Saturday, December 11, 2010

To:Social Studies

Messages from our e-Pals (by National Geographic) in Russia about "festivals in our country"

Every nation has its own customs and long-lived traditions. There is a great number of exciting events which are held in every country throughout the year. Such events of national importance unite people, make them feel proud of their nation.

In Russia, the same as in every other country, there are many holidays: interesting and funny, patriotic and dedicated to any historical event. For example in Russia there are such holidays as the Women’s day, the Victory Day, the Independent Day, the April’s Fool’s day, and many other. In 80th years in Russia some holidays were canceled, among them is the May Day, the 7th of October, the birthday of komsomol, and some other. As for me this resolution was right because when the life of the whole country is changing the old holidays must also be changed by new.

Major National Holidays in Russia

The following is the list of official public holidays recognized by the Government of Russia. On these days, government offices, embassies and some shops, are closed. If the date of observance falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be a day off in lieu of the holiday.

New Year is the first on the calendar and in popularity. New year holidays (Novogodnie kanikuly) in Russia last for 10 calendar days from the 1st of January until the 10th. Currently the New Year is a bigger holiday than Christmas (Rozhdestvo) in Russia. Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows into the celebration of the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russian Christmas comes two weeks later than in other countries, on January 7. This difference is due to the Russian Orthodox Church following the Julian calendar.

The Student Day ( Tatyana's Day ) - January 25: in Russia it is a merry holiday of the students as on this very day January, 25th 1775 Emperor Elizabeth signed the decree (prepared by count Shuvalov) of the establishment of the Moscow University.

St. Valentine's Day: Holiday of lovers - St. Valentine's Day - February 14: Christian martyr Valentine was condemned to the capital punishment by Roman pagans but even in such cruel conditions he didn't stop thinking of his lover-the jailer's daughter. He sent her a message full of love and tenderness.

This holiday, inherited from the Western culture, is now very popular in Russia.

Defender of the Fatherland Day: On 23 February, during the Defender of the Fatherland Day (Den zashchitnika Otechestva) Russia honors those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past. During the era of the Soviet Union, it was called the Red Army Day or the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy (celebrating the day of the first mass draft of the Red Army in Petrograd and Moscow or of the first combat action against the invading German forces).
International Women's Day: Every 8 March (Vosmoe marta), the United Nations declares this day as the International Women's Day to celebrate women and the accomplishments they have made to society. Other than in the former Soviet republics, it is not celebrated much throughout the world. It is traditional on this holiday to present women with gifts and flowers to express appreciation for their work, love and devotion. It can be regarded as the equivalent of Mother's Day combined with some aspects of Valentine's Day. Thus, nowadays Russian women hardly ever recollect that this holiday originated as a day of rebellion of women struggling for equal rights with men. This day was very special to the Russians in the 1940s.

Fool Day (the Day of laughter) - April 1: They say it is not a sin to laugh at everything that seems to be fun. The medical men confirm that laughter prolong the life. It is considered that those who can laugh at themselves achieve a lot.

Recently this fun holiday didn't celebrate everywhere but nowadays it has become a custom. Everybody tries to play a trick on others.

Victory Day: May 9th, Russia celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany, while remembering those who died in order to achieve it. On 9 May 1945 (by Moscow time) the German military surrendered to the Soviet Union and the Allies of World War II in Berlin (Karlshorst). A military parade is held in Moscow to celebrate the day. Victory Day (Den Pobedy) is by far one of the biggest Russian holidays. It commemorates those who died in WWII and pays tribute to survivors and veterans. Flowers and wreaths are laid on wartime graves and special parties and concerts are organized for veterans. In the evening there is a firework display. A huge military parade, hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, is annually organized in Moscow on Red Square. Similar parades are organized in all major Russian cities.

Russia Day (Den Rossii) is a holiday, somewhat similar to independence day, celebrated on June 12th. On this day, in 1990, Russian parliament formally declared Russian sovereignty over Russia (RSFSR). The holiday was officially established in 1992. Initially it was named Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation, on 1 February 2002 it was officially renamed to Russia Day (in 1998 Boris Yeltsin offered this name socially). There exist a misconception in Russian society, that this holiday also called Russia Independence Day, but it never had such a name in official documents. According to the survey of Levada Center in May 2009, 44% of the respondents named the holiday as Independence Day of Russia.

