Saturday, 14 March 2015

Waste Not, Want Not

          Most people know Penang is a food heaven. But few realise that Penangites throw away a whole lot of food at the same time - 181.5 tonnes or 181,500kg daily to be exact.
          That amount is 33% of the total 550 tonnes of domestic waste that ends up in landfills in the state every day.
          According to the statistics obtained from the Penang Municipal Council, islanders discard 200,750 tonnes of domestic waste per year including 66,250 tonnes in food waste.
          That's shocking! The huge amount of discarded food could have actually fed millions of people in poverty-stricken countries.
          Parents have an important role to play in this matter because they are in a position to instil the do-not-waste-food value in their children from young.
          I remember my mother reminding us at the table not to waste the food on our plates. Sadly, I've never taken her advice seriously while growing up. Now I see food wastage as a'crime'.
          Recently, I read a report stating that the root cause of climate change could be food waste because of the toll it takes on the environment due to the increasing demand for water, energy and land.
          Food not consumed results in wasteful use of fertilisers and pesticides, more fuel for transportation, and more rotting food creating more methane - one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change.
          The huge amount of food carted to landfills adds to global warming. Also, food wastage costs the authorities hundreds of millions of ringgit each year in proper collection and disposal.
          Often, food is wasted at buffet parties and social functions when the meal is free. It is quite common to see uneaten food left behind at open houses during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali.
          We should just take what we can eat. No need to be greedy because leftover food will end up as garbage. 
          Not too long ago, an assemblyman advised Chinese restaurants to serve smaller portions at banquets in order to reduce food wastage. I think that's a good idea. Seriously, the government should raise more awareness about food wastage. All of us must learn to be more thrifty.
          Next time you want to throw away food, even if it's free, spare a thought for the hungry people all over the world. Let's not take food for granted because there's a price to pay for waste.

Adapted from: PINANG POINTS by Logeiswary Thevadass StarMetro Tuesday 27 Jan 2015

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tips On How To Cheer Yourself Up

                When you’ve had a sucky day or a sucky week, don’t despair! Check out some tips to cheer yourself up.
                Firstly, scare yourself. Yes, it’s a weird idea but part of feeling down is that your body is on slow too. Give yourself a brain boost by getting the adrenaline flowing. There are fun parks with scary roller coasters or you can do something that gives you a bit of a shiver. Think scuba diving on a coral reef or even public speaking. Whatever it is, just get out there and do it.
                Next, read an eBook. Submerge yourself in a different world by picking out an eBook and becoming someone completely different. An action adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat, a hot romance that sweeps you off your feet or a sci-fi that puts you in a different world altogether.
                Why an eBook? Because it’s just a click away! Buying online can be tough with a Malaysian address but two hot places for bargains where you can pay with Paypal are Smashwords and Kobo.
                Then, praise yourself. The usual trend is to critique yourself honestly so you can improve, but as you’re feeling down, you deserve a pick-me-up. So, make a list of your good qualities and good deeds. Don’t forget to include the times in the past when you’ve been down and got over it. That will help send the message home that, “ This too will pass.”
                Lastly, be nice to someone. Studies show that people who are good to others tend to feel good about themselves. So, write that letter praising someone’s job performance, leave a good review for your favourite product, and see if there’s a local charity nearby that needs a few hours of help.

Adapted from: Ellen Whyte  pg 12 Body, Mind & Soul, StarSpecial Tuesday 10 September 2013

(310 words)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Using the details from the novel that you have studied, choose a character, discuss how the character has taught you one valuable lesson. Support your answer with close reference to the text.

I choose the novel  Catch Us If You Can written by Catherine McPhail. I choose Rory as the character that has taught me one valuable lesson. The lesson I learnt from him is to be responsible.
                Firstly, his responsibility can be seen by him being caring towards his grandfather whom he called ‘Granda’. Everything changed after Rory’s mother passed away and his father left him and his grandparents. When his grandmother passed away too, Granda had been taking care of Rory all by himself. However, everything started to change after Granda started to have lapses of memory and had the tendency to forget things. Since then, Rory took over the responsibilities of an adult in the household. He took care of Granda; his meals, his medicine and everything. Rory was willing to do anything for Granda. This is because he believed that they (Rory and Granda) only had each other to protect and to love.
                Secondly, Rory’s responsibility can be seen when he decided not to play football for his school. The reason why he made such a decision was because he wanted to prepare or buy lunch for Granda. Usually he would stop at the baker’s and bought pies for lunch. Other than that, he had to be home by lunch time to make sure Granda take his medicine according to the doctor’s instruction.
                Lastly, Rory also shows his responsibility towards his Granda by taking out his Granda from Rachnadar, the old folks home. He knew that Granda loathed that place, ‘the place you go when nobody wants you’. He knew that Granda was not happy living there. Therefore, because he was a responsible boy, he decided to save his Granda by planning The Great Escape. He planned this because he was not happy staying at the children’s home at Castle Street. He planned the escape so that he and his grandfather could stay together, and never be apart again.

