Friday, 17 August 2012

10-minute Haircut. ...Anyone?

I'm fascinated by this barbershop that my hub and my sons frequent. QBhouse offers 10-minute haircut for 10sgd.  The  rates are the same for both adults and kids. It cost a little more than kiddie rates in the beauty salons (8sgd) but what I'm impressed are its efficiency, cleanliness and no-nonsense service.

The QBHouse originated in Tokyo, Japan.  They are all over Singapore, Hongkong and Taiwan.

The staff don't handle money. You have to slid a 10sgd dollar bill into a vendo machine that pops out a card.  Hand the card over to the barber when it's your turn for a hair cut.

Each booth is a system in itself, especially designed for efficiency.    Clean neck paper, brand new comb for each customer, sterilizer for the razors & scissors, air washer (instead of shampoo), closet for customers' things and underneath, there's even a vacuum, that sucks the cut hair.

Photo from

The staff wears sanitary vest and mask, as well.  With the air washer, and blower they leave no scratchy tiny hairs on the neck.  

When I first saw the shop, I raised my eyebrows.  What's the quality of a 10min haircut?!  I'm used to spending hours in the salon and bring the kids with me :)

Then, I brought them to a local barbershop and they had to queue for the Malay barber they prefer.  "Style Pinoy, mommy, please.. "  What the heck.  At the rate the boys grow their hair and frequent the salon,  might as well, settle for a no-nonsense 10min. service.

As I always say,  it's just hair, it will grow back! 

So, what do you think?  I got a free comb!  :) 

'til next adventure!


Thursday, 16 August 2012

I have eyes only for You.... Myopia / Astigmatism

photo by
If you chance upon a group of children in Singapore, you will observe one or two things.  One, they are multi-racial.   Two,  majority of them wear eyeglasses. 

Singaporean children have the World's most prevalent cases of Myopia or Nearsightedness.  The  official number is  34% of children ages 7-9 years.

 Compared with other children of the world (data from the National Eye Center) :

Age Wearing Glasses
Singapore 7 to 9 34%
Taiwan 7 to 9 19%
Hong Kong 7 to 8 12%
USA 6 to 14 7.5%
Nepal 5 to 15 Less than 3%

 Apparently,  the main reason is the focus of early learning in Asian Cultures.   Asian children are introduced to computers and reading activities much earlier  age than their western counterparts.  They call this "near work" activities, putting strain on young children's eyes. 

I also see a lot of tutorial centers here.  Children even as young as 3years old, are enrolled in reading enrichment classes using very academic methods. 

I would understand if it's a play group that teaches them sharing, naptime, singing and dancing.  But  enrichment classes, which means, it's on top of their regular play group!  (This topic actually,  merits another blog :)

Going back to Myopia ~ another factor could be, the less focus on outdoor activities.  Even though,  they have the best facilities, public swimming pools, tennis courts, track & field, in every town and condominiums.   The parents would rather bring their kids to the libraries and book stores :)  I guess, this is just a nation of nerds and geeks :)

This is also a very tech-savvy country.   Hans' playmates when they come to the house, would request for my WiFi password for their iphones and ipads, and they're only 8-10years olds!

It's a standard procedure for the National Eye Center to conduct regular eye checks on schoolchildren.  When Ivan  enrolled in pre-school, they discovered, he is apparently one of the statistics! :(  

He was referred to the National Myopia Prevention Center for children.   Funny, because as soon as we got there,  my friend's daughter Jade, was also there and apparently is also referred.  I was telling my friend,  "aren't they just being paranoid?" If we were in the Philippines, we probably wouldn't discover this, unless they have lazy eyes, or  they're complaining of headaches, dizziness or looking at their books closely.  The doctors assured me, that early detection is better! "Would you rather we correct it now or let the child grow handicapped?"

So, off we went with a prescription for astigmatism :))  There's plenty of optical shops here.  Believe me,  at least 3 in every MRT station.  We picked a nice non-breakable, non-scratchable, white framed, eyeglasses. I chose white.  (I noticed that the teenagers here, are sporting white rimmed glasses).  Apprently, they have eyeglass fads and trends, too.

