Friday, February 26, 2010

What Is Love?

Terms of endearment

Although love defies description, this has not stopped writers and poets from waxing lyrical about the subject.

NO, the headline doesn’t mean the 1983 romantic comedy-drama film. It’s that time of the year. The splendour of love is in the air. Also, apt I thought, to embrace and celebrate LOVE as an antidote to the spectre of racial and religious taunts that harm social cohesiveness and the inherent Malaysian spirit.

Cole Porter’s song title asks, “What is this thing called love?” (note to teachers: an excellent question form to use for meaningfully varied punctuation and oral practice). We could respond with Frank Sinatra’s “Love is a many splendoured thing.” Indeed, love is a definition-defying entity since it has no particular form. Yet, its felt existence and particular experience empowers and continues to inspire endless definitions and descriptions.

Love, if we’ve experienced it, is neither manipulative nor abusive; it is humanitarian and seeks the good of all; it heals and restores relationships – “Love heals all.” Love transcends the politics and angry polemics of the day; it transcends physical attraction and emotion, beyond the ‘feel good’ factor, to empower an ascent of one’s spirit to a peak that is restorative in essence. This singular capacity and quality of love within our being is reason enough to celebrate the cause and course of love.

Love has been the cause for the rise and fall of many in history – both individuals and institutions – since essentially, love is relational, a quality, that has inspired a treasury of expressions on the essence and effects of love. It has also given us a list of intriguing terms of endearment used by loved ones to refer to their significant other, depending on the object and nature of love in question – romantic, familial, spiritual, humanitarian, aesthetic or patriotic. And, with apologies to the French, the language of love belongs to all, because according to Dr Gary Chapman, “The craving for love is our deepest emotional need ...” After all, we are all created in God’s love.

One of my favourite quotes on the immeasurable depths of love comes from Kahlil Gibran :

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

This finds a bold parallel in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables: To love another person is to see the face of God. Divine love turns to “divine madness” when you fall “madly in love” and transform into “lovebirds.” Even Friedrich Nietzsche concedes: There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness. In turn, Don Byas squarely states: You call it madness, but I call it love. Blindness is another common characteristic attributed to love. Here’s a refreshing take on the “Love is blind’ cliché, by Will Moss: Love is not blind ... it sees more and not less, but because it sees more it is willing to see less. Makes sense.

Apart from the literary giants’ great works on the subject of love, the Good Book is equally rich on the subject since (like all faiths) love is the key to Christian life. The biblical chapter “Song of Songs” celebrates the beauty, sanctity, mystery, and power of love. Perhaps, the chapter from 1 Corinthians 13 is better known to many for its description of what constitutes and does not constitute love. The chapter is equally distinctive for the ranking of spiritual gifts and summarily states: In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.

On terms of endearment employed, again, Kahlil Gibran strikes a soulful note with his “Eve of my heart”, and “A column of light”. A quote of his that both flutters the heart and tugs at its heartstrings is his description of his beloved: a beautiful tune on the lips of life (when alive); a silent secret in the bosom of the earth (when dead).

On the lighter side, the French have an interesting list, which amounts to “Darling”, “Sweetie”, “Poppet”. Here’s a sample to pick from: “Mon amour” (my love), “Mon ange” (my angel), “Mon bébé” (my baby), “Mon cher/Ma chère” (my dear for masculine/feminine), “Mon chéri/Ma chérie” (my dearie), “Mon Coeur” (my heart), “Ma belle” (my beautiful).

The list also features some barnyard animals. Terms that have been farmed out include, “Ma biche” (my doe), “Ma caille” (my duck), “Mon chaton” (my kitten). Other animals include hen, rabbit, otter, wolf (yes!), even pig and flea (reminds you of “love bug”, no?) Well, the annoying insect has even inspired a French farce, “A Flea in her Ear” by Georges Feydeau) – dwells on love (and sex).

Not to be outwitted, the English language has its own stockpile you can choose from. Categories range from heavenly bodies to earth-bound flora and fauna, and more. Popular on the list are “Darling”, “Love”, “Beautiful”, “Dear” (I had an uncle who endured unto death [no pun intended] the “dear” endearment that turned into “Listen dear”), “Honey”, “Sweetheart”, “Baby doll” and the like. “Angel”, “Star”, “Twinkle”, “Sunshine”, and “Dove”, have also made their heavenly descent.