                In my opinion, regardless of age, people should be responsible in whatever they do. In Catch Us If You Can, the character of Rory has taught me a valuable lesson that is to be a responsible person. We should emulate Rory’s examples of responsibility and use them in our life. He has also taught us that if we love somebody sincerely, God would give us a happy life in the end.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Waiting For The Rainbow

          Fifteen years ago, my life took a dramatic turn for the worse when I was diagnosed with meningioma, a form of brain tumour. By the time the tumour was discovered, it had grown to 5cm in diameter. Immediate surgery was needed.
          Four days later, I was wheeled into the operating theatre. It was an eight-hour operation and I was glad to emerge alive. I spent a few weeks in hospital and made a good progress.
         After my recovery, I was able to walk, swim, drive and work. Just when life was looking good again, I had a relapse two years after the first operation. This time around, I was advised to opt for stereotactic radiosurgery which involves a precise delivery of radiation to the tumour while sparing the surrounding tissues. The treatment was a success and I was delighted to be given another lease on life.
         However, six months later, I had a violent convulsion which lasted for almost two minutes. Later I learnt that it was an epileptic attack. Following the seizure, my mobility deteriorated gradually and I ended up using walking aids and a wheelchair.
         The loss of mobility was traumatic for me and my family. I withdrew into my shell and spent a few years grieving, daydreaming and wallowing in self-pity. I was at my lowest ebb in life. Family members and friends rallied to my support, and their unconditional love stirred something deep within my being. It was the turning point for me. Gradually, I came to my senses.
          I began to put life in perspective. I registered as a disabled person with the Social Welfare Department. I went through an intensive rehabilitation programme which included physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. I encountered many challenges in the programme which demanded discipline and perseverance but I soldiered on. I knew I could not give up. As my physical condition improved, my confidence grew too.
          I had to adapt to life as a disabled person. Regrettably, not all places I visited were equipped with facilities for the disabled. The disabled want to live life like any normal person. It doesn't help when we come across buildings without lifts, inaccessible pavements, and uneven surfaces.
         As a brain tumour survivor, I have to undergo an annual MRI scan. The results for the past few years were always the same: the residual tumour had not shown any growth or decreased in size. According to the doctor, this is a very positive sign indeed. I am thrilled. Though I am hopeful that my condition would improve eventually, I am aware that it may take a long time.
          Someone once told me that studies have shown that nerve fibres in the brain do not regenerate, but who cares about science? Miracles do happen. Maybe I could be the blessed one.
          Life has not been easy, but the unexpected knocks have steeled my resolve to accept whatever life throws in my direction.

Adapted from : Jackie Ng  Beyond Barriers Star2 Thursday 17 October 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Gorilla and The Lioness

          A gorilla is sitting in a tree when he espies a lioness quenching her thirst by the river. The gorilla thinks naughtily, " It'd be fun to pull her tail.". Without wasting any time, he swings into action. He pulls the leonine creature's tail with all his strength.

          The lioness gets such a fright that she jumps into the river. Showing a clean pair of heels, the gorilla thinks, " I have to think of something fast. It's not easy to outrun this mighty beast."
          Luckily for him, the gorilla sees a hunter's tent and nips inside to hide. The shirtless hunter drops the paper he is reading and runs out of the tent. The gorilla decides to pretend to be the hunter - he wears the hunter's shirt and hat, and starts to read the paper.
          " This is a safe place for me to lie low," he says to himself. "The lioness is sure to try to get her own back. There is no telling what she'll do to me if she finds me!"
          Meanwhile, the lioness says to herself, " I'll search every nook and cranny for this gorilla. When I find him, I'll tan his hide!" A minute later, the lioness pads into the tent. Thinking that it is the hunter reading the paper, she says, " Mister, did you see a gorilla run in here?" From behind the paper, the gorilla answers, "You mean the one that pulled the tail of a lioness a while ago?"
         With a look of utter disbelief on her face, the lioness says, "What?! It's in the papers already?!"

Swing into action  - Begin doing something energetically
Show a clean pair of heels - Run away fast
Lie low - Hide so as to avoid being discovered or caught
Get one's own back - Get revenge
There is no telling - It is impossible to know / determine
Every nook and cranny - Everywhere
Tan / Whip someone's hide - Beat someone severely

Adapted from: Oh Teik Theam  Insight Star2 Tuesday 17 September 2013

Thursday, 5 September 2013


           Let's talk about love. Love is not a one-day commercialised event that deludes you into spending a tidy sum to prove your love for another person.

          The reason a bunch of roses is more expensive on February 14 is pure economics. As long as there is a willing buyer, there will be a willing seller.

          Actually, I love flowers. A bouquet of flowers given or received at the right time, for the right reason, is actually one of the joys in life. And I follow the principle set by a dear friend who said : 'Please send me flowers while I can still smell them, not when my body is in a coffin. For that, it's better to give the money to a worthy cause.

         You see, when we fall into the trap of expressing love only on a particular day, like the way hampers are delivered to people on festive occasions, it is no longer special. So, let's talk about real love.
          Every morning, my neighbour in an adjacent street takes her mother out for a walk. Her mother is in a wheelchair and she has to be particularly careful when she reaches my street as it is a main road. Her cheerful disposition is always a welcome balm for a tired soul. Love, generously shared, makes us want to exclaim: 'I am loved. I am rich. I am privileged. My cup runneth over.'

          There is also another aspect of love that we seldom want to grapple with. Love is action It calls us to deliberately reach out to others - people who are different, people who can't speak out for themselves, total strangers, and even our worst enemies.

          We don't need a special day to show love. If you want to experience love, just look at ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. They are the people who walk that extra mile, share your burdens and sow love in the midst of hatred.

          And, you can be one of them.

Adapted from: Soo Ewe Jin Sunday Star, 17 February 2013


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Square expressions


An open area in the middle of a town.
eg: The Dam Square in Amsterdam is a bustling commercial hub.

Be back to square one

To be back in the same situation from which you started with no progress.
eg: His shop was burnt down so his business is back to square one.

A square

An old-fashioned person who is not interested in the latest styles or music.
eg: The girls found Keith boring because he is a square.

Square somebody

To pay somebody to do what you want.
eg: We have to square the driver extra fare for waiting twenty minutes.

Square your shoulders

Push back your shoulders while keeping your back straight to show your determination.
eg: He squared his shoulders and walked into the squash court with confidence.

Adapted from: Mind Our English, Star2 Tuesday 5 February 2013