Saturday, April 22, 2017

Books, books, and more books! Things I do in my spare time

I found this on the Internet today and loved it! What do you do in your spare time?


I used to review books a lot a few years ago but not anymore. These days I write notes instead. I did a book rearranging exercise last year in December, both in Kindle and my physical bookshelves. I still research and buy books A LOT, but this somehow has been reduced by a bit because of my library membership in Singapore in 2015 when I relocated to Singapore for work. I've just renewed my membership last year! Am totally enjoying my second year with the NLB.

People often ask where I buy my books. In this post way back in 2009, I talked about where I find my book bargains. My usual (online) fix is BetterWorldBooks.com, Amazon.com, BookDepository.com and BookXcess. And of course, I still pop by into a physical bookstore to smell books and buy one or two urgent reads...

Friday, April 21, 2017

My Swedish Language Study Progress on Babbel.com: Obtained My Certificate on "Beginner's Course 1" (And More...)

I've reached another milestone in my Swedish studies! I've completed "First Words and Sentences" today and "Beginner's Course 1" along with "Pronunciation" a while ago. I'm happy to share my certificates below. My latest score is 6,253. I'm aiming to complete "Beginner's Course 2" within the coming weeks.

I completed this course today.
I completed this course in January this year.
I completed this course in October 2016.

My other Swedish learning materials are Duolingo, SwedishPod.101, various books, and my beloved Simon's Cat Notebook. You can also check out my foreign language learning "formula" here. Now, back to my studies!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Routledge Colloquial Swedish

 Colloquial Swedish

I'm really enjoying my Swedish language studies with this book. The book cover you see in this post is not the one I'm using for my study. I bought mine used at BetterWorldBooks.com (ISBN: 978415028035, 1990).

I appreciated the practical tips for learners where the book progressively outlined step-by-step on pronunciation such as "some final consonants are dropped" so words such as "vad" is "va," "det" is "de," "är" becomes "e," and "och" becomes "å". It then goes on to give an example of how that would sound like in a sentence: "Det är en smörgås." (pron. Deensmörrgåss for "It is a sandwich.").

So far, I've attempted all the exercises in Lektion Ett (Lesson One). They looked simple but there's power in simplicity! For example, translate into Swedish: Is it a pear? What is it? Has she got an apple? OR make these statements into yes/no questions: De studerar. Hon kommer. Ni har ett päron. These drills or exercises reinforces the patterns and structure; for example, short answers is constructed in this form: Ja/Nej, det + verb + subject pronoun (+ negative), so "Yes, it is" is "Ja, det är det." OR in the negative form  "Ja, det är det inte."

I'll definitely continue to use Colloquial Swedish in conjunction with all my other materials for Swedish such as Babbel, Duolingo, SwedishPod.101, and my beloved Simon's Cat Notebook. Now, back to my studies!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Traveling with Traveloka!

When The Weekend Traveler (me) misses home in Kuala Lumpur (KL), home is just an hour’s flight away from Singapore where I am currently living in. I am truly blessed that it’s so easy to fly home and I usually fly during the weekend with either Firefly or Jetstar.

For my upcoming trip, I would like to try something different, and I am planning a relaxing staycation. I have in mind to book a hotel stay at the Best Western Petaling Jaya. The hotel seems to be a good choice because it’s close to home. It’s about 50 minutes’ and 30 minutes’ drive from the KLIA airport and the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, respectively. It’s also close to the Mid Valley Megamall Kuala Lumpur and a few steps away from Jaya 33 Shopping Mall Petaling Jaya. In any case, getting around town is no longer a difficulty because I could always use either Uber or Grab to commute.

I will be trying to book a hotel with Traveloka Malaysia, a travel booking platform in Southeast Asia I recently discovered while researching hotel options for this trip. I am going to try something new! The website’s interface is easy to navigate, and I’ll be putting it to the test for my booking with Best Western.

With the logistics arrangements—or should I say impending experimentation—figured out, I can’t wait to be back in KL and play tourist. One of the things I missed most is hiking. I’d like to revisit FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia). FRIM is founded in 1929, surrounded by the Bukit Lagong forest reserve. It’s a highly popular public spot for outdoor recreation and nature education activities. My last hike there was almost a decade ago, so it’s time for me to return!

Source: The Star

Another place that I highly recommend visiting is the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Suria KLCC. When I was working at the Petronas Twin Towers 10 years ago, I made my daily rounds to Kinokuniya (I lovingly call it “Kino”). Now, every time I am back home, I WILL make it a point to go to Kino and buy a few books on my wish list, which are mostly language books. The selection and range at Kinokuniya is amazing! For those who wonder about this place, Kinokuniya is a renowned international bookshop chain from Japan. The first time I was exposed to Kino was when I was 18 years old—fresh out of high school—and my former Japanese boss offered to help me buy a dictionary at the KL Kinokuniya.


I must also admit I have a thing for street food and bazaars. I am not a shopaholic, but I love people-watching and indulging in some street photography at the must-see markets in Chinatown (Petaling Street) and Little India in Brickfields. If you enjoy bargaining, you would get plenty of satisfaction shopping at Petaling Street for whatever it is that you’re looking for (mostly knock-off brands). Oh yes, not forgetting the interesting food choices too.

Little India is located from Jalan Travers up to Jalan Tun Sambanthan, and is easily accessible by KTM Komuter, monorail station, or Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) line; get off at the KL Sentral Station. I love the eateries there—don’t miss out on the authentic Indian banana leaf rice! As mentioned earlier, I am not big on shopping but if you are looking for Indian textiles (sari, anyone?), flower garlands, and spices, Little India is the place to be. As for me, I’ll be back for more photo opportunities.

Source: TrekEarth

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Two More Sponsored Children in Pyapon, Myanmar!

Following my World Vision Sponsored Child Visit in Myanmar last year in November, I have (as of February this year) sponsored another two more children (a boy and a girl) from the same area, Pyapon. I'm happy to be able to contribute to these three kids, their family, and their community.

I want to make it a point this year to start corresponding with my kids regularly and sending them small gifts that would be beneficial to them in their development. As an avid reader and learner myself, the goodies I got for the kids are mainly educational items such as books, pencils, notepads, etc. These items can also be shared with their siblings or friends.


Do check out World Vision Malaysia, and perhaps, sponsor a child (or two) too! If you're interested in sponsoring children from Pyapon, Myanmar, please contact the WV Malaysia office directly as they may not be visible when you perform a search on their website.


As at February 2017, the number of remaining children waiting to be sponsored in Pyapon is 54. In November last year during my visit, it was 176 awaiting sponsors (out of the 2,000 children, 1,824 have found their sponsors). I hope they will all find their sponsors soon!