Friday, October 31, 2008

Ice massage

I went for physiotherapy treatment for my 'trigger thumb' (inablity to flex my left thumb) and instead of cold pad, I was given ice massage.

By this method, ice cube or bar is directly stroking the swollen part and ice is in constant contact with the skin. It really works as I feel better after each massage. Of course, according to my physiotherapy, my condition will only recover after 6 weeks. If
I do ice message myself regulary, I may be able to shorten the time taken for it to heal.

From having the condition until now, I really appreciate the use of every finger and thumb. It is so inconvenient without being able to flex the left thumb and if it flexes, it gets stuck and I have to straighten it manually.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ways to know your past lives

When I was involved in spiritual healing some time ago, I had my past lives read. My friend, the leader of the group played a cd with mantra and all of us meditated. She and her friends could see my past lives. I was, according to her visualisation in meditation, a monk in my immediate past life. Earlier I was a doctor and some other beings. That may explain why I like to read medical articles and I grow to like Buddhism.

Today through the dharma talks that I listened to, I come to know that we can see our past lives by ringing the bell with inscription of mantra inside it and chanting Sutra of Earth Store Bodhisattva.

Knowing one's past lives just confirms Buddhists' belief that there are past lives for each of us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Using prepositions correctly is the key to good English

In English, you cannot run away from using prepositions. Hence mastering the correct usage of English is needed to write good English.

Learners of English should pay attention to the correct usage of prepositions. For a start, underline all the prepositions you come across when you read the newspapers. See how they are used. Some prepositions pair with verbs to form phrasal verbs. Remember their usage too as you go along.

In this way, you can improve your English tremendously.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watching Chinese opera

When I was small I liked to watch Chinese opera which was performed in conjunction with the birthday of certain deity. It would be held for three or four days. My friends and I would be putting our chairs in front of the stage long before the opera started. The temple was built quite near the sea, as most of the villagers worked as fishermen and they prayed to Ma Chor Po, the name of the deity who is supposed to protect fishermen when they are at sea.

I seemed to be able to grasp what the characters were saying from the songs that they were singing. You see this Chinese opera was performed with conversion and songs. Sometimes Teochew opera was engaged to perform to entertain the deity but to me it was more for the villagers. At other times, Hokkien opera troupe did the job.

After a day, we began to love the persons behind the characters. I used to stand by the road to see them in person as they walked to Jelutong town to buy food or other things. We could rough made out who they were, I mean the character they assumed on stage.

Nowadays, we still can enjoy opera shows on the birthdays of deities but most of the time, it is the singing troupes that are performing as youngsters prefer such troupes to opera shows.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Deepavali

Today is Deepavali - the Festival of Lights for the Indians all over the world. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Hindus a Happy Deepavali.

Deepavali is an important celebration for the Hindus. It is traditionally an occasion for the south and north Indian communities to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

On this day, most Hindus will take oil baths and offer prayers to deceased family members. After the morning baths, family members will wear new clothes that are earlier placed at the feet of deity Lord Vishnu on the prayer altar.

Men and women wear differently. For men they will wear silk jippa shirts and veshti tied in kattupanchi style where the cloth is wrapped around the legs (like a pair of trousers) with the ends pleated and folded at the back of their waist.

Sarees worn by women are usually tied in a kuddupaita style, where the pallu or the decorative end of the saree is draped over the right shoulder rather than the left shoulder.

At the house entrance, the womenfolk will draw the kolam, called muggulu in Telugu, using coloured rice or desiccated coconut.

Then they will light up nanda deepa or earthen oil lamps and deepappu semmelu or kuttu-vilakku in Tamil.

After blessing their children at home, the family will offer prayers at the Krishna Temple.

This is how the Hindus celebrate Deepavali.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Releasing tension in class

One day, one of my students suddenly misbehaved. He frequently put up his right hand to answer the questions I asked to test the students on the lessons taught earlier. Not only once did he argue about his being correct when the answer he provided was wrong. Suddenly he shouted, "I don't want to study anymore because whatever I say is wrong.'

Later I summoned to the staff room and talked to him personally. From our conversion I really he was undergoing great tension because of family problems. His father was about to leave his mum for another woman. He would not accept the divorce of his parents and he could nothing about it. Hence he released his tension through making his presence felt in place.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sutra of Earth Store Bodhisattva

One of the Bodhisattvas who had vowed not to attain Buddhahood as long as there are still beings in the Hell Realm is Earth Store Bodhisattva. The Sutra of Earth Store Bodhisattva can be chanted to cure rare diseases that can't be treated by modern medicine because they are caused by karma.

