Sunday, January 31, 2010
This sticky cake was said to have the function of sealing the mouth of the Kitchen Dewa when he goes to the Jade Emperor to report on the affairs of the house in which he dwells. In order that he will only report good things, nian gao is offered to him so that only favourable things about the household will come out of his mouth. This is the belief of the Chinese. It sounds like bribery to me. Anyway, it is good to believe good things said of each of us. In fact, if everyone only says good things about his friends, no squabbling will take place and this world will be a better place to live in.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Let us eat more vegetables and fruit to save our Mother Earth.
Friday, January 29, 2010
In the past we have treated cancer cells as enemies and try to destroy them through radium treatment and chemotherapy but they will still be in our bodies. A doctor who had suffered from cancer treated the cells as friends. He altered his life-style and food. From a hectic schedule, he had taken things easy. He turned vegetarian. Miraculously, the tumour had reduced to a negligible size and disappeared later.
A researcher who went to China during the 80's also found that those Chinese who took mainly vegetables and fruits had rarer cases of contacting cancer.
Hence, it can be concluded that switching to vegetarian has a better chance of not contacting cancer.
Be a vegetarian then.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hence we should exercise care so that we cut down mistakes to the minimum. This is important, especially in critical services such as medicine. The wrong prescription can cause lives. Leaving a nut in the body during operation was one of the incidents reported in the local newspapers. Imagine how much discomfort it has caused the unlucky patient, not to mention the risk of its presence there. Here is a good evidence that every care should be taken to ensure that the correct medicine is given to the patient and nothing is left in the human bodies except gadgets meant to be there after each operation.
I have done computer programming before. A misspelt command will render the program being unable to run. If you miss out one of the commands in pairs, you will never be able to make the program run as planned. Therefore programmers have to scan each line carefully before letting the program run for a trial.
In short, we should be more careful in carrying out our duties or tasks in order to avoid making mistakes. Don’t let ‘To err is human’ be the excuse for making mistake.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Now I have found a way when you need not worry about your bookmarks when you reinstall Windows. You can use an add-on to your browser to backup your bookmarks to a server. The add-on will synchronise your bookmarks whenever you add a new bookmark. You can recover your bookmarks from the server from reistallation of your Windows.
You can go to this link to download the free software called xmarks:
Install it and the add-on will work straight away to back up your bookmarks to its server.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Chinese usually like to use Mandarin oranges as one of the items when praying. It is because they believe it will bring 'gan' which means 'sweetness' to them. In other words, they will have better lives with all luxuries thrown in.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Weakly alkaline food includes red beans, radish, apples, cabbages,
onions, and tofu.
As for mildly alkaline food, dried radish, soya beans, carrots,
tomatoes, bananas, oranges, pumpkins strawberries, egg white, dried
plums, lemons, and spinach are the examples.
Let us eat more of this food to stay healthy and cancer-free.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Many instances of quarrel between two parties persist because either side refuses to give in. Each of them wants to be the winner. If both parties think of the above saying, one of them will let the other side win and the quarrel ends just like that.
In Buddhism one gains more merit in giving than receiving. If one is willing to render help to others, he will cultivate good karma. Letting others win does not render you a loser. In fact you gain in the sense that you help to settle one tight situation which will yield no result if nothing is done to untangle the mess.
Let us all retreat a step so that peace prevails in situations where one side must give in.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
There are also stalls selling fireworks and CNY decorations. Business is really good for these stalls. The CNY biscuits are on sale too. These are for those who want to get a taste of CNY delicacies before the real day.
The crowd seems to get bigger with each passing day before CNY which falls on the 14th day of February. It will take us quite some time to get pass the crowd on our way to buy things at the market. If you have read my post entitled ‘Down Ipoh Lane’ you will see how many stalls there are in Jelutong market.
The CNY songs keep blaring from stalls selling VCD’s and DVD’s add merriness to the morning atmospheres at these two places.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I just learnt of a few ways to detect a stroke attack on someone. It is from a nurse. She simplified it to S.T.R. which are the first three letters of STROKE.
If you find that someone is suddenly feeling uneasy.
