December 30, 2011

Happy New Year My Friends

Sunday is a holiday, so my instructions at ELITE has come to an end by today. Tomorrow the Saturday I will be going to Taipei and enjoy the big celebration with my family near Taipei 101. I am hoping that everyone is having a wonderful holiday. And for the upcoming year 2012, all your dreams and plans will come true and get fulfilled. I am looking forward to seeing you again in class. Happy New Year.

Mandarin Issue

I responded to an British friend's question. He asked if using 注音/ Zhu Ying is better than 拼音/ Ping Ying. Here is my answer.
Mandarin speakers from China sound much purer than those from Taiwan. That's for sure. However, Mandarin speakers in Taiwan use Traditional Chinese and some ancient cultures have also been preserved by Taiwanese. Taiwanese didn't go through Cultural Revolution, so they sound "softer" and "less revolutionized" when they speak and write in Mandarin Chinese. But, the downside to their usage in Chinese is that they are not used to rolling their tongues when they make "Zhi" and "Zi" , "Shi" and "Si", or "-eng" and "-en" sounds. These sounds seem very much alike to Taiwanese. Nothing wrong with "Zhu Ying" phonetic system because it does tell you how to pronounce them right. The truth is that most dialects in Southern China don't require people to roll their tongues. Tongue-rolling consider useless and time-wasting.

December 28, 2011

Richard on one-day leave

Richard's class was canceled today, so some of his students turned to my class. That's why my class had better attendance than before. Richard, don't come back! ;)

December 13, 2011

Seediq Bale

If you haven't watched the movie "Seediq Bale" yet, this article may provide more of the information for you. If you have done so, you sure need to read this article to refresh your memory to the movie.

December 04, 2011

Obama pardons the two turkeys

Aruru, a friend of us and who used to be a diligent student at ELITE, posted this video clip for us. In this video clip, you'll see President Obama "pardons" two turkeys, one is call "Peace" and the other one "Liberty". The word "pardon" usually means forgiving someone or something. However, what it means here is not to kill these two turkeys for food on Thanksgiving so that both of their lives will be saved. These two birds should count their lucky stars.

Taiwan in the top ten best in travel

Remember that weeks ago an article posted on the website named "Lonely Planet" revealing the ten best places in the world, which are worth taking a trip to? Taiwan is in the ninth place. I finally found it online and finished reading it through. If you think it's too challenging for you, why not just focus on the Taiwan's part?

November 26, 2011

Bad performance

I think I did a terrible job at the substitute class I was covering earlier tonight. I feel so disappointed with my performance in class. Why I feet it this way is that I didn't do the best I can to help the students learn what they were supposed to learn. I shouldn't have wasted much of the time asking them to do the redundant practices. And what's more, the vocabulary list that I prepared became a distractor rather than a helper.

One more hing to mention here. A student called Linda came to me after the class was over. I thought she was about to complain to me about my lousy performance. Actually she didn't do that but told she pretty much liked my class instead. Was that a compliment or what? I was so confused on hearing that.

To sum up, I think I'd better come up with some better ideas to enhance my ways of teaching for class at this level. In any case, I wish to do better next time.


Thanksgiving? What is it? I don't sense anything like that here in Taiwan, not even a bit of it. Having received many Thanksgiving wishes from friends in the U.S., I feel sorry for my indifference towards this holiday because people don't give it a damn about it here.

November 22, 2011

Talking with Monica

If you haven't taken any of Monica's classes, you should now. Yesterday evening I had a small talk with her in the teacher's lounge along with another American teacher. Frankly speaking, I pretty much enjoyed talking with her. I could sense the strong energy coming out of her, as opposed to the Caucasian teacher, forgive me for not mentioning his name, who didn't have that much energy and confidence in speaking. Talking to her just made me feel like that I was back to the US, chatting with those local native Asian Americans again. Nice!

November 12, 2011

Helpful comments

I just read a student's comments at the website for ELITE's teachers. He/ She provides me with some suggestions about how to improve the quality of my grammar class. I feel so grateful for his/ her comments. I think I will be making some changes tomorrow based on his/ her ideas. Anyway, thank you so much though I don't know who you are.

November 11, 2011

This week

From Monday to Friday, the number of students coming to my classes at ELITE is only 29, which is extremely low attendance. I think the bad weather should the the blame.
A new course of mine will get started next Wednesday in the Science Park. I am getting hyper now. Can't wait to show up in class.

