Friday, October 30, 2009

MUET: Reading Comprehension Passage

To those taking MUET this November, this one is for you...


(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))

MUET MOMENTS - Lesson 5 TODAY we are going to look at the READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGE. How do we go about answering questions based on a passage? First things first.

* Read the passage to get the general idea
* Find out the meaning of words in context
* Find out what certain pronouns refer to
* Determine the main idea in each paragraph
* Determine the main idea in each passage
* Differentiate relevant points from irrelevant ones
* Identify the author's point of view/purpose/attitude and tone
* Read the questions and scan the passage for the answers
* When attempting to answer the questions, always refer to the text.

Future Engineers Please Read This

HIGHER EDUCATION: Social skills crucial to engineers

2009/10/24 -


INSTITUTIONS of higher learning offering Engineering studies should emphasise social and entrepreneurial skills to enable future engineers meet the requirements of a fast developing country such as Malaysia.

Professor Prasad Krishna of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Karnataka Surathkal in India says engineers should have three sets of skills in order to contribute to the development of a country. The skills are technical, professional and, most importantly, social and entrepreneurial.

"Engineers cannot be alienated from society and should be directly useful to industry if they are to play a meaningful role in nation-building," says Prasad, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently as a member of the board of studies which is laying the academic foundation for the proposed Vinayaka Missions University (VMU) Engineering, Technical and Management branch campus in Malaysia.

Apart from Prasad, the board of studies is made up of leading academicians in the field of Engineering and Management from India, Malaysia and Singapore.

Among the academicians were from the highly acclaimed Indian Institute of Technology. The others were from Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Technology India, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, University of Malaya and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore.

Prasad says the social impact of Engineering is equally, if not more, important than the technological impact because engineers should find solutions that will have a positive impact on society especially in developing countries.

Prasad Krishna (left) with the Board of Mechanical Sciences, Vinayaka Missions University
Prasad Krishna (left) with the Board of Mechanical Sciences, Vinayaka Missions University

"Engineers should design and develop products that will benefit human kind and society and this emphasis should go into the curriculum of institutions of higher learning," he adds.

VMU pro-chanceller Datuk Dr S Sharavanan said the branch campus in Malaysia will give priority to the social and entrepreneurial skills of Engineering and Management students.

According to Sharavanan, two mandatory courses -- Engineer in Society and Entrepreneurship-- will be part of the proposed curriculum for the branch campus which is expected to be set up in Johor Baru with an investment of about RM100 million.

The proposed branch campus in Iskandar Malaysia will widen access to affordable education, extend VMU's global footprint and help meet the university's mission to spread education globally in the fields of Medicine, Dental, Paramedical, Homeopathy, Engineering, Management and Basic Science using existing resources and technology.

VMU, a leading education group in India which currently manages 21 colleges and universities in India, Canada, United States, Thailand and Malaysia, sees great opportunity of attracting students not only from Malaysia but also from the region to the branch campus.

Nearly 20,000 full-time students are presently studying in VMU's various colleges and universities and 150,000 are enrolled in distance education. Every year, about 5,000 students graduate from its campuses.

In The Soup = In Trouble

The whole enchilada


There is a wealth of food-related phrases that add flavour to the English language.

WITH ayam percik, roti jala, nasi kerabu, ikan bakar, lotus paste mooncakes with golden egg yolks, murukku, vadai, laddu, thosai with tomato chutney still fresh on my tastebuds (and thoughts), various food-related phrases come to my mind.

The English language has sprinkles and dashes of foodie phrases which may or may not be related to food at all. As a firm believer in a balanced diet, I would like to share with readers some morsels (or metaphors) for you to chew on.

Bread and butter

Bread is a staple food in the West while in in our region, rice is the grain of choice.

Bread and butter refers to the way one earns a living (similar to the phrase one’s rice bowl) and a breadwinner is the one who supports the family.

Bread and water means “the plainest and cheapest possible food”, which has its origins in the way Christians observe a fast in imitation of Jesus surviving in the desert. To know which side one’s bread is buttered is to know “what will be to one’s advantage”.

For example: “Leela’s family was living on bread and water when their father, the breadwinner, died in a car accident. Although selling fresh cow’s milk was his bread and butter, her mother has now started a small business offering tailoring services. While she appreciates friends and family dropping by for a chat, she knows which side her bread is buttered and attends to her customers promptly.”

Potato is a staple food in South America. A common phrase that incorporates this root vegetable is a hot potato – a “thing or situation that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with”.

For example: “The issue of whether to teach Mathematics and Science in English is such a hot potato, I wonder if we’ll ever hear the end of it.”

A couch potato is simply a lazy person whose life is confined to the couch.


