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I honestly believe that in life, there is no way you can avoid interacting with another human being.

Humans come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities, preferences, interests, motivations, and behaviours.

I always tell people that, “our emotions drive our actions“. How we feel about something influences the way we react or act, even in the case of non-action. Non-action does not simply mean doing nothing; it refers to consciously choosing not to do something. Therefore, the decision-making process to not take action is, in itself, an action.

The reason I decided to further my study in the area of developmental psychology is to unravel the mysteries of human behaviour at every stage of life.

The way a child acts and thinks is vastly different from how a teenager would, just as it differs from an adult or an elderly person.

At each stage of our lives, we have different needs, wants, and priorities. Some of these are shaped by our upbringing, the place where we live, our personal and family beliefs, religion, culture, and interactions with friends and other people.

If there’s one takeaway from this article, it would be that, “every story has two sides, just like a coin“. Whether you are left-brained or right-brained, left-handed or right-handed, there are varying degrees to which you lean towards one side. The ideal position is finding balance and harmony in the middle or center. Is it always possible to achieve this? Yes, but it requires time, effort, and a little bit of mindfulness i.e. being aware of your emotions and acknowledging the thoughts that arise.

Let’s consider some examples, if you’re feeling happy because you just received a promotion, you can either choose to indulge and reward yourself with a good meal, or you can choose to express gratitude to the people (colleagues, bosses, family) who made your promotion possible. If you’re feeling sad because you’ve been laid off, you can either choose to wallow in sorrow or see it as an opportunity for positive change.

Life is full of examples where our emotions and actions intersect. Understanding and embracing our humanity means recognising that there are different perspectives and choices available to us in every situation. It’s through self-awareness, empathy, and open-mindedness that we can navigate the complexities of human interaction and find the balance and harmony we seek.

Being human means acknowledging and embracing our emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, as well as recognising the diversity and complexity of others. By striving for balance, practicing mindfulness, and being open to different perspectives, we can enhance our relationships, personal growth, and overall well-being. Remember, it’s all about being human.

This article is written by Melvin Lee, an accomplished education management professional with over 11 years of experience in leadership roles. With a strong academic background, he holds an EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) and possess relevant credentials in adult training and education, as well as career coaching. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in developmental psychology, he brings a unique perspective to understanding human behaviour at various stages of life. His expertise in education management, coupled with his passion for personal and professional development, enables him to offer valuable insights into fostering harmonious interactions. Through his thought-provoking writings, Melvin encourages readers to embrace their humanity, find balance, and navigate life’s complexities with mindfulness and empathy.

In today’s fast-paced world, prioritising our health and well-being has become more important than ever. As the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to shape our lives, it is encouraging to see a growing number of people in the Asia Pacific region, including Singapore, aspiring to improve their overall health. A recent survey conducted by Herbalife highlights the changing health priorities and challenges faced by consumers. In this blog post, we will delve into the key findings of the survey and provide valuable tips for individuals looking to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Shifting Priorities and Health Consciousness

According to the Herbalife Asia Pacific Health Priority Survey, a significant 77% of consumers in the Asia Pacific region have become more health-conscious due to the pandemic. Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam topped the list, with an overwhelming majority expressing increased health consciousness. Singapore, while relatively less health-conscious, still witnessed 69% of respondents acknowledging a shift in their health priorities after the pandemic.

Aspirations and Obstacles

Singapore consumers expressed a range of health aspirations for 2023, with improved overall health, better sleep, and weight loss emerging as the top three priorities. While 82% of Singaporeans are taking steps towards their health goals, the survey identified “a lack of motivation” as a major obstacle for 45% of respondents. Overcoming this challenge requires a support system, as recognised by the majority of survey participants.

Here are some tips for embracing a healthier, more active lifestyle!

  1. Set Clear and Attainable Goals
    Start by setting specific and achievable health goals. Whether it’s improving overall health, losing weight, or getting better sleep, having a clear objective helps you stay focused and motivated. Break down your goals into smaller milestones, allowing you to track your progress effectively.
  2. Find an Exercise Routine You Enjoy
    Physical activity is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Engage in activities that you genuinely enjoy, be it walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing. Experiment with different forms of exercise until you discover the ones that bring you joy. This way, you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine in the long run.
  3. Prioritise Balanced Nutrition
    Good nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Focus on consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, excessive sugar, and saturated fats. Consider consulting a nutritionist to create a personalised meal plan that suits your needs.
  4. Cultivate Healthy Sleep Habits
    Quality sleep plays a crucial role in overall well-being. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Create a sleep-friendly environment, limit screen time before bed, and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or reading to unwind and prepare your body for restful sleep.
  5. Build a Supportive Community
    Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share similar health goals. Join fitness classes, online communities, or local groups that promote a healthy lifestyle. Having a support system provides motivation, accountability, and the opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and valuable advice.
  6. Seek Professional Guidance
    Consider seeking guidance from experts in the field of nutrition and wellness. Professionals can provide personalised advice and support tailored to your specific needs and goals. Whether it’s a nutritionist, personal trainer, or mental health consultant, their expertise can help you navigate challenges and stay on track.