When one chants the sutra one must sincerely repent for the sins committed and transfer the merit of chanting the sutra to all enemies past and present. Only by doing so can one be cured of karma-related diseases beyond treatment by modern medication.

Pregnant women who chant this sutra will have smooth delivery and the babies born will have very good complexion and good character.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More about myself

In response to Moannie’s request, I will tell readers more about myself. I am a Malaysian Chinese from the beautiful island of Penang, Malaysia. I retired from teaching as a government servant in 2005 but I am still teaching English and Malay as a private tutor. I look young as in the photo taken years ago. However, I will be turning sixty next July. Hence I am far from young.

I have a young heart and am interested in many things such as computers, electronics, programming, religion, literature, languages, music, qigong, tai chi, science and other matters of interest.

Blogging is my new hobby and I enjoying penning this blog that you are reading.

My interest in English and Malay is still very strong. Being a teacher of both languages makes me understand their usage better. That explains why most of the posts here have something to do with English.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ways to wealth, health and longevity

Everyone wants to be rich, healthy and to have a long life. To achieve these ends, we can practise the teachings of the Buddha.

To be rich, one has to do dana in the form of money. Hence donate generously and wealth will come to you in this life or in your next life.

Having vegetarian diet will ensure good health while practising non-killing of all beings will enable one to have a long life.

Walk the Buddha's path to be wealthy, physically fit and live to a ripe old age besides being able to achieve nirvana.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Power calibration error

I borrowed a friend's cds with recording of the Olympic Games from Astro to be copied. My DVD burner returned an error known as 'power calibration error'. I tried several of the same type of media and had the same error message. After that, I used a branded DVD disk and the error message did not appear again. Finally the burner did the job of copying disks for me.
I am still at sea as to why this happened.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trojan attack

My Windows crawled because of Trojan attack. Luckily, I used Norton Ghost 14 to restore my system without half an hour instead of an hour or more if I were to reinstall Windows.
Hence it is necessary to do backup of stable Windows which can be restored to run smoothly again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gigantic heavenly beings

Can you imagine how huge heavenly beings are? Well, according to a dharma talk I listened to, the beings in the 28th layer of heavenly realm measures 320,000 miles in height. As the moon is 240,000 miles from the Earth, such beings can literally stand on Earth and hold the moon on his palm. This is how gigantic heavenly beings are.

The Chinese saying that 'there are 'tian' outside 'tian', 'tian' being heavenly layers is certainly true in this case.

So much for heavenly beings in this post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Non-stop riders

If you are in Penang and you drive, you have to be very careful about motorcyclists. They will simply overtakes you from the left or from the right. Most of them will zigzag their way in between cars to be in front. Worst of all, they don't stop at pedestrian crossing when the red light is on.

When you drive near a side road a motorcycle is coming out, the chances are it won't stop but comes out and turn left into the road and you have to slow them to let pass first. If you don't you will knock into them. That's why, we have to look to the front, to left and right as well as look at the rear mirror for defensive driving.

Motorcyclists in Penang are non-stop riders. They don't seem to know how to stop when it comes to junctions or at traffic light unless they are behind some vehicles.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A new discovery in class

I was checking the payment column of my Form 5 English tuition class and found a girl's fees still unsettled today. She told me that she had paid the fees already but I had doubts because the receipt number had not been entered in the relevant column. Hence I demanded to see her receipt which she had not brought. To confirm whether she had actually paid her fees I went to the office and found no records of her paying the fees.

The clerk wanted to see her for clarification and what a shock I was in when the girl turned out to be a Form 1 student sitting in my Form Five English class. According to her explanation to the clerk, her dad wanted her to be in Form Five as she wanted to improve her already good English further.

That explains why she could answer all the questions put to her and her essay merited a B when she came to my class last month. I did not suspect her to be a Form 1 student because her voice is that of a mature girl. Because of her size, I asked her whether she knew it was a Form 5 class when she first entered my class and she nodded and sat down ready for my lessons.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bogus monks

Bogus monks have been seen asking for money instead of food in market places and eateries in Penang and other states in Malaysia. The Buddhist Association here has asked the public not to donate money to these 'monks'.

Real monks will beg for food just enough for a meal and nothing more.
Hence the bogus monks must be laymen who have shaved their hair to look like monks.

They are out to make quick money and if we give them money, we encourage them to earn money through cheating.

Another aspect of Buddhism involves greed. If we give money to monks we encourage them to be greedy and being greedy will send them to the ghosts' realm when they pass away.

Hence no money should be given to real monks or bogus ones on this principle. If we practise Buddhism in this way, no bogus monks will appear to make easy money.
Giving food to monks is the right thing to do when monks come to you with a bowl.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some students are too materialistic

In schools, sometimes we had to have students to help us arrange the chairs for certain functions such as the Teacher's Day celebration, Speech Day and so on.

