Saturday, February 27, 2010

10 Advantages of Credit Cards

Credit Payment 3

Do you know that your ecredit cards are wonderful tools to save money, track your spending and you can enjoy many benefits. Here are the advantages:

  1. Track your spending: Every month when you receive your statements, you should look at them as tools to track your spending because every single item that you have charged to the cards is listed. Study your spending pattern, trim unnecessary expenses and allocate a budget for the future.

  1. Interest-free credit: Everything that you have charged to your cards in the current month is on credit and you only need to pay for them in the following month. Practically you are given credit or incur a debt without paying interest for one month. Buy now and pay later is the name of the game  

  1. Safer than cash: You don’t have to carry a large sum of money, which is risky, to go for shopping. Just carry your credit cards with you. If you are robbed, just report the loss of your cards promptly to avoid personal liability.

  1. Discount and redemption points: The wonderful benefits of paying by cards instead of cash are that you can either pay less (cash back card) or you can accumulate points for every dollar that you charge to your cards to redeem for goods of your choice (rewards card). 

  1. Establish your credit worthiness: Using your credit cards and pay your monthly bills promptly is an effective way to establish your credit worthiness. When you use and keep a card long enough, say one year, you can easily apply and obtain more cards from other financial institutions.

  1. Zero interest installment plan: You can’t purchase a big-ticket item with cash and arrange to pay by installment without paying interest. You can only do it with your credit cards and spread the installment payments up to 36 months.

  1. Online purchases: It is only possible by using your credit cards to do purchases as well as hotel bookings and car rental.

  1. Emergency fund: When you run short of cash and you need the money urgently, use one of your credit cards to get a cash advance quickly and easily.

  1. Travel coverage: When you charge the full fare of your airline tickets to your credit card, you get free travel insurance, lost baggage and baggage delay insurance and also reimbursement to cover immediate necessities for flight delay and missed connection. 

  1. Extended warranty: When you make a purchase with a credit card that offers free extended warranty, you are covered with one additional year of warranty when the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Credit cards are your good companion provided that you use them wisely. Pay the amount due promptly, fully and spend within your means.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Brain fitness – 15 Healthy Habits

Brain fitness – 15 Healthy Habits

Your brain is like the CPU of your PC, the more powerful your CPU, the better is the functionality of your PC. Here are the beneficial habits to adopt so that your brain can perform at its peak:

1. Chew your food slowly: According to an expert in Japan when you chew your food, you increase the blood circulation in your brain and excite the brain’s activities.

2. Go under the sun: A Taiwanese doctor suggests that when you are under the sun you stimulate the growth of brain cells like the growth of your hair. The latest study, conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that people were almost three times as likely to have impaired cognition after gloomy weather compared to those in sunny climes.

3. Eat your breakfast: After sleeping for a night your blood sugar is at its lowest level. Take breakfast to restore the blood sugar level to allow your brain to function effectively.

4. Safety belt and crash helmet: To avoid damage to your brain, wear your seatbelt when you are driving and when you are riding a motorcycle wear your crash helmet.

5. Drink more water: 85% of your brain weight consists of  water. Insufficient intake of water disrupts the thinking process.

6. Try new things: Do something new every day to excite your short-term memory.

7. Brisk walking: When you are active physically every day your brain will be more alert and function better.

8. Deep breathing: Deep breathing calms your mind so that you can think clearly.

9. Watch less TV: You don’t use your brain when you watch TV. Researchers in Australian have found out that those with better memory watch less than one hour of TV every day.

10. Avoid processed food: Eating too much processed food upsets brain chemistry. Your brain needs real food – fruits, vegetables nuts, fish and eggs.

11. Give up smoking: Scientists report that smoking damages and shrinks the brain

12. Avoid polluted environment: A study carried out in Germany on women who had lived at the same address for at least 20 years found those near busy roads were more likely to show signs of mild cognitive impairment, early memory problems that may lead to dementia.

13. Sleep and rest: Our brain is like a piece of machine. It cannot function continuously. Lack of sleep will accelerate the permanent death of brain cells. Taking breaks from time to time is necessary to rest your brain and clear its clutter.

14. Think: This is what your brain is meant for. The more you use it the better it is. Don’t allow your brain to shrink without stimulating thoughts

15. Conversation: Strike an interesting and intellectual conversation with someone often to make your brain function efficiently.

Your brain is like you car, it is meant to be driven and not to be kept at home, use it regularly to maintain your mental sharpness and. nourish your brain for peak performance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Job Satisfaction

Charles M. Schwab was paid one million dollars a year to run the Carnegie Steel company. He said,” I would say being able to maintain a high level of satisfaction in the work force was perhaps the main reason for my having that job.”

