Joyful 阅

Free Learning 2

Last week I recommend Duolingo for learning a new language. What if you not only want to learn languages? There is a website for you to take free courses from the world’s best universities.

Let me introduce: edX. It is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider. There are different courses to choose from. Either you want to upgrade yourself for work advancement or for personal satisfaction, explore the courses offered. You might find one or two courses that interest you.

Similarly to Duolingo, edX also has an application version that you can download from your smart phone. But I prefer the website version on a laptop as the courses are taught in videos. Watching the videos from the laptop is much easier than watching them on the tiny screen of smart phone.

If you are looking for work advancement and would like a certificate of achievement, feel free to upgrade at a cost.

Thus far, I have taken two courses and am quite satisfied. The third course is on the way. As the courses offered are for university level, the depth that they cover might be difficult for some people. Do read the reviews and course details before you enrol for the course.

The website is https://www.edx.org/

 

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Free Learning 1

There are a lot of free learning phone applications and websites. If you would like to learn a new language, I would recommend Duolingo.

You can download the free application on your smart phone or go to the Duolingo website. Look for the green owl!

What I like about Duolingo:

  1. It is easy to learn any languages. For English speakers, you can learn Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, French, German and many more.
  2. It is arranged in categories and is from easy to difficult.
  3. You can learn together with your friends.
  4. The new updates have included Japanese for English speakers. I have been waiting for this. Before this, I change my setting to Japanese speaker who wants to learn English language 😛
  5. The new updates have also included creating or joining a club to learn languages and achievement badges that you can collect and motivate yourself to continue learning.

What you need to do to master a language:

Although Duolingo can help you to learn a language, you need to prepare a notebook to write notes. You also need to do further research on books or websites to learn more about a language as there are no notes or explanation given.

Next: Free Learning 2

Disclaimer: I have not been commissioned to review Duolingo by anyone. This post is based on my personal experience and personal preference after trying other applications.

 

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$80 Transportation in Singapore

Do you travel during off-peak hours?

Do you want to save cost on transportation?

Do you like train hopping or bus hopping?

If you answer yes to all the above questions, then apply for off-peak pass at TransitLink Ticket Office.

Off-peak pass allows you to travel on basic buses and MRT during off-peak hours on weekdays and all-day on weekends and public holidays.

To apply for the off-peak pass, you need a recent passport-sized photograph, your NRIC and $88. The payment covers $80 for one month transportation, $5 for card and $3 personalisation fee.

What if you need to travel during peak hours or you want to ride an express bus? It is easy, you can load extra money into your off-peak pass and it can be used during peak hours and riding an express bus.

The card has allowed me to save more than $20 per month.

What I like most about this card is that it allows unlimited travel. Sometimes, my toddler falls asleep and I do not want to wake her up, I will continue the journey, whether on bus or MRT, so that she could take a longer nap.

 

 

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Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant, I read a lot about breastfeeding. I know it is difficult for the first few months, I know the baby might not latch well, I know the supply will increase with demand. Little did I know, it is even more difficult in practical.

I am lucky to have a baby who latches well, but I am not so lucky because the supply does not increase much in the first month and I have to mix feed with formula milk. Yes, I was depressed, I was worried and I felt guilty for giving formula milk. Until one day, my friend told me: “Formula is not poison.” That really relieves me from guilt!

Later, when my baby is a toddler, I have learnt that a lot of new mummies face the same problem as me. Some have more serious depression until they need to seek medical help or worse, commit suicide.

Misconceptions

  1. Cannot drink plain water during your confinement — You actually can. So, drink a lot of water and fluid. Warm water is preferred.
  2. Formula milk is bad — This has caused a lot of new mummies into “die die must breastfeed” mindset. Breastfeeding has its benefits, but if the supply is not sufficient, topping up with formula milk does not mean you are a bad mum or whatsoever. There are mummies who top up with formula milk until the supply catches up and fully breastfeed.
  3. Breastfeeding means the baby won’t get sick — NO! The baby will be sick when he or she is growing up whether you are feeding him or her with breast milk or formula milk. The difference is the baby who takes breast milk will recover faster.

Having said the misconceptions, I do not encourage new mummies to go for 100% formula milk by any means. Breast milk is still the best food for infants under six months old and mummies are encouraged to continue breastfeeding until the baby is two years old or as long as the breast milk is still available.

