% cooked! No uncooked or undercooked food. Thoroughly cooked food destroy the bacteria or microorganisms. This is particularly important when you are dealing with meat, fish, and even vegetable proteins e.g. tofu.

If you are reheating food, please use a pan instead of the microwave because bacteria or microorganisms are usually formed on the surface. Using a pan will kill all of them immediately.

Undercooked meat/proteins
Avoid undercooked meat/proteins e.g. tofu that is undercooked is not safe. It is best avoided especially under our hot and humid weather as it will breed uninviting little things on your food. Tofu especially turned bad rather easily and quickly. Do take note of this when you are preparing tofu in the lunch boxes.

Packing pre-made salads is fine to have it packed directly from the fridge. But, please remember, DO NOT pack food that is more than 3 days old. I don’t even pack food that are 2 days old! When you are in any slightest doubt about the food, heat it thoroughly and cool it down thoroughly before packing otherwise chuck it away!

Step 3: Use freshly cooked rice or frozen rice
Understand that all, if not most, of our children are in the morning session and you have very limited to cook the rice and prepare the dishes all at the same time. It’s so tempting to cook the rice the day before or even days before so that you can ration and prepare few days of lunch boxes for your child. Be warned! Plain rice can actually go bad pretty fast since it is extremely moist and bacteria love love love to grow in this kind of warm moist environment.

Try to prepare it fresh on the day. Best if you have a rice cooker with a timer, make use of that! If time is really an issue and you really need to cook rice the day before then make sure it is wrapped up completely before storing in the refrigerator. Or if you want to prepare cooked rice days before and ration it for few days then it is best that you freeze it.  When you use the frozen rice, just make sure you heat it up completely in the microwave or by steaming, and let it cool down completely before packing.

bowl of garlic rice with carrots and eggs fried in butter.

Step 4: To keep foods longer and fresher
Salt and vinegar are preservers: food that you put salt in is not just for flavor, it is also to keep the food fresher for a longer period of time.
Sugar act as a preservative as well, but do use it in small quantity because you don’t want a hyperactive child later on and get a call from the teacher.
Salty or vinegary foods keep longer than foods with little or no seasoning.

Step 5: Try not to over-handle the food
Bentos are really cute and pretty and it helps to entice your child to eat too. But do note that too much handling of the food using hands, can be really dangerous. Those bento experts always use tools to doll up their bento NOT hands. Remember that!

Always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your food!

Hope this little tips helped and if you are still wondering what should or should not be done, do feel free to comment or drop me a message. I’ll be sharing our bento/lunch box ideas next…do stay tuned!

Life of a stay home mum: when school starts, the making of snack boxes and lunch boxes start too…

A photo posted by Lup Wai (@youngsmarties) on

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Our little chicky craft for CNY

Our little chicky craft for CNY

This year is the year of the Rooster. To get smarties into the mood and understand better what rooster year is all about, we went to the library and borrowed some books about Rooster year (according to the Chinese Zodiac) and about Chinese New Year. We read the book together and even for me, I learned something new!

  1. 春节
    The book shown on the left was talking about a monster called nián 年. This monster will appear every Spring, during New Year’s Eve, to eat the villagers, destroy their homes and farms. One year, while the villagers were burning bamboo to keep themselves warm. The monster came to the village again but it didn’t disturb the villagers because it was frightened away by the cracking noise of the burning bamboo. The villagers noticed how scared the monster was and so they used the burning bamboo to drive away the monster and keep themselves safe every Spring. As time passed and technology advanced, firecrackers were being invented and replaced the burning of bamboo. Nowadays, lighting firecrackers is a major custom performed to scare off evil spirits and celebrate the coming of the New Year.

  2. Long ago, the Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards and they have to be able to provide contributions to human beings. As rooster used to always sought to prevail over others and fought all around, it has no chance of getting selected. One day, the rooster found the horse who have been selected by the Jade Emporer and asked what it had done to get chosen. The horse replied that it helped the human beings to plow, do transportation and fighting the war together with them. Hence, human beings love him. Rooster went back and thought about how he could contribute to the human beings. It decided to wake people up with his golden voice. However, it still didn’t get selected. Rooster was really upset and explained to the Jade Emporer that it did make contributions to the people by waking people up. Jade Emporer agreed and allowed the rooster to join the competition which determined the position of the 12 animals which is this year, the year of the Rooster.

