Taking Care of the Beauty Around Us

SENSE OF SMELL

 

 

Why is nature important?
Water, trees, air, soil, plants are important in our daily life.  Yet some people take for granted the importance of the earth’s natural resources.  We see over cultivation, excessive mining, over fishing, excessive logging, etc.  These activities have adverse effect on us such as global warming, dirty environment, endangered species and pollution.

Nature is life. The huge forests help to control the world’s weather and produce oxygen for every living thing to breathe. Water is vital for growth and health.  The earth is covered with 70% water and our body is made up of 80% water. Plants give beauty to the world and food, fruits give us vitamins and minerals.  We will soon see an end to life if we don’t take care of nature.  Nature takes care of us therefore we need to take care of her too.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. take for granted – to fail to appreciate the value of something or someone
  2. adverse effect – an undesirable, harmful effect of an action
  3. endangered species – a kind of breed of something whose numbers are so small that is at risk of extinction
  4. breathe – draw air into, and expel out of, the lungs; inhale and exhale
  5. vital – urgently needed; absolutely necessary

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you like going on a nature-trip? Where do you usually go?
  2. What do you like about nature and the environment? Why?
  3. How does your country protect the environment and nature? How do you contribute to the protection of nature?

    Why is nature important? Water, trees, air, soil, plants are important in our daily life.  Yet some people […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Figure-Conscious Teenagers

GIRLS GETTING FAT

 

 

Were you body conscious when you were young?
 
 

At a very young age of 13, girls are already afraid of getting fat and one in ten of these girls suffer “extreme levels of fear” about putting on weight. As a result, they resort to unhealthy habits like skipping meals which can lead to the risk of developing eating disorders.

Ironically, a study reveals that those who skip meals or throw away food end up more risk of becoming fat. After a couple of days of skipping meals, there is a tendency to binge on food because of hunger and hunger pangs. The study found those who resorted to unhealthy weight-control strategies were most at risk of later piling on the pounds.  By the time they reached 15, they were 40 per cent more likely to be overweight.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. resort – act of turning to for assistance
  2. skipping meals – intentionally fail to eat food
  3. eating disorders – any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa)
  4. ironically – contrary to plan or expectation
  5. binge – an occasion for excessive eating or drinking
  6. hunger pangs –  A strong desire or need for food causing discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food
  7. piling – place one on top of the other

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Are you figure-conscious? Do you feel you need to maintain an ideal weight?
  2. Have you experienced skipping meals and then binge on food after a couple of days? What did you observe?
  3. How old do teenagers in your country start to be figure-conscious? Why?

    Were you body conscious when you were young?     At a very young age of 13, girls […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Making Mountains Out of a Molehill

MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF A MOLEHILL

 

 

Have you ever wondered why it seems like the littlest things make people angry?
This is an idiom referring to an overreaction, histrionic behavior of a person who makes too much of a minor issue, to make a slight difficulty seem like a serious problem, to cause something simple to seem much more difficult or important, exaggerating a situation.

We have seen people react this way and, at one point or several times in our life, are also guilty of it. There is a human tendency to exaggerate situations. The main reason is we are too personally involved in a situation making us think that it is extremely important while others do not see it that way.  When we see people who do not see it our way, we get angry.  However, we expose ourselves to some danger, primarily in the form of mockery. When people believe that a situation is not very important and someone stretches the truth to make it seem bigger, the response is generally not very favorable. If someone becomes known for making mountains out of molehills, he or she may also be ignored in a really serious situation which does merit attention.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. molehill – a mound of earth made by moles while burrowing
  2. over-reactive – show an exaggerated response to something
  3. histrionic – appears to be acting, a stage performance
  4. exaggerating – to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth;  do something to an excessive degree
  5. expose – put in a dangerous, disadvantageous, or difficult position
  6. mockery – laughing and showing lack of respect and intense dislike
  7. stretches the truth – to exaggerate the facts
  8. favorable – encouraging, approving or pleasing
  9. merit – be worthy or deserving

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. In your own understanding, what does the expression mean?
  2. Have you ever seen a person “make a mountain out of a molehill“?  Have you experienced it? Can you tell the story?
  3. What little things make you angry?

