Patrick Pang


The Art & Science of Gems

Last week, we were invited to a blogger event at Art Science Museum, The Art & Science of Gems. In this exhibition, the adult will have the opportunity to admire the jewellery and the children will learn about the formation of minerals and gemstones.

We were lucky enough to catch the “A Day in the Life of a Mineralogist” workshop. At the workshop, the children were told how gem stones were formed and the different characteristics of the gem stones. They were able to feel and hold the different gem stones too.

Ezanne holding on to a gem stone


Evan was actually the most enthusiastic one. He readily raised his hand when the coordinator asked for a volunteer to examine the mineral and its properties. I’m not sure if he understood what was going on but I think it was a good experience for him. I got applaud the coordinator for being so patient with Evan and trying her best to simplify the explanations so that a 6-year-old understand what she was saying.

Evan exploring the mineral and its properties


There is one more session of the workshop and its happening on 24 June at 4.30pm. You will have to register 15 minutes before the workshop begins.

If you missed the workshop, you can still visit the exhibition which is held at the Art Science Museum till 14 August. You can also find out more information of the exhibition at its website.


Will You Allow Your Child To Fail?

Last week, I blogged about a paradigm shift to the education system. I’ve spoke to many parents, exchange my views and try to learn from them how they strike a balance for their children. But whatever that I’m doing, I’ve always asked myself, “Will I allow my children to fail?”

I had this conversation with my wife before and we had dilemmas. First, we wanted to try to stop reminding them to do their work and revision. We feel that they should start to work out a timetable for themselves and decide what they want to do and how they want to do. Then, we asked ourselves, at such young age, are they able to plan for themselves? So we just went on to plan for them.

Second, we went on and focus on their academic results. We thought to ourselves, “Maybe we should just let them fail a subject?” Then we became worried and not sure if it will affect their morale. Its double edge sword, they will either work harder to improve their results or they may just become worse.

As parents, we want the best for our children. But what’s exactly good for them? Allowing them to fail and pick up from the pieces? What if they doesn’t learn from their lessons? What’s next? Many questions are up on my mind.

Will you allow your child to fail? Leave a comment and let me know your views.


Weekly Marketing… For the Kids

Every week, if I will try to accompany to my parents to the market. I’m glad that Evan also comes along with us. With the convenience of supermarket and the wide variety of items which they are selling, you don’t really need to visit the wet market anymore. What I actually missed seeing at the wet market in the good old days were the live chickens, well, these days they are all frozen.

The items sold at the wet market are relatively cheaper than the supermarket and its nice to see everyone, who seem to know one another, saying hi and sharing some useful tips. For example, while we were at the fruits stall, the owner shared with us how he advised his customer to take mango she recovered after taking them.

At the market


We probably wouldn’t see such interesting stories and encounters at the supermarket, its pretty much one way communication (if there is any to start with). Stall by stall, item by item, slowly but surely, we fill our trolley with the food that we need for the week. While we go around, we teach our children on neighbourliness, the importance of communication and a culture which we should preserve.

Evan with a trolley of items



Folding Paper Boats

The children spent about 5 hours in school, 5 days a week. As much as my parents were curious of what I do and how I spend my day in school, I’m equally as interested to find out what my children are doing too. Once in awhile, they would tell me about some incidents they encounter, like how the friends misbehave and the jokes the teachers told them about. But on the other hand, they would also bring back what the friends taught them about, its about sharing.

I went home one day and saw many paper boats. I asked Ethan and he told me that Ezanne did it for him (it came with a boat ID too). All of them were quite excited about it and Evan also requested a few “boats” from his sister. I chatted with Ezanne and she said that her friend taught her how to do it. Ezanne was thoughtful enough to learn new skills and bring it back home to share it with her brothers. I’m looking forward to find out from them what they’ve learnt in school and to get them to teach us!

Follow the growing up year of Ethan, Ezanne and Evan at their Facebook page.

Folding Paper Boats


What is Passion? Will it keep you motivated?

I checked the dictionary, love aside, the other meaning for passion is “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything”. Once, I spoke to a friend about what we want to achieve in life, my friend told me that as long as you’ve got the passion, its probably going to keep you going. If you’ve got the passion to do something, will you even think about the achievements that may or may not come?

Personally, I was puzzled. I’m puzzled because I’m not sure how long the flame of passion will be kept alive without any motivators. While I feel that you must enjoy and be happy about what you are doing (which is important), I would like to draw to the analogy of driving a car, the passion needs re-fueling from time to time. You may be passionate about something, work hard for it but faced with persistent challenges, will you give up without any motivators or will you continue to work on it?

Perhaps, someone can share with me what passion is all about and whether it will always help you to stay motivated.



A Paradigm Shift To Our Education System

I took some time to read Ag Min Ng Chee Meng COS speech, specifically on replacing the PSLE T-Score with wider scoring bands.

Rather than drilling down to the exact point in the T-Score, I thought the wider scoring band will help to ease some stress on parents like me. Then I thought, what’s next? What about Sec 1 posting? How do I decide which school to go to? While the new system will still be based on academic merit, the broader scoring band also meant that there will be more options available. It will be interesting to see how MOE will work with the schools to develop their niche programme so that parents can decide, other than academic results, how the school will better help their child to develop in the areas which they are interested in. 

