Monday, November 30, 2009

Leaving out 'penjodoh bilangan' when they are needed

I was waiting for my turn to pay my electricity bill when I spotted one poster with the photo of a hen and a chick which has just hatched out from the egg. The words in Malay read 'Elektrik meringankan beban menetaskan lebih sejuta ayam setiap hari.' When translated into English it is 'Electricity lightens the burden of hatching one million chicks every day.

There are two errors in the Malay sentence. The first mistake is 'lebih sejuta' which should be 'lebih daripada'. This mistake often occurs in Malay newspapers when accidents are reported. For example, 'Lebih sepuluh orang terkorban dalam nahas jalan raya' [The correct sentence should be 'Lebih daripada sepuluh orang terkorban dalam nahas jalan raya. (More than ten people died in the road mishap.)]

The second mistake is the absence of 'penjodoh bilangan' (numerical coefficient). In the above sentence, 'sejuta ayam' should have been 'sejuta ekor ayam'. 'Ekor' is the 'penjodoh bilangan' that must be used beween sejuta and ayam. The use of 'penjodoh bilangan' is one of the special features of the Malay language. By the way 'ekor' is the numerical coefficient used before fish, animals and birds.

There are occasions when 'penjodoh bilangan' need not be used. This happens only if the nouns after the words denoting numbers (kata bilangan) are abstract nouns.

An example is 'dua perkara'(two matters) because 'perkara' (matter)is abstrak in nature. Another example is 'tiga pendapat' (three opinions) as 'pendapat' (opinion) is an abstract noun.

Let us not spoil the beauty of the Malay language by leaving out 'penjodoh bilangan' when they are needed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pricky way to treat stroke patients

During one of the lectures, my Chinese medicine lecturer told us about his student who worked as a hospital assistant in a hospital. He had revived many patients who were in coma. While waiting for the arrival of a doctor, he poked the tips of all the patient's 8 fingers and 2 thumbs to release blood. Marvellously, the man regained consciousness before the arrival of the doctor. He would have been dead if the doctor had arrived late.

This same method can be used to treat those who had stroke. The poking of the fingers will release blood to prevent him from irreparable damage as further movement will rupture more arteries. If his mouth is bent to one side, both his earlobes can be pricked to release blood and the mouth will be straightened again. How marvellous!

This is one of the wonders of Chinese medicine.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What little I know about Chinese medicine

I have been a Zhong Yi (Chinese Medicine) student for a year before I stopped for lack of time to continue pursuing the course. It really opened my eyes to the world of Chinese medicine. From what I was exposed to, I learnt that Chinese medicine adopts a holistic approach in the treatment of diseases.

To be good in Chinese medicine one has to master the five elements, namely metal, wood, water, fire and earth and their relationships. The balance of yin and yang is stressed too. I forgot most of what I have been taught but I know that these Chinese physicians are really doing a job in alleviating the suffering of their patients in their peculiar ways.

Friday, November 27, 2009

They mean to live within their means

The addition of the letter 's' changes the meanings of certain English words. The words I refer to are not plural in nature. Here are some examples of words which change their meanings with the addition of 's'.

1 new - something fresh or of recent origin
news - information about recent events
The dog will be trained to play new tricks.
We usually listen to the news telecast in the evening.

2 mean - stingy
means - way of achieving something; money resources
The mean rich man seldom parts with his money to help others.
All of us should live within our means so that we don't have to borrow money from other people.
He uses his bicycle as a means to reach the post office which is quite far away.

3 water - the colourless liquid that we drink
waters - part of a sea
We drink water to quench our thirst.
Piracy often occurs at international waters near that area.

4 colour - hue such as red and blue
colours - flag
Some people like to wear red shirts.
The clever boy passed his exams with flying colours.

5 good - opposite of 'bad'
goods - commodities, something that you can sell
Exercising is a good way to keep ourselves physically fit.
Most of the goods sold here are very cheap.

6 physic - medicine
physics - science of dealing with the properties of matter and energy
The doctor gave the patient some physic to treat his sickness.
Physics is an interesting subject to study.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Live and let live

I was watching the news when I learnt that a turkey meant to be slaughtered by the President of America on Thanksgiving Day was spared its life. This is wonderful. According to Buddhism, sparing the life of a living being, animals included is better than building seven pagodas.

