Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: I Theatre The Boy Who Cried Wolf!

A famous Aesop Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a tale which I think all of us grow up with. Dumpling first heard of the tale when she was attending her Chinese classes during her preschool years and there were a lot of talking points from the story.

From a child's development perspective, it is not uncommon for children to fib. However, with young children, it is sometimes hard for them to grasp “consequences” as it is somewhat an abstract concept. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a wonderful tale for the children to then explore and internalize what consequences lying can bring.

I Theatre’s production of The Boy Who Cried Wolf starts with a young shepherd "Boy" who has problems staying awake while watching over his four sheep which he enjoys a close friendship with.

The four sheep played by familiar faces from previous I Theatre's productions (Alecia Kim, Joshua Lim, Daphne Ong and Erwin Shah Ismail) have their own quirky demeanor and Dumpling was exceptionally tickled by one particular smart aleck (not gonna review who so watch out for this sheep!) which uses BIG vocabulary (i.e. “fundamentally”, “inquisitive”, etc) as he apparently got to be so smart because he ATE UP a dictionary. (Dumpling guffawed at that point.)

Now, Boy was bored day after day and it was putting him to sleep. So, he needed help to stay awake with the help of the audience (though being a caffeine addict, I think he could do with some Kopi Kao). :p  

Boy then decided to pretend that a wolf is nearby and called for help.

Like most I Theatre's productions, puppets are woven into the story and it came in the form of a theatrical play told by the sheep who attempted to teach Boy the moral of white lies by putting up a play on the Chicken Licken story.

Like the classic tale, the boy did continue to call out with fake cries for help (though "accidentally") and a wolf did emerge.

But with an unexpected twist!

What I noticed in this first play of the year by I Theatre was that the props and costumes are really colorful! And with a good understanding of its audience profile, unlike the original tale, this production has the sheep taking on a bigger role, featuring more interaction with Boy. Coupled with fast songs and some physical comedy, this production drew the young audience in quickly. 

On the whole, I find the play a lively and a colorful affair and I enjoyed the modern bits to it. Some adult humor was also incorporated with the accents that the Chicken Licken characters used. Importantly, did the kid like it?

Here's what Dumpling wrote in her school journal – she watched the play a second time with her school after we caught the preview. 

Sorry about the blurry picture but what here's what she wrote:

"My favorite part of the musical is the play they had in the production Chicken Licken. I enjoyed that part the most because Ducky Lucky spoke English in a extremely funny way. There was a plot twist (blurred out because of spoiler)..."

The moral of the of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"is that you have to be honest and truthful, and that you have to own up to your mistakes. 

I couldn't have described it better. :)

Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
Event Dates: 15 Feb - 19 March 
Mon - Fri: 10am 
Sat: 10.30am and 2.30pm
Duration: 55 mins (including meet and greet)

To purchase tickets, please click here

Disclaimer: We were invited to watch I Theatre's The Boy Who Cried Wolf to give our opinions of it. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours.  

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Creative Writing - Teaching our Children to Fish OR Giving Them the Fish?

About 9 months ago, the kiddo brought home a piece of homework which is to write a personal recount of her field trip. As with my usual approach towards her homework, I did not hover. For English writing, what we would do is to usually jot down the ideas that come to her mind and the few key points pertaining to each angle she has thought of.

By talking it out and planning it through, what I aim to teach is for her to learn to plan the story and the flow. We also spoke about ideas on “story openers”. I then sat down to work on my blog and she proceeded to write on her own, stopping me only twice to ask for assistance on the spelling of some words.

A day or two later, she brought back her piece and a 5-page piece written by her classmate which was shared by the teacher with her class. Yup. A 5-page essay. And before you need ask, my kid was only in Primary 1 then.

So you can imagine my surprise when the 5-page essay came back as a “sample” along with paragraphs written by her other classmates, printed on a separate sheet. I understand that through sharing, the teacher is hoping to share some good phrases but I struggle with how a 5-page essay is shared as a “model” composition.

3 reasons:

Are the children expected to churn out 5-pagers for their P1 tests too? I am sure that they are not but is that what is implied? For parents who do not know better, they may mis-read the intention behind the sharing and start scampering to work on a similar 5-page wonder, thereby increasing the stress level of their households! 

Parental involvement:
The piece was meant as "homework" where the children brought back what they did in class and they further edit / work on it at the home-front. So, it seems likely that there was heavy parental involvement in the essay. Therein lies the question “as parents, are we teaching them to fish or are we giving them the fish”?

Overuse of flowery superfluous language
The attempt was of good effort I have to say, but what did not particularly impress me was the use of adjectives, or in this case, an overuse of them.

Like a model essay that is typically published in books which showcase “super model” compositions, the over use of adjectives to describe a simple field trip gave me a headache. As a first-read, the starting sentences were impressive but it quickly became “draggy” for me. The focus of the essay was a personal recount to the Science Centre but as I read on, the first page mainly consisted of sentences and sentences of description on the weather and the surroundings. It did not even lead into the field trip (which should be the gist of the essay) even when I got to the beginning of page 2. So are those phrases necessary? 

