Saturday, June 26, 2010

Writing my daily post

Writing the daily post really taxes the mind. You have to come up with something to talk about and it must be original if possible and it has to be something of interest to readers. At times, you need to put up something that can benefit your readers. Tips on computing, health and language guides serve to attract readers to your blog.

So far, I have tried my best to write something that will satisfy my readers be it something short but meaningful. You are not going to get anything out of this post except the language used. You can learn some English if there is nothing you can rummage from this piece of idle blogging.

Sometimes I will be running out of ideas and I shall try to think of something that I have experienced before and put in there for the perusal of my readers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Guitarist scout

I have been a scout before. One year, our scout organised a campout at Fraser's Hill. I could still remember the camp because one guitarist, Khaw Kheng Joo, my senior who was good at playing guitar. We sang many scout songs with the accompaniment of his guitar music. Even right now I could still hear the melodious music that he was playing then.

Being tall, he had to stoop to talk to me and I had to look up to speak to him. He never failed to answer all the questions I put to him. I really treated him as my elder brother and enjoyed his company.

God bless you brother Kheng Joo wherever you are.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Transferring files

I just acquired a low-end handset Nokia 2700 classic. As I had some mp3 songs in my HP Ipaq PPC, I used the bluetooth to do the transferring job and it works perfectly.

Now I just need to take out the SD Flash card from my PPC and had my audio files transferred from desktop to it. Then I will use it to transfer them to my Nokia handset via bluetooth because I still have not bought the USB cable meant for this handset.

It will quite some time I have to do this before I get the relevant cable to do file transfer from my desktop to my new mobile phone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It was raining when I reached home

In learning English, the correct usage of tenses is very important. With much reading and practice, tenses will come naturally as we write. In this post, I would like to discuss two pairs of verb forms that go together. These pairs are past tense and past perfect tense and past tense and past continuous tense.

Examples of the pair of past tense and past perfect are as follows:
1 He started to watch television when he had finished his homework.
2 John had taken his lunch before he went out.

These are the examples involving the pair of past tense and past continuous tense:
1 It was raining when I reached home.
2 He was playing computer games when I went to see him.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the good sides of tumeric and garlic

As I was waiting in the hospital for my wife who attended to her father who went for dialysis, I browse through a magazine provided. I chanced to read about some interesting facts which I would like to share here.

The first fact is tumeric in curry contains curcumin which can kill cancer cells. In other words, it is beneficial to eat curry with tumeric as one of the ingredients.

Another fact of interest to health-conscious people is garlic contains allicin which can block enzymes that cause viral and bacterial infections. It just mean that we can fight cold by consuming garlic regularly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On exams

Exam phobia is common among students. Some students will shudder at the thought of having to sit for an exam, especially public ones such PMR, SPM and STPM. Whatever they have crammed into the heads refuse to come out when answering exam questions in the exam hall, thanks to the phobia that they experience.

If we don't have to sit for exams and just study for the joy of it, how nice it will be for the students. I personally do not fear exams as I treat them as part of the course of life we have to go through. Bearing in mind that exams are set to test what students know and not what they do not know, they must set in such a way that they should be able to pass them if they study according to the lessons taught to them. Many a time, you will find that some examiners set their questions to test what students are unable to answer, until the questions ask them for opinions or ways to solve problems that they have some inkling of what to do.

I have yet to see a day when exams will be a thing of the past.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thoughts on Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. Whenever I think of my father, I will always remember his stern look. I still remembered being whacked by him for not following him to sell sugar-cane, and other titbits at the gambling site at a village near a river. The gamblers would frequent our stall and bought sugarcane of other titbits. By selling these my father earned extra money for the family. He was selling fish in the morning and he made full use of the after to bring in more income. I didn't give a thought to that the at time, being still small and was ignorant of such things.

My father was very good at calligraphy. He signed my report card using a Chinese brush. I still kept my report card just to keep fond memory of the fine calligraphy. He could memorise the
'San Zi Jing' or 'Three-worded Mantra'. Up to now I can still remember the initial parts of this book.

People often came to my father when they had fish-bone stuck to their upper roof of their mouths. When they approached my dad, he would take out a cup, pour some water into it and point his forefinger towards the sun and start to draw something on the surface of the water. Then he would ask his 'patient' to drink three sips and the rest would be thrown onto the roof. Miraculously the bone that got stuck in the mouth would simply disappeared. Unluckily, he did not pass this mysterious knowledge to me and I had no idea how to do it, especially what to draw on the surface of the water in the cup.

