Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Count down for New Year

Today is the last day of 2008 and tomorrow we will herald in the year 2009. This blog has been in existence for over a year now. There are many things that I posted here and I hope to do the same for next year.

Usually, there will count down for next year tonight and a concert will be held to keep the crowd happy and occupied while waiting for the New Year to come. Let us hope that next year will be a better year despite the economic recession all over the world.

Happy New Year to all readers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The difference between ‘clean out’ and ‘clean up’

The is a difference between the usage of ‘clean out’ and ‘clean up’. The former refers to cleaning and tidying a room, cupboard, drawer and so on thoroughly while the latter means cleaning and tidying a mess.

The following sentences should make it clear to readers:

1 Before the arrival of New Year we usually clean out our house and rooms.

2 The pupils were directed by their form teacher to clean up the mess after the class party.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resizing photos using Paint.Net

If you want a quick way of reducing the image size of your photos so that they can be uploaded fast to your blog, I know of a free software to do that. It is Paint.Net.

Just download it from this site . Install it and it is ready for your use. Open your photo file, go to image, click resize icon. For pixels, key in 500 or smaller number and your photo will be reduced to half or one third of its size. Save it to a folder and now you can process another photo of yours. It is as easy as that.

Happy cropping photos for downloading.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fastening seat belts

Come first day of 2009, all back seat passengers in Malaysia will have to fasten their safety-belts or the driver will be slapped with a fine of RM300 until 30th June. From 1st July onwards, the fine will be a whopping RM2000 for non-compliance in this matter.

I think it is good that to enforce this law. Very often, during a collision for high-speed vehicles, the inertia will throw the back seat passengers forward, causing serious injuries to the driver in front. If they have fastened their seat belts, this can be prevented. Hence there is no reason to oppose such a law when it is for your own good. Back seat passengers who deem it troublesome to fasten safety-belts should bear in mind the driver's safety. With right thinking and having made it a habit to do so, fastening seat belts for back seat passengers will become a routine and hassle free then.

Happy fastening seat belts for your own safety and that of the driver.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sensitive to mistakes in English

As a teacher, I have to mark the essays written by my students every now and then. Through the passage of time, I have grown very sensitive to their grammatical errors. It is said that a teacher will be better in the language that he teaches. This is so because he himself has to know everything about its grammar, sentence structures and other matters related to the language.

When I write my own posts on the spot, I often make grammatical errors unintentionally when I leave out prepositions or use the wrong tenses. I only realize these when I read through my own posts again. Hence it is very important for bloggers to go over their posts to make sure they are correct grammatically. The posts need not be in English. They can be in Chinese, Malay, Tamil, German, Dutch, Japanese and so on as long as they are grammatically correct.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Less sleep means cleverer?

I chanced to listen to one fact or legend which has to do with intelligence in the opera show. The male character was telling his friend that his son was very talented and he had little sleep. According to him, Einstein slept only two hours per day and he concluded than those who sleep less must be cleverer that those who refuse to part with their beds when it comes to waking time. Do you believe that fact that Einstein is clever because he sleeps very little?

My reading tells me that whether you are a young kid or an old folk, you still need 8 hours of sleep per day to have your bodies fully charged for the next day's activities. However, I sleep five hours daily because I only go to bed at 12.30p.m. and wakes up punctually at 6.00 a.m.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all readers of this blog.

Today, the Christians all over the world are celebrating Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ.
The prophet has taught human beings to practise universal love which all of us should do. Like all religions, Christianity advocates practising good moral values, helping the needy and be kind to all.

Hence let us make Jesus Christ our role model so that there will be world peace and this world will be a better place to live in.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Braving the rain home

At the 40th anniversary of leaving our alma mater, old friends talked the days when we were scouts. I still can remember vividly how I braved the rain home without my spectacles on as they would be of no use then. I was on duty taking charge of admitting people who came for a concert into the hall based on the tickets shown to me.

