III. MV Shooting (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

III. MV shooting:

For most students, reading is a boring task because all they need to do is just “read.” Therefore, efficient teachers often mix the reading task into interactive activities. In my case, MV shooting is a way out.

To make an impressive music video, students have to fully understand the lyrics and the context of the song. Therefore, not only do they “read” carefully but also “think” logically because they have to arrange the events of their MV. Apart from the verbal part, they also learn non-verbally from facial expressions, body languages like postures or gestures, and so on. The best part of theMV shooting is the FUN.

For students of different levels, the target song can be as easy as a birthday song or as challenging as a piece of rap music. Leave it to your students. Have faith in them.

By the way, movie trailer shooting can be another choice. It works the same as MV shooting.

Self-made MV–Bad day (羽莛/滌華/維妮/昀頡/培瑜/礎安@TCGS)


Self-made MV–The man who can’t be moved (悅芳/珉/佳樺/佩柔/宛儒/郁儒@TCGS)


IV. Singing (TCGS)

Posted: 2014 年 06 月 06 日 in TCGS

From March 25th to May 20th, it was a privilege to teach 40 intelligent students at National Taichung Girls’ Senior High School (TCGS). Ben seized this opportunity to arrange a series of activities which may add some spice to their routine schedule. Specifically, four activities were involved—-alien invasion, lip sync, MV shooting, and singing.

IV. Singing:

Few people hate singing. Even the worst singers can sing a song because singing itself is fun.

Practically, students may have a hard time memorizing reading texts of a book, but they find it much easier to recite lyrics of songs. Therefore, incorporating singing into language learning is an effective strategy, particularly for underachievers. Specifically, teachers can start from easier songs to build their confidence until they are ready for the challenging ones. For advanced students, personally I would love to encourage them to sing faster songs, songs with extensive vocabularies, or even a piece of rap music.

Through singing, students not only learn some new words and repeated grammatical patterns, but also imitate the singer’s way of singing and speaking, which may help themselves to sound more native. Besides, as students listen to the songs, they do listening training unconsciously, too. Most importantly, they have fun because singing is interesting and the learning process is painless.

In my class, I often introduce two songs to advanced students.

1. The Mom Song


2. It wasn’t me (Be careful when introducing this song because of its “mature” lyrics, though the song is great for practicing diverse accents.)


Singing–Where is the love (凱琳/曼欣/沛儀/怡君/芝羽/采倪@TCGS)


Singing–Just a dream (玟瑾/昕儒/之綺/可微/語晴/函@TCGS)

Asia’s animal zodiac: 1. Introduction

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Asia’s Animal Zodiac (The Asia Magazine; January 31, 1982)

Written by Robin Dannhorn; edited by Ben

The Asian zodiac, based on the lunar calendar and a cycle of twelve years, rather than the Western system of twelve monthly signs within each fixed calendar year, presents a rich combination of astrology, folklore, legend, and Oriental mysticism.

No one seems to know how, where or when the Asian zodiac system, using six wild and six domesticated animals, originated. Ancient Chinese ritual carvings of the Shang Period (商朝, 18-12th century B.C.) grouped some of the animals together but the custom of associating the years with specific animals certainly was well established in China by the Tang Dynasty (唐朝, 7-10th century A.D.).

The Chinese always have been fascinated by the relationship between numbers and the secrets of the universe, from the fundamental yin and yang, representing the positive and negative forces in everything. They believe in the four seasons and four directions of the universe; the five elements and five cycles of twelve years which make up the sixty years considered as a man’s normal life span.

The Chinese calendar depends on the moon, rather than the Roman system based on the sun. Under the Chinese system, the sixty-year cycle is created by the interrelationship of the Ten Heavenly Stems and the Twelve Earthly Branches (十天干與十二地支), producing in a complete revolution, the Cycle of Cathay (甲子). Within the complexity of a Chinese horoscope, all these elements must be considered, but the most important single factor is the animal sign of the individual for this lands him, or her, with certain basic characteristics, advantages (and faults) of personality which are taken very seriously indeed in such questions as choosing a marriage or business, partner.

