Friday, December 30, 2005

The "Success" of our "No Dialect" policy

You know the "No Dialect" policy formulated by the authorities in the 70s has been a success when you tried explaining to a local medical staff the condition of your medical ailment in the hospital.

Yesterday, my mum complained of breathlessness and I brought her to the A&E of a hospital. She was admitted but, thankfully, was discharged today.

Upon admission, we were first attended to by a local Chinese nurse who started asking my mum her medical history in Mandarin. Not knowing Mandarin, my mum broke into Hokkien only to have the nurse looking askance at me. I asked the nurse if she was local. She replied yes but added that though she was not very conversant in Hokkien, she has little problem understanding the spoken dialect. But it was clear she was "struggling" trying to hold the conversation with my mum. I thought that situation in the hospital was potentially dangerous. A miscommunication could have given rise to a misdiagnosis, could it not?

My wife, also a nurse, told me that at the hospital where she works, many of the local Chinese doctors and nurses speak little dialect, if at all. Most of them are in the early 20s. These days, she not only has to translate the non-Chinese doctors' prescriptions to the elderly; she has to do the same for the Chinese doctors.

Surely, this is the consequence of the "No Dialect" policy implemented in the 1970s. I'm not about to embark on a tirade on why this policy of "No-dialect" on national TV or movies should be relaxed (some would say it already has – just look at Jack Neo's movies). There's no doubt that the gahmen has the best of interest of our country when they implemented that policy, the objective of which I have no desire to repeat here. But personally, I feel that it's quite a shame that our children should loss the heritage of their dialects. My mum, the care-giver uses Hokkien to communicate with my kids, whom I'm proud to say, speaks good Hokkien by today's standard. Many kids and young adults of today don't.

If you can recall the SARS days in Singapore, the authorities allowed medicorp artistes to make speeches on SARS awareness on TV and the radio. Of course, the targeted audience was the elderly, many of whom know only dialects and may be blissfully unaware of the peril of he SARS virus. But why should it take a crisis in order for dialects to be used on national TV?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Instant mee on my mestin tastes just as good

Like most parents, my mum was worried when I was about to enlist for NS more than 20 years ago. She spent sleepless night worrying about her "baby" leaving home for the first time. She worried about the physical training and hardship, about the infamous army food and basically about my well-being. Happily, I came out of NS none the worse for it. In fact, NS has done me, and I dare say most men, good. We learned about discipline, teamwork, physical endurance and yes, even racial harmony. If someone was out of line and had problem with authority, the whole platoon was likely to suffer and all would be punished. Sure, there was resentment against that individual who "sabo" all. But again, it made one mindful of one's action 'cause we knew that our action would result in consequences that would affect every soldier in the platoon.

The army is where all men (well, almost ALL men) learned how to handle their first "wife" - the rifle (sorry Victor, I'm not making fun of you 'cause I remember my new year resolution. LOL). It followed us wherever we went during deployment in the field. Even when we were catching our precious 40 winks, we took pain to ensure that "she" was close to us physically. Woes to the soldier who woke up and found his "wife" missing. He would probably get extra duties (weekend burned) or if the rifle was truly gone (a serious offence), court martial and sent to detention barrack.

On the flip side, we did have lots of fun with our wives rifles. We shot with them, clean them up after each shooting exercise. We were even tested on how fast we could "strip" and "assemble" the wives rifles. Truly and even at the risk of sounding "corny", I do feel that the army is where we boys turned into men, notwithstanding the fact that 18-year-old boys' entry to RA21 movies is still a no-go. Btw, I still couldn't quite get a handle on that ruling. So an 18-year-old is old enough to hold a rifle and kill to protect the country; but ain't matured enough to catch a RA21 movie? Dig that!

In a matter of years, Senior Junior, who's all of 13, would be going down the same path as his Dad and many Singaporean men before him. When that time arrives, I'm sure the Slim Lady (and I) will feel the anxiety the way my mum did. I always tell the Slim Lady - let's not worry so pre-maturely. My mum worried for me and look where I am now?

Fortunately (or unfortunately), life in the army has undergone tremendous changes. So much so that perhaps the worry and anxiety may not be necessary. For instance, the army has reduced the conscript term from 2.5 years to 2 years. The number of ICT has also been cut from 13 to 10 years. Why, it's been said that the next war (if it ever occurs, or has it started already?) would commence from the comfort of the armchair and with a press of a button. It seems life in the army is no longer as tough as it used to be. One begins to worry if it will churn out an army of softies?

