Saturday 30 August 2014

Culture & Listening: It's Korean Day (only here on this blog)

PSY's Gentleman dance
Image from BuzzFeedVideo

Oh this is going be an awesome post which I have to write very little, but it will be really fun because I have compiled a few videos which talks about how Westerners sees and tastes Korean culture! The first video is what Americans think about Korean snacks when they try them for the first time!

Second video is a bunch of kids watching K-Pop and how what they think about it and the Korean celebrities! Man! They are mature!

The last one is how Americans try K-Pop dance moves and lots of their opinions and foul language!

Enjoy the twerks?


Kids React to K-pop @ YouTube

Americans Try Korean Snacks For The First Time @ YouTube

Americans Try K-Pop Dance Moves @ YouTube

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Event: Locky's Ice Bucket Challenge!!!

Me VS Ice in the Ice Bucket Challenge
Image from Locky's English Playground

The following video will be slightly poor in quality at times, due to the sacrifice of a lower resolution for a higher frame rate.

I know the Ice Bucket Challenge is very much meant solely for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) fundraising now, but tracing the root of the event, it all started with cancer fundraising. Through this post I would like to bring your attention to a couple more non-profit organisations (NGO) such that you may consider making your donations more frequent to many more NGOs so as to benefit more people and animals.

Image from Cancer Fund
First off, the Cancer Fund may be quite well-known in Hong Kong, but as the number of cancer patients increases, support is continuously needed. I will never forget the day -- the day I returned from overseas studies, I was broken the news that my brother-like cousin had passed away from brain cancer months before. I was heartbroken, pieces turned to dust and dust get washed away by icy cold rain......

While we are still healthy, we can all do the Cancer Fund a bit more help.

Image from bbSharky @ Facebook
I have always been a wildlife conservationist, though may not be as active as I have wished I can, I have always worked hard in lessons to convey the message of conservations to the people I teach, particularly the future generations. This is the reason and goal why I created bbSharky, such that the children can understand the importance and preciousness of these amazing creatures to the world and especially to us, our very own existence.

Image from WWF Hong Kong
WWF Hong Kong again is a famous NGO and people might think because they are wealthy enough to get the job done, the fact is that they have so many projects on hand and so many animals to save that they are in constant need of support as well. 

Pink Dolphin
Image from Hong Kong DolphinWatch Ltd.
Heard of the impact of the new airport runway the Hong Kong government is trying to force construct? The government claims that they will 'borrow' the pink dolphin's home for the constructions and repay them with a 'new', 'relocated' living habitat after all is completed. Even a child can tell the flaw of this argument. Obviously, the government  is either lack of intelligence and knowledge about pink dolphin conservation, or it is too money-minded. If it is the former, maybe WWF can help them. The Hong Kong DolphinWatch Ltd. is not a charity but they do educate the general public with all their might.

Image from OPS
If you still think WWF is too popular, here's another one I have donated money to for their filming of the Oscar Award winning documentary "The Cove" -- Oceanic Preservation Society. Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) is a non-profit organization that creates film, photography and media, inspiring people to save the oceans. Their work keeps shocking the world by exposing horrific truth of human cruelty and animal abuse. If you care about education and want our future generations to be able to see these beautiful living creatures in the wild, then OPS is surely worth your donation.

Donation is made to CancerFund and Oceanic Preservation Society.

break the news (to sb) -- to tell someone some important news, usually bad news.
flaw -- (n)[C] a fault, mistake or weakness, especially one that happens while something is being planned or made, or which causes something not to be perfect
might -- (n)[U] power, strength or force

Movie: Documentary -- The Cove @ Locky's English Playground

Documentary: The Cove @ Locky's English Playground

Ice Bucket Challenge 2014 @ YouTube

Ice Bucket Challenge @ Wikipedia

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis @ Wikipedia

Cancer Fund

bbSharky @ Facebook

City advisers blast runway environmental report as 'wishful thinking' @ SCMP

Hong Kong DolphinWatch Ltd.

WWF Hong Kong

The Cove @ IMDb

Oceanic Preservation Society

Saturday 23 August 2014

Slang: Teenage Slang Explained By Clueless Adults

Image from BuzzFeed

Something to learn for the weekend!

Again, doesn't mean you are a native English speaker that you certainly know these words!

Have fun!

Teenage Slang Explained By Clueless Adults @ YouTube

Teenage Slang Explained Again By Clueless Adults @ YouTube

Friday 22 August 2014

Usage & Writing: What On Earth Is "(In) Care Of"?

How to use "c/o"?
Image from WikiHow

Was suddenly asked about "care of", a term which I myself have never used, and so the best way to find out is to Google it.

