Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ning hao

In Mandarin, 'ning hao' (pronounced as ning as in evening and how) means 'How are you?'
If someone greets you with 'ning hao', you should reply with 'wo hao, xie xie ni' which means 'I am fine, thank you.'
'wo' is pronounced as 'war' in English, xie sounds like se in session and
ni is articulated as knee.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Something about Penang Hokkien again

In Penang Hokkien, certain expressions cannot be translated into Mandarin word for word. They are peculiar to Penang Hokkien only.

I am going to give some examples of such expressions below.
Example 1: nia tneah [only]
PH: Yi gia tampok nia tneah.
E: He got a little only.

Example 2 ban chia [wait a minute]
PH: Ban chia, gua bo ho koh.
E: Wait a minute, I am not ready yet.

Example 3: too too ho [just nice]]
PH: Chit Lay lui too too ho kau gua yong.
E: This money is just nice for me as it is sufficient for my use.

Example 4: mi kneah [things]
PH: Chit lay si ha mit mi kneah?
E: What is this thing?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to use 'hardly' correctly

Many students make sentences such as the following with ‘hardly’:
a) He works hardly because he wants to obtain good results in exams.
b) The man beat his enemy hardly so that he would run away.

Actually, the above sentences are wrong and should be replaced with:
a) He works hard because he wants to obtain good results in exams.
b) The man beat his enemy hard so that he would run away.

‘Hardly’ is usually used in the negative sense. Look at the following sentences and their meanings and you will understand how to use ‘hardly’ correctly.
a) She could hardly wait to see the present from her aunt.
[‘could hardly wait’ means ‘could not wait’]
b) He hardly came here to help me with this work.
[‘hardly came’ means ‘did not come at all’]

Monday, July 28, 2008

How to use 'a lot of'

In English, 'a lot of' can be used with countable or uncountable nouns.

a) When 'a lot of' is used in front of countable nouns, it takes a plural verb.
An example is:
A lot of people prefer tea to coffee.

b) When 'a lot of' is used with uncountable nouns, it takes a singular verb. The following sentence is such an example:
A lot of patience to care for the elderly.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to use ‘the former’ and ‘the latter’

In order to avoid redundancy, we can use ‘the former’ and ‘the latter’ after having mentioned two things in the first sentence. ‘The former’ refers to the first thing and ‘the latter’ refers to the second one.

The following sentences will illustrate the above points:

The security officer arrested a man and a woman for shoplifting in a supermarket. The former took three small calculators and put them in his big pocket before trying to go out of the supermarket without paying for them. The latter put on an expensive T-shirt under her overcoat but was caught when she attempted to leave the supermarket ‘empty-handed’.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Watching TV on Pocket PC

Recently I downloaded PQ Mobile TV and I was able to watch quite a number of TV channels including BBC which broadcasts a one-minute latest news. The same news will be repeated. For me, it is good way for learning English because we are listening to native speaker reading the news.

This software works only if your Pocket PC or mobile phone has Wifi and you have Windows Mobile installed.

At I have an access point at home, it enables me to access Internet through my Pocket PC. Hence I am able to use the above software.

Friday, July 25, 2008

How to include INCD in Nero

INCD is a very good packet writing software. With this software, the blank CD or DVD in our CD or DVD writer acts as a hard disk of 650MB for a blank CD or 1.47 G for a blank DVD. We can drag any file and drop it there and INCD will burn it for us.

Usually, there is a cross against INCD in Nero Burning ROM software and when it is installed INCD will not be installed.

To force the installation of INCD, double click INCD to highlight it, then right click, scroll to ‘This will install INCD and all its subfiles’ (something to this effect) and click. The cross against INCD will be off. Now, install Nero and INCD will be installed for your use.

Happy using INCD to save your files.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Drawing to kill the time in class

Many a time, I notice that my students like to kill the time while waiting for me to discuss the work which I have asked them to do. To me, it kills their boredom and helps to sharpen their drawing skills. This is better than talking to their friends as it will distract the attention of those who have yet to finish their work.

