Thursday 29 April 2010

Song: Quando Quando Quando -- Engelbert Humperdinck

Image from

Okay, a few things are involved today. 

One, I am working very very slowly because I was down with a cold and my brain wasn't functioning too well.

Two, work is pilling up as usual, thus the delay of this entry (sorry guys!)

Three, I actually managed to wake up last night to witness my favourite football team Inter Milan qualified for the final of the UEFA Champions League (Congratulazioni Nerazzurri!!!!) after 38-year's of wait! Great tactics!!!Just can't have enough of it! 

Four, because of this, I kept seeing Heineken beer TV ads appearing every now and then, which reminds me of a funny commercial and a great song! Hence, today's entry:

Image from

There are two versions of the Heineken ad (hope you still remember them):

Version One -- Dropping

Version Two -- Shaking

The song, Quando Quando Quando sung by Engelbert Humperdinck, was originally an Italian pop song from 1962, meaning "When? When? When?" Many other singers have sung this song, but in my opinion, never is there a rendition as cool or as chic as Humperdinck's.

Image from

The internationally famous pop music singer of the 1960s and 1970s has almost made every song he sings top the charts, and "Quando Quando Quando" is just one of his many many. I guess you can describe his vocal as husky, magnetic, seasoned and charming.

Again, a very simple song, with actually not many new words to learn, but the feelings told the story of the song is still so clear! In just a few lines, the entire picture is portrayed -- A man wants to ask his love one to marry him because he has been waiting all so painfully long, and now he must have her to say "yes" to him. This is certainly one beautiful song which demonstrate class! Enjoy the song and listen for the accent!

Quando Quando Quando -- Engelbert Humperdinck


Tell me when will you be mine
Tell me Quando Quando Quando
We can share a love divine
Please don't make me wait again

When will you say yes to me
Tell me Quando Quando Quando
You mean happiness to me
Oh my love please tell me when

Every moment's a day, every day seems a lifetime
Let me show you the way to a dream beyond compare

I can't wait a moment more
Tell me Quando Quando Quando
Say it's me that you adore

And my darlin' tell me when 


Quando -- (Italian) when?
Rendition -- (n) [C] (renditionthe way that something is performed, written, drawn, etc
Chic -- (adj) stylish and fashionable
Husky -- (adj) (of a person's voice) low and rough, often in an attractive way, or because of illness
Magnetic -- (adj) describes someone whose personality attracts a lot of people
Seasoned -- (adj) having a lot of experience of doing something and therefore knowing how to do it well
Charming -- (adj) pleasant and attractive
Class -- (n) [U] the quality of being stylish or fashionable
Divine -- (adj) [old-fashioned] extremely good, pleasant or enjoyable
Adore -- (vb) [T not continuous] to love someone very much, especially in an admiring or respectful way, or to like something very much


Monday 26 April 2010

News Article: Alarm as kids say yes to compensated dating

Alarm as kids say yes to compensated dating

Kaylene Hong 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hong Kong school students - including those in primary school - hold an alarming attitude of acceptance towards compensated dating, according to a survey.

Around 5 percent of Primary Five and Six students polled said they would find it acceptable for a friend to be paid for having a meal with someone, or having their pictures taken in exchange for money.

About 1 percent said it would be fine to have sexy or naked pictures taken and have intimate physical or sexual contact in exchange for payment.

The survey, conducted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, polled 1,110 children in Primary Five to Secondary Three.

About 15 percent of Secondary One to Three students saw nothing wrong with a friend being paid for having a meal with someone, and about 12 percent thought it fine to get money in exchange for having their pictures taken.
Around 5 to 7 percent said they were willing to have sexy or naked pictures taken, as well as having intimate physical - and even sexual - contact.

"This is a very worrying trend. I had expected the number to be zero, but the figure is around 5 percent," center-in-charge Keswick Chuk Wing-hung said, referring to the percentage of primary schoolchildren who are willing to have a meal with someone for money.

Chuk said children at such a young age should be untainted.

