One December in Singapore

December has almost always been associated with Christmas. In fact, for the most part, the whole of December is Christmas. Or at least it feels like it. We had quite a good adventure this December. We may not have left the country for a big holiday escapade, but we did try and make the most of what was here in Singapore.

It is Christmas
It is Christmas

There was the customary stroll to get re-acquainted with Orchard Road and its Christmas lit streets. You know it has not been the best year when there are hardly any lights on Orchard Road, and this year seems to be that year. It had only been as bright as any normal night. The only real Christmas display was at the Centrepoint mall with it’s sweet Gingerbread theme. The bakery and the sweets shop at Centrepoint was very nicely done. It was a picture perfect little corner that occupied quite a bit of sidewalk. And, of course, Matthew being Matthew, he didn’t want any photos taken (at first). Which meant that quite a few grumpy moments were there.

Pokemon Christmas at Changi Airport
Pokemon Christmas at Changi Airport

We went to Changi airport to experience a Pokemon Christmas at one point. And since the Pokemon GO fever has not completely died down just yet, the Pokemon theme was still a welcome attraction in Changi airport. We didn’t get to meet any of the Pokemon mascots, nor did we chance upon the fleet of Pikachus. We did get some pretty postcard pictures with the Pokemon that were around the airport public areas though. Yes, Matthew was still being all moody like someone being chased around by a paparazzi, but maybe I did get a shot or two that made the trip worth it.

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A Christmas Wonderland

Gardens by the Bay brought about its own Christmas Wonderland to town as well. Meeting up with Matthew’s cousins, we took in the lights and sounds of the Gardens. There was a carnival that featured kiddie rides and some games. The games were pretty generous, considering you do win. The so-called Luminarie was all over the Super Trees and so was the Festive Market. It was at the Luminarie gazebo that people flocked at the scheduled “snow” times. Yes, they made it snow in Singapore. Okay, no, they didn’t. It was just suds. But heck, if you lived in the moment, you can pretty much imagine sweating as snow fell. Our night was practically filled with food from the Festive Market, which wasn’t such a bad thing. It did leave a hole in my wallet, but the grub was definitely worth it.

Out of curiosity, we decided on having a Cheese Board Christmas dinner. Since I can’t drink alcoholic beverages anymore, we got non-alcoholic sparkling whites to go with our cheeses. We had water crackers and some ham to liven up the table as well. Matthew and mummy exerted some effort in fixing up the dining table with a white Christmas theme which worked rather well with our dinner.

When the clock struck twelve, the three of took our places at the table. We poured our sparkling white wine and set the cheeses with the ham and crackers. We sat down and prayed. We sent out thank yous and our wishes and wished Jesus Christ a happy birthday. We had a good time exploring the possibilities of cheese and wine and how the combination made us all fart. And we had a good time. A simple, quiet dinner surrounded by family sharing our love with one another. We couldn’t have asked for more.

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Bringing the cousins home

We have been celebrating our Christmases in Singapore since eight years ago. Most of the time, it was Matthew, mummy and me. That is unless we have visitors or we went back to the Philippines to spend Christmas there. It would be fair to say that we are already used to spending small family Christmas dinners. It didn’t look like this year was going to be any different, yet somehow it felt different. And we had a good family Christmas, just like always.

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S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

STATION stands for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network.

We were granted access to one of the Avengers’ high-tech headquarters in south-east Asia, right here in Singapore. Okay, that may be overdoing a bit. Marvel’s Avengers’ STATION is an immersive experience into one of the Marvel cinematic universe’s most recognisable heroes, (you guessed it) the Avengers.

What is STATION exactly? If you want the full experience then you had better get yourself hyped up, otherwise you will probably just think of it as a glorified Marvel exhibit. You come into the STATION as a recruit for the final battle with Ultron. You need to download the STATION app by the way for either iOS or Android to complete your training (and exit the facility). It is mostly a question and answer type of app and all the answers will be inside the STATION itself so you really shouldn’t fail at being a recruit.

The Tesseract
The Tesseract

So, you get ushered in to STATION by a SHIELD agent and is greeted by Maria in the briefing room who will explain what STATION is all about as well as hand out your mission to help save the planet from hostile threats. Inside, you get the chance to get an in-depth look at the history, technology, genetics and personal profiles of the Avengers. Well, those files that are not classified at least.