Next, the bakery yields choice pastry, like “Cutie-pie”, “Cookie”, “Shortcake”, “Muffin”, “Cupcake”, “Honey bun”. Other food/vegetable/plant/fruit favourites include “Pumpkin”, “Sweet pea”, “Buttercup”, “Peaches”, and “Sugarberry”. From the animal world you can pick “Kitten”, “Duckie”, “Tweetie”, “Pet”, “Sugar bear”, or “Tiger” – apt too, if you make your match in the zodiacal year that began on Valentine’s Day!

Body parts, especially the face, surfaces above all with: ‘Angel eyes’, ‘Angel face’, ‘Sweet face’, Sweet lips’, and ‘Baby face’. Then in sheer abandonment to midsummer madness, nonsense words take on sense: ‘Koochie-koochie’, ‘Pooch’, ‘Mooch’, ‘Buttons’. Better still, create your own sweet nothings, ‘tis the season after all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cancellation of Credit Card

The best and effective way to write a letter for cancellation of credit card:

Cancellation of my Citybonk Credit Card

I would like to cancel my Citybonk Credit Card, number 0909090999, with immediate effect.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

(Your full name)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Most Romantic Word

“AMOUR”, the French word for love, has been voted the most romantic word in the world in a pre-Valentine’s Day survey of language experts.

It narrowly beat “amore”, the Italian word for love, although Italian was named the world’s most romantic language. Italian words also dominated the top places in the list of most romantic words.

“Bellissima”, which is both Italian and Spanish for “very beautiful”, was voted the third most romantic word, while “tesoro”, which is both Italian and Spanish for “treasure” (as in “Mi tesoro”/“My treasure”) came fourth.

The survey was conducted by London-based Today Translations which polled over 320 of its linguists.

After Italian, they found the second-most romantic language was French, which was way ahead of Spanish and English in joint third place.

In the same poll, the firm asked its linguists to pick the least romantic-sounding way to say, “I love you” in any language. The winner was Japan’s “watakushi-wa anata-wo ai shimasu”, ahead of the Welsh “rydw i’n dy garu di” and “qaparha”, which, the firm noted, is Klingon, as spoken in the Star Trek universe. – Reuters

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Be Grateful

If you make time to list all the things you are grateful for, and you feel the feelings of gratitude, you will feel amazing every day. Your frequency will be high and you will move through your days in love with being alive, bringing joy wherever you go, positively affecting one person after another.

When you live a life like this, everything you want will come before you even ask.

May the joy be with you,

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne
Creator of The Secret

Monday, February 22, 2010

Minutes of Meeting

PART of my duties is as a note-taker during meetings. I am not sure how to prepare the minutes. For example, should I use the past tense? I’m really confused. My boss doesn’t really care much about the tenses. He is more concerned that everything discussed is written down. Also, should it be “Minutes of meeting” or “Meeting minutes”? – Rahemah

To answer your later question first, we usually write “Minutes of the Meeting held on ...” as a heading for the minutes.

Minutes of a meeting are normally written in the past tense, because the minutes are written after the meeting is over, based on the minute-taker’s notes during the meeting.

By FADZILAH AMIN - The Star - Mind Our English

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Affect or Effect?

I HAVE commented before on the wrong use of the words “effect” and “affect” by many Malaysians and here’s one I found in The Star’s SMS your views on page N36, Feb 14. Under the heading, “Crippled sub” was the message: A submarine not capable of diving is considered crippled. Major or minor defect, it effects the efficiency of underwater operations – Subra.

The correct word is: affects.

I think The Star should not publish any text messages, letters or reports that contain any mistakes as this may mislead people, especially students studying English, into thinking that all printed texts are correct.

– Hussaini Abdul Karim - The Star - Mind Our English

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From The Secret

Whatever feelings you have within you are attracting your tomorrow.

