Being Emergency Prepared

One of the things I like about Matthew’s school is the good wealth of activities that are offered to parents and their children. Most of these activities foster better bonding between parent and child and they offer these activities all throughout the year. This year-end, we enrolled in the Emergency Preparedness Program that the school offered with the help of the Singapore Civil Defense Force.

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This is not the first time that we attended such an activity. We had our certification two years ago through the town’s Community Center when the program had been offered there as well. Of course, this certification needs to be renewed, but that would be when we can schedule the certification again.

The program started out with some light breakfast and then the fun began. Our SCDF speaker was very good at speaking out the details of what we were to expect. It was not so serious that it made it interesting for the teens (and their parents). The first part of the Emergency Preparedness is our introduction to the government-sponsored mobile phone applications such as the SGSecure and myResponder app. Both can be downloaded from the Apple Appstore and Google Play Store. I would recommend downloading them.

The full course is to help the attendees become Response Ready. Participants learn the basic Emergency Preparedness knowledge. The main focus being practical hands-on training on three vital EP skills known as the Triangle of Life. The essential parts of the course were basic First Aid, CPR-AED training and Fire Fighting.

The basic First Aid taught us the basics of a First Aid kit and what to actually do with them. We were taught how to treat wounds of varying degrees including bleeding. We were also taught about what to do with burns. We learned how to treat sprains and even how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

We were then taught how to perform CPR and how to use an AED machine. These are all hands-on and everyone was encouraged to participate. As such, everyone took home a little bit of experience and a little bit of knowledge on how to save a life. While the exercise itself can be easy to understand, another important part of the training is actually knowing when to use this skill. CPR is only performed when a person’s heart has completely stopped and that they are no longer breathing.

The last part of the course was firefighting. The small kind of fire of course. As stated by our instructor, it is always best to contact the SCDF or the emergency numbers where you are. Know where the fire exits are and where the fire extinguishers are in a building. It would also be good to know the different types of extinguishers if there is more than one so that you know which type to use for the type of fire. It all ended in a high note and a mental high when we were all taught how to hold and use a fire extinguisher properly.

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Matthew was having so much fun that I hope he actually learned something from the course. I’m pretty sure that the most memorable lesson was finding out that it is safe to spray CO2 type fire extinguisher on your face.

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Let’s Go (back) to the Toyota History Garage

Back in Odaiba, I wrote about our trip, mainly around the Gundam Base. While in Odaiba, we also managed to visit the Toyota History Garage.

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While the Mega Web is the main attraction here, we didn’t have enough time to go there. And since we were coming from Diver City, the closest attraction that we soon reached was the History Garage as we entered Venus Fort from the side. The History Garage, was actually a surprise as it wasn’t the museum I was looking at the map for. But for it to be there, just as soon as we entered the doors, well, it was an invitation that should not be turned down.

Small wonders
Small wonders

The History Garage is free to enter. Yes, free to enter. With the amount of automotive history inside, you would be surprised that they don’t charge you a single Yen for it. You would also think that since it is by Toyota, that it would be filled with only Toyota vehicles. Again, you would be surprised that it is filled with other manufacturer automobiles. And it’s not just Japanese domestic market cars as well because there is a good assortment of American and European cars in this huge garage.

Grand-daddy of the the Rotary
Grand-daddy of the Rotary

You have cars that have graced the history of the automotive world lined up neatly in a diorama-like setting. It adds to the nostalgia of the already nostalgic vehicles. There are cars that are lesser known to me and cars that already have an iconic status like the Toyota 2000GT in its very recognizable white paint job. There is also a Mazda Cosmo, also in its signature white paint job. There was a 1961 Toyota Corona, a 1966 Honda S600, a 1967 Toyopet and a 1963 Toyota Crown. The license plates on these cars give you the year of the car’s production, and these cars are as mint as they come. There is a BMW Isetta, a DeLorean DMC-12, Lotus Elan roadster, and a Ferrari Dino among others scattered throughout the museum. And that is just on the inside. Outside, you have a Nissan 240Z and a Jaguar E-type convertible.

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While wandering about inside, I was drawn to a set of stairs leading down. It was a pleasant surprise that it led down to a shop selling die-cast toys of various scales and manufacturers. From Tomicas to AutoArt, from 1:64 to 1:8 scale, there is more than enough metal in these toys to build a 1:1 scale car. There are other paraphernalia for sale as well such as tin wall displays and old car number plates. It would have been easy to burn through your wallet and melt your plastic in that shop. Across the shop is the café where you can cool off and just rest your tired feet. But you may not get the chance as you will also soon notice that the Toyota Motorsport Heritage section is on the same level. Here are various Toyotas that have competed in different motorsports around the world. The hero cars here though are Toyota’s rally mainstay, the Toyota Celica. The History Garage is definitely a recommended itinerary for gearheads or even those who have even just a remote affinity with cars.

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Crashing Exams

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It is the end of year exam week for Matthew. Honestly, he has not been doing so good. Math, in particular, had been a thorn on our side since P4 and it seems to have been haunting us ever since. At first, we thought that us (mum and dad) teaching him mathematics would be enough to keep his grades up, or at least level with the mean of the class. It didn’t pan out the way that we had hoped, so we got him a math tutor. We have gone through several private tutors and even some tuition centers as well. This was on top of us nagging him about math. It has been a rough journey for sure, and one that has been ending up in frustration most of the time. And while we are not really after stratospherically high marks, we would at least want Matthew to stay on his current stream.

He has been doing okay in his other subjects so far. But we really have a lot of catching up to do with mathematics. Of course, we still need to do well on the other subjects as well which will eat up more of his brain in the coming days. We are praying that he would be able to cope with the stress, something which he isn’t particularly good at. In his primary school days, he was able to slide through year after year probably only using remnants of what he has learned in school. That may have worked for primary school, but secondary school is a different matter. Also, the educational system in Singapore comes off as a bit strange for us. It is far from what I was used to when I was in school. And that streaming system in Singapore is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you are pushing students to be at the top of their game in school. On the other hand, you are segregating performers based only on academic performance. Quoting Albert Einstein, If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Luckily, there are now schools that look at education in a different light. Matthew’s school seems to be one of those schools. Here we wave educators that are genuinely concerned with their students. His form teacher has been very helpful in filling us in on what is happening with Matthew in school. We are informed of behavioral concerns aside from the academics. The school evens out the spread of the examination instead of cramming them all in one short week. There are parent-children activities all throughout the school year with participation from the faculty and parent volunteers. There is involvement and exchange between the teachers, the students, and the parents. Something that was sorely lacking when we were going through Matthew’s primary school days.

Of course, getting good grades is only one of the hurdles that Matthew would be facing. We are all hoping for the best, and we are all doing our best. Together. How things stack up at the end of the year is still something for us to look forward to, tomorrow.