    Have you ever wondered why it seems like the littlest things make people angry? This is an idiom referring […]


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Level:

Beginner

“Money is The Root of All Evil” – Wrong

MONEY ROOT OF EVIL

 

 

Have you ever heard of this expression?
“Money is the root of all evil” is the expression most people usually hear or use whenever there’s evil in the world, when people do something evil, the motivation is usually to amass a lot of money.  However, this expression is actually a misquotation.

The phrase comes from the Bible but it doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil.  The actual expression is “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”.  The misquoted quotation puts focus on the money as evil while the real quotation puts focus on the person who loves money and will do anything even if it’s evil, to get money.   In the same book, that is, the Bible, it also says “money is a defense.”  There is nothing wrong with money. It is not inherently evil.   It can protect you as it is a means of buying necessary things and make one live comfortably. It is the the love of money and the wrong use of it that makes it bad and the person evil.

Notice how just a single word changes the meaning of a sentence or a phrase.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. expression – a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations
  2. motivation – the psychological feature that arouses someone to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior
  3. amass – get or gather together (a large number of something)
  4. misquotation – an incorrect quotation
  5. defense – protection from harm
  6. inherently – in the nature of something

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How important is money to you? What do you do with it?
  2. Aside from money, what other factors compel people to do evil?
  3. What would you do if you have a lot of money – more than enough to last you a lifetime?

    Have you ever heard of this expression? “Money is the root of all evil” is the expression most […]


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Level:

Advance

Anti-Cats Sentiments Backfired

DIABOLICAL CATS

 

 

Do you like cats?
In European history the Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. In 1232, a certain pope called cats diabolical which caused a lot of people to have anti-cat sentiments.  Cats are nocturnal. They are loud and noisy, meowing, growling, howling and hissing especially at night. This gave way to superstition associating them with the devil during this period. Cats were executed in large numbers and the owners were accused of witchcraft. The next 100 years had seen great quantities of cats slain.

Killing off all the cats though had a repercussion.  The rats increased in number having no predator to kill or eat them. They were running around everywhere and reproduced rapidly resulting in the bubonic plague or the Black Death. With no cats to prey upon them, the plague continued on killing roughly around 75 million people between 1347 – 1352. A third of Europe’s population died of this plague.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. backfired – come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect
  2. sentiments – personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
  3. diabolical – extremely evil or cruel; expressive of cruelty or befitting hell
  4. growling – making a low, dull rumbling sounds
  5. howling – the long, expressing sorrow cry of an animal like a cat, hound or wolf
  6. hissing – a sound produced by forcing air through a constricted passage (as ‘f’, ‘s’, ‘z’)
  7. witchcraft – the belief in magical spells that has occult forces or evil spirits to produce unnatural effects in the world
  8. repercussion – a remote or indirect consequence of some action
  9. predator – someone who attacks in search of
  10. bubonic plague / Black Death – a serious (sometimes fatal) infection of rodents and accidentally transmitted to humans by the bite of a flea that has bitten an infected animal
  11. prey – the aim or the victim of an attack

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. In Japan history, was there ever a time when people were almost wiped out due to a plague? What was it?
  2. In your experience, was there ever a time when a person’s decision caused misfortune or repercussion to you and other people? What was it?
  3. Do you like cats? Do you have a pet?

 

    Do you like cats? In European history the Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Making Customers Happy

NOT USED 3

 

 

How particular are you with customer service?
If you want to see good customer service, go to restaurants.  Restaurant owners and managers put high stakes on good customer service.  No matter how tasty the menu, customers who were slighted would never come back. This is the reason why wait staff, bartenders, busboys and others are trained to give good customer service because this helps to drive sales up.