It was raining when the concert ended. As it was nearly midnight, I could not wait and started to cycle home together with my friends. Raindrops marred my vision, so I took off my glasses and continued to make my way home. Luckily at that time the traffic was very low, and I could cycle slowly for a journey of 20 kilometers!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Karma sounded a warning to my friend

A friend of mine who left school 40 years met me at the 40th anniversary of leaving our alma mater. Something related to karma had fallen him. He suffered from cancer of the nose and was cured finally. Usually cancer of the nose's chances of being cured is very slim. Hence in this case, karma must have sounded a warning to my friend. Since then, he repented and did good turns every now and then.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A doctor who saved a child's life

I was talking to one of my schoolmates who is a doctor during our 40th anniversary of leaving our alma mater. The doctor related one incident who saved a child's life. One day one woman came with his young child in a very panic way because the child seemed to be in agony. After examining the child, the doctor wrote a letter of referral to the hospital where this woman wanted to admit the child. According to my schoolmate, the child's intested got twisted and the faeces could not pass to it. Operation was need to remedy the situation. The woman later came and thank the doctor profusely, saying that if he had brought the child two hours later, he would have to say goodbye to the child forever.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Joyous Night at City Bayview

How many of you have ever met your classmates and schoolmates you studied with and graduated 40 years ago? Well, my schoolmates who graduated from school in 1968 met again this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of leaving our alma mater, Chung Ling High School of Penang. 154 of us met at our alma mater yesterday to take a group photo which I will put in this post when it is sent to me later on. We had quite an enjoying time listening to songs sung by veterans the like of Ooi Soon Theng and Ooi Kean Eong.

From 6.00 p.m. we gathered at the hotel lobby for socialising and talking of the past. I enjoyed learning what had transpired during the years I did not hear from my old friends. We wore beight long-sleeved T-shirt during the night. Some classmates wore their coats too. We were fortunate to have with us teachers who taught us 40 years old.They are in their 70's and 80's yet they came to grace the occasion.

It was really a joyous night for all of us.

Here are some of the photos taken with my Cybershot. More to come later

Some of the schoolmates who posed with me (third from the left)

At the Registration Counter

Wives of schoolmates

Enjoying chatting session with old pals

Who is the centre of attraction here? Our Chairman, of course

As today is Dongzhi Day, City Bayview prepared the Chinese traditional dish, tangyuan, for us to start the ball rolling before the real courses that are to come along.

The following are the 8 sets of food went down our tummies on the joyous night:

1st course

2nd course

3rd course

4th course

5th course

6th course

7th course

8th course

The Chairman, Cheah Eu Kiat, giving a welcoming speech

This function would not have been possible without him -Sim Jin Tang

Having a good chat with old pals

Posing for remembrance

Professor Quak speaking on behalf of old boys residing in Singapore

Old boys residing in Kuala Lumpur

Old boys residing in Kedah

Lee Phong Thuan & Chow Chuan Juan from England

Old boys residing in Thailand

Pre-celebrating 60th birthday for some old boys

Talking with Mr Toh, our Physics teacher

Four of our former teachers

Ooi Kean Eong singing duet with the S.P. Songstress

Donation to alma mater

Donation of RM3000 to Chung Ling Private

Donation to Chung Ling Butterworth

My 'tablemates' at dinner time

Clap and sing, that's it

Can I help you do the job?

Kean Eong (in black) posing with pals

Cheah Eu Kiat posing with pals

All smiles for ox'ans

How come I didn't see you just now?

Why are we waiting?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Some useful information about kidney disease

I had a chance to listen to a talk on kidney disease and how to prevent having to undergo dialysis. According to the nephrologist, we should have our urine analysed to make sure no micro-albumin is present. It can be a sign that your kidney is having some problems of doing detoxification. It takes a long time for the kidney to turn so bad that dialysis need to be done or the kidney transplant is done.

The case of a badminton player who is only 21 years old yet needs dialysis shows that he need not have to undergone it if he had done urine tests regularly for the last ten years, assuming that it takes ten years for the kidney failure to really takes effect.

The doctor's advice is that we should have our urine screened annually so that early detection of the presence of micro-albumin can be done and medical action taken immediately.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Age and tangyuan on Dongzhi

Chinese New Year or Xin Nian is approaching. The sign is there, especially at market places. You can hear Xin Nian songs being played by roadside CD sellers and various types of decorations are on sale at several stalls.

