Thursday, January 31, 2008

Annual Household Report in Dewa Realm

Today is the 24th day of the twelfth moon according the lunar calendar. On this day, most Chinese will be sending their zhao jun (Kitchen Dewa) off to Dewa Realm to have an audience with yu wang da di (the Jade Emperor). The Chinese believe that he will report on the happening of the house he dwelt in to the Jade Emperor for the past year. Hence the Chinese usually offer nian gao (Chinese New Year cake) to him in the hope that he will say good words about them to yu wang da di.

The Kitchen Dewa will be with the Jade Emperor until the fourth day of the Chinese New Year.

This custom of sending off zhao jun to the realm of the dewas has been practised since our ancestors' time. To me it reminds us to behave ourselves all the time as our act is under the surveillance of dewas, Gods or whatever you want to call them. It keeps us on our toes every now and then.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to use 'borrow' and 'lend'

When you ask the permission of the owner to use his thing, you borrow it from him.

If someone requests your permission to use your thing and you hand it to him, you lend it to him.

Students often make the following mistakes in sentences regarding these two words:

1 Will you please borrow your book to me?

2 I borrowed him a pen just now.

3 Please borrow me your pencil.

4 May I lend your mobile phone for a while?

5 Who has lent my calculator without telling me?

The above sentences should have been:

1 Will you please lend me your book?

2 I lent him a pen just now.

3 Please lend me your pencil.

4 May I borrow your mobile phone for a while?

5 Who has borrowed my calculator without telling me?

To remember the correct usage, the following guide may be of use to students of English:

a) When you get something from someone for temporary use, use ‘borrow’.

e.g. I borrowed a ruler from John.

b) When you give something to someone for his temporary use, use ‘lend’.

e.g. I lent him a ruler.

c) In question form, when you want to ask someone permission to use his thing, use ‘May I borrow…” e.g. May I borrow your book?

d) When you want to ask permission to use your friend’s thing and you begin your sentence with ‘Will you …’, you must use ‘lend’. .e.g. Will you lend me your book?

In short, when a certain thing comes from someone to you, use ‘borrow’ and when it comes from you to another person, use ‘lend’.

N.B. ‘lent’ is past tense of ‘lend’

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How to make 'nian gao'

Whenever Chinese New Year is coming, the Chinese New Year Cake or nian gao is a must for the Chinese. Nian in Mandarin means ‘year’ and ‘gao’ means ‘high’. Nian gao has the meaning of ‘Rising Every Year’. For those who are working, it means getting to a higher position every year.

The making of nian gao is quite time consuming as you need 10 hours of steaming to produce the right colour of the cake.

The ingredients consist of only glutinous rice and white sugar. Proportionally, 2 parts of glutinous rice is mixed with 3 parts of sugar. For example, 2 kg of glutinous rice goes with 3 kg of sugar.

Initially the rice is soaked for five to six hours before grinding after which it is mixed with sugar.

The mixture is then poured into metal cylindrical containers lined with banana leaves and steamed with fire from burning wood for two hours. After that, the wood is replaced with charcoal for slower fire for another four to five hours to get the right brown typical of nian gao.

While this is being done, certain taboos must be observed. These include:

1 Don’t comment on the cake.

2 Pregnant women or those on confinement must not be present where nian gao is being steamed.

3 Those who mourn must keep themselves off the place too.

It is believed that if one of the above occurs, the nian gao may not come out as it should be in terms of colour, texture, taste and so on.

a typical nian gao

Monday, January 28, 2008

How To Write a Grade A Essay

With my experience as an English Language teacher, writing an essay that fetches high marks is no easy task because certain criteria are used to gauze Grade A essays.

Firstly, your essay must be able to sustain the interest of the examiner. If your writing fails to attract him, your chances of getting good grades are slim.

Secondly, varied sentence structures must prevail in your essay. It will be monotonous to read the same type of sentences again and again. Sometimes let them be short. At other times longer sentences should be used. Invert your sentences must you do occasionally. Add in conversation to render your story more convincing.

Next, you must show your command of the language by using appropriate vocabulary at suitable places. All sentences must be grammatically correct.

Right paragraphing, punctuation and spelling counts too.

