Monday 28 February 2011

Movie: 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Image from Rachel Rambles
The hottest topic for the day is of course the 83rd Academy Awards which was held this morning in Hong Kong time. I was lucky enough not to be at work, so I managed to watch most of the show on TV.

Colin Firth
Image from vancouversun
The King's Speech wins big at Oscars today, with the film grabbing the Best Motion Picture, the Best Achievement in Directing, the Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, and of course, the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Colin Firth. The trailer was so intriguing that I am definitely not going to miss this one in the cinema.

Natalie Portman
Image from vancouversun
The Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role goes to Black Swan's Natalie Portman, who went on to the stage with her unborn baby, received thunderous well-deserved applause for her stunning performance in the film, in which she has to act out psychotic symptoms of strong delusions, visual hallucinations and paranoia.

The Social Network
Image from Screen Rant
A pity for the Golden Globe super winner The Social Network today as the film only managed to claim  the Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, the Best Achievement in Editing and the Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

Other highlights of the show was Anne Hathaway, who has put herself in not less than 6 different dresses in one night, all of which stunningly glamorous! I bet some, if not all of them, are sponsored by Prada! She's never my type but did show off well today. Here's one of the dresses.

Anne Hathaway
Image from CBS News
But talking about hot prettiness, I pick Scarlett Johansson in her see-through plum Dolce & Gabbana Qipao!

Scarlett Johansson
Image from vancouversun
Toy Story 3 clinched the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year without much of a fight from How to Train Your Dragon, but next year, the fight will be much tougher.

Toy Story 3
Image from cbc
Inception wins several awards too, but the most deserved of all is the Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
Image from charcoal4
Just look at that! No movie got better this this year!

Road to the Oscars'11 @ IMDb

Black Swan @ Wikipedia

Black Swan @ IMDb

The King's Speech 2010 Trailer @ YouTube

Friday 25 February 2011

Economics: Hong Kong Budget 2011-2012

I think everyone is talking about the 2011-2012 Budget, so I would also like to join the party. I have selected lots of links to news for you to read at the Resources section below if you want.

Financial Secretary John Tsang before the Budget Speech
Image from Kansas City
But to cut things short, here are a few of John Tsang's moves that fight the problems faced:

ProblemsReactionLocky's Quick Opinion
Risk of Asset-price BubblesAdd a total of 9 residential sites, 5 of which should offer 3000 small and medium-sized flats in total, making a total of 52 [1]52 cards on hand makes a deck of cards, but when will they be used? No time frame. Housing market? Up, up, hurray!!!
Inflation (The Living Human)Will continue to diversify the sources of our food imports. [2]Buy more from places other than China? Only US$ drops like HK$ really. I think we have to import food from Mars.
Inflation (The Rich)Will issue
$5 billion to $10 billion worth of Hong Kong-dollar iBond under the Government Bond Programme. [3]
Sorry, I have no money to buy bonds. Even if I do have money to buy bonds, I have to put all my money in there to ensure my cash isn't eroded, then where do I get money for food? Why not just give me the cash?
Inflation (The Electronics)Granting each residential electricity account a subsidy of $1,800. This will cost the Government about $4.7 billion [4]This is okay, if you owe a place yourself or if your rent doesn't cover the electric bill. Because if your rent and the bills come in a package, then your landlords get all!
Inflation (The Rich)Waiving rates for 2011-12, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter for each rateable property. It is estimated that about 82 per cent of properties will be subject to no rates in the year. This proposal will cost the Government approximately $9.9 billion [4]This doesn't benefit anyone who has no property
Inflation (The Supported)Paying two months' rent for public housing tenants...This measure will involve expenditure of approximately $1.9 billion [4]Reasonable enough, but if you rent a private apartment, then sorry!

Inflation (The Poor and Needy)Providing an extra allowance to Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients, equal to one month of the standard rate CSSA payments; and an extra allowance to Old Age Allowance and Disability Allowance recipients, equal to one month of the allowances. This proposal will involve an additional expenditure of about $1.9 billion. [4]Good move, but is one month CSSA enough?

Inflation (The Responsible)Increasing the allowance for maintaining dependent parents/grandparents by 20 per cent... This measure will benefit about 510 000 taxpayers and cost the Government $570 million a year  [4]Fair enough, but that is so little money!!!

Inflation (The future generation)Raising both the child allowance and the additional one-off child allowance in the year of birth by 20 per cent from $50,000 to $60,000 for each child.
I estimate that this measure will benefit about 300 000 taxpayers, costing the Government $650 million a year.  [4]
Another small budget deal.

