Wednesday 30 March 2011

Economics & Environment: The Green Energy Debate Amid Japan's Nuclear Crisis

Anti-nuclear protest in Germany
Image from
To nuke or not to nuke?

The nuclear crisis in Japan has raised concerns worldwide as to whether is still a safe solution to the growing demands of energy consumption in the world. Anti-nuclear movements are voicing out their their choices of energy all around the world, namely in JapanGermany, South Korean, Taiwan, India, Wales, and the U.S.. Interests in the data of Clean / Green / Renewable Energy begins to rise. Some look at the rankings of the green energy investment by countries to find that China has overtaken Germany and USA in 2009 and still leading in the race in 2010, others are looking into the investment environment and opportunities in the green energy sector in the next 10 years or more. Looking at the current development of the energy trend, it appears to me that there is no other possible solution other than moving forward in the direction of cleaner, greener energy sources.
A man walked past a solar power plant in Liaoning Province. China ranked number one in clean energy investment in 2009. (Associated Press/File 2009)

China has great visions and years ago the country has already foreseen the huge growth in demand of energy and begun to invest billions of dollars in greener energy plants and utilities.

Through the words of Mr Cheng Li in the video, "China does not have a choice", it is obvious that China will continue to lead the world in green energy investment. Following the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, Reuters' today's report titled "China may double solar goal after Japan nuclear leak: report" may well be true.

A vast fan-shaped compound in China has officially taken the title of "largest solar-powered office building in the world". Located in Dezhou in the Shangdong Province in northwest China, the 75,000 square meter structure is a multi-use building and features exhibition centers, scientific research facilities, meeting and training facilities, and a hotel – all of which run on solar power
Image from inhabitat
Then of course, there are opposing opinions, saying that green energy itself is land-space and material demanding, inefficient, extortionate, unreliable, impractical, and un-storable. Nonetheless, in my opinions, no single green energy source can satisfy the huge demand for power and the problems of global warming, the same goes to like coal , crude oil and natural gas alone. When the sun doesn't sun, when the wind doesn't blow, there are still hydroelectric and biomass that will always work. And let's not forget the new generations of green energy such as tidal, wavegeothermal and microgeneration.

I believe that our planet Earth actually has all it is needed for anyone of us to live comfortably and healthily, it is just a matter of human effort to make use of these green resources. If human failed to use the most precious gift that God gives them -- the brain, then they would continue burning fossil fuels and suffer from the consequences of their stupidity.

Just today, an article reveals a solar leaf that is developed by an MIT professor, which could be quite an impact in the changing the way we use energy in the future.

Which is the energy I buy most? Maybe a little recap will help.


Anti-nuclear protest in Tokyo as Japan's crisis deepens @Socialist Workers Online

Germany stages anti-nuclear marches after Fukushima @ BBC News

South Korean Environmentalists Hold Anti-Nuclear Power Rally @ NTDTV

Cold comfort for anti-nuclear Taiwanese @ Asia Times Online

Dozens of anti-nuclear protesters march in Indian capital @ The Canadian Press

Anti-nuclear campaigners to protest against Anglesey power station @ Wales Online

Japan Crisis Could Rekindle U.S. Antinuclear Movement @ The New York Times

Clean Energy Investment Is Up, but U.S. Lags @ The New York Times

China Wins 2010 Clean Energy Race With $54.4 Billion in Funding @ Fast Company

China Goes Green @ ABC News

China may double solar goal after Japan nuclear leak: report @ Reuters

The Green Energy Economy Reconsidered @ Forbes

Hydroelectric Power @ Wikipedia

Biomass energy @ Wikipedia

Tidal Power @ Wikipedia

Wave Power @ Wikipedia

Geothermal Power @ Wikipedia

Microgeneration  @ Wikipedia

Fossil Fuels @ Wikipedia

MIT Professor Develops Solar Leaf, Could Lead to Cheaper, Cleaner Energy @

Investment: Electric Cars vs Future -- Part 3 @ Locky's English Playground

Monday 28 March 2011

Message: Heck of a Week!

