Father’s Day thoughts, and Dad fears

Dad Fears, who says a Dad cannot be afraid?

Parents are always worried and concerned about kids’ welfare and development. Parenting is an ongoing Marathon, and there are always new chores and worries. (Argh more white hairs spotted!)

Besides Love, Fun and Laughter, Disappointments and heart-aches are part of the parenting package. ( The Mrs had it worse, she is a full-time housewife) 

Although some societies might expect guys to be the breadwinner, or to be macho and tough, But we Fathers will have our weak moments too. Even when we want to be our kids’ Superheroes, we are only humans and can be fragile.

Parenting expectations
Parenting expectations

I have been a Father for 14 years, and yet the kids never fail to Shock and Awe me. They keep on adding spices (sugar, chili, pepper etc) to my parenting journey, life would be pretty bland without the little ones.

Do not get me wrong, I would not change anything to savour the joy, pride and happiness of Fatherhood. I would continue to beam with kids’ milestones.

Me and Mengchoo’s lives would be incomplete without the kids. But if you ask the darn kids, their Perspectives will always be 180 degrees different :p

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Kids should know that their Dads (and parents) will have Fears too, and everyone will handle fear differently.

1. Some of my Dad Fears.

-Fear of height (including high elements and roller coaster)
-Health concerns, am I able to take care of my family?
-Am I providing enough for the family?
-Fear of unknowns
-Fear of things which are beyond my control

To give an analogy of Dad Fears, Fear was always staring at me when I was preparing for my first Marathon! Yet, I preservered and completed a milestone. (to challenge myself, I have signed up for another 42km in Dec 2017)

It is ok to be afraid, but do not let fear paralyse us.

Overcome your fear and you will be ready to face the next challenge in life.

2) Unknowns, expectations, and parenting wishlist
-Do our kids understand that family is always behind them?
-Am I living up to kids and family’s expectations?

Do the kids know that we parents love them unconditionally?

Or do the kids only lament “Lack of Freedom“, because of embargo on addictions like Whatsapp, Youtube and games?

-Is our parenting style conveying the intended message across?
-Are our kids independent, resourceful and resilient enough to face their own challenges?
-Will they grow up to be responsible adults?

How will they grade my parenting efforts? Band 1, 2 or 3 :p

The only legacy which I wish to impress upon the kids, siblings must take care of each other. With parents’ best intentions, we can never guarantee everything will turn out fine (que Lee Family’s 38 Oxley Road saga).

Siblings for Life

To my kids, you can always trust me to act in your best interest, even though I am confiscating your Xbox again :p

To my Darling, thank you for being the reliable pillar to keep our family strong. You are my best partner in parenting.

To all the Fathers out there, soldier on and Happy Father’s Day.

Dads need not shoulder everything ourselves, it is perfectly ok to experience Dad Fears at times.

 

 

Daddy Matters campaign #ShitDadHears

Daddy Matters have a series (hashtag #ShitDadHears) , highlighting society’s discrimination for involved Dads. Headover to fb.com/DaddyMatters

We all hope our kids will one day appreciate our efforts 🙂

Army Open House 2017 and 5 observations for kids

Finally, Army Open House (AOH2017) is back again, after 5 long years.

Singapore Army even extended the event by one day, due to popular demand. After AOH2017 at F1 venue, part of the exhibition moved to the heartlands in Punggol and Jurong East.

Army Open House 2017
Army Open House 2017

 

Super HOT weekend, everyone in social media complained about the heat, yet more families continue to throng the space!

“Army Ready, Soldier Strong”

This is a timely reminder in today’s uncertain times.
Look at terrorists news around the world, and recent “siege” of Qatar. What does it really mean to the kids?

At the Army Open House, they see fun rides, cool soldiers, photo opportunities and more FUN.

 

#Point 01
.. but in times of tension, do they understand that Singapore need to defend itself? Many Dads would need to go back and standby for incidents and deployments.

Do the kids understand that Singaporeans are responsible for our own land? No one own us a living.

Do the boys understand the significance of serving National Service (NS)?

Army Ready, Soldier Strong
Army Ready, Soldier Strong

The Dynamic Show kicked off with Military Tattoos, followed by Red Lions (paratroopers).