Inflation (MPF)a one-off injection of $6,000 into the MPF accounts of all MPF scheme members and members of occupational retirement schemes covered by the Employment Ordinance of Hong Kong as of 23 February 2011... $24 billion for this measure. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau will announce the details in due course   [5]WHAT???????? MPF????? Cash me out, man!!!!


What is my verdict of the Hong Kong Budget 2011-2012? All smoke and no fire.

Chan Wai-Yip threw "Hell Money" at John Tsang a day after the Budget Speech
Image from The Standard

The most talked-about was his argument against the $6000 tax rebate. He claims that a tax rebate will drive up the inflation level further, but will it? First, you have to look at how much tax you have taken from the citizens this year. If the tax rebate is less than the tax collected, then obviously, his argument doesn't stand!

So, how much has the government collected from us? "The revised estimate for total revenue is $374.8 billion" [6] (here is more past records for your reference).

How much will the $6000 MPF injection cost? Only $24 billions![5] So that is less than 10% of the money they take from us! If giving us back $1 when we give you $10 will increase inflation, then that means taking money away from us will help solve inflation? Ridiculous! If they really think so, then the government officials should really get pay cuts, because that will fight inflation!

Homework: Can you think of more points of counter-arguments?

to cash sb out -- (slang) to pay sb with cash
verdict -- (n) [C] an opinion or decision made after judging the facts that are given, especially one made at the end of a trial
All smoke and no fire -- an idiomatic expression which describes something that was originally expected to be great or exciting turns out to be much less than amazing. For more details, please read this link.

The 2011-2012 Budget

Hong Kong Budget 2011-12: Highlights and Analysis of Housing Policy @ Business Insider

Inflation-buster $10b iBond of limited interest @ The Standard

Bridge wealth gap, warns Leung @  The Standard

Saying: All work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) @ Locky's English Playground

Tax Revenue @ Inland Revenue

Wednesday 23 February 2011

People: Justin Bieber's New Haircut

Image from disneydreaming

"February 21, 2011 will forever be known as THE DAY JUSTIN BIEBER CUT HIS BEAUTIFUL HAIR. Life as we know it will NEVER be the same. Never. Ever, ever."

This is the opening line from Honestly, I don't like Justin Bieber, not because he is too young to make millions of US dollars, but because I don't like his songs. Why don't I like his songs? Well, because I'm too old to hear a 14-15-16-year-old boy singing love song to an even younger girl. I'm way over that age! And! I don't like continual repetition of "Baby". It's like brainwashing!

Image from
But his hair is really impressive! I mean, how many boys in Hong Kong are following this hairstyle? Basically, countless! Everybody wants a part of his hair, worldwide! And it is more like it is the hair that makes his famous, not his songs, or his musical talents, or his young age! Can you name some stars who first became famous because of the hairstyle? Or maybe, can you name any stars that has a signature hairstyle? I can name a lot! Try taking a look at this website here!

Let's see how Justin does his hair!

Reminds me of what Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) said in the following video:

"You have just flush you xxxxing career, down the toilet!" -- Les Grossman

And Les Grossman is right, stars can fall and rise simply because of a change in hairstyle.Well, wish Justin good luck!

Just in case you want to revise your hairstyle terminology, you can revisit Vocabulary: Hairstyle Terminology
and Vocabulary: BaldnessTerminology. What is Justin Bieber's hair called? Is it a fringe or a flip? Well, looks like it doesn't matter anymore.

repetition -- [U] when you do or say something again
brainwash -- [T] disapproving to make someone believe something by repeatedly telling them that it is true and preventing any other information from reaching them
Brazilian Blowout -- (n)[U] mentioned in Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) video. See picture below.

Image from

Bieber's Haircut -- Altering the Course of Humanity @ TMT

Justin Bieber @ Wikipedia

Studio Stylish Brush

Robert Pattinson & Les Grossman MTV Movie Awards Promo 2010 @ YouTube

Vocabulary: Hairstyle Terminology @ Locky's English Playground

Vocabulary: BaldnessTerminology @ Locky's English Playground

Monday 21 February 2011

Song: Misery -- Maroon 5

Image from buzznet
Image from Wikipedia
One of my latest favourite song is Misery by Maroon 5, a boy-band that has begun rocking since 1992 till now that all members have become man-band. They only get more and more famous with age. Maybe this is what people call "mandom".

Image from Wikipedia
Anyway, back to the song, Misery was released in Maroon 5's third studio album called Hands All Over, with a name kind of match the actions in the MTV of this song. The MTV only featured lead vocalist Adam Levine rather than all members of Maroon 5, but the reason may well lie on the fact that female star in the MTV is his 24-year-old Russian supermodel girlfriend in real life, Anne Vyalitsyna. You wouldn't want your girlfriend to make MTV with someone else, would you?