After reading, it was time for some craft works. We made used of the recycled materials to create the chicky craft here. Materials required are really simple:
1. cardboard
2. toilet rolls
3. egg carton
4. water/poster colors

Smarties couldn’t wait to start working on it. Firstly, we started giving the egg cartons and toilet rolls a beautiful coat of colors.

Look how focused they were during the process.
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Next, we had a cardboard cut into a shape of a chicken and coloring is to be done too.

Drawing of the eye and its wing…

followed by sticking on the feathers. Smarties were free to design how their chicken crafts to look like.

Finally, all’s done and here we are with our final product. We called them the chicky family! Simple and it can easily take up some time for the smarties to work on, so mummies are free to do their household chores while they are working on their crafts. How cool is that?


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House painting by Smarties and its benefits

House painting by Smarties and its benefits

Last weekend was a really busy one as we were revamping our living room with a new look and fresh coat of paint. It’s really tough work if it’s only the parents doing it, so we got smarties involved as well. In fact, the minute they saw daddy bought the paint back, they requested to help out in painting the walls.

Smarties woke up feeling real thrilled! Never have I seen them got up so quickly without nagging to brush the teeth, get changed and have their breakfast. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on the “paint brush” and start working!

This was also the time where they got to legally draw and messed up the wall. Check out how happy they were messing around.

Of course, not forgetting their responsibility of keeping the place clean too.

The first layer of paint was nicely done and they moved on to other walls while waiting for this to dry up.

Once it was dried, the final layer went up without delay and it’s smarties favourite colour. This area has become gor gor’s study corner too.

At the end of the day, smarties felt really contented for being able to help the family out and getting the job done. Although tiring, we had spent our weekend bonding over painting and having fun at the same time. Smarties are always on a look out on how they can help with our home and am very pleased with how they are taking up more responsibilities at home as they get older.

Although they have been assisting me since young, it’s never too late to start now if you have not started yet. All these household chores are not only beneficial to them physically, but mentally as well. Children who are being assigned (of course, we, adults need to guide and teach them as well at the start) with a set of chores tend to have higher self-esteem and better in dealing with emotions.

Children who helped out in household chores will see themselves as important contributors to the family because they have the opportunity to give back to their parents. As a result, they will have a better connection to the family too. In short, do not overlook the importance of chores in developing your children’s character. Make it as part of their routine and you will see the effects.

To read more about chores and children, check out this link: Chores and Children

On how and what chores to assign for different ages, check out: Involving children in household chores

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Unschooling: Road Trip to KL Rabbit Fun Land (Finale)

Unschooling: Road Trip to KL Rabbit Fun Land (Finale)

Before going back home, smarties requested to go to a place where there are animals and nature. So here we are at the Rabbit Fun Land! Rabbit Fun Land is the largest rabbit farm in Malaysia and it has been established for more than 20 years with total numbers of 30,000 rabbits, breed from different countries. Smarties were really excited and couldn’t wait to see the animals, unfortunately, it was drizzling quite a bit and we had to wait for the rain to stop before we can proceed.

Looking out from our waiting area was a lush green garden and there, we spotted a caged monkey and a rabbit hut.

Smarties couldn’t wait any longer and decided to hold the umbrella and started to explore the place. They found that they could actually just cross over the low gate and without further ado, they went straight in!

Luckily, the rabbit’s hut has a big shelter. Smarties had a great time interacting, feeding and playing with them.

The rabbits were really friendly and hungry too. Once they saw us bringing out the carrots, they quickly hopped towards us. Smarties spent a great deal of time learning about rabbits here. They noticed that some of them bonded with us really well and when they were happy, they would hop gleefully around us.
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Some of them even allowed us to carry and hug them. We found one of the rabbits with a missing leg and mei mei just couldn’t let that rabbit out of sight. She kept on petting, feeding and giving as much love to it as possible.

Time was really well spent at the rabbit hut as smarties were full of joy playing with them while learning about them. Rain has finally stopped and we moved on to find other animals. Sadly most of the animals were being caged or locked up due to the rain to keep them sheltered as we were told.

