AXA SmartFamily: Protecting those who matter, most.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"We are accidents waiting to happen" from There, there (Radiohead)
Image source

Insurance is a dreaded word, because it brings with it negative connotations. It's almost morbid, because more often than not, insurance only pays out when we experience accidents, disabilities, pain or even death. Yet it's something that is necessary in this day and age. We all need something to cap our risks.

When I found out that I was expecting back in 2010, my husband and I realised that things are going to be different from then on. We are no longer only responsible for our own well being, but there is going to be someone who will need our protection for at least the first 18 years of his life. We have to deal with 'what ifs', and ensure that we are all covered in the most prudent way possible. We never know what will happen, and we didn't want to be caught in a situation more dire than deemed possible.

I've never liked to buy insurance. I don't like having to deal with numbers, and minute details with fine print really don't interest me in the very least. I worry about purchasing wrong plans which have minimal coverage, and I don't want to be caught in a position where I am not covered for certain things because I didn't ask about the benefits in detail. Many agents are incentivised to sell plans which brings in the most commission for them, and these may not be the best options for us. It may not even work for our lifestyle or priorities, and when the unthinkable happens, we are left almost high and dry because our plans do not cover a load of things! It's actually not the agents' fault per se - we tend to have that 'get it over and done with' attitude when it comes to buying insurance, because it's a necessary evil.

It was therefore initially with the slightest hint of trepidation that I accepted this blog assignment. I didn't know how to 'sell' a plan without coming across as pushy, and I didn't look forward to writing about a 'dry' subject. I only agreed because I believe that the new SmartFamily plans from AXA have relevant coverage and addresses many issues which families face when it comes to personal protection.

When I was invited to the AXA SmartFamily media launch, I was expecting to spend close to two hours jotting down notes furiously, with flashbacks of sleepy afternoons spent at lecture theatres back in college. Seriously, how exciting can insurance be, right?

The invite was hand delivered to me. I was intrigued.

The AXA SmartFamily promises "Total Protection" coverage for the entire family. It is a family accident plan which provides 8 'after care' services which provide assurance that our family members will still be looked after should we be indisposed due to the accident.

But now... back to the boxing gloves. How does that tie in with the launch, I hear you ask.
It turned out that it had everything to do with it. That glove (yes it's a real one, used for boxing!) is part of our initiation to the SmartFamily insurance plan.

Hosted by the personable and charming Adrian Pang, we were welcomed warmly to the event and given a brief introduction about SmartFamily.

The fun continued with Beatrice Chia-Richmond and Suhaimi Yusuf being called on stage to participate in a game show, where they have to answer questions based on the details of the policy.

They were joined by Fly Entertainment artistes who put up improvised skits based on the questions posed, and put humourous twists to every scene.

We were thoroughly entertained, and I found myself totally understanding what this plan is all about, even without reading the press release! I am a passionate believer in learning through experience and play, and this is just one example whereby I was provided essential information without me actually realising it, and for once, I wasn't bogged down by all the technical jargon that insurance agents love to ply on the unsuspecting laymen.

I understood everything because it was so simple and straightforward, and I can totally relate to the challenges parents may face in the event of an unforseen circumstance. The husband and I were in agreement that this has got to be a trailblazer in the face of family insurance. In fact, we intend to sign up for this policy because our family dynamics will benefit from the coverage provided in the event of an accident which can happen to any of us, at any time.

When I was asked for my thoughts about AXA SmartFamily launch, I provided my honest take on how impressed I was that AXA, working with strong supporting teams, actually managed to make such a matter-of-fact and dry subject thoroughly engaging and entertaining! Best of all, I went away armed with enough SmartFamily knowledge to be able to explain it to friends and family.

Simply put, the AXA SmartFamily is a personal accident plan which provides you with additional services on top of the financial coverage provided.

It can be said to be an insurance concierge of sorts, whereby there is personal follow up when the policy takes effect.

"When a serious accident happens, worries about finances, post hospital recuperation costs and daily life inconveniences are real family issues. For instance, what happens when you are in a wheelchair and are unable to ferry the kids to and fro from school, do household chores or cook for the family?" - source AXA

When you are signed on with AXA SmartFamily, one of the 8 add-on services in their full insurance suite kicks in. Under the Child Guardian scheme, AXA will arrange and pay for the extra service required to fetch the kids to and from school. In addition to that, there is a slew of other services which we may need while recuperating due to an accident.