As for the song, I like the upbeat melody and then simple metaphors used for supposedly a not-so-high-morale song.

Adam explains the meaning of the song himself as follows,

Frontman Adam Levine told MTV News: "'Misery' is about the desperation of wanting someone really badly in your life but having it be very difficult. Kind of what all the songs I write are about. I'm not treading on new ground, but I think a lot of people - including myself - deal with that all the time. Relationships are difficult, and it's good therapy to write about them."

Hope you like it!

mandom -- (n) [U] the noun for adjective "man"
lead vocalist -- (n) [C] the member of a band who sings the main vocal portions of a song
morale -- (n) [U] the amount of confidence felt by a person or group of people, especially when in a dangerous or difficult situation
tread -- (vb)   [I or T usually + adverb or preposition]  mainly UK to put your foot on something or to press something down with your foot


Oh yeah
Oh yeah
So scared of breaking it
But you won't let it bend
And I wrote two hundred letters
I won't ever send
Somehow it is cut so much
Deeper then they seem
You'd rather cover up
I'd rather let them be
So let me be
And I'll set you free

I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back

Your salty skin and how
It mixes in with mine
The way it feels to be
Completely intertwined
It's not that I didn't care
It's that I didn't know
It's not what I didn't feel,
It's what I didn't show
So let me be
And I'll set you free

I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back

Say your faith is shaken
You may be mistaken
You keep me wide awake and
Waiting for the sun
I'm desperate and confused
So far away from you
I'm getting here
Don't care where I have to go

Why do you do what you do to me, yeah
Why won't you answer me, answer me yeah
Why do you do what you do to me yeah
Why won't you answer me, answer me yeah

I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back

Try to pick out the metaphors used in this song.


Misery @ Wikipedia

Hands All Over @ Wikipedia

Misery Lyrics @ Direct Lyrics

Adam Levine @ Wikipedia

Anne Vyalitsyna @ Wikipedia

Misery @ YouTube

Friday 18 February 2011

News & Game: Angry Bird on iPhone and PC

Image from Digital Trends

Yeah, normally, we talk about things that can help you learn English, but Angry Birds is such a big hit! The game has recently won two big awards at the annual Global Mobile Awards 2011 -- the "App of the Year on the Apple Platform" and the "Best Mobile App" awards. And I dare say, virtually every owner of iPhone in Hong Kong has some of these birds in it.

According to Ewalt @ Forbes, "Finland-based game developer Rovio Mobile has sold over 12 million downloads of the software since it debuted in December 2009 on Apple’s app store." Now, that is a lot of money!

And of course, the game doesn't stop there, there will be a lot more to offer, say toys?

Image from Forbes

Interesting enough, there is a story behind the design of this game. According to Wikipedia, "At the time, the "swine flu" epidemic was in the news, so the staff made the birds' enemies pigs." So H1N1 was not only a killer disease after all -- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has definitely "cast pearls before swine".

Image from
Although I don't have an iPhone, the fun doesn't stop there. I happen to have discovered a full PC version of Angry Birds for Windows 7 and it is free! I've been practising for awhile but I'm really bad at it. Maybe you can do better, but do not spend all the time playing and forget about learning English!

Happy learning! (and gaming)

Down Angry Birds PC version for Windows 7 at the link given on iReclusive

There is also a Valentine's Day Edition on iPhone, have you bought it yet?

Image from Mashable

virtually -- (adv) almost
epidemic -- (n) [C] the appearance of a particular disease in a large number of people at the same time
"To cast pearls before swine" -- To give things of value to those who will not understand or appreciate it.


Global Mobile Awards 2011

iPhone 4 and Angry Birds win big at Mobile World Congress

Angry Birds PC version for Windows 7

Angry Birds Official Website

Angry Birds Cinematic Trailer @ YouTube

Angry Birds In-game Trailer @ YouTube

Angry Birds, Happy Toymakers @ Forbes

Angry Birds @ Wikipedia

Interview: Rovio on the origin of Angry Birds, being inspired by swine flu, and why you may never see an Angry Birds 2 @ Pocket Gamer

Vocabulary: Swine & Scapegoat  @ Locky's English Playground

Angry Birds Gets Facebook-Infused Valentine’s Day Edition @ Mashable

Angry Birds Peace Treaty @ YouTube

Thursday 17 February 2011

News & Idiom: Repent and be saved; there is justice in heaven and Earth

From "(an empress and ) a eunuch", to "Overbite Ton(y)", to "Piggy Daddy" and now someone who needs to "Turn back and the shore is at hand" (repent and be saved), Tony Chan, who has twice contributed to the proof that "there is justice in heaven and Earth", has definitely provided a lot of nice quotes for the press. Entertaining as much as it could possibly be, what are these Chinese proverbs equivalence in English?