All businesses do this too.  Customer service is the lifeblood of any business.   A business can offer price slash or promotion to bring in many customers but unless it can make these customers leave happy and come back, the business won’t be gaining profit for long.  The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship of trust and a feeling of comfort that individual customers would like to continue.  It is the approach that will determine whether that initial feeling of trust and comfort will pursue to the next level.  As the customer service saying goes :  “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. particular – requiring exact especially about details
  2. high stakes – have a major interest in its outcome; to put importance, time and money on something 
  3. waitstaff – staff employed to wait at tables in a restaurant
  4. busboy – someone who clears tables in a restaurant or cafeteria.
  5. lifeblood – an essential or the force that gives life to something
  6. price slash – reduce the price of something; a big drop from the original price
  7. essence –  the true nature of anything; the defining property or properties of something
  8. approach – ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you ever complained about the service of any business? What was it about? Why?
  2. What do you do when you have a complaint about customer service? Do you tell directly to the person or do you tell the complaint to the supervisor or manager?
  3. The article says customer service is the “lifeblood” of any business. Do you believe this? Why? Why not?

    How particular are you with customer service? If you want to see good customer service, go to restaurants. […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The True Meaning of Kenzoku

KENZOKU

 

 

Have you ever felt a “connection” with certain people?
Kenzoku is a Japanese term which means “family”,  a bond that is shared by people with the same or nearly the same ideals,  have the same commitment or even destiny.  We know and feel the presence of  the deepest connection of friendship. These people may be family members, a friend from high school, co-workers who we probably haven’t talked to in decades but we know they are there for us when we need them. Time and distance do nothing to cut the bond we have with them.  This bond, this chemistry encapsulated in this word is felt only to a few people, to those we absolutely trust.

How is this possible? It’s not clearly defined but certain characteristics are present. First, we have common interests. Second, the same difficult experience we had undergone whether failure or success.  Third, the common values, dreams, goals we hold. Fourth, equality – the support and the benefit we receive from each other.  To break this bond is like your life is being torn apart as well.

There are three people in my life I consider kenzoku. How many do you have?
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. bond – a connection based on kinship, marriage or common interest
  2. ideals – the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
  3. decades – periods of ten years
  4. chemistry – the way two individuals relate to each other
  5. encapsulated – enclose in a capsule or other small container; in the article’s case, enclosed in a word

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How many friends do you have who you consider kenzoku? How long have you been friends? How often do you communicate?
  2. What characteristics, ideals, values or goals do you share or have similarity with?
  3. Have you ever fought with your friend? Did the fight separate you from each other? How did it feel?

    Have you ever felt a “connection” with certain people? Kenzoku is a Japanese term which means “family”,  a […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Are you Susceptible to Colds During Cold Weather?

COLD WEATHER

 

 

Do you dread the cold weather?
People usually associate cold weather with sickness. As the weather gets colder, we tend to bundle up in warm clothes, anticipating the cold weather and protecting ourselves from catching colds.  But according to Dr. Segal Maurer of Healthgrades, it isn’t actually the cold weather that causes the common cold, it’s what we do when it gets cold outside.   Our tendency is to run indoors where air is recycled – we breathe other people’s breath since we’re in close quarters and some of them might or already have viruses.  On top of that, we all sneeze on each other.  So what we get is not just one virus but viruses, as in plural.

The common cold, as we know it, isn’t just one type of virus.  When you say “I’ve got a cold”, it could mean one of the many variety of cold viruses.  Since the common cold has different variety of viruses, there is no treatment or therapy to treat it effectively.   The only way to fight this cold viruses is the strength of our own immune system.  Therefore instead of treating the common cold, prevention before it happens is better.  Make our immune system strong
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. susceptible – likely or liable to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing
  2. dread – expecting or anticipating something fearful
  3. associate – make a logical reason for connection
  4. bundle up –  to dress warmly, snugly, closely secured
  5. anticipating – act in advance of; deal with ahead of time
  6. breathe – draw air into, and expel out of, the lungs; inhale and exhale
  7. close quarters – in close proximity; very near together
  8. ailment – an often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining
  9. immune system – a system that protects the body from foreign substances and pathogenic organisms by producing the immune response; protects the body from sickness or disease

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you get sick during the winter season or cold weather?  What kind of sickness?
  2. How do you treat the common cold? How do you protect yourself from sickness during cold weather?
  3. What do you do to boost or strengthen your immune system? Do you take vitamins? Do you have any specific food to eat?