At the other side of the fun land, there are horses, donkeys and deer. We couldn’t get really near to the horses and donkeys so we just looked from a far. There was even a short introduction at the side for people to learn a little bit more about them.

Next was the deer area. There were many types of deer in different “cages”. We managed to feed the deer as we could stand right beside them and they looked pretty hungry too. They were even fighting with each other for space to get to the carrots.

There are over 100 different sub species of deer in the world and they live in all locations except for Antarctica because it is way too cold for them when they don’t have that much fur on their bodies. Do you know that male deer are called bucks and female deer are called does? Now you know. Psst… male deer also fight for female deer just like human. ys_klroadtrip12_2-1

After saying hi to all animals and feeding them, it was time for ice-cream and…

to enjoy some exercises at the suspended bridge.

Directly opposite the Rabbit Fun Land is a chilli plantation. We went over for a visit. It was just nice that they were harvesting the chillies and smarties got to see how the chillies were planted and harvested.

Smarties even had some fun posing with the chillies. If you are wondering whether they like hot and spicy food, they do not. Anything hot and spicy, they will shun far far away. After the visit to the chilli plantation, smarties had the urge to grow chillies at home too! We shall see as we have limited space now due to our baby basil, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.

It started to drizzle again and we have to make a move. Although the weather wasn’t good that day, we enjoyed the time spent feeding and playing with the rabbits at the Rabbit Fun Land and the chilli plantation. But we were not very happy with the small cages that the animals were being locked in. Hope it is temporary and not long term though.

That marked our final roadtrip of December 2016. We hope you have enjoyed our road tripping blog and learn something too! It’s always good to bring children out and learn out of the classroom because
– learning becomes more interactive and engaging
– children feel more connected
– it nuture their creativity and imagination
– it reduces behavioural problems and improve attention
– it makes them more aware of their environment and surroundings

Do follow us if you like our learning experiences and we welcome new ideas of learning and on learning too! Do share with us if you have any.

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Unschooling: Road Trip to Ipoh Old Town (Part 4)

Unschooling: Road Trip to Ipoh Old Town (Part 4)

Tell someone you are going to Ipoh Old Town, the first thing that comes to their mind are white coffee and kway teow. Yes, food and this particular trip will be evolved around food and heritage. Talking about food, smarties were always hungry whenever we are on a road trip. Luckily for us, they are open to trying out new food unless it looked really creepy to them. Our first stop was the kway teow stall. Ahhh… now you know why people think about kway teow when you mentioned Ipoh Old Town because it’s famous for that.

Smarties are used to coming to old coffee houses to eat and they love the happening and exciting vibes at such places especially in Malaysia. Here we were at the famous Hor Hee noodle store where it serves really nice noodle soup with not just fish balls but fish cakes and other ingredients too! Look at the store and you can roughly guessed what’s there…

Did smarties enjoy the food? You bet! Oops…realised we didn’t take any pictures of the food as we were very hungry by the time the food was served and we just started eating right away.
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After filling up our tummy and fueled up ourselves, it was time for exploration. A few stalls away from Hor Hee, we found a pastry shop and we got to watch them bake right in front of us and try out their pastries right on the spot, fresh from the oven! Guess what were they making in this picture below? That’s the famous Ipoh Kaya Puff! Smarties were standing there throughout their preparation of the kaya puffs. The aroma at the shop that surrounded us made us hungry again!

Time to move on before we purchased more and more food here. Walking through the shop led us to the Concubine Lane, a historical street that provides a very nice heritage trail for tourists. It was extremely lively, not forgetting crowded too. Check out the crowd in the picture below. The place was filled with stalls and shops selling souvenirs and food on both sides of the lane.

So why is this place known as Concubine Lane or Yi Lai Hong?
It was rumored that in the olden days, the rich Chinese tycoons kept their concubines and mistresses in the townhouses here. This place was also a notorious opium den.

After a brief explanation on the history of this lane, as expected, loads of what and why from the smarties.
“What is opium?”
“Why people smoke opium?”
“Why this lane and not somewhere else?”
“Why hide them?”
“What happened to the children?”