Hence you must first write a very good and interesting introduction to arouse the interest of the examiner. The next task is to word your sentences differently with apt vocabulary, linked by carefully planned paragraphs without errors in spelling and punctuation, not forgetting correct grammar.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tones in Cantonese

This post is written in response to a question posed by blogger Chinese Language Lesson concerning my post entitled 'How I Learnt Cantonese' in the comment column.

He asked me whether there are tones in Cantonese as in Mandarin. Well, Cantonese has the four tones too for inflection but it has the least 4th tone. The following examples will clarify the existence of tones in the above Chinese dialect. Numerals after the words represent the tones.

Example 1

Cantonese: Lei2 hui1 pin4 tou3?

English : Where are you going?

Example 2

Cantonese: Khuoi2 hou2 sar4 ch'an3.

English: He is very stuck up.

Example 3

Cantonese: Li tou hai mat ye tai fong?

English: What's this place?

Example 4

Cantonese: T'eng4 yet3 choi1 lai3 guo1.

English: Come again tomorrow.


Cantonese: Pin4 guo1 wa3 hai3 kum2 kay2?

English: Who says it is like this?

In English, if I adopt the same tone system, there are only three tones, namely first tone, third tone and fourth tone. There is no second tone.

Example 1: Where4 is3 my3 pen4?

Example 2: A3 bear1 looks4 cute4 when3 it4 is3 small4.

So much for tones in Cantonese.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shopping Cart Software

As competitiveness come into play in doing business online, Internet-based companies need sophisticated software to help them beat their competitors. With this in mind, the offers such a service to initiate an online business ventures.

This website offers Shopping cart software , shopping cart and ecommerce software to fulfill the need of new business ventures on the net.

If new online businessmen are to succeed in the cyber world they should avail themselves of the above software which will certainly help them greatly in the sphere of online business involving cashless transaction through credit cards but certain software like the shopping cart software offered by is great desired. It facilitates online business transaction, increase web traffic to the owners' sites and instill trust in buyers or service seekers to their sites.

By making use of the service of, e-commerce operators can be assured of better sales and ease of transaction as the software provided is enough to handle all business transactions online.

It is highly recommended that people doing business online make use of such a facility to make their businesses grow.

Tags and Awards

Tags are very common among bloggers. They help them when they need to post and have nothing to blog about. For me, I will do the tag but still post something unless I write the tag in such a way that it looks like my normal post.

One thing I need to clarify is that tags that come to you may have been passed to you already, as have happened to me because I received the same tag twice. Personally I was negligent too when I passed on one tag to my blogger friend only to find that she has done it earlier. Hence before transferring a tag to a friend, we should do some homework such as going to his or her blog and browse through at least the current month's posts to avoid the above occurrence.

Some bloggers like to create awards and give them to friends and ask them to pass them on to those who deserve them. I was given such an award yesterday. Though I wanted to turn it down, I accepted it out of courtesy and respect to my blogger friend. Here again, homework needs to be done so that the same award does not go to the same person repeatedly.

I don't quite like the idea of giving awards created by fellow bloggers as too many of them will make blogs infested with them, leaving no chance for creative blogging or original writing. I say sorry if this statement should offend anyone.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Making Money through Blogging

Besides enjoying blogging, bloggers actually have a chance to make money through their blogs. One such company that enables them to do so is Smorty.

Smorty connects advertisers with bloggers. In such an arrangement, advertisers can pay bloggers to write opinion posts about their goods or services and links can be channelled back to the their sites.

Usually, advertisers ask them to write opinion about their products or services. In this way, they get paid to blog. If advertisers want to reach consumers of the bloggers with huge readership, blog advertising through Smorty is an ideal way to achieve this end.

Blog advertising has become the future trend as new blogs appear daily and those who blog for money has a source of income. Smorty acts as the bridge between advertisers and bloggers, enabling products or services be known to blog readers through back links that lead to the advertisers’ sites. Hence bloggers can actually make money through Smorthy.

2008 Contract Tag

2008 Contrract

I got this from Edith and I thank her for passing this to me.

And here's the contract!

After serious and cautious consideration...your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2008! It was a very hard decision to make. So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2008

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires! May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words ...May 2008 be the best year of your life!