While bread has positive meanings, butter is very much like its greasy and oily properties. If you have butter-fingers, you are likely to drop anything you hold. If you tend to be extremely pleasant to someone in order to get something from them, you’re buttering somebody up. Worst of all, if you look as if butter would not melt in your mouth, you’re acting innocent, kind and gentle when you may be the total opposite!

The whole enchilada

An enchilada is a popular Mexican dish, which is a tortilla (corn pancake) filled with a meat, chicken or tomato-based sauce (or salsa), rolled and topped with sour cream, guacamole (avocado sauce), grated cheese and peppers.

The whole enchilada, much like the dish, refers to something impressive or outstanding e.g. “Did you know that Becky is a celebrity now? She’s got a blog, an agent, a chauffeur, a personal assistant, a personal shopper, endorsements, VIP invitations, speaking engagements – the whole enchilada!”

In the soup

The ultimate comfort food, soups are associated with warmth and tender loving care. However, you would not want to be in the soup because it means “being in trouble” in informal British slang as defined by the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

In hot soup seems to be the popular phrase now especially in newspaper headlines highlighting the misdeeds of politicians.

Letting someone stew in his or her own juice means you let someone suffer the unpleasant consequences of their own actions without helping them.

Clams up

Most people enjoy a beach holiday and digging into seafood. Interestingly, seafood-related phrases are not as pleasant. For instance, if your brother clams up, he’s not talking and if he’s crabby, he’s bad-tempered or miserable. He could be feeling like a fish out of water or he feels awkward because he is in strange surroundings. Hopefully, he’s not a cold fish also because that would mean he’s a hard-hearted, unfeeling person.

Or he has bigger fish to fry i.e. to have more interesting or important things to do. Perhaps, he smells something fishy i.e. he is doubtful or suspicious over what you’ve asked him!

Salad days

Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you but it’s not good if someone says that you’re still in your salad days as it means you’re young and inexperienced. Another favourite phrase, in a pickle, refers to “a difficult or unpleasant situation”, which reflects the fruits or vegetables preserved in salt or vinegar the phrase originates from.

Sour grapes refers to someone pretending that something they cannot have is not important to them e.g. “Alexa says she doesn’t care if her sister is prettier, more popular and getting married but her best friend says it’s just sour grapes.”

On the other hand, peachy refers to a situation where everything is fine e.g. When you ask Alexa how she’s feeling, her answer is always, “Just peachy.”

Dripping with honey

Always a hot spot, the dessert table serves a mix of metaphors e.g. if a man’s or woman’s words are dripping with honey, beware that they may be buttering you up. I’m rather suspicious when anyone tells me something is as easy as pie because in my experience, a pie is anything but easy to bake.

Don’t be flattered if someone dubs you a fruitcake for they may think you’re mentally unsound and unless you enjoy the pancreas of a young calf or lamb, do not order the sweetbread from the menu! Bon appétit!

Christine Jalleh is a communications specialist with a Master’s degree in English Language Studies. She blogs about English, culture and travel at


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sex & The City

hahaa... the title is just to lure you to come over... huhu...

Carrie Bradshaw: They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style

lure: 1. to persuade someone to do something
2. to attract customers, workers, money etc from another company or place

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Special Entry From Christine Jalleh To Miszsensei

christinejalleh said...

Hi MiszSensei! I've just blogged about the question you asked me earlier: "Has had" or "had had"?

Hope you'll still find it useful :-)

To all my readers, do visit this site

When To Use Has and Have

source: the star

COULD you please explain why we have to use “has” instead of “have” for this sentence: “Darling, I’ve got news for you: Meltem, together with her husband and six children, has come to stay with us for a whole month”. – Hoe

In the structure “Meltem, together with her husband and six children, has come”, the two subjects, “Meltem” and “her husband and six children” are linked by the phrase “together with”. In such structures, the verb agrees only with the first subject, in this case “Meltem”, which is singular. “Has” is therefore used instead of “have”. If such a sentence has a plural first subject, the verb would be plural, as in: “The six children, together with their mother, have come ...”

The verb also agrees with the first subject when the following phrases link the first subject with the second: “as well as”, “along with” and “in addition to”.

The above phrases seem to make the second subject just an appendage to the first subject. So only the first subject is considered in deciding whether to use a singular or plural verb. The conjunction “and”, however, makes both subjects equally important, resulting in the use of a plural verb, as in: “The woman and her six children have arrived.”

Some grammarians would not even regard the second subject as a subject when those phrases are used, but as a prepositional phrase beginning with a compound preposition, as seen in this statement from a US university website:

“Prepositional phrases beginning with the compound prepositions such as along with, together with, in addition to, and as well as should be ignored, for they do not affect subject-verb agreement.

Example: Gladys Knight, as well as the Pips, is riding the midnight train to Georgia.”

