How many times have I seen construction sites or trucks marked with this logo and thought it said ‘sandwich’? I guess when riding the bus, sometimes I’m a bit ‘blur’. Or hungry.
How not to like a car racing movie with Tom Cruise in it?
Speed Racer is the Wachowski siblings’ perhaps underrated, largely unsuccessful adaptation of an anime/manga story about a boy named Speed Racer who dreams of being a professional race car driver like his disgraced, deceased older brother Rex. The racing world eats dreamers for breakfast, though, so Speed’s success requires every ounce of determination he has, as well as help from his mom, his dad, his girlfriend Trixie, his best friend Sparky, his little brother Spritle, a chimpanzee—and a mysterious ally known as Racer X.
For me, this movie is a fantastic dramatization of the passion of the expert and the pursuit and achievement of justice in the face of staggering odds. I love it. I love it for reasons that are more like feelings than they are like reasons. I don’t think I can properly explain.
Beware spoilers below.
We bought this collection of objects (tray and wooden fruit) on our trip to Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.
It occurred to me that each fruit looks like some other object.
The one on the left, which would look like a star in cross-section, is a starfruit. It’s the most familiar of this batch to a North American.
The one that looks like a grenade is a durian. Those are famous for being stinky and prickly.
The scaly fig is a snake fruit (aka Salak). I ate one off a tree while hiking through the woods. It was sticky.
The one at the top is, I think, a rose apple (water apple), and looks like a nose in cross section. This one, however, looks very pear-like and has what look like leaves or a flower at the bottom, which is not typical in my experience. It might also be a pomegranate (delima); that would explain the structure at the bottom but not the pear shape.
The one that looks like a soccer ball is… actually I don’t know. Maybe a sugar apple (custard apple, srikaya)?
We figure we probably overpaid because the guy running the shop gave us the pear-looking-thing for free. I think he also wrote a lower selling price on the receipt and pocketed the difference.
Nevertheless, we love these strange wooden objects. They’re well made, and the detail on the snake fruit, in particular, is amazing.
I’ve been collecting observations of my own about the features of English here in Singapore, but others have published books on the subject (some more serious than others).
I have these four books. They are all a bit silly.
- English as it is Broken
Panpac (2007) ISBN: 9789812730497
- English as it is Broken 2
Panpac (2008) ISBN: 9789812802859
- The Coxford Singlish Dictionary
Angsana (2009) ISBN: 9789814193689
- An Essential Guide to Singlish
Samantha Hanna (2003) ISBN: 9789810467081
I would like to have some books written more for linguistic purposes than for mere entertainment.
- Singapore English: Structure, Variation, and Usage
by Jakob R. E. Leimgruber (2013) ISBN: 9781107027305
- Singapore English: A Grammatical Description
edited by Lisa Lim (2004) ISBN: 9781588115768
- English in Singapore: Modernity and Management (Asian Englishes Today)
edited by Lisa Lim (2010) ISBN: 9789888028436
This street-racing movie was set in Germany and had a European flavor.
There are four main characters:
- the female owner of a family garage,
- her boyfriend, who’s a street racer and in law enforcement,
- an American pizza delivery boy who wants to race,
- the wife of a rich German who wants him to teach her to race.
The primary source of tension (there are several) comes from the struggle to keep the nearly bankrupt family garage open.
What sticks in my mind most is a negative. After some kid loses a street race, one of the henchmen of the crime boss cuts his hand off. Yuck!
Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time is an odd mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and Christian self-improvement pitched at young readers and published in 1952. Some aspects of the story lend themselves well to cinematic depiction, but unfortunately the climax is hard to dramatize. That didn’t stop Disney from trying. Although it’s not a great movie (it was made for television, not theaters), I’m glad it exists. I’ve now watched it twice. Yes, that’s a VHS tape.
See below for more thoughts on this adaptation. Beware SPOILERS.
Chinese does not have ‘grammar’ the way European languages do because words are not inflected. There are no plurals, noun cases or past tense. All the memorization of declensions you have to do when you study, say, Germanic, Slavic and Romance languages—that kind of stuff is absent from Chinese entirely (though you would of course be foolish to conclude that Chinese is therefore easy). So how are the relationships between words indicated? Context, adverbs and particles.
Let’s look at verb tense (specifically past tense) and aspect (specifically completed aspect) in Singlish as influenced by Chinese.
Why Johnny Can’t Read is a rant, but the rant is justified if the ‘whole-word’ method was as dominant as the author, Rudolf Flesch, claims.
How infuriating that someone assumed, and led a whole country to assume, that because adult readers take in whole words in a glimpse when reading that that was how reading should be taught to children, rather than by sounding out the letters and letter combinations.
Flesch proposes that parents teach their kids at home using a phonetic system very much like the one I’m teaching now.
Why? Because in Singapore, there are no yards.*
There aren’t any sticks measuring 36″, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about that area around your house where there’s grass and plants and trees. Maybe you have a fence, a driveway, a mailbox at the end of the driveway, and a doghouse or a swing set or a vegetable garden in the back behind the patio where you keep your grill.
Nope. Not in Singapore you don’t. Nobody has a yard here.
Nobody grills on his own grill in his own backyard; nobody owns a swing set; nobody’s dog has half an acre to run around in; nobody rakes leaves from the yard in the autumn; nobody’s mailbox sits on a stick among some rocks and plants; nobody’s teenage son gets paid to mow the grass with the lawnmower in the garage.
There’s no autumn, and the mailboxes are all little metal bins built into the wall in sets of ten or twenty in the lobby, and you park your cars— where else?—in the car park (assuming you can afford a car in the first place). In Singapore, you have to bid to buy the right to buy a car because the island has quotas on how many of each size vehicle there are.
Edit: On the other hand, maybe not having a yard is a good thing!
*This is an exaggeration. But to understand how rare ‘landed properties’ are, read about good-class bungalows.