And I want to pass this tag to Frank and k.s.lye


I would like to thank Marie for passing me this award. Frankly speaking I don’t know whether I deserve such an award because I am a man. However, the designer Twinkletoe has said that it should be shared with friends who possess some girl power which includes the ones specified. I am all for equality for men and women because capability knows no sexes. Equal education opportunities given to women make them at par with men in practically all fields.

start here: copy and paste and share it to your friends who's possessing some girl power

Girl Power
- young women's scope for own decisions
- the ability of or opportunity for women to make decisions for themselves
and shape their own lives
- a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition,
assertiveness and individualism

I'm giving this award to my friends:
Jojo and Mei Phing

Hope you all will like it.

How to answer a question that begins with “Do you mind ….”

If someone says “Do you mind opening the door for me?”, what do you say to him if you want to help him?

The correct answer should be, “No, not the least” if you want to help him.

If you say, “Of course, I will do it right away.”, you are contracting yourself. This is because you do mind opening the door, yet you say you will do it.

On the other hand, if you say “No, not the least” you mean you do not mind opening the door for him at all.

Hence, the next time anyone begins a question with “Do you mind ……”, you had better answer “No, not the least,” if you want to do as is asked and if you really do not want to do it, say “Yes.”

Examples of such questions are as follows:

1 Do you mind my sitting beside you?

2 Do you mind posting this letter for me?

3 Do you mind if I borrow your comb?

4 Do you mind paying for me first?

5 Do you mind doing this homework for me?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Importance of Rechecking

Many a time, we regret for not checking our answers again before handing in the answer scripts to the invigilator. This is one of the occasions when rechecking is important. There may be spelling errors, shading of answers in wrong places for objective questions or miscalculating for maths in one's answer script.

In life, we need to fill in various forms. We have to do it carefully, especially spelling of names, identity card numbers and other details. Insertion of data in the forms is not enough, we have to recheck our entry to make sure no errors occur.

In travelling, rechecking of date, time of flight and check-in will prevent one from missing the plane.

Before giving out medicine to a patient, the nurse in charge should recheck the name of the medicine and dosage to avoid administering wrong medication which can have disastrous effect.

There are still many more occasions when rechecking is absolutely important and necessary.

Hence we should make rechecking a way of life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thaipusam Celebration in Penang

Today is Thaipusam which is celebrated in honour of Lord Subramaniam by the Hindus, Indians who practise Hinduism. For this year, the crowd in Penang is expected to increase to 100,000 people.

The road with the largest number of stalls lining both sides of the road is Jalan Kebun Bunga. These stalls will be decorated with pictures of deities with colourful lights. A silver chariot carrying Lord Muruga from a temple in Penang Street will go all the way to the hilltop temple near the Penang’s Botanical Gardens. The 14 km procession will be participated by devotees carrying kavadis with their cheeks pierced with skewers. Their bodies will be hooked here and there too. These are the ones repaying favours granted by Lord Subramaniam, one of the Hindus’ Gods. Others will be taking along milk to be offered to Lord Subramaniam.

Thaipusam is celerated to commemorate the day when Lord Siva’s consort gave a vel (spear) to his son to vanquish evil on the full moon of the Tamil month of Thai. However, the Hindus treat this day as a day of penance and a day to fulfill their vows for prayers answered.

Whatever religion we embrace, let us all pray for world peace. On a day like Thaipusam, human beings should repent on their wrong doings and start to turn over a new leaf.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Joy and Hiccups While Going Online

Tag about blogging

This tag that I received from JK made me ponder for awhile about blogging that I do every day. The four questions posed to me need to be answered. Those that I tag below will have to figure out answers for the same questions too. I hope they will play the game too.

1. How long have you been blogging? - I have been blogging for 48 days.

2. What inspired you to write a blog, and who are your mentors? – The joy of reading Kenny Sia’s blog led me to write a blog myself. Fellow bloggers whose blogs I visited are also my mentors as they act as references for what should be displayed on a blog.

3. What are the 3 things that you love about being online? – The first thing I love to do when I get online is to check my e-mail. I have a few friends who send me interesting news and warnings to certain pitfalls such as the credit card scam, healthy living, beautiful scenery and so on. Next comes a check on my blog. I love to see my visitors increasing every day and frequent visits of fellow bloggers who enjoy reading my posts as I write my blog daily and I treat them as my online buddies. I must also admit that I can save some money buying newspapers as I love to browse online newspapers such as the Star, New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, Kwong Wah Yit Poh and BBC news.

