Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Kidz Amaze Toa Payoh - More Kids, More Fun, More Bullies!

A couple of days after her experience at Kidz Amaze Jurong, I decided to take Baby to the newer Toa Payoh branch to better utilise the $65 membership my youngest sister gifted Baby with. The place is not as secluded or desolate compared to Jurong Safra. It is nearer to where we live and it is more accessible. However, on our way there, Baby sulked and insisted on going back to Safra Jurong claiming that it was 'more fun' there. *exasperated*

But her opinion was soon changed

The configuration and design of Kidz Amaze Toa Payoh is quite different from the one at Jurong in that it covers a wider area on the ground while the Jurong branch extends itself upward. 
It does not have a 3-storey high slide
but what it made the little girl go ecstatic with joy anyway
"Mum, it's fun!"

It has a ball pool which children sit in to wait for the avalanche of soft sponge balls to cascade on them
I was quite amused by machines like this that suspended balls in mid air using concentrated gust of air coming out from the air vent
The only thing that marred her experience slightly was meeting some rowdy boys who shouted at her to 'get out' of their 'house', a tower-like area accessible by a netting route. 
The boy in blue was extending his hand to his kaki and asking him to 'come up' while chasing Baby away.

Poor Baby bullied and left

Like its Jurong counterpart, Kidz Amaze TPY also has birthday rooms for different capacities

Not sure what I was thinking but I told Baby this could be her birthday party venue this year!

A birthday party going on with the children entertained by the staff at Kidz Amaze!

Unlike Kidz Amaze Jurong, this place caters to younger children too!
This is the Infant Zone.

Toddler Zone
Another improvement from its predecessor: a bean-bag lounge area for the parents within the play area itself!

More waiting area just outside the play area for parents who do not want to pay the extra $2.15, equipped with a TV and tidbits and drinks dispensing machines too!

It also has more pigeon holes for the large crowd compared to the one at Jurong

The only thing I am slightly put off with is the 'leather' smell the moment I stepped in through the door. It was the smell that made me nauseous when I sat in my father's second Mercedes when young. From the looks of everybody else, I suspected I was the only one who picked up that smell. I convinced myself that after 20 minutes, it would not register anymore. It worked but it would have been almost perfect (sans the bullying) without that smell. 

Baby actually remained in Kidz Amaze from 1.30pm to 6.30pm! 

Getting there:

Toa Payoh Safra
293 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 Singapore 319387
Tel: 6355 4550

Operating hours:

Mon-Thu: 1 -7pm
Fri: 1 - 9pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 10am - 9pm
School Holidays (Mon - Fri): 10am - 7pm
(Closed for maintenance every first Monday of the month - different from Kidz Amaze Jurong)

Ticketing information:

Kidz Amaze member:
Mon to Fri - $7.50
Weekends and public/school holidays - $10.70
* Each membership can admit up to 4 children at the member's rate per entry.
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $23

Safra member:
Mon to Fri - $9
Weekends and public/school holidays - $12.85
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $26.75

Mon to Fri - $12.70
Weekends and public/school holidays - $18
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $38.80

Accompanying adult - $2.15

Socks - $2.50/pair

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Kidz Amaze Jurong - A Secluded Children's Haven

Baby and I had one-and-a-half hours to kill waiting at Westgate Mall for Coco before we went to Snow City last week. The Westgate Wonderland had become boring for Baby and the sheltered playground at JEM was too uninspiring a play for her. Out of the blue, I remembered the existence of Kidz Amaze at Jurong Safra! In fact, Baby had a Kidz Amaze membership card gifted by my youngest sister when Baby was just four and she had never used it! And we had socks with us!

We whizzed ourselves there in a cab right away!
The Safra was very quiet. The stalls at the first floor were closed. Only Jack's Place was quietly opened. But we could hear children's shouts from outside Kidz Amaze!

As it was a school holiday, Baby's entrance fee was $10.70 while mine was $2.15.

