Joyful 阅

Free Learning 2

Last week I recommend Duolingo for learning a new language. What if you not only want to learn languages? There is a website for you to take free courses from the world’s best universities.

Let me introduce: edX. It is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider. There are different courses to choose from. Either you want to upgrade yourself for work advancement or for personal satisfaction, explore the courses offered. You might find one or two courses that interest you.

Similarly to Duolingo, edX also has an application version that you can download from your smart phone. But I prefer the website version on a laptop as the courses are taught in videos. Watching the videos from the laptop is much easier than watching them on the tiny screen of smart phone.

If you are looking for work advancement and would like a certificate of achievement, feel free to upgrade at a cost.

Thus far, I have taken two courses and am quite satisfied. The third course is on the way. As the courses offered are for university level, the depth that they cover might be difficult for some people. Do read the reviews and course details before you enrol for the course.

The website is


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Free Learning 1

There are a lot of free learning phone applications and websites. If you would like to learn a new language, I would recommend Duolingo.

You can download the free application on your smart phone or go to the Duolingo website. Look for the green owl!

What I like about Duolingo:

  1. It is easy to learn any languages. For English speakers, you can learn Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, French, German and many more.
  2. It is arranged in categories and is from easy to difficult.
  3. You can learn together with your friends.
  4. The new updates have included Japanese for English speakers. I have been waiting for this. Before this, I change my setting to Japanese speaker who wants to learn English language 😛
  5. The new updates have also included creating or joining a club to learn languages and achievement badges that you can collect and motivate yourself to continue learning.

What you need to do to master a language:

Although Duolingo can help you to learn a language, you need to prepare a notebook to write notes. You also need to do further research on books or websites to learn more about a language as there are no notes or explanation given.

Next: Free Learning 2

Disclaimer: I have not been commissioned to review Duolingo by anyone. This post is based on my personal experience and personal preference after trying other applications.


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$80 Transportation in Singapore

Do you travel during off-peak hours?

Do you want to save cost on transportation?

Do you like train hopping or bus hopping?

If you answer yes to all the above questions, then apply for off-peak pass at TransitLink Ticket Office.

Off-peak pass allows you to travel on basic buses and MRT during off-peak hours on weekdays and all-day on weekends and public holidays.

To apply for the off-peak pass, you need a recent passport-sized photograph, your NRIC and $88. The payment covers $80 for one month transportation, $5 for card and $3 personalisation fee.

What if you need to travel during peak hours or you want to ride an express bus? It is easy, you can load extra money into your off-peak pass and it can be used during peak hours and riding an express bus.

The card has allowed me to save more than $20 per month.

What I like most about this card is that it allows unlimited travel. Sometimes, my toddler falls asleep and I do not want to wake her up, I will continue the journey, whether on bus or MRT, so that she could take a longer nap.



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When I was pregnant, I read a lot about breastfeeding. I know it is difficult for the first few months, I know the baby might not latch well, I know the supply will increase with demand. Little did I know, it is even more difficult in practical.

I am lucky to have a baby who latches well, but I am not so lucky because the supply does not increase much in the first month and I have to mix feed with formula milk. Yes, I was depressed, I was worried and I felt guilty for giving formula milk. Until one day, my friend told me: “Formula is not poison.” That really relieves me from guilt!

Later, when my baby is a toddler, I have learnt that a lot of new mummies face the same problem as me. Some have more serious depression until they need to seek medical help or worse, commit suicide.


  1. Cannot drink plain water during your confinement — You actually can. So, drink a lot of water and fluid. Warm water is preferred.
  2. Formula milk is bad — This has caused a lot of new mummies into “die die must breastfeed” mindset. Breastfeeding has its benefits, but if the supply is not sufficient, topping up with formula milk does not mean you are a bad mum or whatsoever. There are mummies who top up with formula milk until the supply catches up and fully breastfeed.
  3. Breastfeeding means the baby won’t get sick — NO! The baby will be sick when he or she is growing up whether you are feeding him or her with breast milk or formula milk. The difference is the baby who takes breast milk will recover faster.

Having said the misconceptions, I do not encourage new mummies to go for 100% formula milk by any means. Breast milk is still the best food for infants under six months old and mummies are encouraged to continue breastfeeding until the baby is two years old or as long as the breast milk is still available.

The purpose of writing this post is to ease the minds of new mummies who freak out during the first few months when the supply is low. Things will get easier after the third month and by the baby’s first birthday, you will be glad that you have not given up breastfeeding.


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The Power of Hugs

In the society where I grow up, we do not usually hug each other on a daily basis. I still remember my first hug when a friend was going overseas to further her studies. My hands were “frozen” half way in the air as she happily hugged me. I feel awkward; maybe hugs are not for me.

Time passes by quickly and now I have a child. Thus, I have been reading a lot on parenting. There is one that catches my attention: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth”, as quoted from a respected family therapist, Virginia Satir.

How do we count a hug? How long should a hug last? How do I hug my child when I am not used to being hugged?

More research is done. As it turns out, physical contact that lasts at least 20 seconds has the same effect as hugs, for example, patting and touching. Now, it is something that I can do.

On one particular night, my toddler was having a nightmare. Remembering the benefits of hugs, I patted her lightly. In under a minute, she became quiet and fell asleep peacefully again.

Wow, that’s amazing! I am going to hug pat and hold my child more.

Note: The healthiest hugs must come from someone you trust. Strangers, please do not simply hug anyone.

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Happy 51st Birthday, Singapore

It is August again. To wish Singapore a happy birthday, here is a haiku for Singapore:

In a beautiful

breezy rainy eighth-month sky…

shout “Happy Birthday!”

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Once, my student asked me to write a haiku. A haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. The haiku poems consist of three lines. The first and the last lines of a haiku have five syllables and the second line has seven syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

If you would like to play language game with Primary school students, haiku is a good option. It is short and seldom rhymes, so it is easy for beginners to start making poems of their own.

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Note 1: Strawberry generation is a hot topic. You might find similar writings on the same topic.

Note 2: The above is prepared for my student for his examination.

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