I really hope my late father had been born into a better realm than human realm.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to use 'apa' and 'apa-apa' correctly

Students of Malay often gets confused as to the correct usage of 'apa' and 'apa-apa'.

To be able to use them correctly, one has to know its part of speech. 'Apa' or 'what' in English is a 'kata tanya' (question word) and should only be used when one asks the name of something or an animal. For example, you can write two sentences such as the ones given below.
1 Apakah yang kaupegang itu? [What are you holding?]
2 Apakah nama binatang ini? [What is the name of this animal.]

As for 'apa-apa' or 'whatever' in English, it is a pronoun in the group 'kata ganti nama tak tentu' or 'a pronoun denoting something uncertain in nature'. Perhaps the following sentences will bring out its meaning.
1 Saya tidak memahami apa-apa yang dikatakannya. [I did not understand whatever he had uttered.]
2 Tiada apa-apa di dalam kotak ini. [There is nothing whatsoever in this box.]
3 Ambillah apa-apa yang kausukai. [Take whatever you like.]

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reading, listening and writing helps to improve one's English

My students always ask me how to improve their English and my answers are invariably the same.

Reading, listening and writing in English are a must if one wants to improve in English.

For reading, the most easily accessible printed matter is the newspapers. Take about ten to 15 minutes a day reading English newspapers. Through reading one will pick up new words, get used to English structures and especially the correct usage of prepositions and phrasal verbs.

Listening helps to reinforce our pronunciation and train our mind to visualise things spoken in English.

Writing, is to me, very important because 'practice makes perfect'. If a student is very hardworking and writes an essay a day and ask his teacher to mark it, he is sure to improve in his essays tremendously. I have personally marked the 'karangan' (essay written in Malay) for a collegemate very often and she finally obtained a distinction in the MCE (now SPM) exam.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Working under pressure

Whenever I give any written work on essays, I will ask my students finish them within the time allocated and not more than that. Initially, I extend the time if they cannot complete their work. As time goes on, I will collect their work when the time is up. My students who work under pressure gets used to it and they are able to accomplish their task within the time limit.

As for me, I also demand myself to complete my notes to be given out or do modifications to the lessons to suit the class situations. I find that working under pressure in this way helps to expedite work. It is not much different from sticking to a planned schedule.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My ppc, mobile phone and me

I really want to own a smartphone, a gadget with a pda and phone combined. It is still quite expensive unless you opt for a secondhand set.

Right now, I have a pda or rather a hp ipaq pocket pc and a mobile phone, both being separate entities. I use my ppc mainly for keying in notes and accessing my email when I am too lazy to use my desktop. You see, my modem router is always on because my son and daughter are always dowing audio and video files. With my ppc, I can access the Internet as it has a Wifi Lan installed.

I seldom use my mobile phone because I don't like to receive too much radiation from the set. Rather I use it to look up things I would like to do and it acts my alarm clock every morning.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chang Festival is here again

Tomorrow is Duan Qiu Jie or Chang Festival and you can see hawkers selling rice dumplings in the market. There are basically two types of 'chang' sold, the one with filled ingredients such as meat, nuts and so on and the other is purely rice with alkali which looks yellow.

Chang Festival is celebrate to commemorate Qu Yuan, a loyal Chinese court officew who committed suicideat Milo Jiang or Milo River because his idea to improve the country's well-being was rejected by the emperor . In order to distrac the fish from feasting on his dead body in river, the Chinese people prepared rice dumpling and threw into the river so that the fish will eat them and spared Qu Yuan's body.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My first experience in riding a new motorcycle

When I was still studying in a teachers' college in Penang, I bought a Honda Cub C70 bearing number plate PN3533.

I still remember how I fell off the bike on my first day of riding out to town. As I was coming out from my village, there was a steep slope and I applied the brakes when I reached the junction. Suddenly, the machine fell sideways and I was thrown to one side with my spectacles and crash-helmet leaving my head.

When I was still in dizziness, one kind soul fetched me my glasses while another retrieved my helmet. It was after much practise riding the motorcycle that I was able to control it to go anywhere without trouble.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Do not tamper with things unknown

I was playing with my Nokia 1208 when I got into trouble. Being interested in viewing messages in Tamil, I began to set the phone's language to Tamil. I was in for trouble because I could not read Tamil and I did not write down the steps to get to the language change.