It was reported recently that the army has just acquired a portable German-made Mobile Field Kitchens that could whip out chicken rice, nasi lemak, and mee goreng for 500 soldiers within hours. It claims the food is comparable to food-court fares. The Kitchen also provides fresh drinking water and water for shower, besides doing laundry, washing and drying up to 100 sets of uniforms at a time.

Imagine what this nifty gadget could do to the NS chaps having field training? Instead of bathing with talcum powder or going without bath for days during exercises, they can now have a nice shower right in the middle of the jungle. Instead of dry ration or instant mee, they are now served "food-court" food by army chef. And most thankfully, the ritual of digging a hole out in the jungle to cover up their poo may soon be a thing of the past.

Certainly, technologies have advanced our way of life in many ways, including that in the army. Back then, comradeship was forged while cooking instant mee the old-fashion way - a few rocks were simply gathered from the training ground and cleverly arranged like a mini stove. Mestins were used as "wok". Someone would start boiling the water with the mestin. Then someone else would throw in the noodle. And yet another person would open a can of braised pork and threw them all into the mestin. The resulting mee may not taste as delicious as those food churned out by the German machine, but boy did they taste good! The steaming hot noodle in the mestins was the product of our comradeship. What I'm trying to drive at is that technology may not always or necessarily be a good thing.

Of course, to progress, we should embrace technology. But if the army is all comfy, how do we expect our boys to face the eventuality of a war?

I have fond memories of my army days and platoon mates, some of whom were quite a character. Will blog about them one day.

Category: Musings

Monday, December 26, 2005

Making (and breaking) New Year resolutions

The day after Christmas and six days to 2006. There's still plenty of time yet to make that thing called “Resolution. To me, making resolution is a yearly ritual - not just making it; but breaking it as well. Why? Most people can't hold resolutions beyond 3 January. It has become a ritual of mockery. So why bother?

Truth is, a year without resolutions is a year without purposes or directions. Resolutions are like beacons, guiding us in the brand new year, giving us directions in the way we want our life to be. We make resolutions, trying to take stock of our life. But of course, staying on course to fulfill one's resolution is never easy. Or there'll be no necessity to make resolutions.

I've got a few resolutions for 2006. Whether I can keep them or not is beside the point. In order of priority, my resolutions are:

1. Spend more time with my family. The demand of work, hours surfing the net and blogging (looking sheepish) do eat into my time with my family. It's really hard trying to juggle everything. For a start, I will cut down working OT on weekend unless absolutely necessary. After all, what's the 5-day week for?

2. Shape up. Exercise more and eat less. The latter is going to be tough, what with lunch each working day of the week with BAGUS. Of course, if I fail in this resolution, I can always blame BAGUS.

3. Be a Flextarian. To the uninitiated, Flextarian is one who is mostly vegetarian but occasionally omnivorous. I really think I need to take in more greens and less meat. Again, with BAGUS, this may pose a challenge.

4. To be a nicer person. I'm 90% nice, and 10% nasty (some may say ‘bitchy’). Sometimes, you have to be nasty, especially in the office where we know “survival of the fittest” rules. The 10% nastiness usually applies to show co-workers (sometime bosses) that I’m no pushover, ok? But most time, I'm nice. I swear. :))

5. To learn to play the guitar. It's something that I've longed to do for years but haven't found the time to. My mind willing, I do think I can still learn to "strum" a tune or two, despite my fingers getting stumpy and stiffy even as I “age”.

6. Roller-blade. This is also something that I've always wanted to learn. Better get Senior Junior to show me the rope before my bones get all brittle. Perhaps Victor can teach me how? Victor's quite a roller, so I was told.

7. To stop reduce taking swipes at Victor (para 6 is NOT a swipe at you Victor) whose sporting nature and good humour has sustained our friendship thus far. Others would have fallen out with me long ago for the horrible things I did him. :P

8. To resist blaming BAGUS or anything (animated or inanimated), on my failure in fulfilling any of the above resolutions. :))

Wah, eight resolutions already? Hmmm... I'll be happy if I can fulfill half of them. See? I'm giving up already!

