Thein Lin Aung’s Blog

Blog 1 - Introduction

Hello everyone, I am creating this blog to write about my experiences on this website, new vocabularies and phrases I learned, and some thoughts about random stuff.

A brief history of me

I am from Myanmar, a small country in South East Asia. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma and is in the neighbourhood of India, China and Bangladish. I am a graduate student in engineering and currently learning for further studies. I love learning English and communicating with friends. I like to make new friends although I am a bit introverted. My hobbies are reading, drawing and playing piano. I like music and films a lot too. In addition, I am interested in psychology and philosophy. I hope I can interact with more of you in the future. Please feel free to comment on my posts and correct my mistakes.

Blog 2 - The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Today I read a short novel by a famous Japanese writer Murakami. The title of the novel is “The Strange Library”. It is categorized as a children’s literature and it has nice illustrations. The story is about a boy who went to the town library and was locked up by an old man who apparently wanted to eat his brain. The later part is about how the boy tried to escape from the old man with the help of his friends.

 

I have never read any book by Murakami before. I came across the book in a book shop the day before yesterday and thought I would give it a try. After reading it, my first thought is the story has a deeper meaning than just the events outlined because the story is a bit nonsensical. Some say that it is about the loneliness the boy was suffering.

Overall, the story piqued my interest and I finished it in one sitting. I will try to read more of Murakami’s work in the future and see why he is famous.

Blog 3 - Tea Leaf Salad

Tea leaf salad is a common traditional snack throughout Myanmar (Burma). There are a few variations in the ingredients in different parts of the country but the main ones are tea leaf, fried beans, peanuts, fried garlic and sesame. Raw chilli, cabbage sheets and sliced tomatoes may be added as accessories.

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The source of tea leaves are from Shan State, a hilly region. The tea plants are grown on the mountains where the tropic is cold. The name of the tribe who usually grow and harvest tea leaves is Pa-long.

The natural taste of a tea leaf salad is bitter, but it can be enhanced with a variety of flavours to be sour or spicy.

Another use of tea leaves is in Chinese tea although dried leaves are usually used. The dried tea leaves are put into the boiling water and then the tea is stored in a flask or a kettle. The tea has a nice smell and a slightly bitter
taste.

Blog 4 - New words from The Mad Rook Newsletter Vol 1 Issue 3

I learned four new words today from T. Lee’s The Mad Rook newsletter. I have copied all five words and their definitions below.

  1. connotation – an idea or feeling which a word invokes for a person in addition to its literal or primary meaning
  2. contraband – Any forbidden item.  At an airport, common contraband items are explosives, weapons, and illegal drugs.
  3. lagniappe – A little extra of something thrown in for free.  Think “baker’s dozen”.  This is a French word that is pronounced ‘lan yap’.
  4. peruse – To browse items in a shop or to look through a book or other document briefly to see what kind of content it contains.
  5. sniff – to smell something with the nose using a quick inhalation through the nose.

I have written my own example sentences below.

  1. The word “deceased” is a connotation for my grandmother who passed away a few years ago.
  2. Any kind of knife is a contraband in a primary school.
  3. After weighing the bag of rice, the shopper added a handful of rice as a lagniappe.
  4. The first thing I do when I visit a book shop is to peruse the books in the new arrival section.
  5. The cat sniffed the food before eating.
Blog 5 - My snippings from books - Part 1

I will post some of my clippings from the books I read. These were highlighted and saved in my Kindle when I saw them interesting.

Format : Book title, Author

(Scientists are) Absorbed in training themselves to plumb the depths of nature, they were almost helpless in ordinary human affairs, where, for all their knowledge, they seemed pathetic and shallow.

Contact, Carl Sagan

If we lived in any previous time in human history, we could wonder about this all our lives, and we couldn’t do a thing to find the answer. But this time is unique. This is the first time when anybody’s been able to look for extraterrestrial intelligence. You’ve made the detector to look for civilizations on the planets of millions of other stars. Nobody’s guaranteeing success. But can you think of a more important question? Imagine them out there sending us signals, and nobody on Earth is listening. That would be a joke, a travesty. Wouldn’t you be ashamed of your civilization if we were able to listen and didn’t have the gumption to do it?”

Contact, Carl Sagan

The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.

The Humans, Matt Haig

War is the answer. To the wrong question.

The Humans, Matt Haig

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

Cosmos, Carl Sagan

Get the right answer, and never mind that you don’t understand what you’re doing.

Wisdom lies in understanding our limitations.

The method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.

we humans have a talent for deceiving ourselves. Scepticism must be a component of the explorer’s toolkit, or we will lose our way.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan

Blog 6 - My snippings from books - Part 2

“I see God in the instruments and mechanisms that work reliably.”

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,”

Steve Jobs (Isaacson, Walter)

many people (who) simply wish to be told an answer, any answer, and thereby avoid the burden of keeping two mutually exclusive possibilities in their heads at the same time.

Cosmos (Carl Sagan)

16 comments

  1. Hi, Thein Lin Aung,
    First, Happy New Year 2017.
    Second, I am very happy that I can see you are an active member here.
    Third, I wanted to hear your voice with all my heart, but I couldn’t.
    Audioboom isn’t blocked in my country, but it doesn’t work for me.
    I wish you all the best in 2017,

  2. Hello Lin,

    I like your blog very much. You are trying out different editing tools, which is great! I love your ‘tea-leaf salad’ entry. Well done!