In real life situation, we can go for vegetarian diet as a way of sparing lives of animals meant for food. These include pigs, cows, goats, chickens and so on. As our food consists of vegetables, we don't have to resort to killing chickens, for example, for food.

If the spirit of non-killing is extended to other things,then wars which involve killings can be avoided. Acts of murder will be a thing of the past. How nice it would be if all human beings practise sparing lives of other fellow men and other beings.

The spirit of 'Live and let live' will then prevail.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The difference between 'cloth','clothe' and 'clothes'

In my last post, I talked about the wrong use of 'clothe' to mean clothes on the poster pasted outside a tailor shop in Hat Yai,Thailand.

Most students of English get confused when it comes to the usage of 'cloth', 'clothe' and 'clothes'.

You buy a piece of cloth to make clothes so that you can clothe your body to look elegant or smart.

In the above sentence, the word 'cloth' means fabric or material made of cotton with which tailors made dresses for their customers. The plural of cloth is cloths.

As for 'clothe', it means to put a dress to cover our body to look decent, instead of being naked. For example, a mother will clothe his baby after bathing it.

The word 'clothes' means 'garments' which we wear daily. You put on your clothes before you come out of your room after bathing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When the word 'clothe' is wrongly used

When I was in Hat Yai, it was raining most of the time. Hence I walked along the corridor of shops along Trok Sukomthalang looking at things sold there. Suddenly, I caught sight of a tailor shop with the following words written outside the shop:

'We deliver clothe in 24 hour.'

I hope that I remembered this line correctly.
Anyway two glaring errors stayed in my mind until now.

The first mistake is the word 'clothe' which should have been 'clothes' because 'clothe' means to put clothes on whereas 'clothes' means 'garments'. For example, a salesgirl is asked by his boss to clothe the mannequin (a dummy model).

The second error is 'hour' which must be replaced with 'hours'. To make this sentence grammatically correct, it should be worded as 'We deliver clothes in (within) 24 hours.'

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trick of unscrupulous Traders

It was an eye-opener for me when the tourist guide on the bus bound for Hat Yai told us something which we had to be careful about when shopping in the small town in Thailand.

He asked us to watch out for unscrupulous fruit traders. According to him, when we buy fruits the trader will get ready two bags and place them side by side. As you are looking at your purse while taking out the cash to pay him, he will steal the time to take out a number of fruit and put them into the bag beside it all because you are not looking. Hence, he has two suggestions to avoid this cheating. First, ask the trader to wrap up the fruit and you watch him do it. After taking over the packet do you take out the purse and search for money to pay him. Alternatively, you bring a friend along to watch him wrap the fruit. In your friend's presence, he won't do it of course

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A wet shopping spree

I just returned from Hai Yai, Thailand one and half hour ago. It was a one day shopping trip but luck was not with us. It was drizzling and raining the whole day through. Hence we missed the small bazaar where petty traders lined the street selling all sorts of goods and food. When we passed by it, most of the traders did not do their business.

The tour leader then took us to Asian Hotel in Trok Sukomthahang to rest and washed our faces. Thereafter it was shopping and massaging on our own. As it was raining, we had to brave the rain visiting the big bazaar looking for things to buy. We went there by a ten-seater 'toot-toot' - a van-like vehicle minus the backdoor.

One of the local products that we bought wsa ring-like threads of sweetened nutmeg which is seldom available in Penang. We also purchased many packets of dried longans, dried cashew-nuts and dried anchovies. Each of us only paid 20 bahts as the fare.

On the way back, we stopped by 'Ta Shen Ya' temple where some of our group members went in to pray. It we stopped by Gurun for dinner before heading home.

It was really a wet shopping spree.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Things put behind you belongs to everybody

When I was on my trip to Beijing, the tourist guide told us to be careful so as not to be the victims of pickpockets. Snatch-theft rarely happens because Chinese laws are very strict about this.

This time my Guilin tourist guide said, "What is put in front of you is yours, what is put by the side is others' and what is put behind you belongs to everybody." He was giving us advice so that pickpockets will not lay their hands on our properties. After his sound advice, I saw shifting of waist-pouches and sling-bags to the front from among fellow tourists in my group.