The arrival of Dongzhi (which means 'the arrival of winter' or winter solstice) which falls on the 21st of December this year is a sure sign that Xin Nian is coming. On this day, the Chinese, including me will be eating tangyuan (gluttinous rice balls cooked in syrup) as is the custom. Some old folk will tell you that once you have tasted tangyuan on Dongzhi, you are considered one year older. That explains why some Chinese girls refuse to partake of tangyuan on the said day because they want to remain young every year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to use "each other" and "one another"

If you know how to use 'between' and 'among', then using 'each other' and 'one another" should be of no problem to you.

1 'each other' is used when two people or parties are involved.
For example, "Ali and John has not talked to each other since they last quarrelled."
"Our football team and yours has not played each other for a long time."

2 When more than two people or parties are involved, 'one another' is used.
For example, "The three boys fought one another over the use of a computer."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listening to music helps to dilate veins and arteries

I read somewhere that listening to music will help to prevent stroke. This is because music helps to dilate the veins and arteries thereby aiding in smoother flow of blood throughout your body.

From experience, I find that listening to soothing music helps to calm us down and help us overcome anxiety. Hence we should listen to music more often for our own good. A note warning though. Don't listen to ear-splitting music that deafens your ears and feel you feel tensed up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to suppress your wild thoughts

Every now and then, wild thoughts always appear in our mind. We seem to have so many things to worry about that thoughts of them keep appearing in our mind’s eyes. I have learnt of a way to suppress such thoughts. It has something to do with Buddhism.

Chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha incessantly will prevent wild thoughts from appearing in your mind. The moment any thought creeps into your mind, suppress it with the name of Amitabha Buddha that you chant or say loudly. After some time you will find that all your thoughts are drowned by the name of Amitabha Buddha that you are chanting.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to keep mosquitoes away

When go trekking in the jungle, the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes are great. I learnt of a way to keep mosquitoes away.

What you have to do is to rub a drop or two of sesame oil on your palm and rub with both palms to catch its smell. Then rub it on your hands, legs and face or any exposed parts of your body. Mosquitoes may buzz around you but they won't dare to attack you because of the smell of the oil you have applied before they come.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to use 'who' and 'whom' correctly

Students of English often find it difficult to differentiate between ‘who’ and ‘whom’. Well, in this post, I will try to explain how to use both correctly.

1 ‘Who’ can be used in front a question. For example, you can say “Who sat here just now?”

2 ‘Who’ can also be used to replace the noun in front of it in a compound sentence. For example, you can join these two sentences by ‘who’:
a) John is my friend.
b) My friend often helps me in my work.
The compound sentence formed by joining these two sentences is:
John is my friend who often helps me in my work.

3 ‘Whom’ is used to replace an object in questions. The following are one statement and one question involving the use of ‘whom’.
a) Statement: I saw Albert yesterday.
b) Question: Whom did you see yesterday?

4. ‘Whom’ is also used after ‘prepositions’. The sentences below illustrate this point:
a) Leslie is the man in whom I confide.
b) Susan was the girl to whom I gave a present two days ago.
c) From whom did you receive this pamphlet?
d) George is my eldest brother with whom I share my joy and sorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Use of synonyms to add variety to sentences

When we write an essay, we have to bear in mind that readers will feel bored if they see the same word repeated very close to each other. Hence we need to substitute it with other word or expression so as to break the monotony. In the course of our reading, we should observe how writers try to get around this situation and you will be able to emulate them. I will give an example below to show how knowing the synonyms can be of great help here.

An accident happened at the junction of Victoria Street and King Avenue yesterday. It took place when I was passing through King Avenue then. After this mishap had occurred a big crowd gathered around the place, causing traffic congestion for about twenty minutes before the arrival of a truck which towed the cars away.

The verb ‘happened’ used in the first sentence is substituted by ‘took place’ and ‘occurred’ in the second and third sentences respectively to render variety and kill the boredom out of reading the same verb if no change was changed to it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The undaunted Child

I was re-reading the book 'Facing the Sun' by Huang Nai Hui and was touched again by the difficulties he had to go through in life. He was born a normal child but after a spell of fever part of his brain was damaged resulting in him being unable to walk and talk properly. Besides he had difficulty using his hand too.