    As for your Blog 4 examples:
    connotation‘ – is an implied meaning, subtext of a word, the idea associated with the word;

    e.g. The notion of abuse has wider connotations than the physical.

     The word ‘professional’ has connotations of skill and excellence.

    “Resolute” means stubborn, but with a more positive connotation. 

  3. Very nice blog, Lin!

    Here are a few suggestions for Blog #2.

    Today I read a short novel by a famous Japanese writer named Murakami. The title of the novel is “The Strange Library”. It is categorized as a children’s literature story and it has nice illustrations. The story is about a boy who went to the town library and was locked up by an old man who apparently wanted to eat his brain. The later part is about how the boy tried to escape from the old man with the help of his friends. 

    I have never read any book by Murakami before. I came across the book in a book shop bookstore the day before yesterday and thought I would give it a try. After reading it, my first thought is the story has a deeper meaning than just the events outlined because the story is a bit nonsensical. Some say that it is about the loneliness the boy was suffering.

    Overall, the story piqued my interest and I finished it in one sitting. I will try to read more of Murakami’s work in the future and see why he is famous.

    —–

    Literature is uncountable, so we can’t use “a” with it.  We study literature but we read a literature story.

    We normally say bookstore in English.

    —–

    Very good writing!

  4. Some suggestions for Blog #3.

    —–

    Tea leaf salad is a common traditional snack throughout Myanmar (formerly Burma). There are a few variations in the ingredients in different parts of the country but the main ones are tea leaves leaf, fried beans, peanuts, fried garlic and sesame. Raw chili, cabbage sheets and sliced tomatoes may be added as accessories.

    slider
    images not found
    The source of tea leaves are from Shan State, a hilly region. The tea plants are grown on the mountains where the tropic climate is cold. The name of the tribe who usually grow and harvest tea leaves is Pa-long.

    The natural taste of a tea leaf salad is bitter, but it can be enhanced with a variety of flavours to be sour or spicy.

    Another use of tea leaves is in Chinese tea although dried leaves are usually used. The dried tea leaves are put into the boiling water and then the tea is stored in a flask or a kettle. The tea has a nice smell and a slightly bitter taste.

    —–

    “Formerly” means it used to be but is not now.  Former President Clinton attended the political rally.

    Parallelism:  leaves, beans, peanuts, garlic, sesame (all plural or generic in form)

    chili (spelling)

    “tropic” is not normally used as a word.  The tropics refers to the warm regions of the Earth.  The adjective is “tropical”.  We do name two lines on the globe as the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.  These are the only two uses of the word “tropic” that I can recall.

    —–

    Again, very good writing and grammar.

  5. Suggestions for Blog #4

    1. The word “deceased” has a good connotation in describing for my grandmother who passed away a few years ago.
      (as opposed to “dead”, which sounds more harsh or final)(A connotation is an implied feeling of goodness or badness.)
      .
    2. Any kind of knife is a contraband in a primary school.  Good.
      .
    3. After weighing the bag of rice, the shopper store owner added a handful of rice as a lagniappe.
      (The seller would add the lagniappe.  The shopper would be stealing.  You can’t give away as free what you don’t own.)
      .
    4. The first thing I do when I visit a book shop is to peruse the books in the new arrival section.  Good.
    5. The cat sniffed the food before eating.  Good.

    —–

    Very good.

    Some more examples of “connotation”:

    “Famous” and “infamous” both mean famous, but “famous” has a good connotation and “infamous” has a criminal connotation.

    “Call girl” has a nicer connotation than a “whore” or “prostitute”, even though all of these sell sexual favors for money. Call girls are considered more “high class” than the other two terms.

  6. Suggestions for Blog #5

    These may not be your errors but I am providing my input anyway.  😉

    These were highlighted and saved in my Kindle when I saw found them to be interesting.

    This is the first time that when anybody’s been able to look for extraterrestrial intelligence. You’ve made the detector (?) to look for civilizations on the planets of millions of other stars. 

    Skepticism must be a component of the explorer’s toolkit, or we will lose our way.

    1. Thank you for taking your time to post your suggestions, T. Lee. Your advice is always invaluable for the learners.
      I am just curious why you use “that” in “This is the first time that when …” when the first sentence refers to a time.
      The “detector” the the next sentence refers to the radio satellite array used in Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project. 

  7. Okay, difficult question, Lin, but here is my best guess as to an answer for you:

    1. This is the time when….  (this “time” is referring to time or a moment in time — a season, a time of year, a decision point moment, etc.)
    2. This is the first time that….  (this “time” is referring to an occurrence, event, or instance — a happening)

    Not a great answer but the best I can do right now.

    —–

    Instead of detector, use “satellite dish”.  Sounds better and more accurate.  We don’t normally use detector for a satellite dish.

    1. Thank you for your explanation. Having read your answer, I think the time in the sentence refers to an event and “that” is more appropriate.
      For “detector” usage, I guess the author was just trying to emphasize/dramatize the search and discovery of aliens with the use of more familiar words than “satellite dish/array”. It was a novel after all.

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