Thanx Ieda

Thanx to Ieda (picture above: in red) for giving me theseeee.... !

but I need more.... huhu...

what are those stickers for? haha... those are from Giant Hypermarket ... I need hundreds of them... ! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Saw Him Today

taken from Mind Our English - The Star

COULD you tell me which of the following sentences are correct?

1. I saw him today.

2. I have seen him today.

3. I didn’t do any work today.

4. I haven’t done any work today.

5. We went to Singapore twice this week.

6. We have been to Singapore twice this week.

7. I didn’t have a holiday this year.

8. I haven’t had a holiday this year.

If all the sentences are grammatical, could you tell me what are the differences in meaning? – Daniel

1 & 2 – You can use both sentences, but in different contexts. Sentence 1) “I saw him today.” is more common. You can say that if you met a friend by chance or by prior arrangement earlier in the day, or you can say that in reply to a question like: “Have you seen Amin lately?” and you reply: “Yes, I saw him today, in the canteen.

Sentence 2) “I have seen him today.” is used only in certain contexts. For example, if a friend knows that you are in the habit of visiting your father who is in hospital, every day, he may ask you: “Have you seen your dad today?” and your answer can be:“Yes, I have seen him today. He seems much better than he was yesterday.” “I have seen him today.” is a confirmation that you have done what you habitually do every day.

3 & 4 – Since “today” is not over yet, you can’t use the simple past tense and say: “ I didn’t do any work today.”(sentence 3) because you might do some work later in the day. But you can say: “I haven’t done any work today.” (sentence 4) because it means that up to now (e.g. 2pm today) you haven’t done any work, but you may do some later.

5 & 6 These two are similar to 3 & 4. “This week” is not over yet, and you may go to Singapore a third time, so “We have been to Singapore twice this week.” (sentence 6) is the correct sentence to use. It states the situation more accurately, i.e. up to now this week, we have been to Singapore twice. We may go again, who knows?

7 & 8 These two are similar to 3 & 4 as well as 5 & 6. You can’t say: “I didn’t have a holiday this year.” (sentence 7) because this year is not over yet. You can say “I didn’t have a holiday last year.” because last year is over and done with. So when talking about not having a holiday this year, you have to say “I haven’t had a holiday this year.” (sentence 8) Who knows, later in the year, you might have one.

Having said all that, I think it can still be argued that – if you are saying sentence 3 at 11.59pm today, or sentence 5 very late on Saturday this week, or sentence 7 very late on Dec 31 this year – you may be right!

I Want These..

Got any extra? I wanttttt! huhu...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Budget 2010: Education

from the star;

Best students will get to further education at top varsities

THIRTY of the country’s creme de la creme students will be awarded National Scholarships strictly based on merit, which will allow them to further their education in world-renowned universities.

Those who get National Higher Education Fund Corporation loans will also see the loans being converted to scholarships beginning next year — if they graduate with first class honours.

All university students will be offered a netbook package of RM50 per month for two years, including free broadband service.

There are goodies for schoolchildren. A complimentary student discount card will be given by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad for long-distance services. Pre-school education — to receive RM48mil — will be incorporated into the mainstream national education system, aimed at increasing children’s participation from 67% to 87% by 2012.

The Permata Programme will get RM100mil to expand and implement five programmes, including early childcare and education for children under five, training those talented in performing arts and guiding exceptionally intelligent students. It will also have a programme to train youths aged between 18 and 25 years to discourage them from getting involved in social ills.

Twenty high performance schools will be identified next year to produce excellent students, focusing, among others, on academic excellence, overall students’ achievements and curriculum activities.

To enhance the skills of the local workforce, RM2bil will be put aside to upgrade polytechnics and community colleges, provide a RM1.3bil loan fund for 32,000 students, and to build and maintain equipment at various industrial training and skills institutes.

The Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia at level four and above will also be accredited as being equivalent to the academic stream, making the holders eligible for employment in the public sector and salaries equivalent to diploma holders.

Additionally, RM32mil will be used for special modules, student screening and training programmes to increase literacy and numeracy to 100% among Year One pupils.

The Government will also ensure that schools are managed and administered professionally by principals and head teachers.

For excellence schools, it will introduce the New Deal package, whereby rewards in the form of monetary and non-monetary incentives and autonomy in administration will be accorded.

In tertiary education, public higher education institutions will be granted greater autonomy. The Government will also consider relaxing rules and regulations, which has hindered these institutions from generating their own income and thus reducing their financial dependence.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Period of Time

CAN you please tell me which sentence is correct?

1. When we are home, it’s midnight.

2. When we are home, it’s going to be midnight.

3. When we are home, it’ll be midnight.

Do we say “I will arrive in 5 minutes time or 5 minutes’ time”? – Adam

The correct sentence is 3) “When we are home, it’ll be midnight.” But it would sound better if you wrote: “It’ll be midnight when we are/get home.”