I observe that some students are very materialistic. They won't do anything if there is nothing to gain. For example, arranging the chairs for the teachers needs sweating out without getting any monetary gain.

Hence when I ask for volunteers to help me arrange the chairs, many will not oblige.
However there are those who really do not mind helping out. These are the students I like and I despise those who are too materialistic or selfish. The latter will come to you straight away if you mention that application for scholarship is available.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to use 'long' as a verb

The word 'long' can be an adjective or a verb.

The following sentences contain 'long' which functions as adjectives:
1 It took me a long time to reach the place.
2 He wore a pair of long pants.
3 Everyone will benefit from this project in the long run. [in the long run=finally]
4 Before long, the campers arrived at their destination. [before long=soon]

As a verb, 'long' means 'have a strong wish for or to do'. The sentences below show how 'long' is used correctly as a verb.

1 They long to have a wonderful day at the beach.
2 The girls long to have beautiful complexion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Accurate Prediction

I was glad to know that out of the five topics which I had given to my students who sat for the PMR exam came out in the BM paper tested yesterday. Of course, the topic is correct, i.e. “Amalan Budi Bahasa (Practising Good Manners)”. My prediction is how to inculcate good manners among us and the exam’s requirement is advantages of practicing good manners. Anyway, I did mention the good things about practising good manners in the points given to my students. I hope they will do well if they choose this topic.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pain at the elbow

I did not know how it happened. This pain at my elbow occurred when I woke up. I had earlier suffered from tennis elbow and it had been cured. This time I did not go to the physiotherapist but I went straight to Mr Hor, the bone-setter who is trained in treated sprained ankles and the like.

In order to be the first to get treated, I went as early as 10.40 a.m. so that I could get Tiket No. 1 when it opened at 11.00 a.m. Wait a minute, Mr Hor and his assistants will come at 12.00 noon or later. After getting the number, I waited until Mr Hor came at 12.40 p.m. When he enquired about my complaints, I told him that I had terrible pain at my elbow. Surprisingly, he did nothing about my elbow. Instead, he started to manipulate with my wrist joints. My hand was at his disposal as he twisted and turning producing a lot of sound from the joints when they got aligned. Then I was asked to go back.

I was still nursing the elbow pain after the session but I had to trust his expertise.
After half a day’s suffering, the pain slowly disappeared. How marvelous of him to know what to do the trick!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A friend in need is a friend indeed

One year, I had retina detachment and had to be operated upon. The eye surgeon extracted the vitreous humour from inside the eye ball and put in a sulphur gas to inflate the eye ball so that the retina could be pushed against the back of the eye ball. He lasered the retina too. When the operation was over, I could see only a black speck. The speck became bigger and bigger and after a month's recuperation, the speck disappeared and I could see again.
I had to go to school. My son drove me to school on his way to his college in Tanjung Bungah. For my journey back, a kind soul, Cikgu Sabariah Awang gave me a lift back without fail every day until I could drive on my own. Through this post I would like to thank her for being a friend in need. I had mentioned this help which she had rendered in the the MBS school magazine. Many thanks to her again for being such a kind soul.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Practice makes perfect

In the course of teaching English to non-native students all these years, I notice that the environment my students are in inhibit their learning of the language. For one thing, they learn English when they are in class. Once they are outside the classrooms,they start to talk in their mother tongues, hence depriving themselves of a a chance to practise the language. For another they seldom read newspapers, magazines or books in English. Worse still, they are too lazy to write essays. My suggestion that they write journals fall on deaf ears. That explains why there seem to be little improve in their command of the language.
The saying 'Practice makes perfect' is true as far as mastering a language is concerned. We need to constantly listen to, talk and write in the language very often until we have a hang of doing it spontaneously.
I always believe that to master English, we have to use it orally and write articles or essays with it almost every day. Reading English daily is a must. In fact, I would suggest that we think in English whenever we want to do anything. In this way, we are sure to be able to master the language in time to come.
I hope this little piece of advice will be of great help to those who want to improve in the English Language.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to use 'sometime', 'some time' and 'sometimes' correctly

Students of English often get confused when it comes to the use of these three words, namely sometime, some time and sometimes. Hence in this post I shall explain how to use them correctly.
1 'sometime' means 'at an unstated time in the past or future'
e.g. I will go to your house sometime this week.
2 'some time' means 'a period of time'
e.g. My father spent some time explaining to me use to use this new machine.
3 'sometimes' means 'now and then or occasionally'
e.g. They sometimes go to the cinema together.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

we are the results of our past karmas

According to Buddhist teaching, we are the results of our past karma. However, we can change our fate by doing certain good karmas. For example, if we want to be rich, we should donate very often no matter how small the amount may be. Those who like good health should abstain from killing and taking vegetarian diet is a form of non-killing. In case one wants to be wise, then he should preach the darma to enlighten others.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Suicide is bad karma

A Korean film star committed suicide a few days ago. She seemed to be the victim of incompatible marriage. To me, suicide should not be encouraged. We should value life more than anything else.