First link popped out was one from Wiktionary, an example goes,

"(mail) For distribution by (the named intermediary).
Could you please send this package to Mr. John Smith, care of the Northwest Shelter?"

The question is, who is the distributor and who is the intermediary?

Its description was written in a highly professional way,

"Care of, usually abbreviated as c/o on envelopes, signifies an intermediary who is responsible for transferring a piece of mail between the postal system and the final addressee. For example, when the addressee has no standard address, is under a corporate mail system, or is being manually forwarded mail sent to a more accessible location. In Australia and New Zealand c/- is often used in place of ℅."

Definitely not an easy paragraph to read.

As a result, let's return to the dictionaries.

Cambridge Online Dictionaries shows,
Image from Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Clear as days!!! So we have our answer!

The forumla goes,

<recipient> in care of <address of sb else where you can receive>

Oxford Dictionaries Online, despite showing the same explanation, requires careful scrolling and manual searching before you can find what you want.
Image from Oxford Dictionaries Online 
Cambridge wins again!

Care of @ Wiktionary

How to Address an Envelope in Care of Someone Else

Monday 18 August 2014

Food & Cooking: Locky's Mapo Tofu (Meaty/ Vegetarian)!!!

Mapo Tofu
Image from Locky's English Playground

When it comes to cooking, my favourite dish has got to be Mapo Tofu / Doufu. The hot and mellow tofu with slight saltiness and tingly spicy chili at the tip of your tongue is the most desirable sensation for an appetising dinner and the perfect rice partner!

It is quick to cook and requires very little cooking skill.

Image from Locky's English Playground

You'll need the followings:
Image from Locky's English Playground
  1. Some tofu
  2. Some mustard tuber
  3. Oyster sauce
  4. Dark soy sauce
  5. Shaoxing wine
  6. Sesame seed oil
  7. Chili bean sauce
  8. Sugar
The most important sauce
Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 1: Cut mustard tuber into small bits and place them in a bowl.

Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 2: Measure about 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine and 1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce and add them to the bowl. The ratio is 3:1:2:1 for 1 box of tofu, 350ml, and I have no idea why tofu is measured in millilitre. If you like to have more spicy hotness, add more chili bean sauce.

Image from Locky's English Playground

Step 3: Cut tofu block into small cubes.  
Transverse then sagittal cuts
Image from Locky's English Playground
The rule to a tidy, stable tofu block cut is to realise how friction and intermolecular forces work. From my experience, the best way to cut a tofu block in order to maintain its intactness, is to first make a transverse (or horizontal) cut half way across the middle. The weight of the upper half block will provide enough friction with the lower half block so that it will not slide over each other (F= mg). After that, perform sagittal (vertical width) cuts,

Coronal cuts
Image from Locky's English Playground
and finally, coronal (vertical length) cuts. Does that mean I cannot change the order? No, but I recommend performing the transverse cut first because the intermolecular forces have much to do with the number of dissected cubes, otherwise you will have too many cubes and a much weakened intermolecular force to hold each one of the cubes together.

Nicely done!
Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 4: Fry minced beef or pork beef (if you are not a vegetarian)

frying minced pork
Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 5: Using large flame, add the bowl of tuber and sauce into the almost-cooked minced pork, add two bowl of water and stir.

Adding water to the mix
Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 6: When the mixture is heated up, add tofu cubes into it. WARNING!!! Don't STIR!!! Just PUSH, LIFT then repeat!!! Until colour starts to stick to the tofu, then switch to small flame.
Push, lift back, then push!
Image from Locky's English Playground
The purpose of this manoeuvre is to maintain the intactness of the cubes, as tofu is susceptible to breaking. They will break in the process anyway so you do not want to speed up the process intentionally.

Step 7: Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to add fragrance and smoothness!

Why is sesame oil added last?
Image from Locky's English Playground
The reason sesame oil is added last is that we want the colours and taste of the sauce to enter the tofu cubes, if sesame oil is added too early, it will stick to the surfaces of the tofu and stop the sauce from permeating into the cubes.

Step 8: Prepare about half a bowl of water and stir at least 2 tablespoons of corn starch to produce a coagulant. Pour gentle with stirring until the viscosity changes and the sauce becomes thick.