We say: “I will arrive in 5 minutes’ time”. When we mention a period of time, followed by the word “time” and some other words, the “time” word (i.e. minutes, hours, days, years) has an apostrophe after it if it is plural and an apostrophe “s” after it if it is singular. For example, we say:

“I will go in two days’ time.”; “I will arrive in an hour’s time.”; “I’ve taken two days’ leave.” “Top professional footballers get paid more for a week’s work than most people for a year’s work.”


Frangipani = Plumeria = Bunga Kemboja

Few days ago.. I arrived quite early for work.. as I was enjoying the lovely quiet and wet morning the frangipani flowers caught my attention..

looking at these flowers really make my day... rejuvenating...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Try This

Point of view

By S.H. LOKE from Mind Your Language - The Star

Many different words can be used to describe the way we look at things. Test your vocabulary skills with this exercise.

1. The children______in amazement at the giant ice-cream in the fun-fair.

A. gaped B. glared C. gloated D. peeped

2. The astronomy students____at the twinkling stars in the dark sky.

A. glanced B. gazed C. glared D. glimpsed

3. She _____at her students who were talking during her lesson.

A. peeped B. gloated C. glared D. gaped

4. A winner likes to______ over his success.

A. glare B. glance C. gloat D. gape

5. The opulent palace gives us a________of the rich life-style of the sultan.

A. glimpse B. glare C. gaze D. gloat

6. He_______in bewilderment when he saw some cows trampling on his vegetables.

A. glimpsed B. peeped C. peered D. goggled

7. Dave likes to_______ women who are attractive.

A. gaze B. ogle C. gloat D. peer

8. I took a______into her room out of curio­sity.

A. gape B. peep C. peer D. gaze

9. We have to_______at the exhibits on display under the dim lights of the museum.

A. peep B. glare C. peer D. gloat

10. I saw my sister______her cats basking in the sun.

A. peering B. ogling C. glowering D. observing

11. My uncle is_______with anger because his lap top has been stolen.

A. gloating B. glowering C. glancing D. ogling

12, The bright sunlight made me _______as he took a photo of me.

A. squint B. peer C. glare D. stare

13. I took a quick ________at the car parked outside my house.

A. glare B. stare C. glance D. ogle

14. When people dress bizarrely we always _______at them.

A. gloat B. stare C. squint D. observe

15. Every morning I______through the newspaper before I go to work.

A. gaze B. browse C. gape D.observe

16. I enjoy_______around in bookstores.

A. staring B. glancing C. browsing D. squinting


1. A Gaped 2. B Gazed 3. C Glared 4. C Gloat 5. A Glimpse 6. D Goggled 7. B Ogle 8. B Peep 9. C Peer 10 D. Obser­ving 11. B Glowering 12. A Squint 13. C Glan­ce 14. B Stare 15. B Browse 16. C Browsing

I, who am.... is this correct?

DO we say “I, who am considered very important here ...”? Can we say “I, who am ...”?

2. What’s the English word for “ketua kelas’’? – Ahmad

1. Yes, we can say “I, who am ...” Here are two examples of such usage from the Internet:

“ ... I, who am unsporty and dislike football, had an uncanny knowledge of football teams.”,,2116762,00.html

“... he’s trying to rush to the hospital, and he’s in a much bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am – it is actually I who am in his way.”

source: ; through my window

Something interesting from thestar....

Song causes a buzz

KUALA LUMPUR: Two days ago, media companies received an intriguing package containing a CD with a song entitled Through My Window, a website URL and a cryptic message “open for collaborations”.

The catchy song was heard on major radio stations yesterday and DJs began talking about it. Almost everyone wanted to know more about the song and the singers behind it.

As expected, the wave hit microblogging service Twitter. ‘Twitterville’ is abuzz with DJs tweeting about the song and followers re-tweeting, discussing and adding their comments. The tweets range from what they felt about the song to what might be.

Intriguing package: While some think it may be a marketing ploy to promote a new band, others believe it to be a new social movement because of the website’s name.

Some radio listeners who called in thought it may be a marketing ploy to promote a new band. Others believe it to be a new social movement because of the website’s name. And according to a trusted source via Facebook, “Through My Window could be a part of something bigger”.

Several callers asked about the artistes in the song because there is no indication that they are local or foreign singers. A few radio stations and blogs have launched a hunt for more clues and the public is welcome to give opinions.

Media Prima Radio Networks COO Seelan Paul said in a telephone conversation: “I wouldn’t be surprised if local acts are behind it because there is so much talent in the Malaysian music scene.”

As a result of all the attention given to the song, its website registered 3,988 hits as of 11pm yesterday. Enquiries were made but no clues are emerging.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Something Tragic

When I got home last night... I found this scene at my door...