The Herbalife Asia Pacific Health Priority Survey sheds light on the evolving health consciousness in the region, with Singapore consumers expressing a desire for a healthier, more active lifestyle. Overcoming obstacles such as a lack of motivation requires a holistic approach that encompasses various aspects of well-being.

By following the tips mentioned above, individuals can pave the way towards embracing a healthier, more active lifestyle.

It is important to remember that small steps can lead to significant changes over time. Celebrate every milestone achieved and be patient with yourself throughout the journey. Remember that adopting a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment, and the goal is to create sustainable habits that promote overall well-being.

Remember, your health is your most valuable asset. Invest in yourself, prioritise self-care, and take proactive steps towards a healthier, more active lifestyle. Together, we can create a healthier and happier future for ourselves and those around us.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Having a maid take care of household chores gives you more time to focus on more important things, like working on your personal and professional improvement, spending time with your family, or enjoying leisurely pursuits. However, finding a good maid that suits your household’s needs can be a tedious process. 

Many Singaporean families struggle to find a helper who’s a good fit with their household, and as such, they tend to rely on a maid agency Singapore families trust to help them with the task. That being said, it’s important to have awareness of some of the mistakes that could get you stuck in the hiring process in the first place. Here are some of them:

Not Complying with the Rules Set by the Ministry of Manpower for Employers

In Singapore, there are two primary ways you can hire a maid: hiring a maid directly or through a maid agency. Choosing to hire a maid directly has several benefits; you have more control over the hiring process, you don’t have any agency fees to pay, and you’re able to build a good relationship with your maid from the start. But before you can even start the process of hiring a maid, you need to comply with the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) first.

According to the MOM, you’re qualified to be an employer if you meet the following criteria:

  • You’re 21 years old and above
  • You’re not an undischarged bankrupt
  • You have the mental capacity to fully understand your roles and duties as an employer

Since maids in Singapore must live with their employers, you’re given a large set of responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of your maid. As such, you need to be of sound mind and have the financial capacity to support your maid’s compensation and basic needs.  

If you’re hiring a maid for the first time, you need to attend the Employer Orientation Programme (EOP). This 3-hour programme is designed to help you understand your role and responsibilities as an employer of a foreign domestic worker. Attending the EOP in a classroom will cost you around 35 SGD to 60 SGD. Attending the programme online, on the other hand, will cost you 35 SGD.

Being Unfamiliar with a Singapore’s Work Permit Requirements for Maids

The MOM also created a list of requirements maids need to fulfil for them to receive their work permits. The requirements are as follows:

  • Maids have to be female (male maids are allowed under extremely rare cases and are usually hired to take care of the male elderly)
  • Maids must be between 23 and 50 years old
  • Maids must at least have eight years of formal education
  • Maids must come from approved nations, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.
  • Maids must not be on a tourist visa or sponsored by another employer

If you plan to hire a maid directly, you should familiarise yourself with these requirements. Otherwise, you could be fined between SGD 5,000 and SGD 30,000, imprisoned for up to 1 year, or both if you’re caught employing a foreign domestic helper without a valid work permit. 

You should also be knowledgeable about the basic duties of a foreign domestic helper. Generally, a maid is tasked to do the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and washing and ironing of clothes. They can also take care of children, elderly family members, and pets. If you deploy your maid to do work that’s outside their job description, you could face legal repercussions.

Choosing a Maid Agency That Offers Rates That Are Too Good to Be True

Working with a maid agency is a more convenient solution if you don’t have the time or experience to hire a foreign domestic helper. Agencies have a large selection of highly trained and skilled maids who can perform their duties with great efficiency. As such, you’ll have an easier and quicker time finding a maid. If you’re having trouble choosing a maid, the agency will gladly match you with a maid that fits your requirements. However, most agencies will charge you between 1,000 SGD to 3,000 SGD for their services. This fee usually includes the cost of your maid’s insurance, airfare, and application.

To save money, some Singaporeans would rather look for an agency that offers cheaper rates. Though there’s nothing wrong with finding ways to cut your expenses, choosing an agency that offers services for a price that’s too good to be true isn’t the ideal compromise. Agencies that charge lower fees typically don’t have the best candidates to offer or have a history of providing their clients with inefficient applicants. They also might not provide their domestic helpers with proper training, medical care, insurance, or security bonds. 

You want to hire a maid because you want your home, kids, and elderly family members to be well taken care of. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to work with a dependable agency that can help you get your money’s worth. To find a maid agency that offers excellent services at a reasonable price range, it’s good to do some research. You might also want to visit the agencies’ websites to check their legitimacy and to read comments from their previous customers.

Hiring a maid in Singapore can be challenging, and many Singaporeans may find themselves making mistakes that can lengthen the hiring process. However, if you familiarise yourself with these three common mistakes, you can save yourself the hassle of encountering problems when hiring directly or through an agency.