Haven't found anything interesting today, so I will just write about what happened to me last week. Hopefully, you won't find it too boring.

I was working on my assignments and term papers for my Master's degree as the deadlines are pushing in. There were classes to attend and classes to teach, I feel like my liver has been suffering a little too much, so much so that taking a shower would mean almost time for bed which was like 2-3am. Fortunately, I have finally completed all of them on Sunday and other than light-workload spell-cum-grammar checking, I shall be free this weekend to do something I have missed and really enjoyed! What will that be? I'll keep that as a secret for now. You post an entry about it if it turns out really enjoyable.

Last Friday night, I went to my 'canteen' -- Tai Hing (Mongkok cheap branch) to have dinner and met these 4 Israeli who needed help with their meal orders and so I did a cameo for the restaurant as the 10-minute waiter and placed orders for them as well as recommended the goose drumsticks and suckling pigs. It was really fun and meaningful to have helped them and they really loved the food! This is what truly matters! They told me that they are on a 10-day trip and it was their 5th day, I bid them goodbye after that and went to teach my evening class. Coincidently, I went to Jordan the next day and I ran into them again!!! They were walking down Nathan Road and going into camera shops for some money-draining actions! I kindly reminded them to be careful in those shops as they often mark up the price once they know you were foreigners and they immediately told me they had experienced a 60% premium price, they also knew about Fortress and Broadway but they said they found bargaining down from 60% exciting and would like to practise more, so I left them with my wishes and went to teach my afternoon lessons.

Saturday night was Earth Hour 2011, and after having Indian dinner with my sis at Aladin Mess in Causeway Bay, we went across to Time Square to wait for the lights-out. Strangely, there was no sign of any off-light shows, so we hurried to World Trade Centre behind Sogo and when the saw the huge screen saying that the time was 8:32pm, which means the Earth Hour had already begun, everywhere was still glowing with light bulbs like day time!

Once again, I was disappointed. I was expecting not-so-many Hong Kong people would switch off their lights and not to join in since the experience in Tsim Sha Tsui last year but I wasn't expecting ZERO difference! On the bus home looking back at the Victoria Harbour, it was darKER in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, but it was not dark at all.

When will most Hong Kong people care about climate change? Earth Hour Hong Kong wasn't promoting enough, TVs didn't show any ads and the government didn't help.

Today, I donated some money to Red Cross to the needy in Japan and some to OPS for saving the ocean. Let's hope that both Japan and the oceans can be saved.

Food and Restaurant: Tai Hing @ Locky's English Playground

Event: Earth Hour 2011 this Saturday!!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Environment: Earth Hour 2010 (add-ons) @ Locky's English Playground

Hong Kong Earth Hour 2011 @ YouTube

Documentary: The Cove @ Locky's English Playground

Friday 25 March 2011

Event: Earth Hour 2011 this Saturday!!!!

See you there!

Image from Earth Hour

26th March, 8:30pm

Environment: Earth Hour 2011 @ Locky's English Playground

Similes & Song: Everything At Once -- Lenka

Image from rojak

Wow!! New Age, new songs! Recently, Lenka releases a new album Two and there is a song called "Everything at once". The lyrics of the song are flooded with similes!

Image from tnellen
Simile is a very important part of  movies and songs and of course, in spoken and written English, as an English speaker, one must learn at least some of the more common ones.

I hope you still remember what similes are. If not, here is the definition from Cambridge Dictionary,

noun [C or U]
(the use of) an expression comparing one thing with another, always including the words `as' or `like'

And of course, I like the definition from Wikipedia better,

simile is a figure of speech that indirectly compares two different things by employing the words "like", "as", or "than".[1] Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes indirectly compare the two ideas and allow them to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things directly.