Talking about safety of tourists' property, I observed that the Chinese police really patrolled the tourist spots regularly. In places like the pedestrian walkway in Canton, a police-constable will be stationed there. I saw one policeman coming to take over the duty of keeping an eye on the crowd from his colleague. In this way, should any occurrence of pocketing take place, it will be dealt with at once. The patrol car will come very soon because it is on the round all the while in predetermined places.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cute rubbish bins in China

Almost at every tourist spot, I could spot cute rubbish bins such as the one in the photo below. On the front is written in Chinese 'Huan Bao Xiao Wu' or Litte House of Conservation. One little cute girl is looking at you at her open window. By turning a rubbish bin into a cute little house like this, it really helps to raise awareness among the local people and tourists alike to throw their rubbish into it.

When I was in Beijing, I saw women picking up rubbish every now and then at tourist spots. I saw the same thing while in Guilin too. It is a very good job done to keep the places clean all the time. This picking-up-rubbish-as-they-go-around women seem to work all day because I saw them in the morning and bumped into them again at night. No wonder there is hardly any rubbish in tourist spots in China.

Please help to keep the environment clean, will you?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where bears and tigers are in abundance

During my trip to Guilin, I had a rare chance to stop by an interesting place called Bear and Tiger Mountainvillage. As the name itself suggests there must be bears and tigers here. You are right. There are about 400 bears and 1300 tigers being reared here.

The bears and tigers at his place were originally reared for commercial purposes, that is tigers are killed to make Chinese medicine and the biles of bears are used to produce Chinese medicine too. However, since China joined the world organisation for the protection of wild animals, these animals have been banned from being killed for medicinal purposes. The owner then had a good idea and turned it into a park for tourists to visit so that the income can be used to feed bears and tigers here.

We were entertained to a show by bears and tigers in the ring. Both animals were trained to stand and walk. As for tigers they were trained to jump through a ring of fire too. Then came the show in the field where a parade of bears on their fore legs passed by us gracefully. One bear even rode one a motorcycle on a steel wire high up with his baby bear hanging below it.

I was not able to take photos while being here because my camera's battery went flat after I took too many shots in the Reed Flute Cave earlier in the morning. The photos shown here are from Thum Xinjing, an engineer who was on the same trip with me. With my request he emailed to me all the photos posted here. Hence I would like to thank him through this post. Thank you, Xinjing, for being so kind and helpful.

Posing in front of Bear and Tiger Mountainvillage

I'm sleeping. Leave me alone, will you?

Welcome my friends from abroad.

Stand on your hind legs. This is an order.

See, we can walk on our fore legs.

Don't worry, son. I can make it to the finishing point.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You come rushing, then you go flushing

During my trip to China, we often had to go the washrooms or toilets to ease ourselves. Usually, the washrooms in restaurants are all right but at Sinopec (equivalent to Malaysia's Petronas) petrol stations, the washrooms have no doors. Hence women tourists have to take turns to stand on guard while their friends are answering nature's call. There are occasions when umbrellas will have to be used when there are no toilets around at certain remote places in China. These will form a barricade or shield for the one who needs to pee.

In one of the washrooms I went to, I saw the following poster pinned on the wall.

It reads 'Lai ye cong cong, qu ye chong chong." The word for word translation is 'Come also in a hurry, go also flushing.' However, I will translate the line as 'you come rushing, then you go flushing' for the pun of it but the Chinese translated it as 'Have to hurry, was also chong chong to.' It is horrible English. For one thing, it is grammatically wrong to say 'have to hurry' - a sentence without a subject. 'was also chong chong to' carries no meaning at all because English people will not understand what 'chong chong' means. Worse still it is written in the past tense 'was' and cannot go with 'have to hurry' which has a finite verb 'have' already assuming that the subject is understood to be 'You'. The last word 'to' must be a mistake for 'too'.

To improve on the above, it can be rendered as 'You have to hurry no doubt, but you need to flush too before you leave.'

