Saturday, November 29, 2008

How I overcome the problem of spraining the ankle

I sprained my ankle several times and had to see a bone-setter to get the joint bones in place. After much observation, I found that he actually twisted my whole foot until the joint bones produced a kind of sound to show that they were back to their original places. Having done this, he allowed me to go back. Marvellously the pain had gone and I could walk without any accompanying pain.

I do my morning walk almost daily and sometimes I do sprain my ankle and it is always the right one. Hence I try to twist my right foot in a circular manner and twist as naturally as possible until I can hear the same sound as I heard at the bone-setter's room. After that, I can walk without suffering any pain anymore.

I don't advise you to do as I do when you sprain your ankle but it is worth trying. If it fails, go to the bone-setter straight away.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How to write notes with your mobile phone

I own a Nokia 6020 that has only 2MB of memory space, yet I can do wonders with it.
For example, I can convert mp3 songs to amr format so that they can be played on my mobile. The calculator that comes with it helps me to calculate the amount of money that I will be spending as I pick up items in the supermarket so that I will not go beyond my budget. The alarm clock wakes me up at exactly 6.00 a.m. daily.

Above all, I like to make notes and keep them with the SMS function. I usually write down something important which I need to do later and save it in my folder. To access, I will will go the saved message to retrieve it. This I do very often until I run out of memory space and delete some old saved messages or songs or received sms.

Chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha to keep evil beings away

If you are a Buddhist and you are scared while in darkness, you can always chant the name of Amitabha Buddha. By doing so, you will be protected by dewas and no evil beings will disturb you. This is what I learn as I listen to dharma talks given by monks.

Hence the next time you are scared of being accosted by ghosts or evil beings, just chant 'Namo Amitabha Buddha' continuously and you can ward them off.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The unmotivated learners

Have you come across students who simply don't want to study? Well, I have.
These students have very poor foundation when they are in the primary schools. Being unable to follow the language lessons taught in secondary schools, they give up altogether. That explains why they refuse to study. To them, it is pointless studying since they are not going to understand a thing.

Secondary school teachers like me have a tough time making them understand lessons. The exam-oriented system has no place for such students. Hence they will fool around in school until they 'graduate' from Form Five because the promotion from Form 1 to Form 5 is automatic in my country.

I really hope that the retention of students to repeat the same form if they fail will be reintroduced to enable them to study the same lessons all over again. Ideally, they should be in remedial classes where lessons are simplified and taught according to their progress. In this way, the uninterested students will be motivated to study since they can see improvement in their learning.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When to use 'What is' and 'What are'

To be sure when to use 'What is' and 'What are', look at the object. If it is singular, then use 'What is'. On the other hand, use 'What are' if it is plural.

The following examples should serve to explain when I mean:
a) What is the thing that you are holding? [The object 'the thing' is singular.]
b) What are those vegetables you are selling? [The object 'those vegetables' is plural.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

English is for every one

The importance of English cannot be denied, especiall in this cyber age where information written in English is easily available in the Internet.
Doing business with people all over the world requires the use of English too.
Even travelling will be much easier if we have a working vocabulary of English.
Hence every one should make an effor to master the English language.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to use 'used to'

There are two ways of using 'used to' depending on what follows it.

If 'used to' is followed by a noun or noun phrase, it means 'accustomed to'. For example, the sentence 'I am used to sleeping late at night' means 'I am accustomed to sleeping late at night'.

On the other hand, 'used to' means 'in the past I did something habitually'. The following sentence illustrates this point:
I used to run around the field 30 times daily when I was young.
(=In the past, that is, when I was young, running 30 times around the field every day was my habit.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to write a proper paragraph

Every paragraph in an essay contains a main idea, elaboration and examples. I will show you one typical paragraph. Look at the following example of a paragraph in an essay entitled 'Causes of Air Pollution'

One of factors of air pollution is open burning. When someone burns rubbish in the open air, the smoke from the burning litter will rise to the air causing the air to be polluted. For example, when we burn dried leaves or paper in the open space, the smoke containing minute particles will go up to the air forming pollutants there.