Worry attracts more worry. Anxiety attracts more anxiety. Unhappiness attracts more unhappiness. Dissatisfaction attracts more dissatisfaction.

AND . . .

Joy attracts more joy. Happiness attracts more happiness. Peace attracts more peace. Gratitude attracts more gratitude. Kindness attracts more kindness. Love attracts more love.
Your job is an inside one. To change your world, all you have to do is change the way you feel inside. How easy is that?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The difference a little punctuation makes

The difference a little punctuation makes

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?


Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?




Saturday, February 13, 2010

Great speech: Adrian Tan on Life and How To Survive It

Great speech: Adrian Tan on Life and How To Survive It

This convo speech by Adrian Tan, a Singapore lawyer, is becoming viral online. Reposted here as a record of what makes a great speech.


This convo speech by Adrian Tan, a Singapore lawyer, is becoming viral online. Reposted here as a record of what makes a great speech.

Life and How to Survive It

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they’re wrong.

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean
the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and
restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth.

I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many.

That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart. You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

You’re going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there’s no life expectancy.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Is or Are?

‘Is’ and ‘are’ confusion

COULD you please tell me which of these sentences are correct?

1a. There is an apple and a mango on the table.

b. There are an apple and a mango on the table.

2a. The meeting lasted two hours.

b. The meeting last for two hours.

3a. Alice is good at Mathematics.

b. Alice is good in Mathematics.

c. Alice is good at / in cooking.

– Ho Lee Tyng

1. THE correct sentence is (a) “There is an apple and a mango on the table.” The “be” verb after “There” in this sort of structure agrees with the first noun, when there is a list of nouns mentioned. Since the first noun “apple” is singular, “is” is used after “There”.

If the first noun is plural, like “apples”, for instance, the plural verb “are” is used:

“There are several apples and a mango on the table.” BUT

“There is a mango and several apples on the table.”

2. The correct sentence is (a) “The meeting lasted two hours.” We can also say “The meeting lasted for two hours.”

Sentence (b) is incorrect because the singular subject “meeting” does not agree with the plural verb “last”; and also because the sentence ought to be in the past tense, since you won’t know how long a meeting is going to last until it is over.

3. Sentence (a) “Alice is good at Mathematics.” is correct. When we use “good” to mean “skilful”, it should be followed by at”.

So, sentence (c) should use at as well: “Alice is good at cooking.”, but you can also say “Alice cooks well.” or “Alice is a good cook.”

source: mind our english - the star

Sunday, February 07, 2010

When To Use Be, Been & Being

Be, been and being


WHAT is the difference between be, been and being?

Could you describe when and how to use them especially in academic writing? – IF

“BE” is the base form of the verb “be”; “been” is the past participle of the verb “be” and “being” is the present participle of the verb “be”.

“Be” is used whenever the base form of a verb needs to be used, for example after an auxiliary verb, e.g. in “You should be a good example to your younger siblings.”

It can also be used in the infinitive form of “be” as in “He wants to be an engineer.”

“Been”, like past participles of other verbs, is used to form a passive verb and also the present perfect and past perfect tenses, e.g.:

“The bag-snatcher has been arrested.” (passive sentence with passive verb “has been”)

“My parents have been a source of strength to me all my life.” (“have been” is a verb in the present perfect tense)

“She had been hungry all day until I brought her some food.” (“had been” is a verb in the past perfect tense)

“Being”, like present participles of other verbs, is used to form the present continuous (progressive) tense and the past continuous tense. Here are some examples:

“The little girl is being difficult, crying all day, because her mother won’t buy her a doll.” (“is being” is a verb in the present continuous tense)

“He was being friendly to her, but she thought he was trying to flirt with her.” (“was being” is a verb in the past continuous tense)

I am sorry, I can’t be more detailed than this, since space is limited. I have just given you some basic explanations and a few examples. You can consult a grammar book for further information. You need to be grammatical when you write, whether for academic purposes or other purposes.

There are also different kinds of academic writing, depending on what subject you are studying.

To All FACEBOOK Lovers... Be Prepared For This...

Another redesign for Facebook on 6th birthday

NEW YORK: Facebook is redesigning its site yet again, this time to better emphasize applications, games and search.