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to have your website hacked? Unfortunately, we found out firsthand when our website fell victim to a malicious intruder. In this post, we want to share our harrowing experience, how we managed to recover from the incident, and the valuable cybersecurity lessons we learnt along the way.

With over 12 years of operating A Winsome Life, we never expected to face such threats, but we now understand the importance of staying vigilant in the face of increasing attacks from malicious hackers.

How We Got Hacked
Regrettably, we experienced a successful hacking attempt, during which the attacker gained access to our website’s backend. They changed our password and the email address associated with password recovery. While we cannot be certain whether it was a result of brute force hacking or SQL injection, we suspect the latter because we had implemented measures to mitigate brute force attacks, and we observed a rise in SQL injection attempts.

Our Recovery Process
Upon receiving the alarming notification that our password and recovery email were changed, panic set in. We tried various methods to regain control but were met with frustration. To regain access, we took the following immediate actions:

  1. We blocked all access to our .htaccess file and implemented stringent security measures for sensitive files, folders, and directories.
  2. We meticulously retraced the steps taken by the hacker. By reclaiming ownership of our account and changing the password, we were able to regain control. We owe our successful recovery to our access to the server, which enabled us to override the hacker’s actions. This highlights the vital importance of securing server access alongside website security.

Securing Our Website
Following the ordeal, we swiftly implemented additional security features to fortify our website. We installed the Wordfence plugin for our WordPress platform, which provides robust protection against anomalies and threats from unknown IP addresses. Furthermore, we implemented a two-factor authentication method as an added layer of defence, safeguarding against unauthorised access even if the initial security measures fail.

The Significance of Cybersecurity
It bewilders us as to why our website, devoid of payment processing or commercial transactions, became an attractive target for hackers. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to share our story and emphasize that cybersecurity threats are real.

If you operate a WordPress website with e-commerce features, it is crucial to frequently update your plugins and implement additional safeguards to secure your platform. The prevalence of fraud and phishing scams in the news serves as a stark reminder. As technology continues to permeate our lives, exercise caution when encountering anything that appears too good to be true.

Experiencing a website hack was an alarming and stressful ordeal for us. However, we emerged stronger and more knowledgeable from this experience. By sharing our story, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and help fellow website owners avoid a similar fate. Should you have any questions or comments regarding this topic, please feel free to leave them below or contact us directly.

The job market nowadays is faster-paced and more competitive than ever. With the different ways and the speed at which technology evolves, entire industries can transform in the blink of an eye. If you want to be able to keep up, then you need to invest more in yourself. Specifically, you need to make sure that your skills and knowledge are up to par with the latest trends, standards, and requirements of your industry.

One way to do this is to pursue lifelong learning. After all, learning doesn’t just happen within the classroom, and it certainly doesn’t stop after you finish school. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up new skills and hone what you already know. For example, if you live in Singapore, you can enrol in SkillsFuture credit courses in a variety of fields that include engineering, business, infocomm technology, and even culinary arts. You can also take up new hobbies, learn a new language, or get certified in first aid.

Apart from keeping up with the times, there are many more reasons to embrace lifelong learning. Here are just a few:

Future-Proofing Your Career

As mentioned earlier, industries evolve at a breakneck pace nowadays. The best practices today may not necessarily be the best practices tomorrow; the same can be said about in-demand skills. If you aren’t consistently working towards improving and increasing your competencies, you’ll definitely be left behind by your peers.

Through lifelong learning, you’ll be able to future-proof your career. Besides making you a valuable asset to your organisation, your commitment to continuous self-development also shows your employer that you are someone who’s worth keeping around.

Broadening Your Job Options

After working for years in a specific field, there may come a time when you feel like it’s time for a change. However, hopping from one role to another might not be as simple as you think it is. For one, there are plenty of qualified individuals vying for limited positions; this can make it difficult for you to stand out.

If you enrol in training programmes to learn new skills, especially industry-specific and transferable ones, it will be easier for you to transition into a new job. You’ll also have an easier time exploring opportunities in other industries, should you want a completely new career.

Expanding Your Professional Network

When you invest your time in lifelong learning, you’ll get to know more people outside of your usual circle of coworkers and industry colleagues. From your instructors to your fellow learners, you can expand your professional network considerably through continuing education. This will be quite valuable for your social life, as well as your future job prospects.

Getting to know other people can also help you in cultivating new ideas and encountering fresh perspectives. Both of these can further broaden your horizons, not just in terms of your career but also life in general.

Acquiring and Developing Soft Skills

Most jobs require highly specific skills, such as operating heavy machinery or writing a computer programme. However, if you want to truly advance in your chosen career, you also need to develop a variety of soft skills like the following:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Conflict management
  • Leadership
  • Communication

Through lifelong learning, you can acquire and develop plenty of soft skills. These can then help you build character, as well as help you achieve your professional goals. What’s even better is that all of these soft skills are also transferable. As such, if ever you want to change career paths sometime in the future, your transition will be much smoother.

