Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A bus man's holiday.

What do you do when you are free? Normally people who work will try to do something different from what they do daily. A bus man's holiday means doing the same thing even on holiday. Hence if you do the same even when you are free to do other things you are said to on a bus man's holiday.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Writing and me

Writing has been part of me since I was schooling. I liked to write essays, be they Chinese, Malay or English ones. I believe that the love of a particular language will make one study deeper into it and gain a better insight of the ins and outs of it. Writing in the language we study is of utmost importance. After playing with words and experimenting using them, guided by the correct grammar, one will improve by leaps and bounds.

One year, I only knew that my essay was published in the school magazine when we received it from our form teacher. It was an essay entitled 'An Attempt at Cooking'. My English teacher, Susie Quah must have taken it from my essay book. My writing also found its way into the scout's bulletin when I described my experience in a camp I attended. The only article in Malay was published in Mastika, a Malay montly magazine which is still in circulation today. I talked about biomass and it was about 1000 words in length and I was given RM90 as royalty. I still kept the very issue of Mastika for remembrance.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't force your wish on others

I learn quite a lot of things through reading, surfing the Internet and watching television shows.
Recently I watched a series about the work of social workers. One of them has to face the objection from his father in his effort to help the disabled. The father is unhappy because this son of his refuses to succeed him in his business.

Both men are very unhappy because one party cannot accommodate the wishes of the other. Through many incidents that befell the father, including his deaf and dumb child gaining his recognition, the father finally comes to realise that as a father he has no right to force his wish upon his son who has no interest in business at all.

At the end of the show, the father allows the son to get involved in the job that he loves best, working as a social worker to serve the needs of the disabled. Now, this is a win-win situation. As the son has told him once, "If you still insist that I help you in your business, you will be very frustrated because I won't as I have to help those who need my presence more."

Since then, the father and son are on very good terms with each other. The father is happy and so is his son.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It is 'sao mu' time again

I went to the graveyard of my late father to do 'sao mu' (cleaning up the grave) in conjunction with Cheng Beng Festival - a day for the living to pay respect to the dead. They can do this by cleaning up the mess (grass growing on the grave) and clearing unwanted and overgrown grass around the grave.

It is a good thing to show respect to our forefathers. Those who do so usually will have a good life, as is the belief. In Buddhism, respecting one's parents who have passed away brings merits.

I was with my sister and her husband this morning, clearing the mess around my late father's grave. As we were doing this, I had a chance to talk with my sister and knew about what transpired during the lapse we did not meet. We stayed in different parts of Penang and we only meet during occasions such as this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How to stop heel pain

I have heard of a way to treat heel pain. It worked for some people. It is worth trying for those who suffer from heel pain.

The method is too simple to be believed. What you need to do is to wear slippers while you are in the house, avoiding the soles from getting into contact with the floor. When you sleep, wear socks too. It seems that by doing so, the pain will go off after a while.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Affix meN_i in Malay (Group 2)

In my earlier post, I discussed the first group of affix meN_i and meN_kan. In this post I will be talking about the second group of meN_i and meN_kan.

If there is a sentence to remember the first group, I have coined another sentence to remember the second group of the affix. The sentence is 'Mak Imah naik turun pondok jatuh ke bawah'. Literally it means 'Mak Imah goes up and down her old house until she falls downwards / below.' (Note: a typical kampung house has stilts to support it.) As before, the first letter of each word represents a word this group. These are masuk, isi, naik, turun, penuh, jalan, kotor and basah.

These are the rules:
1 The doer before meN_i moves.
Saya memasuki rumah itu. [I enter the house. Here, 'saya' moves into the house.]

2 The object after meN_kan moves.
Saya memasukkan wang ke dalam dompet. [Saya put money into my purse. Here, 'wang' (money) moves into the purse]

3 The doer after di_i moves.
Rumah itu dimasuki pencuri. [The house was entered by a thief. Here 'pencuri' (thief) moves into the house stealthily.]

4 The object in front of di_kan moves.
Buku itu dimasukkannya ke dalam beg. [The book was put into a bag. Here, 'buku' (book) moves into the bag.]