Jubilant Chinachem Charitable Foundation chairman Kung Yan-sum
Image fromThe Standard
Interestingly, there are many similarities between English and Chinese in terms of meanings of expressions.

Last year, Greenpeace International wrote a blog entry to warn the danger of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, titling "Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor: it’s not too late to turn back".

Randa Mirza, a crew member from Lebanon,
watches the Rainbow Warrior sailing 20 miles from the port of Bushehr, Iran in 2007.
Image from Greenpeace
"It's not too late to turn back" is not exactly an idiom in English, but it matches the meaning of "Repent and be saved" and it is common enough in many TV programs or movies.

Now, how about "there is justice in heaven and Earth" equivalent? Well, there is another common idiomatic expression in popular cultures, and that is "Justice will prevail".

L. in famous Japanese Manga Death Note
Image from Wikipedia
Prevail means to get control, or to be more powerful than something else. If justice will prevail, then justice will eventually win, so the good people will win and bad people will lose.

I'm a little surprise that The Standard did not try harder to dig up these expression and decided to use their own translations. Well, doesn't matter, you can learn that from our English Playground.

It's not too late to turn back -- "Turn back and the shore is at hand" in Chinese, or "repent and be saved"
Justice will prevail -- "there is justice in heaven and Earth" in Chinese
prevail -- (vb) [I] formal to get control or influence


Idioms: Grey (with the Simpsons) @ Locky's English Playground

Technology: Where's the iPhone 5?

'Repent and be saved,' say victors @ The Standard

Feng Shui master loses claim to Nina Wang fortune @ BBC News

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor: it’s not too late to turn back @ Greenpeace International

Justice Will Prevail @ TV Tropes

Monday 14 February 2011

Message: Happy Valentine's Day 2011

"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." - Mark Twain

TV: Head Rush with Kari Byron

Some of you might still remember that I'm a big fan of science program Mythbusters on Discovery Channel. Well, the female hostess of the Mythbusters show Kari Byron now runs her own little Head Rush show targeting young learners to help boosting their interest in science.

Kari Byron
Image from Discovery Channel
Well, we adults, can also benefit from this program! It is in English, it is in American accent, and there is fun science in it which you can also use that to test your friends in a gathering, or your little cousins, nephews and nieces in a family reunion! So you have English learning with science knowledge and topic for friends and family, kill THREE birds with one stone! Better than the Kinder Egg!!
Image from
Where can I find it? Well, of course on our very own English Playground! Just bookmark this entry or simply go to our English Playground @ YouTube to watch! Save you the trouble trying to find it on your own!

Enjoy the learning!

headrush -- (n) [U] Orthostatic hypotension, also known as postural hypotension, orthostasis, and colloquially as head rush or a dizzy spell, is a form of hypotension in which a person's blood pressure suddenly falls when the person stands up. For details, please see Wikipedia.
reunion -- (n) [C] a social event for a group of people who have not seen each other for a long time


Website & TV: Tudou & Mythbusters @ Locky's English Playground

Kinder Surprise @ Wikipedia

Head Rush @ Locky's English Playground

Head Rush @ Discovery Science Channel

Head Rush @ Wikipedia

Sunday 13 February 2011

Message: Locky's Neck Has Problems Again!

Image from drmichone
While I was holding onto the shower head just about to spray that warm water over my head during shower last night, I heard a snap on my neck, or more precisely, the cervical vertebrae, and I felt that my head has fallen off. I gave one shout at the sharp pain, and then, my head was motionless. I couldn't turn it, I couldn't feel it.

Maicon with a throw in
Image from cdn2.sbnation
Then I know, the back pain I got from another snap before the Chinese New Year holidays while taking a throw in when playing football with my students has finally spread to my neck, and it is inevitable that I see Doctor Chan, the magical chiropractor that I have mentioned long long time ago.

The pain was not as fierce as that time when I snapped my neck in Macau, because that time, I couldn't even move, stand or walk. At least this time I can, but I knew, this is going to be a hell of a wait for me since Doctor Chan is so popular and so busy.

It was already midnight by then after I had finished my shower, so what can I do? I could either try not to move so much and wait till morning to give the doctor a call, or I could try to do some spinal manipulation by myself after learning from him while experiencing.