Links and items have moved around the home page as Facebook tries to streamline navigation and make games and apps stand out more.

The latest evolution continued Friday after Facebook started rolling the changes out late Thursday, the company's sixth birthday.

The changes were being made in stages, so not all users were seeing them right away.

The world's largest online social network has continuously morphed its home page as it's grown from a closed hub for college students to a Web and mobile destination for 400 million people worldwide.

Past changes have sparked protests from many users, though Facebook says it makes them to serve its audience better.

Facebook says that it conducts months of testing and that many users request such changes.

With the latest redesign, links to friend requests, messages and comment notifications are no longer scattered around and now reside on the top of the page.

On the updated site, the search box stands out more.

Microsoft Corp., which powers Facebook search and advertising, said Friday in a blog post that search results on the social site will go beyond just links to include "richer answers combined with tools that help customers make faster, smarter decisions."

Under a new agreement, Microsoft will run text ads next to Facebook search results worldwide, rather than only in the U.S. as was the case before.

However, Microsoft loses the right to sell display ads - the online billboards that command more money than search ads, but aren't as lucrative yet.

Facebook will now sell those ads directly.

Facebook's chat feature also becomes more prominent with the redesign. Users can now see friends who are currently online without clicking on a link.

This doesn't include all friends, only the ones they communicate with often.

There are also new links on the left that take users to online dashboards where they can organize games and applications and find new ones by seeing what their friends use. Games such as "Farmville" and "Mafia Wars" have surged in popularity on Facebook. - AP

the redesign will take place in stages... my friend's FB in Australia is no longer the same as ours.. we gonna have the new face of FACEBOOK soon...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

No More Photos... uhuksss

Hi all...

I am having a little situation here...
This blog of mine has reached its quota for uploading photos!
Oh nooo! A post would be bland without a photo to spice it up... this is so sad...

Dear blogspot I need more storage for my photos pleaseeeee!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tired of Your Life and Job?

this is the remedy.... enjoyyyy...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Caused & Was Caused By

Idioms: The Bank Teller

ON my first day at work as a bank teller, the manager called me to his room and said in the tone of a father giving advice to his child: “Always be alert and careful when you are handling cash. Avoid small talk with the customer when you are counting money lest you lose your concentration and incur a cash shortage. You may be a teller, but you don’t have to say much most of the time.”

I nodded, and he continued: “Make a point of being courteous to every customer – remember that every bank account is of account. Courtesy is good for the person you’re dealing with, good for your own well-being, and certainly good for the bank’s balance sheet. Try to get more ‘smileage’ out of your work.”

Before he ended the conversation, he added: “I hope I can safely rely on you to work extremely hard.”

“I think I can depend on me to do my level best,” I said.

When I returned to my ergonomically designed work station, the chief cashier handed me a bundle of money and said: “Count this bundle of one-ringgit notes to make sure there are one hundred pieces.”

“May I use the machine to count the pieces?” I asked.

“No, you may not,” he said in a measured tone. “Count them manually. With practice, the task of counting paper money will soon be a piece of cake for you.”

Later, I related the counting chore to another colleague during our lunch break. “When I counted up to sixty-four, I said to the chief cashier: ‘If it is right this far, it’s probably right all the way. I’m returning the bundle to you now.’”

“I don’t believe you said that to the chief cashier,” he said. “You are pulling my leg, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m just trying to relax a bit.”

As I was about to leave the bank that day, I overheard the manager ask the chief cashier: “How is the new teller doing?”

“I think he will soon reflect in his work the confidence the management has in him,” the chief cashier replied.

“Ah,” I thought, “that’s music to my ears!

Small talk: Light conversation on unimportant matters.

Make a point of: To treat (something) as important.

Do one’s level best: To make one’s best effort.

Make sure/certain: (i) To confirm. (ii) To ensure. (You should go early if you want to make certain of getting tickets for the show.)

(A) piece of cake: Something very easy to do or obtain.

Pull someone’s leg: To make fun of someone in a friendly way, especially by trying to make him believe something untrue.

Music to someone’s ears: Something very pleasant for someone to hear.
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