I tried in vain to set the language back to English. Now, I had an idea how to go about reverting the language to English. I have to borrow a similar Nokia set and do parallel things until I come to the language change menu.

This taught me a lesson not to tamper with things unknown or else I will in the predicament as I am in now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Be mindful at all times

I have talked about mindfulness in my earlier post. It is very important that we are mindful of what we are doing.

When you drive, you must be mindful of what is in front, at the left and the right as well as what is behind you. Only then will you be able to practise defensive driving. If you are in Penang, you will find motorcyclists wheezing in and out of a queue of cars. You just need to brake to let it pass. This can only happen if you are mindful.

My fingers often bangs into a wall or the corner of a table when I stretch out my hand to take something thanks to my being not mindful. My eyes are focussed on the thing I want to take, paying no attention of the hand that goes towards it but gets blocked by the wall resulting in a swollen finger. I know that I must be mindful all the time to avoid this but I often forget and history repeats itself.

Hence be mindful at all times.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I very like you

Direct translation from Mandarin to English often results in sentences which are grammatically incorrect. One such example is 'I very much like you.' This sentence comes from Mandarin that reads 'Wo fei chang xi huan ni.'

The correct sentence should have been 'I like you very much.'

Hence you should know which of the following sentences is correct:
1 Do you very like me?
2 Do you like me very much?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thumbs up to the Internet

My pocket pc keeps telling me that I have low memory. Ironically I have a 1G SD with still half the capacity to contain files. Later I figure out that it must be the device that is running out of memory. The culprit must be the Internet temporary files. However, I have no idea what should be done to delete these files.

As the Internet has helped me solve many of my problems related to computer, I quicky typed 'how to delete tempory in windows mobile' in the search box. I was given a few files to read and I simply chose one and followed the instructions. Now, my ppc does not complain of low memory anymore. Should it do that again, I will know what to do, thanks to the Internet.

Thumbs up to the Internet.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to use 'worry' and 'worried'

The verb 'worry' means 'feel anxious about something that may happen'.
You can make a sentence such as the one below.

You don't have to worry about the safety of your belongings because they will be well taken care of.

As for 'worried', it is the past tense of 'worry' or an adjective. How they are used can be seen through the following sentences:

1 He worried about the condition of his son who was still sick after being given medicine. ['worried' here is the past tense of 'worry'.

2 She is worried about the exam she is taking tomorrow. ['worried' here is an adjective]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Choosing compatible empty discs for cd or dvd writers

Have you ever face the problem of your cd or dvd writer being unable to write files to your cd's or dvd's? Well, I have. That explains why I usually go to a shop that sells cd's or dvd's and buy only 1 disc for testing to see where my cd or dvd writer can write on the disk. If it can, then I will buy more of the same type of discs. Otherwise, I will scout for other brands until I find one that is compatible to my cd or dvd writer.

It is advisable to look for a few compatible brands so that you can a stock in case one brand is out of stock. From time to time, access the discs to which you have copied files to see whether they still work. If not, it is time you backed up the same files from your hard disk. If I am not mistaken, I have advised readers to keep more than one copy of the same backup files to prevent mishap such as this.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Turning my CD player into a loud speaker

I just started my MUET class and I need to play recording of passages for the Listening Test. When I took out my old cd player, it failed me. Then it dawned on me that I had not been using it for a long time.

This has happened to me many times. When I first bought the laser player with very big disc, I hardly used it and when I finally had a laser disc and wanted to play it, it could not be used anymore. My VCD player also suffered the same fate.

I had overheard one repairman telling his client that he had to use players using laser light very often so that it could last. If you see it occasionally, it will get spoilt very soon.

I examined my CD player and found that it had a line-line function. This gave me an idea to do something that will work. The Pocket CD that I own came in handy. From my computer I copy the mp3 files of the recording to my SD compact disk and put it back to my handheld. With a connecting cable, I plug into my earphone of the PPC and the other end into the line-in of my CD player. When I play the mp3 files, my CD player just acted as a loud-speaker and I could use it in my MUET class without having to buy a new CD player. Moreover I don't have to use any CD-R at all.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The difference between 'menghantar' and 'menghantarkan'

Certain words in Malay do not require the suffix 'kan'. Examples of them are menghantar [to send]merancang [to plan], menunda [to postpone], memegang [to hold], membasmi [to eradicate], membanteras [to eradicate] and mengeksploitasi [to exploit]

When 'kan' is added to such words, they mean 'for' and it must be logical for this meaning. For instance, if 'kan' is added to 'menghantarkan' it means to send [a letter] for someone, that is to do him a favour by bringing the letter to the post office and drop it into the post letter box so that the postman will deliver it to the recipient.