Friday, December 23, 2005

The meaning of exchanging presents during Christmas

I read "Sleepless In Singapore" blog today and learn a thing about the meaning of Christmas.

According to "Sleepless In Singapore" (he left no name in his blog and I'm tempted to call him "insomniac" or "zombie", hee), Christmas is NOT about giving; but about receiving.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16

I've never seen Christmas in that light. To me, Christmas is a day to honour the birth of Jesus Christ and on this day, we should perhaps act like He did, being kind, generous and forgiving. Out of this spirit perhaps sprung the custom of giving gifts to our loved ones, but the custom soon evolved into exchanging presents.

Of course, buying presents for our family members is a must. But when it comes to friends and colleagues, we only buy to those whom we care and love. Colleagues who are left out of the list may construe that we obviously do not love them, which may not necessary be the case. Sadly, political correctness has crept into this simple act of gift-giving which has become a tool to measure one's level of friendship to another.

But it doesn't have to be this way. For instance Victor and myself. We both agreed not to start this tradition of exchanging presents. Once started, it's difficult to break. But that doesn't mean we aren't good pals.

Then there are times we received gifts from colleagues whom we think are mere acquaintance. We always feel obligated to reciprocate with a gift, don't we?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I am sorry ...

Dear T. T. Durai,

Deja vu. Just as we thought the dust on the NKF fiasco has settled, the report by KPMG re-ignites the anger I feel about this whole saga and started my blood boiling again. I'm utterly disgusted with you and your cahoots.

I'm sorry about your downfall, Mr Durai. No, I'm not sorry for you.

I'm sorry for the withdrawal of donations by many Singaporeans following reports of your excesses.

I'm sorry for the many kidney dialysis patients who may suffer more because of the withdrawal of these donations.

I'm sorry for the misplaced loyalty of the misguided nurses and medical staff who cried bitter tears when you were told to vacate the CEO seat.

I'm sorry for the many Singaporeans who have been misled into thinking that our monies had gone into helping the kidney patients.

I'm most sorry to learn that only 10 cents out of a dollar is spent on the patients.

I'm sorry for the NKF driver who has never got a bonus for the 10 years he worked there, while you brazenly gave yourself bonus serveral times within a year.

I'm sorry for the NKF staff who were told that their unconsumed leave would be forfeited, while you shamelessly backdated your leave increment and encashed them for $73,000.

But most of all, I'm sorry that the word "Charity" raises a stink these days. Nobody trusts charity anymore. You've done the other charity bodies a big disservice, Mr Durai. All thanks to you.

What were you thinking, Mr Durai, when you decided to sue SPH? Did you think you would walk out of the court triumphant? The way you did years ago when you sued two others who accused you of fund abuse? Why, it transpired that their accusation against you was true, wasn't it? You did travel first class, didn't you? You and your cahoots.

This time last year, did you predict that your life would undergo a 360 degree change one year later?

If you feel like you're in the pit of hell, Mr Durai, be prepared that the worse is yet to come. The last I read, charges may be laid against former managers of NKF for having milked Singapore's biggest charity and that the scandal you created may become an issue in the general elections expected as early as next year. Now you've got BIG BROTHER pissed ...

Up Yours Truly

Pissed and disgusted

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Great Social Divide and Victor the jester

We had a little Christmas celebration today, one of two lined-up in the office. See, our office has become so "compartmentalized" that we usually have more then one celebration for a single public holiday. We have one on the section level; and another one on the department level. It doesn't really make much sense. So am I supposed to wish my colleagues "Merry Christmas" twice?

Of course, food, well-wishes and merry-making are important ingredients for a perfect Christmas function. But more often then not, something sticks out like a sore thumb during such functions in the office. It always does. I'm talking about THE GREAT SOCIAL DIVIDE. I don't know about your office, but in my office, I always observe that the bosses and the power that be usually huddle on one corner of the room, and the rank-and-file officers on the other. It's always the case and I never stop to wonder why. Some people are simply shy. But I suspect the reason why the employees do not mingle with the bosses is that we fear saying something stupid and thus leaving our bosses with a bad impression. So, we tend not to strike out a conversation with our bosses and avoid them like the plague in such social setting. As the saying goes, silence is a substitue for stupidity, is it not? And the bosses, trying not to make the employees feel intimidated, keep their distance. Someone ought to help to break the ice and break down this invisible wall...