The International Day of Children Defendence - June 1: What is sunnier, joyful, and memorable than the childhood? A child gets to know the world, learns good and friendship, finds out new in familiar things. A child is happy when he is loved, warmed fed and understood. The children are the future of the mankind. Tomorrow is in their hands. Their right for life and dignity must be respected and defended.

Trinity is the unity of three God's faces: God Father, God Son and Sacred Spirit. It is a Christian holiday. It is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter hence it follows its another name-Pyatidesyatnitsa (the 50th day).

On this day Holy Spirit went down on the Apostles and gave them Christ's instructions to spread news of Christianity to all the peoples and languages. This holiday is hold according to folk rites.

The dwellings are decorated with twigs of birch. People remember the deceased. In the evening people sing and dance in rings. In Russia Whitsunday merged with the Semic holiday. It is the esteem of plant Spirits. People also celebrate the Parents' Saturday.

The Day of Knowledge - September 1: Every year after a kind hot summer on the 1st of September pupil go to their classes to continue their journey to the Land of Knowledge.While growing up they comprehend the depths of Wisdom of this Land to enter the adult life being armed with thorough Knowledge. On this day the doors of colleges, universities, institutes, lyceums are also open.

Teacher's Day - October 5: This special day was created to focus the World's attention on the contributions and achievements of teachers as well as their concerns and priorities.

Unity Day (Den narodnogo edinstva) was first celebrated on November 4, 2005, commemorates the popular uprising led by Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky which ejected the Polish invaders from Moscow in November of 1612, and more generally the end of the Time of Troubles and foreign intervention in Russia. The event was marked by a public holiday which was held in Russia on October 22 (Old Style) from 1649 till 1917. Its name alludes to the idea that all the classes of Russian society willingly united to preserve Russian statehood when its demise seemed inevitable, even though there was neither Tsar nor Patriarch to guide them. Most observers view this as an attempted replacement to counter Communist demonstrations on November 7 holiday, which marked the anniversary of the October Revolution. Recently a film 1612 was made to explain to the Russian audiences the history behind the new holiday. National Unity Day is also known as Consolidation Day (as an alternative translation), which people in Russia celebrate on November 3 - November 4.

The Constitution Day - December 12: On this date in 1993 the new Constitution of the Russian Federation was approved, a fundamental law of the state, one of the most important democratic institutions.


New Year

There are lots of New Year traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering in colored lights and decorations. Children always wait for Father Frost to come and give them a present. Many people consider a New Year to be a family holiday. But most of the young prefer to spend the New Year there own having parties. As for me I prefer to see the New Year with my family, because I meet these New Years last times with my family and after some years I’ll spend it on my own. I must spend as much time as possible with my family because in some years I’ll have to leave them to begin my own life and these holidays may be the last.

On the eve of the New Year Day, that is at night of the thirty first of December, we are usually at home with our family or with our friends near a New Year tree is decorated with our bright and toys. At 12 o'clock we wish each other "Happy New Year!" We give presents to our friends and to all the family. Children like this holiday very much, because their winter vacation begins with the New Year day and last two weeks. They have a lot of fun then. They dance and sing round a New Year tree with Father Frost and Snow Maiden. The unchangeable participants of this holiday are Farther Frost and his granddaughter "Snegurochka"(a snow girl). During the winter vacation children do not study, they can play hockey, skate, ski and others.

My favourite holiday - Christmas

The next holiday which is celebrated in Russia is Christmas. It takes places on the 7th of January. This religious holiday began to be marked only some years ago. We do not study on this day now. Currently the New Year is a bigger holiday than Christmas (Rozhdestvo) in Russia. Since 1992 Christmas has been openly observed in Russia and now the New Year's celebration usually flows into the celebration of the Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russian Christmas comes two weeks later than in other countries, on January 7. This difference is due to the Russian Orthodox Church following the Julian calendar.