In the above paragraph, the topic sentence is open burning causes air pollution. It is elaborated by saying that smoke from open burning causes the air to be polluted. An example of open burning is then added, that is burning dried leaves or paper will produce smoke which brings about air pollution.

Try to write a simple paragraph like the one above as a practice.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How to put hiccup to a stop

If you start to hiccup, this is what you do to stop it. I personally do it and I stop the hiccup without fail.

This is what you do.
Fill a glass with warm water. Drink the amount of water that is enough to let out a burp. Then do the same for another six times. After that you will find that your hiccup has gone. It is that simple, believe it or not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't let your electronic gadgets get idle

Have you noticed that electronic devices will run out of order if you seldom use them. Well, I have this experience. My laser disk player which I bought when it was invented was seldom used by my family because the laser disks then were very expensive. Later when I started to use it, it could not function anymore after being run for a few times. The CD write which I bought and seldom used also met the same fate.

On the other hand, the computer that I am using now is still in tiptop condition as I use it every day. The CD writer which I bought to replace the old one is often used to write something every now and then. Well, it is still functioning well.

Hence my advice to readers is 'Don't let your electronic gadgets get idle'.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The desktop computer is still a gem

The desktop computer is still a gem. My son had two notebooks, one loaned by his company and one he bought himself. One day, he came to me saying that the desktop computer is better than laptops.

According to him, desktop computers are more suitable for downloading big files which take days to complete. The notebook will become too hot by then. Besides, there are more gadgets which can be attached to a desktop than a laptop computer. For example, you can have four harddisks, two two dvd writers and ten usb ports attached to your desktop computer.

Come to think of it, I have everything to gain as I own a desktop and no notebook. What I have is a pocket pc.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something simple about Buddhism

According to the teaching of Buddhism, delusion leads one to be reborn as animals. Delusion refers to failure to understand the truth of cause and effect or karma. Defaming the triple gem also renders one to animal realm.

Whether one believes it or not, the law of cause and effect is always true. Hence, one should refrain from doing something that will bring bad karma.

A true Buddhist will try to understand cause and effect or karma and will keep avarice and delusion at bay. In other words, he will donate generously to practice not being greedy, will not hate others even if others cause him to feel angry or to suffer and he will do things that will bring him good karma.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I met my Waterloo.

"I met my Waterloo" means I was defeated. This phrase can be used too when we cannot take in any more food. For example, you can say ' I really meet my Waterloo this time. I really cannot consume any more food now."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Learning can be fun

At my age, learning a new language is never easy. Luckily, there are a lot of audio files we can download from the Internet to aid our learning.
I picked up my Japanese which I left quite some time ago. I forgot most of the words learnt and had to relearn. That explains why I said earlier that constant revision helped to retain our memory.

I find it fun to learn Japanese because I can listen to the audio files and see the strokes being formed slowly. Writing Japanese is of no problem as I know Mandarin.

I hope to be able to sustain my zest in this language.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How I came to like guitar songs

I like to listen to music from the guitar even now. When I first heard the guitar played by my friend, I was in Form Four and in that year I became a scout. During our weekly meeting, some scouts would be playing the guitar and we would be singing our favourite scout songs. One scout in particular could play the guitar very well. His name is Khaw Kheng Joo. One year, we had a campout at Fraser Hill. At night, he played the guitar to entertain us. I really enjoyed listening to the songs played by Kheng Joo.

Then when I started teaching, I bought cassettes containing guitar songs. I used to listen to them while lying in bed in the afternoon. How soothing those songs were. Sometimes I fell asleep after listening to such songs which acted like lullabiess.

So much for guitar songs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Respecting the elders to live longer

According to a talk on Buddhism that I listened to, to live longer one must not be rude to the elders. On the other hand, if we always respect the elders we can have a longer life span. Of course, we must refrain from killing too or else the former action will be futile.

Why do we respect the elders? Well, for one thing they are knowledgeable, for another by showing respect to them, they might help us tide over our difficulties by offering good suggestions. It is also a virtue to respect the elders.

Friday, November 14, 2008

All men are brothers

Life goes on with many of our friends leaving us forever each day. Hence we should cherish the friendship we have fostered with our friends when they are still alive.