Keeping Your Brain Healthy

While the human brain isn’t actually a muscle, it still requires exercise to keep it in good shape. You can do this through many different ways, including solving puzzles or reading more books. If you want to hit two proverbial birds with one stone, however, you can enrol in a certification training course or any other lifelong learning programme you prefer.

By doing so, not only will you be able to improve your memory and strengthen your cognitive function, but you will also be able to boost your career prospects.

Feeling More Confident, Fulfilled, and Motivated

Last but certainly not least, lifelong learning can help you feel better about yourself. First, mastering new skills and learning new things boosts your self-confidence and sense of self-worth. When you know you can do your job well and exceed expectations, you’ll feel more confident and become a better, more efficient worker.

What’s more, lifelong learning can increase your sense of self-fulfilment and satisfaction. When you finish a course and are able to apply what you’ve learned at work, you feel proud about what you’ve accomplished. This feeling can then spill over to other aspects of your life, helping you feel even happier with your life progress.

As the saying goes, it’s never too late to learn. No matter how old you are or how far along you are in your career journey, there’s always room for growth. Consider all of the above benefits and you might just be convinced to start harnessing the power of lifelong learning today.

As an avid traveller myself and having been to 23 countries across 5 continents, this post is something that I strongly resonated with and I hope to share with all parents and youth travellers because it is true that we are more likely to take risks during our travels and endanger ourselves. For example, during our trip to Hua Hin, Thailand and Batam, Indonesia; I went Paragliding and Parasailing (not fully understanding the risks sometimes), rode an electric scooter with my Mrs as pillion in Kenting, Taiwan (which was fun but scary and now come to think of it, probably foolish) and went on a Glacier Hike with my Mrs in New Zealand.

Youth travellers have a lower risk cognitive level and are more likely to adopt risk-taking attitudes in their travels, based on several studies such as from Akritidis et al., Cui et al., and Han et al. With the rise of international travel over the last year, International SOS has announced a podcast series to address health and safety concerns related to youth independent travel, to guide them on good habits and tips to travel safely.

Titled “Safeguarding Tomorrow’s Future”, experts from International SOS will share their insights on travel risks that youths may be more susceptible to, and how to prevent or mitigate these risks. The six episodes will be launched on a weekly basis, starting from 15 May 2023.

Lim Hui Ject, International SOS’ Managing Director (Singapore & Brunei), says: “We recognise the many risks associated with youth independent travel and we are glad to be able to step in and offer guidance through our subject matter experts. We have seen a rise in international travel with international trips in the last eight months surpassing the average monthly number of international trips in pre-COVID times. With the overall increase in international travel, we also expect this to include an increase in youth travel as well. With COVID-related restrictions preventing youth from travelling for so long, we worry that their excitement may cloud their decision making when it comes to their travel plans. As a pioneer and leader in international health and security risk management, we would like to act to help guide young travellers, as they begin exploring travelling independently.”

Youth travellers are less likely to think through the potential risks of their travel plans in depth and are easily influenced by social media. Studies by Condor Ferries, a ferry and cruise company in the UK, found that 90 per cent of them have their international travel decisions influenced by social media content. Furthermore, many youths will be travelling for the first time without their parents or teachers to look out for them. Their lack of exposure in travelling independently results in them having less experience in managing any potential risks by themselves.

Dr Low Kiang Wei, Medical Director (Singapore), International SOS adds: “As highlighted in International SOS’ Risk Outlook 2023, looking beyond COVID-19, emerging global issues, such as rising levels of social unrest and the growing impact of climate change, are an additional dimension of worry for youths exploring independent travel. As these issues are likely to stay for the long term, we must equip our youths with the necessary capabilities to deal with these issues.”

The podcast will also feature local university students who have recently gone on overseas trips and are willing to share more about their travel experiences. The series will cover six topics with relevant subject matter experts addressing the risks associated with these topics.

Bala Selvam, Regional Security Manager, International SOS, adds: “By getting the youths to highlight their own experiences and concerns over six different topics, it allows the subject matter experts to address real risks based on the youths’ authentic experiences. It also ensures that youths are provided with holistic advice through the different topics and episodes. This helps the youth to address their checklist of concerns as they plan for their first independent trip.”

To help youths explore travelling independently in a safe manner, the six episodes will cover the following topics:

  1. Staying Safe While Saving Money – Dissecting traditional and shared economy options for travel accommodation and transportation with the focus on how young people can balance staying safe while saving money.
  2. How Extreme Weather Puts Your Trip At Risk – What you need to know about health and safety risks of natural disasters and extreme weather
  3. Caught Up In Crowds – Keeping yourself safe in crowded environments, know the signs and how to protect yourself.
  4. Let’s Party Safely – The medical and security risks of substance ingestion, such as alcohol and drugs, while overseas.
  5. Mental Wellness While Abroad – Unpacking the emotional journey of going abroad to a new environment – how one can cope and seek support.
  6. When Sharing Becomes Dangerous – The potential dangers of sharing of personal details and itinerary while abroad, both online and offline.

