Choosing the Perfect Gift

PERFECT GIFT

 

 

Do you like buying gifts?
The feeling of seeing a recipient’s  eyes light up with delight when we give a present is priceless.  However, the process of finding the perfect gift is sometimes perplexing especially if the person is just an acquaintance who we don’t know much about.  At other times,  the person is really close to us but the gift ideas we see don’t seem to fit them. What do we do to avoid this dilemma?

First, you need to pay attention and make a note to hints people give about things they like, their sense of style and what they like to do.  If you don’t know the persons well, observe them.   Second, give gifts that they can use.   If you’re at your wits’ end, a gift certificate can be a good idea.  The recipient can just buy whatever he / she wants. Third, get creative.  A gift can be an experience.  It can be concert tickets, hand-made presents, or go for the ultimate gift –  a getaway present.  Everyone likes surprises so plan ahead of time!

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. eyes light up – the look of excitement and anticipation on something good
  2. priceless – so precious that its value cannot be determined.
  3. perplexing – confusing or with uncertainty or doubt
  4. acquantance – a relationship less intimate than friendship
  5. dilemma – state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice
  6. hints – a slight indication; an indirect suggestion
  7. at (one’s) wits’ end – at the limit of one’s mental resources; utterly at a loss
  8. getaway present –  a place appropriate for a vacation

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you ever experienced getting confused on what to give a person? What gift did you end up with? Were you satisfied with it?
  2. Have you ever seen a person’s eyes light up because of the gift you gave? What gift did you give? Why was the person excited?
  3. If you were to receive your perfect gift, what would it be?

    Do you like buying gifts? The feeling of seeing a recipient’s  eyes light up with delight when we […]


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Level:

Intermediate

China’s Boot Camp on Internet Addiction

CHINA BOOT CAMP

 

 

How many hours do you spend on the internet?
Internet and video game obsession has been a growing concern over Asia.  Several cases have surfaced over the past years.  An 18-year old Taiwanese teenager died after 40 hours of non-stop game playing. A Chinese man who literally lived for several months in a gaming parlor collapsed and died.   China is the first country to recognize this addiction as a behavioral disorder.  This led to setting up boot camps to deprogram internet addicts.

The recruits on these boot camps are mostly male teens who are forced enrolled by their parents or government officials.  They are like military recruits who wear camouflage uniforms.  They undergo rigorous three to four months program on physical training, medication, therapy sessions and nutrition control.   These correctional facilities claim to have a 70% success rate in rehabilitating teens and children of internet addiction.  Some facilities are now being set up as well in South Korea.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. obsession – an unhealthy, compulsive, excessive preoccupation with something or someone
  2. surfaced – appeared or became visible; made a showing
  3. literally – real, without exaggeration
  4. collapse – Fall or become unconscious due to fatigue, illness, or a sudden attack
  5. boot camp – a correctional facility that uses the training techniques applied to military recruits to teach usually youthful offenders socially acceptable patterns of behavior.
  6. deprogram – release (someone) from apparent brainwashing by the systematic reindoctrination of conventional values.
  7. recruit – a recently enlisted soldier
  8. camouflage – fabric dyed with splotches of green and brown and black and tan; intended to make the wearer of a garment made of this fabric hard to distinguish from the background.
  9. rigorous – demanding strict attention to rules and procedures

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you like computer or online games? How many hours do you spend on playing games? What effect does it have on you? Is it positive? negative? Why?
  2. Have you heard or seen anyone from your country suffer internet or gaming addiction? What effect does it have on them?
  3. Does your government have any program similar to boot camps to counteract internet addicts? If none, what do people do to cure internet addiction?

    How many hours do you spend on the internet? Internet and video game obsession has been a growing […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Do What You Love Versus Love What You Do

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

 

 

Which is your choice?
Most of us were adviced during our 20s and 30s  to “find our passion“, “do what you love”. The implication is that  if we do this, success, happiness and money would follow.  People like Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg were given as examples of this trend and also people who quit their stable jobs in exchange for farming, carpentry, writing, etc.

According to Miya Tokumitsu, a writer for Jacobin magazine, this romanticized notion is a dangerous fallacy.  The reason for workers not being satisfied with their work is because they work for compensation and not an act of love.  If workers would ask themselves how much pride they take in the work they do. If they can honestly say their work fill them with pride then, and only then, can workers say “I love what I do”.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. passion – a powerful emotion that fills a person with enthusiasm
  2. implication – the conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated
  3. stable – firm and dependable; subject to little fluctuation
  4. romanticize – glamorize and make something attractive
  5. notion – a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
  6. fallacy – a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How long have you been working in your present company and position? Are you satisfied with your job or with your company? Why? Why not?
  2. If you can choose with something you love to do, what would it be? Why?
  3. What do you think is the difference between doing what you love and loving what you do?