Children were climbing and running up and down the three-storey high structure.
I tried to follow Baby for safety's reason but I soon found my back wet with perspiration and slightly out of breath! Age has caught up with me!

Some fun she had by herself.

Her favourite activity: picking up balls ...

for shooting!

I encouraged her to slide down this three-storey high slide.
Very proud of herself when she did it, but came down telling me,"Very fast ... very fast ..." while patting her chest.

Was it fun? Baby said yes! In fact, she bugged me to return after our Snow City trip which I had to cruelly turn down.

Getting there:

Jurong Safra
333 Boon Lay Way Singapore 649848
Tel: 6686 4321

Operating hours:

Mon-Thu: 1 -7pm
Fri: 1 - 9pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 10am - 9pm
School Holidays (Mon - Fri): 10am - 7pm
(Closed for maintenance every last Monday of the month)

Ticketing information:

Kidz Amaze member:
Mon to Fri - $7.50
Weekends and public/school holidays - $10.70
* Each membership can admit up to 4 children at the member's rate per entry.
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $23

Safra member:
Mon to Fri - $9
Weekends and public/school holidays - $12.85
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $26.75

Mon to Fri - $12.70
Weekends and public/school holidays - $18
Family package (2A2C) (only applicable for weekends and public/school holidays) - $38.80

Accompanying adult - $2.15

Socks - $2.50/pair
Lockers - $4

Monday, 21 March 2016

Too Much Coffee for a Sprain

I was having my leisure breakfast at a Starbucks joint last Saturday, eating the recommended Rosemary Chicken with Cheese Croissant and sipping my favourite hot Cuppaccino - only because a breakfast set cost $6.90 compared to a cup of Cuppaccino that already cost $6 itself. Not fantastic, so I left the croissant half eaten.

Then the unexpected came.

I had a stomachache.

I hadn't had a stomachache right after I sipped a Cuppa ever since I switched to Starbucks from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Die liao. I am not familiar with the place and I would need to find a toilet quick!

As I lifted my leg out of the joint while pushing the door out, I jolted down a step and a sharp pain shot through my right ankle.

It's my old sprain! And I have done it again! Darn that drop-down!

The shock of the sprain must have done something to my stomachache. It was gone in that second when I had to deal with a greater pain.

I limped away to cut short my embarrassment.

After some slow walk, the ankle pain was gone. I had thought all was well. Until I got home.

The pain seemed to intensify as the hours passed, till I felt I really could not bear any weight on my ankle.

I read up the internet and did the RICE thing, in particular, icing the sprain. It helped with the pain.

My little helper busied herself running to and climbing up the freezer to get me the frozen cold packs interchangeably and placing them nicely on my ankle. Not once did she complain too!

She must have been tired out though. She fell asleep at 5pm and did not wake up till the next morning at 8am!

After a day, the pain was almost gone and I could walk with a stick. When her sister returned, my little helper said this to ensure her sister hear it,"Mum sprained her ankle! Mum sprained her ankle! Mum sprained her ankle!" but apparently, the sister did not pay heed to that.

By Day Two, which is today, I can bear a little weight on the ankle.

Hope it recovers fully, quickly!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A March Snow Holiday

Snow City as a place to visit was something that crossed my mind but for a fleeting moment.

Coco was an asthmatic child so I always struck it off the list thinking that the sub-zero temperature environment would trigger her asthma. I am also not a winter person so I had never been very keen on visiting a snowy place.

This March holiday, I decided to take the two girls there. I had not visited the place either so I was naturally curious about it too.

I had imagined that it was a huge place, given that the website broke the place down into zones.

After reading the Visitor Guidelines on the website, we wore long pants and jeans, brought gloves and socks with us and thought all was set. The jackets would be provided at Snow City.

I was a little shocked at the condition of the place when we got there.

Firstly, the lockers required two OLD $1-coins. It has been quite a few years since the new ones are minted and the lockers are still asking for old ones??

