Home Team Festival 2013

I have something to recommend for a weekend family activity:

The Home Team Festival 2013 kicks off tomorrow 1pm, 8 Nov 2013 and runs till Sunday 10 Nov.

Held at the huge Singapore Expo Hall 4, it’s packed with more family-friendly activity than an amusement park. And unlike Universal Studios, this one is free.

I know Kai will enjoy the kid-specific goodie bag, the CSI-style activities like fingerprint dusting and clue collecting. For a boy his age, he’s also gonna be thrilled with the number of really cool vehicles in the various Home Team agency’s motor pool.

The Family & Fun Zone will also have activities for older kids and adults – like a specially set up tree-top adventurer course that involves rock-climbing, abseiling and para-jumping.

It’ll be also be a great chance to teach your kids about what the cops, firemen and paramedics do to earn their keep. I’m told there’ll be photo ops with kid-sized versions of the various Home Team uniforms.

The Festival is divided into six zones:

Secure Border
Crime Control & Rehab
Family & Fun
Keeping Us Safe
Vehicle gallery
Join Us

Download the Home Team Festival 2013 app (for iOS and Android) for information on opening hours, transport and other information.

Saving race

Racial Harmony Day
"My mother was a spider and my father was a clown"

Because it has always been our government’s policy to pay attention to matters of race and ethnicity, our identity cards and government records require that we be classified under different “races”.

Both my parents are Chinese, so there doesn’t seem to be anything complicated about that, even if you’re not comfortable with the notion of “race”. But when you have children of mixed parentage, that’s when it starts to become funny.

On Wednesday, an intern from The Straits Times called and stuttered his way for five minutes trying to explain to me that the ICA had changed the “by default the child’s race shall be that of the father’s” rule, and that from next year, parents were “free to choose their child’s race”.

I thanked the intern for this piece of information, upon which he stammered his way for another five minutes explaining that he needed me to answer a few questions for a story his supervisor/journalist was writing for Thursday’s Straits Times.

So I explained a little about how I had no interest in “changing Kai’s race”, because there’s not enough space in that field to put “Chinese-Japanese-Taiwanese-Dutch”.

But maybe Beatrice and Mark Richmond have a different perspective. Their son Sol is classified “English”, because the ICA of the day considered Grandpa Brian’s “race”, “English”.

And of course, we should have every confidence that the new scheme has been really well thought out and precludes the possibility of parents rorting the system for their child to obtain State benefits from Sinda and Mendaki, and that there won’t be a surge in the number of Malay-Indian children.



Our baby boy Kai is growing bigger and louder every day, and we kinda sorta know what cry is for what even if the sound of it changes week to week.

This week, most of his cries are sounding like the chorus of a song by The Corrs.

More importantly, we have finally registered his birth, so our son now has an official name.

It took a while at the ICA though, and a very stern “tell us, where does it say we cannot have his name in this order?” from both parents, before we got Kai’s birth certificate signed, paid for and laminated.