Posts tagged: Breitkreutz

Learning To Swim in Singapore – Choose Your Instructor Carefully

By , December 18, 2012 12:12 am

It’s time for a brief update on what the kids have been up to over the school holidays. Obviously, I’m still stuck in the office every day, so I’m not getting to take part in many of the activities unless they happen to fall on a weekend.

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In terms of the holiday programs and camps, all the fun starts for Casey next year as he begins his Kinderland journey and attends kindergarten with his ‘ge ge’ (big brother) – it’s not much fun for Daddy’s wallet though… 🙁 – this year, Jaime has attended both a ‘Chinese News Presenter’ course at Mediacorp and this week he’s making an ‘Angry Bird’ robot.

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The one key thing that I wanted to touch on, is the progress that Jaime is making in his swimming classes. Now, here’s the wrap on sports classes in Singapore… and for parents just starting out on this journey, please note this down very well.

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There are literally dozens (or perhaps even hundreds) of swimming schools in Singapore. Before signing our son up many months ago, we wanted to be sure that he would have an instructor that would help him get the most out of the once-a-week lessons, as well as someone who was kind and understanding, but a little firm at the same time.

We made the right decision to enroll him in the “Bubbles ‘N Splashes” swim school. He attends every Friday afternoon and over time, we have seen a remarked improvement in his ability and just as important, his confidence.
Tomorrow, he will attempt his first ever formal (Level 1) swimming test.

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Given that I am always at work when classes are going on, I’d not had the opportunity to witness first-hand the format or teaching style of his swimming instructor.

However, on Sunday, Jaime attended an ‘extra’ session, as he prepares for his first ‘test’. We took both the boys down to the Anchorvale swimming pool at the AV Community Club (where I sit on the management committee) for the morning, and our decision to go with “Bubbles ‘N Splashes’ was reaffirmed… not just by watching the way the teacher interacted with the kids and offered special attention where needed, it was also by watching teachers from other swimming schools who were sharing the same pool.

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Now, I understand that working with young kids can be testing on any grown-up… but to hear the way that some of these other swimming teachers spoke to the children and constantly scolded them and yelled at them (for example, something as simple as sitting on the side of the pool while waiting, when they had not been instructed to sit). I was left speechless – this is no way to get kids to learn or to show respect. If teaching young kids makes a person frustrated and angry and leaves no option but to yell, scream and scold, I strongly suggest that it’s time for that person to search for another profession.

Not only is it this behaviour not conducive to a positive and healthy learning environment, it can be demoralizing for the kids… and the parents are paying hard-earned cash for this privilege.

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My message is – before you sign up, do a little research online in local forums and get feedback from other parents… perhaps go and watch the teacher in action (covertly) and see if they behave in a way which you think will benefit your child.

Once again – “Bubbles ‘N Splashes” is the school for us. Firm but fair, caring and understanding, and the results truly speak for themselves… BRAVO!!

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Speaking of confidence – Casey has no problems when it comes to the water. In fact, he is so overly confident, that he will just jump directly into the deep end of the pool for me to catch him (even when I’m not looking or ready for it). I’m kind of guessing it’s the Queenslander in his genes, but he absolutely loves swimming and playing in the pool – he has been talking about ‘jumping in the water’ for the last few days… and not failing to mention it at least ten times every hour.

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Finally, on another topic, the boys have not been immune to the ‘Psy’ phenomenon and the YouTube smash hit, “Gangnam Style”. Now it seems that as well as watching the video dozens of times and knowing the dance moves, the marketing engine behind it all have started producing merchandise… and what demographic do you think the campaign is focused on? Yep, you got it – young kids!!
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I’ve been told so many times before by friends and colleagues, that running, jumping and dancing is a great way to make sure that their kids are worn out by the end of the day and they will want to sleep peacefully and earlier after a session of physical activity. I hereby pronounce that Casey and Jaime are obviously different from the norm / exception to the rule… in the video below, it’s already 11:30pm at night, they are “full of beans” and they show no sign of wearing down, even pleading for more at such a late hour… BUT, IT IS VERY CUTE THOUGH!! “Oppa Zheng Jia Style”…