November 10, 2011

Coincidence of numbers

It's commonplace to see school students in Taiwan wear uniforms. Besides, they are required to have their schools' names and ID numbers embroidered on their jackets so that those who take care of the students' behavior, both on and off campus, can easily have the students in check. To certain degree, this may be able to stop some youth crime. Some people may not like it, but I think it's not a bad idea however.

I am not here to make any comments on its good or bad. I just want to tell you a coincidence that I found. My son's ID number shown on his Uniform is 100337. The first three letters "100" represents the ROC year, and the rest meaning that he is the 337th students registered at his school. Interestingly, my ID number back in elementary school is 3337. The first number "3" is short for the 63rd ROC year, equivalent to the year 1974. So... it's time for you to pick a lottery ticket now? 337 sounds good, huh?

November 08, 2011

A dream that may never come true.

I sent an email to my alma mater- asking for any chances to teach English there. Before I furthered my study abroad, I was a junior college student in Taipei. These years I have always been thinking about going back to my old school and helped those juniors with their English problems. I know there is only little chance for me to be employed, but I am still waiting for good news. Dream on, Albert.

November 03, 2011

Bye CQ.

CQ is flying to Australia to work and study there next week. She will follow her senior schoolmate, Chris Huang's step, and I am glad to hear her decision. When I asked her if she had got everything packed and ready to go, she gave me a unclear answer. She only reserved a hotel room for seven days on her arrival in Australia. And for the rest of her life there, she will go with her gut (跟著感覺走). What a brave girl! Maybe this way she can be taking more challenges and experiencing more. All I can say is, CQ, take good care of yourself, and remember to give an update of yourself by leaving lots of messages here, and photos too. I wish you a fabulous trip. Bon Voyage.

October 23, 2011

In dilemma

I am still between a rock and a hard place now. Two choices lie ahead... if I should take a dessert-making lesson or a teaching-Chinese-as-a- second-language course? The former one is just a time-killer, and the latter is a career plan for myself. Both sound important to me at the moment. You might question me about why I want to learn making desserts. My answer is "I don't know", but I just feel like doing it now. Hey, maybe one day I will become another Wu Bao Chun (吳寶春). You never know. Do you have any ideas on this? I would like to hear your views on this.

October 14, 2011

Thanks Chris

Chris showed up when my class came to an end toady at noon. He will be catching a flight to Australia this evening to get his working holiday trip started soon. I can't recall the first time I saw him, but it must be somewhere around more than six months ago. Over the past few months I have definitely seen tremendous improvement the has made on language learning. He is an earnest student to a fault and seems never to stop soaking up new words and phrases. So I hope he can keep the same attitude when he stays in the foreign country. Thanks Chris. I already read your letter and I really thank you for having taken my classes ever. Keep up the good work and BON VOYAGE!

October 06, 2011

Borrowing CDs from me

A new student would like to borrow from me the CDs for a listening course. I didn't feel comfortable while she was asking for them.

For one thing, because I don't know her. It was only her first time showing up in my class. If she were one of those returning students to my class like most of you, I would definitely lend the CDs. For another thing, making copies of the CDs surely violates the publication law, so the school always advises us not to lend CDs to students on any account. What I usually do is I will allow students to "borrow" the CDs home from me and return them to me later on. I don't know what the hell they will do with the CDs as long as they don't let me know.

The girl was a bit too straight and too forward for the first day in my class, so she really annoyed me this time.

October 05, 2011

To Ken and all my friends

Hey friends,

If you have any problems with English, don't hesitate to ask me. I am not Mr. Know-it all, but I will be glad to help you out. While there may be some questions taxing my brain as well, I am still willing to do the best I can to find  answers for you.

Here I would like to honor Ken, who is a very diligent and hard-studying person. Mr. Shiue seems never to stop asking me questions, whose manner of learning a language is very much appreciated by me. Thank you Ken. I know sometimes I disappoints you with my wrong answers to your questions, but I hope you can understand that we all make mistakes from time to time. OK, talk to you guys later.

Best wishes,

Albert Chang

October 01, 2011

To pass my time, I am thinking ...

October is here!! The fourth quarter of 2011 is on its way now. I just wrapped up a class on Friday night, which means that I can now pass my time by doing something fun. Hey ... how about learning how to make desserts? I am thinking if I get to learn to make stuff like this, then I can bring it to any of my classes and reward my students who answer my questions right. No more shit that goes like, "OK, now this is a hard question. I will buy anyone a drink if he or she can get the right answer." What has happened is, no one has ever got a drink from me yet. BECAUSE I AM A LIAR!! So, in any case, this idea sounds perfect to me. Please hold your breath now because I really mean it, guys. I am not kidding. Look forward to my desserts.

