Monday, February 28, 2011

News: One More for the Centenary Club

Dear All,

The school I'm currently teaching is SMK Methodist ACS Melaka or the Malacca ACS as it is commonly known by locals.

Below is the recent write up about it which appeared in the STAR newspaper.

The Centenary Dinner is just 5 days away as I'm blogging about this memorable event.

Hope to see all the ex MACSians attending the event.

Do drop a line in this blog at the comments section.

There's an active Facebook fo the Centenary Celebration set up by the Old Boys.

Please look for CentenaryMACS.

Rodney Tan

One more for the ‘Centenary Club’

Monday January 3, 2011

MALACCA: Another school in the state achieved the distinction of becoming a member of the ‘Centenary Club’.

SK Methodist ACS which was previously known as Malacca’s Anglo Chinese School joined a handful of century-old schools like the Malacca High School, St. Francis Institution, Sacred Heart Convent, Infant Jesus Convent and the Methodist Girls School.

Original premise: A private residence along Heeren Street with seven a student enrolment that sparked SMK Methodist ACS start.

The school’s humble beginning can be traced from Jan 24, 1910 at a private residence of a Chinese gentleman in Heeren Street, now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

The school will commemorate its historic milestone with a grand reunion dinner at its compound grounds of Jalan Tengkera on March 5, 2011. Themed: ‘Renewing old ties and establishing new ones’, the gathering is expected to witness the attendance of close to one thousand former students, teachers, staff and supporters.

Stately: The current school building is a high profile landmark in Tengkera

SK Methodist ACS principal Lee Bun Chuan said unlike other establishments which normally observe historic milestones in the very year they reach it, the school is fulfilling the passing of 100 years before embarking on its commemorative celebrations.

The school which is located in Tengkera, has 700 primary and secondary students housed in separate buildings jointly served by 75 teaching staff.



© 1995-2011 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cartoon Humour: Charlie Brown's View on Writing, Teachers & the Comma

Dear All,

Here's 3 cartoons on Charlie Brown's view on Writing, Teachers & the Comma.

Hope this will brighten your day.


Rodney Tan

P.S. Click on the cartoon to get a bigger picture

Writing: Creative Narrative Text Idea

Dear Readers,

Looking for a simple but fun creative narrative idea?

Below is a tried and tested idea from RELC Singapore that we can use immediately in our classroom especially for primary level students.

This fun activity helps develop pre and post modifiers, adverbials, noun phrases, expanding ideas and lexical density, and to practice grammar!

Have fun and do report your experience!

Rodney Tan
Writing Idea (RELC)

Once upon a time there was a witch. She was actually a very good-hearted witch but she often got her spells wrong.

One day when she was trying to cure her cat of a cold, she accidentally said a spell that made the cat’s lovely straight tail turn crooked!

The poor cat was not very happy.

The harder the witch tried to undo the spell, the more she mixed things up. Soon the cat was also barking like a dog!

Finally in desperation she resolved never to say another spell again – and presto! The cat’s tail became straight and she regained her meow.

These are the steps:

1. Students underline all the nouns in the text.

2. Students develop all the nouns by adding pre and post modifiers to the nouns.

3. Students then add all kinds of adverbials (circumstances) relevant to the newly modified text.

4. Students compare the modified texts.

This is to demonstrate that the ability to create noun phrases will improve their writing significantly not only in terms of quality but also in terms of quality. The modified text can double the word count. The additional circumstances also help to expand the ideational meanings in the texts.

Working in groups, many teachers (at RELC) ended up recreating very amusing, hilarious texts, especially Singapore primary teachers. I found this a fun way to teach lexical density in narrative texts and to help students to write more words by exercising grammar.

DR. Helena I. R. Agustien
Language Specialist
Training, Research, Assessment and Consultancy Department
SEAMEO Regional Language Centre
30 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 258352
TEL No: 65-68857888
DID No: 65-68857842


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fun Poem: English is a Stupid Language


Lets face it

English is a stupid language.

There is no egg in the eggplant;

No ham in the hamburger

And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.

And while no one knows what is in a hot dog,

you can be pretty sure it isn't canine.

English muffins were not invented in England;

French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted.

But if we examine its paradoxes we find that

Quicksand takes you down slowly.