As life is short, we must not be too harsh with people. Whenever possible, forgive others and bury the hatchet if there were squabbles with others earlier.

We have owed one another something either in this life or in the past. Hence, we must try to bear whatever difficulty someone might cause us. In doing so, we are paying back what we have owed. Thinking in this way helps us get along well with practically everyone around us.

The saying "All men are brothers" is really true.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gaining merit through detachment

We can always lend a hand to someone who needs help. It is said that giving is more rewarding than receiving.

Whenever we donate some money to the needy, we feel happy for being able to be of help to someone else. According to the teaching of the Buddha, when we give something to someone, we should not attach to the notion that we have helped him or her. Merit is lost if we have attachment of this type. On the other hand, the moment we part with our money to help the needy we should forget about it altogether, then merit is gained.

Hence we should practise detachment whenever we do dana,that is giving money or kind to the needy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Warranty card can wait

My dvd recorder ran out of order after three months. So, I brought it to the shop to have it repaired. The man who attended to me happened to be my ex-pupil. This is the advantage of a pupil who tried his best to help you. You see, I just took the computerised invoice cum receipt to the shop and my pupil asked for my warranty card which I left at home. He thought for a while and told me that he would process the repair document anyway and asked me to bring the warranty card the next day.

I thanked him for his help and promised to bring the warranty the following day.

How nice to have a pupil who does not stick to the rule in doing things for the sack of his teacher!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Watching variety shows in school

Whenever I watch variety shows on television, I always recall the ones put up by students of Jerantut Secondary School. I never knew that my quiet pupils in class were so valented when it comes to singing and dancing. They sang like profesional singers and performed traditional dances so marvellously.

An hour or two passed by very fast with me and colleagues sitting in the hall watching our students' cultural performances and singing not forgetting the sketches too. They showed their best talent on occasions such as Teacher's Day and Speech Day.

The moral is 'never judge a book by its cover'.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It doesn't pay to be in a hurry

It does not pay to be in a hurry when we do anything. Take my case as an example. I usually act fast whenever I want to do anything. As such, I am not mindful and my toes become victims of my haste.

Last week, the fourth toe of my left foot knocked into the food of my wife in my haste to go somewhere. She stopped all right but my toed knocked into her foot. The result: fissure in the toe bone. Despite daily medication, the bone still hurts as I am penning these lines.

Many a time, my toes were grazed when I opened the wooden door whose lower edge did it.
Hence it doesn't pay to be in a hurry.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How I learnt to type using the typewriter

Before the advent of computers, the typewriter helped us produce printed document such as letters and forms. I enrolled as a student to learn how to type using the machine. A three months' stint at the typing institute was really useful because I could type using both hands without looking at the keyboard.

Up to now, I can still type on the computer keyboard without looking at the keyboard too. One sentence that still remains in my memory is 'A quick brown fox jumps right over the lazy dog.' It contains all the letters of the alphabet. You can use this sentence to master your skill with the keyboard.

Nowadays, we have software such as typing tutor that helps those who are new to computers to learn how to type with all your fingers and thumbs.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Constant revision helps to retain memory

I am interested in languages. To date, I can speak and write three languages fluently. They are Malay, English and Mandarin. Recently, I have grown to love Japanese. Initially I managed to recognise the 30 or so sounds needed to form Japanese words. Now

I seem to have difficulty in recognising many of them. It shows that constant revision is needed to recall words in any language. The grammar in Japanese is different from that in English. In English, a sentence consists of Subject (S), Verb (V) and Object (O). For example: I read a book. (I=S, read=V and a book=O)

In Japanese, a sentence consists of SVO. The following sentences show this sentence structure:
1 Kore wa neko desu. [This is a cat. neko=cat kore=this desu=is wa=subject marker]
2 Kore wa inu desu. [This is a dog. inu=dog]

Friday, November 7, 2008

It pays to talk good about someone

As human beings, we are not flawless. Hence we sometimes make mistakes, say something that offends others or do an act that annoys somebody.

In life, we should try to think of the good points of someone and not his bad points. There is a Chinese saying that goes, "Don't tell family shameful matter to others outside the house." It shows that there must be some virtue in this saying.