Usually those who do so are talented artists who draw with pens or pencils and the products are quite presentable. The consist of mainly cartoon characters.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One of the boys is my cousin

When we start a sentence with 'one of the', we should note two things:
a) the noun after 'the' must be plural;
b) the verb used should be singular.

The following sentences should make the above points clear to readers:
1 One of the boys is my cousin. [boys - plural; is - singular]
2 One of his friends was here yesterday. [friends - plural; was - singular

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to retain free software received

I receive daily email telling me a free software given by Giveaway of the Day. You can click here to go to the site.

Well, you must install the software offered within 24 hours. The snag is if your Windows hangs and you want reinstall the free software, you have to pay to get it running. Now I have thought of a way to retain the software.

All I do is to backup my C drive using Norton Ghost and recover it using Norton Recovery Disk and my backup file when Windows hang.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dewan Eja Pro with Kamus Dewan

I bought Dewan Eja Pro from the Name Technology and it comes with Kamus Dewan 4th edition. This electronic dictionary is very useful to me as I am teaching Malay (known as Bahasa Malaysia). I can find the word whose meaning or meanings I need to know easily. I also bought the Pocket PC edition of Kamus Dewan and use it as if it is an electronic dictionary which I can carry around in my pocket when I go to my class.

Readers can download the PC version or the Pocket PC version for a trial of two months. I did that and got used it and decided to purchase it so that I could use it always. You can click here to go to the Name Technology to download Dewan Eja Pro with Kamus Dewan for testing out the software.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to use ‘dead’ and ‘die’

Many students often ask me how to use ‘dead’ and ‘die’. They get confused because they are not familiar with parts of speech. Current teaching of English stresses usage and emphasis is not on grammar as was the case during my time.
The word ‘dead’ belongs to adjectives. It means ‘not alive’. On the other hand, ‘die’ is a verb and it carries the meaning of ‘lose one’s life’.

As an adjective, ‘dead’ is used in front of nouns or after verbs to be. To make clear to readers, look at the following examples:
a) There is a dead dog lying in the middle of the road. (‘dead’ is used in front of the noun ‘dog’)
b) It is dead as it cannot move anymore. (‘dead’ is used after the verb to be ‘is’)

The usage of ‘die’ in sentences are as follows:
a) We will die when we are deprived of air.
b) He died of cancer of the lungs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Technology really pampers us

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had left my mobile phone in my sister-in-law's car when she took me to the bus stop. For a day, the absence of my handset really inconvenienced me because people who called my number could not reach me.

The next day, I visited the Maxis service centre to have my card replaced but I got to retain my numbers minus the contacts stored in my former SIM card.

I could remember my family members' telephone numbers but not my friends’. This happens because I have been pampered by my handset - the product of technology. It helps me all along whenever I want to call my friend through the phone. In the end, I had to key in all my contact numbers again.

Hence I still feel that we have been pampered by modern gadgets such mobile phones.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A unfortunate fall in my life

When I was in Jerantut, I did many things which I had not done before. For example, I learnt to swim and to solder. A local guy, Tan Peng Seng and I ordered amplifier DIY sets from Hong Kong. When they arrived, we started to solder the components to the circuit boards. We were unsuccessful in our job because being inexperienced we rested the soldering iron too long on the legs of the transistors, diods and resisters.

One day, Peng Seng brought his roller-skates to my house. I borrowed them and tried to skate. I was able to roller-skate for a while. Suddenly, I slipped and I had fracture at my left wrist. A teacher took me to Kuantan for treatment. The orthopaedic surgeon applied plaster of Paris on my left hand and arm to demobilise my wrist.

Later, a local sinseh (Chinese bonesetter) came to see me. He told me that I need not inconvenience myself with the cast and so he removed it and wrapped my wrist with short splinters after doing some bone-setting and applying herbal concoction. He made a sling with which I rested and supported my injured arm.