"However, with all the information booming now, especially on the internet, there is a big gap between exposure to the real world and the education given," he said.

The group said sex education in primary school should be strengthened.

An 11-year-old boy surnamed Tsang studying in Primary Five said he had once searched for animal films on the internet but the results displayed "compensated dating" video clips as well.

"I was very nervous then and I deleted the website immediately," he said.

Too much or too little? It could be too much --

  1. too much porn: porn sites, porn movies and adult magazines are all accessible to anybody; 
  2. too much luxury: handbags, clothes, shoes, cosmetics and apartments are all so glittering; kids get what they want from parents easily;
  3. too much influence: peer pressure, media propaganda
  4. too much time: children have too much time after school and thus exposing more to the above.

Or it could be too little --

  1. too little time: parents too busy with work;
  2. too little care: parents expect kids can learn everything in schools, expect no further education needed at home;
  3. too little conversation: parents tired out after work and are unwilling to talk; see generation gap and reluctant to tackle it; no talk no family teaching;
  4. too little love: parents have more cash than love, thus think that materials can replace absence of love.
Or it could be both. Who is to blame? Maybe the society, maybe everybody, every family has different problems and thus no situation applies to all cases, but if this happens in your family, you should be the first one to blame. Why? Because you have made a very wrong assumption, and that assumption is "every kid will grow up to be a good person".

What is good? How do each family define good? Some people say, "good means good enough". How should we measure enough then? Able to pass 1 or 2 subjects in school? Able to play 2 musical instruments? What I can see is that kids are much more mature nowadays in terms of their exposure to the world than they were 10 or 20 years ago, but at the same time, have less guidance from their parents or senior members of the family across the decade or two. The internet boom has contributed immensely to this trend, as it has allowed information to pour into the virtual world, both good and bad ones. Human interactions have changed drastically since then. Snail mails to emails, phone chat to instant messaging. Hard to say whether interpersonal relationships are strengthened or weakened, but faster communication means have definitely pushed up expectations in the business world to work more efficiently to keep up with the speedy internet world. And so, the faster businesses run, the larger demand for man power, the less time there is for the family.

Unless you are extremely rich, most of my students in Hong Kong spend less time with their parents and kids as compared to they did 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Still being told are the old tales about how they spent time with their next-door childhood friends watching a richer neighbour's black-and-white TV through their steel gate, or about how they looked out for one another by carrying buckets of water from a water truck and walking up 3 to 4 storeys during a water ration, but hardly any such neighbourhood interactions can be seen nowadays. During those days, kids lived closely with parents, parents watched every single step their kids made and punished their kids harshly if they sidetracked. Good or bad depends on which time frame you are viewing from, that is, if you were still in the 1960s mindset? Good! 2010s' mindset? Bad, very bad! We now allow much more freedom for kids and more freedom means they enjoy fewer watch-eyes, thus less guidance -- less education.

Human interactions not only crashed new low among neighbours, but also among relatives. Except those who grow up in families that keep a traditional book of their family trees, like the Lees and Tangs, and those who still have reunion dinners during Chinese festivals, how often do people still meet up their relatives? My mum called her sister-in-law (my aunt) one night and asked her if she had taken her children to sweep ancestors' graves. Aunt said no and was immediately blasted by my mum. Mum shouted through the phone that if she doesn't show her young ones the importance of the Chinese traditions, love will fade, even her children's love for her, because the children will see no love from my aunt for her father's bone ashes.

Mum was absolutely right! Traditions are kept for many reasons, but none of which is more immediate than for education. Sadly, such education of traditions and human relationships are fading, even some parents like my aunt are changing her thinkings. Even visiting temples in Hong Kong can be done through the internet, as fancy as you wish, whatever rituals you want to perform, just key in your credit card nobody, and at a click of a button ...Wa-la! Someone will do it for you later! But you can see the results on your computer monitor immediately. How pathetic? 