Wow. Finally, a plan that goes beyond signed papers and financial payouts. A plan which actually works according to our needs, and provides not only insurance, but the assurance that all our family members are taken care of in the event of an accident. It's not about us dealing with a cold and business-like insurance suite anymore. Dare I be bold enough to say that it's an insurance plan which actually cares, every step of the way?

The best thing is, the AXA SmartFamily insurance premium does not cost an arm and a leg (no pun intended!). In fact, I think it's really, really affordable!

prices are as at September 2015
That's like $30 - $60 p.m. for one adult, and $20 - $40 p.m. for each child. There is no cap to the benefits rendered, as long as it is within the total coverage purchased. Each adult will be covered at 100% of the sum insured, while each child will be covered at 50% of the sum insured.

Get 30% off the insurance premiums (only applicable for the 1st policy year) when 2 adults sign up. There is also a 10% discount off premiums for any family or individual sign up. These discounts are only valid up to 31 December 2015.

As parents, we always want the best for our kids. We may argue that overprotecting them may be detrimental to their well-being in the long run, I do believe that when it comes to their safety, there is no compromise, and no such thing as overprotection. While we cannot 'bubble wrap' them (although I'm sometimes tempted to, especially when I can't keep up with his energy), it is our natural instinct to always try to prevent accidents as much as possible.

Every child is different, but their curious nature is in tandem with their constant need to explore. Only when we become parents can we truly understand the concerns when it comes to our kids. At home and when we are out and about, we always try to find the most convenient and practical items to assist us in the delicate parenting process. 

I share with you this video which highlights the differences between industry experts and parents when it comes to designing the 'safest' items for our childrens' use. This is a social experiment to gauge the opinions of the masses, and a blind test gives a separate group of parents the option of choosing what they deem is best for their family. 

“Parents vs. Experts. Who knows best?”

Please visit AXA Singapore and AXA SmartFamily for further information, or to schedule an appointment with an insurance advisor. Should you wish to purchase the plan directly, please click here.

Disclaimer: Information is correct at time of print. This is a series of sponsored conversations between AXA Singapore and MummyMoo, but all opinions are 100% my own. I am thoroughly impressed by the extent of coverage of this personal accident plan, and it is one which I truly believe is beneficial to everyone in the family. 

Please refer to the Policy which is the operative document for full terms and conditions. AXA reserves the right to amend any of the information shown without prior notice. Benefits of the policy will only be payable upon an accident occurring. You may wish to seek advice from our AXA Financial Consultants before making a commitment to purchase this product. In the event that you choose not to seek advice from our AXA Financial Consultants, you should consider whether the product in question is suitable for you.

Parenthood: No one is ever quite ready.

Monday, 17 August 2015

I'm at this stage in my life when I'm constantly exhausted from work, and there are days when I can literally hear my tired old bones creak the moment I drag myself out of bed. I'm at an age where most women are learning to slow down, and truly live life - but I do not make comparisons. I may be tired and old and cranky most days, but I am in a good place right now.

I'm happy.

Not the kind of happy euphoria that comes with youth, or the heart-bursting joy which comes as a response to a positive news. It's more of a 'settled' kind of happy - a state of being blissful and simply being contented.

I think having a wonderful family had that effect on me.

When the husband and I got married, we didn't have any concrete plans. As two separate persons, we were not (and are not, still, to a huge extent) the type of people who set life plans for ourselves. When we were younger, we didn't entertain thoughts of 'having to be married by a certain age and have an x number of kids by the time we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, so that by the time we were in our 40s, we would have the luxury of living life without worrying about diapers, urgent calls from schools, and staying up all night with a kid who is burning up. Marriage was not even in the cards, more so having a kid.

We were all good until we met each other. What we didn't realise was that when two people are comfortable being together and accept each other through our own personal faults, there was this natural tendency to want to take it further. To seal the deal, so to speak - and we raised a lot of eyebrows when we decided to get married. We were flighty, and we lived life for the moment, and marriage would not change us. Marriage didn't... but we also didn't count on finding out that we were expecting a baby less than a year into the marriage. It happened entirely by chance and it caught us both by surprise, but our lives, since then - has never, ever been the same.

