Category Archives: Writings

Announcements, articulations, etc…

Mother’s Love

What is Mother’s love?

A search on Google derives the following statement from Helen Steiner Rice:

A Mother’s love is something that no one can explain, It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may. For nothing can destroy it or take that love away—Helen Steiner Rice.

This is something not as simple as a sentence or two. Surely not an element or a simple emotion, a feeling that derives from the given relationship by birth. It is more than just platonic selfless care and concern for another’s well being, possibly even at the cost of caregiver’s expense and safety.

Is it an obligation due to the arrival of a new life? Or a conscripted responsibility which is out of will? From the spectrum of logic, I do not think so and certainly not. Ever.

18th Nov this year on a peaceful glorious morning, a little prince is born. A magical event to witness the beginning of life, the start of another chapter in life, surely another significant milestone to be marked and more exciting times ahead. Even before the arrival of the baby prince, daddy and mummy have committed and promised each other to give only the best to ensure his growth and well being.

That commitment and decision is the epitome of mother’s love.

And that prince? He is my son.

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Altruism

Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 and popularized in an eponymous 1990 playwritten by John Guare.

Now with this chain of friends and acquaintance, consider the effect and repercussions of positive actions done for your friends and the people around you. It forms a happy environment, producing positive energy that will pulse thought the network of connected friends and beyond.

If we all can help each other without expectations of direct benefit or renumeration, the world will be a much, much better place.

This brings up the topic of Altruism, which is disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others. A good example is one who may choose to work with vulnerable elderly people out of altruism, probably at one’s expense.

A glass of water is not the same for a thirsty man and a drowning man. A donation of $100 to a homeless man is not the same as to a middle income working executive. In other words, the same help rendered might not have the same effects.

To help someone effective, it is better to ask the beneficial party directly how to help better. Social media likes and shares might bring about some forms of awareness, but the actual help is limited, and not as instaneous.

Similarly in my opinion, performing a good deed for a picture to be shared and post on social media, is not considered an altruistic action. To me, I would view it as somewhat like a “personal marketing campaign”. For personal fame and glory perhaps?

As surprising as it sounds, altruism helps to bring about a better us. It reinforces our perspective to care for people around us, creating a better place for everyone.

Try to sleep on the streets for a week, and you will know how the homeless feels like. Try to skip 3meals a day and forge for food in malls and whatnots, and you know how the hungry is experiencing it every day. The point is there are people worse off than us. We have to help to the best of our abilities to ensure that everyone around is happy. This creates happiness and peace around them, and around us too.

Do something for the homeless man around the corner, or the person in queue who is seeking coins. Help them, give them and assist them with zero expectations.

And if you are lucky, you might receive a smile brighter than sunshine.

Buy Kindle Books in Singapore and Malaysia

buy kindle books in singapore

Previously, we discussed how to have UNLIMITED FREE reads on Kindle in Singapore and Malaysia.  In this post, we are going to talk about how to buy Kindle books in Singapore as well as buy Kindle books in Malaysia, both countries use the same method,  but let’s just refer to Singapore.

This tutorial will be showing you on how to buy English Kindle book from US Amazon, if you are interest in buying Chinese Kindle book, here is a separate tutorial  on how to buy Chinese Kindle book at China Amazon.

How are we going to buy Kindle books in Singapore?  You can buy it through a computer or directly from your Kindle, but you need to do some “settings” before buying any book.  There are many Kindle users in Singapore, some of them manage to purchase Kindle books as normal without any problem; but some are not so lucky because their purchase transaction was blocked by Amazon (it usually happen when Amazon detected that you are not buying the books in US or your payment was not made via US credit card.).

We will show you how to buy Kindle books in Singaporeusing both methods: the “normal way” (do it at your own risk) and the “risk-free” method.

Before you start to buy any books for your Kindle, you should have registered your Kindle using your Amazon account.  After you have registered your Kindle, you need to do TWO things:

1. Change Your Kindle Country Settings:
If you do not change the country settings, whenever you search for any book in Amazon.com, it will displays a message “This title is not available for customers from your location in: Asia & Pacific”, and you are unable to buy the book.

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– Go to Amazon.com and log into your account.

– At the right top drop down menu, select “Manage Your Kindle”.

– You will see “Your Kindle Account” at the left panel, select “Country Settings”.

– Make sure you change it to “United States”. (Generate a US address here, and make sure your address is from these tax-free states:Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware and Oregon)

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buy kindle book

If you search for any kindle title again, it should now available for purchase:

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2. Load money into your Amazon account with Amazon Gift Card.