That's Ibu, our cat...

and she is enjoying her dinner!


sorry..... hhehe... I didn't ruin your breakfast...right? hehe.. huhu...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

MUET: Writing Questions

MUET: Listening Questions

I hope this is not against the law... hehe... If it's a No.. No... do let me know ok...

it clearly stated that after the exam is over this document is no longer CONFIDENTIAL..

click photo to enlarge...

Mock Meeting For PPB 244 - Business Communication Class

My PPB 244 class had a mock meeting session last week. This is actually part of the class evaluation.

The first group... well prepared... they even had mineral water...

very serious... huhu

the second group... deep in a discussion

the only male group... they had quite a relax meeting... hehe

say senseiiiii... hehe...

Friday, October 16, 2009

English Fast n Easy: Get By

Good English Magazine For Students

It's Friday! Yey! (But I still have to come to work on Sunday... pheww..)

Anyway.... when I attended this event, I was seated next to a guy from BERNAMA, upon knowing that I am a sensei teaching English to diploma level students... he had this to ask..

What is the best English Magazine for students?

Reader's Digest of course!

But, for lower level students, to encourage them to read and enjoy what there are reading...

I would like to suggest this magazine....

Lots of interesting articles featured in this magazine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Complimentary vs Complementary

Happy Thursday people! One more day today before we hit the weekend.. hehe..

I've received an email from Pearson Brown talking about complimentary and complementary.

Complimentary and complementary are two different words

One comes from compliment - "saying nice things".

For example:

Aleya complimented him on his drama performance.
Many people paid him compliments.
She was very complimentary about his work.

One comes from complement - "goes well together".

This new system complements the existing system, it doesn't replace it.
The jewellery complemented her dress beautifully.
We make a great team. Our skills complement each other perfectly.

So which form is better to use to mean a *free* drink?

In American English, the answer is clear. It's a complimentary drink.

In British English, I've seen both forms used. Look, for example, at this Web page from a language school in Oxford.

According to Brown; I think I was wrong to write 'complementary drink'. The expression certainly started in the United States and I think that we should use the US form. I've checked up in the new Macmillan online dictionary and it says the correct term is 'complimentary drink'.

source: an excerpt from an email sent from Pearson Brown

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Sunday

Epsilon Babies

Damia - Along

Haziq - Angah

Wardiah - Acu (not for long though.. she's gonna be ateh/achik soon)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boyzone : Stephen Gately Passed Away

Stephen Gately has died aged 33

Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, has died at the of age 33.

The Irish pop singer and writer appeared on the West End stage as 'Joseph' in "Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat" at the New London Theatre in 2003, and the Child Catcher in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" at the London Palladium in 2004.

It is reported that Stephen Gately had been on holiday with his long-term partner Andy Cowles when he died on Saturday.

The News of the World's showbusiness editor Dan Wootton told BBC News Gately had gone out for drinks, returned to his accommodation and gone to sleep, but never woke up.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

MUET: Writing (90minutes)

This paper comprises two writing tasks: transfering information from a non-linear source to a linear text and a piece of extended writing. The stimulus may take the form of linear and/or non-linear texts.

MUET:Listening Paper

For this paper, candidates will be required to listen to recorded texts twice and answer questions on them.

There is a total of 20 questions consisting of information transfer, short answer question, 3-option multiple-choice questions and 4-option multiple-choice questions.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

MUET: Reading

MUET - Paper 3: Reading (90 minutes)

This paper comprises 45 multiple-choice questions based on passages from texts which may be taken from journals, newpapers, magazines, and academic and electronic sources. Questions are in the form of 3 -option multiple-choice and 4 option multiple-choice questions.

MUET Speaking

To those who are taking MUET, here is a brief explanation on MUET - Speaking component.

MUET Speaking component is divided into two parts; Task A (Individual Presentation) and Task B (Group Interaction).

For the individual presentation (task A) Candidates will be given 2 minutes to prepare for the given task and 2 minutes to present. Candidates will also listen to the other candidates while they are making their presentations and take down notes for the group interaction.

For the group interaction (4 to a group - 10minutes), candidates will be given 2 minutes to prepare points to support or oppose the other candidates' views. After listening to everyone in the group, candidates will try to come to a consensus (agreement).

weightage 15%
maximum score 45

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

100th Follower: The Search Continues

On Monday I made an announcement that I am looking for the 100th follower for this blog.

You might ask, why

Well... it is just for fun.. to spice up this blog...

so... 7 more followers to go...

the search continues.....

p/s: the 100th follower will get a mystery gift? hahaha... maybe...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


It's the time of the year again... the most famous keyword that leads to this blog is MUET, 100 of readers got here by searching 'MUET'. I hope they do get whatever the are searching for from this blog.

The reason why many of the hits from the keyword 'MUET' simply because today is the first day of MUET Speaking!

All the best with your MUET

Monday, October 05, 2009

100th Follower

I am looking for the 100th follower....

