Thursday 30 December 2010

Movie: Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels

Image from flicksandbits
**I hope you all have had a great Christmas! And many thanks to Celia for your candies, Christmas card and message!**

I have always been a movie fan of Jack Black, guess some of you can recall that. And yes, I am recommending this movie mainly because of him. He is chubby, but he is hilariously talented. If it wasn't him, I doubt that anyone can make a comedy out of this classic fantasy novel.

Image from wikimedia

Written by Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift in 1726, Gulliver's Travels comes in 4 parts,

Image from innerwildtherapy

  1. Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput
  2. Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag
  3. Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib, and Japan
  4. Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

Image from sandboxworld
Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels mainly covers the first 2 parts, which he met the citizens of Lilliput and the giants daughter of Brobdingnag (this was unmentioned in the movie).

What's cool about this movie is not only the special effects of merging big people and small people, but also the creativity of merging modern technology such as robots and handhelds, modern spoken English and modern humour into a story that was written 284 years ago. I have to say I really really like this concept, especially at a time when all our children are no longer involved in childhood tales and literature, this movie definitely revives youngsters interest in the original story.

Comparing the special effects of merging miniature people with big people into the same scene, I have to say Ben Stiller's Night at the Museum 1 & 2 did a much better job than this one. Frankly speaking, I was surprised to find that being a good friend of Ben Stiller, Jack Black didn't ask the help from the Night at the Museum production teams. Although Black has on his side director Rob Letterman's experience from Shark Tale (2004) and Monsters VS Aliens (2009), writers Joe Stillman's experience from Shrek (2001) and Shrek 2 (2004), and Nicholas Stroller's experience from comedian king Jim Carrey's Fun with Dick and Jane (2005) and  Yes Man (2008), the only person who has worked in Night at the Museum 1 & 2 is associate film editor Dean Zimmerman.  Well, I think Black will need more help if he were to make a sequel.

Image from filmofilia
This movie has not been rated highly worldwide, but I suggest you go and watch it. And when you do, bear in mind that this is Christmas and New Year, and you should remind yourself that you want to watch something happy and yet intelligent, funny but not stupid. Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels is not a film anyone should use logic to judge, because it is a children's story, a fantasy novel. Don't try to make sense out of it, because it won't. The movie is there for relaxation and laughs, so just expect to have fun!

I have included a trailer here, but I suggest you not to watch it until you have seen the movie, because it will definitely spoil the surprises in the movie.

Lastly, found a funny, violent, above-18 movie clip of my favourite movie Tropic Thunder while researching for this entry, and here it is!

miniature -- (adj) [before noun]

describes something which is a very small copy of an object
sequel --  [C]

a book, film or play which continues the story of a previous book, etc.

Movie: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian @ Locky's English Playground

Joe Stillman @ IMDb

Nicholas Stroller @IMDb

Rob Letterman @IMDb

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Message: Counting Down to 2011

Image from Art of Suszi.
Image from
Totally, completely, absolutely NOT in the mood to work. Wondering why there are 4 days between Christmas holidays and the New Year holidays. It is really like a joke for the companies, because the employees are definitely not productive yet should be paid, the clients are on holidays or on "holiday mode", plus water, electricity bills, etc. Yeah, sounds like I have lots of complaints, but really, by the time I return to the classroom tonight, all my complaints will disappear because I am doing what I love to do.

For me, teaching is fun and meaningful, exciting and enjoyable. It is not easy to be able to do what you like to do, let alone love to do.
Image from

2011 is the best time for changing jobs if you have had thought about it. Since the salary scale is on the rise, the economic situation is getting better and companies are rehiring after the financial tsunami, so if you do not like your working environment, it is time to look around and get your CVs ready to hop to a new job.
Image from

When I can finally pick up my concentration again, I will continue to teach you how to write a great CV and then a Cover Letter.
Image from

If you need to learn that fast, you can leave me comments to push me a bit.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Technology: Google Chrome with Google Dictionary, Ad Blockers & RSS

I must say I never like Internet Explorer. Actually, have I mentioned this before? Sorry, I think I am having a little déjà vu here. Oh yeah, I did say that! In the article, News & Technology: Google puts a big bet on Chrome.

Anyway, I think there is something missing from my blog, and that may be an instant dictionary at your double-click. I have been trying to import Cambridge Dictionary but they haven't got a script suitable for this Google Blogger web, so I am recommending something else.

First of all, you need Google Chrome web browser. I say this is the fastest browser in the world. Highly simple and small in size.
Image from Google
After installing Chrome, you can then go to Google Chrome Extension to download the Ad Blockers you like.  I personally use this Webmail Ad Blocker because I hate to see the ads while I am checking emails.