Image from Kai Power

And here are the common formulas,
  1. verb (phrase) + like+ noun (phrase)
  2. verb (phrase) + (as) + adjective + as + noun (phrase)

Any examples?

Let's check out the lyrics of the song then!


As sly as a fox, as strong as an ox
As fast as a hare, as brave as a bear
As free as a bird, as neat as a word
As quiet as a mouse, as big as a house

All I wanna be, all I wanna be, oh
All I wanna be is everything

As mean as a wolf, as sharp as a tooth
As deep as a bite, as dark as the night
As sweet as a song, as right as a wrong
As long as a road, as ugly as a toad

As pretty as a picture hanging from a fixture
Strong like a family, strong as I wanna be
Bright as day, as light as play
As hard as nails, as grand as a whale

All I wanna be, all I wanna be, oh
All I wanna be is everything

As warm as the, the sun, as silly as fun
As cool as a tree, as scary as the sea
As hot as fire, cold as ice
Sweet as sugar and everything nice

As old as time, as straight as a line
As royal as a queen, as buzzed as a bee
Stealth as a tiger, smooth as a glide
Pure as a melody, pure as I wanna be

All I wanna be, all I wanna be, oh
All I wanna be is everything

I have a website here which will offer you a list of similes. Hope you enjoy learning them!!!

Have a nice weekend!


Lenka Official Website

Everything at once @ Sing365

Everything At Once by Lenka w/ lyrics @ YouTube

Simile @ Wikipedia

Similes @Said What

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Technology: Apple iPad 2 VS Motorola Xoom

Image from myblogsg

Speculating in Apple products is a risky business because you don't know when it will be officially released, but that ironically, is also the reason for the existence of such business. Like the Chinese saying, "when there is risk, there is opportunity".

But situation can change within a day, while some gray market dealers are still thinking that the gray market iPad 2 can be sold at double price on the 14th March, a day later after the official Apple announcement of sale of iPad 2 in Hong Kong in April, the price has immediately cut down fiercely.

Maybe you are thinking about "To Buy, or Not To Buy", well, I ran into a great review of the Apple iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom earlier on, maybe that can help you a bit.

Enjoy the listening practice!

speculate -- (vb)[I] to buy and sell in the hope that the value of what you buy will increase and that it can then be sold at a higher price in order to make a profit


Vocabulary: Parallel Import / Grey Product @ Locky's English Playground

iPad 2 Already Selling For Twice The Price On Hong Kong Gray Market @ Business Insider

iPad 2 on sale in Hong Kong, Singapore in April @ The Sydney Morning Herald

Apple iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom: Tested, Rated, Compared (Video) @ PC Magazine,2817,2381812,00.asp

Monday 21 March 2011

Vocabulary: @ Hong Kong Flower Show 2011

I know it is a little too many songs in 2 weeks, but that is because I'm feeling particularly down and I need some time to recover, so a few nice songs can definitely "soothe the burn, ease the pain" a little. 

I went to the Hong Kong Flower Show 2011 alone yesterday and took some pictures, hoping that will cheer myself up a little. Did it work? Of course not, but I could use a little distraction.

Apart from that, like I always say, as long as you pay attention, there is always something to learn. To be easy on myself and easy on you, I'm just going to introduce a few flower names.

First, something edible, the cabbages, located near the main entrance.
A close-up of Cabbage, I like the water droplets on the leaves

Cabbages in groups. Yummy!

Then comes the orchids,  reminds me of a restaurant name in Hong Kong every time I go to watch movies at the UA Cinema. Never tried that restaurant though.

Don't have enough zoom, need a new lens
Then another plant reminds me of Chinese dessert, the Green Bean Soup, called Rue, They have beautiful little small flowers. They smell SO SO good!
There were more herbs, such as Parsley, Peppermint and Basil,


Another flower which we have talked about is the Chrysanthemum, or simply, mum. Mum's tea anyone?