    Which is your choice? Most of us were adviced during our 20s and 30s  to “find our passion“, […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Growing Concern on Obese Children

OBESE CHILDREN

 

 

Are you conscious on the food you eat?
The number of obese children and teenagers has been increasing sharply. Experts say that this will lead to massive heart problems, strokes and diabetes. The level of cholesterol and blood pressure will also be higher.  As these children and teenagers get older, bone and joint problems may also develop.   But if they are gaining weight it does not always mean that they are becoming obese. Children and young adults need nutrients in order to grow,  so they gain weight as time goes on. However,  if they consume more than they need and begin putting on extra weight they may be on the road to obesity.

To stop this issue is not easy.  Doctors suggest ways on how to protect obese children from such diseases.  Awareness on this issue must be given to families. They must be informed that exercise and healthy food are the best ways to avoid it. Parents need to provide healthy snacks and school canteens need to give healthy food.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. obese – excessively fat
  2. massive – impressive in size, bulk or solidity
  3. nutrients – any substance that can be processed byt the body  to give energy and build tissue
  4. consume – eat beyond reasonable limit
  5. on the road to something – to achieve something

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you ever felt times of being obese? After feeling it, what do you do?
  2. How do you maintain your weight? Which is important, food diet or exercise?
  3. Aside from the suggestions given on the passage, what are the other things that you think will help maintain a good and healthy body?
  4. Why do you think it is important to be healthy?

    Are you conscious on the food you eat? The number of obese children and teenagers has been increasing […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Smile! It Reduces Stress

SMILE TO REDUCE STRESS

 

 

When we feel good, we smile. But what about when we want to feel good? Can smiling help?
A study by researcher Tara Kraft of the University of Kansas experimented on how different types of smiling affect the ability to recover from stressful episodes. There are 2 types of smile : standard smiles, where only the mouth shapes the smile, and genuine or Duchenne smiles, where the muscles around the mouth and the eyes shape the smile.

Participants were given stressful activities after which one group were instructed to smile and the other group to hold a neutral expression. Those who smiled and expressed genuine smiles reflected a lower heart rates than the ones who were instructed to hold a neutral expression. The research findings suggest that smiling during periods of stresses help reduce the body’s response to stress regardless whether the person feels happy or not.  This information is useful, for example, being stuck in a traffic jam and you are on your way to an important meeting. Holding the face in a smile for a few moments will help relieve stress and promote a healthy heart too.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. genuine – not pretended; sincerely felt or expressed
  2. neutral – Nnot supporting or favoring either side in a dispute or contest;  no personal preference
  3. stuck – caught or fixed
  4. traffic jam – a number of vehicles blocking one another until they can scarcely move

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What situations make you worry or feel stressed?  What happens to you when you’re stressed or worried?
  2. What do you do to relieve yourself of stress?
  3. The article advices smiling as a way to be relieved when caught in stressful situations.  Would you do it?  Why? Why not?

    When we feel good, we smile. But what about when we want to feel good? Can smiling help? […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Man Pays For an Xbox Picture!

XBOX

 

 

An Englishman who wanted to buy his son an Xbox One as a Christmas gift got conned out of $750!
The Englishman saw the ad listed in ebay and immediately bought it.  Instead of receiving a game console, he received an Xbox One photo with a sarcastic remark at the back : “Thank you for your purchase.”   The unscrupulous seller posted a misleading ad.  The ad specified a photo and didn’t say a console. But since it’s listed under Video Games and Consoles category and no negative feedback about the seller, the Englishman thought he’s buying the game console.

The Englishman though didn’t mind the loss of his $750 thinking it was partly his fault for not noticing the ad that promises a picture and not the Xbox One.  He just shared a few laughs at his expense with his family.  But ebay is not happy about it.  Ebay is one of the trusted companies in online buying and selling.  They said they will take action against the seller for his misleading ad.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Englishman – a man who is a native or inhabitant of England
  2. conned – persuade (someone) to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception.
  3. sarcastic – expressing or expressive of ridicule or insult
  4. unscrupulous – without ethical or moral principles that govern a person’s thoughts and actions
  5. misleading – designed to deceive or give false information either deliberately
  6. at someone’s expense – paid for by someone

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you like online shopping? How often do you do it?
  2. Have you ever received any defective products? How did you deal with it?
  3. Have you ever been conned? How? Have you heard of any news or known anyone who was conned?

    An Englishman who wanted to buy his son an Xbox One as a Christmas gift got conned out […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Hate Your Job? Get More Sleep!

HATE JOB GET SLEEP

 

 

Do you work late at night? 
Hardwork is good but studies show that those who work consistently in long hours might actually be hurting their careers in the long run due to sleep deprivation.   A study involving 15 participants were examined.  One group slept for a full eight hours, the other group had sleep deprivation.  The brains of those sleep deprived showed a 20% increase in protein which are often produced after brain injuries or concussions.