4. What are the three things that you struggle with in the online-world? – The turtle speed sometimes I have to ensure to upload a picture to my blog or download a file, the frozen situation when I click on a page to find it stay put for ages and my network system keeps telling me that I have limited access to the Internet are perhaps the frustration I suffer while going online.

I hope the following fellow bloggers whom I tag will do the above answering session as it is fun:

Danny MeemOe tessa gen2507 Sarah

Monday, January 21, 2008

Redundancy in the use of certain words in English

Students of English sometimes use certain words incorrectly because redundancy occurs. Such words include repeat, return, discuss, and reuse.

1 'repeat' means 'say again'.

The sentence 'He repeated the answer again.' is incorrect.

The correct one is 'He repeated the answer.'

2 The meaning of 'return' is 'give back'.

Hence, it is wrong to say 'Please return back the book I lent you last week.'

You should say 'Please return the book I lent you last week.'

3 'discuss' carries the meaning of 'talk about'.

It is therefore wrong to write 'Let's discuss about our future plans.'

Instead, change it to 'Let's discuss our future plans.'

4 If you reuse something you use it again.

Redundancy occurs when we say 'You should reuse envelopes again.'

It should be replaced with 'You should reuse envelopes.'

So much redundancy in the use off of certain words in English.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Have Bikes Will Travel

When Yong Cheng Suan and I were posted to Pahang, a state in Malaysia as qualified teachers, we went there by train, then by bus. He reported to Convent Secondary School in Raub while I had to go to Jerantut Secondary School in Jerantut.

Being adventurous we decided to go to Pahang, a distance of 640 km from Penang, by motorcycle after the first term holidays. You see, being buddies, we bought the same model, that is Honda Cub C70. His number plate was PN3532 and mine was PN3533.

Very early in the morning, we set off from Penang, fresh and eager to be on the go. We travelled at about 50 km per hour and kept to this speed throughout the journey.

It was quite risky travelling on highways with cars, buses and lorries brushing by our sides. We had to ride our bikes in single file because as vehicles which were travelling at high speed passed by us, it created a temporary state of vacuum drawing us to their sides. Hence we had to slow down to reduce this suction effect. Balancing was important to maintain stability when the 'big brothers' of the high sped by our right side. We were in this precarious situation a few times.

We stopped at Tapah, a small town in Perak and Yong suggested that we ride up Cameron Highlands. I agreed without thinking and so up the hill we went. At last, we reached the peak and saw construction work of the Merlin Hotel in progress. It was quite cool up the highland. We rested awhile before going on our journey again.

It was nearly 7.00 p.m. when we reached Raub and I put up in Yong’s house for the night. The next morning, Yong accompanied me to Jerantut. It was also his first visit there.

If I were given a choice now, I wouldn't have done such a risky thing. Even if I needed my bike to ferry me from my place to school, I could easily send it by rail.

So much for my motorcycle journey to Pahang.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

An Interesting Story about Kelatanese Dialect

The Malays in Malaysia speak different dialects although all use standard Malay at official functions.

Penang, the Malays use 'hang' to mean 'you' and not 'awak', 'engkau' or 'kamu' when speaking in their dialect. Instead of 'dahaga', they will say 'lapar air' (hungry for water) when 'thirsty' is intended. The word 'air' (water) is pronounced as 'ayak' too.

As for Kelantanese dialect of Malay, 'makan' (eat) is rendered 'ma kay' verbally whereas the word is pronounced as 'makang' by the Malays in Terengganu, another state in
Malaysia. If a road is named 'Jalan Fatimah', the Malays in Terengganu will say 'Jalang Fatimah' which has a bad connotation in standard Malay because 'jalang' means 'prostitute'.

There is a famous story about the Malay dialect in Kelantan which I would like to share with you. It goes like this.

A man from another state in
Malaysia wanted to take a taxi to his hotel. The following was the conversation between the man and a taxi driver:

Man: Bilakah teksi ini akan berjalan?

(When will the taxi start to move?)

Taxi man: Selalu. [‘Selalu’ means ‘always’ in standard Malay.]

Man: Saya tahulah teksi ini selalu bergerak tetapi saya nak tahu masa teksi ini boleh bergerak. [I know that the taxi always moves but I want to know when it is going to move.]