But the main conversation that got me taken aback was as below:
Gor gor: “Why would a man want so many wives? It’s so exhausting to look after so many people.”
Mei mei: “Because the man want to make many babies”
Being a parent is really amazing because you never know how the kids’ conversation goes especially when you least expected it.

We didn’t manage to take many shots of the place as we were being pushed to walk. With 2 children in tow, it made it even more difficult. After walking through and exploring the Concubine Lane, we went on to the 2nd Concubine Lane which was almost empty as there wasn’t any shops or stalls except 1 shop selling souvenirs and there were umbrellas over your head to spice up the place.

Along the way, they have mural art on the walls that decorated and brought some life to the place. Smarties had a fun time posing for pictures with the mural art.

Smarties enjoyed the trail a lot as they got to see the colorful stalls and nicely painted wall art. They had an interesting time marveling at all the colorful decorations, unique signages, and souvenirs. Best of all, they enjoyed the good food at the famous street of Ipoh Old Town.

Do stay tuned to our next destination!



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Unschooling: Road Trip to Gopeng (Part 3)

Unschooling: Road Trip to Gopeng (Part 3)

After the nostalgia trip to the museum, we headed off to the Gaharu Tea Valley. (Note: if you missed the part 2 of our trip. Click here.) The moment we got off the car, the cool air started blowing our way. We felt like we were in Genting Highlands. The weather was pretty nice to us as it stopped drizzling once we started our tour at the valley.

You will know when you reached the place when you see The Great Wall of Gopeng at Gaharu Tea Valley. This well-protected fortress resembling The Great Wall of China was built to keep the plantation safe from any possible intrusion, especially from wild animals. It also allows visitors to take nice pictures and enjoy great views from the wall.

We boarded the minibus right outside the Hoga outlet and deli. The guide explained that they would drop us at 3 main stations where we get to explore each station at our own sweet time. Once we were done, we would have to wait for the next minibus to pick us up. We found that pretty cool as we did not need to be restricted by time in order to enjoy each station.

1st station: Viewing Stage
This is the highest point of the Gaharu Tea Valley and it enables us to enjoy the lush picturesque view of all the trees planted on the terraced hills. For your information, the valley was set up some 20 years ago, covering 300 acres of elevated grounds and at one time, there are approximately 200,000 Gaharu trees.

On top of the scenic view that we could enjoy on the stage, there were 2 3D paintings on the wall for visitors to take pictures and have fun too.
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2nd station: Hugging Park
The moment we alighted at this station, smarties noticed the paintings on the trees and they ran towards it to observe, touch and feel, and then hugged it! Now we know why it is called the Hugging Park. The paintings on the trees were so adorable that the children couldn’t resist hugging it. Of course, you could also create your own poses as well.

There is a small pond with many tortoises in it. Smarties were enjoying the time petting them. We bought some tea drinks at the mini drink stall and it was refreshing.

We explored a little further into the park and found rows of trees planted rather neatly. We couldn’t resist taking a nice picture of it too! The air here is really fresh and we were told that it is filled with negative ions released by the plants.

3rd station: Lover’s Park
This place is called a Lover’s Park because it has an intertwining pair of centuries-old trees that grows together and embraces each other like lovers. Hence, the locals named them as “Lover Trees”. It was believed that couples who pledge their love for each other beneath the tree will be blessed with everlasting romance and will never part.

Check out the colorful entrance.

There is a big fishing pond for visitors to feed the fishes too. Smarties were not very interested in the trees instead, they couldn’t wait to feed the fishes. The moment the fishes noticed someone standing at the side, they were all swarming towards that direction waiting for food. Guess they were really hungry…

The trip to the Gaharu Tea Valley was interesting and enriching. We got to learn about how they organically cultivated trees of various ages to help to conserve the aquilaria species to exploring their retail shop that sells their own products such as their special made tea, cookies, fragrance, etc for visitors to purchase. Smarties had a great time spent there learning about nature, trees and tea.

Immediately after completed our tour, it started drizzling again. Pretty lucky for us huh? We quickly walked over to our car and headed off to the next destination: Ling Sen Tong temple, a beautiful Taoist cave temple located at the foot of a limestone hill.