You can try to make sentences with isi, naik, turun, penuh and jalan. If you can't, just request me to do so in the comment section and I will oblige you and post all the sentences in my next post.

The words kotor and basah has different rules. These are:
a) rubbish + mengotori + place
e.g. Sampah sarap mengotori tempat itu. [Rubbish has dirtied the place.]

b) person + mengotorkan + place + with + rubbish
e.g. Penduduk di sana mengotorkan tempat itu dengan sampah sarap.
[The people there dirtied the place with rubbish.]

c) Place + dikotori + rubbish
e.g. Longkang ini dikotori sampah. [The drain was dirtied by the rubbish.]

d) Place + dikotorkan + person + with + rubbish
e.g. Lantai kelas ini dikotorkan oleh pelajar dengan sampah.
[The floor was dirtied by the pupils with rubbish.]

The rules for basah is the same as the ones for kotor. Just replace 'kotor' with 'basah' and 'rubbish' with 'water' and you have the rules for 'basah'. Here are the four sentences:
a) Air hujan membasahi kaki lima kedai itu. [Rain water had made the corridor of the shop wet.]

b) Ibu membasahkan lantai dengan air sebelum mengelapnya. [Mother has made the floor wet with water before wiping/mopping it.]

c) Badan saya dibasahi air hujan kerana saya tidak memakai baju hujan. [My body was wet with rain water because I did not wear a raincoat.]

d) Lantai itu dibasahkan oleh kakak dengan air sebelum mengelapnya. [The floor was made wet with water by sister before she mopped it.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Children should stay away from MSG

MSG or monosodium glutamate is excitatory neurotransmitter. It is used as a taste enhancer. As such, food will taste better if MSG is added. However, this excitotoxin will damage the brain cells by over-stimulating them. In adults, the blood brain barrier with limit the entry of substances into the brain.

In children, the brains are not well-developed yet. Neither is the blood brain barrier. This explains why children should not consume too much food which contains MSG as their brains are four times more sensitive to MSG.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Night terror

I was watching a show on how to raise children when the term 'night terror' was mentioned. It describes the condition of a child who wakes up in the middle of the night, screams and does some violent act yet he or she has no remembrance of what he or she has done the night before.

According to paediatrician, the mother should wake the child up 15 minutes before it happens so that it has no chance to commence. Additionally, the child should be read a story with a happy ending before he or she goes to sleep. Soothing music should also be played before the child sleeps.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some words in Malay and English with the same spellings

In the course of studying both English and Malay, I have found a few words with the same spellings in both languages. I shall list them in this post.

The first word is ‘air’. In English it means the moving gas around us but in Malay it means ‘water’. In Malaysian petrol stations, the sign board for ‘air and water’ is placed beside the air pump and water tap. The Malay equivalent is ‘angin dan air’ [wind and water] because air in Malay is ‘udara’ but the gas that comes out of the pump is known as ‘angin’ [wind].

The second word is ‘cat’ which is a feline species but in Malay is ‘paint’. For example, ‘Saya menyapukan cat biru pada dinding itu’ means ‘I applied the blue paint to the wall.’

The next word is ‘pun’ which means ‘the humorous use of a word to suggest different meanings’ but in Malay it carries the meaning of ‘also’. For example, ‘Dia pun dating.’ Means ‘He came too.”

The fourth on the list is ‘main’. In English it means ‘chief or principal’ but in Malay it means ‘play’. An example is ‘Jangan main di sini.’ which means ‘Don’t play here.’

So far these are the ones I can think of. If there are more to come, I will post them later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to use present participles

In English, we cannot run away from using the present participle, that is 'ing'words. Present participle is used after a finite verb has been used in a sentence. The following are sentences in this group:

1 I sat under the tree, waiting for my friend. [The finite verb here is 'sat']
2 He stood there, staring at the stars in the sky. ['stood' is the finite verb in this sentence.]
3 She squatted outside the house, shivering in the cold weather. [The finite verb in the sentence is 'squatted']

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How I learned how to float

When I was studying in a teachers’ college, I joined the swimming club. Not knowing anything about swimming, I started off with floating. My college mates supported me while I was made to lie horizontally on the surface of the water in the Penang Club’s swimming pool. It was my first lesson at floating. With their support, I was floating all the while. However when they let go of their hands, I was sinking and they had to help me out of the water.