At Primary 1, the usual requirement is to write about 5 - 8 sentences (varies across schools) about a picture composition (it can consist of 1, 3 or 4 pictures). To produce a 5-page essay during test / exam time, to me, at Primary One, is neither practical nor doable. 

More importantly, are pieces expected to be so “manufactured” where all the starting sentences of compositions are expected to be filled with superfluous sentences? It seems many such phrases are memorized and some are not even related to the composition. A quick check with my friends confirmed my worries. It seems that many teachers do look out for such use of adjectives in essays (which they deem as "good") and it is because of that, parents are sending their children to writing classes to be exposed to adjectives and expressions, and apply it, cookie-cutter manner, to their compositions during exams.

I do not agree with that at all.

Clearly, there should be better ways to write and to engage. Of course there are common phrases which we use and yes, it is perfectly fine to be inspired by authors where we sometimes use similar phrases in our writing, but I find it a shame to encourage our children to use “short cuts” such as through memorizing. More than that, are they using the phrases meaningfully?

The kiddo has been to writing workshops during the school holidays where one centre was also heavily focused on using suggested power phrases too. That prompted me to ponder and think: whatever happened to reading good literature (across a wide genre) and the good old practice of journaling? Am I the only naive parent here and the only one who feel this way? 

As parents who aim to support, are there better ways to go about this? Should we then be so involved in these "homework" where we are giving them the fish (or the answer) than teaching them the skills to fish? Please, do share your thoughts and suggestions with me! J

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Giveaway! Disney on Ice presents Magical Ice Festival!

I watched my first Disney on Ice show as a child when my aunt brought my brother, some cousins and I there. There is always something magical with Disney productions and needless to say, I was blown away by how graceful the performers were. Being a mum now and that both Dumpling and I enjoy ice skating (we took lessons 2 years back), Disney on Ice is always a production which I would want to watch with her, to have her experience that Disney magic!

And for this year and for all Frozen fans, we are in for a treat!

Get ready to enter a world of enchantment as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse bring the most magical moments from across the Disney kingdom to Singapore in Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

Featuring a twist on fairy-tales and comical segments from everyone’s favorite Disney characters including princesses Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle, Disney on Ice continues to surprise with  special appearances by Anna and Elsa from the Academy Award® winning and Number One Animated Feature Film of All Time, Disney’s Frozen!

Audiences will journey up the North Mountain with the well-loved snowman Olaf, rugged mountain-man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven as they help the sisters along the way in a story full of action, adventure, magic and unforgettable characters!

Here are 10 magical moments behind Disney On Ice to get you all geared up for the show!

1.   Disney On Ice was founded in 1981 and has since travelled to over 75 countries and 6 continents
2.   The average size of the ice skating surface is 140ft [42m] x 70ft [21m]
3.   There are approximately 180 costumes presented at one Disney On Ice show
4.   And more than 100 people work on these costumes
5.   It takes 18 trucks to transport all production equipment for set-up
6.   And it takes between 12-15 hours to set up one Disney On Ice show
7.   But just about 4 hours to tear down the entire production
8.   Over 80 different colours of paint are used on the 183 props for this production
9.   The youngest performer on this year’s show is 19-years-old and the oldest is 44-years-old
10. Each performer may change up to 8 costumes in one show

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will also guide fans through a winsome wonderland where they encounter Sebastian and the Daughters of Triton from Disney’s The Little Mermaid

to the rowdy pub thugs from Disney’s Tangled 

and the loyal enchanted servants from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

This will be definitely be a great way to spend part of your March school holidays with your children! Are you a Disney fan?

I am pleased to share that I have a family package of 4 tickets to give away! 

Just take part by earning credits through Rafflecopter above and answer the following 3 questions in the comment box at the bottom of the post! Let's test your Disney knowledge! :p

1) In which kingdom do Anna and Elsa live?
2) What is the object that Ariel’s friend Scuttle calls a dinglehopper?
3) Name three of the enchanted characters that live in the Beast’s castle.

:: Terms and conditions:
1) As the production takes place in Singapore, participants must reside here. 
2) Tickets are not transferable and they cannot be exchanged for cash.
3) Tickets are for either the 12th / 13th March (to be determined at a later date by sponsor) and they cannot be changed.
4) Only entries via Rafflecopter are valid. 
5) Answers to the above 3 questions MUST be listed in the comment box below to qualify. Please watch for spelling mistakes. All 3 answers must be correct to qualify. Please remember to leave your name and your email address. 
6) Closing Date of Giveaway: 22 Feb 2016, 2359 hrs.
7) The giveaway is not endorsed, associated with administrated by Facebook. 

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival can be purchased online here

Show Schedule are as below:

To learn more about the magical experience - Magical Ice Festival, please visit

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored giveaway. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours. 

Photo credit: the images are provided by Feld Entertainment. 

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram 
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