Tag Archives: singapore kids

fireman singapore

Fireman Kavin – trip to the fire station

The bright red truck, yellow hard hat, black boots, not to mention the fire suits and smoke masks – haven’t we all had that fantasy play. Being a fire fighter had been an alluring prospective career as a child . Playground imaginary play included sliding down the pole crying out – ” Fire fighter to the rescue ! “.18251395_120131855209693_8337463933166157824_n(1)

Kavin has been quite familiar with the whole fire fighting thing thanks to our neighborhood walks, when almost every time he stops at the fire hydrants and starts to animatedly explain the purpose of their existence . These encounters, toy fire trucks at play areas, Tayo the bus fire fighting episodes – all seemed to have kindled enough interest in him. Two weeks ago he built a lego fire truck ( or at least that is what he called it ) . Childhood memories came flooding back . I remember Amma and Appa taking me and my brother to a fire station cum museum . I can never forget that trip mostly because I came sliding down the fire pole in shorts, which resulted in scalding the flesh on my inner thigh. I couldn’t walk for the next two days. ūüôā

IMG_9256

Fingers crossed, hoping Singapore would have some kind of fire station visit, I turned to Google. I was pleasantly surprised with the Singapore Civil Defense Force ( SCDF) website.

SCDF FireStation Visit Details

There were fire station open houses every Saturday . The visitation is very straight forward .

  • Every Saturday 9 – 11 is open house at all fire stations island wide ¬†except ¬†(
    1. Banyan Fire Station
    2. Jurong Island Fire Station
    3. Tuas Fire Station
    4. Tuas View Fire Station
    5. West Coast Marine Fire Station 
    6. Brani Marine Fire Station
    7. Sentosa Fire Station )
  • Group visitation with 10 members or more requires 2 week advance registration
  • Groups less than 10 can walk – in . NO pre registration required
  • It is open to all Singapore residents( citizen, PR, foreigner) , tourists included
  • It’s Free

We chose to visit the Central Fire Station, mainly because of the allure of the red brick building. I’ll be honest, there is a lot of information on the SDFC website – I was a bit confused about the different exhibits they were talking about . We went in expecting to see the fire station,but ¬†we were surprised with a few other experiences . So to be clear, there are 4 different things you get to do at the Central Fire Station . This is ONLY at the Central Fire Station, all other fire stations just have the Saturday ( 9 AM – 11 AM) open house session .

Here you go Fire Station Attractions as explained by the SDFC website . I mention this link here, because first time round, I never navigated to this page. We got to see only the Emergency Preparedness Center , Fire Station and The Heritage Gallery. The Tower is accessible only on Tuesdays and Fridays ( 7 PM Р8 PM ) , and children below 1.2 m are not allowed .

Okay ,  now to get thing straight :

  1. Island wide Fire Station Open houses  РSaturday ( 9 AM Р11 AM )
  2. Emergency Preparedness Center Р (Tuesday РFriday) (  10 AM Р5 AM )
  3. Heritage Gallery                               Р ( Tuesday РFriday) (  10 AM Р5 AM )
  4. Tower tour                                         Р ( Tuesday & Friday) ( 7 PM  Р 8 PM )

Note : 2, 3 4 are specific to Central Fire Station

Finally ! Now that the necessities are over, lets get to the niceties.

18119470_10158881218050393_3017703151694284186_n(1)(1)

The fire fighting demonstration starts on the dot, at 9:00. We missed it . We arrived jut as the crowd was dispersing to see the fire trucks . We did however get full access to see all the fire station vehicles. Kavin’s excitement picked up when a friendly fire fighter handed him a toy plastic helmet . These are free, but be sure to go early, because they are given only till stocks last !

18157605_10158881218440393_3115442027468742024_n

Bright red fire trucks stood majestically side by side, the fire station also housed smaller fire vans, trucks and even an ambulance . The kids are allowed to hop into the trucks and play fireman. One toddler even managed to pry open the radio pocket, and started hollering messages through the big speakers !