There is a lot of things teachers cannot teach, like sweeping graves, and even if they could, family teaching is ten times more effective. Monkey see, monkey do! Kids learn from watching what others do, what their parents do, just like monkeys. If parents do not care about it, why should they expect their children know? If you don't teach your kids what is "right", others will, the media will, the porn movies will. The news article title said people are "alarm(ed)", well, I'm not, given what I know so well where the problem begins at.

Still want to assume that "every kid will grow up to be a good person"?

compensation dating -- (n) [U] a date of which money is paid in exchange for time, company, sex, etc.
intimate -- (adj) having, or being likely to cause, a very close friendship or personal or sexual relationship
glittering -- (adj) exciting or admired by many people, usually relating to rich and famous people
propaganda -- (n)[U] mainly disapproving information, ideas, opinions or images, often only giving one part of an argument, which are broadcast, published or in some other way spread with the intention of influencing people's opinions

look out for sb / sth -- phrasal verb to try to notice someone or something
sidetrack -- (vb) [T usually passive] to direct a person's attention away from an activity or subject towards another one which is less important
watch-eyes -- (n) [C] metaphorical use  attention from people such as friends, neighbours or parents.
blast -- (vb) [T] informal to criticize someone or something severely


Saturday 24 April 2010

Travelling and Living: Locky's Top 10 Photo Shooting Places in Singapore

Photo from Top News 

For many years, the word "Singapore" shows up in local newspapers mainly when there are comparisons with Hong Kong, such as port ranking, living standard ranking, happiness ranking, GDP ranking, most-livable-place-on-world ranking.

Now, because of the incidents in Bangkok, a top-ranked Hong Kong traveller-cum-shoppers' hotspot, travel agencies are changing strategy to promote Singapore and other countries like Taiwan to make up for their loss.

Just type the word "Singapore" into the search engine in and I found many news regarding travel. I have put a few below under resources, read up if you are interested.

Now, why would you be interested in Singapore? Many of my students told me that they found Singapore excruciatingly dull. Well, of course!!! Because if you want shopping malls, Hong Kong has. If you want variety of products and goods, Hong Kong has. If you want magnificent sea-views, mountain views or village views, Hong Kong has. If you want international food, Hong Kong has it all! Then why Singapore?

To answer why, first answer what -- what do you want to see in Singapore?

In this article, I will only talk about the places I personally remember well, so if you are looking for the new Universal Studio and casino on Sentosa Island, I'm sorry, you won't find them here.

Ready? Here we go!