My favourite holiday - St. Valentine's day

Another holiday that is especially popular in my family is St. Valentine's day. February 14 is the day of lovers. Boys and girls, sweethearts and lovers, husbands and wives, friends and neighbours, and even the office staff exchange greetings of affection. Valentine's day is a whirl of hearts, candy and good wishes in the form of bright, lacy, colorful cards, with loving emblems and amorous doggerel, saying: "Be my Valentine". People give and get presents decorated with love emblems: hearts, roses, ribbons and lace. I like both giving and receiving presents. There is a wonderful feeling when you open the rustling colorful paper or watch the face-expression of the person who is trying to guess what you put inside of this box for him.

My favorite holiday -The Victory Day

One of my favorite holidays is The Victory Day. It is the most memorable date in our country. This holiday is celebrated on the 9th of May to commemorate the Victory of the Russian troops over the Nazi invaders. Love for freedom has been a national character of the Russian people. No enemy has been able to conquer our country. When Russia was attacked by the German army in the 22nd of June, the Russian people one and all, rose up in defence of their Motherland. This war is called The Great Patriotic War. The War lasted for four years and more then twenty million Russian people perished [погибли] during this war. A magnificent memorial on Poklonnaya Gora has been in order the Great Victory. Every year this day our family go to the Poklonnaya Gora. We always have many flowers. We present flowers to veterans and make photos. We must never forget this holiday because it is our history. I like this holiday very much.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ePals student e-mail Student Forums

Write a message and/ or a message reply to other students around the world in the ePals Student Message Forums: epals message forums
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Russian ePals

Map of the federal subjects of the Russian Fed...
Here's the most recent message from teacher Raisiya Vasilenko in Russia.

I will work on sending your photos from the school's photos -- if that's OK with all of you.

Meanwhile, please describe CIHS, and send some questions about Russia (talk to Grade 10 Ivan about these) to the students in those two classes. send to:

Please also send copies of your messages to me at

Mr. Neu

---------- Forwarded Message -------------

Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2010 07:07:02 +0000

From: "Raisiya Vasilenko"

To: "peter neu"

Subject: Re: project
>Hi, Peter!
>The project will be done as a classroom project with my pupils of the 10th, 11th forms. My pupils would like to know more about your school and pupils. They say it will be more interesting to answer your students' questions. If it is possible send us photos.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New message from Russia

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2010 05:53:16 +0000 [01:53:16 PM HKT]

From: Raisiya Vasilenko

To: peter neu

Subject: Re: FW:
Sweden quiz

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Festivals in France

crêpes (French thin pancakes)
Grade 8 Geography Students: Here is a message from a teacher in France, giving us a list of festivals in his country.

Answer the following questions about Hong Kong festivals, and ask him to have his students reply with their answers.

Ask the following questions by cutting and pasting them into your messages, and then answering them:

1. Why do people celebrate the festivals in your country?

2. What holidays and festivals are important parts of your culture?

3. What special traditions and rituals surround your holidays and festivals? What do people remember / celebrate? What special things do you do? What special feelings do people have?

4. Are your festival celebrations the same as others around the world? How are they the same? How different?

5. What is a symbol? How are symbols used in in your celebrations and holidays?
Hi Peter !

Here's the list of festivals ... but I might have forgotten some!

Can you send yours ?

Here are our main French festivals, bank holidays!

Mr. Neu

  • November 11TH = end of the WW1 (celebration in Paris with the president + broadcast on tv)
  • November 1ST = la toussaint (celebration of dead people)
  • DECEMBER 25TH = XMAS DAY (presents +dinner +mass + holidays )
  • DECEMBER 31ST = le jour de l'AN ( big party with friends, we drink champagne at midnight )
  • FEBRUARY = la chandeleur ( we eat pancakes = des crêpes ) it's a religious festival but people don't even know why ! ...look on the internet (Jesus’ presentation to Jerusalem)
  • APRIL : Pâques (we offer chocolate eggs to children or they look for them in the garden)
  • MAY 1ST = labour day (a day off for everybody ) la fête du travail
  • JUNE : Feu de la saint jean (we make a big fire and gather around )
  • JULY 14TH : BIG FIREWORKS (le feu d'artifice ) everywhere in France in big towns and in some villages (to celebrate the end of royalty in France )
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Russian ePals

Countries where the Russian language is spoken. Here are letters from Russia for you to reply to. Introduce yourselves and let's get some conversations going!