So, what did I do? I went to bed.

And I got  hour sleep, and then, I woke up, full of pain on my neck and back, every time I move, the pain intensified. That left me no choice but to do my own spinal manipulation. After some careful pulling of the neck bones with my own arms for 20 minutes, it was a total failure! So I could only try to sleep again in pain. It was already 5:35am when I looked at my phone.

I was then woken up by the phone's alarm clock at 7:30am and I was still aching. Luckily, my sister also woke up and after I had told her about my pain, she mentioned that her friend switched from playing football to doing Yoga. That rings the bell for me, and I thought, maybe I can do some Yoga stretching, and surprisingly, after doing some back stretches and playing with the Warrior Pose once, it really help a lot! Much better than me trying to break my own neck!

Yoga Warrior Pose
Image from cnyhealingarts
I will still have to see the chiropractor on Monday night (so my 2011 Valentine's Day is a goner), but at least I can live for a couple of days more with bearable pain. If a little stretching is so magical, what if I really learn Yoga? Or even cooler, what if I learn Yi Jin Jing 易筋經? Since everybody is mad about Kung Fu nowadays. Could the Yi Jin Jing be any way related to Yoga? Since they are both originated from Indian.

Yi Jinjing
Image from Wikipedia
Shaolin Master Shi Dejian Performing Yi Jin Jing

Learn Yi Jin Jing with Talkative Shaolin Monk in an English Way (1-13)
(please find 4-13 by yourself if you are not bored to death)

The moral of the story:

Never ever hold the head low, must not use the computer for too long without paying attention to the sitting position, and always remind myself to walk like matching with back straight.

Image from Wikipedia

snap -- (n) [C usually singular] a sudden loud sound like something breaking or closing
spinal manipulation -- (n) [U] a therapeutic intervention performed on synovial joints in the spinal column
intensify -- [I or Tto become greater, more serious or more extreme, or to make something do this
leave sb no choice  -- to not give anyone a choice to make.
goner -- (n)  [C usually singular] informal a person or thing that has no chance of continuing to live


Health and Fitness: Chiropractor

Yiji Jing @

shi dejian yi jin jing @ YouTube

Meditative Exercises of Shaolin Martial Arts : Yi Jin Jing Exercises 1-3

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Movie: Little Fockers

Image from Lovanh Family
As a sequel of Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers is one of the movies I have been anticipating for a long long while. The first reason is that I am a big fan of Ben Stiller's comedy, the second reason is that I knew there will be some classic gags for some good laughs, and I am right about them!

For me, Little Fockers was really fun to watch. I had great laughs at the "God-Focker" gag, pleased to see Kevin (Owen Wilson) superior quality over Greg and thus making Greg feel small and jealous in front of Pam. Jack (Robert De Niro) seemed to have accepted Greg a lot more but the fun begins when he started suspecting Greg having an affair with Andi (Jessica Alba). Well, for a married man, this plot is kind of expected, but with Jessica Alba, there are always surprises!

It is pity that the kids didn't play bigger roles in this movie, which was totally unexpected because of the name Little Fockers. If more gags originate from the misbehaviour of the kids, I am sure this movie can draw a lot more laughs throughout. However, the kids were really well-behaved and that was disappointing.

Image from
Image from

Inevitably, when one is watching a sequel, they will compare with the prequels, and the comparisons can be really detailed and even harsh sometimes. All the good jokes from the past just seem to reappear before you eyes, and if the new ones don't make you laugh harder than before, you will hate the movie.
Meet the Fockers
But let's give Little Fockers some sympathy, for that Greg (Ben Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) are already married and have 2 kids, you can't expect Greg to redo all those storylines like pursuing Pam and teaching the kids the gesture of "I'll be watching You!" all over again! Neither can you repeat milking a cat nor playing too much with the family name "Focker" again. So, making Little Fockers is a tough job.

If you can put aside the old jokes, I'm sure you will enjoy watching this movie as well!

sequel -- (n) [C] a book, film or play which continues the story of a previous book, etc.
inevitably -- (adv) in a way that cannot be avoided
prequel -- (n) [C usually singulara film, book or play which develops the story of an earlier film, etc. by telling you what happened before the events in the first film, etc
harsh -- (adj) unpleasant, unkind, cruel or unnecessarily severe
sympathy -- (n) [U] (an expression of) understanding and care for someone else's suffering


Meet the Parents @ IMDb

Meet the Fockers @ IMDb

Littel Fockers @ IMDb

Meet the Parents Trailer @ YouTube

Meet the Fockers Trailer @ YouTube

Little Fockers Trailer @ YouTube