Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam hanged with 'fear in his face'

SADDAMCNN reports that "Saddam Hussein was hanged Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign, U.S. and Iraqi sources tell CNN. Iraq's national security adviser said: 'He was a broken man... You could see fear in his face.' President Bush called the execution 'an important milestone' for Iraq".

The execution took place shortly after 6am local time (2pm Sydney Time). Just 5 minutes before that time (13:57:45), I sent a short message to my Iraqi friend, saying "Saddam is going to be executed in FIVE minutes!"

The time could be reasonably speculated.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Boss commenting on Day Off


"So you want a day off. Let's take a look at exactly what you are asking for.

There are 365 days per year available for work. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have two days off per week leaving 261 days available for work. Since you spend 16 hours per day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available. You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break that accounts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available. With a 1-hour lunch period each day, you have used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend two days per year on sick leave; this leaves you only 20 days available for work. We offer 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days. We generously give you 14 days vacation per year which leaves you only 1 day available for work. And I'll be darned if you are going to take that day off !!!"




Chinese pronunciation and intonations

Most non-English native speakers might think that English pronunciation is difficult for them. I thought so too. But now I reckon that Chinese pronunciation and intonations might be more complicated and difficult, and very different from English. Why? See my story below.

One day, I received an email from a friend who was going to fly back to Australia from China. He asked me to pick him up at the Sydney airport on the day he came back. I briefly replied his email with one sentence in Chinese to confirm my availability.

The sentence I intended to write was "我会按时到悉尼机场接机" ("I will pick you up at the Sydney airport on time"), but what I actually wrote and sent out was "我会按时到悉尼机场劫机" ("I will hijack the plane at the Sydney airport on time"), because the two Chinese words "接机" and "劫机" share the same pronunciation (though in different intonations), hence the same spelling "Jie Ji" in Pinyin (the transliterating system for Chinese).

I was sure that my friend could understand my horrific message correctly because it should be a common spelling mistake for people who used Pinyin to input Chinese on computer. But I was not sure if that email has been filtered, intercepted, or possibly noticed by FBI or CIA, or any other security organisation, hehe. :-))

Then, I was curious to know how many Chinese words share the same pronunciation of "Jie Ji". After I checked it on my computer, I was absolutely surprised! Guess what? 13 words, in totally different meanings! Amazing, isn't it?

Let's see them one by one in different intonations.
  • 接机 (Jīe Jī): Pickup somebody at airport
  • 阶级 (Jīe Jī): Social class
  • 接济 (Jīe Jì): Give financial aid
  • 劫机 (Jíe Jī): Hijack airplane
  • 截击 (Jíe Jī): Intercept and attack
  • 结集 (Jíe Jí): Meet together
  • 解急 (Jǐe Jí): Must go to the toilet
  • 解己 (Jǐe Jǐ): Help me…
  • 解系 (Jǐe Jì): Loosen then tighten up
  • 借机 (Jìe Jī): Take the opportunity
  • 借吉 (Jìe Jí): Take the luck
  • 借记 (Jìe Jì): Debit
  • 戒忌 (Jìe Jì): Taboo
Here are a few more similar examples:
  • 毛纺 (Máo Fǎng): Wool spinning
  • 茅房 (Máo Fáng): Privy (informal)
  • 猫房 (Māo Fáng): Cat's room
Are you going to learn Chinese now? Haha! :-D

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Moved to Chatswood

"Chatswood is a suburb in North Shore in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and the seat of the City of Willoughby local government area. Chatswood is believed to be named after the pet name "Chat" of the second wife of Richard Harnett (a pioneer of the district) and the original "wooded" nature of the area."

"At 54.7%, most people in the suburb speak only English. However, 39.8% of the population speak a language other than English. The second largest language group are Chinese languages (19.6% of population), followed by Korean (3.2%), Japanese (2.7%), Italian (2.2%), Armenian (1.7%), Croatian (1.3%), Indonesian (1.0%), Arabic (1.0%), Tagalog (0.9%), Greek (0.8%).

Of the 47% people born overseas in Chatswood, most were born in China (6.5%), Hong Kong (5.5%), United Kingdom (4.1%), Taiwan (3.4%), New Zealand (3.3%), Japan (2.3%), Indonesia (1.5%), Italy (1.4%), India (1.3%) and Malaysia (1.1%). In 2001 4348 people were born in a country of Non-English Speaking Background."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yue and Vonny's wedding

Arnold Jansen Chapel
Divine Word Missionaries Hall
199 Epping Road, Masfield NSW 2122, Australia
Canon IXUS 50, F/3.5, 1/100 sec, 8 mm, ISO 50, Pattern Mode, 13:19, 9 December 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

NO bug submissions for Windows Vista

---------- Forwarded message ----------Vista Logo
From: Microsoft Connect
Date: 02-Dec-2006 08:31
Subject: Thank You for Helping Make Windows Vista ROCK!
To: Bing Bao
Dear Bing,

As many of you know, we announced the business availability of the Windows Vista operating system and the 2007 release of Microsoft Office yesterday in New York City. The Windows Vista Beta Team would like to thank each of you for the incredible contributions you have made over the past 16 months!!! Windows Vista is the product it is because you, our valued beta testers, gave us such exceptional feedback.

Over the next several weeks as we wrap up the beta program and turn our attention to server, you will notice the following changes on Connect:
  • Please discontinue bug submissions for Windows Vista. Windows Vista is a released product and after launch you should use normal product support channels if you encounter any issues. You may begin filing bugs against Longhorn Server when the next build is released.

  • All old and outdated content on Connect (builds, documentation, surveys, etc) will be removed.

  • Windows Vista-specific newsgroups will be closed on December 10, 2006 at which time all posts will be removed from the server. If you wish to archive any information please do so before then.

  • If you opt-in to continue to test Longhorn server and are accepted, you will see additional server-specific newsgroups added.
At this time, we would like to announce a few opportunities that will begin in the near future that may be of interest to you.
  • Windows Longhorn Server Beta - To continue providing feedback to the Windows Longhorn Server beta, please complete the opt-in survey located here.

  • Windows Early Feedback - To submit early suggestions and design feedback to make the next version of Windows the best release yet, please complete the opt-in survey located here. The Windows early feedback program is being initially offered only to Vista beta program participants. This program will allow you to submit and vote on suggestions for the next version of Windows.
Again, our warmest thanks and congratulations on helping us ship the best OS yet!!

The Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Team