    Do you dread the cold weather? People usually associate cold weather with sickness. As the weather gets colder, […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Doing the Uncalled For When it is Called For

DOING THE UNCALLED FOR

 

 

A message
Have you ever done something for someone even if the consequence caused you to lose something?
We live everyday doing the same routines, things that take little thought, doing things that are called for.  But the uncalled for? It happens once in a while or never at all.  Consider Nelson Mandela who was repeatedly imprisoned for his conviction of abolishing apartheid. Born to a royal family, he could have lived a comfortable, rich life.  There was no surety of ever changing an established political rule since 1948 but he did it anyway.  On a personal level, being asked by someone to help him out to do something risky and eventually ended up losing your job. That hurts, but that is doing the uncalled for simply because it’s called for. 

Someone or some action is “uncalled for” because it is outside the ordinary.  It does not conform, it does not fit the normal routine. Uncalled for is a term used by those who live inside the norm, who define what is acceptable and proper, who can’t listen to reason or don’t see the reason behind. Nelson Mandela was someone who committed his life to doing the uncalled for when it was called for, and in the end, redefined the norm.   On a personal level, it does not give the job back, but to be able to do something for a higher, maybe different purpose might redefine someone’s outlook.  Only time will tell.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. called for – necessary, required, that must be done
  2. uncalled for – not required, not wanted, not justified, unwarranted
  3. once in a while – at infrequent or irregular intervals
  4. conviction – an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence
  5. abolishing – putting an end to (a system, practice, or institution)
  6. apartheid – a social policy or racial segregation involving political and economic and legal discrimination against people who are not Whites; the former official policy in South Africa
  7. outside of the ordinary – not the usual, normal way
  8. conform – be similar, be in line with; be in agreement
  9. norm – a standard, model or pattern regarded as typical
  10. redefine the norm – give a new meaning to something that is widely acceptable as normal
  11. outlook – belief about something or someone

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What are the things that you are “called for” to do? Why do you do those things?
  2. Have you ever done something “uncalled for”? What was it? Did it have a good or bad consequence?
  3. If ever you would have the opportunity to do something “uncalled for” but with no assurance of a positive effect, would you do it? Why? Why not?

    A message Have you ever done something for someone even if the consequence caused you to lose something? […]


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Level:

Beginner

Selfie-Help App For A Beautiful-Airbrushed You

SELFIE APPS

 

 

Do you want your pictures to be perfect as soon as you have taken them?

A new app called Perfect365 lets you airbrush, make some digital work done and upload to social media sites instantly. It’s a free app that lets people instantly smooth skin, erase  zits, change eyes, resize nose, shed that extra pounds, age reversed, teeth whitened, you name it and you can do everything to make your selfies look flawless before uploading them on the internet. All you need are your fingers and a smartphone. Unlike the previous generation of portrait-editing apps which sometimes make pictures look distorted, this app leaves few obvious marks. The best plastic surgeon one can have.People have admitted editing their Facebook profile photos before they’re uploaded. But If you get caught editing a photo, it’s very embarrassing. Pictures have to come off  naturally and not seem fake.  The rise of selfie-help apps seems to show that people are trying to cope with the demand to be seen as perfect and happy and the pressure to disclose more of the private life online.   

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. app – a software program that runs on a mobile device that gives instructions to accomplish a task
  2. airbrush – remove or alter parts of the picture
  3. social media sites – internet and mobile sites and technologies for interactive social networking
  4. zits – a small inflamed elevation of the skin; common symptom in acne
  5. shed extra pound – lose weight
  6. flawless – without blemish, without defects; perfect
  7. distorted – badly formed or out of shape as to be ugly
  8. come off – succeed; be accomplished
  9. disclose – make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What are the popular social media sites in your country? Do you belong to any of them? Why? Why not?
  2. Do you take selfie pictures? Do you upload them immediately to social media sites?
  3. Do you feel that demand to make your life appear happy and perfect when you log in to social media sites? Why do you think this is happening?

    Do you want your pictures to be perfect as soon as you have taken them? A new app […]


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Level:

Intermediate