1 Ask him or her to Smile or
2 Ask him to talk to see whether he or she can form a simple sentence correctly or
3 Ask him or her to raise his or her hand.
If he or she fails to do any one of the above actions, call for medical help for him or her quickly because he or she has suffered from a stroke.
There is another way to detect stroke too. Ask him or her to show his or her tongue. If it is crooked or bent to one side, it is an indication that he or she suffers from a stroke.
A stroke patient must get medical attention within 3 hours so that his life can be saved.
I hope this information is useful and can help to save more lives.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
As for English, BBC is the best source. You can download audio files to be listened too to reinforce learning. Besides the lessons are very interesting. I learned the correct pronunciation from this source too.
Let the cyber space be a place to look for useful knowledge.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The parents of the four 17-year-old students who drowned together with an 16-year-old Form Four student must be missing their dear ones. As one parent told the reporter, she had some knowledge of Buddhism and knew that life is uncertain, including the arrival of sudden death.
She took it as something destined.
According to Buddhism, all of us have to undergo all four stages of life, namely birth, old age, sickness and death. Whoever is born must die one day. Hence while we are still alive, we should contribute towards society and help others whenever necessary. When it is time to go, we will have no regrets.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
If you still remember the post I wrote about how I learnt English from scratch. I would arm myself with an English-Chinese dictionary and wrote the meanings of all the words whose meanings I did not know. It was this spirit of not leaving out any single word which I first came across that made understand what I was reading later in my schooling days.
The initial stage of direct translation for understanding is accepted but I still prefer learners of English use only English dictionaries with English explanation so that the train of thought in English will be there.
Think in English and write in English. This is my advice to master the English language.
Monday, January 18, 2010
To be healthy, one has to take the right type of food, exercise regularly and have the right attitude towards life.
We must avoid consuming lots of sugar and fat which are detrimental to our health. If one can forgo things delicious, vegetarian diet is the best food for our health. Even cancer patients in the West take vegetarian food while on medication to better their chances of having their cancer cured.
Exercising really helps to make one's heart function better. The easiest exercise is walking or going up stairs. If you go up stairs you work against gravity and you will pant for breath after some time.
Having positive attitude towards life means being contented with what you have. Greed will bring suffering as pointed by Buddha four thousand years ago. Just contribute whatever you can towards society and help whoever needs helping and you will have peace of mind - a state for the well-being of our bodies.
Let us stay health always.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Even as a teacher this stage fright did not leave me. For a few occasions, one local press invited me to give guidance on answering examination questions in Malay to students in Penang. I simply could not stop my hands from trembling and my voice still quivered forthe first few minutes. Although I had been told by my teacher to treat the audience as stones, this stage still clung to me whenever I was on stage.
I am now at ease when I am in my own class. The public seem to be the ones that trigger my
Saturday, January 16, 2010
1 The teacher made the naughty pupil stand on his chair for misbehaving in class.
2 I let him touch my pet rabbit.
3 She watched her dog run over by a speeding car.
4 They helped him sweep the compound.
5 He heard his sister scream in the room.
6 I felt a leech creep up my leg and shook it off vigorously.
7 We saw him fall into a drain.
Occasionally, the infinitives are used after other verbs such as recommend and suggest. Look at the following examples to see whether you can spot the infinitive in each sentence.
1 My employer recommended that I take a rest as I looked very tired.
2 Johan suggested at the meeting yesterday that we go for a holiday.
The infinitive in the first sentence is 'take'. As an infinitive is not a verb it has only one form. Hence although 'recommended' is in the past tense, you still use 'take' in the present tense (its original form).
As for the second sentence, the infinitive is 'go'. The same reason warrants the use of the 'go' and not went though the finite verb 'suggested' is in the past tense.
So much for the infinitives for today's post.
Friday, January 15, 2010
The verb-to-be ‘be’ is an interesting word. You can use it at the beginning of a sentence such as the one below:
Be good always.
It can also be appear in the middle of a sentence as exemplified below:
I realized that I would be late for school when I woke up late this morning.