It turned out that the bone did not grow to the right place and I had a crooked wrist.

What an unfortunate fall in my life!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Savouring tangyuan again this year

Today is the 15th day of the six month according to the lunar calendar. On this day, the Chinese will cook tangyuan (glutinous rice dumpling) to celebrate the arrival of the mid-year. To me, the Chinese may be too impatient to wait for the next Xin Nian (Chinese New Year) and so will celebrate its arrival six months earlier. Hence on this day, they will partake of tangyuan to usher in the mid-year in anticipation of the next Xin Nian six months later.

The Chinese will consider themselves half a year older today after having eaten the tangyuan. If you don't want to be older, just don't it.(Joke)

Happy savouring tangyuan to the Chinese.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It does not pay to be hasty

When my sister-in-law drove me to the bus stop to board my bus to Pudu Raya Bus Terminal, I saw the first bus about to move. I hurried got out of the car, heading for the bus which was scheduled to leave. In fact the driver had started to drive. I waved to him to stop and he did. I got on the bus and was soon on my way to Pudu Raya. When the bus was quite far away from the place where it had stopped, suddenly I realised that I had left my mobile phone in my sister-in-law's car.

I decided not to get off the bus because I was not familiar with the place. Later she phoned me telling me that I had left my handset in her car. I told her to keep it first and told her to send me the SIM card as I had a spare set of mobile phone at home.

When I reached Penang, I found it inconvenient to be without my SIM card as I had all the contact numbers in the chip. The next day I went to my service provider to have my
SIM replaced minus the contact numbers. I still retained my phone number but I had to pay RM10 for the service. Then I told my sister-in-law not to bother sending me the SIM card but to hand the phone with it to my daughter. She will give it to me when she comes back for holidays.

Now I had to key in all the contact numbers. What a tedious job to do. All because of my haste. If I had just let the bus go and wait for the next one, I would have remembered the phone or my sister-in-law would have discovered that I had left my mobile phone in her car.

This incident shows that it does not pay to be hasty.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Putting maths into practice

I usually have my morning walk at Bukit Dumbar Reservoir garden. There are many people who set their feet there for the sake of health. Some do tai chi, some jog and others take their morning stroll like me.

This morning, I saw one man walking towards me from afar. It was the way he was walking that attracted me. He zigzagged all along the tarred road in front of me. At first, I couldn't figure out why he did that. Suddenly it dawned on me that he wanted to cover a longer distance on the same stretch as other walkers. Let me explain what I mean.

Matematically, the hypotenuse of a right –angled triangle is the longest side. By walking in a zigzag way, we are travelling along the diagonal of a rectangle (half of which is a right-angled triangle). In this way, we can walk a longer distance than the length of the same rectangle.

The man I saw had actually putting maths into practice. What a smart man!

Monday, July 14, 2008

An Act of Kindness

I was on the bus from Sungai Long to the Pudu Raya Bus Terminal to board my express bus back to Penang. The bus went through a few housing estates picking up passengers on its way. At first not many passengers were in the bus. Soon the seats were slowly filled. At one bus stop, a few passengers alighted the bus. Among them was an old lady. I wanted to give my seat to the lady but I had a big luggage bag on my lap and the bus seat was very small.
Then a Malay young man stood up to vacate his seat so that the old lady could occupy its place. I praised the man right inside my heart. What an act of kindness. This type of kindness is lacking in places such as towns. I hope more people would emulate this man's kind act to help the elderly.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My trip to Sungai Long

I set off for Sungai Long at 8.30 a.m. yesterday morning. It was not a direct journey. When I reached Pudu Raya Bus Terminal, I had to take a taxi to Sungai Long. It was very costly. An exorbitant RM40 when the bus fare to the same destination was RM2. My wife and I were carrying too many things and it was very inconvenient to walk to the Kota Raya Bus station to board the relevant bus. Finally, I reached Sungai Long at 12.30p.m.
After handing over the new laptop to my daughter and spent five hours at the apartment where she stayed with another seven housemates who study in the same university with her, I went to my sister-in-law's house as I intended to put up a night there.In the afternoon, we went to an eatery where I savoured a dish whichI had never tasted before because it was not found in Penang. It was named nai yau kai fan (cheese-coated chicken) which was very delicious to my taste.

nai yau kai fan (cheese-coated chicken rice)

This morning I went to the Sungai Long market with my wife to buy something for daughter. There were many things sold here. They included fish, prawns, meat, vegetable, fruit, cds, kitchenware and what have you.