Lastly, you can download the Google Dictionary, and the meaning you want will pop up in a small bubble.

Image from Google
The only thing that is missing is the IPA, and I do hope that some time later IPA will be added, or that Cambridge Dictionary will create a Chrome extension.

Now you can read my blog even faster and learn even better!

Once more extension to add is the RSS Subscription Extension (by Google), then once there is an entry update, the RSS will automatically come to give you a reminder and you'll be able to read what I write with a click away!
Image from Google

Don't wait, download them now!!! Hope you like my Christmas presents for you!

déjà vu -- (n) [Uthe strange feeling that in some way you have experienced already what is happening now

Déjà vu @ Wikipedia

News & Technology: Google puts a big bet on Chrome

Google Chrome

Webmail Ad Blocker

Google Dictionary

RSS Subscription Extension (by Google)

Monday 20 December 2010

Writing: How to Write A Christmas Card?

Image from

By now, you should be getting some Christmas cards from clients you have worked with. Most of these cards come with greeting by default. "Seasons Greetings", "Christmas Greetings", "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". If you want to reply them with a Christmas card by mail, just get anyone card and sign your name and the company name, slide it into the envelope, stick the stamp and then send it out.

Boring, but this is what people do.

Image from MySpace Christmas Comments

You may want to add one or two sentences by saying, "It has been a pleasure to work with your company" or "Wish your company continue to thrive!"

But can we be more creative then that?

No one said there has to be rules for the Christmas. I like to send e-cards with meaningful messages, most animated and more environmental friendly. If you like it, you can keep it; if you don't, you can delete it, no pollution, no tree dies.

Image from WWF Hong Kong
Image from WWF Hong Kong
Image from WWF Hong Kong

Here are some great websites with meaningful e-cards:

Friday 17 December 2010

Business Writing: How to write CV like a pro? -- Part 2

Image from
An interesting point to note from last Friday's article, Business Writing: How to write CV like a pro? -- Part 1 is that the format of your CV has always been changing with time. Like fashion, at different times in different countries applying for different jobs, your CV format will be different.

Then how do we know which format to follow?

  1. You could use the internet to find the most updated trend, 
  2. ask your head hunter what your target company prefers as the CV format, 
  3. ask a senior who knows a lot about the field, 
  4. buy a "How to write your CV" book

But the best answer that I personally agree most is to write an email to the person who posts the job on the web or newspaper, and ask them what CV format they require -- Reverse chronological, Functional or Hybrid résumé? Maximum 2 or 3 pages? What font size and spacing? With or without photo? Require an Objective Statement?

Image from
Since they are ultimately the ones who will read your CV, it is worth a quick email before you start assuming the structure and design they want to see.

Today, we will use lexically-dense sentences to write descriptions of your skills and experience, focusing on reverse chronological and functional CVs.

At the planning stage of writing your skills and experience section of the CV, you should always put your most important achievement first, and the least important last.

For example, say I was a HR & admin officer and I am looking for a senior position of the same post, I first list out my skills according to the level of achievements.

  1. I have worked for 8 years in the field.
  2. I have changed 3 jobs doing the same thing.
  3. I have trained many colleagues.
  4. I have interviewed and hired many applicants.
  5. I have worked with many big bosses.
  6. I have done administrative work.
  7. I can type fast.

Then you need to wow your readers by using lexically-dense structure and adding true and impressive numbers, take out your calculators.

  1. Possesses 8 years of hands-on experience in the human resources field.
  2. Served 3 renowned international and local companies in Hong Kong, including ABC Corp, Baby Wheel and Human Energy. 
  3. Trained over 300 new staff  for various departments.
  4. Interviewed over 4000 applicants and hired 300 quality new staff up to the senior management level.
  5. Served 6 generations of superiors including 2 Asia-Pacific director and 3 regional directors.
  6. I have done administrative work. (delete this)
  7. I can type fast. (delete this)

Combine sentences if necessary, delete those routine and weak points that do not make you stand out.

  1. Possesses 8 years of hands-on experience in the human resources field and served 3 renowned international and local companies in Hong Kong, including ABC Corp, Baby Wheel and Human Energy. 
  2. Interviewed over 4000 applicants, hired and trained over 300 new quality staff up to the senior management level for various departments.
  3. Served 6 generations of superiors including 2 Asia-Pacific director and 3 regional directors.

So, how's that? Nice? Impressive?