It was pretty crowded when we reached, nonetheless, we managed to take some nice shots with the statues. The main area of the temple is adorned with many statues of various designs such as animals, deities, and other characters from the Chinese folklore. The garden in front of the temple is decorated with colourful statues of characters from Chinese mythology such as the Monkey King from the classic tale Journey to the West.
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It was a good timing as we saw the caretaker brought some food to feed the monkeys. It was an eye-opener for them (we don’t get to see this in Singapore as we are not allowed to feed the monkeys that are in the wild) when they saw monkeys rushing forward to the food from all over the temple. We even managed to figure out who was the leader of the group. This was the one because when it was eating, no one else dared to go near it until it had its fill and moved off…

then we saw the rest of the monkeys rushing towards the leftovers.

Check out the video and I bet you could tell who’s the leader of the group too 😉

Stay tuned for part 3 of our road trip as there will be loads of food, art, and entertainment!

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Unschooling: Road trip to Gopeng (Part 2)

Unschooling: Road trip to Gopeng (Part 2)

We have heard a lot about the nice food in Gopeng so the next day, everyone woke up real early as we couldn’t wait to get out of bed for a nice and yummy breakfast. So what’s for our breakfast? It was none other than the famous Gopeng rice noodle. Smarties were hoping to see them making fresh noodle at the stall but too bad we were a little late and they had completed their noodle-making process. While waiting for the noodles being prepared, smarties went around the area to explore. They noticed the buildings were really old. To them, it was historical. To me, it was too…

Surprisingly, we spotted one of the buildings have wall mural on it and smarties quickly posed for a picture. We love wall murals as each of these artworks are uniquely painted and decorated directly on a wall or architectural elements and it harmoniously incorporated into the environment and scene.

After our yummy breakfast, we had a short walk over to the Gopeng Heritage House. Along the way, we saw a truck full of chickens on it. We were trying to take a picture of them, guess Gopeng’s chickens are shy creatures. The moment they saw my camera, they turned their back to me. Smarties were initially excited to see so many chickens on the truck and curious why they were all being caged but the moment they knew where they will be sent to, they got really sad.

We arrived at the Gopeng Hertiage House and the moment we stepped in, we felt like we have travelled back to the past.

Smarties spotted a corner with an object that looked like a black rock and wondered why it was there. It was the Prosperity Black Gold (Tin Ore Lode). They were trying to lift it up but it was really heavy. Wonder why the tin ore was being displayed here? In the past, tin mining industry was once a major contributor to the Malaysian economy and the area that has the most tin deposits found was Gopeng. Now you know why this is here…

Smarties couldn’t believe what they saw when they went further into the house. They’ve never really seen all of these antiques till today. They were asking loads of questions for every items they saw, especially the iron! They were trying to lift it up but couldn’t do it. It was way too heavy for them even without the coal. Can you imagine how our grandparents or even great grandparents do ironing in the past?

At the barber shop, we were all re-enacting how people in the past did their haircut. There were even equipments for us to explore with. That was their grandaunt demonstrating how hair cut was being done during their time. Disclaimer: no children or children’s hair are harmed at this baber shop. 
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After the barber shop, grandpa demonstrated how to make ice-kacang without ice! After a few try, smarties complained it’s too tiring. See how pampered our lives are nowadays as compared to the past.

We completed 1st storey and we moved on to the 2nd story of the house. Smarties discovered big CDs! Ahem…that’s not CDs, that’s a record and that’s the gramaphone. This was how people listen to music. Now, we don’t even see much of CDs as most of us download music from the internet. The power of techonology and improvements to our lives.

On the 2nd storey, it consisted mainly of living areas which have been decorated and filled with priceless furnishings that reflected what life would have been like for a middle-class family at the turn of the 20th century in Gopeng. That’s mei mei pretending to be putting on makeup in front of the dressing table. Oops and that’s me in my zebra dressing.

Smarties disovered very very old phones with dial and daddy was demonstrating how to use it…

and “calculator”, also known as abacus.

Not only smarties had an interesting and educational time at the Heritage House, the adults were enjoying their time reminiscing about their old times as well. After the tour, smarties were able to appreciate what they have now after learning and experiencing how people in the past survived with those equipments. To them, the worst part is:”What? No ipad?”.