Do tune in to the podcast series and I am very sure many will find the topics helpful and insightful for safe travels!

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has a rich history and culture, making it a popular destination for tourists. One of the most famous attractions in Seoul is Gyeongbokgung Palace, a magnificent example of traditional Korean architecture.

This palace was built in the 14th century and was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Visitors can explore the palace grounds and see the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place every hour.

Seoul is also famous for its street food, a must-try for anyone visiting the city. From savory dishes like tteokbokki and hotteok to sweet treats like bingsu and churros, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

In addition to its cultural and culinary attractions, Seoul is also a shopping paradise; no wonder, you can easily find hotels in Seoul for tourists. The city is home to numerous shopping districts and markets, where visitors can find everything from traditional Korean goods to high-end fashion brands.

Best Hotels in South Korea

1.     LOTTE City Hotel Myeongdong

Address: 362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Jung, Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea, 100-220

Price: starts from SGD 241

The LOTTE City Hotel Myeongdong is a great choice for travelers looking for a comfortable stay in a convenient location. The hotel is situated 0.76 km from the Seoul Subway. In addition to its convenient location, the LOTTE City Hotel Myeongdong is close to the Sejong Cultural Center (1.15 km) and the National Theater of Korea (2.03 km). Get set for a stay with deluxe amenities and personalized service.

2.     Marigold Hotel

Address: 112, Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Hongdae, Mapo, Seoul, South Korea, 121-893

Price: starts from SGD 116

The Marigold Hotel is a hotel that can be found in Hongdae, which is known for being a pleasant area. The distance between the hotel and Seoul Station is a mere 4.43 kilometers. Not only is the Marigold Hotel in a convenient location, but it is also one of the hotels that is located near the Sejong Cultural Center (5.49 kilometers away) and the National Theater of Korea (7.14 kilometers away).

3.     Migliore Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

Address: 115 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Jung, Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea, 100-011

Price: starts from SGD 185

The Migliore Hotel Seoul Myeongdong is a hotel in a desirable location, as it can be found in the Myeongdong district of Seoul. The hotel is about 0.2 km away from Seoul Metro due to its location. Not only is the Migliore Hotel Seoul Myeongdong in a convenient location, but it is also one of the hotels that is located close to the Sejong Cultural Center (1.49 kilometers away) and the National Theater of Korea (1.69 kilometers away).

4.     Brown Suites Jeju Hotel & Resort

Address: 94, Goseongojo-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo, Jeju Island, South Korea

Price: starts from SGD 60

When visiting Seogwipo, staying at Brown Suites Jeju Hotel & Resort is a great choice. Because of its convenient location near numerous services, this motel is easy to locate. Get set for a stay you will remember, thanks to the hotel’s deluxe amenities and personalized service. The front desk is open around the clock to help you with everything you might possibly need, from checking in to leaving. Be bold about asking the front desk for additional services (i.e. such as late check-out) if you need it; they’ll try their best to meet your needs.

5.     Hotel Leo

Address: 14, Sammu-ro, Jeju City, Jeju Island, South Korea, 690-813

Price: starts from SGD 88

Hotel Leo is a hotel that can be found in Jeju City and is situated in a pleasant neighborhood. The hotel enjoys a very convenient position, as it is only 2.41 kilometers from Jeju International Airport (CJU). Not only is Hotel Leo located in a convenient spot, but it is also one of the hotels that is located close to the Folklore and Natural History Museum, which is 4.38 kilometers away, and the Jeju Education Museum, which is 4.66 kilometers away.

You can check out these hotel recommendations while planning a trip to South Korea. Some of them are hotels in Jeju if you are looking for the best accommodations in Jeju. So, pack your things now and get ready to have a wonderful time in South Korea with Traveloka.

Multicultural Singapore is no stranger to diversity. Since the beginning of the country’s post-independence history, Singapore’s mainstream school system has sought to accommodate the needs of the country’s ethnic Chinese, Malay, and Indian populations. This has proven to be a remarkable undertaking given that most of the world’s school systems practice systemic forms of cultural chauvinism that elevate one group over others.

However, there is a growing realisation that Singapore’s publicly funded schools, while already diverse by world standards, may not be keeping up with the growing cultural heterogeneity that has resulted from the country’s leading role in globalisation. Thus, there has been an increased demand for educational options that offer even more diverse learning environments.

Compellingly, there is plenty of evidence supporting the benefits of a diverse educational background, particularly in early childhood. In particular, a meta-analysis of educational diversity studies by The Century Foundation, a New York-based think tank, associates student exposure to a variety of different perspectives with better learning outcomes. Here are some of the many benefits of diverse learning backgrounds according to current scientific understanding.

