"Let me put away my phone first", I said to my friend who wanted me to check whether the spaghetti in the pot was of the right texture.
I am now extra cautious for a few months ago, I was boiling some soup when the phone rang. I had just brought the pot of soup from the stove and placed it on the marble table. Just then the phone rang. With the phone in my left hand, and a ladle in my right, I scooped up some soup into two bowls. My guest was rushing off for an appointment and I had to serve her the soup first. Suddenly, to my horror, the phone slipped from my left hand and landed into the pot of hot soup!
Gone was the whole mechanism of the phone! My contact numbers had disappeared! And so had all the messages received.
Now, I am extra cautious. I hope I will not land myself in hot soup again....never!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I hate wastage of any kind. Especially when it is food. Every time I think of the sunken eyes and stomachs of famished children in Africa, I shudder at the thought of daring to waste any morsel of food. Hence, whatever food is left will be refrigerated to be consumed the following day.
Sometimes when I am not sure about the freshness of the food, I will take a glass of honey with some apple cider. It works! Apple cider helps to combat any potential dairrhoea which I may suffer from should the food be somewhat contaminated.
A remedy that is simple to concoct and drink. Try it!
Posing with Anul outside my apartment.
Pretty Anul with her better-half, handsome Avinesh
Avinesh, always sharp and helpful with the computer.
My tenants, Jasmin, Anul and Avinesh
37 days more to my 55th birthday! Having travelled around the world and having stayed for a reasonable length of time in some of the countries with various ethnic groups, perhaps, I am a little qualified to say that the Indians are one of the best looking people on earth? It would be wonderful to receive my readers' feedback.
I have told most of my Indian friends and tenants that God must have been in His best mood when He created them! :-) Of course, some of my friends would humbly deny and say that we Chinese are good looking too. Sure, if you take the overall picture and personality of a person, somehow the person still looks presentable. For example, my good friend from the University, Pit, looks attractive overall. However, if you were Dr. Woffles Wu, the famous plastic surgeon, you might want to make her eyes bigger, nose higher, and cheekbones more pronounced. Here, I am talking about facial features and physique. For us who are not so fully endowed we are often full of admiration of the Indians with their deep set and expressive eyes with long eyelashes and sharp noses.
Of course we also have other races like the Caucasians and Egyptians, just to name a few, with pronounced features, but I still find that on the whole, the Indians have been blessed with good looks. I will not be able to describe in detail like what Dr. Woffles Wu would say when he describes a well crafted face. But I am sure, my readers will know what I mean by the above paragraphs.
Nevertheless, we should all remember that internal beauty will always outshine external attractiveness. I once met an elderly lady of 83 years old. I told her she was a charming old lady and must have been pretty when she was young. However, Aunty Siew assured me that she was a plain Jane. Yet Aunty Siew is one lady that all the kids want to hug and get close too because she is oozing with kindness and gentleness, and that makes her very charming. Compare Aunty Siew with the wicked lady in 101 Dalmatians or the scheming stepmother in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Now you get the whole picture?
This is probably why we have an expression in Mandarin, "Nai kan". It means that a person appears more and more pretty and attractive the more you see her and spend time with her. "Bu nai kan" is the reverse for a seemingly beautiful woman somehow appears less pretty and attractive the more you look at her!
Let us all remember the Creator as the Potter who is still shaping His handiworks. Let us all remain pliable and teachable, so as to continue to allow the Creator to shape and mould us into the beautiful people that He wants us to be.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
As a child, I found it hard to understand English grammar. The teachers merely explained but had not made it exciting and interesting for the children to understand the grammar. Hence most of us learnt by rote. Fortunately for me, I was a voracious reader, and I was able to write and speak good English even in Primary School. Constant reading had enabled me to have a natural flow of sentence structure.
It was only while I studied French in the University of Alberta that I understood the purpose and meaning of grammar. My appreciation of languages was enhanced when I took up Chinese Literature and Comparative Literature.