After the indoor exploration, it’s time for the outdoor. Wonder where we go next? Do stay tuned…


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Christmas Craft: Snowing Snowman in a box

Christmas Craft: Snowing Snowman in a box

Smarties had spent lots of time working on crafts projects this holiday and this week we embarked on Christmas craft because Christmas is just around the corner! This year, we made an exceptionally special craft. During the process, smarties got to express themselves through their creation. They got to develop their cognitive skills by making their own decisions and experiencing the making choices about their art work. What’s more, at the end of the craft, they got to work on their mouth and lung exercises too!

Materials required are pretty easily found at home, otherwise, it can be easily found in any malls. What you need is as follows:

1. A box. Make it into a photo frame with one side cut out so that you can look into the box.

2. Paint for the background. Cotton to make the snowman.
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3. Glue, scissors and coloured paper for the children to cut and decorate their boxes.

4. I have provided a packet of spongy shapes for them to decorate further. One side of it has sticky tape on it and they had a hard time trying to remove the paper. A really good way to work on their motor skills.
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5. Gor gor created more shapes and patterns out of what was provided. Mei mei saw it and follow suit (monkey see, monkey do).

6. Finally, once all decorations are completed. They stick on a transparency to cover up the “hole”, pour in some expanded polystyrene(EPS) and cover the box. Punch a hole on top of the box and place a straw into it. Taa daa!! We have a snowing snowman box!



How cool is that! Smarties enjoyed a lot blowing the snow for the snowman. We are definitely feeling christmassy and we hope you do too.  Merry Christmas!!!

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Unschooling: Road trip to Gopeng (Part 1)

Unschooling: Road trip to Gopeng (Part 1)

This holiday, smarties had an awesome educational road trip to Malaysia. Our first adventure stop was Gopeng. We started our journey in the morning and smarties were really excited about not knowing what’s ahead of them. Yeah, you read it right. We had no plan on what to do and what to eat there. All we did was study a little history about Gopeng, hopped into the car and off we went to do our live exploration!

Unfortunately, the day when we drove up to Gopeng, it was a public holiday in Malaysia as well. Traffic was pretty bad and it took us 5 hours to reach instead of 2 from Kuala Lumpur. But fortunately, smarties were well-entertained in their grand-uncle’s car which provided media entertainment. We were like in a moving cinema. Best of all, we got to select which movie to watch, when to pause and take a break from the show and when to start again.

Once we reached Gopeng and found our lodging, we took a short rest and later headed out to explore the longest cave in Peninsula Malaysia, Gua Tempurung. We were told that it was 3 km long and part of it has been developed for tourists with electric lighting and proper walkways and stairways with different lengths and difficulty. We didn’t know what to expect, all we could do is to wait till we reach and we shall see.

This is the entrance to the cave.

It was raining lightly and we had a check on the map. We couldn’t fully understand what it was detailing so we headed straight into the cave!

Once we stepped into the cave, we were all in awed and mesmerized by the interior. Check out grandpa’s expression. Wonder what he found right in front of him…

Looked at the stairs! Now you know why he was in shocked. Mind you, this is not the only flight of stairs you are looking at. More to come…

For those fit and strong, do explore further up and above as it is a breathtaking sight indeed. Now we know why they have added the lights. It shone and reflected from the limestones beautifully. The tunnel of the cave runs from the east to the west covering a distance of about 2km under the limestone hills known as Gunung Tempurung and Gunung Gajah. It is made up of 5 large domes and is believed to have existed since 8,000 B.C., about 10,000 years ago. For more information, you may check out Ipoh Tourism Board Website.

As you can see from the picture provided, there are lighting and platforms that have been built for the initial part of the cave to enable you to walk with ease. We managed to climb to their 1st level and we couldn’t resist taking a picture.

We couldn’t proceed further as we were not actually dressed for it and we didn’t take up any tour package as this was an impromptu plan. Also, it was getting late and everyone was hungry. Look at how far we have gone and now we are heading back to the exit. It’s going to be a long walk back. On our way back, we were still enjoying the spectacular view of the cave.