Reply to the individual student if they have given their e-mail address.  Or write to:

Mr. Neu

Dear Peter Neu,

These are our first letters, would you make you students answer them and write something about themselves just to get acquainted. After that we can discuss some cultural peculiarities or smth like that.

best wishes



Dear e-pal,

How are you?

My name is Aleksey. I am 17 years old. I am Russian and i live in town Barnaul. I study at the Altai Krai Pedagogical Lyceum. I do not have a hobby, because I attend many classes. I like to listen to different music: rock, shanson and 90s music. I am engaged in boxing. My fovourite sport is hockey. I also like physics, but I do not like to learn.

Can you tell me anything about youself? What do you do? Do you want to learn the Russian language? What is your general attitude to Russia?

Well that is all for now. I look forward to hearing from you/

Best wishes



- - - - - - - - -

Dear e-pal,

How are you? I am happy we will be pen friends. Let me tell you about myself.

My name is Artemiy and I am 17 years old. I am Russian and I live in a small town Novoaltaisk. I have got a sister. My sister is 23 years old. My favourite hobbies are painting and playing the guitar. I like beautiful films and watching sunrise. I also like to listen to Rock, Rock-n-Roll and Heavy metal. What music do you listen?

Do you want to study Russian? What foreign languages do you know? Please, will you tell me everything about youself?

Well that is all about me. I look forward to hearing from you.

- - - - - - - -

Dear e-pal ,

How are you?

My name is Maksim and I am 16 years old. I’m Russian and I live in town Barnaul. I learn at Altay Krai Pedagogical Lyceum. My favorite sport is volleyboll and basketball. My hobby is drawing. I like listening to music Rap and Hip-Hop. I like to study my favorite subject is computer technology. I learn English and I want to improve my language skills.

Will tou tell me every thing about yourself?

My e-mail:

Bye bye.



- - - - - - - -

Dear e-pal.

How are you? How are you doing? How is life?

My name is Dasha and I am 17 years old. I’m Russia and I live in a town Barnaul. I learn in Altai Krai Pedagogical lyceum. I like listen different music and you? I don’t have got a brother and sister . Have you got any brothers or sisters? I want to know all about you! In my free time I communicate with my friends and read books,and you? My favourite sport is tennis. I aiso like physics! Have you got a favourite subject? Do you study Russian language?

Well,that’s all for now. I look forward to hearihg from you!


- - - - - - -

Dear e-friend. How are you? My name is Dmitrij and I am 17 years old. I’m Russian and I live in a town Barnaul. I learn in Altai Krai Pedagogical lyceym.I like listen to music Rammstein, and you? My favourite sport is hockey. My favourite sybject is physics. Do you want to study Russian? What foreign language do you know? Have you got a favourite subject? I learn English and I want to improve my language skills.

Well, that’s all about me. Write back soon.

Bye for now, Dmitrij

- - - - - -

Dear e-pal,

How are you? I’m happy we will be penfriends. Let me tell you about myself.

My name is Juliya and I am 17 years old. I live in Russia in Barnaul. I have got a brother. My brother is 9 years. Have you got any brothers or sisters? I want to know all about you. In my free time I am reading books and always on the internet : facebook and vkontakte,

My e-mail:

I look forward to hearing from you. Good-bue;)

- - - - - -

Dear e-pal,

How are you? I`m happy we will be pen-friends. Let me tell you about myself.

My name is Nikolai and I am 17 years old. I`m Russian and I live in a small town Barnaul. I have got a sister. My sister is a baby. Have you got any brothers or sisters? In my free time I spend with my friends, play videogames, sports … At school I really enjoy our Physics class. Will you tell me everything about youself.

Well, that`s all for now. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,


P.S. my e-mail:

- - - - - -

Dear E-pal,

How is your life?

My name is Vicroria, i am 17 years old. I live in Barnaul. I am a student of Altai Krai Pedagogical Lyceum.

