Archive | November, 2012

Falling In Love With Science

19 Nov

It is a fact that my husband and I are living our childhood in our children. Most of the toys we bought for them are either toys we enjoyed playing when we were small or we wished we had when we were a kid. The places that we go and things that we do now are all in the wish list. One of the biggest challenge in taking our kids around is not the long traveling, food, accommodation or large luggage BUT answering the simplest and basic questions. If you are a parent yourself, you’d understand what I mean. Ipin and I agreed from the very beginning to try our best to answer and explain to our best knowledge and never ridicule any questions. You would be surprise at how much our 4-year-old Aufa can pick-up concepts and apply his vocabulary to express himself, well at least I am.

Aufa and his Duplo. Photo by Ariffin Aris.

We got him the Gigo Junior Engineer play set at the age of 1.5 years old. At 2.5 years old he received his 1st Duplo set. He loves them as much as we enjoy playing them with him. Almost every single day when I come back from work, he would be very excited to show off his latest “invention” for the day. At 3.5 years old, we had to put him into the Children’s Technology Workshop in Bangsar as he was craving for something more challenging. From there, he started experimenting theory & concepts by building structures using the Lego bricks. Since Aufa has migrated to actual Lego sets, he is kind enough to allow his younger sister to explore his Junior Engineer and Duplo sets. Like any other siblings relationship, Ayfaa currently enjoy being the Godzilla to Aufa’s Lego inventions more than playing with them.

Aufa trying to balance the balls at the water fountain in the Science Centre Singapore

Besides playing with these toys, there is one place that I would highly recommend parents to visit – The Science Centre Singapore. The Malaysians do have their Pusat Sains Negara in Kuala Lumpur but The Science Centre Singapore is a totally different experience. It is a definition of its own and really makes learning science fun. I knew I was not the only one who got excited when we reached The Science Centre Singapore a few months back. The exhibits quickly got our minds boggling by trying out all kinds of experiments. Take my word for it, be there the moment they open their doors for operation at 10am daily or you would not have enough time to explore the whole thing SCS has to offer. We did not and definitely a reason to come back for more. Do check out SCSofficial website to plan your activities and find out about the latest exhibits.

Aufa playing with Ayfaa at the Waterworks, The Science Centre Singapore. Also seen on the background is our favorite tandem stroller in red.

We started our visit with the permanent exhibits before going into the temporary exhibit which was the Candy Exhibition. The description was fabulous with some activities planned out but unfortunately, after paying extra SGD3 per adult to enter, the exhibits were below expectation. Activities were not carried out as it was not a weekend. I felt ripped-off there for a while but got back into my happy mode as I was looking forward to my first Arctic IMAX movie after lunch. Halal food again was not easy so I would advise that you bring your own food if you are not confident with Singapore’s McDonald. The show was impressive. By the time it was over, Aufa simply could not wait to go to SCS’ outdoor section which are the Kinetic Garden & Waterworks. Yes of course, with some useful tips by my friend Ayuni, we came prepared with our swimming attire to get wet. We had a blast and there were moments when I had to say “you know what Aufa, I really do not know how that thing works. I should have paid more attention in class when I was in school. Let’s find out the answer when we get home, ok?”. We were there until 6pm and what is a visit without a pitstop at its gift shop which is also known as the Curiosity Shop. I felt wanting to buy all the experiment boxes instantly. Honestly, there were so cool and expensive too. Why doesn’t Toy R Us Malaysia bring in those toys or even bookstores bring in the books they had at the curiosity shop? Oh well, we still bought some simple and cheaper toys and Aufa got his Magnet Book back in Malaysia at a fraction of price in Singapore.

Aufa’s water gun as I’m trying hard not to get drenched.

Last tips is, if you are looking for a clean, comfortable, convenient and cheap place to stay in Johor Bharu, I would strongly recommend the Zoom Inn Boutique Hotel. It is a budget boutique hotel located in Danga Bay, near Tune Hotels. Use the second link to get into Singapore as the traffic is better than the Causeway and nearer to Jurong, where SCS is. The hotel is literally next to a Police Station and has ample free parking space. It reminded me of budget hostels I used to stay in Europe during my backpacking trips and the interior design is creative and did I mention it is clean? There is no lift going to the upper floors so be prepared to climb the narrow staircase. The corridor is narrow too and if you compare to hotel room size in Singapore, Zoom Inn hotel room size is acceptable. Everything is one-step or at most 2-steps away if you are standing in the middle of the room. I like the part where we try to spot as many senget or slanted things as possible (which is done on purpose as part of the ID). First it was the hotel outdoor signage, then the key holder in the room, the wall lights and the bathroom mirror! Cool eh? RM100/night is so value-for-money if you are just planning to sleep and bathe. Use that extra money you saved on accommodation at Legoland or better Johor Premium Outlet Mall perhaps?

If a trip to science centre is too far for you, then you can try watching Magic School Bus on YouTube. I love how they introduce science to the children and I specifically like the episode where baking a cake is also a science. EUREKA!


Daniel Cheong – HDR Guru is coming to Kuala Lumpur

12 Nov

What a shame that I missed Nigel Barker’s workshop when he was in Malaysia last year but this year Ariffin Aris Visuals is lucky enough to bring in the HDR Guru – Daniel Cheong all the way from Dubai. Who is Daniel Cheong? Daniel Cheong was born in Mauritius, from Chinese descent, French by nationality. Daniel’s job has taken him around the world (France, US, Japan, Singapore, Dubai). Daniel is a technology enthusiast and passionate photographer. His main subjects are architecture, cityscapes, seascapes, urban decay. Daniel’s techniques that he uses for his shots are – Digital Blending (manual ‘blending’ of multiple bracketed exposures using Photoshop to get the maximum dynamic range), Vertical Panoramas (‘vertorama’) and HDR (using tonemapping software)

A summary of what to expect from Daniel Cheong’s Digital Blending Workshop in Kuala Lumpur. Daniel Cheong is well known for his surreally beautiful photos, using a blend of unique skills and techniques he has perfected in his years in photography. Due to demands from his fans, he is flying in to conduct his exclusive Digital Blending workshop in Singapore. Daniel will conduct a small, personalised, hands-on workshop on Digital Blending, taking you through each and every step to show you how he achieves the beautiful high dynamic range and beautiful sharpness and colours and how you can do so for yours too. Daniel’s techniques that he uses for his shots are – Digital Blending (manual ‘blending’ of multiple bracketed exposures using Photoshop to get the maximum dynamic range), Vertical Panoramas (‘vertorama’) and HDR (using tonemapping software).

The workshop will start off with a pre-shoot , where Daniel will take you through a test shot, which will be used during the workshop where he will take you through, step by step, the Digital Blending techniques , tricks and tips he uses to achieve his beautiful photos.If you have not seen his famous photo of Kuala Lumpur Skyline on Wikipedia and Yahoo, you may check out his work at 500px or Flickr.

To get some of you excited, there will be 2 sessions of Daniel Cheong’s workshop. 1st session will be on the 24th November and the 2nd session will be held on the 25th November in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately the 2nd session is already full within a few days of its announcement but we still have a few seats left for the 1st session on Saturday. You may either click on this link for more information or write to us at If you are a photography enthusiast and would like to know the basics of HDR, click here for my short post.