Boxing rings are square.

And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads,

which aren't sweet, are meat.

If writers write, how come fingers don't fing.

If the plural of tooth is teeth,

One goose, two geese.

So one moose, two meese?

Is cheese the plural of choose?

One mouse, two mice; one louse, two lice,

One house, two hice?

Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth

If the teacher taught, why didn't the preacher praught,

Or the grocer groce, or hammers ham?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables,

What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?

Why do people recite at a play,

Yet play at a recital?

Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship...?

Have feet that smell and noses than run?

How can the weather be as hot as hell on one day

And as cold as hell on another

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy

Of a language where a house can burn up as

It burns down,

And in which you fill in a form

By filling it out

And a bell is only heard once it goes!

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,

while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

English was invented by people, not computers

And it reflects the creativity of the human race

(Which of course isn't a race at all)

That is why

You get in and out of a car, and on and off a bus.

When the stars are out they are visible

But when the lights are out they are invisible.

And why it is that when I wind up my watch

It starts,

But when I wind up this poem,

It ends.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

News: English Adopts More Chinese Phrases

English adopts more Chinese phrases

BY uiruir from 21st Century
Published 2011-02-08




lingua franca 通用语

blending 混和物

spawn 造成

conjure 想象,召唤

surplus 过剩

enforcer 执法者

corruption 腐败

superpower 超级大国

coin 杜撰

misdemeanor 轻罪

As the current lingua franca of international business, science and technology, English has always contained words from other languages, including languages such as Latin, German, French, Italian, and Chinese.


Over 1,000 words of Chinese origin can now be found in the Oxford English Dictionary and, since the mid-1990s, the adoption of Chinese words and phrases into English seems to have been on the rise.


Chinese words found in English are mostly direct borrowings - for example, buzheteng, literal translation running dog - and blending, such as "taikonaut", the word for a Chinese astronaut.

英文中的中文词汇大多是直接借用的,比如“buzheteng”就是“不折腾”的直译,“走狗”翻译成“running dog”。另外还有混合构词的,像“taikonaut”指的是“中国宇航员”。

Historically, many words of Chinese origin in English are popular Cantonese foods, borrowed directly from the dialect, for instance, chop suey, chow mein, or dim sum.

过去,英文中的很多中文词汇都来自于受欢迎的粤菜,直接从粤语借用而来,比如“chop suey”(炒杂烩)、“chow mein”(炒面)、“dim sum”(点心)。

The South Fujian dialect, Hokkienese, is another major contributor of Chinese words. Words like typhoon have their origins in Hokkienese. It might be surprising for most Chinese people to know that ketchup, a sauce closely associated with Western fast food, comes from the Hokkienese for tomato juice. Traditional Chinese culture has also had an impact, as reflected in the popular use in English of yin yang, kung fu, tai chi and feng shui.

福建南部的方言——闽南语是这些词汇的另一大来源。像“typhoon”(台风)这个词就源自于闽南语。也许,很多中国人会惊讶地发现“ketchup”(番茄酱),这个西方快餐中的常见调味品,原来出自闽南语中的“番茄汁”一词。中国传统文化同样也对英文产生了影响,具体体现在“yin yang”(阴阳)、“kung fu”(功夫)、“tai chi”(太极)以及“feng shui”(风水)等词汇的广泛使用上。

The 2008 Beijing Olympics brought another loud and clear Chinese expression to the world's attention: the Chinese cheer Jiayou! A rising China is undoubtedly catching more interest and sometimes concern.


The Economist, for instance, has carried reports on the surplus of "bare branches" or guanggun, referring to unmarried men. The Guardian, the Economist, Newsweek, and the Times have all reported on chengguan, interpreting the term as referring to "local government enforcers", "low-level officers", or "a junior cousin to the police force". Guanxi, personal connections, is a Chinese concept often mentioned in reports concerning corruption. Although the Economist published an article in April 2010, claiming the use of flexible networks - powered by guanxi - reduced costs and increased flexibility and is actually a Chinese contribution to frugal innovation.