The sunflowers are not looking that good already, and it was hard to pick one that still looked all right.
One in-good-shape Sunflower
The others were just wilting.
Wilting Sunflowers
There was something new to see, like the King Protea, the National Flower of South Africa. 
King Protea
And the Dancing Grass /  Telegraph PlantCodariocalyx motorius, "a tropical Asian widely distributed throughout Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam... It produces small purple flowers. "

"Dancing Grass" / Telegraph Plant 

How does it dance? Let's take a look!

The tulips were definitely the plant of the show and it was packed with photographers with lenses longer than my leg.
The orange ones had gradient colours.

And the red ones were so red that they looked almost fake,

The yellow ones were warm,

The pink ones were gentle.

Anyway, the one flower that I was chasing for, was my favourite flower, the Sweet Osmanthus, Osmanthus fragrans. Like the name, they smell so sweet! And the most exciting of all, they actually bear fruits!!! I couldn't resist and took one home to plant! Shhhh!!! Don't tell anyone!

Osmanthus with fruits
The last one, is a picture of my dinner last night, it is beanstalk and Chinese kale,
Beanstalk and Kale
Many of these flowers have actually been mentioned before, so please refer to the links below for more revisions, and if you want to see all the pictures, you can visit my Facebook album.

distraction -- (n) [C or U] something that prevents someone from concentrating on what they are doing
edible -- (adj) suitable or safe for eating
wilt --(vb)[I] (of a plant) to become weak and begin to bend towards the ground, or (of a person) to become weaker, tired or less confident

 Hong Kong Flower Show 2011

Vocabulary: Chinese New Year Flowers and Plants @ Locky's English Playground

Herbs: Rue / Ruta in Green Bean Sweet Soup @ Locky's English Playground

Spice: Thai Basils @ Locky's English Playground

King Protea @ Wikipedia

Dancing Grass @ YouTube

Dancing Grass @ Wikipedia

Osmanthus @ Wikipedia

Chinese Kale @ Wikipedia

All pictures on my Facebook

Friday 18 March 2011

Movie: Short Circuit

Number 5 / Johnny 5
Image from hexus
From my favourite childhood movies, I met my favourite robot of all time, Number 5 (Johnny 5). From Johnny 5, I learn to be a good boy, be a good person, and love the world. He may not be very pretty from the first look, but he is so cute in the movies. Anyone who watches the movies will grow to love him in a very short time!

Why am I writing about it? Because there is a very exciting news I happen to find while searching for the theme song of Johnny 5's first movie, Short Circuit, and that song is Bee Gee's More Than A Woman.

I grow to love this song mainly because of Johnny 5. Honestly, it is very hard to say how much I love this robot, what he did to make me love him so much. He is like a friend, who spent years with me while I watched and rewatched his movies, then I also used my LEGO to make a toy of him and brought him with me anywhere I went. At that time, LEGO already had enough small parts for me to make one very similar to him.

Image from sfweekly
I have never forgotten about him, as he is always in my mind. When I saw Wall-e again, I was immediately reminded of Johnny 5 again!

Image from azeemkhan
The first movie talks about one of the soldier robots called Number 5 manufactured by a military group was struck by lightning one night and therefore didn't follow orders and started operating by itself. The robot learned to read everything he came across and developed an understanding of the human world, and because the robot was very hi-tech, it even developed feelings and love as it spent time with a girl called Stephanie. Then of course, the military group felt the potential danger of this robot and sent out to search for Number 5 and wanted to destroy it. And here's the trailer of the first movie.

The sequel talks about Number 5, now called Johnny 5 as he gave himself a name, went to New York to spend time with his military group old friend Ben. Since Johnny 5 used to live in the village and this was the first time to visit the city, he found many things very new, and he made some bad friends who cheated him in committing crimes. These bad friends later turned ugly and wanted to destroy Johnny 5 as well, and the story continued.

Okay, so, what is the very exciting news? Well, Wikipedia said this!!!!