Job satisfaction derives mainly from the work that you do. It has nothing to do with the money that you earn, the recognition and the promotion you receive. They are only by-products. You are happy with your work because of:

• Interesting and stimulating work
• Being recognized for doing a job well
• An opportunity to learn
• A feeling of personal achievement

The other thing is that satisfaction is the key to motivation and a satisfied worker is a motivated worker. In this respect a carrot is a better motivator than a stick. What are the things that an employer can do to motivate a worker?

• Interesting work
• Pay a fair wage
• Good promotion opportunities
• Supportive supervisor
• Friendly coworkers
• Conducive and safe working environment
• Opportunities to use one’s talents and to be creative

How can you create job satisfaction? Here are some suggestions:

• Look for ways to demonstrate your skills and talents. This will lead to more challenging work and greater responsibilities
• Develop communication and people skills
• Continuous learning to know more about your job so that you can work effectively and efficiently
• Being creative and proactive
• Appreciate your work and your contributions
• Avoid burnout and learn to relax.

A satisfied worker is more likely to be creative, flexible, innovative, loyal and more productive. He or she is also an enthusiastic and happy worker.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

7 Effective Ways to Love

Love makes the world go round. Besides telling someone “I love you”, you can express your care and concern in many ways.

Compliment and congratulate: Complimenting her attractive dress and telling her that the dishes are yummy are some of the ways to delight her. When your friend gets promoted, send him a congratulatory message. Look for opportunities to say something nice to someone every day.

Help: Help your children in their homework. Talk to them about living skills not taught at school. Help them to develop a daily habit of physical exercise. When you are a writer help others develop their writing skills. Offering help is a way to show your feeling of love

Forgive: To forgive is a way to express your love. It is good for your soul because you fill your heart with love instead of anger and hatred.

Respect: When you respect someone it means you don’t’ look down on him or her. You are interested to get connected and find out more about the other person.

Kind: Kindness is giving and it means you are interested in the other person. He or she may not be related to you, but deep inside your heart you just want to do something. You find happiness and fulfillment in kindness

Faithful: Being truthful and loyal to your partner is the sincerest form of love. There is no transgression. There is no need to ask for forgiveness and you go to bed every night with a peaceful mind.

Listen: Listen with your heart. Look for the other person’s body language. Know the feelings and mood of the person who is talking to you. Find out what you can do for him or her and act promptly.

Love can be expressed in more than just words. You can display your love in many ways to show your affections. Life is more meaningful when you fill the world with love.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Effective Communication

Image result for effective communications images

Communication is not just about talking. It is a two-way traffic involving expressing yourself and listening to others. It is a dialogue and not a monologue. However communication is more than just verbal exchange of words but in written form as well. Even if you are silent your facial expression and body language are able to reveal your feelings vividly. The point is to express yourself clearly and precisely and listen carefully to understand others fully

Verbal communication


• Speak slowly
• Say loud enough to be heard
• Express Clearly
• Be precise
• Use short and simple sentences
• Go straight to the point without beating around the bush
• Repeat complicated or highly technical ideas
• Get feedback on the spot to confirm listeners understand your message


• Be attentive, there is a difference between hearing and listening
• Maintain eye contact
• Repeat the speaker’s words to make sure you understand the message fully
• Listen patiently
• Active listening by nodding your head or gesture your speaker to continue
• Display an appropriate posture and an approachable stance such as arms relaxed at your sides. Arms crossed and shoulders hunched suggest disinterest in conversation or unwillingness to communicate.

Written communication


• Know the purpose of writing and write what you want to say
• Use the right format such as an email, a memo, a formal letter or a report.
• Write the way you talk
• Using simple words in short paragraphs
• Write just enough to put the message across
• Use bullet points
• Edit, proofread and check spelling
• Follow up


• Read carefully to understand fully before taking action
• Seek clarification whenever necessary
• Respond promptly as requested

Success in communication means speak or write to be understood and listen or read to understand.

Monday, February 22, 2010

8 Easy Writing Tips

writing tips

Writing and posting an article a day is a challenge for me. Ideas on certain days can come like a flowing stream. On other days my mind is like a drying lake in the desert. Here are my ways that I come up with inspiration for my daily task:

Write at the same time at the same place: Morning is the best time for me to write. I am an early riser. My mind is fresh and I am full of energy. The habit will somehow tune my mind to come out with writing ideas.

Preparation: In the evening I will do research for the next article. The title of a book or an article on the Internet will generate writing ideas. Looking at a subject with a different perspective and adding a new twist to a story are some of the ways to deliver a new article. Sometimes a title in itself will strike my mind to produce a completely different post.