In my free time I like watching films, such as horror, fantastics and comedies. My beloved music is Rammstein, Linkin Park, 50cent and Michael Jackson. I learn English and want to improve my language skills.

Will you tell me everything about youself? Do you want to study Russian? What music do you listen? What films do you watch?

Well that is all about me

By for now,


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas and Festivals in Russia and Turkey

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Selfridges depar... How do people in Russia and Turkey celebrate their festivals, especially Christmas?

Below are some questions to copy and paste into email and then send to students in Russia and Turkey through Ms. Olga and Mr. Ali.  Ms. Olga is at: and Mr. Ali is at:, and to the other teachers at: and They will have their students reply to you. You can attach or send the URLs to your maps and ask the following questions by cutting and pasting them into your messages, and then answering them:

1. Why do people celebrate the festivals in your country?
2. What holidays and festivals are important parts of your culture?
3. What special traditions and rituals surround your holidays and festivals? What do people remember / celebrate? What special things do you do?  What special feelings do people have?
4. Are your festival celebrations the same as others around the world? How are they the same?  How different?
5. What is a symbol? How are symbols used in in your celebrations and holidays?
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Monday, November 15, 2010

e-Pals messages from Russia and Greece

Please send an email to these students in Russia and Greece. Write to:


and to me at:

Send copies of your maps of Hong Kong as email attachments:
1. physical (showing mountains, rivers ocean, etc,),

2. climate (weather) and

3. political (showing where people live and how many).

Also ask them: How do students spend their free time? Do they like pop music -- which groups and singers? What is students' favorite food? Do they like fashion? Any other questions about Russian life you want to ask.  Ask them to send maps of Russia Greece, and students' questions about Hong Kong back to us.


From: tatiana serova
To: peter neu
Date: 2010-Nov-12 18:20:49
Subject: Re: email pals

Dear Peter Neu,

We will be glad to answer your questions about Russsia. It would also interesting to learn about your country.

Regards Tatiana Serova
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The YP Reporters’ Club! | - the online edition of South China Morning Post Young Post

Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣 Be a reporter for the Young Post of South China Morning Post
 Click here for information about how to write an article or submit video.

If you like to write in your free time, have a passion for reporting, shoot videos, have a blog, or just want to share your enthusiasm with the YP community, the Reporters’ Club is for you. If you join, you could meet stars and inspiring people, participate in workshops like dimsum making or flight simulation, get up close and personal with professional journalists, write on a regular basis and get your stories published. Which skills are we looking for? Writers, photographers, filmakers and video editors, reviewers, illustrators, teamplayers, group gatherers, and all creative people . . . How to join:
If you're 12 to 16, you are a cub, and if you're 16 to 20, you are a tiger. To register, answer the following and send it to
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Date of Birth (DD/ Month/Year):
* Age:
* School Name:
* Phone number (it is important that you provide this information. When we want to publish something you wrote, we need to be able to reach you for any details, photos, etc):
* E-mail:
* Address:
* Write 200 words explaining you want to join the club
* Attach your picture portrait (a picture like the ones used in passports)
How do I know if my application has been successful?
We usually deal with new applications once a week, so don’t expect an answer straight away. Once we’ve taken care of your application, you will receive a welcome email with more details about the club and we will be asked to fill in some forms to sort out copyright issues. It is very important that you complete those forms and send them to us before you start submitting articles and participating in YP workshops.
If you haven’t received an answer after two weeks, kindly send a reminder to the Reporters’ Club email.
How it works :
Once your application has been confirmed and you have sent back the forms, you can submit your story ideas by sending an email to Have a look here to see what makes a good story idea. Junior reporters can also meet up to discuss their ideas with the YP team. To check when the next editorial meeting is, click here. The meetings are open to six to eight junior reporters each time. They are held at the South China Morning Post office in Causeway Bay, usually on Tuesdays from 6pm to 6.45pm. To participate, send an email to one week before. The first students to sign up will be chosen to take part and notified by email. The SCMP office in Causeway Bay is at 1, Leighton Road.
During the meeting, you will need to pitch story ideas, so come prepared, with at least three ideas. If we pick your idea, you will then need to organise interviews and sometimes photos for your story. The YP team will give you a deadline according to your school work. It will either be published on the Junior Reporters’ page in YP print, on in the Reporters’ Club section or on the YP blog. Sometimes, just like in a real newsroom, we will assign you stories. If you’re not able to come to the editorial meeting, check your inbox, we send newsletters and updates. You can also keep track of the Reporters’ Club assignments by visiting the assignments and workshops page. What will I be writing about? Beauty, cinema, politics, games, economics, lifestyle, experiences, you can suggest anything you want. Check on our website and previous Young Post issues to see if we have already covered your idea. Seek the YP reporters' team advice and email us at