That aside, Victor left me in stitches today, for the silliest thing he did in the office. I couldn't help myself chuckling away even as I write ... Wahahaha...

See, Victor was trying to get hold of one of our BIG bosses through the phone. However, what he heard when he dialed the number was a pre-recorded voice asking him to leave his message in the voice box. Ok, so our big boss doesn't exactly sound like an angle. But you know how it is each time you're asked to speak to a answering machine or trying to make a pre-recorded voice of you own on your machine. We get self-conscious and our voice turned out sounding very artificial. Which was what exactly happened to our boss...

Anyway, my dear pal Victor seemed to be blissfully unaware that the voice recorder was active and running and happily went on to imitate the voice of our boss, just for jest. It took him a while to realise that his voice was recorded and he panicked to the point of becoming hysterical! Heads would roll when our boss heard the voice mail on her return!

"There goes your promotion!" I jokingly told Victor. However, I was surprised when Victor's hysteria soon gave way to one of indifference. That was when he realised there was nothing he could do to undo what he has done. In the end, when he finally managed to get hold of the boss, he simply asked her to just erase his voice message saying that he was not even aware that his voice was being recorded. We were not sure if she'd heard the voice mail but she apparently bought his story! Cool. Must be his charm again. See, Victor is always so lucky. He could get away with murder. While mere mortal like me could only get away with manslaughter. Wahahaha...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What a "jerky" DAD!

I hate myself sometimes, for the way I handle relationships - relationships with family members, friends and colleagues.

Senior Junior (SJ) was angry with me for what his old man did yesterday. While bringing him home from a tournament, I had refused to give his friend a lift home. The friend stays at Tampines and was out of the way. SJ claimed that in his phone call to me about fetching his friend, he had told me that his friend stayed in "Tampines". I probably wasn't listening while driving. Anyway, it was drizzling slightly and I was late, rushing home with packed dinner in the car. Quite crudely, I told his friend that he has to go home by himself.

Today, SJ was all quiet and refused to talk to me. I didn't mean to take a peek at his cell phone which he has left it in my car after we came back from a trip to Bugis Junction for some Christmas shopping. In his "sent" folder, I noted a sms to Aaron the friend who started it all that reads: "Sorry about that just now. My Dad is a jerk".

Far from being angry, I actually burst out laughing. So is this what I am to my boy? Because of one incident like this? It wasn't exactly SJ's fault. On hindsight, I think I could have handled this incident differently and gave that boy a lift home. I think it's important to make our kids realise that we do care for their friends and that their friends are important to us.

As a peace-offering, I told SJ I would be buying chilli crab for dinner today. He shrugged nonchalantly but I know the boy loves chilli crab, unlike mummy and junior.

Eating crab with my boy is a great way to bond with him. Meticulously, I'd extract the crab meat out of the shell for him. Despite being 13, that boy can't handle a crab to save his life! I always tease him if he would do likewise for his old man when I'm old and invalid. He showed sign of "forgiving" his dad, and I asked him on a scale of 1 to 10, how much he would rate his old man as a Dad. He gave me a 7-8. Wow! Certainly not bad for a Dad who is a "jerk"!

Friday, December 16, 2005

A blanket strategy for economic gain

Where I'm staying is a shopping mall. Like most shopping malls in Singapore, on the top level is a food court. Years ago, the food court underwent a renovation and a change of ownership. What was once a food court that served both Chinese and Halal food was transformed into one that serves strictly Halal food. So we have halal Char Kway Teow, halal chicken rice and halal fish ball noodle. The food court even serves halal chicken cooked in "char siew" sauce. Basically, it's halal everything. And as if to assure consumers that the food served is indeed halal, the food court owner even took measures to ensure that each stall is being manned by a Chinese and a Malay. I'd like to think that is a great way to maintain harmony. But ultimately, the underlying message is for economic gain - pure and simple.

Now, people who know me know that I'm a foodie. I eat food of all ethnic types, and have a particular weakness for satay, the authentic kind. I love food and I live to eat. But when I eat Chinese food like the Char Kway Teow or Mee Pok Tah, I want it with lard, lots of it. Without lard, it's just not Char Kway Teow but fried Kway Teow to me, the kind that I usually buy for breakfast.