It was only during the second lesson that I managed to float. My college mates cheated on me without me knowing it. Although their hand had left my body, yet they said that they were still supporting me. Finally I realized that I could float. From then on, I tried a few times and managed to float after being taught the tricks, that is to lie with the head slightly bent backwards and felt relaxed as well as thinking that I was sleeping on my bed. In this position and the right state of mind, I was able to float. Though I have not been to a swimming pool for years, I think I can still float.

Friday, March 20, 2009

When 'ghost' means 'very' in Cantonese

In Cantonese, whenever we want to say 'very', we can always use 'kuai' which originally means 'ghost'. The following are the examples with 'kuai' meaning 'very'in the phrases:

a) Kuai kum hou seik (Very delicious)
b) Kuai kum chou (Very noisy)
c) Kuai kum leng (Very pretty)
d) Kuai kum yun (Very far)
e) Kuai kum yi (Very easy)
f) Kuai kum cheong (Very long)
g) Kuai kum fei (Very fat)
h) Kuai kum sar chan (Very arrogant)
i) Kuai kum pheng (Very cheap)
j) Kuai kum kuai (Very expensive)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I liked to play the harmonica

When I was still a boy, I liked to play the harmonica. It was quite easy to play any song I fancied with it. All I needed to do was to slide by lips to the left and to the right to produce the music. By trial and error I was able to play the songs I was familiar with. This musical instrument needs blowing and sucking air as our lips move from one tiny compartment to the next.

If you give me one harmonica now, I suppose I can still produce the songs that I know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to live up to 103 years old

I read about how a man of 103 years is still active in business. The secret of longevity, according to him is to lead a simple life. He walks for 30 minutes daily, takes a cup of coffee and play mahjong for 2 hours every day without fail. As for his diet, he takes porridge with vegetables and bean curds.

It all boils down to exercising daily, taking a vegetarian diet and exercising the brain by playing games such as mahjong that needs thinking and planning.

Walking is form of exercising suitable for all ages. Vegetables contain lots of vitamins and minerals and bean curds contain protein. The brain needs activating to stay alert. No wonder the man has lived well over 100 years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The will to succeed

I was watching a television series about disabled children. There was one boy who had wheel-chair bound since small, yet he was so optimistic. Seeing his determination to overcome all difficulties is really touching. For example, he could drop the basket-ball into its net from the wheel-chair accurately. He had willed to do it and he succeeded. His brain and muscles were degenerating yet he was determined to live every day doing what he wanted. He did workout to slow down the degenerating process every day without fail. His will to succeed is really admirable.

Many of us give up too easily. We surrender whenever we meet with obstacles of difficulties. All of us should have the will to succeed. Then only will we strive to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to drive away loneliness

When you are alone, how do you drive away the feeling of being lonely? As for me, I usually surf the Internet or listen to light music. Sometimes I will pour my feeling into the journal which I always encourage my students to write.

Some people will smoke to kill their boredom. This is bad because smoking is detrimental to health. Yet others will play solitaire or other one-player game to keep occupied so that they don't feel lonely.

Chatting with cyber friends is another good way of keeping boredom at bay.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Congratulations, you are at school

Congratulations, you are at school

When I passed by the former school I taught in, I was attracted by the above sentence painted on the cement wall near the school gate. It is a very good way to encourage students to come to school by patting them on the back.

Students of this school like to absent themselves without good reasons. Their act makes the teacher even busier because they have to send the first letter to each student's guardian if he has been absent continuously for three days.

To congratulate a pupil for being at school is really a novel way of encouraging him to come to school daily.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

He came to after being rendered first-aid

In English, a preposition usually pairs with a verb forming a phrasal which carries a different meaning all together.

In this post, the phrasal verb I am going to introduce is 'came to'.

Normally you will construct a sentence such as the following:
He came to my house to borrow the Science notes.

As a phrasal verb, however, you will make a sentence such as the one shown below.

The unconscious man came to after being given first-aid by a nurse.