Locky's Top 10 Photo Shooting Places in Singapore

Photo from FoodStalker
  1. Merlion@ Merlion Park near Marina Bay (South of Singapore)
  2. Harbour view? Checked! Huge statue? Checked! Good lighting? Checked! Symbolic enough to prove you have visited Singapore? Checked! A very nice little place to hang out with friends and definitely cool place to take pictures day and night.  
    Photo from 
  3. The Esplanade -- Theatres on the Bay@Marina Bay (South of Singapore)
  4. From the Merlion Park, you can easily spot a durian-like looking structure, definitely symbolizes Singaporean's fondness of the King of Fruit. Locals call it "the Durian" or "the Big Durian" too! Great architecture and memory-storage killer both in and out.
  5. Raffles Place@Raffles Place (South of Singapore)
  6. Named after the modern founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, located in the heart of the Central Area, it is a place to see how  modern architecture, history and art are brilliantly orchestrated. Air-spaces are maximized to provide constant flow of very fresh and clean air. Little space is wasted. Traffic is never too far away but noise is blocked off by skyscrapers, leaving the area peaceful and comfortable. Its wonderful city-planning is something that Hong Kong should really learn from.
  7. Lau Pa Sat@ near Raffles Place (South of Singapore)
  8. Not far away from the Central Area, you find Telok Ayer Market, or most commonly known as Lau Pa Sat, a food court that was once a market, a jetty and a wooden building. Now, it has become a symbol of food court culture in Singapore. If you haven't visited this place, you can't say you know Singapore. The food there wasn't great when I was studying in Singapore, but what I really like, is the interior design of this place, absolutely Victorian! Just look at the design of those poles in the above picture! So detailed! So elegant! I love the dome part the most, look at how all those steel bars forms the shape of the roof! Looks like a wicker hat, doesn't it?
    Photo from
  9. Suntec City Mall@City Hall (South of Singapore)
  10. Well, we have lots of shopping mall in Hong Kong too, but it is the fountain that makes this one special -- The Fountain of Wealth. You can definitely get some great pictures here!
    Photo from Gee!Bee@flickr
  11. Bugis Junction@Bugis (South of Singapore)
  12. Oooh! This is my favourite street in Singapore. You know how hot it is there, but this fully air-conditioned glass covered shopping street is smoke-free and environmental friendly, as it makes use of the natural sunlight. And the best part is, it has combined culture and shopping together! Conservation and business co-exist!!! Hong Kong, have you learnt anything?
  13. Clarke Quay@ Clarke Quay (South of Singapore)
  14. Now if you think Bugis Junction is the only place that Singaporean government shows her thoughts, Clarke Quay has to be the best example of huge success in turning stone into gold. Conservations make money! Yeah, a whole lot! This riverside quay is not only packed with history, but also pubs and bistros, visitors come pouring in every single day and it is already great just to watch these people dine. Unbelievable atmosphere! You call it romantic, it is romantic. You call it warm and friendly, you got it! I have never dined there, because of the price, but my friends loved a pub called "Hooters" there, or maybe they just love those girls there.
    Photo from Asia in Asia
  15. East Coast Park@Changi to Tanjong Rhu (East of Singapore)
  16. A quiet side of Singapore is the East side, a 20km long beach with no particularly smooth sand, but lots of freedom and lots of fun. I like this place because you can see blue sky, green coconut trees (be very careful), the sea, the skaters, the secondary students building team-spirits and the kids running and dashing in and out of the water. What I don't like is the sight of cargo ships almost everywhere you look. Well... you can't have the cake and eat it, right? There are lots of seafood restaurants too. Never tried any though.
      Photo from
  17. Little India@Little Indian (South of Singapore)
  18. Okay, you might not like the smell, but like I always say, we smell too, so do not discriminate. What's better than visiting "two countries" when you only pay a ticket to go to one? Little India is definitely a place to get a feeling of Indian culture and grab souvenirs for your friends. Singapore isn't always about crispy pork, you know?
    Photo from Virtual Tourist
  19. Sentosa@Sentosa (South of Singapore)
  20. Well, coming last on the top 10, is usually a place that comes first in another person's list. Why do I put it last? Because I didn't enjoy it there much. You won't if you do not stay in the hotel on this island. Why not? Because you will be afraid to get sand into your shoes, and to run around and get all sweaty and have to wait till you get back to the hotel to shower. I used many "and"s, so you can feel how frustrated I am with this place. Still, it is a place you must visit, fame or not fame. I guess time has changed now. You get a lot play and gamble to do here. So, before I visit Sentosa again, it 
Other places you might consider: Orchard Road, Jurong Bird Park, Chinese Garden, Chinatown.

Next Entry:
Locky's Top 10 Food in Singapore

excruciatingly -- (adv) extremely boring or embarrassing, extremely painful
orchestrate -- (vb) [T often passive] to arrange or write a piece of music so that it can be played by an orchestra, used as a metaphors here.
jetty -- (n) [C] a wooden or stone structure which is built in the water at the edge of a sea or lake and is used by people getting on and off boats
dome -- (n) [C] a rounded roof on a building or a room, or a building with such a roof
bistro -- (n) [C] a small informal restaurant or bar, especially in France or in a French style
hooters -- (plural n) US Slang  a woman's breasts. This sense is considered offensive.


Wednesday 21 April 2010

Vocabulary: Chinese Names with English Meanings

Photo from Chinesehour Blog

Have you ever wondered that learning English vocabulary can be easy? How easy? You may be carrying one of them with you all the time, printed on your ID card. What I mean is, from your own surname! Believe it or not, some Chinese surnames do have actual meanings.