“Making the decision to have a baby is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” 
– Elizabeth Stone
Truth be told, I was worried. I was turning 36, and there are a multitude of problems which an older woman can experience in pregnancy. We started off the pregnancy on a less than conventional note, and because of what happened, up till today, I will still attest that Caden is truly a gift. I cannot begin to describe the mixed feeling of dread and joy which I faced everytime I was due for a check up, and the sheer elation when I see the smile on my gynae's face as she shows me the ultrasound on screen, month after month. The husband was present with me every step of the way, and he was the assuring voice to my inner panic, and the soothing hand which held my icy ones. Blood tests, Nuchal Transparency scan, the Anomaly Scan, a high blood pressure scare, several 3D scans and a 4D scan later - our son was born. That was also the day our lives truly began.

I am extremely thankful that he was born healthy, but it was also a challenging time for us because we didn't know what to do, and what to expect. For the first time in our lives, we were guided only by our instincts, and we were now responsible for the little, helpless being. We are no longer 2 individuals per se, but we are now committed to leading the little one through life, and making sure that we have everything covered to make the often arduous journey a little smoother.

The husband was the first person to carry Caden, and he was also the first one between the two of us to change his diaper. I've never even carried a baby (more so a newborn) until that day when he was placed unceremoniously in my arms. There was still that niggling feeling of doubt of being a Mum, but it was there and then I realised, that I would give up the world for this little boy of mine. And I knew that my husband felt the same way, too.

Caden turns 5 in 5 months. It has been a crazy journey thus far - filled with many wonderments and challenges that only those with children would know. There were times when the loud thud followed by a shriek makes the blood drains from my face, and there are many nights when I lay beside his feverish body, wishing that I could take all his pain away. There are days when all I want to do is hide in my room (alone!) with all the shades drawn and just enjoy the silence, and there are times when I get so tired of having to do things exactly as how he pictures them to be, and after I've gotten up for the nth time because 'I now need to pee, Mummy, it was too early earlier', I'm just about ready to scream. Quite often I do, I kid you not, and then feel guilty afterward because he made sure that a pee-accident did not happen unnecessarily.

The husband and I work. We work crazy days, he and I, and we share a mutual understanding that no matter what happens, one of us will at least try to be there for the boy as much as our time permits. Some days, we are both tired and exhausted, mentally and physically - and we know that we are not alone. Many parents in Singapore face the same issues we do, and what we all have in common is that we always want to provide the very best for our kids.

We worry about the high costs of childcare, medical care, and higher education. We worry about our age, and fear that we may not be around till at least he's able to stand on his feet. There are things in life which we can control, and there are other things which we aren't able to. No one plans to get sick, injured or to die unexpectedly and we all have a tendency to think that it won’t happen to us. But it does, and I have come across way too many young people who are gone too soon.  We discuss accidents and illnesses and what happens if either one of us dies when there are still commitments to fulfil, because we are a family now, and we are one.

Whether you are newly married, or have celebrated a few anniversaries together, starting a family can be quite intimidating, It's like being on a vast ocean with no map or land in sight, and all that you have got with you are your wits, your love, and your courage.

Despite all its challenges, I promise you that the experience, with all its thrills and spills, is priceless. Parenthood is a beautiful journey, one that none of us will ever be quite ready for, but it is one which will change you for the better. It is about giving without expecting anything in return, and finally truly understanding what unconditional love is all about. You will never be quite ready for the surge of emotions which you will be assailed with when they first return your hug fiercely and call you 'Mummy or Daddy', nor will you be prepared for the sense of protectiveness and love which will hit you the moment that you realise that the kids are the only subjects in life which are truly, and completely yours.

You want to make sure that your family is well protected as much as possible, and with 'AXA Family Advantage', you can start right from the time that the pregnancy is 16 weeks old. I wish that I had known about this when I was pregnant back then - because as much as we hope to keep healthy and deliver healthy babies, there are a slew of pregnancy related conditions which can happen. The insurance coverage starts from the mother and the unborn child, but it doesn't just stop there. In addition to this, you can select from 8 different types of plans (protection, savings and investment) which basically prepares you and your spouse for parenthood. More information can be found and downloaded here.

If you, like me (and many, many parents out there) need a break from having to clean the house when you are tired from a hard days' work, simply take a chance at having the Daddy Rescue Team clean and sing for you. On top of that, all entries stand a chance to win 1 grand prize of a Babycation weekend stay for 2, at Capella Sentosa!

AXA Daddy Rescue Contest

Readers stand a chance to win a home cleaning session courtesy of the AXA Daddy Rescue team who will mop, clean, wipe and sing via a radio contest.