Remember the Green Flashing Soldier on our TV and Radio broadcasts? It used to mean “Bye Bye my Weekend” to Daddy :p

#Point 02
Kids understand Dads need to report to camp, this might be a routine recall, and Soldiers (and resources) might be activated due to some emergencies.

The audience knew what was going to happen to the poor Nissan Cefiro. First time we saw the Destructive power of the 60 tons Leopard Tank, instant scrap metal, no need 1206 too :p

Post-show, many were curious about the crushed Cefiro, kaput!
Leopard tank cursh car

For Army Open House (AOH2017) , simulated terrorists infiltrated our island. Some hostages have been taken, Home team (Police,SCDF)  and SAF Protection force swung into action.

Help from sniffer dogs and robots to mitigate bomb threats.

 

Every vehicle in the SAF orbat rolled in to control the situation. Even Apache and Himars (MLRS aka rockets) were deployed to ensure the audience get the maximum impact.

Ambulances evacuated the causalities.

#Point 03
I asked the kids whether our Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals are equipped and mentally ready to handle trauma victims? Is our infrastructure able to cope with mass casualties? Do we have enough blood for transfusion?

Kids go through Social studies and they understand a bit about Total Defence.

Without Googling, can you tell me the 5 pillars of Total Defence?

Although Military Defence is the main pillar, Singapore depends on
Civil, Economic, Social and Psychological Defence too.

SGSecure is the Singapore approach to counter new non-conventional threats from extremists. Residents and Government agencies need to collaborate to keep Singapore safe.

Times have changed, we have to get used to the “new normal”, where extremists will try to disrupt our way of life and tear communities apart. Citizens must be vigilant and strong, and stand together to stop the terrorists.

When we need specialised skills, Singapore can rely on the “black-clad SOF (Special Operation Forces, comprising members from Commandos and Naval Diver) .

This is the first time they appeared “officially” in public, they swiftly took out the kidnappers, and left in their zeng(3) Ford (modified).

SOF’s mysterious background forms the sharp edge of Singapore’s deterrence. Do not mess with these guys.

 

Singapore Special Forces
Singapore SOF

Hello doggie. I told the kids the “retired” dogs can now follow their handlers home 🙂

The highlight for most families must be the fun rides.

Boon Yee and Boon Xin opted for Light Strike (Guards) and
Larc V (resupply). I would love to ride the massive 20 ton Protector vehicle and own the expressway!

Good initiative from organisers, families just need to register a time slot and return later, no need to queue and wait for their turn.

 

#Point 04
Larc V (same as the Broncos and 5 tonners) is actually designed to resupply our troops. We tend to see the Bionix and Terrex’s shiny armour or the Leopards’ armament. But how many of us appreciate the Logistics machinery running in the background?

Can you imagine the efforts to truck all the vehicles to F1 area?

Food, Ammo, Fuel, Troops. No matter how advanced or professional is your Armed forces, a military will fail without an efficient logistics.

Joyride on the Guards’ Light Strike. This ride can go over streams and climb slopes, it would be cool if Chinook can sling us away!

The static displays with the usual vehicles. Slender machine (looks like it can slice through waters) belongs to the commandos.

Apache looked menacing, in the air or on the ground.

Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle (the longer ride) and Belrex (commercial Marauder) makes all of us look tiny.

More Army platforms…

My kids did not find Army ration appetising, I missed my Oh-bee-bur and other desserts.

Around one corner, I saw a translucent water bottle. Soldiers can no longer pretend to bottoms-up during water parade :p

Combat rations anyone?

Kids still prefer canteen gourmet food over rations :p

 

Home grown SAR21, no striping or IA drill needed, just bang and go. Kids are not used to the recoil, and Boon Xin bruised her chin.

 

Other activities at Army Open House 2017. We missed the mini-SOC  (obstacles) due to the hot afternoon Sun. Long queues for “Night Walk” and “Drones”, UAV vocation anyone?

Would be cool to let kids explore Cyber Security in future AOH editions.

Video (YouTube Link) : Army Open House 2017 highlights

#Point 05
Kudos to the soldiers who had to burn their weekends, spending precious time away from families. They went out of the way to ensure visitors enjoyed the exhibition and interactions. I noticed the security screenings were tighter too.

Families are assured of SAF’s protection and hopefully appreciate Singapore’s peace and harmony.