This is the prepaid fund (known as Gift Card Balance) in your Amazon account, each time you buy a Kindle book, it will deduct from your Gift Card Balance.  The purpose of using Gift Card Balance is to avoid unnecessary risk for Amazon to detect your purchase is made by non-US credit card.  So, it is recommended that you should use Gift Card Balance even if you are using the “normal way” to buy Kindle books in Singapore.  Furthermore, the Gift Card Balance in you Amazon account has no expiry date, you only need to top up again when the balance is low. Refer the following steps to buy Amazon Gift Cards:

– Visit Amazon Gift Card Store
– Select the amount. Say $50 or $100 or more if you buy a lot of books.
– Enter your own email as Recipient E-mail.
– Click purchase.
– Enter your credit/debit card details if requested.
– Enter billing address if requested.
– Place your order and the Amazon Gift Card will be sent to your designated email address.
– Login to your email account to access the Amazon Gift Card. (sometimes it may take a while to reach you)
– Click the “Redeem now” button in the Gift Card.
– It will redirect you to the Amazon account.
– Login and click the “Apply to Your Account” button.
– The money is now loaded into your Amazon Gift Card Balance.
– You can set a US address to your billing address or “1-Click settings” in your Amazon account.

(you can get a US address here, if the address shows invalid, just generate another address)

IMPORTANT: REMEMBER TO KEEP A RECORD OF THE ADDRESS (ESPECIALLY POSTAL CODE AND TELEPHONE NUMBER) YOU ENTERED INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.

You may consider to do this extra step to delete your credit/debit card information from Amazon account after purchase the Gift Card:
– Go to your Amazon account, select “Manage Payment Option”.
– Delete the card details.

Now we are ready to buy some books for our Kindles.

A. How to Buy Kindle Books in Singapore – THE NORMAL WAY

You can now search for any book title in the Amazon website and “Buy now with 1-Click” and have the book deliver to your Kindle, or you can connect to wifi and access the Kindle store to buy book directly from your Kindle device.  Try this at your own risk, I have tried this without any problem but some claimed that this method does not work for them, then you need to look at the 2nd method written below. (some Amazon accounts may get suspended)

B. How to Buy Kindle Books in Singapore – THE RISK-FREE METHOD

With this method, it is advisable not to buy book directly from your Kindle device.  You will need a VPN installed on your computer, and buy books using your computer only.

The Amazon can detect your location through your computer IP address. (you can simply see your IP address at the upper right corner of our website).
By using a VPN, it will mimic your computer IP address into a US address (your computer location will display as United State instead of Singapore).  The steps are quite easy, just refer to the following:

– Visit this link: Private Tunnel VPN, sign up is FREE, and you will get a FREE 200MB 100MB data after signed up the account, you may also consider to get the 50G data plan which only cost USD12. If you are using this just to buy Kindle books, 50G data will last you for many years and the data has no expiry date. Furthermore, Private Tunnel works on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.
– After signing up the account, download the VPN software and install.
– Login and connect.

ip address change from singapore to usa
– Go to Amazon Kindle Book Store and search for the book title you want to buy.
– Buy the book and download it by “Transfer via Computer” which you will need to transfer the book to your Kindle via USB cable, OR
– Have the book “Deliver to” your Kindle directly. (so far, we did not hear that anyone facing problem with direct deliver to Kindle when using VPN and Gift Card).
– After you bought the book, do remember to disconnect the VPN.
– That’s all. You should be able to download the book in your Kindle after few minutes or less.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

 

 

3 Steps To Read Amazon books for FREE

With e-commence portals such as Lazada and Qoo10, you can now easily get a Kindle Device.

But books in Amazon costs money, so can we still do the ultimate way and read for FREE?

Glad that you asked! Good that you have been following us and bookmarked us for future updates to know this today.

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You can read on Amazon for FREE apparently. AND no, it’s not a scam or some click bait. 3 steps, 3 legit steps. All you need is an Amazon account (does not require subscription to Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited).

 

Step 1: Register an Amazon account.

Step 2: Get a Kindle E-reader. I assumed you would have purchased the Kindle either from Amazon or through one of the e-commence portal.

No Kindle? Read this: If you have NOT purchased the Kindle device, you can download the free Kindle Reading App from iTunes or Google Play Store. The free books works with both the Kindle device and the reading app.