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oxygen content of the atmosphere over the last...
Try some of the pro-environment activities at: Atmosphere, Climate & Environment Information Programme

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SMART OFFICIALS IN India are paying people to go to the toilet. The cash-for-deposits scheme in Tamil Nadu creates a useful supply of fresh fertilizer while gently training residents to stop pooping in unsuitable places, ie, your neighbor’s patio, the queue at McDonald’s, the hospital lobby, etc.  But don’t quit your job and fly to India yet. The pay is the equivalent of 12 US cents (HK$1) a month, a salary which is on the low side. “Even by YOUR standards,” I said to a teacher friend of mine who is always complaining about his income.

A Taiwanese guy said his country went to an extreme. At a chain of restaurants called Modern Toilet, diners sit at full-size toilets and eat out of smaller ones (pic above). They wipe their mouths with toilet paper hanging over the table. But you don't have to go to Taiwan to 'taste' these culinary delights. Take Exit F from the Causeway Bay MTR and then walk into the Watsons Superstore that is in front of you and go up to the 4/F where you'll find a toilet themed restaurant."
Food as served in bathroom themed Modern Toile...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do NOT try THIS in P.E.


News hound in pursuit - the online edition of South China Morning Post Young Post

   Wong Tin-yau has a passion to tell the truth through videos, even if it means brushes with the authorities

By YP intern Jocelyn wong

   'Illegally trespassing borders'. These were the words that 16-year-old Wong Tin-yau saw before he was freed from a Shenzhen police station last December. He had been detained for trespassing in Lo Wu while filming people demanding the release of a jailed mainland human rights activist, Liu Xiaobo. Tin-yau says he was strangled by a public security officer and his camera taken away. Also, the compromising footage was deleted.
   The teenager is an avid follower of news and politics, and frequently turns up at major events with his video camera. He keeps a close eye on Facebook and news websites so he knows what should be covered.
   'When I read about the news of a building collapse at Ma Tau Wai Road [in To Kwa Wan], I wanted to go to shoot it so badly, I wished I had a stomachache so I could be excused from class early,' he says.
Closure of Ma Tau Wai Road near Bailey Street ...
Ma Tau Wai Road, closed after building collapsed 
   'I waited impatiently until school ended and rushed to the scene. I went up to the rooftops of several buildings to try to find the best angle to capture the collapse. It was three in the morning when I headed home.'
   Most of the events Tin-yau chooses to capture involve an element of danger. As well as being arrested in Shenzhen and balancing precariously on rooftops, he has been roughed up by police officers.
   That happened in November, when he was among a crowd of passionate advocates gathered at Government House in Central campaigning for the resignation of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.
   Tin-yau says police blockaded the road and were violent towards protesters. Although many media workers were present, the violence was not shown on television, he says.
   'I understand the media is able to broadcast only, say, 20 seconds of footage from a 30-minute event, but how can they leave out the heart of the event like that? I believe the media did not capture the true essence of the event because of pressure from the government.'
   This is why Tin-yau is determined to show up at such activities. He hopes that through his actions, many will see another side to what the media offers.
   As expected, his videos have made quite an impact among internet users. One of his latest clips, which shows a member of the Federation of Trade Unions handing out money to demonstrators during a protest, has attracted more than 20,000 hits.
   Exposing such candid moments is what propels Tin-yau to pursue his passion, despite the risks involved.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Martial Arts in School