So far, the sentences that I have constructed have adjectives following the verb-to-be ‘be’.
Let us see what other words can be used behind ‘be’.
1 Past participles can be used after ‘be’.
Example: Be prepared to work if you want to be a member of the staff here.
2 Nouns can be placed behind ‘be’.
Example: Let us be champions of this cause.
3 A gerund can be used at the back of ‘be’.
Example: I will be going for an audition soon.
4 ‘Be’ can also be followed by a pronoun.
Example: If you want a volunteer for this job, let it be me.
5 You can use a preposition behind ‘be’ too.
Example: This book will be of use to researchers.
6 An adverb can come after ‘be’.
Example: I will be there as usual.
I hope you know what to put behind ‘be’ when you make your sentences in any post or assignment.
Be with me along the path of learning the English language.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
1 I stopped to buy a can of Coke when I reached the convenience shop.
2 She has stopped buying things from the shop ever since she was cheated by the salesman there.
In the first sentence, ‘stopped to buy’ means I stopped whatever I was doing and bought something. I might be cycling, riding a motorcycle or driving. I just stopped cycling, let us say, and bought something from the shop.
As for the second sentence, ‘stopped buying’ here means has stopped going to the shop to buy anything at all since the incident of being cheated by the salesman at there.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
She really wanted to have her own child before she died and the husband suggested that they have a test-tube baby. Since she had no uterus, someone had to do the job of carrying the embyro for her. True friendship manifested itself when all her three buddies wanted to help her to carry this baby. Finally, one lady had her wish granted and she finally gave birth to a baby girl.
At that time, the husband was ferrying her to the maternity hospital but her condition was critical. Science was used again, when the husband telephoned her friends that she could not make it. One of her friends quickly directed her 3G phone to the newly-born and she was able to have a glimpse of her child before she passed away.
Scientifically an ovum can be fertilised by sperms from a man in a test-tube and the fertilised zygote can be transfered the uterus. The baby who is then born when the gestation period ends is known as a test-tube baby in layman language.
3G phones enable the transmission of videos through the air. If two people communicate using 3G phones they can see each other whey they talk. This is science.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
There is a type of fruit or root called Ngau Gu or arrow-head which is only on the market for sale before Xin Nian. The Chinese will peel off the skin and make slices of the fruit and fry them. They are quite crispy and delicious.
Chinese delicacies such as Kuih Kapit (made of the dough of flour, eggs, sugar, and coconut milk and baked in between two circular metal discs clipped together over the burning charcoal), ribbon cakes (which are made from the wrapping of wantan for the Wantan Mee (a type of noodle soup sold in Malaysia) and kuih bangkit (made of tapioca powder, sugar and eggs and baked in an earthen pot in between burning or glowing charcoal) are already on sale, a month ahead of Xin Nian.
I can sense that Xin Nian is approaching from the 'bei feng' (northerly breeze) that caresses my cheeks each morning. It always reminds of Chinese New Year and my first year teaching in Jerantut, Pahang.
All the above signs indicate the approaching steps of Xin Nian.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I like the room. It was very airy and cooling. In the morning, the air inside the room is as cool as an air-conditioned room. Usually before Chinese New Year, the air there is icy cool. The only disadvantage of staying in a wooden house with wooden floor was that whenever any tenant was back, his footsteps were audible to all the tenants.
I stayed in this house for a month and shifted to a single-storey terraced house in Ruby Garden, sharing it with two other outstation teachers. The teacher from Bemban, Melaka was Tan Ching Hong, and the one from Tangkak, Johor was Boo Cheng Kee. We had more privacy staying in a terraced house. It was during the stay in this terraced house that I started to contribute Malay articles to Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh for publication. There were mostly exam questions and translation of Chinese short stories to Malay. The honorarium earned enabled me to pay for my newspapers and magazine. I subscribed to Nanyang Siang Pau, the Straits Times (now New Straits Times), Berita Harian and Galaxie magazine. My housemates enjoyed reading them free but I did not mind because I did not lose anything by allowing others to read my newspapers and magazines.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
To make it easy for readers I will add in the intonation, Here it goes:
'kong3 kong kong4, kong kong4 kong4, kong3 kong, kong4 kong kong4'
Remember that all these sounds are in Hokkien.