Taxi man: Selalu.

The man got angry and went off.

Actually, 'selalu' in the Kelantanese dialect means 'now'. In fact the taxi man was telling the man that his taxi would move then but he failed to get across the message to the man. The above misunderstanding would not have occurred at all had the taxi man used standard Malay to communicate with the man.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Kind Blogging Community

I have been blogging continuously for over a month now and I find that most bloggers are kind-hearted. They usually oblige you when you ask them to exchange links with you. This is good for traffic that goes to our blogs.

Since exchanging links with fellow bloggers, I find that traffic has been increasing to my blog. Even when no new visitors come, the bloggers that we link to will come for regular visits. Of course it must be a two-way traffic. Visiting our fellow bloggers enables us to read their new posts. Hence we lose nothing in doing that.

Encouragement from fellow bloggers is important for us to continue our passion - blogging. This is true because we need to crack our head over what to write for our next post every now and then.

My salute to you, fellow bloggers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Translation is not an easy task

Translation is not as easy as it seems. When we translate one language into another, we need to know both languages well. This is because:

a. the grammar of the two languages differ.

b the culture of the people who speak the two languages is not the same.

Hence when we render Malay into English, we have to observe correct grammar in the translated text and vice versa.

The following examples of translation between Malay and English will illustrate the above points.

Example 1 English to Malay

English: He made a beeline for the food.

Malay: Dia menuju ke arah makananan itu.

[Don't translate it as 'Dia membuat garisan lebah untuk makanan itu.]

Example 2: Malay to English

Malay: Akhirnya, bujang itu mendirikan masjid pada hari Ahad

yang lalu.

English: Finally, the bachelor got married last Sunday.

[Translating the above sentence as 'Finally, the bachelor built a mosque last Sunday.' is wrong.]

Hence you see, doing translation is not an easy task.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wrong pronunciation of 'their'

Malaysian students will usually pronounce the pronoun 'their' as 'di ar'. When I had not delved deeper into English, I also pronounced it the same way.

However, my exposure to BBC audio files and my reference to the correct pronunciation in the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries show that the word 'their' should be pronounced exactly like the word 'there'.

The next time you see the sentence 'It's all their own doing.', you should pronounce it as if it is written 'It's all there own doing.'

Happy studying English.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Missing 4th Floor.

I took my wife for medical examination in a private hospital. We were told to go to fifth floor to have her blood taken. As we entered the lift, I noticed that 4th floor was missing on the display panel in the lift. I suddenly realised that Penang is predominantly a city where Chinese who speak Hokkien live. The number '4' sounds like 'see' which means 'dead' in the Chinese dialect. Hence it is considered unlucky to be staying in 4th floor - 'si lau', the 'floor where the dead are'. That may explain why the hospital management got rid of 4th floor and replaced it with 5th floor electronically while physically 4th floor still exists.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How I Learnt Cantonese

I was born a Hokkien, a Chinese who speaks Penang Hokkien. Then how did I learn Cantonese? Well, I learnt the Chinese dialect through my aunt - the ‘sister’ of my late father. She had no place to stay and my kind-hearted dad allowed her to live with us and soon she became my aunt. She was a Cantonese by birth but she could speak Hokkien.

At that time, Redifusion - a cabled radio was very popular in Penang. I was attracted to Cantonese because of the story-telling slot by Lei Tai Sor. In order to understand these stories, I needed to know Cantonese. As fate had it, my aunt became my Cantonese teacher. I would be listening to the story and asked her some words a day. Some of the initial words I learnt from her are as follows:

1 hai [yes]

2 hm hai [no]

3 tim k'ai [why]

4 Lei ku hai mat ye? [What do you guess it is?]

5 hm kwoi sai [thank you]

6 hou sa chan [very proud]

7 yi kar [now]

8 t'ng yet [tomorrow]

9 kay hou t'ai [how beautiful]

10 hou cheot sou [we stand to gain]

Soon I had learned enough Cantonese words to be able to follow the stories with full comprehension of the stories.

Although I speak Cantonese with a Hokkien accent, I can get my message across in the dialect if the need arises.