Stir gently
Image from Locky's English Playground
Add a little green on top to make it look prettier if you prefer! But serving with rice is a must!


jiffy -- (n) [S] informal a very short time
transverse -- (adj) specialized horizontal, in a position or direction that is at an angle of 90° to something else
sagittal -- (adj) see Resource for more details
coronal -- (adj) see Resource for more details
friction -- (n)[U] the force which makes it difficult for one object to slide along the surface of another or to move through a liquid or gas, see Resource for more details
intermolecular force -- (n)[C] see Resource for more details
manoeuvre -- (n)[C] UK (US maneuver) a movement or set of movements needing skill and care
susceptible -- (adj) easily influenced or harmed by something
permeate -- (vb) [I usually + adv/prep, T] formal to spread through something and be present in every part of it
coagulant -- (n)[C] see Resource for more details
viscosity -- (n)[U] specialized describes a liquid that is thick and sticky and does not flow easily

Mapo Doufu @ Wikipedia

Transverse plane @ Wikipedia

Sagittal plane @ Wikipedia

Coronal plane @ Wikipedia

Friction @ Wikipedia

Intermolecular force @ Wikipedia

Coagulation (milk) @ Wikipedia

Saturday 16 August 2014

Food & Dining: Log-On Cafe Big Breakfast @ Tai Koo

Log-On Cafe
Image from Locky's English Playground
Used to queue up for at least an hour for a meal at Simply Life. Thanks to the new Log-On Cafe we now have a new location for food.

Menu at the cashier
Image from Locky's English Playground
The seats are far from adequate, so grabbing seats before buying food is advisable. Mains on the menu are mostly Western, with several choices of Japanese desserts. Prices range from $40-ish and tops at $98, not exactly cheap as lunch, but having Western food as dinner, this is very acceptable!

Spaghetti with scallops in tomato sauce
Image from Locky's English Playground
Portion of the spaghetti is a little less but quality-wise you get more than you paid for.

From another angle
Image from Locky's English Playground
The scallops in the above spaghetti, for example, are really juicy and definitely non-bite-sized.

Salmon all-day breakfast
Image from Locky's English Playground
The all-day breakfast on the other hand is pretty huge even for an adult male. The café is generous on the meat -- salmon, ham and bacon, as well as on the scrambled eggs and toast.

From another angle
Image from Locky's English Playground
Taste-wise, with 3 layers of smoked salmon rolled around the scrambled eggs, can't go wrong, can it?

Image from Locky's English Playground
I like the ham and bacon for their rare tender juiciness. I say 'rare' because words like 'tender' and 'juicy' simply do not associate with sliced preserved meat in Hong Kong, or Macau, or Thailand. Maybe meat jerky is too deep in their blood.

I would love to add a spoon or two of baked beans but at the price you pay, I have yet to see a better deal than this.

I might want to try their desserts next time, when the time is right.

If you happen to be visiting Tai Koo this weekend, give it a go!

For more posts on Food and Dining, do click on those words! They are pretty closely related but you do get different articles.

jerky -- (n)[U] US meat that has been cut into long thin strips and dried in the sun
All kinds of meat jerky
Image from Petmd

Food @ Locky's English Playground

Dining @ Locky's English Playground

Thursday 14 August 2014

Travelling & Dining: 2D1N Wynn-ing In Macau

Grand prix ready as seen in background
Image from Locky's English Playground
Last Monday, my wife had to travel to Macau for work and so I tagged along for a two-days-one-night "vacation". With baby at Mother-in-law's and laptop with me, I expect I was going to make real progress with my thesis.

Nice sunny day
Image from Locky's English Playground
An hour of ferry and we arrived at the pier. Commuting between hotels and pier is free thanks to the shuttle buses arranged by the casinos/hotels.

Great looking bridge
Image from Locky's English Playground
The ride was kind of funny because 5 minutes ago we hopped onto the shuttle,  5 minutes later we were still circling outside the pier.

Sands Macau
Image from Locky's English Playground
Whether the route has anything to do with the upcoming Grand prix is beyond my knowledge. But what I do know is, once we successfully left the pier, it only took another 5 to arrive at Wynn.

Wynn Macau
Image from Locky's English Playground
At 3:45pm, our room was still being made up, so I went to the gym for some rare workout while my wife went to work for an hour or so until the room was finally ready.

Soy sauce noodles with soup
Image from Locky's English Playground
After we had got our room, we went to grab some street food. At Chu Kee,  I ordered a not-so-impressive soy sauce noodles with soup while my wife ordered their signature fish-skin dumplings.

Fish-skin dumplings with noodles
Image from Locky's English Playground
I had no idea why I didn't follow her order.

Full house!
Image from Locky's English Playground
The lesson is, never order anything that isn't a signature dish.

Me and the bun
Image from Locky's English Playground
Feeling unsatisfied, we bought a famous Tai Lei Loi Kee Macau pork chop bun for $30 at a branch near the Ruins of St. Paul and devoured it in minutes. It was as gorgeous as that from the main branch I used to visit.