Over the years since my eldest entered the formal education system, I’ve had people telling me how kiasu (afraid to lose out) I am. But up in mind, its probably to do my best to prepare my child but yet not over-stressing him. As a father, what I do these days is to keep checking with him whether he needs help. If he thinks he can cope, then I think we are ready to do without enrichment classes. I do agree that academic results may not be everything but probably as parents, we probably unknowingly put pressure on ourselves. You may want to read some of the articles which I blogged about relating to this.

This is a paradigm shift of the education system. I appalud the move but think that it will take awhile before parents of my generation embrace the new system and change our mindset.


A Week In The Life Of A Blogging Dad

A Blogging Dad


It is 24 April and its now my turn to share with you  a week in life of a blogging dad. Here’s a quick introduction of myself, I’m a father of 3, 2 boys and 1 girl (Ethan.Ezanne.Evan), full time working dad and volunteers whenever I can. I wouldn’t give you a day by day account but rather gives you an overview of what usually happen within the week.

On weekdays, we start our day at about 6.30am, sending Ethan to school. The first thing that we see each day is the sunrise. On a clear day, we could see commercial planes taking off or landing at Changi Airport and this is something which we appreciate.



After sending Ethan to school, the wife and I will go for our daily breakfast. It is a time when we catch up with each other, explore our interesting hawker culture and the good food that we have missed.

The Wife and Me


Our first topic of the day is always, “What do you want to eat today?” So we will have noodles, prata, pancakes, so on and so forth.

Sumptuous breakfast


After breakfast, its time to work. So I will spend about 10 hrs a day at the office. In between, I’ll call home and talk to the girl before she goes to school and wait for the boy to call when he comes back.

After work, its dinner and followed by a run. I’ll try to run at least 3 times a week. Running helps me to de-stress.

Weekly Exercise


On weekend, its usually sending the children to enrichment centres for their classes. But it is not just work and no play. We will play UNO or try to find different activities, such as growing longans.

Time for UNO


Boring dad? I think so. But no matter how boring I am, I think I still have some interesting things in life that are worth sharing. So, do follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and if you have some space left, like my children’s page too!


Experimenting Growing Longans

When I was young, I remembered trying to grow longans at home. Then, for about 2 years, the longan plant grew but did not bear fruit. Fast forward, 20 years later, I’m once again trying to grow longans again. The difference this time, its an experiment my children and I are embarking on, to see if we are going to have homegrown longans!

Growing Longans


Both Ezanne and Evan planted 5 seeds and after a week, only 1 grew. The children were quite excited when they see how the seed developed. In today’s urban jungle, our children doesn’t have much opportunity to experience traditional farming. Therefore, as far as possible, as parents, we will try to explore urban farming. Its definitely a much better way then learning from the textbooks.

Are we going to have longans in future? Maybe.


They may need our help

I came across an article in today’s The New Paper, “Neighbours’ six-year dispute over mystery smell“. This headline caught my attention and reminded me of a case which I was working on previously when I was a RC Chairman.

TNP Article
There was this lady, Mdm A, who came to the RC and went to many different agencies to feedback about her neighbours peeping into her unit. I spoke to her and decided to pay her visit at her place. The windows at her home were all closed and she covered them with cloths and cardboards. In my opinion, her living conditions were less than ideal. Like the story which TNP ran, the neighbours did not quite figure out what happened each time the agency visited them. They became frustrated and the relationship turned sour.

Most of us have a busy lifestyle these days and living in a concrete jungle sometimes doesn’t help at all. Personally, I think we need green spaces, a place to walk and appreciate nature. We need to learn to relax and let go of the work stress and pressure which we accumulate. Body wellness is important and it will help if we can always shout out to someone for help when the need arise.

For Mdm A’s case, I referred to the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and they have been following up with her family members. At least for now, Mdm A doesn’t come to the RC to look for us and that her family members are paying more attention to her.

Collectively as a community, all of us can help to look out for one another. If you sense that your neighbour need help, you can always go to the RC or the nearest CC and alert them. The volunteers would then be able to look into it, render the necessary assistance and forward to the relevant agencies to follow up.



Breakfast at Tong Ah Restaurant

It was the one week school holidays and we did not need to leave home earlier for work. The wife asked to go for breakfast so I was trying to figure out where else other than Amoy Food Centre that we can go to. I decided to drive along Keong Saik and found this eating place called, Tong ah Restaurant.

I think Tong Ah Restaurant sells zhi char from afternoon onwards but in the morning, they are selling half boiled eggs, toasts and coffee/tea.

We ordered Teh-O, toast bread, French toast and half boiled eggs. The Teh-O was good, it isn’t bitter at all – just right and to our liking. The kaya was not very sweet. Wife actually enjoyed the French Toast. Overall, we enjoyed our breakfast but this meal costs us $7.

If you are early and around the Chinatown area, you may want to consider trying it. Tong Ah Restaurant is located at 35 Keong Saik Road.

Breakfast at Tong ah Restaurant