I could not find the second old coin in my wallet so I aborted the renting of a locker. To my dismay, the system confiscated my first coin! I gave my feedback to the lady minding the boots counter and she kindly advised me to change for an old coin at the cashier's, after which she would help me open and relock the locker.

Secondly, the lockers locked for a one-time use. Most places of attraction have, by now, changed their systems so that lockers can be reopened multiple times in case the owner needs something from the locker. I was unluckily lucky that my first coin was confiscated and so the lady offered to help me the second time when I told her I forgot to get our gloves out from my bag.

Thirdly, the adult jackets were only in sizes starting from L onwards. The remaining sizes were XL, XXL and XXXL. And there was only one L which I gave to Coco while I put on an XL. Hello, we are XXS and XS by Mango's and H&M's standards.

Fourthly, the jackets were poorly maintained. Quite a few were torn here and there, and their zips were either torn or gone.

Fifthly, the boots were rather sad-looking. I am sure they were never cleaned. And my first pair also had a defective zip.

Overall, I felt that the place was poorly maintained based on the necessary apparels and equipment even before I stepped into the snow area.

After about 15 minutes of choosing the jackets, putting on the socks, gloves, jackets and boots, we were finally ready to step into the sub-zero environment!

I was half glad that we were not allowed to bring our own camera into the area since I could concentrate on playing but it would also mean I could not capture pictures myself.

Zone 1 was an area with an ice-sculpted igloo and some winter animal sculptures, namely a husky, a fox, a polar bear and an owl.

A photographer helped to take pictures of families he fancied taking pictures of.

Out of the blue, Coco picked up some snow, molded it into a ball and hit Baby on the back of her head. It caught Baby by surprise and it was not very unpleasant when the chunk of snow got trapped on the back of her neck! She told me that she was in pain and I ran out of the snow chamber with her to take the jacket off her to remove all the ice bits and chunks stuck on her back while tears streamed down her cheeks.

We returned to the sub-zero environment after she recomposed herself. I told Coco what had happened and cautioned her not to do that again.

We locked our arms to slide down a 60 metre, 3-storey high slope on individual tubes. 
It was hardly a glamorous sight as we slid down so we did not buy that picture.
Quite fun but a little scary, I felt.
Lastly, we went to the last zone where I read we would get to try ice-fishing but found nothing like that. This artificial igloo has a TV (hidden behind us) that features some educational talks which we did not pay much attention to.

We were asked to fling snow into the air!

After this antic, I realised that I had underestimated how cold snow was. Baby's and my gloves were all wet and our fingers were freezing! We retreated to the gloves counter and requested to have two pairs of gloves which I would pay for the rental afterwards.

Then we returned to the snow chamber where we took turns to slide down a short ice-slide. 
Quite slide-able, but our pants were all wet on the rear! 
We should have rented their waterproof pants but well, we heeded the advice of the cashier and thought our pants or jeans would do fine.

Snow City was really a small area that one could cover in less than an hour. I quickly understood why the cashier had advised me to pay for the one-hour ticket.

Very few visitors were there and many left rather quickly after covering all grounds.

I feel sorry for Snow City in that it must be a very costly environment to maintain and by right, it should have been an interesting place for the locals who have never been to a snowy environment to visit. However, it lacks interesting concepts to attract visitors, much less second-timers. The only way it could earn any revenue would be from the purchase of photographs. It charges $20 per photograph and $55 for 5 photographs, so naturally, we opted for the latter.

Snow City is good for a one-time visit and it was a rather good experience appreciating a sub-zero environment.

Ticketing info:

$12 per child (Singaporeans and PRs)
$15 per adult (Singaporeans and PRs)
$18 per adult (Foreigners)

The admission charges include complimentary use of winter jackets and boots.
Gloves and waterproof pants are available for rental.
Gloves rental: $1.60 for child and $2.10 for adult
Socks purchase:  $2.60 for child and $3 for adult

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Renewal of Malaysian Passport in Singapore - No More Fanfare!

Last week, I found out that my passport was due for renewal.