Step 3:

After creating an account, go to Departments > Books & Audible > Kindle eBooks.

Then search for “free Kindle books”. You will then see a list of books that say “Kindle Edition” $0.00. You don’t need to be a Prime or Kindle Unlimited subscriber. And you don’t need a Kindle either.

BONUS:

Now an extra step, this has been my ultimate secret for a few years now and every day I have been browsing it constantly for the latest free books.

Freebook sifter is the answer!

Its is a web application where it scans the entire Amazon catalog and displays the link to the free books on its web site. It sorts the books into 30 different categories such as Parenting, Investing and Friction. It also proudly displays the number of free books you can actually download.

So there you go, an Amazon account with free.

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Now if you would like to read PAID books for FREE, there is another way too.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans are available with 6, 12 and 24-month membership plans.

AND there is a 1 month trial period available before paying. So the idea is to read all you can for FREE in that 1 month.

There will be:

  • Unlimited reading from over 1 million ebooks
  • Unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks
  • Read on any device
  • Membership plans are also giftable

 

Readathon baby!

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Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Which Countries Read The Most?

The Importance Of Reading

Being able to read is one of the most important basic skills that a person can learn today. In fact, reading is crucial to being able to relate to and take part in society. It is required for reading traffic signs, medical instructions, and news stories. Additionally, accessing information online or in books and magazines helps keep people educated and informed about the world around them. The human brain needs constant development and reading is just the activity to help. Reading helps people create a more active imagination and leads to higher levels of creativity as well. So, where in the world do people spend the most time reading?

 

Countries That Spend The Most Time Reading

The World Culture Score Index conducted a global study to measure the amount of time that people around the world spend reading on a weekly basis. The results of this study do not specify what type of material is being read, which could be anything from online news to work e-mails and magazines to books in print. Additionally, the study does not report specific information about the people surveyed (like age, educational level, or sex) or how many people were surveyed. The findings are as follows:

India

India topped the list with its citizens reporting an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes a week spent reading. Achieving the number 1 position on the list is quite an accomplishment for this country, which has a literacy rate that is lower than the global average (only 74%). This rate has, however, increased by more than 6 times since the country gained its independence in 1947, which could be an indicator of an increasing interest in reading. This time spent reading does not necessarily reflect the amount of time reading printed books, however, and may include time spent reading online or in electronic format.

Thailand

Thailand is the country with the second highest number of hours spent reading. Here, survey respondents reported that they spend a weekly average of 9 hours and 24 minutes reading. Additional surveys have found that approximately 88% of the population reads book in print and spend around 28 minutes a day reading them. This means that significantly more time is spent reading online. As seen in India, smartphones and tablets have changed reading habits in Thailand as well. In fact, the amount of time spent reading books in print has decreased from reports published in previous years.

China

The third greatest amount of time spent reading is in China, where survey respondents report spending around 8 hours every week partaking in this activity. This country has a 96.4% literacy rate, which is higher than the global average of 86.3%. Of this time, only around 11 minutes a day are spent reading newspapers and magazines. In a study conducted by the OECD, researchers found that over 90% of students in Shanghai, China report reading for entertainment purposes, which is an increase over previous years. This increase indicates that perhaps reading is gaining popularity among the citizens of this country.

Other countries included in the survey results can be found in the chart published below.

The Countries That Read The Most

Rank Country Hours spent in reading per person per week (selected countries)
1 India 10:42
2 Thailand 9:24
3 China 8:00
4 Philippines 7:36
5 Egypt 7:30
6 Czech Republic 7:24
7 Sweden 7:06
8 France 6:54
9 Hungary 6:48
10 Saudi Arabia 6:48
11 Hongkong 6:42
12 Poland 6:30
13 Venezuela 6:24
14 South Africa 6:18
15 Australia 6:18
16 Indonesia 6:00
17 Argentina 5:54
18 Turkey 5:54
19 Spain 5:48
20 Canada 5:48
21 Germany 5:42
22 USA 5:42
23 Italy 5:36
24 Mexico 5:30
25 UK 5:18
26 Brazil 5:12
27 Taiwan 5:00
28 Japan 4:06
29 Korea 3:06

 

 

Last updated on August 1, 2017

Taken from: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-countries-that-read-the-most.html

Taken

Plodding Through The Presidents — Discover

American history buffs, this one’s for you: Howard Dorre, who’s reading (and blogging about) a biography of every U.S. president, has published numerous posts on arcane-yet-fascinating aspects of the presidency.

via Plodding Through The Presidents — Discover

 

 

Bookmarked for my own future reference!

