Category Archives: blogging

Now England has become my home

Today I changed the header of this blog. My new tagline is: Now England has become my home.

It is important that people who visit this site are clear about what they may find, therefore I tried to be descriptive.

The tagline I used before was “From the south of England”. This old tagline was a bit vague, as some people might be disappointed to find that I did not feature sun, sea, and beach huts from Plymouth or Brighton on this site.

Creating a relevant tagline

When I was considering a new tagline, I had an idea of “From a kampung to an England’s suburb”. However, most overseas readers may find it difficult to comprehend the concept of a kampung in Malaysia. A kampung is a typical Malaysian village or enclosure, characterised by lots of greenery, such as coconut trees, papaya trees, and sugar cane. Continue reading

2015: My new writing focus and challenge

I have been absent for over a year from this site. I had only planned to be away for a few weeks.

Thank you for some of you who regularly checked on me.

Thank you for those of you who continued to write and inspire me.

I’m still reading some blogs, especially ShimonZ through his blog the human picture. In ShimonZ’s writing and through his lenses, I see Jerusalem, the everyday life of the people and animals, and ponder over some terribly sad episodes over the last year.

It’s wonderful to know Tilly still enjoys writing and reciting poems. She cried over her son leaving home, watched her son performing, and even decorated her room, in her blog dedicated to sharing the laughter: The Laughing Housewife.

I’m so proud that Nicki Chen successfully published her gripping novel, Tiger Tail Soup. I’ve read the book and would highly recommend it to you. In the past year, Nicki’s blog Behind the Story never fails to entertain (lots of food), and carry me with her on her fascinating recollections of the past, from the East to the West. Continue reading

Happy Christmas to you

I have only just finished my last teaching session a week ago. Now I’m just about to rest, hand deliver my last-minute Christmas cards and welcome Christmas.

My son has been doing the countdown to Christmas. “Today is the Christmas eve’s eve’s eve….” The joy of Christmas is infectious.

I wish all my friends and readers a very blessed Christmas and the New Year filled with joy and happiness.

My friend’s daughter recently sang in a school choir, and their songs  “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and Pie Jesu are absolutely beautiful.

I am dedicated these songs to you and I look forward to blogging and sharing again, and also visiting you again after the New Year.

(Note: I have turned off the comment for this post.)

12 Reasons Why You Need Lorelle’s Blog Exercises for Your Blog

The Teachers’ Day in Singapore is on the 6th of September this year. In China, since 1985, Teachers’ Day is on the 10th of September each year. Distinguished Chinese essayist and philosopher HAN Yu (韩愈) from the Tang dynasty explained the roles of a teacher in only six Chinese character, in his famous essay, “On the Teacher”(师说).

The roles of a teacher by HAN Yu, in my translation, are to

  • Guide students, show them the direction (传道, literally, spread the ‘Tao’).
  • Impart knowledge to students, to improve their abilities. (授业)
  • Resolve the students’ doubts. (解惑)

In my blogging existence, I follow the guidance from the best teacher, Lorelle. Since I’ve done 40 posts inspired by Lorelle, I would like to give you 12 reasons why you need Lorelle’s Blog Exercises for your blog. Continue reading

At 30 – a milestone to set my site goals

This morning, I woke to find that my mother-in-law had just subscribed to my blog.

My initial response was: “Oh no! Have I written something that my mother-in-law shouldn’t read? ”

No, but a brief moment of panic was my natural reaction. Actually my very first post was inspired by my mother-in-law. I shouldn’t have panicked. I sent her an email to thank her for her subscription.

I should not have worried about my close relatives reading my blog. I never use my blog to write anything that I would regret in real life. Most of my friends don’t know that I write, and those who know are not regular readers. Who do I write for? My blog is a welcoming, open cafe, which attracts a like-minded audience, who indulges in the comforting aroma of freshly brewed fine tea from China and the grinding sound of dark-roast coffee beans from Italy. They stay because this cafe with a difference suits their temperament. Continue reading

What I have learnt from your comments

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When a flash of orange light appears on my WordPress notifications menu informing me of a new comment, it always excites me.

Imagine my joy when the comment is more than a friendly nodding: “Nice post!” “Thank you!” These brief comments are equivalent to the British weather talk with a stranger: “Lovely, isn’t it?” The encounter is friendly, but it lacks substance.

I wrote Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement two weeks ago and the comments I received were fine examples of how interactive comments inform, educate and entertain me. Continue reading

Hearing my voice from my quotes

When I was in Year 6 in the south of Malaysia aged 12, it was a tradition that school leavers would write their mottos to one another in a little notebook. Everyone would buy at least a notebook for the teachers and friends to write messages in. Shops were full of pretty leavers’ notebooks for boys and girls to buy, and most of the notebooks had cute adorable Japanese cartoons on the cover with beautiful embellishments.

"There are foxy women in the sky."

“There are foxy women in the sky.”

Teachers would write words of encouragement such as “Remember to continue learning, ” or a famous slogan from Chairman Mao, “Work hard and make progress everyday.”

However, we precocious 12-year-olds would write something more profound and abstract. We dished out mottos and quotes that we considered smart. The popular rhyming quotes in Chinese that I received from my 12-year-old friends included:

  • “There are foxy women in the sky; there are jinxs in the earth. Please be aware who your friends are!”
  • “A dragon gives birth to a dragon; a phoenix gives birth to a phoenix; the son of a mouse will dig a hole!”
  • “A mountain will fall; water will flow away; you had better rely on yourself!”

Continue reading

I swim and I blog: where are my nutrients from?

I wrote Share your fear in late June as my first blog post responding to Blog Exercises set by a stranger in the USA called Lorelle. Now I have a staggering collection of 24 blog posts (including this post) from these exercises completed in the past 45 days. You’ll see my full list of the 24 posts at the end of this post.

Lorelle on WordPress logo At the same time, I deleted about 24 old posts from this blog.  This is my Yin and Yang approach: I added a well-written post, which I had poured my heart into writing, and I deleted a limp, floppy old post, which was re-blogged or written in haste.

One of my achievements in the process was my creation of a massive Table of Contents with Lorelle’s guidance. This table helps me see my strength, weakness, goal and hit-and-miss attempts in writing.

Continue reading

Making mistakes

Twelve years ago, I burst into tears in my driving instructor’s car. No student had ever cried in his car before in his 35-year driving career.

Learning to drive in the UK -- image by Bill Abbott via Flickr

Learning to drive in the UK — image by Bill Abbott via Flickr

He drove me home as I wasn’t safe on the road with a blurred vision. He was still confused about my tears. “Did I upset you? What made you cry, Janet?” He spoke very gently.

Actually, I was shocked by my own tears too. I had struggled a lot, yet I continued to make mistakes, and he told me off rightly for making dangerous mistakes. Understanding English instructions when driving was very difficult for me. It took me longer to process his instructions. I normally understand academic English fine, but informal phrasal verbs often confuse me: “pull over the car; pull out the car”, or warnings such as a ‘sleeping policeman’. Continue reading