At the market place with things bought

I had to return in the afternoon as I had to be working again on Monday. This time, I paid only RM2 to take a bus from Sungai Long to the Pudu Raya Bus Terminal where I had to pay extra for my journey home as all tickets for 3.00p.m. or 3.30p.m. were sold out. In the end I settled for the extra bus service using tour bus and I paid RM40 when the normal price was RM28.

It was a tiring journey but I had the experience of travelling to Kuala Lumpur by bus instead of driving there.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Going outstation

I will be going outstation at 7.30 a.m. by express bus bound for Pudu Raya Bus Station. From there, I will take a taxi to Sungai Long to visit my daughter who is studying at a university. Actually, I go there for a mission, that is, to bring to her a new laptop as her old one could not be used anymore. I bought a week ago and had all the software she needs installed.

I will blog about my trip when I come back to Penang on Sunday

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blogs bring old friends together

Many a time I blogged about my life as a teacher in Jerantut. My posts had brought my former Principal to this blog, leaving a comment for me to contact him.
Hence, I e-mailed him straight away and now we are talking like old friends again via the exchange of e-mail. We recollected events that took place in the past. He told me a lot of happenings since I had left Jerantut. I always look forward to reading the things that he related to me through the e-mail.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to use 'go' and 'come' correctly

Both words involve movement from one place to another. The only difference is the direction.
When we go from A to B, we set off from a near spot to somewhere far away from us. On the hand, when say to someone, "Come here, please.", we expect him to move from his place far away to the spot near us.

Some examples of the usage of both words are as follows:
a) I usually go to the shop at the end of the road to buy food.
b) Please come to my house if you are free.
c) If you come here awhile, I will go with you to the place.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Buddhists view abortion

In Buddhism, abortion is considered an act of killing bearing very bad karma. It explains why doctors who perform abortions are more likely to get involved in fatal accidents than other doctors.
Those who kill other beings, foetuses included, will be born into the Hell Realm, according to Buddha's teachings.
Hence young people who get intimate should practise safe sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Ideally only married couples should be sexually active and they too must plan ahead for the arrival of new lives to prevent the occurrence of abortions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to use ‘a little’ and ‘a few’

A little which means a small amount of something is used in front of uncountable such as water, oil and petrol or abstract nouns such as time and patience.
The following sentences will make this explanation clear to readers:
1 There is a little water left in the bottle.
2 A little patience is needed to do this job.

On the other hand, a few which means a small number of is used in front of countable nouns such boys, books and coins.

Sentences below illustrate the above point:
1 I have a few stamps such as these in my collection.
2 A few boys will be here in a moment to help me with the work.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How to get things ready in case Windows crashes

When I had reformat hard disk and Windows so many times, I have finally decided to get ready all the programs needed to minimizing the above chores.

I found that having a software to copy your system and to restore it back when it crashes is a must. At present I am using Norton Ghost 14 with its accompanying Norton Recovery Disk to create the environment for restoring the Windows system.

I did mention that my hard disk died as it had too many bad sectors that Windows hhanged and nothing can be done to rectify it. Hence I had to acquire a new hard disk. After formatting it, I run the recovery disk and indicate where my backup file was and within half an hour, my Windows system was as before. It saved me so much time.