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Loving It.... lalalala....

Handsome boy...

flowers from PICC now on our dining table...

this is IBU, her kitten just died few days ago... got hit n run... by.... opsss... huhu

Essay Writing

Essay writing

Narrative Essay

E.g “Write a story beginning with: I never knew what happiness was until….” or “Write a story ending with: Finally, he walked away without saying a word.”

Descriptive Essay

E.g. “The worst day in my life”


E.g. “The Effects of Pollution” or “Ways to Make School Interesting”

Argumentative Essay

E.g. “Students should be allowed to wear casual clothes to school. Do you agree?”

one-word essays

E.g. “Freedom”

General guidelines for continuous writing:

Read and consider all the questions given.

Do not make the mistake of selecting the first question that you read or a question which you think is manageable. You might realise later that you could have handled another question with much more ease.

Choose a topic that you are familiar or comfortable with.

Select a topic which is within your experience so that you will not have to struggle with the content.

Opt for a topic which is within your linguistic ability.

Do not select a topic just because you think it is challenging. This is not the time for experimentation.

For weak students, it is always advisable to write a narrative.

Plan your essay – the outline/organisation, points/ideas/thoughts, and supporting points (if you are writing an argumentative or factual essay).

Write out your essay in neat and legible handwriting. Small or untidy handwriting, or a combination of both, can be very annoying as the reader has to spend valuable time deciphering what you have written.

Write in paragraphs.

You may leave a line between paragraphs as it is easier on the examiner’s eye.

Edit and revise language if necessary.

Allocate 10 minutes for this, and make sure spelling and punctuation are accurate.

Narrative Essays

This week we will focus on narrative essays, which are a favourite among students. As mentioned earlier, narrative writing is a better option for weak students.

Guidelines to remember when writing a narrative essay:

You have to decide whether to write your essay from your own perspective or someone else’s.

The first person or third person singular is the most popular voice. If you choose to write from your own perspective, then use the first person singular i.e. ‘I’. If you choose to write from someone else’s perspective, use third person pronouns (he, she, it). Be consistent in your choice of pronouns. Do not switch perspectives mid-way through the essay.

The choice of pronoun also depends on the question. In the question “Write a story beginning with: I was tired and…”, you have to use the first person singular ‘I’.

Engage your reader. Make the story real for him. Make him involved in your experience.

Have a simple plot. You will be better off using the chronological order. Flashbacks are a wonderful device where you merge the past with the present. But be careful; only engage in this method if you can carry it off.

Use only the simple past tense if you cannot handle the past perfect tense.

However, you will need to use the past perfect tense if you are referring to more than one action in the past.

Bring your characters to life. Make them real. Make them memorable. It is always more interesting to read about flawed characters.

Use nouns, verbs and adjectives to evoke your reader’s senses.

You may use dialogue, but use it sparingly and effectively. Remember you are writing a narrative, not a script.

Before you write your essay, it is a good idea to plan what you are going to write.

A good narrative should have:

An introduction

This is to set the scene and present the character/characters

Complications or problems

In your story, the character/characters might have a problem to overcome.

A climax

A good story should have a climax which is the most exciting part of the story

A resolution (end)

Never leave your story hanging although accomplished writers use this technique (which is called an open ending) to get their readers to confront certain issues the writer may have raised in his story.

A resolution tells how the complications/problems were resolved or how they (the problems) affected the characters.

Specific guidelines for continuous writing:

Make sure your essay is longer than 350 words.

This means that you need to develop your essay/ideas to a considerable degree.

Avoid lengthy essays.

Some students believe that they will obtain more marks if they write a lengthy piece. This is definitely not true, especially if your essay has considerable grammatical errors.

Do not waste time counting the number of words.

By now you should be able to gauge how many words you write on one page, so do not waste precious time counting the number of words in your essay.

Pay attention to language.

As in directed writing, avoid informal language, clichés, contractions and slang words.

Avoid using unnecessary idiomatic expressions/proverbs.

Some students have this notion that they will obtain more marks if they use idiomatic expressions/proverbs, and so, they memorise as many idiomatic expressions/proverbs as they can.

Reading an essay littered with idiomatic expressions/proverbs can be a pain. Also, not all idiomatic expressions are formal.

Use a variety of sentences (simple, compound, complex and compound-complex) of varying lengths.

We will look at these in the next article.

Use precise vocabulary.

E.g. He told me to be careful as there were crocodiles in the river.

He warned me to be careful as there were crocodiles in the river.

The word ‘warned’ is more precise.

Do not use spoken language.

These days, it is quite common to come across the usage of spoken language not only in newspaper articles, but also in magazines and novels.

Remember, there are differences between spoken and written language.

If you are unsure whether a phrase is spoken or written, ask your teachers.

Do not leave your sentences hanging.

Remember, every English sentence must have a subject and a verb.