Now, try that using your own skills and experience.


Business Writing: How to write CV like a pro? -- Part 1 @ Locky's English Playground

Résumé @ Wikipedia

Wednesday 15 December 2010

News & Animal: Shark finning continues despite EU ban

Another news article from BBC News on shark-finning.

9 December 2010 Last updated at 09:53 GMT

Shark finning continues despite EU ban, says report

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

Loopholes in EU regulations mean that illegal shark finning is continuing undetected, a report warns.
Finning involves cutting off a shark's fins and throwing the rest of the carcass back into the sea - a practice that the EU has regulated since 2003.
Marine experts are calling on the EU to stop issuing special permits that allow fishermen to remove fins at sea.
The authors say almost a fifth of shark, skate and ray species are classified as threatened.
"The waste and unsustainable mortality associated with finning pose threats to shark populations, fisheries, food security and the sustainability of marine ecosystems," said co-author Sonja Fordham, deputy chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group (SSG).
"The most reliable way to enforce a shark-finning prohibition is to require that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached to their bodies," she suggested.
"This method is being mandated for more and more fisheries, particularly in Central and North America, creating momentum for global change."
In the EU, shark finning is banned except where special permits have been issued that allows a fishing vessel to fin sharks at sea, without landing the entire animal.
Fin dining
Under the present regulation (1185/2003), member states are able to issue the permits to exempt fishing vessels from the finning at sea "ban".
Under the exemption, the weight of fins kept from the catch must not exceed 5% of the live weight of the shark catch.
However, the authors observed, the fins of some shark species did not typically represent 5% of the live weight of a shark, creating a loophole that meant finning could take place unnoticed.
Globally, sharks are captured in targeted fisheries for their meat, fins, liver and oil. However, it is the animals' fins that are prized as these command high prices.
In comparison, shark meat is relatively cheap, difficult to store and takes up a lot of storage space. This is why the practice of finning at sea is used - it allows vessels to harvest the valuable asset, dump the remaining carcasses, leaving storage space for more economically valuable fish stock.
Shark fin soup is a highly priced, traditional, celebratory, Chinese dish. Fins are considered to be among the world's most valuable fish products, fetching in the region of up to 300 euros/kg (£250/kg) in Hong Kong.
In contrast, shark meat retails for up to seven euros/kg (£5.80/kg) in European markets.
The report - Shark Fins in Europe: Implications for reforming the EU finning ban - was produced, the authors said, in order to highlight the weaknesses in the current system.
"For too long, the EU has left the door open to shark finning," said Uta Bellion, European co-ordinator of the Shark Alliance.
"This report reinforces our call on the EU Commission to propose legislation in 2011 with the one truly reliable option for preventing finning - a complete prohibition of the removal of shark fins at sea."
The consultation runs until February 2011, after which the Commission plans to submit a proposal to revise the current regulation to the European Council and Parliament for consideration.
In October, the UK government announced that it was going to stop issuing the permits that allowed vessels to remove fins while at sea.
On the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website, officials wrote: "This means that all UK registered vessels will now have to land sharks with their fins naturally attached, wherever they fish.
"We did not think that UK fishermen were engaged in shark finning, but wanted to take a strong position and make clear our support for 'fin-on' landings."


carcass -- (n) [Cthe body of a dead animal, especially a large one that is soon to be cut up as meat or eaten by wild animals
unsustainable -- (adj) causing damage to the environment by using more of something than can be replaced naturally
mortality -- (n) [U]formal the number of deaths within a particular society and within a particular period of time
pose (threats to sb) -- (vb) [T] to cause something, especially a problem or difficulty
mandate -- (vb) [Tto give official permission for something to happen
exempt --  (vb) [Tto excuse someone or something from a duty, payment, etc
vessel -- (vb)  [C]  formal a large boat or a ship
dump -- [Tto get rid of something unwanted, especially by leaving it in a place where it is not allowed to be
celebratory -- (adj) celebrating an important event or a special occasion
prohibition -- (n) [C or Uwhen something is officially forbidden (= not allowed), or an order forbidding something


As many of you know that, Hong Kong is probably the largest shark-fin consuming city in the world. Shark fin soup is available almost in every Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. Why do Hong Kong people like shark fins so much?