"IMDb currently has the Short Circuit remake listed as a 2011 release. According to the page, the set storyline is described as being an updated re-imagining of the classic John Badham film where Number 5, one of a group of experimental military robots, undergoes a sudden transformation after being struck by lightning. He develops self-awareness, consciousness, and a fear of the reprogramming that awaits him back at the factory. With the help of a troubled young boy, Number 5 tries to evade capture and convince his creator that he has truly become alive. There is currently no cast information, only a confirmation that Steve Carr will be directing."

And this is true!!!! Here is the page!!!! This time though, it will not be Stephanie, but a "troubled young boy". Let's hope he is not Justin Bieber! But even if he will be this boy, I will still watch this movie! I love Johnny 5 so much and I really miss him!

That reminds me that I should get the DVDs! If not, I will download them again! Cos my VHS tapes are super moulded!

Do subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more Johnny 5 updates!


Short Circuit (1986) @ IMDb

Short Circuit 2 (1988) @ IMDb

Short Circuit @ Wikipedia

Short Circuit 2 @ Wikipedia

Short Circuit 1 Trailer @ YouTube

Short Circuit 2 trailer @ YouTube

bee gees - more than a woman @ YouTube

Short Circuit (2011) @ IMDb

Short Circuit @ Locky's English Playground's YouTube Channel

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Song: Officially Yours -- Craig David

Okay! I know a lot of people are worried about the nuclear plants in Japan, but too much of that doesn't help the mood, and even if it does leak, life goes on, people still have to work and try to live a good life. Our English Playground will cheer for Japan! And to cheer for Japan, LOVE is the most important at this point!

So, let's not let the love stop!

Finally, it's time to introduce my favourite favourite singer that I have been listening since he broke out from the common pop songs framework in year 2000 and created a whole new listening experience! Young and talented, naturally soothing and easy-listening vocal singing his very unique style of R & B, Craig David become an immediate success in his very first album, Born to Do It!

Image from PUM

According to Wikipedia,

"The success of David's debut, which was written almost entirely by David andMark Hill of Artful Dodger, led to the United States release of "Fill Me In" in May 2001. It reached Number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100Born to Do It was released in the United States on 17 July 2001, peaking at Number 11 on the Billboard 200 and sold over one million copies. The single "7 Days" hit the Top 10 in the U.S.; although "Walking Away", which had reached Number 3 in the UK and Number 5 in Australia, missed the Top 40 in the U.S. and was the last of his singles to chart there.
In April 2009, MTV viewers voted Born To Do It as Number 2 on their "Greatest Album of All-Time" poll, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller."

Now, to the song I'm recommending, Officially Yours -- from the album Trust Me (2007/2008).

Image from wikipedia
This is a soft slick midtempo song with lyrics that show regret, make apology and make proposal to to his lover at the same time. The melody is happy, warm, romantic and fortunate. I like the bridge in particular as he stretches his voice in several occasions and changes his keys.

The purist love is love that is given unconditionally.



"Officially Yours"

Oh yeah yes
La da day, la da day
La da da da da oh

[Verse 1]
Thinkin' how the story goes
You're helpless and I'm wishin'
Put the film inside my mind
But there's a big scene that I'm missin'
As I re-read my lines
I think I said this, I should've said that
Did you edit me out of your mind
'Cos in a flash you had disappeared, gone (gone)
Before the curtain falls
And we act this out again
Maybe I should risk it all and state

That I'm officially going on the record
To say I'm in love with you
I'm officially everything you hope that I would be
This time I'll tell the truth
I'm officially wrong I know
For letting you go the way I did
Unconditionally more than I ever was before
I'm officially yours
La da day, la da day
La da da da da oh

[Verse 2]
Travellin' down this road again
Gotta make a few decisions
Don't want you to feel this hurt again
That's why I'm hopin' that you'll listen
If you let me press rewind
I'll rehearse every word I should have said
'Cos girl I'm ready to make things right
Here on this stage so we can move on (on)
And before the curtain falls
And we act this out again
Missin' pieces I'll resolve so stay