The contest will be aired on Class 95FM between 6am to 10am, with 3 weekly winners being selected on the 21st of August, 28thof August and 4th of September respectively.

SMS: AXA <space> Name <space> NRIC <space> Why you deserve this, to 76677.
The most creative reason wins.

Contest ends on the 17th of September, The grand prize of a Babycation weekend stay for 2 at Capella Sentosa worth $2,000 will be announced on the 18th of September.


Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by AXA Insurance. All opinions are my own. 
Seriously though, sponsored post aside,  isn't this a great plan to invest in? Our family always have, and always will - come first.

LEGO® Star Wars™ Days at Legoland Malaysia!

Monday, 18 May 2015

The husband is a huge Star Wars fan. If it was up to him, we would be walking down the aisle to The Imperial March, and he'll be dressed as Darth Vader instead of worrying about changing to a dinner suit from his day suit which he wore at church. While I loved the idea of Stormtrooper escorts, I didn't really want to look sad and morose to get into Padmé Amidala's character on my wedding day. In any case, I got married to a man who can recite lines to any Star Wars' movie dialogue, and can rattle off lesser known details like how Yoda is the only main character to die of natural causes, and that his first name is Minch.

So when I received an exciting invite to experience 'Star Wars Days' at Legoland Malaysia, he didn't need to be asked twice.

"It's on a Monday, though." I said.

"Of course it is." he said.
"Monday, the 4th of May is Star Wars Day. 'May the Fourth' (be with you)?" (I swear I detected a slight hint of exasperated sarcasm there)

Yeah. I should've gotten that figured out.

We met with The Blogfather and his family at the gates, and these were my most favourite shots of the day!

Seriously - check Xander's jump shots out. The force is strong with that one.

When we entered, it was evident that we were in the company of Star Wars fans from all over the world, and I never really realised how 'big' Star Wars is until that day. It prompted me to remark to the husband that SW almost has a 'cult following', if it was not for the fact that its' fan base, while highly dedicated and passionate - is huge.

One of the highlights of Legoland has always been its Miniland display, and in Legoland Malaysia, a total of 17 landmarks of Asian cities are built entirely from Lego bricks. These displays are fully animated, and visitors can control these structures at the touch of a button. Opened on 15 September 2012, the Miniland has shown some signs of wear and tear, which I'm quick to overlook, because it must be extremely challenging to maintain these structures at pristine conditions given the unpredictable elements of a tropical country.

But we were there to celebrate the force, so the husband hurried me along before I could get any more distracted than I already had been.

The LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland display at Legoland Malaysia was opened to the public on 6 September 2014. It details six scenes from the six Star Wars films, and one scene from The Clone Wars animates series.

It's basically the history of Star Wars, housed in an (almost) nondescript building.

I had no expectations whatsoever when I entered the cool interior of the Star Wars Miniland. Here's a brief respite from the scorching sun outside. I was just going to go in, take some pics, and accompany the excited husband like a good wife should.

I'll try to be interested, and note down some points so that I wouldn't appear too ignorant while I write this post, I thought.

Yes. That's the original plan. A plan which was completely defenestrated, along with the state of not understanding what the hoo-ha about Star Wars is all about. 

Let me take you on a quick journey through the Star Wars Miniland at Legoland Malaysia.


Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The epic Battle of Naboo pits Gungan forces against the Trade Federation's battle droids for control of the planet and its capital city, Theed. The Royal Palace, home to Queen Amidala, is constructed of 15,000 LEGO® bricks.

In the Theed hangar bay, young Anakin Skywalker saves the day by flying his Naboo Starfighter to victory while Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn battle the Sith apprentice, Darth Maul.*

Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of The Clones

In the Geonosis execution arena, Padmé AmidalaObi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Slywalker battle three ferocious creatures, the massive Reek, the terrifying Acklay, and the ravenous Nexu. The Geonosis arena is built to 1:180 scale - if it was built to a 1:20 scale like all the other models in Miniland, it would be more than 29 feet high!

Also depicted is the Battle of Geonosis, where the seperatist Droid Army clashes with the Grand Army of the Republic in the first conflict of the Clone Wars.*

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith
Kashyyyk & Mustafar

Two planets are shown here: The Battle of Kashyyyk depicts the Droid's Army's amphibious assault on the home planet of Chewbacca and the Wookiees,

The scene features two AT-APs (All Terrain Attack Pods) plus the massive Clone Turbo Tank, which is constructed from 10,180 Lego pieces and took 168 hours to build.