比方说《经济学人》就对“剩男”(“bare branches”或者“guanggun”),即未婚男性进行了报道。《卫报》、《经济学人》、《新闻周刊》以及《泰晤士报》纷纷就城管做了报道,将城管解释为“地方政府执法者”、“低级官员”或者“警察堂弟”。此外,尽管《经济学人》在2010年4月的一篇报道中指出,利用基于“关系”的灵活社交圈,可以降低成本,提高灵活性,实际上是中国的节俭创新,但“Guanxi”,即人际关系,却是常常在有关腐败的报道中提及的中国概念。

In the past few years, with the rise of China as an economic and political superpower, the Western media has been paying closer attention to what is going on inside China. "Human flesh search", first coined in 2001, refers to the Chinese online phenomena of vast numbers of Internet users hunting down people suspected of misdemeanors.

在过去的数年里,随着中国经济和政治的崛起,方媒体越发关注中国国内正在发生的一切。2001年,诞生了“Human flesh search”(人肉搜索)一词,指代广大中国网民搜捕疑犯的网络现象。

As the country becomes more integrated with the rest of world, we may well anticipate English borrowing more Chinese words. The question remains, however, how many of them will survive to become fully part of the English language.


(Translator & Editor: 21 英语 Afedare AND Lilly) 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Story with a Moral: TEN Easy Questions or ONE Difficult Question

Dear All,

This short interesting story/riddle has a simple but profound lesson that all of us can think through.

As an interesting warmer or activity to engage our students, we can ask them for their choice (to answer TEN Easy questions or to answer ONE Difficult question) and the reason for their choice before giving the answer and drawing a striking lesson from this parable.

Rodney Tan

Interviewer said, "I shall either ask you ten easy questions or one really difficult question. Which will it be? Think well before you make up your mind!"

The candidate thought for a while and said, "My choice is one really difficult question."

" Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice!" said the interviewer.

Here is your question: "What comes first, Day or Night?"

The boy was jolted into reality as his admission depended on the correctness of the answer to that one question. He thought for a while and said, " It's DAY sir!"

" How?" the interviewer asked.

" Sorry sir, you promised me that you will not ask me a SECOND difficult question!"

Moral : Technical Skill is the mastery of complexity, while Creativity is the mastery of simplicity


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Would you like to see yourself published on the Guardian website?

Would you like to see yourself published on the Guardian website?

The Guardian Weekly's Learning English has created Class Report, a space where teachers can share insights into their challenges and achievements. Class Report seeks to show the diversity and dynamism of the global English language teaching profession. If you are a full-time teacher established in your current teaching role and you have an inspiring story to tell, we would like to hear from you.

Calling all teachers

Teaching English is a truly global profession, so what do we have in common and what can we share? The Guardian Weekly's Learning English has created Class Report a space where teachers can share insights into their challenges and achievements.

Class Report seeks to show the diversity and dynamism of the global English language teaching profession. If you are a full-time teacher, you are established in your current teaching role and you have an inspiring story to tell, we would like to hear from you.

Perhaps you have overcome special challenges in your work or you teach in an unusual context. If so, we want you to share some of the insights you have gained - remember, your story will inform others and help them in their professional development.

The Class Report feature is presented as a short, ‘question-and-answer' style article, so we ask you to answer, briefly, the following questions and to provide brief biographical information. Your name and location will be published with the article. Please copy the questions and your answers into an email and send it to

We welcome all responses but the decision to publish responses as Class Report features rests with the editor. All information will be received in confidence and agreement to publish will be sought from the contributor before publication.

Class Report questions Please keep your answers brief (no more than 75 words per question). Answers should relate to your current teaching position only.

1 What keeps you motivated?

2 What has been your best teaching moment and why (in your current teaching situation)?

3 What has been your worst teaching moment and why (in your current teaching situation)?

4 What have you learned from your students?

5 What is the biggest challenge you face (in your current teaching situation)?

6 What's next (career development, ambitions, hopes, etc).

7 What is your top tip for other teachers (your best single piece of advice)?

Biographical information name: age: nationality: brief summary of education/teaching career-to-date: brief description of current teaching position (location, type of education establishment, etc)

Max de Lotbinière,

Editor, Learning English

Guardian Weekly,

Bank 2-42,

Kings Place,

90, York Way,

London N1 9GU.

tel: +44 (0)20 3353 3403 +44 (0)20 3353 3403