To make it meaningful, this is what is contained in the above tongue-twister:
'kong3 kong kong4 means 'my grandpa (kong3 kong) says (kong4) [Note: An example in the use of kong4 is 'lu kong4 ha mi': You (lu) say (kong4) what? (ha mi?)]
'kong kong4 kong4' will mean 'the can (kong kong4) says (kong4)
'kong3 kong' means 'grandfather' in Hokkien.
'kong4 kong kong4' means 'hits (kong4) the can (kong kong4).
The whole tongue-twister simply means 'My grandfather says that the can says that my grandfather hits the can.'
How do you like my unique tongue-twister?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
A very common error committed by Malay students is the use of a preposition in front of 'there'. An example is "We had a lot of fun at here." The correct sentence should be "We had a lot of fun there." This mistake is most probably caused by the Malay structure 'di sana' [literally: at there].
Another error is the use of 'send'when 'take' is intended. For example, some of my students will write "I sent my brother to the nearest clinic immediately." which is wrong. The correct sentence should be 'I took my brother to the nearest clinic immediately." This error must have been influenced by the Malay word 'hantar' (send) which can be used for this purpose.
As for my Chinese pupils, they will make mistakes such as the ones below:
"My mother called me to buy her a kilogram of sugar." In Hokkien it is uttered as 'Gua ei ma kieo gua bay hor hee chi kilo ei th'ng." where 'kieo' is the equivalent of "call". However, standard English should be worded as "My mother asked me to buy her a kilogram of sugar."
A classic error committed by Chinese students here is the use of 'there have' when 'there are' should be used. For example, they will write a sentence such as the one below:
There have many types of food sold in the supermarket.
The correct sentence should be: 'There are many types of food sold in the supermarket.'
Friday, January 8, 2010
I am sure many of you still have amipro files with you because it was once very popular. For me, I have a lot of files in amipro. The WordPort is very expensive and when I tried the trial version, I had to correct the letters purposely made wrong by the program. The I searched the Internet for a solution and I found one. I would like to share this with readers.
This is what you have to do:
1 Go to this site to look for amipro word converter: http://www.gmayor.com/downloads.htm
2 Unzip the file amipro332.zip.
3 Copy the unzipped file amipro332.cnv to C:\Programs\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\TextConv subdirectory.
4 Restart Word.
5 Try to open any amipro file and it will be displayed exactly as entered.
I have tried it and it works perfectly.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Then I gave a written exercise for my boys and girls to do. Again I found that the same boy just stared at the exercise given and did nothing too. Usually I will ask questions to make sure that my pupils attempt the exercise given, then I will ask for answers. I will pick at random someone to answer, and if he gives a wrong answer, I will explain how to get the correct one.
When I gave another exercise to my pupils to do, I invited the boy I mentioned earlier out for a heart-to-heart talk to see why he refused to co-operate in class. To my surprise, the boy told me that he could not understand my instruction and could not follow the lessons. Then I asked him for his PMR results for Malay, and he told me that he got a 'D' which is very poor. No wonder he could not comprehend a thing in class.
For such type of students, we have a foundation class of three months to drill them on basic grammar and increase their vocabulary so that they can join a normal class again. If he still cannot make it, then we have to ask him to go for personal tuition elsewhere.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I find that I can use my mobile phone to help me recall the words. Luckily I know pinyin - a system of denoting Chinese words by sound. This can also be used to key in to produce the Chinese words displayed on the screen of my mobile phone. In fact, it helps me pronounce the Chinese words correctly, particularly those words with 's' or 'sh' sound, 'c' or 'ch' sound and 'z' or 'zh' sound.
In Malaysia I find that people don't bother to pronounce Mandarin accurately. They take the easy way out, that is pronouncing all 's' and 'sh' words with 's' sound only. For example, "Wo3 shi4 xue2 sheng1' [I am a student.] is simply pronounced as 'Wo3 si4 xue2 seng1.'