Demonstrating Kung Fu at Daxiangguo Monastery,...
   PARENTS in Beijing are taking no chances over the safety of their children after a series of attacks on schoolchildren frightened and angered China.
   A growing number of parents have turned to selfdefence classes for children more used to wielding electronic games than their fists. Six times since March, angry and apparently deranged men have attacked Chinese schoolchildren with knives and, in one case, a hammer, killing 27 people and injuring more than 80.  Officials have vowed to “strike hard” against the problem and schools have added security guards, but many parents think that’s not enough. Admissions to kung fu schools in Beijing have risen by at least 20 percent since April, China state media reported. 
   At the Changzhen Kongfu school near Beijing’s university district, more than a dozen 7- to 12-year-old children were learning martial arts techniques meant to help them escape potential danger. “There have been many changes recently. Before, only one to two students would come to consult, but since last week, we have received about 30 inquiries,” said Zhang Xiaohang, the chief kung fu instructor at the school. “A lot of parents register their children for the selfdefence class as soon as they arrive, without hesitationParents are putting much more emphasis on children’s safety.” 
   Zhang now teaches about 10 classes per week and instructs more than 60 kids. For pudgy 12-year-old Deng Zhiheng, the lessons serve two purposes. “I am a little bit fat so I want to lose some weight,” he said. “Second of all, there have been many school attacks recently and I want to know how to prevent such attacks. So it is best if I learn these skills.”  The class mainly focuses on teaching children how to respond to threats calmly and react quickly. Self-defence techniques emphasise avoiding confrontation and escaping to safety, Zhang said.
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Karate Kid

Jackie Chan prepares to slide down the side of...
Sliding down a building

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Zealand Adventure

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in N...Image via WikipediaListen and Learn about New Zealand

Todd: So, Monica, you are from New Zealand.
Monica: Yes, that's right.
Todd: So, for people going to New Zealand, what would you recommend? What are three or four places that you must see in New Zealand?
Monica: Oh, OK, three or four places you must see. Well, it depends what you're looking for really. I think a lot of people that come to New Zealand enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, so there's lots of outdoor activities and places you can go to to enjoy in New Zealand. Personally, I find theSouth Island of New Zealand very scenic in comparison to the North Island, so for me, a must-do is the West Coast of the South Island. It's very pretty.
Todd: The West Coast.
Monica: Yeah. In particular, there's two glaciers. Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers, which are very stunning to look at, and you can either have a look at them by foot, or you can pay for a helicopter ride that takes you up and shows you an ariel view of them.
Todd: Now, do people ever walk across the glaciers?
Monica: There are guides that can walk you across. Yeah, I haven't done it personally, but it is possible.
Todd: So what else would you recommend for New Zealand? What other places should people see?
Monica: I think if you want to see ... let me think ... rural New Zealand. It's quite a nice idea to drive the length of the country and then you can see the interesting farming that is taking place, in particular in the South Island. The lower part of the South Island, and a lot of the North Island as well. There's a lot of sheep in New Zealand and there's a lot of cattle as well, so I think it's interesting to go for a drive to see that firsthand.
Todd: So, you just start up in Auckland in the north and drive all the way down south?
Monica: Yeah, well, there's many ways you can do it, but I recommend one way of doing it is too arrive in Auckland and to have an experience of a big city, well a big city for New Zealand, and then drive down the center of the North Island and maybe have a farming experience somewhere. There's a lot of farm stay opportunities available for tourists who come to New Zealand, so depending on how you do it. You might want to stay two or three days with a family and experience a farming lifestyle. So that's, yeah, one thing I'd recommend. And another is to maybe go to a city like Rotorua which is really in the center of the North Island, and experience Maori culture.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Graphic Organisers to help with school presentations

These are a good way to add some things to SEE. You can make your oral book reports more interesting with these.

"A picture is worth 1000 words." When we learn new ideas, a graphic organizer can be an excellent teaching aide.
  • Why do they work? Random facts are quickly lost. However, the brain's ability to store pictures is unlimited. And since the brain likes small pieces of information, the graphic organizer helps the brain.
  • When do they work? Graphic organizers are useful whenever we are given new information. They can be used to organize or to brainstorm.
  • How do they work? These are simple, and we can add details.  The brain remembers more when we are creative.

Friday, January 29, 2010