Fountain light show every 15 mins
Image from Locky's English Playground

Back at the hotel, I was all ready to go online until we found out that both LAN and Wi-Fi weren't free. How stingy! This has got to be the only hotel in Macau which still charges their customers for broadband. And for MOP160!! Insane! Maybe that's why its stock price has stalled for months. Ended up I couldn't go online at all for the entire day ( and night ).

View from room 1836
Image from Locky's English Playground
The next morning, I went to the gym again for about an hour and half before getting breakfast with my wife at the Café Esplanada at Wynn.

Tom Yum Goong
Image from Locky's English Playground
I ordered for an unorthodox Tom Yum Goong soup with spicy fried beef ho fan for breakfast, totally gastronomically challenging!

Image from Locky's English Playground
While my wife ordered a $200 all day breakfast with very limited choices of food.

All day breakfast for $200+, drink not included
Image from Locky's English Playground
Despite only offering eggs, baked potatoes and dried ham, it didn't stop them from taking 25 minutes in preparation. Incredible service!

The moral of this story is, if you have a choice, don't choose Wynn Macau unless you enjoy digital detox and don't mind paying for expensive food.

insane -- (adj) extremely unreasonable or stupid
stall -- (vb) [I] to stop making progress
unorthodox -- (adj) different from what is usual or expected in behaviour, ideas, methods, etc.
gastronomically -- (adv) relating to the preparation and consumption (= eating) of good food
digital detox -- (n)[U] Informal A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world

Cooking: Locky's Home-made Pork Chop Bun @ Locky's English Playground

Travelling & Living: Macau One-Day Trip @ Locky's English Playground

Friday 8 August 2014

Technology & Science: Sapphire iPhone 6 VS Unknown Samsung Note 4 & Mohs Scale feat. Oppo Find 7

Image from androidauthority
It's that time of the year when we all have to start thinking about changing new phones and new phone/data service providers, and that is because the two largest smartphones brands in the world Samsung and Apple are bringing on their latest and smartest inventions this coming September!

First, we have Apple announcing their iPhone 6 on the 9th September. Tonnes of hype for the Sapphire crystal display because it is almost unbreakable and unscratchable!!! A lot of non-Apple fan, including me, are feeling excited about this new phone!

Exactly, how come can the screen be so durable? Here's the science!!

Here's a Wikipedia table of the Mohs hardness of minerals:

Image from Wikipedia

4.7" or 5.5", which one will people flood to get? My guess is, the larger screen is going to be a bigger hit than the smaller one in Hong Kong, because Hongkongers are into TV-drama-binging, but elsewhere, the small ones might be preferred.

Its main competitor Samsung, after knowing the exact big day of Apple, wants to spoil the party by announcing 3rd September as their Samsung Unpacked in Germany, similar to last 2 years, it is roughly one week before Apple's iPhone announcement. The question is, can Samsung surprise us enough to buy their Note 4 before iPhone 6 comes out?

Korean actor and actress from the popular romantic dramedy You Who Came From The Stars
Image from Samsung Hong Kong
You may be able to name these world-class players, but bet you can't name the amount of money their received to do this series of ads for Samsung
Image from Samsung Hong Kong

Despite very buzzy advertising, the improvements on Samsung's phones are pretty weak these 2 years (though Apple iPhones were even weaker). But with the sapphire glass already confirmed, how else can Samsung rise above Apple? This will be the anticipating factor. Will there be even cooler technology than the flexible OLED we have already seen? Will Note 4 come with a camera better than Sony's, a Quad-HD display and rapid charging better than Oppo Find 7's?

Oppo Find 7
Image from Oppo

I doubt it, since both sapphire glass and the Oppo Find 7 is really hard to beat. Frankly speaking, Oppo Find 7 is my next phone on the wishlist.

Will these two highly anticipated smartphones live up to its hype? We shall see that very soon!

binge -- (vb)[U] informal an occasion when an activity is done in an extreme way, especially eating, drinking, or spending money:
buzzy -- (adj) making a buzz : filled with a buzz
hype -- (n) [U] informal a situation in which something is advertised and discussed in newspapers, on television, etc. a lot in order to attract everyone's interest:

TV & Technology: You Who Came From The Stars (aka YWCFTS) feat. LINE & Didier Dubot @ Locky's English Playground

Does A Sept. 9 iPhone 6 Announcement Match Up To Apple's Revenue Guidance? @ Forbes

iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display! @ YouTube

Sapphire @ Wikipedia

Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness @  Wikipedia

4 or 4.7 or 5.5-inches — What's the perfect iPhone 6 size for you? [Poll] @ iMore

Samsung Unpacked scheduled for September 3rd, the Note 4 is almost here! @ Android Authority

Samsung to Unveil Galaxy Note 4 on September 3 @ TNW

Oppo Find 7

Oppo Find 7 First Look and Hands On! @ YouTube