English tenses are important because of the sequence of events. Construction of sentences is also important, because words put before or after could completely alter the whole meaning. For eg. My mother wants to hire a baby sitter for my brother who is 40 years old. It looks like as if the brother is 40 years of age, but the mother wants a baby sitter who is mature and at least 40 years of age. English punctuation is also important because it will also alter the meaning of the sentence. It is important that we punctuate well as it will make reading easier for the person reading our article. Hence, I am somewhat appalled when I came across a blog by piggymoopi who writes in his/her blog "there's nothing meaningful to write up here". Words just roll on and on, with little proper punctuation. Obviously Piggymoopi is quite prolific, judging by the diligent posting. Hence, why not make the most of it for your readers.?
If we complain about English grammar, try French. Then we will realise that we are spared from having to remember the gender of objects! With each gender, the verb also changes. Yet French is such a lovely language. It is really worthwhile to learn the language although it can be quite frustrating, because sometimes we spell what is not being pronounced, and yet, do not pronounce what we clearly see! I love the French words for mother and father-in-law. "Ma belle-mere" translated literally means my beautiful mother, and "Mon beau-pere" translated literally means my handsome father. Hence even when you are somewhat bald and toothless, with sagging breasts at age 85, you are still the beautiful mother! Isn't that wonderful?
The difficulty in Chinese is the writing. There is little grammar in Chinese. Although there are only four tones, we must be careful with getting the right tone or the whole meaning of the sentence is altered.
One needs excellent memory to learn Korean, because the Koreans like to use many words to say the same thing that other races could say in lesser words. For eg. we say "Bonuit" (good night in French) and Wan An (good night in Mandarin) but in Korean it is "Ahn nyong hee ju mu sip si yo". "Wo ai ni" (I love you in Mandarin) but the Koreans have to say it in seven words, "Na nun sa rang ham ni da".
My tenants and some Indian friends have taught me a little Hindhi. I am surprised that the adjectives will change when they are used to describe men and women. For eg. fat for ladies will be "moorthi" and for the men it will be "moortha".
Languages like Malay and Swahili are not so difficult to learn because you pronounce what you see. Hence most of my classmates had no problem passing our spelling tests. I specially like the word "Terima kasih" in Malay. It means "Thank you" but translate literally, it means "Receive love". Isn't it beautiful? I like Swahili because it is such a musical language.
I guess the trick of learning languages is to understand the uniqueness and hopefully, to also appreciate the beauty in every language. Acute interest in language learning so as to break all barriers in communication will help one to gradually master a language.
If all of us could pick up some words in other languages, it will add more warmth and a personal touch to communication. I remember how I went around greeting all the sales staff in Seoul when I went shopping. The staff were so thrilled with my greeting that many of them gave me little souvenirs as gifts - Korean flag, dolls, scarves, handkerchief and pen.
Cheers to better communication!
By RAMIT PLUSHNICKMASTI,Associated Press Writer AP - Thursday, October 30OIL CITY, Pa. -
For 16 years, real horror overshadowed the make-believe terror of Halloween in this Pennsylvania town, where trick-or-treating after dark was banned after an 11-year-old girl was abducted off the street and murdered.
But on Friday, pint-sized witches, princesses and vampires will once again be shuffling from house to house at night, thanks to a petition drive by a fifth-grader.
Elizabeth Roess gathered signatures, wrote an essay outlining her argument, and persuaded City Council two months ago to bring back nighttime trick-or-treating.
"I was a little scared that happened," Elizabeth said of the 1992 slaying of Shauna Howe, who was kidnapped while walking home from a pre-Halloween party. But she added: "I did this and now I'm so happy."
For weeks now, children and their parents in this struggling, working-class town of 10,000 about 80 miles north of Pittsburgh have been eagerly anticipating Halloween's return, though not without some trepidation.
Shannon Goodman got a tether to make sure her 2-year-old daughter, who will dress as a witch, doesn't wander off while they go door to door. "It's going to be a lot of fun, but every parent who cares about their kid should have that fear," she said.