Legend has it that as he lay dying, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to bid them farewell and to leave them final gifts. Twelve animals turned up. In order of arrival at this side, these were the rat, ox (or buffalo), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The Buddha gave them all immortality by naming a year after each of them in the order in which they had arrived. Legend also tells us why certain other animals are not included in the cycle. The cat, for instance, was believed to be too independent, according to one story, preferring to sleep rather than go to the Buddha. However, there are some Asian zodiacs, as in Vietnam, for instance, where the cat is used as a sign in place of the rabbit.

Whatever the origins of the whole arrangement, it is studied with great care and seriousness throughout Asia, but particularly by the Chinese who are, perhaps, more concerned by horoscopes, fortune-telling and the like, than any other people in the world. Any Asian knows the sign for his birth year, its characteristics and the ways in which his main personality features are likely to fit in with the other animal signs. Westerners might scoff at the system, but it is amazing how accurate these traits of character can be for the individual.

The good and bad features of every animal sign can be modified by such factors as the five different elements (五行) under which they were born—metal, wood, water, fire, earth. An earth tiger will, for instance, be quite different to a water tiger, but there are certain basic characteristics which may be identified within each of the twelve signs.

Note that as the lunar calendar usually starts between January 20 and February 29, one has to know the exact date of Chinese New Year for one’s particular birth sign.


Asia’s animal zodiac: 2. Rat & Ox

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Rat People (1924-1936-1948-1960-1972-1984-1996-2008-2020)

People born in a rat year show conflicting characteristics. Outwardly, appearing generous, cheerful and hardworking; inside they can be greedy and unscrupulous. A rat person born at night will tend to be the more adventurous than if born during the day. Rats hate routine and want to succeed at all costs. They are profit conscious and prepared to take advantage of others, especially in business. They also can appear aggressive, small minded or mean and are often grumblers and gossips.

On the good side, they are extremely charming and attractive, hardworking, thrifty and honest. These characteristics cause the rat to be greatly admired by the Chinese. People born under the rat sign are not usually good scholars, but are often creative. They make good writers, critics or consultants. They are generally individualistic rather than organization-minded, although they are socially gregarious. As lovers, they are seductive, sentimental and generous. The rat women like to be married, but can combine this successfully with a career. They are, however, worriers and hoarders and also tend to attract men weaker than themselves.

In marriage, the rat person tends to show both good and bad features more openly than in business. Rats should seek marriage with a dragon, for its strength; an ox, for its security, or a monkey, by whom the rat will be charmed. The independent-minded horse should be avoided at all costs.

Among well-known rat people are Richard Nixon, Marion Brando, Mata Hari, Lucrezia Borgia, Mozart, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Jules Verne and Charlotte Bronte.

Ox or Buffalo People (1925-1937-1949-1961-1973-1985-1997-2009-2021)

The buffalo is the central character in many Asian legends and inspires confidence due to his basic stability and peace-loving sense of industry. Ox people are mentally and physically strong and alert, hardworking, patient and quiet, yet eloquent. They are loners, but tend to make good, reliable leaders or executives. They strive towards material success through hard work rather than brilliance, but they can be creative or good orators. A bad point of ox-people is their tendency to be stubborn, slow, and sometimes mean, jealous or vindictive. They are often lacking in charm and are not passionate. It takes a lot to rouse them, but they can be hot tempered when wild, and are then likely to act foolishly.

In the house, a buffalo man is family and security loving, but authoritarian towards wife and children. Buffalo women are at best in the home, where they are good managers and have a strong sense of duty. They are strong-willed, and usually unromantic and need security around them. In love, the ideal partner for a buffalo person is the charming rat, flashy, but conservative rooster, or the snake. In business, they work well with the ambitious rat, but should keep clear of tigers or dragons. Worst partnerships, whether social or business, are with the superior-minded horse or capricious goat personalities.

Napoleon and Hitler were both ox year people, as were J. S. Bach and actors Charlie Chaplin, Vivien Leigh, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Jane Fonda and Jack Nicholson.


Asia’s animal zodiac: 3. Tiger & rabbit

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Tiger People (1926-1938-1950-1962-1974-1986-1998-2010-2022)

One thing about which you can be sure of in a tiger-year personality is that he has a high opinion of himself! Tigers are magnetic characters, rebels against authority, possessed of great charm and self-assurance. But they are also vain, reckless and selfish.

The tiger holds an honorable and ancient place in Asian folklore. He is regarded as king of beasts, and is often portrayed with power to save man from evil, fire or robbers. He is, therefore, considered lucky, a symbol of power and grander. A tiger talisman was considered potent against almost any ailment.