What the food court owner did, serving halal food across the board, is no different from what the various fast food restaurants like McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut have done. Getting a halal certificate for a restaurant is a strategy to increase the profit margin. But the fast food restaurants are quite unlike food court, for they serve only a peculiar kind of food. For instance, there are different flavors of chicken in KFC; but there's only so many ways to cook a chicken. Likewise for McDonalds - its business is in making burgers, nothing more, nothing less.

But a food court serves a variety of foods that cater to the different taste buds of the various ethnic groups. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against food court serving halal food per se. A food court without halal foodstall is wrong, but making it halal across the board, rather then having different stalls selling halal and non-halal food doesn't sound right to me either.

Of course, one can argue that it's a free market and I can always look for my lard-laded Char Kway Teow elsewhere...until the transformation of the next foodcourt or hawker centre.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A short trip to Langkawi

I'm not one to travel much. If I do, more often than not, it's for work. In fact for the past few trips that I have gone overseas, it was ALWAYS because of work. That little time for leisure I have. And whenever it's work, the trip takes away half the fun. It always does.

I was at Langkawi at the invitation of a client over the weekend. Together with four other colleagues, our host put us up at Kampung Tok Senik, a rustic and sleepy resort comprising chalets and bungalows set in a kampung style amidst a lush natural backdrop. It's a nice change from the usual 3 or 4-star star hotels we got used to.

What would one expect on a working trip like this? Other then work, it's pretty much what a tourist would do in a foreign land - lazing around by the pool, enjoying the sun, the sand and the sea, and retail therapy, of course, to blow away our money.

Our host, instead of bringing us to the usual Underwater World or cable car ride, took us on a boat ride to Sungei Kilim. The idea is to feed eagles out in the wild. Quietly, I was pleased because though I'm hardly the out-door type, the thought of the Underwater World and Cable Car didn't exactly appeal to me. After all, these two attractions could be found in Singapore too.

The journey on Sungei Kilim would have pleased enthusiasts of Chek Jawa to no end. Living in the mangrove swamp of Sungei Kilim are numerous flora and fauna such as the long-tailed macaques monkeys, iguanas and the Tree Crabs.

Langkawi is actually an acronym for "Lang" which means Eagle in English, and "Kawi" meaning Brown Stone. Is it any wonder than that the Reddish Brown Eagles could be found in the island?

When time came to stop the boat to feed the eagles, we realised that the only souls besides us were a group of tourists on board another boat anchored about 200 meters away from ours. Within minutes of our arrival and as if on cue, the sky was filled with about 30 to 40 eagles circling and waiting to be fed. Somehow, these creatures could sense that we mere mortals were there for a mission - to feed the eagles. It was magnificent, the way these majestic looking creatures swooped down from high above to feast on the feed we threw into the river.

Our host told us that the Malaysian government has endorsed the feeding of the eagles. The reason is pure and simple - the lure of the tourist money. Unfortunately, this tourist attraction is doing more harm then good to the eagles, which are slowly losing their ability to hunt for food naturally. The feed that we threw into the river, comprising chicken entails and rotten fish aren't exactly healthy diet for the eagles. In fact, he added that the long-term effect of feasting on such diet has begun to show its toll on the birds, with some losing their feathers and some laying eggs with shell that was weak, resulting in the eagles becoming endangered. The lure of the tourist dollars is irristable. One can only hope that these eagles, pretty much like the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs, will not go the way of the dinosaurs.

Along the way, we passed by Bat Cave or Gua Kelawar in Malay. The sight of the many bats hanging on the ceiling of the cave sort of made my hair stand on end.

What's a holiday, albeit a working holiday, without shopping? I was happy shopping, more so because I was really touched by the warmth and friendliness of the sales people at Langkawi, both at shopping mall or even at the humble family-owned kedai-kedai in the rural areas. They are always smiling a genuine smile. I felt the same warm when I was in Bangkok. Though we are ahead in so many fields, I feel we Singaporeans have a thing or two to learn from our neighbours when it comes to giving good service and hospitality. We're really unique in that sense; hence the phrase "Uniquely Singapore" coined by the STPB.