Along the sides of the truck shelter, caged lockers are packed with Р helmets, fireproof suits, boots, smoke masks and gloves. All the  Fire fighters were sporting friendly grins, and answered all our questions . They were down on their knees explaining a smoke mask to Kavin,  another was talking about the hose. Some of them were helping the kids on and off the fire truck . One observation Рthe majority of the kids who had come to see the station were between 2-4 years . I am guessing, older kids have already had a field trip to the station or younger kids are that much more curious about the world.

18199388_10158881218760393_2579455485825540847_n

After about half an hour of role play, just as I thought Kavin might get bored ( Who am I kidding ? Boys never get bored of trucks, at least this one doesn’t !) , we were in for a treat, the iconic – ‘Fireman down the pole’ demonstration was going to be repeated . I was a bit shocked by the size of the pole though, I mean with the recent exposure to pole dancing, I was imagining something like that . The pole was… ¬†as Kavin pointed out ‘ Water Spout ‘ . Yes ! It was as thick as Incy Wincy Spider’s water spout . The routine was done in style by three firemen in coordination . The kids get to yell ” Fire ! Fire ! “, from below, and they come zipping down thee floors of pole with elan . The was even a midway acrobatics, by stopping at different levels along the pole, entwined only by their legs . Clearly these men are not missing their ‘leg day’ at the gym . ¬†The kids loved this part, the crew even repeated the performance to please the eager toddler faces. One of the fire men, explained how, once they received a call, the entire crew would have to be down by 3 seconds.

We then took notice of a few other things at the station . An in house petrol pump  ( for some reason this impressed my  husband ), an outdoor shower Рmuch like the swimming pool shower, except you pulled on a lever to release water . We had fun taking some pictures with these amazing life savers, and then proceeded to the  The Heritage Gallery .  (The Heritage Gallery and Emergency Preparedness Center are housed in the same building, different floors ) .

The Heritage Gallery has a lovely collection of vintage fire rescue vehicles used from the British Era . Other rescue related antiques, collector toy fire trucks, and medals given to the Singapore fire station adorn the walls. We even found some vintage fire helmets donated by ex – fireman from different countries . Kavin was excited by the ‘firetruck movie’, he clambered into one of the firetrucks on display, were a short video about a Singapore rescue mission is playing . But the most spectacular display, was the recreation of the¬†¬†“Bukit Ho Swee Fire ” of 1961. The plaques read the history of the fire, and the space has been recreated like a burnt down home . We were amused to find, a Milo can on the kitchen shelf ¬†( astonished by the detailing ) and thatch roofs. Did you know the HDB model that exists in Singapore, is the direct result of the fire, and the damage it did to the unstructured illegal housing establishments ? We spent about 30 minutes here, before we stepped into the emergency preparedness center (EPC).

Most of the interactive displays at the EPC seem more age appropriate for older kids who can read . Nevertheless, if you take an effort to guide them through it, there is much to observe and learn. An ambulance scene, an interactive fire fighting, a pencil sketch corner ( Take your own crayons – the pencils are blunt ) – definitely a place to take kids.

I particularly enjoyed the tribute to one of Singapore’s most brilliant rescue dogs, who has apparently been all over the world on rescue missions. The exit leads us to a rather tiny souvenir shop, which sells fire station toys, which is unsurprisingly overpriced, so characteristic of ¬†Singapore .

Do not miss to snap pictures in front of the red building, and with the firemen statue  !

 

 

 

 

Worn Out Clothes

At one point, okay well not one point, at many points in my life, I’ve thought my mom (Amma) must have OCD. Turns out she just has attachment issues. When my mother receives a new garment( she almost never buys for herself, somehow her parents and siblings still spoil her silly ) ….. . Well in short that garment is doomed for life.

And here I begin, the life-cycle of my mom’s clothing.