You can add 'kan' to merancang to form merancangkan which means to plan for someone. Similarly, memegangkan is possible because it means to hold something for someone for the time being, for example, so that he can open the car boot for it to be put there. As for membasmi, menunda, membanteras and mengeksploitsi, you cannot put 'kan' at the end of these words because it will be meaningless to postpone for someone, to eradicate for someone, or to exploit for someone.

For today's post, I shall make sentences to bring out the difference between 'menghantar' and 'menghantarkan'.
1 Saya menghantar surat khabar lama itu ke kedai kitar semula.
[I took the old newspaper to the recycling shop.]
2 Saya menghantarkan jiran anaknya ke sekolah kerana keretanya rosak.
[I took my neighbour's son to school for him because his car broke down.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Practice makes perfect

The proverb 'practice makes perfect' means if we do a certain task over and over again, we will find that the task has become easy for us to do.

In learning a language the same principle applies. We have to practise using the language daily so that it becomes second nature to us. Only then can we master it and use it fluently because we are used to using it through our writing or speech.

Mandarin words are considered the most difficut to master as they involve many strokes. However, if we write the same word fifty times, we will remember how to write it the next time we want to use it.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Now that I have some knowledge of Japanese, I would like to present a simple 'How do you do?' in the languages that I know of.

In Malay, you say 'Apa khabar?' and in Madarin it is rendered as 'Ni hao ma?'

As for the Japanese, you would say 'Hajimemashite' to them.

My Hokkien friend will say 'Loo hor O?' and the Cantonese will probably utter 'Lei hou mou?'

Now for the reply.

The Malay will say 'Khabar baik' [good news] when you utter 'Apa khabar? [Literally 'what is the news?']

In English, when someone says ' How do you do? ' to you, you will reciprocate with the same words too.

The Chinese will say 'Wo hao' in reply to your greeting of 'Ni hao ma?'

"Hajimemashite' will be the reply from the Japanese to whom you utter 'Hajimemashite'.

As for the Cantonese, they will say 'Ngo hou, thor chay.'

Hokkien people will utter 'Gua Chin Nya Hou' to reply to your greeting of 'Loo Hor O?'

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My sympathy goes to them

Usually I will give guidance on the use of Malay or English in this blog. Today, I am going to depart from this and rattle on my thoughts.

Whenever I pass by those stalls along both sides of the road leading to Jelutong Market where my wife buys her fish, vegetables and other things, I wonder how they can support their families. Not many customers go to these stalls. What I mean is business is not so good except on Sundays.

What I can imagine is they must be very frugal and make full use of every hard-earned cent for food, clothing and children's education. My sympathy goes to them whenever I think of their plight.

Life must go on and each has his own way of meeting ends meet, I suppose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The difference between 'kecurian' and 'pencurian'

The Malay passive verb 'kecurian' is often used as if it is a noun. Hence, you will find a sentence such as the one below:
Kecurian sering berlaku di taman perumahan ini. [wrong]

The above sentence is wrong because 'kecurian' means 'dimasuki pencuri' or burglared in English. The correct word to be used to replace it is 'pencurian' which means 'perbuatan mencuri' or the act of stealing or theft.

The wrong sentence can be rectified as:
Pencurian sering berlaku di taman perumahan ini. [correct]
[Theft (Burglary) often occurs in this housing estate.]

The correct usage of 'kecurian' is as follows:
Rumah Ali kecurian semalam dan banyak barang bernilai telah hilang.
[Ali's house was burglared and many valuable things were missing.]

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where is the cat?

If you want to ask where some place or animal or thing is in Japanese, use '(name of place /animal / thing) do ko desu ka' For example, if you want to know where the police station is, just ask 'koban wa do ko desu ka? or in Hiragana こばんそこですか?’

The other examples are as follows:
1 Where is the train station?えきは どこですか?[eki wa doko desu ka?]
2 Where is the cat? ねかは どこですか? [neko wa doko desu ka?]
3 Where is the car? くるまは どこですかh? [kuruma wa doko desu ka?]

You can answer, 'It is there.' [soko desu] or 'It is over there.' [asoko desu].

In Japanese,'It is there' is rendered as そこです。"It it over there is あそこです。in Hiragana.