[youtube ALLSbc3fHxI]

[BROWSE MORE SWIMMING PICTURES HERE]

Jaime The Heart-Throb – Catwalk Fashion Model

By , December 12, 2012 10:57 pm

pediped’s Fall/Winter Collection – 2012

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Thanks to Daphne of Mother Inc for reaching out to us and inviting Jaime to take part, last Saturday we headed out to Seb’s Bistro at Rochester Park to watch Jaime strutting his stuff on the catwalk, modeling the latest in cool and stylish kid’s shoes from pediped’s 2012 Fall/Winter collection.

His outfit for the day was provided by local kid’s apparel store, Elly.

DSC_1617pediped sponsorsThe day began quite early for us (being a Saturday and all), and we arrived at Seb’s around 9am still wiping sleepy dust from our collective eyes. Thank goodness for the organizers providing us with a yummy breakfast to get us all going.

Breakfast Time for Casey

Breakfast Time for Casey

As usual, I was more nervous than Jaime, thinking that perhaps he might freeze up when he walks out in front of the audience. Also as usual, my concern was unfounded. When it comes to stage performances or appearances in front of large crowds, Jaime is an absolute natural. Meeting someone for the first time (one-on-one), he can often be stand-offish and even a little shy… but put him in front of a group of people as the centre of attention and he morphs into a completely different kid.

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His first appearance on the catwalk was no exception and he seemed to be surrounded by an aura as he walked hand in hand with another of the young models.

Jaime came across as both so natural and professional at the same time, and afterward I was approached by the marketing representative of a local fashion magazine to ask if he would be interested in taking part in a photo spread for their publication –  wow, they had ‘talent scouts’ in attendance?

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The pediped Story (from the Singapore website):

“pediped® footwear was created in 2004 by Angela and Brian Edgeworth. After their first daughter Caroline was born, Angela started to do a lot of thinking about footwear and the kind of shoes that would be best for her child. She wanted a shoe that was comfortable and stylish and that could be worn both indoors and out. Most importantly, she wanted a shoe that was healthy for her daughter’s feet.

After doing a lot of research, Angela discovered that doctors recommended barefoot walking or soft leather sole shoes, but the choices for infants and toddlers were limited. That is when Angela and her husband Brian decided to create the perfect shoe, which would be “the next best thing to bare feet”.

pediped® has become one of the fastest growing children’s footwear brands in the U.S. and offers more than 120 designs spanning EU sizes 17-33. pediped’s three footwear lines include Originals® (soft soled shoes for children ages birth to 2), Grip ‘n’ Go™ (soft rubber soled shoes for children 9 months to three years) and Flex® (rubber soled shoes for children 1-8 years). pediped® is sold all around the world”
Casey in the Playground @ Seb's Bistro

Casey in the Playground @ Seb's Bistro

Source: Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

Kindergarten Marching Band or Rehearsal for National Service?

By , October 16, 2012 11:56 pm

Source: Aussie Pete

One of my mates that watched the video below commented that Jaime was very well-rehearsed in his debut in front of a large crowd and obviously knew exactly what he was doing… I agree completely, and this was as a result of months of practice and dedication.

He then went on to say that the marching band reminded him of the structured marching at Singapore’s annual National Day Parade and suggested that perhaps Jaime was being primed for his future in National Service  🙂

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I kind of doubt that, but it was wonderful to watch and when the crowd screamed in appreciaton at the end of each segment, I was filled with an uncanny sense of pride. Later, Jaime told me that he was extremely excited and amazed when he marched out to see so many people watching.

The performance was part of the opening ceremony of the 2012 “Singapore Kinderland Sports Fiesta” held at the Toa Payoh Indoor Stadium.

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The day itself was themed around, “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s about having fun” – and this was reinforced by the fact that every single child received a gold medal at the end of the event.

Kudos to the organizers and well done to the kindergarten staff members who went above and beyond their duties as school teachers to make this day a memorable one for all.