A telephone survey of 1,000 people was carried out by the Telephone Survey Research Laboratory of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the result was presented at the Shark Conference 2000 by WildAid, Hawaii Audubon Society and Pacific Fisheries Coalition. The finding showed that ...
  1. 73.8% of the respondents consume shark fin soup!!!! 
  2. 23.9% said they consume shark fin soup 6-10 times a year while 24.2% said they consume shark fin soup more than 10 times a year!!!! 
  3. 23.3% said they take shark fin soup in a restaurant!!!! 
  4. 40.7% said they are accustomed to eat it!!! But the most shocking of all was...
  5. When asked if you knew that shark species are declining due to the demand for shark fins, would you still eat it? Only 33.2% of the interviewees answered "yes" while a total of 66.8% answered either "No" or "Don't know/Hard to say".
Why are Hong Kong people so cruel? In many articles I wrote, which includes Animals and Environment: Do Sharks Deserve to Die for Their Fins? Discovery Channel program Shark Week has shown that sharks are as clever as dogs and cats, they think and even talk like human and can be as cute as pets! Yet people avoid learning this fact and continue eating them. Like eating dogs and cats.

Then in Animal & News: Save the Sharks NOW!!! (Updated), I have talked about the cruelty of shark-finning and how people leave the poor baby whale shark floating in the sea of the Philippines. Yet because of the demand, sharks are killed every single day. In Animal: Prehistoric Sharks, Other Fish and Our Environment, I have discussed how amazing these sharks are. And in Animal & Environment: Humboldt Squid Invasion, I have talked about the impact of the killing of sharks on the balance of the ocean.

How much more do people need to know before they will finally say, "I won't kill these fish anymore. They are actually great fish"?

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin devoted his whole life in saving wild animals, including sharks. His Wildlife Warriors foundation continues to protect threatened or endangered wildlife after Steve unfortunate death. I have borrowed his video here, hope that my readers can also understand how beautiful these sharks are and how important they are to the oceans and the world, and us. 

(Watch from 2:23)

Christmas is coming, then it is New Year, and Chinese New Year, and many more Chinese weddings to come, please boycott the eating of shark fins!

Shark finning continues despite EU ban, says report

EarthCare, URL:

Animals and Environment: Do Sharks Deserve to Die for Their Fins?

Animal & News: Save the Sharks NOW!!! (Updated)

Animal: Prehistoric Sharks, Other Fish and Our Environment

Animal & Environment: Humboldt Squid Invasion

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin @ Wikipedia

Wildlife Warriors @ Wikipedia

Crocodile Hunter - Wild West (Part 5/5)

Monday 13 December 2010

Health and Fitness: Jurlique's Essential Oils for Christmas

Image from
Image from
Warning, this is not cheap! It is $215 per bottle.

But it is worth the money? Again, everybody has a different definition for the word "worth". Considering the quality and the brand, I definitely think this is worth the cost. And it also depends on who you are buying it for.

The Jurlique Essential Oils can really make great gifts for friends, family and even yourself. Most people like the smell of lavender, which has relaxation and sleep-enhancing properties, but it is also a powerful allergen and it has been widely known that pregnant women should not be in contact with it.
Image from jadeholisticspa

So, is there something safer? What's my recommendation?

After 1 visit to Bintan and 4 visits to Bangkok, lemongrass essential oil is my pick!

  1. First, I think most Hong Kong people are familiar with Thailand and so there is no reason they have not experienced this smell during their Thai massages or Spas. 
  2. Second, I believe that most people who like to go Thailand for shopping and holiday like lemongrass because this smell is almost everywhere you go. 
  3. Third, it is cheap to buy the same thing from Thailand but the smell doesn't last as long as Jurlique's lemongrass. Basically, if you heat 5-7 drops of it over water bath for aromatherapy, the smell can stay for 2 to 3 days. (Not the case if you open your windows all the time)
  4. Fourth, Jurlique's essential oils are so pure that it leaves zero oil residue when you need to wash the diffuser
  5. Last but not least, the lemongrass essential oil I bought in Thailand finishes 3 times faster than the one I bought from Jurlique, which is about 3 times more expensive than the Thai versions but has much higher quality of sweetness.

Image from
Sounds like a perfect gift for anyone, doesn't it? But you still have to use it with care and never overuse any of the oils.

Studies have shown that essential oils such as lemon, lime, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus could cause complications or even danger. For more detail, please read the research papers linked by Wikipedia.

By the way, Jurlique is a German name, originates from the name of a German doctor, Dr. Jürgen Klein (Jurand his wife Ulrike's (lique). Et Voilà.

So, next time, please DON'T pronounce it as /dʒuː.ˈlɪk/, pronounce it as /ˈjyr.lɪk/.