September 28, 2011

Time for living more healthily.

Making hand-outs is a never-ending job. I am still working on that right now.. in the middle of night. Learning that my close friend has got cancer, I kinda think about my own health. Is it high time for me to change my nightly schedule now?

September 20, 2011

A card

A female student of mine posted a message on her FB, " I won't ask for more. Just simply sending me a card can touch my heart. See how simple I am."
And here is the message that I followed, " A Visa Gold Card"
I hope she won't get mad at this. :)

September 18, 2011

Want to buy a new cellphone

Jon the American teacher showed me today a couple of websites that I should go check out for buying a new cell phone. I have told him several times that it's time I got rid of my old one. What's happening now is that I want my cell phone to include a lot of useful functions but the price has to be affordable. After talking with him, I felt like these is a saying that goes, "You get what you pay." which is very true. Admittedly, you have to hit your pocket if you wish to buy the hottest cellphone on the market. One thing for sure however: no Korean cellphone will be in my shopping list. I mean it.

September 13, 2011

Teaching with no white boards

What is the best tool of making a presentation online? I have been wondering how I can transform my teaching materials into an online-based structure. Imagine how cool it will be in my class as I turn on the projector and have everyone look at the big screen in the classroom without taking notes on a trite and boring whiteboard. Any advice?

September 11, 2011

For dog keepers

Teaching a dog is just like getting on with people; you need to stay calm and assertive, and of course be dominant if you want to take control. That's what I have learned from a TV program called dog whisper.

September 06, 2011

Being a substitute teacher

I was just done with one substitute class last night-- Grammar for Intermediate Level. Though currently I am not a regular teacher for this kind, I was still pleased to be there. I have got lots of thinking about what I should do to improve my teaching skills next time for this level. Unfortunately last night during the class I was unable to go through all the things in my handouts, but Julie told me that it is normal for a substitute teacher who cannot cover everything before the class wraps up since there is too much stuff in the textbook. On hearing that, I felt much more assured. Things can get better, so I will cross my fingers for myself.

August 23, 2011

Feeling bad now.

I was very disappointed with Taiwan team's lousy performance during LLB 2011 games. They could have done better but unfortunately didn't. This is the worse Chinese Taipei team I have ever seen before. In any case, there is always next year, isn't there?

August 20, 2011

A "Hao Wan" class

Checking out students' comments on me has been my on-line routine. It really makes me feel good seeing good comments, but if I see bad ones it really hurts me bad. However, here is one kind that I find very funny-- someone went like,"好玩,老師很用心." Does that mean my class is fun, easy to play, or what? I swear I've never meant to make my class a "好玩" class. Maybe he/ she just wants to say my class is fun. That really sounds encouraging to me because I always look upon myself as a serious guy. I am thankful to him/ her. No kidding.

August 18, 2011

LLB game, Chinese Taipei vs Mexico

Go Go Chinese Taipei!! My favorite baseball games are coming up again this summer. Taiwan team will get their first game vs. Mexico started tonight in just few more hours, at 1 am tomorrow morning to be exactly. If you are the fan of little league baseball, like I have been for thirty odd years, you mustn't miss it out. Let's cheer for Chinese Taipei!!! ... actually, this team is from Kaohsiung though. Whatever!

August 09, 2011

A lighting bug sighted!!

I was taking a walk this evening at the woodland across from my apartment. A lighting bug appeared just in front of me, floating gracefully in the air of the dark. This last time I saw a lighting bug has to date back to more than thirty five years ago in my hometown in Taipei. Back when there were no big crowds nor high rises and the air and the water in rivers were way much cleaner and purer than it is now. So maybe where I am living now becomes more suitable for lightning bugs, the little creature which is always picky for cleaner environment.

Wang's first game skid

This article comments on Wang's first game against Met after he has made his come-back to the Major league. People still remain a big hope on him. After the second game however, who knows if they are still confident with him any more...

July 28, 2011

Persona Update

It's been a long while since I last post my message here. Yes I have been tied up with a tight schedule these days. During the summer vacation most instructors are supposed to be much busier than usual. Though my life just simply revolves around my classes and family, I still wish for much more free time.

A couple of days ago my family and I drove down to Taichung to meet a friend there. When we were half way to our destination, all of a sudden my car started to tremble and soon it lost its power. I pulled it over to the shoulder thinking about what to do next. Luckily, the car was successfully started again after a few tries. So I hit the road and finally we got to the city and met our friend there. However, while we were touring the city, my car shook a few more times. Without thinking too much, I decided to get my car a check-up in case it broke down again. My friend happened to know a reliable mechanic who could help me with my car problems. Finally, the repair just set me back less than a thousand NT, and at least I didn't have to worry about getting in any trouble on our way back to Hsinchu.