Make use of your mobile phone to learn Mandarin. It is worth the effort.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The newspaper report also showed her handwriting of her name. It is very neatly written. When it comes to handwriting I am very angry at the poor handwriting of my pupils especially the boys. The a's are not closed, the e's has no space as if c is intended and the n's look like h's. All these poor handwriting makes reading their essays more like deciphering what they are writing rather than knowing exactly when they have written.
The Chinese pride themselves in writing properly and forcefully. There are even kungfu exponents who practise writing as a form of kungfu. This happens when they write on the rocks or on papers with Chinese brushes.
Writing properly is a form of discipline and a way of showing that we want to do a job properly. Poor handwriting makes lives of teachers horrible.
Let us write properly if there is still a need to write now that we key in words with our keyboards.
Monday, January 4, 2010
If you are not interested in something that meets your eyes, you are uninterested in it.
For example, you can write a sentence such as the one below:
Pupils often are uninterested in History lessons because they are usually boring.
As for disinterested, it means 'impartial' or 'neutral'. Let us say a football match is held and we need a judge, we should choose someone outside the two competing teams to do the job. A sentence to illustrate this point will be as follows.
We invited a disinterested man to judge our football match.
So much for 'disinterested' and 'uninterested'.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I shall try my best to make readers have a better grasp of words with affixes or 'kata berimbuhan'.
In this post, I shall deal with one word 'pinjam' [borrow] and add affixes to it and see how these words should be used in sentences.
1 By itself, the transitive verb 'pinjam' should be used in the passive voice.
e.g. Buku cerita ini saya pinjam daripada Ali. [Literally: This story book I borrowed from Ali. It is better to be rendered as 'I borrowed this story book from Ali.]
2 When meN...i is added to 'pinjam', it becomes 'meminjami' which should be used according to the following formula: 1st person + meminjami + 2nd person + thing loaned to the 1st person
e.g Hamid meminjami Ali sebatang pen. [Hamid lent Ali a pen.]
3 With the addition of 'meN...kan', 'pinjam' becomes 'meminjamkan'. You can use it correctly by following the rule below.
1st person + meminjamkan + thing to be loaned + kepada + 2nd person
e.g. Susan meminjamkan sebuah novel kepada Lina. [Susan lent a novel to Lina.]
4 By adding suffix 'i' to 'pinjam', the verb 'pinjami' is formed. The usage is bit tricky here. Just follow this formula: Person + saya / awak + pinjami + thing to be loaned
e.g. Suresh saya pinjami basikalku kelmarin. [Literally: Suresh I lent my bicycle yesterday. It is better translated in the active voice, that is 'I lent my bicycle to Suresh yesterday.]
5 If the suffix 'kan' is added to 'pinjam', 'pinjamkan' is formed. Based on the rule below, you can use it correctly.
Thing to be loaned + saya / awak + pinjamkan + kepada + person
e.g. Nota Sains itu awak pinjamkan kepada Ahmad dua hari yang lalu. [Literally: The Science notes you lent to Ahmad two days ago. It is better to be rendered as 'You lent the Science notes to Ahmad two days ago.]
6 When you add the prefix 'meN' to 'pinjam', the derivative verb 'meminjam' formed should be used in the following way.
Person + meminjam + thing loaned + dari / daripada + place / person
e.g. Saya meminjam buku ini dari perpustakaan. [I borrowed this book from the library.]
Dia meminjam pen itu daripada Azmi. [He borrowed the pen from Azmi.]
7 The word 'dipinjam' is formed when the prefix 'di' is added to 'pinjam'. You should use it according to the rule below.
Thing loaned + dipinjam + oleh + person + dari / daripada + place / person
e.g. Buku ini dipinjam oleh adik dari perpustakaan. [Literally: This book was borrowed by my brother from the library.]
Disket ini dipinjam oleh Abu daripada kawannya. [This diskette was borrowed by Abu from his friend.]
8 If you add affix 'di...i' to 'pinjam' you get the word 'dipinjami'. This is how you use the word in sentences.
1st person (the recipient) + dipinjami + 2nd person (the owner) + thing loaned
Zamri dipinjami Muthu cakera padat video. [Muthu lent a video Cd to Zamri.]