E.g. “I saw many types of marine life. For example, seahorses and starfish.” (The second sentence is hanging.)

Do not use repetitive words, phrases or structures.

a) Examples of repetitive words:

i. It was a very hot day. I was feeling very thirsty.

(You could replace the word ‘very’ with ‘extremely’ in the second sentence.)

ii. My mother scolded me for coming home late. My father, who was just as angry, scolded me for not listening to his advice.

(You could use ‘admonished’ instead of ‘scolded’ in the second sentence.)

b) Examples of repetitive phrases:

i. Murni and I were best friends. We had been best friends since kindergarten. We had promised to remain best friends till the end of our lives.

(You could rewrite it this way: Murni and I were best friends. We had been close since kindergarten. We had pledged to maintain our friendship till the end of our lives.)

ii. It was the end of the year. My father had promised to take us on a holiday. He had promised to take us to Perth.

(There are several ways to rewrite this:

It was the end of the year. My father had promised to take us on a holiday. He told us that we would be going to Perth that year.

It was the end of the year. My father had promised to take us on a holiday to Perth.)

c) Examples of repetitive sentences:

My mother is one person who is admired by many people. She is a strong and determined person. She does not let problems stop her from doing what she wants. She sees problems as challenges.

(As you can see the structure ‘She…’ is repeated as in ‘She is… She does not… She sees…’

Learn to use other structures to overcome this problem.

‘My mother is one person who is admired by many people. She is strong and determined. Problems do not stop her from doing what she wants. According to her, problems are challenges.’)

*You may, however, use repetitive structures for emphasis.

Avoid redundancy,

E.g. “In my opinion, I think…”

‘In my opinion’ and ‘I think’ have the same meaning.

E.g. “It was a happy and merry occasion. I felt satisfied and contented.”

The words ‘happy and merry’ mean the same thing, so does ‘satisfied and contented’.

Here is a sample question:

Write an essay ending with “... with tears in her eyes, she hugged me tightly.”

Sample answer

It was the wettest December I had ever experienced. The torrential rains had ruined my holiday plans as floods continued to wreak havoc in several states. I had pleaded with dad to allow me to go to the east coast with my friends but he had been unyielding. The thought of having to stay indoors for the next two weeks was not only depressing but also unbearable. Television did not excite me anymore. I was fed up of watching the same old movies on cable television. Even the other channels had nothing exciting to offer. Finally, I decided to go into the attic to retrieve some books which I had not read for a long time.

The attic was surprisingly clean - a sign that mum had finally completed the chore that she had kept putting off. I looked around and noticed a teak chest that I had never seen before. Curiosity got the better of me and I walked towards it. I lifted the lid slowly and was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of things in it – all of them reminders of my childhood. I looked nostalgically at the clothes I had worn as a child and the toys I had played with. ‘Bobo’ the teddy bear, which I had slept with until I was ten, had been dry-cleaned and kept in a box which also contained the first Mother’s Day card I had made myself. I was not prepared for what I saw next. Lying at the bottom of the cardboard box was an old black and white photograph of a young woman. I stared at it incredulously. It was as if I was looking at a female version of myself. All sorts of questions and dreadful thoughts flooded my mind. I held the photograph tightly in my hand and dashed out of the attic, only to bump into my mother.

“Mum....who is this?” I asked in a quivering voice.

From the look on her face, I knew it was a question she did not want to answer. Quietly, she held my hand and led me towards the study where dad had been working all morning. She knocked on the door once before opening it. Dad looked up, and his expression of annoyance disappeared when he saw the photograph in my hand.

What I heard that day is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. The woman in the photograph was my mother, my biological mother — Lily Lee.

“Son, Lily loved you very much; just as much as Janet here loves you.”

Dad’s use of the past tense made me uncomfortable. It took a great deal of effort on his part to narrate the painful past.

My biological mother was six months pregnant when the incident happened. She had been walking towards her office when a motorcyclist came from behind and grabbed her handbag before speeding off. As a result of the sudden assault, she had lost her balance and fallen on the kerb. The head injuries she had sustained had a devastating effect on her health. The only option was to perform surgery, but due to her condition, this option was risky. The doctors had wanted to terminate her pregnancy to save her life but she had refused. A month later she fell into a coma. Although the doctors had given up hope, Lily continued to live, though in a comatose state. It was as if she was not giving up on life till her baby was born. When the doctors deemed it safe, they performed an emergency C-section. Lily breathed her last the moment I was born into this world.

Dad sobbed softly as he finished relating the heart-wrenching story. All sorts of emotions consumed me. I was sad, confused and angry. Was I adopted? What about my father? Who was he? Had he abandoned me? After a while, I braved myself and stated what I thought was obvious.

“So, that means you are not my real parents. I am adopted!”