Diverse Learning Environments Help Build Confidence

Putting students from an outsider culture in a homogenous learning environment may impair their self-esteem and consequently degrade their ability to overcome various challenges. School systems that encourage diversity can help students from various backgrounds maintain and cultivate their self-confidence, ultimately allowing them to pursue their development on their own terms.

Students in Diverse Communities Feel More Understood

The feeling of being understood is important for a young person’s sense of identity, mental health, and ability to become a fully formed individual. This is especially important for young children of expatriate families, as many will struggle to fit in the kind of environment present in local school systems meant to accommodate native cultural diversity.

Fortunately, Singapore is now home to a variety of international schools that offer a wider multicultural experience that’s appropriate for children in the expatriate community. Expat parents can easily now find choices for an American school in Singapore as well as schools catering to other nationalities.

A Multicultural Environment May Stoke Lifelong Curiosity

The underlying sameness of a homogenous school community can often lead children to make assumptions that their experiences are universal. This may, unfortunately, make them less curious about their surroundings than they would be, otherwise.

On the other hand, children in a diverse school community will often develop a curiosity about cultures different from their own. Once developed, their curiosity will often manifest in other parts of life, providing a firm foundation for their intellectual development and academic success.

An Education Steeped in Diversity Teaches Inclusion

Students who have contact with peers and educators from backgrounds different from their own may develop a positive attitude toward inclusion. A positive perception of inclusion is highly beneficial as it helps mould children to be accepting, respectful, and empathetic individuals. This can help them profoundly later in life as they interact with people from different social and cultural backgrounds.

Diversity Helps Young Children Learn How to Socialise Appropriately

Individuals who have a homogenous cultural upbringing often struggle when they’re placed in different social and cultural contexts. Education in a safe multicultural environment can do much to mitigate these kinds of challenges. Children who frequently interact with peers from different cultures are often better at understanding different social norms, making them more capable of navigating a wider set of social situations. Thus, children who have inclusion as one of their values may be better equipped to thrive in an increasingly globalised environment.

Children Feel Safer in a Diverse School Community

Children from outsider cultures often feel less safe expressing themselves in a homogenous learning environment, as their differences can be misjudged and make them targets of bullying. In contrast, a diverse learning environment may allow students to be true to their own cultures without fear of negative consequences, making it easier for them to develop a positive attitude toward learning.

Diversity Sparks Creativity

Being part of a diverse community exposes children to different ideas and more ways of doing things. The increase in the number of potential inputs makes it easier for children to draw unexpected connections when they generate their own ideas. Additionally, diversity allows for more cross-pollination of different ideas, potentially creating a richer pool of ideas and further stoking more creativity in the school community.

Multicultural Education Helps Prepare Students for the Real World

It’s often said that school environments do not resemble the real world, and this is much truer for homogenous learning environments. Without frequent exposure to people from diverse backgrounds, students can develop a skewed view of the world around them, which may make it more challenging for them to thrive outside of their school.

A more diverse learning environment, on the other hand, can help students acclimatise to divergent value systems and thought processes, making it easier for them to understand experiences outside of school. This makes it easier for them to build positive lasting connections with others from different social and cultural backgrounds.

There Is Strength in Diversity

Diverse school communities bring together children and other individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, creating a rich and engaging backdrop with which to frame educational experiences. Having your child enter a school with a culturally and socially diverse community is likely to not only help them academically, but also assist in their holistic growth, moulding them into tolerant and outstanding individuals even when outside the school system.

Hong Kong, a vibrant city known for its bustling streets, skyscrapers, and delicious cuisine, is a must-visit destination for travellers. With the covid restrictions in Hong Kong eased, my family and I seized the opportunity to explore this fascinating city and enjoyed its unique blend of cultures, history, and modernity.

We chose to fly with Singapore Airlines, and it was a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The flight was smooth, with friendly and attentive service from the flight attendants. The in-flight entertainment was excellent, with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and games to choose from. As we brought our children along for the trip to Hong Kong, we did not have the luxury of time to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.

Singapore Airlines offers a range of services and amenities for travellers with children to make the flight more comfortable and enjoyable for both kids and parents. These include kid-friendly meals, entertainment options, and activity kits with games and toys to keep little ones occupied during the flight. There are also baby changing facilities on board, and the crew is happy to assist with any special requests, such as heating up baby food or providing extra blankets and pillows.

Throughout our trip, we stayed at the Royal Plaza Hotel, which is located in the heart of Mong Kok. This luxurious hotel offers spacious rooms with stunning city views and amenities, including a fitness centre, swimming pool, and multiple dining options. The hotel’s central location made it easy to explore the city, and we like how convenient and accessible it is.

One of the attractions we visited in Hong Kong was the Cup Noodles Museum. Located in the Kowloon Bay area, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and production of one of the world’s most popular instant noodle brands. We even created our custom cup noodles to take home as souvenirs. However, if you have been to the Cup Noodles Museum in Japan, you might consider giving this a miss.