I also got to know my colleagues a little better over the weekend. You know what they said if you can "survive" a trip with a friend and come home remain as friends, that friendship will last forever? Guess what? That "crap" is true!

Two more last shots I took of Sungei Kilim. I like these two shots best 'cause they project an image of calm and tranquillity...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The pop icon that she was

She was in her early 30s. I was a lad of 23. I got to know her through a camp mate while on an army training stint in Brunei. The year was 1987.

She was not a beauty, at least not in a ravishing way. Nor was her voice sweet as an angel. But I was taken in by her, no less. There was something about her that drew me to her. Each night, when lights were out at 2359H, I slept with her close to my heart and her voice close to my ears. Such was her hold on me. Long before the advent of the American Idol or the Singapore Idol, I already have my idol. Her name is Madonna.

Over the years, I became her greatest fan, buying almost every single that she made, every album that she recorded. She was at her raunchiest when she sang "Like A Virgin", and her most rebellious when she kissed a black saint in her MTV for "Like A Prayer". There was uproar from the Roman Catholic Church which branded her a sinner for her blasphemous act.

Still, she survived, and went on to scale greater height in her singing career, always reinventing herself, but never shied of controversy after controversy. My love for her never faltered. I continued to buy her remixed singles and MTV videos. Then she tried her hand at acting. And made quite a spectacular of herself, other then playing herself in 'Desperately Seeking Susan".

She got married to the British guy, her second after her divorce from the much under-rated American actor Sean Penn. She seemed to be settling down to being a dutiful wife and doting mum, while at the same time dabbling in Kabbalah, her new-found religion. I realised, to my consternation, that Madonna is slowly losing her appeal to me. Domesticity and Madonna were something that I find hard to connect. But I guess people change. Why, she even penned a couple of children's books; two to be precise, amidst accusation that the books were written by someone in her Kabbalah clan. Who in their right mind would let their kids read Madonna's book? This is the same Madonna who also came out with a pictorial book called "SEX", considered pornographic by many earlier in her career.

I decided I didn't care much for Madonna anymore.

Then she released a new album last week titled "Confessions On A Dancefloor". I bought it anyway, more out of sentimental reason than being a fan. Admittedly, I didn't think much of the album on first spin. And she looks really like a 70s disco-queen in that album cover, to put it mildly.

Happily, like most of her albums, Madonna's songs always grow on you. People who don't appreciate her songs failed to understand that it's an acquired taste. And I also realised that her vocal, used to be rather limited in range, has improved a fair bit. Yes, at 47, this grand old dame has come a long way. Love her or hate her, she has this rock appeal that has made her one of pop great icon. Yes, I'm still a fan and it should have been "the pop icon that she IS" instead of "the pop icon that WAS".

Friday, December 02, 2005

House-Painting is (never) fun, work from morn till set of sun ....

House-painting is (never) fun, work from morn till set of sun,
Cannot stand, cannot sit, cannot rest a little bit.

So, the song which I remember having sung it during my primary school days goes... Just that instead of "house-painting", it's "planting rice"....

The Slim Lady and I have finally given our house a new coat of paint, all 122 sq meter of it and single-handedly, too. It's the first time in six years that we've repainted our house without any professional help.

Doing it ourselves has saved us about $1200. But house-painting is no kid's play, even though Junior might seem to be having a lot of fun in the pic. It's really a lot of hard work. Our legs were sore, having stood on our feet for almost the whole day. And the arms and wrists have started to ache to. The paint was everywhere, landing itself on animated and inanimated objects alike, and I was worried sick that my fish would die! We also took this opportunity to do some spring cleaning, might as well, considering that the Lunar New Year is just about a month away. And to top it all, I was left with no access to my PC for the past two days :(

But it's a small price to pay. Not just the $265 we paid for the four buckets of paint and the brushes, but also, it helps to bond the family. The whole family went shopping for the paints, the kids got to chose the colours for their rooms, and how they wanted their furnitures to be arranged after the painting was done. Granted, the Slim Lady and myself did the bulk of the painting, but the kids were also told to paint their own rooms, too, at least in the initial stage when we started. They enjoyed the painting at first, but as with most kids, the novelty soon wore off and then it was left with mummy and daddy to finish the job

The Slim Lady and I agree that we will do it again. Thankfully, that would be FIVE years later .... and never fun :))