Tiger women are considered alluring and captivating, not materialistic, but very headstrong. They are felt to be fighters against convention and have a reputation for their many romantic affairs ending unhappily. They do not like to be dependent on others. For these reasons, tiger girls are not considered to be good marriage prospects. The tiger man is capable of deep love and devotion, although his desire for occasional solitude is often not understood. He is an exciting lover but demands total loyalty in return. He thrives on freshness and challenging situations in every aspect of life. In business, he is better off on his own as he is not a “team person” and tends to resist any imposed authority. He can do well in a military career, as an explorer, gangster or inspiring leader. In business, he needs a good helper to back him up with the details as long-term application is not to his taste. He is generally unconcerned with money, but enjoys spending it and is often able to make a lot. In marriage, a tiger person is not generally happy as he is easily bored. His sensitive, happy and warm characteristics have great appeal but his short-temper, selfishness and stubborn vanity work against close, long-term relationships.

He gets on best with the honesty of horse people, the faithfulness of dogs or the strong, prudent dragon. The mischievous monkey, who will tease him, the strong, unromantic buffalo, or cunning snake make bad partners.

Famous tigers include Ho Chi Minh, Eisenhower and de Gaulle, Karl Marx, Zueen Elizabeth II, Marco Polo, Beethoven, Marilyn Monroe and Lola Montez.

Rabbit or Hare People—the Vietnamese substitute the cat for this sign (1927-1939-1951-1963-1975-1987-1999-2011-2023)

The year of the rabbit is generally considered by the Chinese to be a good time to be born. Rabbit people are happy, talented, lucky, affectionate and kind. They love to help others and are tactful and ambitious. On the other hand, they have the reputation for being shy, superficial or over sentimental, conservative and pedantic.

Rabbit men are generally attractive to women, are great mixers and like social situations. They make friends easily, and establish lasting relationships. The husband of this sign treats his wife and children with consideration and likes a quiet life at home. A possible weakness is the rabbit’s love of gambling.

The woman of this year has good taste, is a fine hostess and housekeeper, but may be a gossip. She also may be a show-off and have a tendency to cry easily when upset.

In marriage, the rabbit person needs a considerate partner, such as the artistic goat, cultured pig or honest, protective dog. Less successful would be relationships with another rabbit or dragon. Worst of all, is life with the superficial rat or boastful rooster, both of whom can exacerbate the rabbit type.

Rabbit people usually do well in business due to their astuteness in weighing up all possible factors. They succeed in trade, finance or other dealings but also can shine in politics, diplomacy or philosophy due to their combination of tact, humanity and talent for working things through.

Famous rabbit people include Queen Victoria, Stalin, Castro, Confucius, Eva Peron, Marie Antoinette, Garibaldi, Einstein and Martin Luther King.


Asia’s animal zodiac: 4. Dragon & snake

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Dragon People (1928-1940-1952-1964-1976-1988-2000-2012-2024)

The dragon person is a natural leader, being mentally strong and resourceful. In Chinese mythology, the dragon has great celestial power, and symbolizes life and growth, bringing the “four blessings” of wealth, harmony, virtue and longevity. The dragon person is, therefore, venerated throughout Asia.

Dragon people inspire trust and they like to take charge of every situation. They enjoy good health and are honest, energetic, brave and sincere. They can be intellectual or artistic and combine sentimentality with shrewdness. But they also can be excitable, temperamental, short-tempered, selfish and stubborn.

The dragon person tends to dress well and is romantic at heart, but the same person sometimes can be too candid to keep friends for long. At home, the dragon can be despotic and demanding. Dragon women are energetic and sentimental. They tend to be flirts and like to dominate a relationship. At home, they like everything to be neat, but hate doing housework. They also like bold colors in dress and décor.

In love, dragon people are active above the average, attracting many admirers, but sometimes not giving loyalty in return. This is a good sign for wealth and success in a career, not a diplomat, certainly, but maybe a politician or actor. In business, partnerships with tiger, monkey or pig people are best. The dragon gets on well with the warm-hearted rat, humorous snake, gifted monkey, or even the boastful rooster.

Famous dragon people include Che Guevara, Abraham Lincoln, Freud, Joan of Arc, G. B. Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Salvador Dali, Barbara Cartland, James Cagney and Sarah Bernhardt.