July 10, 2011

Motiveless Learning

There is a girl at one of my classes who never seems to pay enough attention to my instructions. I have noticed since the first day she came to my class that most of the time she looks down at her cellphone, always looking busy fiddling with her phone by pressing the number keys without a stop. I guess she might be thinking that I didn't notice what she was doing, but unfortunately I did. I just feel sorry for her and her parents who must have paid a lot to send her here for language learning. If she does this in my class, she may do the same at others. So why waste time here if she doesn't like the class?

July 03, 2011

Thanks for the comments

Recently, I have got quite a few comments from friends to my classes. What I would like to say is; criticism or praise, that I really appreciate your help. I believe either way matters to me, and most of them will guide me to bettering my skills in helping people learn the language. Please keep on telling me what I should do to improve myself. Thank you so much.

June 26, 2011


Albert: I just felt an earthquake going on!!

Albert's wife: Are you out of your mind? There's no earthquake at all, and you must have got a sunstroke.

Minutes later the breaking news appeared on TV, reporting that an earthquake (Magnitude 1 in Hsinchu City) occurred just minutes ago.

My wife is speechless now.

June 20, 2011

A long way to go

I had a real hard time living here in the first few years as I came back from the US. Now I tried "not" to make comparisons between Taiwan and any other advanced countries because I know Taiwan still has got a long way to go in terms of improving its people's quality and civilization. I feel much relaxed now if I don't expect too much progress to be made here.

Love and Parents

In traditional Chinese, love is written in this way "愛"; however in Mainland Chinese it was simplified to "爱“, which means that the character "心" inside no longer exists. Same thing happens between "親" and "亲", in which the character "見" is removed.

"親不見,愛無心" "Seeing no parents, love with no heart."

Boy, why are people learning simplified Chinese? It is cultural disaster. Whoever invented this simplified way should be burned at the stake.

June 17, 2011

Last Day of School

Today (Friday, June 16) is the last day of school for my son and he will be attending the graduation ceremony next Monday. Six years of elementary school life has finally wrapped up.

June 14, 2011

Staying in a hospital with Maggie

My wife has been sick for a month. I strongly suspect that the flu was passed on to her through my son. In the past three nights, we had gone to the ER of Mackay Memorial Hospital in Hsinchu for twice, but her condition did not get much improved. While she was getting an i.v. in the observation room, I kept her company all night. I took a seat sitting next to her ward bed, chatting with her in the hope of easing her pain a bit. I told her that the last time we stayed in hospital like this was back in 1999 at Kaiser Hospital in Haywad, California, as she was about to give birth of our son. Now Brian will be going to junior high in three months. How time flies! Whew.

June 01, 2011

Live healthily

From now on, please stop having the following diet items and for sure you are going to have a much healthier life than you are: coffee, dairy products, soda, ice desserts, deep-fried food, alcohol. Do the following often: drink less or modest amount of water, eat more vegetables and less meat, more exercises, reduce times of sexual life, no fruit during your menstrual cycle.

May 24, 2011

Busy guy

I have never been as busy as I am now. Monday through Thursday evenings, I have got training courses run at different companies. Other than that, my regular cram school classes need me to show up and teach at different sites during weekday mornings and every Friday evening. I also got to do some teaching jobs the whole day on Sunday. While being home, I need to check tons of students' writing assignments. Whatever stuff I am working at now, they all require very long period of time to prepare for, especially the hand-outs. But thank God, I still can spare a little time now to jot something down here at FB. I am still a blessed guy, I gather.

May 09, 2011


Our fifteen-year-old SONY TV had finally seen better days, so this late afternoon I took it to a recycling center near by. The lady in charge paid me one hundred NT as the amount this heavy guy with twenty-seven-inch screen is supposed to be worth now. It had kept us company for so many years. I first picked it up brand new for six hundred US dollars at "The Good Guys", a famous store for electrical products in San Francisco. When I moved to Fremont, it was still on the list for things that had to go with us. Even when I moved back to Taiwan, I still didn't leave it behind. It had broken a few times these years, but I could always find some help to have it repaired. It was on the fritz again the other day, but this time I made up my mind not to give it an overhaul any more; it was high time it took a long break. Hasta la vista, my friend. This sounds like a belated farewell to you because I forgot to do so as I took off of the recycling center. Gee... I even haven't got you a name yet. Pretty sad now.