Unlike renewing a Singapore passport, doing a renewal for a Malaysian passport has always been a stressful event for me.

I remember it as the need to go to the Malaysian High Commission by 8am and join the long queue just to wait for your turn to enter the High Commission. If you got to join the queue and were given a queue number, that meant you were in time, within the first 100 people of the day. If you didn't, you would have to go home disappointed and try again another day.

Then you would be given an A4-sized form with tonnes of Malay words on it. No English version or translation. So for the Malay illiterate, you would need to pay a sum of money to have a man in a van parked outside the embassy to fill it up for you. I recall keeping a copy at home so that I could fill it up myself next time.

And even though you had your own passport photo taken with a blue background, the man in the van would advise you that it was not the right shade of blue and you would need to have another picture taken, and of course another sum of money paid, to have the correct blue background for your passport photo.

I remember the renewal process as a complicated and stressful event that I have to trudge through every five years.

So, after my last ordeal, I googled for the procedure again.

I found one of the blog posts really helpful and decided to document it for myself. An updated one no less.

Important documents to bring:

- Singapore IC and a photocopy of it on both sides
- Malaysia IC and a photocopy of it on both sides
- Passport due for renewal
- An extra photo ID eg. driving license or any ID with your picture and name on it


High Commission of Malaysia
301 Jervois Road
Singapore 249077

Getting there by public transport:

Take a train to Orchard MRT and take Bus 14 or 65 from opposite Orchard Parksuites.
Alight at the 4th stop in front of Valley Point Condominium /Mall. The building is recognisable by the Starbucks Cafe at the frontage.

Taking a cab there from Orchard MRT cost between $5 to $10 depending on the time of the day.

When to submit your documents:

Monday – Thursday: 8am – 12pm
- Friday: 8am – 11:30am
- The embassy is closed during both Malaysian and Singaporean holidays.
There is now no limit on the number of submission per day. They will accept any submission done before 12pm. Phew!


1. Go to the guard house to exchange a photo ID for a pass. Tell the guard you are renewing your passport.
2. He will give you a pass and a simple form with English translation on it with which you need to fill up.
As simple as it can get - even if the amount stated on the form and the amount required at the counter differ!

3. Go to the Immigration Section and queue up at counter 10 to get your documents (form, old passport, original and photocopies of your Malaysian and Singapore ICs) checked.
4. If everything is in order, a number will be given to you and the waiting game begins.

There is a man minding a photocopying machine so there is no issue if you did not have photocopies of your ICs.

5. When it is your turn, the lady at the counter will take a picture of you at the counter itself and collect the renewal fee of S$67 from you.

6. A receipt will be given to you to inform you of the day of collection. Usually, one working day is required for the passport to be renewed and given to you.

I reached the High Commission at about 10.30am and I was out of the place 11.45am. I had read that it is better to reach the place just 30 minutes before 12pm so that you don't have to wait that long.

As you leave the High Commission, remember to go to the guard house to exchange the visiting pass for your driving license or photo ID.


1. Return to the High Commission between 2.30pm and 4pm and exchange your photo ID at the guard house for a visiting pass.
2. A man in the Immigration Section will call for numbers held by people with yellow passes first, followed by those holding the blue passes.
3. Join the queue when your number is called.
4. Check your particulars on the new passport.
5. Your old and new passports will be returned to you.

After Renewal:

After renewing your passport, it is important that you go online to transfer your re-entry permit to the new passport.

You will need a Singpass and its password to complete the process. My password had expired and account locked so I went to a CPF office building to acquire one on the spot.

Go to the right-hand column and click on 'Apply for/Renew Re-entry Permit (e-REP)'
Click 'Login with Singpass'
Click on 'Transfer of Re-entry Permit' and follow the instructions to key in your new passport number.

Print the transferred re-entry permit out and save a soft copy in your computer.

It will take a week or two before the transfer is completed in the system, so if you need to travel right after the transfer, it is better to go through the manned immigration counter instead of the self-service counter.