After a few weeks, I'm feeling a little dizzy and was having eyestrain, too.  Is myopia contagious?  Not really,  it's just the age :)   Slowly, I reach for the inevitable ....  my reading glasses.
'til next adventure!



Saturday, 4 August 2012

A Time to Kill ... Lots of it.

It's been a year since I moved my little family from Manila to Singapore.   From the time I graduated from college, I've been a working girl,  8-5 (sometimes even more).  It was a big change for me to suddenly be thrust into the daily grind of preparing meals, doing the laundry, fixing the kids for school and waiting for my husband to come home after work.

My friends and former colleagues, each time they would call or chat with me, would ask, "How are you? What's keeping you busy?  Aren't you bored?"  In the first few months being here, of course, I was extremely busy settling-in the whole family.  But after about 2 months, everything was going-on smoothly, kids in school, and my helper capable enough,   I found  more and more time in my hands that I needed to kill.   

A friend of mine, Daisy from Belgium, recently asked me how to kill boredom.  She probably got plenty of time in her hands like myself.   So, I'm inspired to share, my favorite time-wasters :)

(this is, of course, on top of my responsibilities as a mother of 3)

1.  I do Facebook -  it connects me to all my friends around the world.   I got so adept at Facebook, that just recently, I was hired "to admin"  two facebook company accounts :)) Talk about getting paid for doing something you love.  

2.  I Read -  my favorite pastime of all time. There's a library, one-train stop from where we live, and I'm holding two library cards that are perpetually full.  I read my favorite authors and try other genre for variety.

3. I Learn new recipes to cook / bake - I never had the time for this before, but it's always something that I want to learn, not be a master per se. I don't aim to be a chef.  I just want to learn so I can feed my friends & family something new, and to say, Yes, I can cook and I can bake!   Youtube is my best friend for this.

4. I Swim  - I used to be scared of the deep part of the pool.  Now, I can even do laps! :)

5. I Go to the Gym - my favorite punishment is watching Victoria Secret Fashion show while running incessantly

6. I Steam bath / Sauna -   with olive oil on my hair, and body scrub all over... pampering myself.  My only wish is for a massause!  Unfortunately, they don't come cheap here. 

7. I Meet Friends for lunch / coffee -  I'm not the type to join associations or organizations but I make sure I stay in touch with my old friends who are also based here. We eat, talk, shop and eat some more.  One or two friends is ok for me.  I cannot fulfill the demands if I become an officer or even a member of organizations.  I've been invited several times, but I declined.  My focus now are the kids, not some association's mission and vision.  If I do that, I might as well work and get paid for it.

8.  I Window Shop - there are great shops here in Sg but eventually, it gets tiring and boring.  Same old, same old. Besides, I cannot be spending a lot since my hub's the only one working.

9.  I  watch TV -  I don't dig soap operas but I'm more into NCIS, Bones, Law and Order, CSI.  Basically, the same genre of my favorite books.  I'm not even into series, since I haven't learned how to download them yet :) not unless a friend burns for me.

10.  I write - I maintain personal journals and blogs.  Before I moved here,  a Filipino company has already hired me to do writing jobs for them. I churned out about 3 articles a month, most of the times not under my name.  I speech write for other people, as well ;)  You might say, I'm a ghost when it comes to writing :)

11.  I plan vacations -  whether it's just a weekend getaway, or month-long trip back to manila, and I can be a bit OC about this.

12.  I stay in touch with news - whether it's from home or the local news here.  I try to keep myself up to date. 

13. I try to learn a new thing or two -   lately, stock market trading interests me.  I used to think it's boring but if you pop-in a small amount or two, it can be more action-packed than Die Hard.  I try to learn a lot about this country.  I read about it's history, and the current events that shapes it.

14.  I volounter to take visiting friends around - I always welcome tourist friends or colleagues coming over.  It reconnects me to my old life, especially when I hear stories about work.

15. I simply just enjoy the best companion in the world ~ ME.

 They say you will never really feel bored, if you like the person you are always with... Yourself !

 'til next adventure!