To the Buddhists, committing suicide is considered killing of lives and it constitutes bad karma and the person who died in this way will go to hell. Hence all genuine Buddhists will not end their own lives.

Legally if one tries to commit suicide and fails, he or she will be charged in court too.

Let us try to make life easy for every body and let no one think of ending his life to escape certain type of predicament. Good religious education is of help in this matter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paving the way for the return journey

The last day of Kew Leong Ya Festival will definitely rain. Tonight at around 7.30 p.m. it rained. It is believed that it rains so that the path is cleansed for devotees to send Kew Leng Ya Dewas back to the sea. The way had been paved for their return in this manner.
Today was the last day for devotees to take pure vegetarian diet.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The difference between 'keairan' and 'perairan'

Today's post is about the Malay language. I shall tell you the difference between 'keairan' and 'perairan'.

The first word 'keairan' means 'air enters a place' in the passive sense. In Malay, ist is explained as 'diamasuki air'. A sentence illustrating the meaning is as follows:
Kapal itu tenggelam kerana keairan. [The ship sank because water had entered it.]

As for the second word 'perairan', it means 'waters' or 'kawasan air' in Malay. The sentence below shows the sense of the word:
Kegiatan lanun sering berlaku di perairan berhampiran dengan Teluk Eden. [Piracies often occur in the waters near the Bay of Eden.]

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to use 'should' to mean 'if'

In English, various words can be used to mean the same thing. For example, we can use 'if', 'in case', 'provided that' and 'should' to be mean the same thing.

In this post, I will show you how to use 'should' correctly to carry the meaning of 'if'.
Firstly, 'should' must be at the beginning of a sentence. Secondly the verb that follows it must be in the infinitive or present tense. Let us look at the following examples:
1 Should you change your mind, you can always cancel the trip.
(If you change your mind,you can always cancel the trip.)
2 Should the need arise, I will render help without fail.
(If there is a need, I will surely help.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Everything is transient in this world

I was watching a Korean movie about the love affair of a young girl who suffered from leukemia and a young man. They loved each other so much that after the young girl had died of the incurable disease, the man still comes to the island on the anniversary of her death every year.

Everything in this world is transient. It is not constant as even in water the molecules in it keep moving and may acquire enough energy to escape from liquid state to gaseous state as steam. No one can really say that they can love each other forever.

Hence we should not attach too much to the love of someone so as to prevent grief. If we can understand that everything is transient, then we will not be so sad when we have to say good-bye to our loved ones.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Be mindful

Many a time, I knock my head against something hard and suffer some degree of pain. This happens very often because I am not mindful most of the time.
I am also not very observant. That explains why I can't recall the layout of things in the kitchen and whenever my wife asks me to fetch her something I have to look high and low for it.
Being mindful is really what a good Buddhist should practise. You can practise mindfulness by being aware of what is happening around you. Besides you should also be aware of every move that you make. For example, when you step your right foot forward you should know that you do so and so on.

Let us practise mindfulness to prevent getting hurt, Buddhists or not.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Food for Health

Certain food is beneficial for food. For example, fish and fish oils are good at preventing headaches. As for avoiding the accumulation of fatty deposit on artery walls, regular doses of tea are of great help. If you suffer from insomnia, drink more honey which acts as tranquilizer and sedative. Asthmatic patients should benefit from taking red onions as they can help to ease constriction of bronchial tubes. Those who want to prevent arthritis ought to consume fish as salmons, tunas, mackerels and sardines. Even commonplace fruit such as bananas can settle an upset stomach. Morning sickness and nausea can be cured by taking ginger. Another fruit that can be eaten to prevent osteoporosis is pineapple because of the presence of manganese in it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Happy Aidilfitri New Year)

Happy Aidilfitri New Year to all Muslims who celebrate it today after having fasted for a month in the month of Ramadan.

In Malaysia open houses are held by political leaders to allow people of other races to celebrate the Muslim new year with Muslims who are mostly Malays. Usually a variety of food will be served to the guests. These include ketumpat (glutinous dumpling), rendang (chicken meat or beef cooked in curry with spices thrown in plus ‘santan’ or coconut milk). In some places nasi minyak, nasi daging and lemang are also served besides the main dish – rendang.