9 When the affix 'di...kan' is added to 'pinjam' to form 'dipinjamkan' you can use it in the following way.
Thing loaned +dipinjamkan + oleh + 1st person (owner) + kepada + 2nd person (recipient)
e.g. Buku itu dipinjamkan oleh Johari kepada Mazlan. [This book was borrowed by Johari to Mazlan.]
I do hope by using rules and formulae readers will be able to remember how to use the above derivative verbs of 'pinjam' better.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Saya terima satu surat dari sahabat penaku kelmarin. Dia ingin tahu tempat-tempat tertarik di Malaysia. Saya pun memberitahu semua fakta-fakta yang perlu dia ketahui. Saya berharap dia memahamkan apa yang saya huraikan itu.
Let me correct the first sentence. The use of 'terima' is wrong here. According to Malay grammar, the transitive verb in a statement should be preceded by the prefix meN (me, mem, men, meng, meny, menge). Hence 'menerima' should be used. Satu surat is grammatically wrong too because the absence of 'penjodoh bilangan' (numerical coefficient) renders the noun phrase incorrect. You should write 'sepucuk surat' where pucuk is the numerical coefficient for surat. As sahabat is a person, the kata sendi nama (preposition) 'dari' (from)used in front of it is wrong. The correct preposition to be used is 'daripada' (from) which is used for persons. To end the correction for the first sentence, here is the correct way of expressing it:
Saya menerima sepucuk surat daripada sahabat penaku kelmarin. [I received a letter from my pen-pal yesterday.]
As for the second sentence, there are two errors incurred. The first one is 'tahu' which should be followed by the preposition 'akan'. 'Tertarik' which means 'attracted' should be replaced with 'menarik' which carries the meaning of 'interesting'. Hence, the correct sentence should be:
Dia ingin tahu akan tempat-tempat menarik di Malaysia. [He would like to know about the places of interest in Malaysia.]
Now I will deal with the third sentence. Three errors can be found in this sentence. The use of 'memberitahu' here is wrong. This is because 'memberitahu' (tell) should be followed by a person such as Ali. For example, 'Saya memberitahu Ali tentang hal itu.' [I told Ali about the matter.] If something follows it, then the suffix 'kan' should be added to it to become 'memberitahukan'. For instance, 'Saya memberitahukan hal itu kepada Ali.' is grammatically correct. The next mistake is 'semua fakta-fakta' [all facts]. As semua denotes plurality, the word that follows it need not be duplicated. You just need to write 'Semua fakta'. The last error in the sentence is 'yang perlu dia ketahui' which should have been rendered as 'yang perlu diketahuinya.' [which he needs to know]. This is the rule for passive form involving the third person. The correct sentence then is:
Saya pun memberitahukan semua fakta yang perlu diketahuinya. [I then told him all the facts that he needs to know.]
There are three errors too in the last sentence. The intransitive verb 'berharap' should be followed by 'agar'. The transitive verb 'memahamkan' means 'to make someone understand' is wrongly used here. The correct one should be 'memahami' [to understand] The last error is 'apa' which is a question word. Here 'apa-apa' [whatever] should be put in its place. The final corrected sentence is:
Saya berharap agar dia memahami apa-apa yang saya huraikan. [I hope he understands what I have explained.]
Friday, January 1, 2010
For those who would like to learn correct Malay, I have some posts on 'Tips in Malay'. Learning English and Malay as well as teaching them now enable me to realise the difficulties encountered by students in learning these two languages. I am lucky because I was taught by good teachers who aroused my interest in both and even now I still find learning languages fun. It pays to look at how words are used in sentences and how they are spoken so that you can articulate them correctly and grammatically correct. Remember to use the dictionary regularly.
New Year is the best time to start anything. So, if you still want to improve on your English and Malay, read all the posts labelled 'Tips on English' and 'Tips on Malay'. I will be adding more posts this year too in the hope that more people will use English and Malay correctly.
May all of you have a fruitful year ahead.