The purpose of writing this post is to ease the minds of new mummies who freak out during the first few months when the supply is low. Things will get easier after the third month and by the baby’s first birthday, you will be glad that you have not given up breastfeeding.

keep-calm-and-breastfeed

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The Power of Hugs

In the society where I grow up, we do not usually hug each other on a daily basis. I still remember my first hug when a friend was going overseas to further her studies. My hands were “frozen” half way in the air as she happily hugged me. I feel awkward; maybe hugs are not for me.

Time passes by quickly and now I have a child. Thus, I have been reading a lot on parenting. There is one that catches my attention: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth”, as quoted from a respected family therapist, Virginia Satir.

How do we count a hug? How long should a hug last? How do I hug my child when I am not used to being hugged?

More research is done. As it turns out, physical contact that lasts at least 20 seconds has the same effect as hugs, for example, patting and touching. Now, it is something that I can do.

On one particular night, my toddler was having a nightmare. Remembering the benefits of hugs, I patted her lightly. In under a minute, she became quiet and fell asleep peacefully again.

Wow, that’s amazing! I am going to hug pat and hold my child more.

Note: The healthiest hugs must come from someone you trust. Strangers, please do not simply hug anyone.

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Happy 51st Birthday, Singapore

It is August again. To wish Singapore a happy birthday, here is a haiku for Singapore:

In a beautiful

breezy rainy eighth-month sky…

shout “Happy Birthday!”

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Once, my student asked me to write a haiku. A haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. The haiku poems consist of three lines. The first and the last lines of a haiku have five syllables and the second line has seven syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.

If you would like to play language game with Primary school students, haiku is a good option. It is short and seldom rhymes, so it is easy for beginners to start making poems of their own.

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新闻读后感1

有人批评我国年轻人是草莓族,你对此有什么看法?

草莓族是指那些外表看起来光鲜亮丽,但内心很脆弱,承受不了压力的年轻人。我国年轻人是草莓族的情况的确存在,我为此感到担忧。

为什么会有草莓族的出现呢?首先,我国年轻人的生活富裕,他们都过着无忧无虑的生活。如果要什么东西,只需开口就可以获得,根本无须出力。再加上现在许多家庭都是双薪制,父母无法在家里管教孩子,就聘请女佣代劳。

除外,新加坡社会安定,也没有什么天灾人祸。本地年轻人没有吃过什么苦,从而变成了“温室里的小花”,根本经不起风吹雨打。

因为怕输的心理,新加坡父母为了让自己的孩子出人头地,不惜花费大量金钱帮孩子打造一个完美的读书环境,小孩身处于这种环境根本无须为其他东西忧虑,因为父母都会一手包办,而小孩的责任就是把书读好。然而父母的这种竞争心理会造成孩子个个都变成名副其实的书呆子。除了书本上的知识,许多现代新加坡年轻人都不知如何与人相处。因为年幼时的生活安逸,所以只要碰到一点困难就会半途而废,根本禁不起任何考验。

如果我国年轻人个个都成为草莓族的话,后果将不堪设想。在21世纪知识爆炸的时代,如果这些年轻人只要一遇到挫折就会当缩头乌龟,那新加坡的未来在哪里?因为多数人是草莓族,我国年轻人根本无法承受任何压力,只要遇到小小刺激就会大喊“救命”,甚至自甘堕落。因此我国未来的重担要是落在这些“金玉其外,败絮其中”的年轻人肩上,未来谁可以负责作出重大的决策?

我认为若要让年轻人脱离“草莓族”,首先,当年轻人遇到困难时,他们必须鼓足勇气去面对,而且要坚持不懈地解决困难。第二,如果面对长辈的数落或质疑,年轻人不应该感到郁闷,而是要用行动来证明自己可以独立,也可以承受压力。第三,年轻人必须愿意吃苦。学校可以举办校外营,在大自然的情况下训练学生们的意志力和生存能力。而媒体也可以作为最佳宣传管道,告诫父母、国人来关注此问题,而借助社会大众的能量对症下药。

我国未来的重担将会落在这些年轻人的肩上,因此我国年轻人一定要懂得吃苦耐劳,脱离“草莓族群”,而且在新加坡遇到困难时,愿意保卫国家,让建国50年的新加坡还有更多的50年!

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Note 1: Strawberry generation is a hot topic. You might find similar writings on the same topic.

Note 2: The above is prepared for my student for his examination.

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