I also get ready the following disks and software for use in case I need them.
a) WinXP disk
b) MS Office disk
c) Bart PE disk
d) Winzip
e) Winamp
f) WinRar
g) FineReader
h) Soundedit Pro
i) Bit Comet
j) Klite Codec
k) Driver Max
l) Partition Magic
m) Firefox

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More about Penang Hokkien

I am proud to be a Penang Hokkien. We speak Hokkien peculiar to Penang only. One of the characteristics of this dialect is the inclusion of Malay words in the lingo. For example, we refer to stone as ‘batu’, soap as ‘sabun’, proud as ‘sombong’, and just now as ‘balu’ (the correct Malay is ‘baru’).

There are words whose pronunciation cannot be written in Chinese. These words include ‘ta ma’ (a few moments ago), ‘ta por’ (male), ‘cha bor’ (female), ‘ta lok’ (where in ‘where are you going?’) For example, ‘Ta Ma Lu khi ta lok?’ (Just now you go where (literal translation) or Where did you go just now?) ‘ham ban’ which means ‘slow in learning’ is yet another word which cannot be rendered in Chinese.

Sex discrimination appears in Penang Hokkien too. For instance, the Penang Hokkien refers to daughter as ‘Chau Wa’ (the one the run away, meaning she will leave the family once she gets married,) and ‘Hau Sneah’ (literally ‘good born’ meaning a good offspring who will bring fortune to the family).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sitting all the way home on a train

'Balik kampong' translated as 'going back to the village' is a common move for most city dwellers. Most of those who work in the cities hail from kampongs and during festive seasons such as 'Hari Raya Aidilfitri' (New Year Day for the Malays) and 'Xin Nian' (New Year for the Chinese) city folk will go back to their hometowns or kampongs to celebrate such yearly events. Buses and trains will be packed with home-bound passengers then.

When I was teaching in Jerantut, Pahang, I had to walk to town, took a taxi to Kuala Lumpur and boarded a train to reach Penang, my hometime on such occssions. Many a time, the train was packed like sardine and I had to sit on the step or any vacant place available. The soot from the train would settle on my face and those who were in the same boat with me.

My mum would laugh at me when he saw my 'sooted' face when I finally got home after twelve hours' travelling.

Those were the days when North-South Expressway was not built and traveling took a lot of time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How I spent my afternoons while in Jerantut

Teaching in Jerantut, Pahang, Malaysia always brings back fond memories for me. I still can remember how I spent my afternoons after school.

School dismissed at 1.30 p.m. Then I had to find a place to have my lunch. I usually had my lunch at a coffee-shop owned by the father Ah Poon (one of my students). He knew what I liked and prepared the dishes for me. They tasted delicious and I had variety every day.

After reading the newspapers, I had a short nap. Then to the school I went. My colleagues would be waiting for me to play table-tennis. I purposely bought a table-tennis racquet for this game.

When I heard noises of pupils outside the hall, I knew that the hostellites were out to have their volley ball practice. We usually joined them for the game. It was enjoyable and we got to sweat out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another way to backup your system

When I used Norton Ghost to backup my system, little did I know that my hard disk would end its life just a week later. Anyway, I had the chance to test and prove that the recovery disk which created the Windows environment really did a good job to restore my Windows with the help of the backup file which I had made a copy of on my DVD.

Now, I found that there is yet another software which will do the same job and free too. It is called RSJ HD Image. It is free for personal use or non-commercial use. If you are interested you can download it using this link.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I had to skip a day's post because ,,,

I had to skip yesterday’s post thanks to my good old hard disk which ended its life yesterday. After buying a new hard disk, I had it connected to my computer but it could not detect the disk. As I am all thumbs when it comes to hardware, I had to summon my son for help. Alas, he was so busy with his work that he came only this morning to fix the problem. Actually I did not set the jumper resulting in the computer not being able to detect my new hard disk.
I told you in my earlier post that I made a back up of my system. Well, it came in useful, as after reinstalling Windows to format my new hard disk, I used the Norton recovery disk and my backup file and it worked again. I saved quite a lot of time. Now I could write this after doing what I should have done earlier.