Being superstitious, his parents blamed him for bringing misfortune to the family because his father's business was going down the drain and both parents had incessant quarrels that ended in divorce. Then Huang was taken care of by his paternal grandmother. It was she who trained Huang to be independent. She forced the handicapped boy to go to the market to buy fish, meat, vegetables and groceries. If he came home with stale fish or vegetables he had to return them to the sellers in exchange for fresh ones. As he had difficulty in walking, it took him quite some time to travel from place to place. The market folk took pity on him and always reserved fresh fish, meat and vegetables for him so that he need come back for fresh goods.

It was only 13 years old when he was allowed to study in a normal school. His classmates used to bully him. Very often, they took away his stationery so that he could not do his homework. Worse still, they pulled away his chair when he stood up and sure enough he fell backwards. They then had a good laugh. When I was reading this bullying I was so angry with his naughty classmates that if I were there I would have punched some senses out of them for doing cruelty to a handicapped child. Writing was never easy for Huang as he could not control his limbs well. A page of written work would take him hours to complete. Hence he would never be able to complete his test in time.

Every now and then his granny would take him to ascend stairs and climb hills to prevent his legs from degenerating for lack of use. Exercising this way really helped him to walk better later.

When he was able to move around, he began to sell flowers to earn his schooling expenses. His thirst for knowledge prompted him to attend lectures in several universities in Taiwan with permission from the relevant kind-hearted lecturers. While studying he did not stop earning money to support himself.

Later he opened his souvenir store and flower shops. They were later closed because no one was willing to man them as Huang was out canvassing for customers. By this time he had acquired a motorcycle that could only move 20 km per hour for his safety.

The story of Huang Nai Hui is a good example for handicapped people to follow. With strong will and the spirit of not bowing to difficulties, Huang was able to lead worthwhile life and contributed to charity later in his life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Serve him right

'Serve him right' is often used to ridicule someone who has done something which shouldn't have been done at all. For example, if a person does not know how to climb a tree but insists on climbing one and as a result falls down from the tree, we will say 'Serve him right!'

In Malay, 'Serve him right' is 'Padan muka dia' and in Mandarin it is 'huo gai'

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All for the souvenirs to be received

During one of the physiotherapy sessions I attended because of my 'trigger thumb' I overhead one man in the next partition talking to the therapist about the Penang Bridge Run. It seems that this man will participate in the event yearly. What surprised me was his attitude and greed. According to him, he would register to take part in the above run but would not run at all. Then the physiotherapist asked him for the reason and he had the cheek to say he went for the souvenirs given by the organiser, the Star Daily and not for the race. "The things I get are worth a lot more than the registration fee I paid to take part in the event." Hence, he willcollect them when the day comes but will skip the actual run on the day itself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spam in my mobile phone

Spam in mobile phone is very rampant nowadays. Every day I seem to receive one or two of adverts about sales, offers and events. My mobile service provider must have sold my particulars to the companies. Their act causes thise nuisance almost daily. I tried many times to sms back but could not reach them.

I usually ignore the alert but look at the SMSes later in case my friends do want to tell me something.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dictionaries in my pocket pc

Since I bought my HP iPaq hx2490 Pocket PC, it has helped me tremendously in my work. I bought Kamus Pro, a Malay dictionary, from The Name Technology for RM99 and had it installed in my pocket pc (ppc)so that I need not carry the big and bulky Kamus Dewan Edisi 4 with me when I go to class. With my ppc around, I can check up the spelling and meaning of any word whose meaning I am not sure of. As teachers we do not know every word in any language and hence a dictionary helps us find its meaning.

Besides, I also bought Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary installed it in my ppc too. As a bilingual teacher, that is Malay and English, I need to have both Malay and English dictionaries in my pocket pc for checking up words that I have not come across before in the course of my teaching.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jaywalking is a habit here

Jaywalking has become a habit with Penang people especially near the market places. I go to the Jelutong market for breakfast and buying food to be cooked daily. The traffic at this part fo Jelutong Road is very busy. Yet, the people here are so used to jaywalking that they refuse to use the pedestrian crossing nearby to cross the road. Many a time, I have to stop my car to allow these crossing-roads-as-and-when-they-like local folk to have their way.

In fact jaywalking or crossing a busy road where it is not allowed or without making an effort to avoid the busy traffic is an offence. However, these people cannot be bothered and they simply cross the road where and when they fancy. So far no fatal accidents have occurred because motorists slow down to give way to these inconsiderate life-riskers.