Enjoy your Christmas shopping and don't forget to learn something!

allergen -- [C] specialized
a substance which can cause an allergy (= condition of the body reacting badly to something) but which is not harmful to most people
aromatherapy -- [U]
the treatment of worry or nervousness, or medical conditions that are not serious by rubbing pleasant-smelling natural oils into the skin or breathing in their smell
residue -- [C usually singularformal 
the part that is left after the main part has gone or been taken away, or a substance that remains after a chemical process such as evaporation

diffuser -- [C]
a device which is used to make light less direct, especially one used with a fluorescent light, or spreading heat across an area or surface

Jurlique Online Shop

Aromatherapy -- Safety Concerns @ Wikipedia

Origins of the German name Jurlique

IPA for German @Wikipedia

Pronunciation of IPA /y/

Friday 10 December 2010

Business Writing: How to write CV like a pro? -- Part 1

Actually, this is the continuation of Business Writing: How to write like a pro? -- Part 4; however, since the basic skills have already been covered, we can go on and discuss specifically the genre of the writing.

Since many students are asking me how to write an impressive Curriculum vitae (CV) recently, which is understandable because it is near the end of the year and the economy is getting better, I will begin a new chapter on Business Writing: How to write CV like a pro?

Image from Google

I don't know how many parts there will be, so just keep following my blog.

Okay, let's begin.

The Introduction

"If you want me to be your future boss, tell me why I should read your CV?"

This is a really important question to ask yourself before you start typing. Well, actually, the HR department people are the ones who will scan and filter CVs, so before your CV gets to your future boss, you will have to make yours look special. The introduction, which is below your name, your address, email address and phone numbers, is the first and probably the ONLY thing that the HR will read, if it is good enough, your CV will never end up on the boss's table.

How to make it look special? Design, layout, fonts, text types, etc. are all something you should look at, but still how you write is more important.

Knowing how to WOW them is THE MOST IMPORTANT.

As we all know, a CV is best to be fit inside 1 or 2 pages of A4 paper, depending on your experience, so, there isn't really a lot of space to write too much. So, an excellent CV begins with the use of lexically dense sentences. To do that, you need to sit down and write down what you really think about your current job and then your new job.

For example,

I am a merchandiser. I have worked in the field for 10 years and I have a lot of experience in handling buyers from mainland China. I am extremely hard-working and patient. I love working in this field a lot because I like the challenges this job offers me. I want to find a new job because I want to get a better pay. My colleagues are making me sick now and I also don't like my current boss. I think changing my working environment can help me do better, maybe even get promoted.

Now, make this lexically dense while dropping or rephrasing all negative comments!

I am an experienced, patient, extremely hard-working, job-loving merchandiser with 10 years of experience in the field, particularly skillful in handling mainland Chinese buyers.  I am looking for a new challenging job because I want to change my working environment to perform better.

Drop all "I am" or "I' and replace simple words with higher level descriptive keywords to WOW your readers.

A seasoned, patient, dedicated and devoted professional with over 10 years of experience in merchandising, specialising in liaising with Chinese buyers, is now seeking new challenge for better performance.

This is not the most perfect version, and there never will be, because it all depends on the readers, but I think I have shown the idea of how to write the introduction of the CV.

Is that the end? Of course not!

From here, you have a base introduction to build on, but you will need to adapt this to every single job that you are applying and add different key abilities into it to make it fit into the new company's requirement.


Imagine that you are a merchandiser, you see this job ad from the internet and you are interested to apply:

The packaging division in Yau Tong of a listed group invites high caliber candidates to the following post. We offer attractive salary and fringe benefits package to the right candidate.

Senior Merchandiser / Merchandiser

  • Liaison with suppliers and buyers including brand name clients independently;
  • Orders follow up, sourcing the products from sample development, quality control, bulk order to shipment;
  • Coordinating tasks between different departments in Hong Kong office and China factory to fulfill customer requirements and to meet schedule timeline on projects;
  • Perform all purchasing and marketing activities including forecast report
  • Non-Degree Tertiary in Purchasing, Marketing or related discipline;
  • 3-4 years working experience in manufacturing industry;
  • Solid working experience in Packaging, Gift & Premium and Sundries will be an advantage;
  • Independent, proactive and customer-oriented;
  • Good command of spoken and written English, fair Mandarin;
  • Proficiency in PC applications-Excel, MS Office and Chinese Windows;
  • Frequent travel to Dongguang, the PRC

Interested parties please send your detailed C.V. with current and expected salary to HR Manager at for interview. All information received are strictly for recruitment purpose only.

What will you add to the base introduction to make it WOW?

Business Writing: How to write like a pro? -- Part 4