First the garment is put away for a special occasion. This event may occur in the first three years of the garments life. Do understand, in rare cases where the garment( henceforth referred to as “G”) is purchased by my mother herself, it may escape her clutches when a more worthy ‘someone’ visits our house, and Amma scrambles to find them a gift. ¬†I swear to God, if you listen very carefully, you can hear G showering praises to the lord, and profusely thanking the new owner.

Other unfortunate G’s gifted by near and dear ones, that hold particular sentimental value, unfortunately have to serve their sentence along with the fellow moaning Gs, yearning and discussing their fortune..”Who is next to the island” ( What up ISLAND reference ? and #superwoman #lilysingh ) . I reckon these Gs would have been happier on clothing store shelves, enjoying the view .

In that tiny Godrej Almirah, the Gs would probably discuss salvation as the arrival of Ms.S – the SISTER. Some Gs in the almirah were actually her hand me downs, they would narrate stories of colorful outings, coordinated jewelry, starch stories, and special ‘dry cleaning’ visits . My mom’s sister you must understand is a fashionista in her own right. She spends time to shop, usually releases her purchases within a month, and takes great care to maintain them. This is in sharp contrast with Amma, except for the maintenance part . Well you have got to wear them to wear them out right ūüôā .

So the arrival of the sister is like Diwali . A screaming match would follow soon, the door to the almirah opened. Sighing Ms. S would pull out the new Gs, and beg… more like threaten to see them worn . There would also be a tug of war between Amma and Ms.S , for throwing out the old clothes. The lucky ones would reach the gates of heaven, but the others would be sent to the CUPBOARD .

The almirah, well the almirah housed the special Gs, the Pattu Gs, the expensive Gs. One could equate them to princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Privileged surrounded by riches, and mostly the best treatment, but never let out to the real world.

But the CUPBOARD , what can I say? ¬†‘thrown in the garbage’ is a much better option than the clutches of the cupboard. You see the cupboard was like the plantation, and its occupants the slave workers. Underpaid, abused and torn . There is not one family member, who has not not mentioned, directly or in passing, that Amma was wearing something torn . For all I know, our housekeepers dress better than her.

These cupboard G’s served as her daily wear, they ¬†would encounter kitchen gunk, that seeped through her apron . (Oh ! the blessed Apron, it deserves a separate life story – but that’s for another day.) , the bathroom trails, the sweaty yoga and well- ¬†life pretty much . If the dhupatta met its kurti pair, it would be like the reunion of Tom Hanks and Kelly Hunt in CASATAWAY. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie picture Maryan – Dhanush and Parvathy Menon reuniting.

I tell you this because the dainty dhupatta would hardly recognize the starved, beaten down, tanned ( well in the case Рripped of color) , gnarly counterpart . These kurtis now incapable of joining their partner, would be sadly seperated, and the kurtis would move on the harder life .. the life of a rag . Every kurti of the CUPBOARD silently prays for a 10 inch gnash, for anything lesser than that would be considered usable by Amma.

Only later, does the now, sliced up kurti realize that life before the ISLAND ( rag) , was far better. Some rags were lucky , if other members of the house picked them up for rubbing of grease and oil, they would be binned immediately.Others of synthetic lineage had better fate, yes the quota systems rocks everyone’s life.

Others went through the horrible cycle of wash, scrub, reuse , and wash again till nothing remained but shreds, and even bacteria would refuse to inhabitant.

The good thing, here in Singapore, the Gs don’t have to go through such a painful life . The main reason why my mother has “attachment issues” , is because she cannot bear to waste anything. She has to extract, everything it has to offer . Thank God to H&M, here at Singapore . All of Singapore’s outlets accept clothes, and they recycle them .

H&M claims that almost 95% of garments that lie in landfills all over the world have the potential to be recycled. This means that, for clothes you cannot donate, Рyou know those faded worn out ones that fit, you love, but simply cannot wear- well now you can rest them in peace . And what is better is H&M provides you a  15% off discount voucher to buy anything from their store . You recycle, and you even get an incentive.

Don’t be my mom. Recycle !