STAY-HOME GUIDE

3 Things to do

Stay in and help fight Covid-19. The Straits Times' Ong Sor Fern recommends fun, uplifting things to do today

PHOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY

1. READ: Gardens by the Bay's cute online comics for kids

This Web comic created by the staff of Gardens by the Bay boasts super-cute character designs.

Created last year when the circuit breaker shut down everything in Singapore, the series has reached episode 13 and there are plans to introduce more episodes.

The early episodes are a tad wobbly in terms of narrative - not a surprise considering the staff had no prior experience drawing comics or conceptualising graphic stories.

But persevere and the series of one-page comics starts finding its groove around the seventh episode. Using cute characters to offer insights into the gardens' operations is a good idea and the creators have started incorporating feel-good messages into recent episodes, which is a good way to cheer kids up.

There are plans to expand the characters into downloadable colouring sheets, crossword puzzles and other DIY activities, so parents looking to entertain the kids during the school holidays might want to bookmark this page for future reference.

Info: str.sg/3k3h

2. WATCH: Pretend It's A City

PHOTO: NETFLIX

I want to be Fran Lebowitz when I grow up. The American writer-commentator has parlayed being a full-time grumpy old woman into a fine art, and her brand of sarcastic observation is showcased to perfection in this Netflix series.

The premise may sound off-putting.

Lebowitz complains about a long list of things that bother her in episodes that splice together her lectures, talk-show appearances and a series of conversations with famed director Martin Scorsese. The latter is her long-time friend and evident fan, and he is happy to play the straight man, chortling delightedly at her various salvos at everyone and everything.

The first 15 minutes of episode one will determine whether you are a fan or not.

As someone who hates meanderthals (my portmanteau word combining meander and neanderthal for pedestrians who do not look where they are going), I feel a deep kinship with Lebowitz's cranky attitude towards the breed.

But there is also an abiding affection for New York that comes through in the first episode. And therein lies the appeal of this series.

Lebowitz might complain, but she complains with wit, a deep self-awareness and affectionate exasperation.

She is filled with incredulity for the general silliness of humankind, who really should know better than to do the self-sabotaging things they do.

And really, complaining for a living - how much more Singaporean can one get? Dream job.

Info: str.sg/3kma

3. LISTEN: Temujin: An Audio Drama

PHOTO: ANDAS PRODUCTIONS

This is the little podcast that could. Made by Singapore-based creatives, it was nominated for the 25th Annual Webby Awards for Limited Series Podcast - Scripted Fiction.

It got beaten by The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and Insecure: Looking For LaToya, but it did win other awards including Best Fiction and Podcast of the Year (Bronze), at the Asian Podcast Awards 2020.

The podcast tells the story of the Mongol conqueror Temujin, better known as Genghis Khan, from the perspective of Jamukha, his sworn brother and frenemy, played with sly wit and swaggering poise by Aditya Karkera.

The script is cleverly structured and the voice acting well done, with atmospheric sound effects used judiciously to recreate the sounds of the steppes and nomadic life.

Moreover, at just five episodes that run for between 19 and 49 minutes, this is long enough to be satisfying and short enough to binge-listen in a day.

Info: www.temujindrama.com

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2021, with the headline 3 Things to do. Subscribe