Insufficient sleep is associated with diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.  This also affects judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information.  These effects may be the reason for the discontentment with job and has less to do with the actual work.  To solve this,  get more sleep.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. consistently – in a systematic or consistent manner
  2. deprivation – the disadvantage that results from losing something
  3. concussion – injury to the brain caused by a blow; usually resulting in loss of consciousness
  4. insufficient – not able to fulfill a need or requirement
  5. discontentment – a longing for something better than the present situation

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you do? How long have you been working in your company or your position?  Are you content in your present position and company? Why? Why not?
  2. How many work hours is required in your company? Do you work more than the required work-hours? Why?
  3. Do you get enough sleep everyday? How many hours of sleep do you need to feel rejuvenated?

    Do you work late at night?  Hardwork is good but studies show that those who work consistently in […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The Benefits of a Third Place

THIRD PLACES

 

 

What is a ‘Third Place’?  What is your third place?
A Third Place is where people meet other than work or home.  It’s a temporary place to go to where he or she can feel content, satisfied or even fulfilled; a place where one feels comfortable, away from stress from work or even family; a temporary respite.  These are mostly social places like pubs, cafes, hair salons,  etc.  We may not recognize the importance of a third place but it makes us happy when we go there.  “It allows us to be us”.

Third places have common characteristics and features.  First, they are neutral.  People can come and go without any punishment.  You can be absent for days or weeks and no one will call your attention.  You will be greeted back with the same interest and enthusiasm.  Second, your status, which is important in work and society in general, is  irrelevant and it doesn’t matter. Third, people go there to have conversation.  It’s a regular place where you go to and spend hours talking with friends.  Fourth, the mood in a third place is playful,  to have fun and laugh.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. respite – a pause for relaxation; a pause from doing something
  2. pubs – a building with a bar that is licensed to sell alcoholic drinks
  3. neutral – not supporting or favoring either side in a dispute or contest; no personal preference or bias
  4. irrelevant – having no bearing on or connection with the subject at issue; not important

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1.  Based on the article above, have you already identified your ‘third place‘?  What is it?
  2. What do you feel and do when you go to your third place?  Does your third place “allow you to be you”? How?
  3. Do you think it’s necessary for everyone to have a third place? Why? Why not?

    What is a ‘Third Place’?  What is your third place? A Third Place is where people meet other […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The Bond Between Humans and Animals

BOND HUMAN AND ANIMALS

 

 

There is a bond that exist between humans and animals.  The love we feel for them is intrinsically linked to us
It has been documented that there are benefits we gain from having a pet.  If we see an animal in a peaceful or restful state we may take this as a signal that we are also in a peaceful or restful state.

Pets enhance our mood and temperament. Those who suffer from diseases have lesser chances of depression if they have a pet as compared to those who don’t have.  Our furry anumals help to control blood pressure, heart rate and stress. This leads to reduce medicine intake.   They are also a source of exercise! Walking is a good exercise and dogs can be great companions. For those who live alone and have bouts of loneliness, a pet will always be there for you.  Pour your heart out with your pet and you can be sure your secrets are safe.  Pets give you unconditional love and are always faithful.  Studies have revealed that those who spend time with their pets are more likely to live longer.  For kids, they grow up respectful towards all living things.
 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. bond – a connection that creates social or emotional ties
  2. intrinsically – belonging naturally; essentially.
  3. temperament – a particular feeling or state of mind.
  4. furry – covered with fur – hairy coat of animals
  5. intake – the amount of something (such as food or drink) that is taken into your body
  6. bouts – a period of time during which someone suffers from something (such as an illness or disease)
  7. unconditional – not subject to any conditions

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Did you have pets when you were growing up? What was it? What about now? How do you take care of your pet?
  2. What benefits did you get from having a pet while growing up? What benefits do you get from your current pet?
  3. Would you like to have a pet? What pet would it be?

    There is a bond that exist between humans and animals.  The love we feel for them is intrinsically […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is…

SELFIE OXFORD

 

 

It’s a unanimous decision.The 2013 word of the year is SELFIE. 
Everybody seemed to be in agreement during the discussion for Oxford’s most popular word.   There are several words presented but selfie was the runaway winner.  Almost everyone has posted a selfie on the Internet even President Obama and the Pope.The word is not a new one as it has already been included in Oxford Dictionaries online.   This word started appearing in social media and photosharing sites like Flickr and MySpace.  But the widespread use came only last year.  Self-portraits are not new as people have been producing pctures for centuries.  Smartphones paved the way for the widespread use of selfie.  The technology gave the users a way to produce pictures easily and share almost instantly by just pressing a button.  By 2012, selfie was commonly being used in mainstream media sources and this has been rising ever since.

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. unanimous decision – all parties agree on the same thing
  2. runaway winner – an easy victory
  3. social media – websites and applications used for social networking (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  4. paved the way –  made future development easier
  5. mainstream – the prevailing current of thought
Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you heard of this word?  Have you ever taken a selfie? What do you do with your selfies?
  2. Why do you think people like taking pictures of themselves?
  3. Why do you think people in this modern age like taking selfies and posting them on social media sites?

    It’s a unanimous decision.The 2013 word of the year is SELFIE.  Everybody seemed to be in agreement during […]


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Level:

Intermediate