Monday, November 16, 2009

The final lap of my journey in China

Finally it was the last day of my Guilin trip. Early in the morning we set off for Xi Guan Mansions to witness the quadrangle courtyards with all the rooms meant for different purposes such as for entertaining guests, for cooking, for study and as rooms to sleep in. As no camera was allowed, I could only take a snapshot of white gold fish which I had not seen before outside the mansion.

Then we proceeded to Xing Hu or Star Lake. It is said that the water here is as crystal clear as the water of Li River and the mountains surrounding it are as scenic as those in Guilin. You can judge for yourselves by comparing the photos of the hills in this post and those earlier ones in Guilin. The lake teems with fish and they belong to the state. Anglers who like to take home their catch will have to pay a fee while fishing here.

The next place we went to is the Liurong Temple - named after six big Banyan trees found there. I took a photo of one of them for display here. The pagoda was quite tall too.

Then it was shopping time. We went to the famous Shang Xia Jiu Pedestrian Street located in Liwan District of Guangzhou City. When we reached there, I was surprised to see such a huge crowd. I took many snapshots of the crowd scenes here. It was quite rushing because we had only one and a half hour to shop as we had to board the bus before 4.00 to reach Bai Yun International Airport in order not to miss the 7.15 p.m. flight back to Penang.

It was home sweet home at 11.35p.m.

A rare species of white gold fish

Liurong Temple - a famous temple in Guangzhou

One of the banyan trees in Liurong Temple

Two of the seven hills in Xing Hu

One of the hills seen around Xing Hu

Shopping crowd at Shang Xia Jiu Pedestrian Street

Shopping Crowd 1

Shopping Crowd 2

Shopping Crowd 3

You can watch live ads here.

Shopping Crowd 4

Shopping Crowd 5

Shopping Crowd 6

Shopping Crowd 7

Shopping Crowd 8

Let us eat some food here.

Let us rest here while your mum is shopping.

A Blood Donation Booth right in the city centre - What a good idea!

An artificial waterfall in the city.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A 10-hour journey by bus to reach Zhao Qing

There was a hitch on the 6th day of my trip to Guilin. We left He Zhou at 8.13 a.m. for Zhao Qing, a distance of over 200 kilometres. The estimated time of arrival there was over 5 hours. But it was not to be so.

The driver did not do his homework as when we reached a place leading to Zhao Qing, it was closed because the bridge there was being repaired and it had been closed for six months already. Hence, the bus had to go back to find another route to reach Zhao Qing wasting one full hour. He opted for short cuts but it was time consuming because we had to go through very rough roads some of which split in the middle because of earthquake. The bumpy ride made travelling uncomfortable. It was not until 10 hours later that we finally reached Zhao Qing.

We missed out two sites to be visited but the tourist guide told us that he would make up for them the next day as it was too dark then. The night was spent experiencing the activities of local folks at Qi Xing Yuan Square where children had a good time roller-skating and scooting with their scooters while adults could do their shopping. Another thing we did was to enjoy the fountain display.

It was a tiring day because of the long hours' of travelling by tour bus.

Qi Xing Yuan Arch at Zhao Qing

Night scene at Zhao Qing

Crowd watching fountain display

One of the highest fountain shots

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Visiting sites where movie films were shot

On the fifth day of my Guilin trip we were brought to a cave, some scenic spots and the sites where movie films were shot.

Early in the morning, we set off for Lipu Silvery Cave. It is another cave where stalactites and stalagmites are in abundance. The works of nature are not as beautiful as the ones in Reed Flute Cave. At the entrance of the cave, I could read two lines in Chinese, which means 'if you ever visit this cave, you will always have money at your disposal.' It is a way to allure visitors to enter the cave for a fee. We were going along the cave when the chanting of Buddha's name was audible. The tourist guide then told us that a stalagmite that looks like the buddha preaching was there. A few tourists quickly paid homage to the 'buddha' there and then.

The next place we went to was Gu Po Mountain. It was named after a maiden who was unmarried because she brought up five dragons who were hatched from five stones she found in the river while washing her clothes there. Gu Po in Chinese means a spinster. She and her 'sons' often helped the residents there and so when she passed away, they named the mountain after her. We took photos at the waterfall found there.