Snake People (1929-1941-1953-1965-1977-1989-2001-2013-2025)

In Chinese legend, the snake is often credited with supernatural powers, sometimes symbolizing death and rebirth. The snake also can be associated with deceit and cunning, especially with women.

Snake people take everything seriously. They are very wise, deep thinkers, intuitive, sympathetic, and good with money. However, they also can be obstinate, vane, selfish and egotistical. When opposed, they can be crafty and vindictive.

Women of the snake sign are often extremely beautiful, passionate and devoted lovers, but they also can be extravagant and fickle. They like to be married, but hate cooking and domesticity. Due to their natural wisdom, snake people tend to make good parents.

The snake man is often handsome, charming and sensual. He is capable of great deception and can be mean, but he is, at the same time, jealous and possessive of his spouse. In love, a snake person is less likely to remain faithful than most other signs.

A successful career is likely for a snake, who relies on his own judgment, which is usually good. He has great determination and is patient on details. In industry, he does better in production than sales or he can be creative, a musician or writer. He also may make a name as a thinker or philosopher. In business, he does best in partnership with horse or dragon. In love, he lives best with faithful ox, lively rooster, or stimulating dragon. He should avoid a tiger, pig or monkey partner.

Among the best known snake people are Mao Tse-tung, Gandhi, Darwin, Picasso, Joseph Conrad, Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco, Julie Christie and Audrey Hepburn.


Asia’s animal zodiac: 5. Horse & goat

Posted: 2014 年 05 月 26 日 in Asia horoscopes

Horse People (1930-1942-1954-1966-1978-1990-2002-2014-2026)

Horse-year people are generally liked for their wisdom, cheerfulness, confidence and eloquence. They can be quick witted, noble and proud as well as skilled with money. On the other hand, they can be selfish, weak, capricious, sometimes too talkative and often showy.

The Chinese consider the horse-year to be a good sign for boys and a disastrous one for girls. Horse-sign men are sociable and gregarious, have sex appeal and are good dressers and talkers. They prefer to give advice rather than to take it, however, and, in the home, can be possessive and selfish.

Horse women have the reputation for being showy and lovers of beautiful things. They may be sentimental but are often romantically unstable. Many Chinese believe horse women to be gossipy, argumentative, willful and stubborn.

In love, horse-year people may be rather weak, giving all and often being let down by other signs who dislike their possessiveness.

In business, things are good for the horse who often succeeds in finance or commerce, especially if he has a dog-year partner. Even better is a career in show business or politics, where the horse person’s natural cunning and persuasive ability with words are assets.

Horse people are generally compatible with tigers, goats or dogs, but should avoid other horses, oxen or rabbit people. Worst of all, is an association with a rat personality.

Among famous horse personalities are Billy Graham, Greta Garbo, N. Khruschev, Rembrandt, Charlemagne, Roosevelt, Pasteur, Issac Newton, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Erica Jong and Paul McCartney.

Goat People (1931-1943-1955-1967-1979-1991-2003-2015-2027)

People born under the sign of the goat have a generally favorable image in the Asian belief. They are placid, if sometimes impractical, dreamers. Frequently gifted in the arts, talented and intelligent, they can be elegant in dress, usually have good taste and are generous, gentle and honest. They are among the wisest of the animal signs, but they also can be shy, pessimistic, inarticulate and dependent on others.

Goat-year men are well-mannered, but can seem vulnerable. Being generally uncompetitive, they are too nice for commerce and can be insecure in high positions. But they can make excellent business partners, as people trust them and they are reliable. It is in the arts that goat people are at their best, acting, or designing, as painters or architects. Some statesmen are found under this sign as they generally have a strong community sense.

Women of goat year are amorous yet virtuous and noted for their lack of punctuality. They like home life and domesticity but are generally not well organized and goat people make warm-hearted, but weak parents. They are usually well liked by friends, to whom they are loyal and consistent.

People of this sign associate well with affectionate rabbit people, lucky pigs or helpful horses, but they are wise to keep away from oxen, dogs, or rat people.

There are many famous goat-year show business personalities—Rudolph Valentino, Laurence Olivier, Douglas Fairbanks, Margot Fontein, Leslie Caron, Mick Jagger, also artists such as Michelangelo and statesmen Mussolini and Clement Attlee.