On the opposite side is the volcanic planet of Mustafar, where the fateful duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker takes place.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

This desert planet is the childhood home of Luke Skywalker. In the spaceport city of Mos Eisley, you will find the Cantina where Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi first meet up with Han Solo, captain of the Millenium Falcon, and his co-pilot Chewbacca.

As the band plays on, Greedo coners Han Solo just before the group narrowly escapes the planet with C-3PO and R2-D2.

It took Legoland Model Builders 143 hours to design and build the Millenium Falcon, using 19,200 pieces of Lego bricks.*

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Rebels establish a secret base on this frozen planet which is home to wampas and tauntauns, but the Empire's probe droids discover their loaction and send their massive At-Ats (All-Terrain Armoured Transport) and nimble AT-STs (All-Terrain Scout Transport) to attack Echo Base.

Inside the base, Rebel snowspeeders and Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter can be seen. Outside, Luke's Snowspeeder has crashed, but the young Jedi uses his lightsaber to single handedly bring down the giant AT-AT.*

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of The Jedi

The forest moon of Endor is hoe to the Ewoks. These small but resourceful creatures join forces with the Rebel Alliance to destroy the shield generator and prevent the completion of the second Death Star.

The Imperial Shuttle can be seen on the landing platform, where Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, has just arrived. Next to the landing platform is the massive shield generator which stands 8 feet tall.*

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars - takes place chronogically between Episodes II and III and follows the adventures of Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This scene represents Christophsis, a crystalline planet where the Republic clone troopers battle the Separatist Army.

Anakin single handedly attacks an Octuptarra droid, while Obi-Wan prepares to repel the advancing Droid army. The Crystal City building is the largest Star Wars Miniland Lego model, and is made of more than 70,000 pieces.*

I was surprised, flabbergasted even - at the attention to detail given to every Star Wars scene depicted. Housed in separate rooms with its sound effects from the corresponding movie, I was almost in a trance-like state as I weaved in and out of the scenes. I was truly awed beyond words.


I was also privileged to be given the opportunity to be a part of the winners' announcement and prize presentation ceremony of the LEGO My Own Creation competition. Lego enthusiasts from Malaysia and Singapore are challenged to come up with their own original Lego structures, which is true to Lego's mission of encouraging creativity through designing and building one's own creations.

The top three winners of the different categories will have their Lego creations displayed at Legoland till the end of July.

I really admire the patience and dedication put in by the builders. The passion for Lego shines forth, and these pieces just proves that there is no limit to where the imagination can take you. It's no wonder that Lego's motto is 'det bedste er ikke for godt', or roughly translated - means: 'The best is never too good'.

May the force be with you.


Spot the Mooboy!!
I had the privilege to visit Legoland with The Blogfather, and because both our families got to see the whole thing on 4th May, we decided to do a joint giveaway, for 2 sets of annual passes to LEGOLAND Malaysia!

We're picking 2 winners for this giveaway, and the lucky families will each be getting 2 Adult and 1 Child Annual Passes worth a total of RM807! 

This allows them unlimited visits to the pass for a full 12 months (the annual pass will be issued once we have your details), discounted entry to the LEGOLAND Water Park for RM58 (normal price is RM122 for Adults and RM101 for children), LEGOLAND Hotel discounts, seasonal retail and F&B discounts, a LEGOLAND E-newsletter, free parking at the LEGOLAND Car Park, and even early access to the park at 9:30am! Full terms and conditions can be found here.

To join in the fun, simply accomplish the tasks set out in the Rafflecopter box below. Because this is a join giveaway, your entries will be reflected on BOTH The Blogfather and MummyMoo blogs, so you only need to do this once! We'll be closing the giveaway on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 at 2359hrs, and we'll announce the winner we've picked on our individual blogs, so make sure you check in with both of us then!

This giveaway is open only to those residing in Singapore.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Terms and Conditions:
Contest ends on Wednesday, 27th of May at 2359hrs. Winners will be selected via Rafflecopter, and notified via email. They have 48 hours to respond to the notification email. Should there be no response, the winning entry will be rendered null and void, and another winner will be chosen.

*Source: LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland on-site information.

More information on Legoland Malaysia's Star Wars Days here
Ticketing details here.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Legoland Malaysia and its media partners for making this experience possible, and for helping me make sense of something which was truly alien to me. I've never been a Star Wars fan, but because of the entire Miniland experience, I think I'm beginning to understand the fans' obsession with it!

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