Thank you Singapore Army and security agencies for keeping Singapore safe.

Our Open House adventures (Airforce, Navy and Army) are documented here. Is 2009 our first Army Open House?

More photos uploaded on our Facebook album.

ps.. If you cannot get enough Army displays, watch out for NDP 2017. We heard a record number of assets (Land, Sea and Air) will be on display!

Bua Tong Waterfall in Chiang Mai is sticky

Bua Tong Waterfall Chiang Mai
Bua Tong waterfall

Bua Tong waterfall in Chiang Mai,  is popularly known as the sticky waterfall.

If you only have time for one waterfall in Chiang Mai, make Bua Tong waterfall your pitstop!

If you want shopping, go Bangkok.
If you want nature and adventure, go Chiang Mai YES!

Continuing our #skbChiangMai escapade, this waterfall is one of our highlights, refer Day 3 “North” in our Chiang Mai itinerary.

Picnic looks inviting 🙂

We have seen folks abseiling waterfall, but climbing up?
Imagine our surprise when we tested our feet on the “lime stone”, it is not slippery, it felt super surreal

Amazing, we can walk up a waterfall!

IS Bua Tong safe for children
Sticky Waterfall

Most waterfalls are slippery, not Bua Tong Waterfall. It look daunting, but after a few climbs, it gets easier!

Definitely doable even for 4 or 5 years old, kids are far more agile and fit than we parents would give credit for.

 

Video (YouTube Link) : Check out the fun, we got dogs to lead the way too!

After a few test trials, kids got comfortable and wanted to explore on their own. But I reminded them to pair up and look out for each other.

Word of caution, this is still a waterfall and parents should exercise caution. Keep the kids in sight, do not wander off the edge. We would recommend a parent to accompany a smaller child.

Although the surface is non-slippery, accidental slip or pushing can still lead to serious injury.

If Bua Tong is crowded, do not try to rush up the slope, if someone on top slipped, he might pull everyone down like a domino.

Just be careful and look out for each other. Do watch out for green moldy patches (and leaves) on the ground as it might be slippery.
Sticky Waterfall

My kids became good friends with the local “guides”, there were at least 4 or 5 of them, all friendly! (checkout Video above on how they climbed the waterfall with us)

After the third “hike”, you will start to feel soreness in your under-utilised core and muscles haha. When we are having FUN, and with the constant showering, we tend to forget about tiredness 🙂

 

There are three segments to Bua Tong waterfall, top, middle and bottom.
For most folks ( ie you and me), the top segment (slope of up to 45 degrees) would be more than enough.

A climb up would take you between 3 to 5 minutes. Sometimes, we need to go on all fours to maintain our balance and grip.

The slopes for the middle and bottom segment are much steeper (up to 75 degrees!) And you would definitely need the ropes to pull yourself up.

Bua Tong waterfall photos

Some visitors were swimming in the bottom ponds, it looked Fun but I had to skip as I needed to look after the kids.

Not sure why a waterfall lime stone (deposits) surface can be non-slippery, but we know Bua Tong waterfall scores 4.5/5 for sheer Fun Factor, and it is FOC!

Map of Chiang Mai North Area, relative distance  from Chiang Mai city (Train Station) 1. Bua Tong Waterfall, 2. Siam Insect Zoo and 3. Doi Suthep (Temple)

Chiang Mai Map

We spent almost two hours at Bua Tong waterfall.

More photos from Day 3 is on our Facebook album .
Tips to enjoy sticky Waterfall:

– You need at least 1 hour to fully enjoy the “climbing” experience. If you have more time to relax,  spend 20 minutes at the 7-colour pond, and another  20 minute for picnic after exercise

– Go early to avoid crowd, you will have the waterfall to yourselves

– Bua Tong waterfall GPS – 19.070030, 99.080118
(about 60km North of Chiang Mai Railway station)

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If you are looking for shopping centres in Chiang Mai, you would be disappointed. All our 5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary photos have been uploaded :

5D4N Chiang Mai Family Itinerary
Day 1Airbnb stay, Grand Canyon Waterpark
Day 2Doi Inthanon
Day 3Buatong waterfall, Siam Insect Kingdom, Doi Suthep
Day 4 – Elephant Jungle Sanctuary