I have selected a few more common ones, some are Cantonese and others Mandarin. If you happen to have more updates, let me know! I will add them in.

Bong (n) [C]
  • a musical noise made especially by a large clock
Boon (n) [C usually singular]
  • something that is very helpful and improves the quality of life 
  • Boon companion
    • [C usually singular literary] a very close friend
Chin (n) [C]
  • the part of a person's face below their mouth

Chow (n) [U old-fashioned Slang]
  • food; something to eat

  • gung-ho (adj informal)
    • extremely enthusiastic about doing something, especially going to war
  • heigh-ho (exclamation)
    • used to express the fact that you cannot change a situation so you must accept it
  • ho-hum 
    • (exclamation) an expression used when someone is bored, or when they accept that something unpleasant cannot be stopped from happening
    • (adj) boring or ordinary

Ching (n)
  • ching / ka-ching
    • (exclamation) used for talking about large amounts of money and wanting a lot of money
Lam (n)
  • on the lam [US]
    • to be escaping, especially from the police
Law (n)
  • go to law
    • When someone goes to law about something, they ask a court to decide if it was done legally.
Lee (n)
  • [S] the side of hill, wall, etc. that provides shelter from the wind
  • the lees
    • the substance which is left at the bottom of a container of liquid, especially in a bottle of wine
  • (exclamation, old use) look
  • lo and behold (humorous)
    • something that you say when you tell someone about something surprising that happened
Loo (n) [C]
  • UK informal toilet
Ma (n)
  • (informal, old-fashioned) a mother
  • (mainly) US a title for an old woman

Ping (vb) [I]
  • to make a short sharp sound
  • (message) to send an email or text message
  • US for "pink" (= an engine noise)

Pun (vb [I], n [C])
  • to make a pun
  • a humorous use of a word or phrase which has several meanings (eg. jerk) or which sounds like another word (eg: red / read) .
  • (vb [I] or [T] disapproving) to pretend
  • [C usually singular disapproving] something which is not what it seems to be and is intended to deceive people, or someone who pretends to be something they are not
  • (vb) [I] to break a religious or moral law
Tang (n) [S]
  • a strong sharp taste or smell
  • Tongs (plural n) a device used for picking up objects, consisting of two long pieces joined at one end and pressed together at the other end in order to hold an object between them

Photo from

Wan (adj literary)

  • (of a person's face) more pale than usual and tired-looking

Woo (vb [T])
  • to try to persuade someone to support you or to use your business
  • (old-fashioned) If a man woos a woman, he gives her a lot of attention in an attempt to persuade her to marry him

Yam (n, [C] or [U])
  • a potato-like root from a tropical climbing plant that can be eaten, or the plant it grows from
  • US a sweet potato

Photo from

Enjoy learning English-cum-Chinese surnames!


Monday 19 April 2010

Usage: Modals Anatomy -- Part 4 (May & Might)

Grammar time again! This time, we will move on to another pair of modal verbs, May & Might.

Before we start, let's bear in mind that the use of Might is more polite and more formal, as we have discussed in previous entries on distancing.

May and Might are very similar to each other as they both suggest the chances that something will happen, or is happening. Might is used when the situation is less certain and less possible:

Expressing possibilities:
  1. We may go camping this Sunday.
  2. She might go Egypt this summer, but it all depends on her cash.
  3. She may not be at home.
  4. He might not be with her. 

Asking for permission:
  1. May I watch TV now?
  2. Might I be allowed to meet your daughter? (More formal)
  3. I wonder if I might be allowed to meet your daughter. (More formal, indirect use)

Giving and refusing permission: (May only)
  1. A: May I watch TV now?             B: No, you may not.
  2. You may not go into the conference room without a smart card.
  3. You may leave now.

Express wishes and hopes: (May only)
  1. May you and your family live happily ever after!
  2. May he rest in peace. (Prayer for a dead person)
  3. Let's hope that the orphans may receive love from their new families!