Another highlight of our trip was exploring the vibrant Mong Kok Street. This bustling district is famous for its street markets, which sell everything from clothes and electronics to street food and souvenirs. We spent hours wandering through the narrow alleyways, admiring the colourful neon signs and soaking up the lively atmosphere.

We also visited Fung Ying Seen Koon temple. The temple is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, offering a unique glimpse into Hong Kong’s rich spiritual traditions. Nestled amid lush greenery, Fung Ying Seen Koon features intricate architecture and artwork. We enjoyed the peaceful ambience and the chance to learn more about the history and traditions of Taoism.

Our trip to Hong Kong has been a memorable and enriching one. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or delicious food, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Travelling with two young kiddos was fun but tiring. Here are some tips that we have if you’re planning to travel to Hong Kong with young children:

  1. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks to keep your children fueled throughout the day. Hong Kong is a busy city, and you may find yourself on the go for hours at a time.
  2. Bring comfortable shoes and clothing for both you and your children. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, and the weather can be hot and humid.
  3. Consider bringing a stroller or carrier for younger children. Hong Kong’s streets can be crowded and uneven, so it’s important to have a safe and comfortable way to transport your child.
  4. Plan your itinerary with your children’s interests and energy levels in mind. Hong Kong has a lot to offer, but it’s important to pace yourself and prioritise the activities that your children will enjoy the most.

Psst. If you recently won yourself a round-trip Cathay Air Ticket to Hong Kong or planning a trip to Hong Kong this coming Easter, we have some exciting news for you!

Pirata Group, the city’s undisputed leader when it comes to memorable dining experiences, is taking things one step further with a variety of egg-citing promotions across all venues. From tandoor towers and unlimited sushi to all-you-can-eat chocolate dessert stations and limited-time Easter brunches where kids eat for free, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy before or after partaking in the many kid-friendly activities around town. So, hop to it and start making those Easter memories with Pirata Group’s guide to the best things to see, do and savour in Hong Kong this holiday season!

Central

Victoria Peak, otherwise known as The Peak, has always been a must-visit Hong Kong destination for its iconic views and historic funicular railway. After a major upgrade that was completed last year, The Peak Tram now offers an even more exciting and efficient experience with new, larger-capacity green-coloured tramcars and an array of entertainment zones showcasing the area’s intriguing history and wildlife. Once at The Peak, be sure to check out Monopoly Dreams, the first Monopoly-themed attraction in the world that features an array of AR and other interactive experiences. Then, make your way to Sky Terrace 428, which at 428m above sea level is the highest viewing platform in Hong Kong. From here, the whole family will be wowed by 360-degree panoramic views across the city and harbour, which are impressive morning, noon or night! 

“SomeBunny Feed Me!” Easter brunch menus with free-flow champagne and all-you-can-enjoy chocolate buffet at Chaiwala & TokyoLima, 7–10 April 2023

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s just a quick tram ride back to Central for a special Easter-themed dining experience. Fans of modern Indian cuisine won’t want to miss Chaiwala’s “SomeBunny Feed Me!” brunch feast (HK$388pp, HK$398pp champagne free-flow, HK$198pp classic free-flow) complete with a trio of chaat for sharing, choice of vegetarian or mutton biryani, a tandoor tower and dosas for sharing, and choice of six curries. A children’s menu is also available for HK$50. For a taste of innovative Japanese and Peruvian fusion food, head a few blocks north to TokyoLima and its adventurous take on “SomeBunny Feed Me!” (HK$398pp, HK$398pp champagne free-flow, HK$198pp classic free-flow). Designed for sharing, the brunch feast begins with a selection of appetisers including causa and ceviche before moving on to the Weeknd Salad, Edamame Hummus and Pop Ki-Mo-Chi, and finishing with a choice of mains such as chicken katsu with aji panca rice or pan-fried mackerel with potato puree and Nikkei escabeche. Both brunch menus are available 7–10 April 2023 and include an extravagant all-you-can-enjoy chocolate buffet – so be sure to leave some room!

Sheung Wan

Tsim Sha Tsui & West Kowloon

Just a short ride on the Star Ferry or a quick trip on the MTR from Hong Kong Island and you’ll find yourself in the always-buzzing Tsim Sha Tsui commercial and entertainment district or the up-and-coming West Kowloon cultural district. Must-visits on this side of Victoria Harbour include the new M+ Museum showcasing some of the world’s foremost collections of 20th- and 21st-century visual culture. The Herzog & de Meuron-designed building and surrounding outdoor spaces are worth a visit even on their own. After admiring the architecture, budding builders should definitely check out Legoland Discovery Centre. The ultimate Lego indoor playground is designed for children ages 3-10 and features workshops, play areas and even Hong Kong’s top attractions built out of bricks. Finally, burn off any residual energy at Kids Kids Car indoor electric-vehicle driving playground. The 20,000 sq ft space has three different themed zones where kids can zoom around and even experience various occupations. 

