Category Archives: Nutrition and Wellness

A National Day Dessert

We had family and friends over for National Day dinner and parade-watching on the goggle box. (Wasn’t this year’s just splendid?)

Anyway, earlier in the afternoon, Athos, Porthos and I created this patriotic and healthy dessert using grapes and canned lychees. Simple fun, and I must say the end result looked pretty decent too. 🙂

Happy 44th birthday Singapore!

Fruity flag

Red Sports – Daily PE? One primary school shows the way.

Just a quick post to link everyone over to Red Sports’ feature story on Seng Kang Primary School, the only school in Singapore that offers daily PE lessons for all its students, rain or shine.

Earlier this year, Porthos came home from school saying that he didn’t have PE that day, even though it was on the schedule. Why, I asked. “Because we were behaving badly. So the teacher punished us and didn’t let us go for PE.”

I thought that was one of the more absurd things I’d ever heard. I’ve also heard anecdotes of schools cancelling PE for PSLE revisions or make-up classes. Is it any wonder that the ruggedness of our nation is in question?

According to Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, “Singapore has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world. In Singapore about 30% of the children become myopic by the age of 7 and by age 12 about half of them are myopic. There is a grave need to prevent myopia in children at a younger age because the younger the age of onset of myopia, the higher the risk of developing eye related diseases later in life.” HPB also supports daily outdoor time because “emerging evidence suggests that spending more time outdoors may help delay the onset or progression of myopia.” (Source: HPB website)

Add in our obesity rates, and the range of learning disabilities and sensory problems present in our chidren, and Seng Kang’s example truly stands out.

Red Sports – Daily PE? One primary school shows the way.

IHT: Eating dirt can be good for you

Happy Chinese New Year!

I’ve always wondered about the saying – lak sup jia, lak sup tua – and now it seems there is science to support what the wise Hokkiens have known all along.

IHT: Eating dirt can be good for you

Which also makes Wells’ War of the Worlds extraordinarily prescient….

Want to prevent myopia? Head outdoors.

I’ve done a couple of posts on the apparent health benefits of exposure to nature

In case you missed it, Australian researchers have just completed a study that concludes that exposure to sunlight is a major factor in the incidence of myopia.

Comparing six and seven-year-old Chinese children in Singapore and Australia, they found that 30 percent of the Singaporeans were myopic, against just 1.3 percent of the Australians. The differentiating factor was the amount of time spent outdoors – 30 minutes for the Singaporeans versus two hours for the Australians.

“What we would suggest,” said the researchers, “is that what’s happened in east Asia is that they have got the balance totally out of kilter.”

What an indictment.

You can read more here:
Red Sports – Spending time outdoors in the sun stops myopia
AFP via Yahoo News – Sunlight can help children avoid myopia


There’s no way to say it except straight – Athos, Porthos and Aramis have been diagnosed with HFMD and are quarantined for TEN days.

For those who may not be from around these parts, HFMD is usually mild, but because it’s highly infectious, and has been known to cause fatalities, the Singapore government has designated it as legally notifiable, and doctors typically recommend a generous quarantine period in an attempt to break the infection cycle. Already, there have been a handful of fatalities, and a number of preschools and kindergartens have been shut temporarily to break the transmission.

We think Athos picked it up first. But he (and Porthos) had such a mild case that we didn’t even realise there was a problem until Aramis was hit. His case was the most severe – fever, ulcers, rash, no appetite and 24-hour whining. When the doctor diagnosed it as HFMD, we got the older boys checked as well, and lo and behold, it was a Pilgrim family pandemic…..

To sum up our current situation:
3 kids x 10-day quarantine = ∞ insanity

The first few days were the worst, because poor little Aramis just wanted to be carried all the time, fussed endlessly and didn’t sleep well. Things have settled down now but the boys are still house-bound. Let’s just say that all the usual rules in the Pilgrim household regarding TV, videos and computer games went out the window….

New Paper: The Most Boring Household in Singapore

This interview with up-and-coming Singapore politician Grace Fu focuses on her role as a parent. It struck me as containing many nuggets of parenting wisdom. I submit it for your consideration.

The Electric New Paper: The Most Boring Household in Singapore

I have to do a quick linkback to an earlier post concerning the Wii, and another on the modern-day malaise called the Nature Deficit Disorder.


A friend sent this to me. It freaked me out enough to circulate to family and friends.

Dear friends, this is true. A friend of mine also saw a similar occurrence in the Tanjung Aru (Malaysia) famous goreng pisang. What they do is they cut the (drinking) straw into small pieces and throw them into the boiling oil and when the straw melts they start frying the pisang. Unthinkable!!!!

This is a REAL TRUE STORY…and also SL told me it happened at her place in Kedah…Tunjang…(Malaysia) I think…. It happended to us too, in Perlis(Malaysia) (titi chai kangar…the pasar malam (night market) area where they always selling goreng pisang (fried banana) at noon .. Mom said my uncle saw that when they fried the goreng pisang they added the straw (which we use to drink water) and melted it into hot oil before frying. That’s why the goreng pisang, goreng ubi etc are all very crispy for hours…. And my uncle could not explain why, and he asked them. They just keep quiet. And then when my uncle told my mom, and we realized this is how to make the foods crispy for a while….

DO NOT EAT CRISPY FOOD especially from the hawker!
I have been to Cameron Highlands (holiday resort in Malaysia) with my family, It was 3pm ++. We were hanging around the market area, we saw many hawker stalls doing their business, suddenly something attracted me…. One of the stalls, there was a big wok of oil and there was a half-5-litre empty oil bottle on it! It was melting slowly in the hot frying oil… I freaked out, I thought it was an unintentional act by a 7-yr-old girl … but when I looked at it closely, I saw a pair of chopstick stirring the bottle…. Seemed like it was done purposely. Immediately I asked my family to come and check it out…. At that moment, the parents of the girl who sat beside, were looking at us ferociously. Oh my god…they were using melted plastic to fry food…. The reason is that the titbits will not soften after placing for some time due to the plastic hardening.

It doesn’t end here. Continue reading