Fifteen-year-old Braden Craig said: "I have a gut-wrenching feeling something bad's going to happen."
The police department plans to have seven officers on duty Friday night, or about twice the usual number, in addition to four school security guards and all 10 of the town's crossing guards.
"If this all goes well, that's great, that's fantastic. I long for those days, too. But the world has changed," said Police Chief Robert Wenner, a father of five who was a patrolman when the murder occurred.
The local radio station has been running a public service announcement by Wenner urging parents to accompany their children, examine any candy before it is eaten and make sure kids wear reflective material.
The police chief said Shauna's murder shattered the "Mayberry attitude" many people in Oil City had toward their hometown.
Shauna, whose family no longer lives in the area, was abducted on Oct. 27. Three days later, her battered body was found under a railroad trestle eight miles away.
With the town gripped by fear that a child killer was on the loose, trick-or-treating the next day was held in daylight for the first time. Police watched from helicopters as parents led their children from house to house along quiet streets.
Residents also began locking their doors and driving their children to school. And every year afterward, the City Council voted to allow trick-or-treating in the afternoon only, a move duplicated around the same time by many other U.S. cities and towns worried about children's safety.
The Oil City murder remained unsolved until a witness came forward four years ago and police turned to DNA evidence. Two brothers were arrested and convicted of murder and sexual assault. A third man pleaded guilty to murder.
Hoping to move Halloween back to night hours, Elizabeth, her mother, grandmother and family friends gathered 175 signatures. The 10-year-old also wrote a paper in which she made her case. Among her reasons: Halloween decorations are best appreciated at night, and many people aren't home during the day to give out candy.
The council vote was unanimous. Elizabeth plans on dressing up as a Goth princess bride.
"Unfortunately, Shauna's tragedy seemed to define Oil City for many years," Oil City blogger John Noel Bartlett wrote on his Web site. "It's time to move on."
When I chanced upon the above article in the Yahoo news page, I was reminded of the first time I went to Canada for my tertiary. My landlord, Dr. Smith and his wife, together with my classmate, Elizabeth King, wanted to go to the pub. I was the goody goody type who always preferred to stay at home to do her studies. Dr. Smith handed me a few packets of sweets, and said that when children came to ring the door bell I was to give them some sweets. That was the first time I heard of Halloween.
Just as I was about to sit down and study, the door bell rang. On opening, I saw some cute children dressed in the most creative yet most horrendous costumes one could imagine. There was this cute little girl dressed up like a witch and she annouonced proudly, "Tick or Teat". She could not proncounce the "r" because of her missing front teeth. "Treat!" of course, and I dug into the packets of sweets to give the children. Throughout the whole night, I could not study in peace, for every few minutes the door bell rang. I wished I had gone out with Dr. and Mrs. Smith, instead of staying at home.
Seeing the children screaming for joy also made me happy. But I wondered what all this Halloween was about. I must admit that till today, I never like the idea of Halloween, especially when I heard horrendous stories about some people who abused it. My landlady told me that somebody had put in needles in the cup cakes that she gave some children. And someone had poisoned the apples which killed some children. Was the person thinking of herself as the wicked stepmother of Snow White?
What is the purpose of Halloween? Why tarnish the beauty and serenity of this world with something so ugly, scary and fearful? Can't people enjoy clean, good fun?
Of course, the manufacturers and businessmen love Halloween for it means more ideas for business.
I really hope this Halloween celebration can be wiped out from the face of this earth for I do not see it benefitting anyone except the coffers of manufacturers of Halloween costumes and products.
Monday, November 03, 2008
"It is finished", An and I said jubililantly at the end of the 5km walk. We were drenched with perspiration!
The amiable participant with his "fans". He is so obliging to pose with everyone!
It is never too young to join the Big Walk. A little girl walking tall.
The Big Walk on Water! Who actually walked on water, but the Lord Jesus!
I can only put 4 photos each time in a blog. Hence now I put another 4 photos for my readers to view.
Don't miss the Big Walk next year, ok?