Enjoy limited-time Easter specials at Pici & The Pizza Project, 5–10 April 2023

Cap off your Kowloon adventures at neighbourhood Italian spot Pici, which from 5–10 April 2023 is offering two limited-time additions to everyone’s favourite pasta bar brunch. The new specials are available all day and include the lavish Truffle Carbonara (HK$190), a tagliatelle with black truffle, guanciale, pecorino and Japanese egg yolk; and the Coppa Malu (HK$140) a velvety mousse dessert for two made with 70% chocolate, whipped cream and almond meringue. The famous, much-loved Italian treats are available all around the city, with more branches in Lai Chi Kok, Sha Tin in the New Territories but also buzzing Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, and Central amongst other prime locations. Another must-try Italian Easter dining destination for the whole family is The Pizza Project in Central – check out the two limited-time specialsDown the Rabbit Hole (HK$160), a pizza with a red hot chili cheddar stuffed crust, testa di coppa, black garlic pesto and fior di latte; and Bu-Nana (HK$65), a sweet treat consisting of banana and chocolate ganache stuffed gnocco fritto, dusted with icing sugar. 

Stanley

Tired of the hustle and bustle of the city? Let’s head over to Stanley for a lovely seaside stroll with your little ones. The Stanley Bay promenade is a picturesque boardwalk overlooking all the small boats parked at the bay – this is a scene you can’t find in other parts of Hong Kong. With a backdrop of colonial heritage buildings, lots of locals come here to walk their pets and enjoy a peaceful afternoon. 

Looking for a seaside cafe to enjoy the view? Pirata has got you covered! Located on Stanley Main Street, Pane e Latte will celebrate Easter with spring specials across three weekends from 1–16 April. Feast on Bomboloni al Torroncino (HK$48), a nougat cream-filled doughnut covered in chocolate couverture; the Gnocchi di Pasqua (HK$158), a dish featuring spring vegetables, ricotta and poached eggs; and the Easter Egg (HK$78), a sweet treat made with lemon madeleine, strawberry jam and fromage blanc. A giant, eye-catching Easter basket and eggs will also be installed at the bakery for the ultimate holiday experience. 

Don’t miss the limited-time Spring specials at Pane e Latte, 1–16 April 2023!

Easter is an incredible time to enjoy Hong Kong’s fine weather, fun attractions and friendly hospitality. Hop over to piratagroup.hk to start planning your mealtime celebrations and make this year’s holiday your most memorable one yet!

From the producers of Aladdin, The Lion King and Mary Poppins, Disney’s new hit musical Frozen opens at the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands this 2023 as the ONLY STOP in South East Asia!

Based on the popular Disney animated film, the musical production has been wowing audiences with its stunning visuals, memorable music, and heartwarming story since its premiere in 2018. My daughter and I were really thankful that we had the opportunity to see Frozen on stage, and I can honestly say that it was an unforgettable experience.

The story of Frozen centers around two sisters, Elsa and Anna, who are torn apart by a magical power that Elsa possesses. Elsa is forced to flee into the mountains and live a life of solitude, while Anna sets out on a journey to find her and bring her home. Along the way, Anna meets a loveable snowman named Olaf and a brave ice harvester named Kristoff, who help her on her quest.

The musical begins with a spectacular opening scene that sets the tone for the rest of the show. From the moment the lights came up, I was captivated by the stunning set design and eye-catching costumes. The intricate details and imaginative use of colours and lights brought the world of Arendelle to life in a truly magical way.


Photo Credits: Disney Theatrical Productions and Base Entertainment Asia

The characters in Frozen are perfectly cast, and the actors bring a level of energy and emotion to their performances that is truly breathtaking. Jemma Rix, who played Elsa, was especially impressive. Her powerful voice brought the character of Elsa to life, and her rendition of “Let It Go” was nothing short of spectacular. Sarah O’Connor, who played Anna, was equally amazing, and her comedic timing and chemistry with the other actors were spot-on.


Photo Credits: Disney Theatrical Productions and Base Entertainment Asia

The music in Frozen is simply phenomenal. The songs, which were written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, are memorable and catchy, and they perfectly complement the story. From the upbeat and cheerful “For the First Time in Forever” to the emotional “Love is an Open Door,” the music in Frozen is a major highlight of the show.

In addition to the music and acting, the special effects in Frozen are genuinely stunning. From the swirling snowflakes to the blazing fire, the effects are perfectly executed and add a level of excitement and wonder to the show. The use of projections and lighting is especially impressive, and the images that are created on stage are nothing short of breathtaking.


Photo Credits: Disney Theatrical Productions and Base Entertainment Asia

One of the things that I love about Frozen is that it is a musical that appeals to people of all ages. Whether you are a fan of the original film or not, there is something in this show for everyone. The story is timeless, and the characters are relatable and lovable.

In conclusion, Frozen is a musical that is not to be missed. The stunning visuals, unforgettable music, and heartwarming story make it an experience you will never forget. Whether you are a fan of the original film or not, I highly recommend you go and watch this musical and bring your family along. You won’t be disappointed!

Get your tickets here!