It shows that if we are motivated to do something worthwhile we will succeed in doing it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chinese New Year Mood in the Air

As I was walking down Ipoh Lane today, I could feel the Chinese New Year (CNY) approaching. Stalls selling VCD’s were blaring out New Year songs to entertain visitors to the Jelutong marketplace. Many stalls were selling decorative items for the CNY which is less than a month away.

Biscuits for the festive occasion met the eye too. They were put in plastic bottles or used MILO tins, each costing between RM15 to RM18. I recommend ribbon biscuits. They are actually made of Wan Tan wrappings stacked up and cut into small rectangles. With two slits cut lengthwise on these rectangles and having twisted the sliced dough, they are ready to be fried. Very tasty Wan Tan wrappings for these biscuits come from Sungai Petani.

Seafood is a must for Chinese New Year Eve Renunion Dinner. This include sea cucumber, crab meat, prawns and fish. Sea cucumber can be bought even as early as today. It costs RM58 per kilogram. The price can go up as CNY draws nearer.

Today the crowd seemed to be bigger. I had to squeeze my way through, both hands holding vegetables, sea cucumber, papayas and others.

Come and pay a visit to the Ipoh Lane marketplace for a change.

Doing Business on the Net

Doing business on the net can be rewarding as the market is very large. The problem is the collection of money. Luckily, there is such a thing as Internet Credit Card Processor to help you. The company will help you process the money collected so that it will be in your hands finally.

To access this service, you have to set up credit card processing with the company. You have to give details of your credit card so that money can be channeled to your account.

By having the above service set up you will be able to accept credit cards on website where you set up your store to sell you ware.

More and more people are doing business on the net as it is the trend nowadays.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Students Exchange Programme

Have you ever taken part in a students exchange programme? Well, I have. I took part in the programme when I was studying in Form 3.

It was so memorable that I can still recall the activities organised by the Ministry of Education vividly.

It was so memorable that I can still recall the activities organised by the Ministry of Education vividly.

There were 40 students from Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor who participated in this programme. They were Malays, Chinese and Indians.

One of the aims of the programme was to foster racial integration as solidarity is vital for a multiracial country like Malaysia.

We stayed at a few bungalows at Penang Hill. We sang, played games and talked about our different cultures through group discussions. Each group also put up a sketch on talent time night. Some of the sketches had us in stitches and we had a very enjoyable night.

After staying for four days our friendship really grew and when we sang 'Au Lang Syne’ to bid good-bye to one another, tears rolled down our cheeks. We then exchanged postal addresses on the last day.

I corresponded with Samy, Clara Ng and Freddie from Selangor after the event.

One of them even put me up in his house and took me to the hospital to visit my aunt who was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. He was Samy whose picture shown below was the only photo I had to bear testimony to the above event. The rest was no longer with me.

So much for students exchange programme in this post.

Samy with his scooter

Friday, January 11, 2008

Spring Cleaning

When I walked down Ipoh Lane this morning, I could see stalls selling bamboo leaves. It reminds me of the Spring cleaning done by the Chinese to usher in Chinese New Year which falls on 7 February.

When I was still in the primary school, I used to help my mother clean the house with bamboo leaves tied to the end of a long bamboo pole. I used the leaves to get rid of cobweb on the inner side of the nipah roof. At that time, the roofs of houses consisted of nipah leaves. The use of bamboo leaves was suitable then. However, modern houses have asbestos ceilings which are usually cleaned with feather dusters or wiped with damp cloth. The use of bamboo leaves is just something traditional.

During Spring cleaning, all other old and unwanted things are discarded in the spirit "old out, new in". In this respect, houses and gates are repainted and new clothes are bought.

Spring cleaning symbolizes leaving the old year with all its old things and bad habits to beckon the new year with new hopes and good things to come.

Happy Spring cleaning to the Chinese.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Let us pass on the links

Viral links, as I was told, could increase the traffic flow to our blog and increases the ranking with technocrati. I hope those who are tagged will pass on the link list so that it can keep increasing to the multiples of five. If you happen to read this post, you can also add five new names at the back of No 12 and inform those who are tagged through their shout boxes or comments to continue adding to the list.


I have been tagged by K.S.Lye of The Strategist Notebook and I am passing the viral link to you.

I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly cut and publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other new fellows and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!)

It's real easy and it has a multiplying effect of 5s…i.e first layer 5, then 25, then 125 etc. Tag others and see your technorati authority increase exponentially!