Top Ten Reasons Students Should Read More Whole Books and Fewer Passages and Packets by Cari White

This is a good article on why we should read, not just the excerpts. In fact, it applies to all, not just students only.

Reading is a form of pleasure, an exercise for the mind. 🙂

Nerdy Book Club

This seems like a list that should be written by Captain Obvious, right? Of course students should read whole books from beginning to end! But does that really happen at your school? Or does the workroom copier groan under the load of stapled packets with  “passages” and related multiple-choice questions? Are students unable to find their library books because they haven’t seen them in so long?

Students deserve time during the school day to read books, one page after another, journeying with the author through every scene to the end of the book. Why?

  1. Empathy. Students need time to walk in another person’s shoes, a fictional character who is different from them. We develop empathy by looking at life through someone else’s eyes, thinking their thoughts and feeling their emotions. This rarely happens in a few short paragraphs. We need to fully experience the triumph of a lonely child making…

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm

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Originally published: 17 August 1945
Author: George Orwell
Page count: 112 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Satire, Political satire
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0452284241
Product Dimensions: E-book

100 Word Book Review:

‘Animal Farm’ penned down by Eric Arthur Blair under the pen name George Orwell. It might have derived its source from the events leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution. The author has channelized his thoughts via making allegorically use of animals, which proves to be highly effective on the reader, makes us see what is unseen to our eyes. The story summaries when given a chance to a country after getting independence to rebuild its constitution and its future, it is in the leaders’ intentions as well as the followers’ which will decide where the county will go.

Who should read:

Animal Farm is suitable for readers who are keen in politics. It is an introductory short story that depicts from the start of a revolution, to the final stage of tyranny state. There are many similarities drawn from history, and present paradigms as well.

Not to mention, the animal responses are exactly the same as how citizens react in the actual world.

Who should not read:

Most likely this book is not suitable for readers who are looking for indept discussion of politics or governance structures.

Likewise it is also not suitable for those who are not comfortable reading about talking animals who live their lives just like humans.

Takeaway points:

  • Power corrupts.
  • During every election, it is very unlikely to know which party is corrupted or not. Only when the party is in power, the true colour reveals.
  • Not all is lost. There are still good leaders who will serve truthfully and altruistically.

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic whose work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism and outspoken support of democratic socialism.[2][3]

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England; and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, are widely acclaimed as are his essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[4]

Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture and the term “Orwellian“—descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices—has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including “Big Brother“, “Thought Police“, “Room 101“, “memory hole“, “newspeak“, “doublethink“, “proles“, “unperson” and “thoughtcrime“.[5][6]

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Originally published: 24 April 2017
Original Title: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
Author: Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant
Page count: 240 pages
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Non-fiction, Self Help, Psychology
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1524732684
Product Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 25 mm

Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2017)

100 Word Book Review:

Sheryl opens up describing the grief and isolation in the wake of her husband’s sudden death. No proper farewells, no premonition nor physical indications of an end. Abrupt as it is, life goes on. Option B illustrates that deep within us, we all have resilience and adaptation. A dynamic evolutionary process that fits us to our current circumstances. While Sheryl was certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again, her psychologist friend Adam Grant guided her. Indeed, it is a sad book to read but this will help readers to seek the recovery strength within themselves.

Who should read:

Ironically, Option B is very suitable for those who are upset, depressed or despondent. The author been through possibly the lowest point in life one could ever be.

One may argue what she been through is worse than having suicidal thoughts. But this is not the point here. If anyone is upset and depressed for prolonged period of time, he or she should seek help. Of which the author did, and she is using herself as a living example to guide those in need too.

Who should not read:

Obviously readers who are expecting a happy story, or maybe a sad-first-then-happy-ending-story, should not read it.

Option B focuses quite a bit on the author’s feelings and emotional state. Unknowly, one will eventually feel equally depressed or probably even worse after that.

Also, the positive turn comes much later towards the end of the book. So it takes a bit of patience to get to that part.

Takeaway points:

  • Life is short, unexpected, a constant struggle
  • It is natural to feel sad, but it is important to snap out of it and recover.
  • Life goes on, and there are so much more.
  • Happy and sad things happen for a reason, and at times, happen unexpectedly without a reason too. And events that happen without a reason usually will have the greatest impact.