Then it was the turn for us to visit the sites where two famous movies entitled 'Plain Love' and 'Country of Spirits' were filmed. First we went to the wine factory where the film 'Qiu Shi Gu Xiang Nong' or 'Country of Spirits' was shot and tasted the sweet glutinous wine. Then we adjourned to the tea plantation where 'Cha Shi Gu Xiang Nong' or 'Plain Love' was filmed. There we were able to savour the olong tea as the tea trees of this type were grown there. We even tried our hands at picking tea leaves.

Do I look like a pink curtain?

Do we look like peacock?

Magnificient stalagmites

Bless me, my dear buddha.

Pillar-like stalagmite

One gigantic stalagmite

The row of stalagmites look like the Great Wall of China

Exotic, narrow-necked stalagmite

Posing inside Silvery Cave,Lipo

Posing outside Yingzi Yan or Silvery Cave

Posing in front of waterfall at Gu Po Mountains

Posing outside the wine distillery at Lipo

See, we could pick tea leaves too.

The electric jeep that ferried us around Gu Po Mountains

Friday, November 13, 2009

A day spent with scenic places and local tribes

Day 4's journey started with a visit to the Elephant Hill, so named because of the shape of the hill that looks like an elephant sucking water with its trunk (see pix below). After that we went up Fubo Hill to have a panoramic view of Guilin city.

The next place we went to was known as 'Shi Wai Tao Yuan' or Shangri-la - a serene place unpolluted by human activities. We also paid a visit to the Tong tribe there. At one place, a maiden was throwing down her xiu qui (a ball embroidered with colourful cloth) to people passing by. According to the tribe's custom, the one who happens to receive the ball is supposed to be her future husband. As we cruised down the crystal clear water, we could see beautiful 'tao hua' (name of a type of pink flowers). Some Tong girls were also dancing to welcome us. Not only that, men of the same tribe danced further down the river too. Finally I managed to take a snapshot of an aborigines who waved to us. All along we could feast our eyes on the distant Guilin hills which looked so beautiful with their shapes that resembled whatever animals we could imagine.

More interesting trip was in store for us when we went rafting down Li River, singing 'san ke' (hill songs). Finally we got a chance to see how a fisherman used his fisher-bird to help him fish. The bird would dive down looking for fish and came out with it in its beak. The man then took it out of its beak. As I observed, I found that a ring was around the bird so that it could not swallow the fish caught.

In the afternoon, we proceeded to Yang Shuo, come 65 kilometres away. We stopped to sip tea prepared by a place called Dr Tea. It seemed that the best tea is Pu Er tea.

At 9.10 we had a chance to watch the performance by the Li River. It was directed by the famous Chinese director, Mr Zhang Yi Mou. The setting was the distant hills and Li River. The audience was huge too. Each show was watched by 2300 people. We watched the second show and enjoyed it thoroughly. I could not take good pictures because of the poor lighting around. Anyway, I hope the three best shots I put here can do the job of getting readers to imagine how the show was like.

Posing at the entrance to Elephant Hill Scenic Area

Tourists taking photos in front of Elephant Hill

Come, buy my fried fish, hot from the wok!

I was quite surprised to see Malaysian fruits being grown and sold here.

Picturesque View with willow trees on the front

On top of Fubo Hill

Houses of the Tong tribe

Decorated House of the Tong tribe

A gadget to draw water from the river

Welcome, tourists from Malaysia!

We think we can dance too.

Don't snatch my xiu qiu, let the handsome man have it!

A traditional weaving machine of the Tong tribe

Who says only women can weave?

Let me try my hand at manoeuvring the raft.

Beautiful 'tao hua' growing on the river bank.

Posing in front of a scenic spot.

Scenic Guilin hills

A breathtaking view of Guilin hills

Picturesque view of Guilin Hills

Undulating Guilin hills in the distance

What a beautiful view of Guilin hills!

I am going to ask my bird to catch a fish for me.

Down you go my dear bird.

Crystal clear water of Li River, Guilin.

Good boy! Now let me get the fish out of your beak.

Scene of the show at the beach of Li River, Yang Shuo.

A girl dancing on a gigantic artificial moon.

Do you believe that as many as 600 people were there to perform?