Frankly speaking, even though we were climbing up that many flights of stairs, we didn’t actually perspire much as the inside of the cave was rather cooling. The trip to Gopeng and to Gua Tempurung was really worth it. Smarties kept on asking questions here and there and I have to check out the answers on-demand basis. I did not have all the answers that they were asking me on the spot but we definitely had fun learning and exploring together.

Alrighty, this is how we spent our first road tripping day at Gopeng. Everyone couldn’t wait to have their dinner and return to our room for a good night rest. Want to find out what we did on our 2nd day at Gopeng? Do stay tuned for our part 2 of our unschooling road trip. See you soon!


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Discovering Singapore: Marina Barrage (Part 2)

Discovering Singapore: Marina Barrage (Part 2)

Did you follow us on our first tour? If you have not, maybe you want to check it out at Discovering Singapore: Singapore Maritime Trails (Part 1) before reading on as that was our 1st tour of the day. It was really fun and both adults and children were enjoying to the max while learning out of the classroom about Singapore’s history.

Our second tour was at Marina Barrage. If you mentioned Marina Barrage to anyone, the first thing that came to our mind is:
– a dam,
– a reservoir,
– a great gathering place,
– a place where events are held.

Am I Right? But do you know how exactly Marina Barrage came about and how the dam actually works? We are going to find out more in details from the guide who will be explaining to us.

She was our guide for that day and before the tour started, she engaged everyone by posting out questions to us then she moved on to a little history of Marina Barrage. Marina Barrage (MB) is Singapore’s 15th reservoir and the first in the heart of the city. It is a project commissioned by PUB and was officially opened on 31 Oct 2008 by Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s Prime Minister.

Marina Barrage brings about three benefits:
1. a new source of water supply,
2. flood control (which we will get to see it later on how it works)
3. a lifestyle attraction.

After a brief explanation on what Marina Barrage is about, we were brought to the next level where we get to see the dam built across the 350-metre wide Marina Channel to keep out seawater. There is a total of nine crest gates. During heavy rain, the series of nine crest gates at the dam will be activated in order to release excess storm water into the sea when the tide is low. In the case of high tide, giant pumps will be activated to drain the excess storm water into the sea.

As the water level in the Marina Reservoir is kept constant all year round as it is unaffected by tides, it is ideal for all kinds of recreational activities such as boating, kayaking and dragonboating. Check out the view. Isn’t it beautiful?

Next, we moved on to the Sustainable Singapore Gallery (SSG) where it provides information and sensory extravaganza showcasing Singapore’s efforts towards environmental sustainability. There is a total of 6 galleries where everyone is able to explore through fun interactive and innovative multimedia. Our guide further explained our four sources of water also known as the ‘Four National Taps’ and they are:
1. water from Local Catchment
2. imported Water
3. NEWater
4. Desalinated Water

Look at the children! Everyone was listening attentively to our guide.

When we turned around, we saw a luminous green structure. It looked like a spaceship but it was actually an “organic tree” which symbolizes the uncertain state of our present environment.

This is one of the interactive galleries that children love playing. They were happily jumping on this “water filled floor mat” as it changes colours when being stepped on.

This gallery features the active, beautiful, clean waters programme, launched by PUB in 2007.

The most awesome gallery, I would say, is this innovative barrage model that demonstrates how Marina Barrage works. All of us were in awed when it was activated.

This side of the model shows how the pump works.

This gallery unfolds the sustainable development story of Singapore.

That marked the end of our tour and we said thanks to our friendly and warm guide. The children couldn’t wait to proceed on to the next activity and that was kite flying! Yes, we were all came prepared with kites. After a day full of downloading of information into our brain (sedentary fun), now is the time to relax and have some physical fun!
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Mei mei couldn’t last long with running around the field and ended up performing on “stage” with her friend. They even had a little audience watching them faithfully.

Kite flying was our last activity of the day. By the time we reached home, we were all exhausted but we had a great time learning together and bonding with all our friends. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank the 亲子读经班 for organising this trip, as well as for all of the time and effort that you put into it. Greatly appreciate it and we hope to have more of such events!

Sustainable Singapore Gallery (SSG) tour
Admission: Free
Opening Hours: 9am-9pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Guided Tour: Complimentary. To book, click here





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