The phrasal verb 'came to' in the above sentence means 'regained consciousness'.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Internet is of help to students

The Internet is of help to students. This is the view of a father who talked to me this morning.

"Using the Internet helped my son in scoring an 'A' in the SPM exam," said the coffee-shop owner of the café I frequent daily for breakfast.

What I can see is the boy uses English daily in finding facts, chatting or writing e-mails through the Internet. With much practice, one's English will improve. If he reads blogs written in standard English, I am sure he will learn and benefit from other people's works.

It just shows that we can learn English from any source. It can be from the advertisement, pamphlets, food labels, notices and so on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Other ways of saying 'if'

In English, besides 'if', we can use other words such as 'suppose' and 'should' to express the same feeling. Let us look at the following examples:

1 If you want to borrow money from the bank, you need to have a guarantor.
2 Suppose you want to borrow money from the bank, you need to have a guarantor.
3 Should you want to borrow money from the bank, you need to have a guarantor.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sign of Spirituality

I have the ability to detect whether a person is spiritual or not. All I need to do is to talk to that person. If he is spiritual, his vibration will come to me and I can sense it when a very pleasant feeling will overwhelm me. I can tell it by the hair that stands erect and keep vibrating all over my body especially over my face.

When I walk past a place where people pray regularly, this feeling will come to me too. I can't explain how I acquire this ability.

Vibration usually exists in places where praying, chanting of the Buddha's name and so on are performed. It will influence those who are themselves spiritual, me included.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let us be punctual

Punctuality is important in our lives. People who are punctual command the respect of others. Being punctual is also a way of showing respect to other people because they need not wait for you to start a function. Some people often miss their buses, trains and planes because they are not punctual.

In Malaysia, being punctual for wedding dinner is not a norm. So far I haven't attended a Chinese wedding dinner which started punctually. Although it is printed on the invitation card that the dinner will start at 7.00 p.m, it will not commence until 8.00 p.m. or later. Usually I will fill my tummy with something before attending such function knowing too well that it won't be punctual.

I really hope that being punctual will be practised by more Malaysians.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Greed doesn't pay

Greed doesnt't pay. Because of greed, some people will gamble in the hope of getting more money with a small bet. However this people fail to realise that out of 10 times that they gamble, they will lose nine as the Chinese saying goes.

I have seen gamblers who lose so much that they have to sell their properties such as cars and houses to pay for the debts incurred through borrowing from illegal money lenders more popularly know as "ah long" here.

Avarice also causes some people to do things illegally such as smuggling and counterfeiting credit cards. When caught they will land themselves in jail.

According Buddhism, greedy people will end up in the Ghosts' Realm when they pass away. Hence the phrase 'Tan Xin Gui'(Greedy Ghosts) in Chinese is used when referring to greedy people.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Defreezing Windows

Today I had the chance to use AntiFreeze which I downloaded. As I opened too many programs my Windows suddenly hanged. No key could be used and my mouse could not work on any of the programs. Pressing Alt, Dtrl and Delete failed to bring out the Task Manager. Then it dawned on me that I had not tested AntiFreeze which I had installed. Hence I quickly pressed Shift, Alt, Ctrl and Home which really helped defreeze Windows and I could continue working.

Previously I pressed the power switch button for a long time to end Windows and restated it after that. After some time, my Windows would then hang every now and then as some dll's must have been lost.

Thanks to creator of AntiFreeze.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A better way to mark objective answer sheets

When I was still a temporary teacher in Heng Ee Secondary School in Penang, I was asked to teach Malay in Form 2 and Form 3. After a month, we had the first term test. For the Malay language, two papers were set - one essay question and one multiple-choice paper.

After the test, I had to mark both papers. For the essay part, I marked as usual. However, I found it tedious to mark the 60 objective answers for each pupil. As I was doing the marking laboriously, one experienced teacher passed by and laughed at me. He told me that there was a better way to do it. According to him, since the answers were shaded on objective answer sheets, what I needed to do was to cut the holes where the answers were on one blank answer sheet. Then I would only need to place this sheet with holes over the students' answer sheets and tick where shaded answers showed through the holes Well, I never thought of that, being inexperienced as it was my first teaching job. Later I learned that I must not be cheated by pupils who shaded more than one answers for one question. Hence before I did any marking, I screened through the answer sheets to make sure that only one answer was shaded for each question answered.