Casey also had a great day watching his ‘ge ge’ and was also beaming with pride when he saw his efforts in the marching band – I think his voice was louder than the rest of the crowd combined.  🙂

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Although the day was never about winning, it was quite amusing to see how serious some of the parents took the family and parents events… Sammi’s team came first in the ‘Let’s move as a team’ event (a variation of the old three-legged race) and we combined with Jaime to be a part of the first placed team in the ‘We are a Happy Family’ segment.

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Somewhat disappointing was our efforts in the Yio Chu Kang Kinderland team for the ‘Tug-o-War’. If my back was not feeling old and sore before, this event just sought to remind me that I’m not as young and strong as I used to be… (of course I’m kidding – there was no disappointment – we had an absolute blast with our fellow parents)  🙂

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Watch the amazing Marching Band Video here (remember, these kids are only Kindergarten age):

[youtube jzFHnz46dmE]


Again, thanks to Kinderland and the staff and volunteers. Special congratulations to the band master, Mr Victor Tan.

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Jaime had his own “End of day Gold Medal Celebrations”:

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Nostalgia – Nestlé, You Made Me Cry…

By , March 5, 2012 9:46 pm

When my good friend, Christine, invited Jaime and myself to attend a ‘toy making’ afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was completed unprepared for the emotions and strong sense of nostalgia that I was going to be faced with.

Click here to view all photos in this set…

In fact, it started dawning on me during the drive in to the Arab Street area of Singapore, that perhaps I’ve not spoken enough with Jaime about my childhood and what it was like growing up in the days before computers, electronic games and today’s generation of gadgets and social networking. Or maybe I’d just forgotten myself?

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As Jaime and I discussed the kind of toys we would be making, he asked me the question: “Daddy, do you think we should bring our own batteries?”… for a moment I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. His automatic assumption was that if we were ‘making’ our own toys, then they would obviously be electronic in nature and would require a power source…. OH MY!!

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Once we arrived at Children Little Museum in Bussorah Street, I also quickly became aware that although ‘back when I was a lad’ of about Jaime’s age (4-years old), Singapore was another world away – I’m not even sure I knew that it existed (forgive me if I thought the world was indeed flat) – our cultures were already operating in parallel. With global travel something that I wouldn’t experience for almost another decade, the idea that kids my own age in a country some 6,000km away from the small rural Victorian town of Rupanyup where I was living were doing the same things as I was, was quite unfathomable.

You see, I clearly remember receiving a wooden top for my birthday… and the hours upon hours of enjoyment it provided were immeasurable. But guess what? – I have now learned that the same joy was being experienced well beyond the shores of down under and as far away as Asia.

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Then there’s the game of ‘Five Stones’ – in Australia, we called it knuckles and it was played with either a synthetic form or sometimes even real dried out knuckle bones. In Singapore, it was played with little satchels that feel like mini-bean bags (and now while we’re reminiscing, kids from my generation in Australia would see the obvious resemblance in shape of these game items to the old ‘Sunny Boys’). – Jaime got to take the ‘five stones’ home and has been trying desperately to teach Casey – I think their tiny little hands are not quite there yet :p

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Now here’s the kicker!! I would’ve placed money on the fact that Milo was as Australian as Vegemite! Once again, while we were growing up and being told to drink our Milo to get strong bones, healthy bodies and heaps of energy… so were the kids in Singapore!

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Herein is the underlying motivation for the entire afternoon… The icon behind the Milo brand is none other than Nestlé, and the team in Singapore invited us along (with some other very close mates… and even my Hong Kong travel buddies and witnesses to the now historical, 2010 Bathtub Racing Dilemma) to share in their 100th Anniversary… Yes, you heard it right – Nestlé is much older than me and was filling the Singaporean kids with sustenance long before I was even running around in nappies (and even before my mother was a wee lass… and even when my Grandparents were still little critters). 🙂

My dear Mum as a young girl...

My dear Mum as a young girl...

Amazing right!? The company behind every day brands such as Nescafe, Kit Kat, Maggi and Milkmaid are a century old!!