I do hope they are made aware of the danger of jaywalking to avoid risking their valuable lives on the road.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

He does the impossible

When I watched Nick Vijucic on Youtube for the first time, I was so touched by his courage to live on cheerfully despite his physical handicap that I thanked God profusely for what I was endowed with.

The 26-year-old Australian was born limbless. He has no arms and no legs yet he can so many we can't imagine limbless persons are capable of doing. For example he can swim, dive from a springboard, ski and play hockey. The only 'limb' he possesses is his left chicken-wing-like structure that helps to move him around and to key in words to the computer. He can even prepare his own meals too.

He goes from place to place motivating others, using himself as an example. To him nothing is impossible as long as we are determined to overcome all obstacles that come our way

Friday, December 5, 2008

An ugly girl repents

There is one real incident of a teenage girl in Taiwan who turned from a beautiful lass into an ugly girl, all happening gradually. At first, there was only a small tumour on her face. It grew larger and larger until it covered almost all her face. By this time, she could only take in fluids through a straw inserted into her mouth.

The suffering she endured was beyond description. Her mother went from doctor to doctor, seeking medical treatment for her but to no avail. Finally one lady doctor who was a Buddhist told her to repent by chanting the name of 'Amitabha Buddha' and transferred the merit to her enemies in her past lives. She began to tell the girl about the true nature of life according to Buddhism. Then it dawned on her that what she had suffered was the work of karma as she related her experience.

Ever since the tumour on her face grew bigger, she had been seeing a 'man' who kept telling her to give him back his life. Besides, the same bad dream haunted her almost daily. The old lady in her dream asked her to give her back her son's life. The girl told the mother that being a teenager she had not hurt anyone before let alone murdered one. She then saw herself wearing traditional dress of ancient time mingling with a young man. He loved her very much but later she deserted her causing so much grief to him that he committed suicide. In this life the ghost had found her and attached ‘himself’ to the girl's face for revenge.

When she began to chant the name of Amitabha Buddha, the ghost had stopped to disturb her as she had repented and asked 'him' to chant the Buddha's name too so as to land themselves to the Buddha's Pure Land together.

She was so diligent in chanting Amitabha Buddha's name that heavenly birds descended from heavenly realm and called out her name as well as chanting with her.

The moral is we must not cause irreparable damage to someone because it will come back to us as is the working of karma or cause and effect.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You can do it if you put your heart and soul into doing it

I was watching the street dances performed by participants of the show whose tagline I have commented before, that is. "Very enjoy". Anyway, I learnt that one of groups just practised the dance for three and yet they danced so well. It shows that if you put your heart and soul in doing what you enjoy doing, the chances of success are very high, as proven by the kids in the show. Doing the head spinning on the ground is quite dangerous yet this kids think nothing of it. If the necks were fractured, it is not going to be a minor matter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My first honorarium

I liked to write when I was young. Even at my age now, I still like to pen about things around me.

The first honorarium that I received was from Utusan Publication. My article about biomass was published in Mastika, one of its publicattions. I received a cheque of RM90 for an article of about 1000 words in Malay. The money was enough for my my newspapers subscriptions as I read New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Nanyang Siang Pau daily then. Nowadays, I read the online newspapers including The Star, the Sun, New Straits Time, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, Kwong Wah Yit Poh, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau.

Later I translated short stories from Mandarin into Malay and sent to Nanyang Siang Pau for publication. They gave me RM80 for a length of half page. I earned quite a lot through my translated works. These were put on dispaly during MBS's centenary celebaration.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gargling with salt water

If you feel that you have sore throat which will later develop into flu, gargle your throat with salt water thoroughly. The saline solution will be able to kill some of the viruses that cause influenza or cold.

I usally do that to prevent getting running nose after feeling that I am going to have sore throat.

Try this to see what I mean.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Certain verbs are followed by infinitives

Some verbs are followed by infinitives. Examples of this group include 'suggest', 'recommend' and 'let'.

1 I recommeded that he buy a better dictionary yesterday. [ In this sentence, the infinitive is used. Since an infinitive is not a verb, there is no necessity to add 's' although 'he' precedes 'buy'.]
2 We suggested that she see a doctor immediately because she looked very sick.
3 She let me use computer last Monday.