I'm officially going on the record
To say I'm in love with you
I'm officially everything you hope that I would be
This time I'll tell the truth
I'm officially wrong I know
For letting you go the way I did
Unconditionally more than I ever was before

Things I should have said
Like I appreciate the time that I spend with you
Inspire me with the smile I put on your pretty face
My world comes alive, now I know (now I know it babe)
This time I'm not letting go
'Cos I'm officially yours (oh oh)

Officially everything you hope that I would be
This time I'll tell the truth
I'm officially wrong I know
For letting you go the way I did
Unconditionally more than I ever was before

I'm officially going on the record
To say I'm in love with you
I'm officially everything you hope that I would be
This time I'll tell the truth
I'm officially wrong I know
For letting you go the way I did
Unconditionally more than I ever was before

Girl I'm unconditionally yours (oh yeah)
Officially yours, your man (La da day, la da day, la da day)
Girl I'm unconditionally yours (La da da da da oh)
Officially yours, I am

Girl I'm unconditionally yours (listen what I'm tryna say)
Officially yours, your man (oh oh)
Girl I'm unconditionally yours
Officially yours, I am

stretch -- (vb) [T] (also stretch outto make a process or task continue for a longer period of time than was originally planned
unconditionally -- (adv) completely and not limited in any way
inspire -- (vb) to make someone have a particular strong feeling or reaction


Craig David @ Wikipedia

Officially Yours @ Wikipedia

Trust Me @ Wikipedia

Craig David - Officially Yours (Official Video) @ YouTube

Officially Yours Lyrics @ AZlyrics

Officially yours - Craig david w/ lyrics @ YouTube

Monday 14 March 2011

Song: Lucky -- Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat

Here's a duet (that is a song two people sing) that comes with a name like mine, "Lucky" by Jason MrazColbie Caillat.

I picked this song because 2 of my best friends, Tiffany and William, married each other last year's Christmas day, 2 other best female friends Janet and Garbo, and one of my very best university classmates David, got married in the past 3 months and I want to dedicate this song to them, wishing them the sweetest in many years to come.

Another reason is that this song tells just exactly how I believe a perfect couple should be -- they should both enjoy being each other's best friends and feel lucky to have each other, to be in love with each other.

Such love is precious and ought to be treasured since it is not something that everyone is lucky enough to possess......

Image from mobileddl
Image from Photobucket
"The video was shot in the Czech Republic and the island of Kauai in Hawaii and was released January 16, 2009," [1] which meets the line of lyrics about "coming home" as Czech Republic is the root of Mraz.

Yet another simple yet beautiful song for listening practice!!!

Here's the official video:

I can't embed it because it is disabled, but there is another I can embed.

Enjoy! And may all lovers find their true love!!!

Jason Thomas Mraz (pronounced /məˈræz/; born June 23, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter, born and raised in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Mraz's stylistic influences include reggae, pop, rock, folk, jazz, bossa nova and hip hop. He is of Czech descent through his grandfather, who moved to the United States from Austria-Hungary in 1915.

Colbie Marie Caillat (pronounced /ˈkoʊlbi kəˈleɪ/; born May 28, 1985) is an American pop singer-songwriter and guitarist from Malibu, California. In 2008, she recorded a duet with Jason Mraz, "Lucky", which won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.


Do you hear me,
I'm talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we're in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

And so I'm sailing through the sea
To an island where we'll meet
You'll hear the music fill the air
I'll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you're all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I'm lucky we're in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooooh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh 


[1] Lucky @  Wikipedia

Jason Mraz @ Wikipedia

Colbie Caillat @ Wikipedia

Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat - Lucky (Video) @ YouTube

Lucky Jason Mraz ft Colbie Caillat Lyrics @ YouTube

Lucky lyrics @ AZlyrics