So what better way to showcase their celebrations than a walk back in time – before the iPad and Nintendo Wii were even flights of fantasy for the science fiction buffs… the ‘internet’ must have been something we used to help us fish for yabbies in the dams and mud creeks around the outskirts of town right?

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Once we arrived and had a few snacks, I was offered an iced cappuccino from this amazing futuristic looking machine (Dolce Gusto Circolo coffee machine – a modern day invention)… I MUST MUST have one!! – the flavour of my ‘cold cuppa’ was divine!… and I’m one of those guys that lives for his coffee.

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Then we learned about the 100-year history of Nestlé in Singapore from none other than the MD himself, Valerio Nannini. Mr Nannini also learned a thing or two himself – such as the fact that Nestlé produced tins with a handle on the bottom to be recycled as money containers for many of the store owners and hawkers of the day. Simply pull down on the handle and the tin moves on a pulley system – store your cash and let it fly back up – ingenious really – and an absolute nugget of a marketing and branding idea all those years ago 😀

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Soon after, we were taken up a flight of stairs and were transported down another flight in time. A toy museum consisting of things I knew and things I didn’t… the school classroom setting that was so familiar to me that I was looking to see where (next to the pencil well) my name was engraved from times gone by.

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Then the fun stuff began – first we made a ‘balancing pyramid’ – an amazing device that will balance anywhere.

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Next was a kite – created and designed by us – Jaime is a much better artist than me and loves to paint, so he was the mastermind behind the design 

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On the way home, I had so many thoughts running through my mind… days gone by when life was just so simple. How great it was to be a kid – I almost wish that Jaime didn’t ever have to grow up. As I looked to Jaime and saw him completely sound asleep, the tears again welled in my eyes… I could say it was because a piece of dust had lodged in them, or that the sun was just a little too bright – but either of these excuses would be a lie.

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Thank you Nestlé for a magical afternoon… thank you for inspiring memories long-forgotten… thank you for some wonderful bonding time with my son… and finally, THANK YOU for growing with me from early childhood until now!!

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Footnote: Keep your eye out for another initiative that Nestlé Singapore will be undertaking as part of their 100 year celebrations – the fulfillment of 100 wishes for lucky people. Simply visit the Nestlé 100 years website and check it out – Wishes should reflect the theme of “Good Food, Good Life” and must be meaningful and beneficial! Closing date will be 15th Nov 2012. So what are you waiting for??

Source: Aussie Pete

Exclusive – 100% Absolute Irrefutable Proof That Santa Claus Exists – Double Confirmed

By , December 13, 2011 1:39 am

Folks – today at Aussie Pete blog, I have an absolute jaw-dropping scoop!!

To answer the age-old question, “Does Santa Claus really exist”, we can now go one step further than the timeless, but as yet unsubstantiated response, of “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”.

You see today, right here, I can provide video evidence that proves without a shadow of a doubt that ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ is more than just the imagination of children the globe over.

Santa has a file on every single child

Santa has a file on every single child

Only the real Santa would know such personal information about Jaime – from his age, where he lives, what Mummy and Daddy would like to see him working on to improve his behaviour (being more quiet inside the house), what he wants for Xmas (this must have come from the letter that Jaime wrote a couple of days ago)… and a load more information!

Proof That Santa Exists

Proof That Santa Exists

Of course, Santa keeps all of this data on every child around the world in their very own file – he has pictures of birthdays and performances, and of course he has the one piece of knowledge that is the most critical at this time of year – Was Jaime naughty or nice in 2011? You really want to know? Then watch this video and see Santa’s elves enter Jaime’s file into the ‘naughty and nice’ machine for the final evaluation!

[youtube BbGAew-pBOI]

When Jaime watched this message from Santa today, his jaw really did almost hit the ground as he responded to all of the questions. He was so well behaved at bed time, I almost didn’t recognize him as the same 4-year old… and with still over 2-weeks left until Christmas Day, Jaime will be checking in on Santa’s message to see if there is any change in the ‘naughty and nice’ status – it’s going to be lovely to have almost three weeks of good behaviour! 🙂

So yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus! DOUBLE COMFIRMED!