“No, son. You are not adopted. I am your father. Lily was my first wife. She made me promise her that I would marry her younger sister, Janet, so that you would not grow up motherless.”

The sense of relief that I felt at that moment was indescribable. I looked at mum and I saw the pain and anguish in her eyes, as though she was anticipating rejection. Quickly, she looked down.

Slowly, I got up from my chair and walked towards her. I went down on my knees and held her hands in mine. Her eyes remained downcast, fearful of rejection.

“Mum, I know I am only seventeen but I am more mature than you think. You might not have given birth to me but you are and will always be my mother.” I comforted her as much as I comforted myself.

She looked up slowly, her eyes searching my face for sincerity. Then with tears in her eyes, she hugged me tightly.

source: the star

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wishin' and Hopin' - Ani DiFranco

Wishin', and hopin', and thinkin', and prayin',
Planning and dreamin' each night of his charms.
That won't get you into his arms

So if your're looking for love you can share
All you gotta to is hold him, and kiss him, and love him,
And show him that you care.

Show him that you care, just for him.
Do the things that he likes to do.
Wear your hair just for him, 'cause,
You won't get him, thinkin' and a prayin',
Wishin' and hopin'.

'Cause wishin', and hopin', and thinkin', and prayin',
Planning and dreamin' his kisses will start.
That won't get you into his heart!

So if you're thinking how great true love is
All you gotta to is hold him, and kiss him, and squeeze him, and love him.
Yeah, just do it!
And after you do, you will be his.

You gotta show him that you care just for him.
Do the things that he likes to do.
Wear your hair just for him, 'cause,
You won't get him, thinkin' and a prayin',
Wishin' and a hopin'.

'Cause wishin', and hopin', and thinkin', and prayin',
Planning and dreamin' his kisses will start.
That won't get you into his heart!

So if you're thinking how great true love is!

All you gotta to is hold him, and kiss him, and squeeze him, and love him.
Yeah, just do it!
And after you do, you will be his.

You will be his.

You will be his!

or rather IT WILL BE MINE.... huhu

Canon EOS 1000D Kit with 18-55mm IS Lens

owhhh.. he took my breath away..... huhu


Canon EOS 1000D digital SLR camera review : With the introduction of the new EOS 1000D, Canon move into the 'thousand' series for the first time, that is: with digital SLR cameras. If you can still picture the analogue EOS SLR cameras, you will probably recall the entry level EOS 5000 model. Canon follow the same strategy for the digital EOS, and seem to have opened the door completely in order to ensure that the D-SLR camera can become a reality for every consumer. It is quite obvious that the Canon EOS 1000D is meant to be the first one in a new series of future models.

Canon EOS 1000D entry-level DSLR
Although it may seem as if Canon are forcing a breakthrough similar to that of 2003; when they did so splendidly with the introduction of the EOS 300D, the tables seemed to have turned somewhat. The competition has not been resting over the past few years, and various bodies have appeared on the market with comparable specifications to Canon's showpiece of the entry level DSLRs segment. In addition, slightly stripped-down bodies started to appear, which were able to conquer a market share thanks to their sharp price as a marketing weapon. The Canon EOS 1000D has to consolidate Canon’s grip on the entry level segment, whilst at the same time making sure not to undermine the position of the EOS 450. Therefore, it is a deliberate move.

Canon EOS 1000D features
The Canon EOS 1000D has a small size and features a 10 Megapixel sensor, a 2.5 inch sized monitor, 7 points auto focus and Live View with contrast as well as phase detection. Our first acquaintance with the camera was accompanied by comparable sayings. Notably; the Canon 1000D looks exactly like an EOS 450D and; the EOS 1000D is the offspring of the EOS 400D. Whatever you say; the Canon EOS 1000D is a most interesting camera for the beginning DSLR photographer, and at this time and moment it is Canon's answer to the competition in a time where the digital SLR camera is blooming.

Canon 1000D review; test in practise & Technical DIWA test
Prior to the Photokina 2008, which will be held in Cologne, Germany and can't be missed by a single photo enthusiast, the Canon EOS 1000D stands at the cradle of a new generation of EOS cameras. At least, that is the expectation of many of us. Built around the famous DIGIC III processor, the new EOS DSLR is supposed to fully engage in battle with the current assortment of the competition, and with what it still to come in the near future. An extremely interesting time for us and for the photography enthusiast. We had the Canon EOS 1000D in the office for a short period of time to examine it thoroughly. Additionally, the EOS 1000D has been carefully tested in our DIWA Lab.

  • 10.1 MP CMOS sensor
  • Up to 3fps
  • 7-point wide-area AF
  • Self-Cleaning Image Sensor
  • 2.5” LCD with Live View mode
  • DIGIC III processor
  • SD/SDHC card slot
  • Picture Styles processing
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Compatible with EF/EF-S lenses and EX Speedlites
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