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The red, white and blue

The overall experience is quite good. in fact, it was a great experience overall. They made a pretty good impression that you are in a high-tech, top-secret facility hidden somewhere from the public view (in reality, it is at the Annex of the Singapore Science Centre). The wall-to-wall digital screens are there working in conjunction with touch screen panels and motion sensors making you feel like you were a SHIELD operative. Captain America’s shield was there of course and the motorbike that he used as well. An anatomy of the Hulk’s enormous hands were there as well as Black Widow’s batons and Hawkeye’s curve bow. Various information were available on the panels lining up the gear so you know what they were. Other points of interest are Vision’s creation casket and Falcon’s Wings. Thor’s Mjolnir was there for you to try and see if you are worthy of wielding its power (I already kind of guessed that I wasn’t worthy). And the coup de grace, Iron Man’s Hall of Armor. Which, was kind of a disappointment for me. With the numerous movies that Iron Man was in, you would have expected that at least one Armor was actually there. But nope. All that was there were statues of Iron Man’s armors. And they aren’t even the best of the best (the one’s displayed at hobby shops are better in my opinion). At least they are there, including the humongous Hulk Buster Armor. Let’s not overlook the bad guys either where samples of these nasties are lying around in cryo containment chambers along with some of their weapons.

The Hulk Buster
The Hulk Buster

In terms of being interactive, you can’t get any less interactive by swiping your hands and tapping over the touch screen panels to get all the nifty information on the Avengers. You can get a digitized Hulk to perform action moves on a similar touch screen control pad and you can test your grip strength against Captain America. Over at Thor’s Observatory, you can explore the galaxy and perhaps find a school bus floating in space. You can chase ants around while trying to understand Ant Man’s suit and tech too. Around the Iron Man wing of the exhibition was a testing facility where you can experience the Hulk Buster armor in action by remotely controlling it with a motion sensor. They probably use a proprietary application to run the simulation, but the sensor was definitely Xbox One grade. It has been used by other exhibits before so its no surprise that it works rather well.

A movie is also included in the entrance price and you cannot opt out of it. Being a superhero fan, we have already watched these films (some more than once to be honest). So it was a bit of a waste going in without watching the movie. The schedule of the movies can be checked from the Science Center’s website just for reference. After getting our fill of techno mumbo jumbo (which was presented in one of the coolest ways possible), it was time to leave the premises.

This was where it got tricky as we couldn’t find the exit. It turns out that you have to participate in the final battle with Ultron before being certified as a STATION recruit and getting around to the exit. So after playing a short game where you fight as one of the Avnegers, you get to defeat Ultron and save the day. And that was the STATION. If you really get into it, the experience will be worthwhile. It does have some quirky downsides if you’re picky, but like I said, the overall experience is beyond good. Have a go at it while it’s still at the Science Center until January 2017.

A Bouncy Birthday Party

Matthew has just passed the decade mark by a year. Yes, he is now eleven and things have been awesome so far. Awesomeness aside, one birthday wish that was granted was for a party to be held with select friends. Once that was decided, it was off to Bounce.

Bounce off!
Bounce off!

It turns out that birthday parties at Bounce were quite easy to pull off. We chose the date, we chose how many were going to be involved and we paid our dues. When we arrived at Bounce, all we had to do was wait for the guests to arrive. When everyone was there, the people from Bounce handled the rest. Which was pretty cool and we were quite happy with how they handled everything. From keeping up with the kids to bringing them around and giving them ample time to enjoy the venue. Not surprising, the kids had a good time.

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More bounce, more fun!

After bouncing around for a good hour or so, we gathered the kids (and their parents) to the birthday room for refreshments. Food and drinks for the party were served and it was pretty good. The portions were generous enough that there were even leftovers. The cake at the end of the party was good as well. It looked simple enough but tasted rich and creamy. With the happy faces of the kids after bouncing and eating, we were happy to rate the birthday party a success. We thank everyone who came and celebrated Matthew’s birthday with us. Hopefully you went home with fond and fun memories just like we did.

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!