It shows that we gain experience as we go along life's path.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I had rashes all over me because of alcohol

I do not take beer even today because of bad experience in the past.

One day, I took a few sips of beer at a wedding dinner and I suffered the whole night because there were rashes all over my buttocks and I felt very itchy and uncomfortable. The same thing happened on another occasion when I had half a cup of beer at another wedding dinner. Since then I have given up any attempt to consume alcohol.

Later, I became a Buddhist and one of the five precepts is not to take alcohol. Maybe I am fated to stay away from alcohol which is not a good thing as over consumption of alcohol will result in liver cirrhosis.

Goodbye alcohol.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

He hardly works at all

Students often confuse between 'hard' and 'hardly' thinking that the former is an adjective and the latter an adverb. Well, it can be quite tricky because if you make the following sentence, assuming 'hardly' to be an adverb, you may not be conveying what you intend to:

He hardly hit the dog with all his might.

You may think that he had used all his might and hit the dog forcefully. You are wrong as it is the reverse. This sentence simply mean 'He did not hit the dog with all his might at all!

The correct sentence should be 'He hit the dog hard and with all his might.

Now look at the next two sentences.

He works hard as he wants to earn more money.

He hardly works all day.

The second sentence is the equivalent of 'He does not work at all the whole day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to use 'benefit' and 'benefit from'

The word 'benefit' can be a noun or a verb. As a noun it means 'an advantage or profit gained from something' and as a verb it carries the meaning of 'receive an advantage; profit'

The use of 'benefit' as a noun in a sentence is as follows:
One of the benefits of being a member here is being able to use the gym for workouts.

As for the use of 'benefit' as a verb, it depends on whether it is followed by the preposition 'from' or not. Look at the following sentences.

a) The project launched by the government here really benefits the village people. [It means the project gives the villagers advantages or a lot of good.]

b) We can benefit from the establishment of a bank here. [We can get an advantage if there is a bank here because we can deal with it for various transactions.]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Computer and me

I got attracted to the computer when I was in Sungai Petani. At that time, Apple computer was very popular. Initially, I learnt from another teacher who charged me RM30 for a course in BASIC. He loaned me his computer and I typed from a book which he provided after he had taught me how to start a computer and how to key in words. It was really fun because it was something new to me.

Then I bought an Apple compatible computer from MicroVision in Sungai Petani. The shop offered me ten free lessons in dBase III. That was the start of my great interest in programming. I actually acquired quite a lot of software from Z'tronic, Penang by post. They were mostly educational software.

From Apple IIe, I acquired an IBM-compatible computer which offered more memory for my programming need. I learnt how to use DOS before Windows which came into being later on. Now I still owned my dear pentium 4 computer with 1.6mHz but it has lasted six years and is still kicking.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How to get Windows moving when it hangs

Using Norton Ghost 14's Recovery Disk, I reinstalled my Windows back to where I had installed two weeks ago, losing much of my recording of shows which I recorded with my USB TV tuner and Total Media. Hence I searched through the Internet to find one antifreeze software which can help me activate my Windows when it hangs. Finally I found one, and I have downloaded it, ready to be used should my Windows hang again.

If you are interested, you can download it using this link [http://www.resplendence.com/download/antiFreezeSetup.exe]. After having it installed, press the hotkey combination (ALT+CTRL+WIN+HOME) when your Windows hangs so that an emergency task manager will appear to help you get things moving because the software has disabled some programs which have taken up too much of the Windows’ memory.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My five-cent breakfast

When I was studying in a primary school, I enjoyed tasting hot fried noodle sold by one middle-aged man who sold it at the canteen. I would be waiting by his side, ready to savour the first plate of fried noodle that he handed to me as the first customer. After handing him five cents (can't imagine what you can buy with five cents nowadays and worse still the beggar also refuses to accept such a meagre amount of money), I went to the long table and pulled out a stool to be seated. This plate of fried noodle was my daily breakfast then.

Nowadays, children are given a few ringgit to school so that they can buy enough food to fill their tummies to last for the half day that they are in school.