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Naughty or Nice? The suspense is intense...

Source: Aussie Pete

Life’s Milestones – One Small Step or One Giant Leap?

By , October 8, 2011 4:40 pm

There are certain moments in our life that take our breath away!

I’m not talking about the things that happen over again, like birthdays, wedding anniversaries or even great achievements of personal goals. I’m referring to the real milestones of life, and often these things come around only once (usually anyway).

It’s about the milestones in our life that remind is why we are here and how awesome it is to be alive, even if our physical time in this world might be relatively short.

One Small Step or One Giant Leap?

One Small Step or One Giant Leap?

The birth of a child, the union in marriage of two souls who love each other and were destined to be together, the last day of school – you know where I’m going with this, and I’m sure you can think of many others.

These milestones can help shape who we are and can sometimes reach down so deeply within us that it feels like our hearts just cannot take it. They can make us laugh and cry at the same time.

Yesterday, one of these milestones occurred in our family. Casey, our youngest baby who just turned one year old some weeks ago, went from just being able to barely balance himself on his tiny little legs to taking the biggest steps in life that he will ever take – his very first ones!!

Forgetting all fear and seeing nothing but the Mickey Mouse hat that I had placed on my head as his goal, he turned and walked (albeit somewhat wobbly) across the loungeroom floor completely unaided. To him, he achieved his goal – the hat. To me, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest… the tears more than just welled in my eyes, I can tell you.

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So, my friends – life is short – cherish these milestones, and remember that whatever your goal (maybe in your case it’s not a hat with a Mickey Mouse logo), it’s often the journey to get there that defines who we are, not just the end game!

Big Budget Commercial Costs More Than a Feature Film – My 15-Min Of Fame!

By , April 15, 2011 10:08 pm
Breaka - It's a Dream of a Drink

Breaka - It's a Dream of a Drink

Source: Aussie Pete Legacy Blog

All thanks to my younger brother, Michael, who has spent what I’m sure amounts to a huge number of hours converting many old videos from the 80s and 90s to digital and uploading to the internet. In this particular TV commercial, I (Aussie Pete) am just a mere 17 years of age, and by the looks of things, would be lucky if I weighed 65kg dripping wet.

Displaying my best 1980s hairstyle in all of its glory, this TV commercial for ‘Breaka’ flavoured milk, was the most expensive ad ever produced at the time in Australia and was more like a huge budget mini film. In terms of $$ per second, it in fact, cost more to make than a full-feature film.

The commercial, the first for the then new beverage and the begninning of a long-running campaign (‘It’s a Dream of a Drink’), ran for 5-years across all TV stations in prime time and in cinemas along with all new releases… it got so that I could not walk the streets of Brisbane without being recognized as ‘the Breaka Boy’.

Are you ready for a cool change?

Are you ready for a cool change?

The pretty models sourced for the ad, were Australia’s best and most well-known, and some people old enough to remember might recognize one as the drummer from the popular 1980s all-girl band, ‘Sheeba’ (hope I spelled it correctly).

The video here is a conversion from the original VHS video to digital of the one minute version of the commercial, along with a current affairs story (Brisbane’s ‘State Affair’) covering the ‘behind the scenes’ and interviews with producers and directors.

Finally, if you stay watching long enough, somehow a small snippet from my DJ days (no sound) at Manhattan nightclub – the largest and most popular venue at the time – regularly at least 2000 to 3000 patrons on any night of the week – owned and run by my then bosses and good friends, Gerry Bellino and Vic Conte, who were portrayed in the fourth series of ‘Underbelly’. (It was the ‘in’ place in it’s day).

Not surprisingly, I was known in my DJ days of the 1980s, as ‘Breaka’… a nickname long since forgotten.

The attached is a very rare ‘blast from the past’ – enjoy!!

BREAKA – IT’S A DREAM OF A DRINK….

[youtube rRrxt6W6wyQ]

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