Talk about something definitely true (may / might ...but):

  1. You may be smarter than me, but I work 10 times harder than you.
  2. The cat might look cute now, but she won't be so cute when she starts making scratches on your deluxe sofa.

Modal Perfect:

may / might have done
may not / might not have done

Possibilities in the past:
  1. Sam called, he said he is still on his way. He didn't say what happened. I guess he might have got caught up in something.

  1. If she hadn't been wasting all her time trying to find her 200% Mr Right, she might have got married ages ago.

Try to explain the meanings of the following sentences in details, you can make your predictions as you wish:
(Leave comments for me to check)

  1. Jane: Look! That's him! Isn't he handsome? I kinda like him.       Peter: He might be stupid.
  2. Jane: May I slap you in the face?                Peter: No, you may not. What's so good about him?
  3. Jane: He might become the next best Japanese pop singer!
  4. Peter: He might? I thought you have ALWAYS worshipped certainties.
  5. Jane: What? I can't fancy a guy who is cute and talented?!      Peter: You may......
  6. Jane: Then?       Peter: I'm just, you know, he may be cute now, but not in another 5 years.
  7. Jane: What may your reason be now, grumpy?            
  8. Peter: Well, his face looks real stiff to me, he might have injected a litre of two of those Botox things into his face, so his face will turn into Ironman's mask in 5 years.
  9. Jane: You are just jealous!!!


Practical English Usage Third Ed. -- Michael Swan

Friday 16 April 2010

Fashion: Handbags / Purses & Other Bags

As student "C" has requested a page on handbags, which I almost knew nothing about except they are called handbags in American English and Purses in British English, here are my findings.

Clutch (bag)
a small flat bag without a handle, carried by women, especially on formal occasions. [1] "Clutch" is a verb which is to take or try to take hold of something tightly, usually in fear, worry or pain. So, should we expect a lot of cash or a lot of secrets inside? 

a rectangular leather bag with a long strap, used especially in the past by children for carrying books to school.[2] The strap is often worn so that it diagonally crosses the body, with the bag hanging on the opposite hip, rather than hanging directly down from the shoulder. [3]

Tote Bag
a large handheld bag or purse that is used to carry things, such as books, beach wear, or everyday items. The term tote, meaning "to carry" can be traced back to the 17th century but was not used to describe bags until 1900.[4]

Duffel Bag / Duffle Bag
A duffel bag (or duffle bag, kit bag, gym bag) is a large cylindrical bag made of cloth (or other fabric) with a drawstring closure at the top. It is often used to carry luggage or sports equipment by people who travel in the outdoors. [5]

Traditional military duffel bag

modern sport duffel bag

Messenger Bag
worn over one shoulder with a strap that winds around the chest resting the bag on the lower back. Messenger bags are often used by bicycle messengers, though they are increasingly becoming an urban fashion icon. Some types of messenger bags are called carryalls.[6]

Sling Bag
Similar to messenger bag, but smaller.[7]

Doggy Bag
a small bag that a restaurant provides so that you can take home any food you have not finished.

Jiffy Bag
a thick envelope for protecting objects that are easily damaged when they are sent through the post[9]

Man Bag (informal)
a bag that a man uses for carrying his money, keys, mobile phone, etc [10]

Shoulder Bag
a bag that hangs on a strap from the shoulder, especially one used for carrying small personal things [11], basically, it is a general term for any bags you need to carry with your shoulder.

Sponge Bag (UK)
a small waterproof bag used for carrying your toothbrushfacecloth, soap, etc. when you are travelling [12]

String Bag 
a shopping bag which is made of pieces of string tied together with spaces between each piece[13]

Suit Bag (UK) / Garment Bag (US)
a long flat bag which is carried folded in half, in which a suit (= jacket and trousers)can be kept while travelling [14]

Toilet Bag
a bag in which you put things for keeping yourself clean and tidy, especially when you are travelling [15]

Cool(er) Bag
a bag made of a thick insulating material that keeps food and drink cold when you are travelling [16]