May 02, 2011

Getting better in learning

Let me remind all of my dearest friends here: day after day, you are moving on your way toward being more fluent in English. If you find the articles you read have more unknown vocabulary than before, you should be proud of yourselves because you feel like not being satisfied any more with simple stuff only. You are on your way to the pursuit of more real stuff in English, that something makes you really touched other than the feeling of hitting the wall. Trust me, you will get much better from now on as long as you keep reading and listening.

On-line tax return in Taiwan

Tax filing in Taiwan is as easy as 123, compared to the annoying 1040 tax return. No need to get software like Quicken or stuff like that, whereas the government offers you a downloadable program for free. More surprisingly as you open it, you will learn that the most info about you, your spouse, and dependents has been preloaded. It also advises you on which deduction you should go by, either itemized or standardized. After reviewing everything that has been filled in all right, all you need to do next is click the "send" button. The whole thing takes about thirty minutes to get done. That really kicks some ass.

February 28, 2011

Seniors Market

Because of the aging society, there are more and more attention paid to the graying population, which in a way presents unlimited business opportunities.

Making profits in this industry is never difficult. All businesses have to do is come up with some innovative ideas to meet the seniors' demand; in turn they will get new customers and new business opportunities.

In the past few years, the booming seniors market such as health food, health care, telemedicine services, beauty therapy and anti-aging skin care products, senior citizen tour packages, financial investment services for seniors, medical equipment, etc, has led to tremendous profits for businesses, making it stand out from other industries during the economic recession.

February 26, 2011

Grand Tour

Sophia asked me what "Grand Tour" meant. Frankly I really have no idea about it. Here is what I have found on the Internet.

In Google dictionary, it's a visit to the main cities of Europe made by rich young British or American people as part of their education "in the past".

According Wikipedia, the Grand Tour was the traditional travel of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some American and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden, and Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" a byword.

Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised to see modern people use this term to describe their tours undertaken in Europe. I have seen some travel bloggers use it in their blogs.

February 17, 2011

I am better now.

The symptoms of my cold have been eased. Thank you all for your concern, and I also feel sorry for passing my flu over to other people like Paul Chen and whoever. Sorry about that.

February 07, 2011

A snap shot of the buildings in New Taipei City

I took the picture in the vicinity of my parents' home. The high rises in Taipei always amaze me, but I really don't like living in the urban area. Too many cars, too many people, and too many worries. To live a little, stay away from things that will freak you out.

The end of CNY

I have slept the whole day today since I came back from Taipei in the early morning. I really had a blast hanging out with my family. Knowing that the Chinese New Year vocation will end in one more day, I decided to stay put at home today in order to reserve more energy for the days to come.

Dream on (Jan 20, 2011)

On Monday morning, we will be learning an old song called "Dream on". I first heard of this song not from its original singer but from a Taiwanese lead vocal (主唱) Tarry Lin 林志炫. The song is short but very touching. Apparently I found Lin singing way much better than Scott after comparing their performance. Unfortunately I only could find the one sung by Andy Scott on Youtube.

Listen to this song on Youtube:

by the thousands and tens of thousands (Jan 30, 2011)

A friend to my class asked me how to say "成千上萬" in English. I think something like "by the thousands and tens of thousands" can be the proper expression. But I also found that "thousands of something" meaning "數以千計" and "tens of thousands of something" meaning "數以萬計" are even more commonly used in writing. I have hardly seen any sentence written with the phrase "by the thousands and tens of thousands". Just for everyone's reference here.

An excellent place for learning English. (Jan 26, 2011)

I would like to recommend another good website for all my friends- The ESL Pod. Here at this Website users can choose the topics which they want to listen to, and even download the mp3 files to listen to at their leisure. You can also find things like blogs and some other interesting features here. So make the most of it now!!

Check it out now:

Winter break of 2011 (Jan 18, 2011)

The winter break has begun. I can see more and more school students make the most of it by studying a foreign language. Some of them are returning students to their language schools. I am also looking forward to seeing them back in my class.

Together Forever & WhencI fall in love (Jan 17-2011)

We are going to learn two songs this week: Rick Astley's "When I fall in love" and "Together forever". Both songs are the ones of romance. The former "When I fall in love" is a very old song remastered by Rick, and the latter is originally sung by him. These two songs come in very different styles, so I really can't help but introducing the two songs to my students at the same time this week. Please hold your breath before listening to them.

Listen to the two songs on Youtube: