Category Archives: Informative

Beyond the Accent : Why learning a second language is more difficult than it sounds

This was the first article I wrote for PINOYexpats as part of the theme Buwan Ng Wika. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, but I’m so glad I finally found a copy so I can post it here.

A new immigrant, Lola was gardening when a neighbour greeted her with a jaunty, ‘Good day!’

‘Thank you,’ Lola replied as she fluffed up her hair.

Two weeks after arriving in Sydney, my family was at my school for an interview. ‘How was your flight?’ the principal kindly asked my parents.

‘Oh, we’re living at my sister-in-laws’ house,’ Mum replied.

It turns out that Lola thought the neighbour was admiring the colour of her hair dye, while Mum thought the school principal was asking her about our flat. When these stories are recounted to friends, we discover similar anecdotes around their first contact with colloquial Australian English – or what many people jokingly refer to as ‘Strine.

Language fluency is not just about the ability to remember words or put together grammatically correct sentences. Language is as much a cultural construct as it is a cognitive skill. The ‘English’ we learn back home sounds, feels and evolves differently to the ‘English’ of the Aussies, Kiwis, Poms and Yanks. Continue reading

Pregnant with twins

Secret mother’s business

I’ve previously posted this article, but now it’s up at the Australian Filipina.

‘When are you having kids?’ It’s a refrain that many Filipinas are familiar with. Before the ink dries on your marriage contract, family and friends are already anticipating the most rewarding – and most difficult – time in your life. But having children in Australia today is a different experience to what our mothers and grandmothers went through in the Philippines.

Read this article at the Australian Filipina.

(If you’re wondering, that’s not my picture. It’s been a while since I was preggers.)

This was an article I wrote for the ARRA newsletter last year. A lot of the information is outdated and there are now a lot more devices in the market, so I’m posting it here as an archive rather than at Book Thingo.

A couple of months ago, Amazon finally made the Kindle available to Australia. If you’re a book lover like me, this may not impress you much. After all, it’s hard to imagine life without paperbacks! Most readers are also skeptical about being able to read on an electronic device for long periods of time.

But the Kindle, along with most ebook readers, uses E-Ink technology, which causes less strain for the eyes than a normal computer. It also requires less power, so an ebook reader will last much longer between charges than a laptop. I love the feel of books, but I have to say that I’m impressed with the clarity of eInk. Many devices also allow you to change font sizes, so it’s great for people who have impaired vision.

What makes Kindle’s entry to the Australian market such a big deal is the way it changes the book buying process. The Kindle has two advantages over its rivals. Continue reading

Pregnant with twins

This was a sidebar for the unpublished piece I wrote on childbirth.

There’s no shortage of parenting books and resources available for parents, but here are some of our favourites.

Baby Love is the Australian bible of parenting books. Written by former child health nurse Robin Barker, it’s a practical guide to the first twelve months of your child’s life and covers everything from feeding, sleeping and, yes, even pooping.

If you find yourself fixated on everything that might go wrong during your pregnancy, pick up a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. This book provides answers to almost every question you’ll have about your pregnancy in a balanced and reassuring way. Continue reading

Pregnant with twins

I wrote this article for the Australian Filipina, but it was never published. In a way, this is a kind of apology for being so masungit to my mum when I had my first child.

Pregnant with twins‘When are you having kids?’ It’s a refrain that many Filipinas are familiar with. Before the ink dries on your marriage contract, family and friends are already anticipating the most rewarding, and most difficult, time in your life. But having children in Australia today is a different experience to what our mothers and grandmothers went through in the Philippines. The average family in Australia has fewer than three children, whereas our parents often grew up in large households with enough siblings to form a basketball team—with a reserve bench. Modern medical care provides more options than home-birthing twelve children, as our grandmothers may have done. Here’s a look at some of the differences you—or you daughters—might encounter. Continue reading

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers Association

The first Australian Romance Readers Survey

This article is an analysis of the 2009 reader survey conducted by the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA). I tried to inject a bit of humour, but I’m not sure how well I did.

Proud member of the Australian Romance Readers Association

Source: ARRA

I spend a lot of time online, and most of my romance-reading friendships were made through blogs, Twitter and forums. Over the years, I’ve got the impression that the average romance bookworm reads around 10 books a month and pre-orders the newest releases, collecting hundreds and hundreds of books in their vast libraries or ebook readers. So when I read the results of the Australian Romance Readers Survey that ARRA conducted in September, I was glad to know that I’m closer to average than I thought.

… Almost half of us take up to 2 days to finish a romance novel. Around 10% take 6 or more days to finish. I envy their self-control. Probably so does my husband.

Read this article at the ARRA blog.

This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of the ARRA newsletter.

Filipinas in the blogosphere: top 10 Filipina Blogs

This has been the most time-consuming article I’ve written thus far. I had to compile the list, research the bloggers’ bios, contact them for photos and verify all the links before the article went to print.

If you’ve spent any time at all on the Internet during the past few years, you’ve probably heard of the blogging phenomenon. Whether you’re visiting an online news source or Lindsay Lohan’s website, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon a blog or two along the way.

Blogs evolved from simple online journals on personal websites into political, social and marketing tools incorporating text, pictures, sound and video. Unlike traditional forms of media and journalism, blogs reflect people’s thoughts and opinions. They’re also interactive, allowing readers to comment on what’s been written and bloggers to respond and update their blog entries as needed. Technorati, arguably the most popular blog index on the Internet, estimates that a staggering 175,000 new blogs are created every day. With blogging platforms more accessible and easier to use than ever before, it seems that every woman and her cat has one—yes, even the cat. Continue reading

The power of lambing

This was my first feature article for a print magazine. It went through a few revisions, and I can only be grateful that Michelle Baltazar was (and is) such an understanding editor and mentor.

There’s a reason why Filipinas are so good at grabbing a bargain. And it’s not just the fact that we know where all the factory outlets are. It’s because we harness the power of lambing. Loosely translated, this means expressing physical or verbal endearments to show affection or, in the case of shopping, to get a good deal on that new lounge suite.

The English language has no equivalent word for lambing or karinyo. It can mean tenderness, charm, affection, love, flirtation and even flattery. But these words don’t fully convey the underlying sense of building and nurturing relationships that forms a big part of what lambing is all about. Continue reading

Easy going Sydney

This piece appeared in a compilation article for a travel-themed issue of PINOYexpats.

Sydney offers modern city attractions as well as quaint delights amid glorious sunshine during the warmer months. While the Opera House, the Centrepoint Tower and the magnificent harbour are well described in tourist guides, there is no shortage of unique experiences available to intrepid visitors.

Renowned for its spectacular harbour, you can spend an entire day at Circular Quay absorbing the sun, eating a picnic lunch as you watch the antics of street performers. On a tight budget, an all-day ferry pass takes you to various beachside suburbs where you can enjoy ice cream on a hot December day or hire roller blades and explore the beachside. If you can splurge, try a showboat cruise for dinner. For families, free entertainment can often be found at Darling Harbour—you might even catch some fireworks! Continue reading

Sydney on sale

When my family first arrived in Sydney, even 20c lollies seemed like a rip off. ‘What? That’s almost four pesos. Ang mahal naman!’ the adults would exclaim as they marched around the grocery with a calculator, feverishly converting dollar prices into pesos. It took years for us to stop thinking in pesos and refrain from the mental gymnastics required to do exchange rate calculations in a blink of an eye. No wonder so many migrant children do well in Maths.

It’s been a long time since I went shopping with Mum and her calculator, but I still feel a twinge of alarm when I buy any item of clothing over $50. With my mortgage and child, sometimes even the credit card company is alarmed. Continue reading