In fact, quarrels always starts when someone learns that somebody has talked bad about him. He will go to see the person and picks a row with him. However if you always talk about the good things about a certain person and if he were to hear it from somebody else, he will be very pleased. I'm sure he will have great respect for you and will never harbour any hatred towards you. It is a win-win situation.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The difference between 'adopted' and 'adoptive'

When someone has no son or daughter, he will try to take another person's son or daughter as his own after signing the letter of adoption. Now that person has an adopted son or daughter.

If you are an adopted son, how do you refer to the man who has adopted you? Well, you can say, "He is my adoptive father."

Both words are adjectives and they refer to the relationshiop of adoption from different directions. The following sentences will make the difference between 'adopted' and 'adoptive' clear to readers:
1 Susan is my adopted daughter. I got permission from Mrs Johnson to raise her from young and she surrendered her to me for adoption.
2 Mr Raymon is my adoptive father. When I was born, I left my parents because I was given to Mr Raymon for adoption and he has cared for me until now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to backup your files using e-mails

There are a few free e-mails availble for us to apply. You are given at least 2G space for use. If you need to backup something and want to access it somewhere else, you can always make use of your e-mails to do so.

To do this, you need to apply for at least two free e-mails, such gmail and hotmail. Next compose your e-mail in gmail and send it to hotmail with your files zipped and sent as attachment.

Now, you can retrieve your backup file anywhere you go. For example, you can be at friend's house and open your hotmail to download the backup file you attached earlier. In this way, you need not use your own computer to get the files needed for a certain purpose.

So much for backing up files using e-mails.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reading helps in imagination

School children today lack imagination. This is clearly shown by their inability to come out with their own ideas when writing essays.

If I am mistaken, they like to watch television or movies when everything is shown visually and they don't have to to visualise the scenes in their mind at all. That explains why they seem to be unable to imagine things or events. On the other hand, pupils who like to read can write better essays than those who don't. This is because through reading, one has to imagine what is being described by the author. After constant reading, the reader will have no problem building mental pictures of the words that they read.

Hence, school children should be encouraged to read not only to increase their vocabulary but also sharpen their ability to visualise things.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How to use 'everyday' and 'every day' correctly

'Everyday'[spelt as a word] is an adjective. As such it is used in front of nouns. The following sentences show the correct usage of 'everyday'.
1 It is an everyday affair for me to sweep the floor and do all the washing in the kitchen.
2 The crowd at the bus station is an everyday sight.
3 The businessman makes an everyday trip to town to buy his goods.

'Every day'[spelt far away as two words]is an adverb. Hence it is used to modify verbs. Sentences below illustrate this point:
1 My mother goes to market every day. ['every day' modifies the verb 'goes']
2 I revise my lessons for two hours every day. ['every day' modifies the verb 'revise']
3 The man jogs in the garden every day. ['every day' modifies the verb 'jogs'.]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

An enjoyable get-together

I attended the annual staff dinner of the school I last taught in, that is Methodist Boys School last night. It was an enjoyable night as I got to talk to my former colleagues and got news about the school and all those I know.

They enquired about my life as a retiree but I told them I am still teaching. To me, occupying my time with something I like helps me pass my time easily. The only difference is I get more time for exercising and doing things I like such as reading, listening to dharma talks through CDs and surfing the Internet.

Once in a while, it is good to have a get-together with our ex-colleagues. I like to listen to some who are good conversationalists and jokers. It was really relaxing and enjoyable as we talked over a cup of coffee after having a round of buffet dinner.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A nut-loosening journey

When I was teaching in Jerantut, Pahang the nearest town was Mentakab some 50 kilometres away. To go there, I rode my Honda C70. It was an uncomfortable journey there as I had to choose smaller potholes to ride on because the whole stretch was full of potholes, small and big ones. The bumpy ride took me an hour before I reached my destination.

I went to the supermarket to do some shopping and went around the place before leaving for home. The same bone-shaking trip back to Jerantut rendered my bike in bad shape as some of the screws had loosened and I had to go the workshop to have them tightened to make it road-worthy again.

I think the condition of the road there should have improved by now.

So much for my nut-loosening journey.