The benefits of Viral Linking

-One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode!
-Increase your google pagerank fast
-Attract large volume of new traffic to your site
-Built your community
-Make new friends!

1.The Strategist Notebook
2.Link Addiction
3.Ardour of the Heart
4.When Life Becomes a Book
5.The Malaysian Life

7.What goes under the sun

8. Roshidan’s Cyber Station

9. Sashs says

10. Arts of Physics

11. And the legend lives

12. My View, My Life!

The "Very Enjoy" Show

I do not watch television very often. The other day, I tuned in to a local television station and watched an entertaining show. It was quite interesting as some senior citizens were showing off their talent in singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Then it was interval for commercial ads. Before that the male and the female comperes said, "Very Enjoy" in unison. This could be the tagline of the show. I was shocked at the blatant violation of English grammar when they uttered these two words.

According to English grammar, the words that can be placed after 'very' is an adjective or an adverb except for specific phrases such as 'at this very moment' . Hence the following sentences are wrong:

1 It was a very enjoy show.

2 It was very enjoy watching the show.

3 This is a very excite game.

4 I very love you.

5 She very hates maths.

The above sentences can be corrected as follows:

1 It was a very enjoyable show.[enjoy is a verb whereas enjoyable is an adjective]

2 It was very enjoyable watching the show.[enjoy is a verb but enjoyable is an adjective]

3 This is a very exciting game. [excite is a verb and exciting is an adjective.]

4 I love you very much.[love is a verb while very much functions as an adverb.]

5 She hates maths very much. [hates is a verb and very much acts as an adverb.]

Students learn through imitation and they may not realise that it is wrong to say "very enjoy". In fact, mass media such as television and radio do have great influence on the public including students. As such, television stations should be more careful in the use of English. The wrong use of the language will impress upon the mind of students making them do the same mistake or mistakes in their essays.

I hope this post will alert those responsible for the show so that such a mistake will not occur again.

Happy studying English along with me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Acquiring Communicative Skills

Students nowadays can learn how to communicate with others in school. They can do so through talking to friends, getting involved in co-curricular activities and taking part in debates.

There is one subject that enables students to acquire communicative skills to the fullest. It is MUET which stands for Malaysian University English Test.

I enjoy teaching this subject because the teacher is the facilitator and the students do all the talking to express themselves as one of the test items. You get to listen to creative thoughts presented by good students. At times, heated arguments liven up the dull classroom situation.

In the Speaking test, each candidate is given 2 minutes to prepare his points to speak with regarding his opinion on a certain issue presented to him. After that he will talk for two minutes. Meanwhile the other three candidates will take note of what has been said in order to agree or disgree with the idea or suggestion put forward by one of the speakers later in the second part of the test.

In this second session, candidates are given 2 minutes to prepare points to decide on one of the courses of action to take. Within ten minutes, the group members will discuss and argue before coming to a conclusion. This is very interesting as each candidate tries to convince the others to accept his point. It is a lively discussion provided all the members are articulate in the language.

I will listen and offer suggestions to make the next session run better and smoother. The students themselves like the discussion. For one thing, they have a chance to express themselves, for another they learn to interact with others. Their oral English will definitely improve.

Personally, I feel that being able to speak English well is an advantage in any situation.

Happy learning English for global understanding.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It Is High Time We Paid More Attention

You may be wondering what the title is all about. Well, it is about the use of past tense after the clause "It is time... " or "It is high time .." in the English Language. After the these two clauses, the verbs that follow them should be in the past tense.

The following sentences are wrong grammatically:

1 It is time you stop smoking.

2 It is high time you take up karate lessons to protect yourself.

3 It is time you start exercising.

4 It is high time we pay more attention in class.

The correct sentences should be:

1 It is time you stopped smoking.

2 It is high time you took up karate lessons to protect yourself.

3 It is time you started exercising.

4 It is high time we paid more attention in class.

The irony of English is there are times when the present tense must be used after certain verbs be they in the present or past tenses. Such examples are shown below.

1 I suggest that you revise your lessons daily.

2 I suggested to him yesterday that he revise his lessons regularly.

3 In the meeting, she recommended that we plan beforehand to avoid disappointment.

4 My dad made me do all the washing.

Happy studying English. I shall be back for more finer points of the language.