Daily reading: This is important. There is no way that you can write in isolation. You have to learn from better writers and feed your mind with new ideas from extensive reading. Reading newspapers, magazines and articles on the Net in Chinese and English are essential routines for me.

Refer my old articles: Looking at my old articles and pick one article to add, revise or expand upon.

Check my most popular posts: How can I come with a new article with the same topic? I will develop new ideas along this line.

Identify newspaper headlines: What is the latest hot story of the day? I refer the headline and come up with an article relating to my niche . Such a subject will definitely drive traffic to your blog. Strike while the iron is hot.

Ideas from nowhere: You get ideas when you are doing something else. I get ideas when I am doing my Tai Chi in the morning. I get ideas while I am walking to my office. You may get your best ideas when you wake up in the morning.

Just write: This is the last resort. I have no idea at all and it is also time to write. I just write what is coming out from my mind and scribble. As you go along you can discover an idea for a new post

This article was written in the morning and the idea occurred while I was on my way to my office. What are the other ideas that you have got that you can share with us?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Credit Cards to Monitor Your Spending in 7 Steps

Your credit cards are wonderful tools to track, monitor and control your spending.
Here is how you can do it:

1. You only need to use two credit cards, say, Visa and MasterCard

2. Use one of them, say Visa , for standing orders with card issuer to charge telephone bills, electricity and insurance premiums

3. Use another card, MasterCard, for charging the following expenses when you go shopping:

• groceries
• clothing
• other household items
• children’s expenses such as books and stationery
• entertainment
• other expenses incurred irregularly such as medical or dental expenses
• holiday
• petrol

4. Review the charges for the first card (Visa) by looking closely at the monthly statements to see major changes especially your utility bills. Look for power wastage and reduce consumption. Cut down unnecessary telephone calls and then allocate a budget for this card. You should also use this card for the purchase of big-ticket items by taking advantage of the zero interest installment plan. The amount to spend on this card is quite fixed.

5. Look at the monthly statements of MasterCard to study the spending pattern in total amount from month to month. It gives you an overview of your monthly expenditures in these areas. After that you check the amount you spent for each item, namely, groceries, clothing, other household items, children’s expenses and others, Identify areas where you can trim expenses and allocate an amount for this card and spend as budgeted.

6. By checking the statements of the two cards you can monitor and control your monthly spending. You will be able to spot excesses in your spending against your budget and be alerted to act accordingly.

7. The last thing is to look into your cash expenses. You should also allocate an amount as your pocket money to cover other expenses that you cannot pay by credit cards. Such expenses should include tuition fees for the children and their monthly allowances.

Using your credit cards to track, monitor and control your expenses is a breeze.

Friday, February 19, 2010

12 C’s in Human Relationships

Rural Self Portrait
Do you know the 12 C’s of people skills? Apply all of them so that you can be popular and get what you want in life easily through others.

Courtesy: Courtesy is a way of life. You do not just treat strangers with respect but you are also courteous to your wife and children. Your boss may be a friendly person but you still need to be respectful. Courtesy is a kind of human lubricants

Compliment and congratulations: Identify a person’s achievements and praise him. Telling him or her how much you admire their accomplishment. There is a difference between compliment and flattery. Compliment is a genuine appreciation of another person while flattery is insincere. Be ready to send a congratulatory message upon someone‘s promotion or launching of a new business.

Caution and control: You may be kind but you have to be on the alert. There are unscrupulous people who will take advantage of your soft spot to cheat you. Know when to say no without offending people. You need to control and balance your limited time to avoid undue stress.

Cooperation and collaboration: You can be successful by working alone. However you can achieve more by synergizing. Be willing to cooperate and collaborate with others and utilize their strengths to complement your effort

Communication: Effective communication means you are able to express yourself clearly and fully and you are also able to understand others fully and precisely.

Compromise: Are you willing to give and take so that in the end you can reach an agreement and both parties are happy?

Conciliation: Are you able to calm down the other person so that discussion can be continued and ended successfully?

Captivation: Do you dress smartly? Is your approach friendly? Does your body language tell other that you are sincere? Wear a smile and be interested in others.

Consultation: Discuss with other people and seek their view before making a decision.

Connection: Be connected with the right people and get in touch with them from time to time. Don’t go to them only when you need help.

Constructive criticism: Are you able to tell the truth to address a problem and not to attack an individual? Your impartial output will earn the respect of others.

Care and concern: Are you empathetic? Can you think from their point of view? Listen mindfully and show your interest in what they are telling you and be ready to serve.

Appreciate the power of the 12 C’s and apply them to your advantage.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Factors that Affect Your Decision Making

Factors that Affect Your Decision Making

Every day you make decisions from a small one like which dress to wear for the day to a big one like buying a house. Decisions affect your life tremendously. When you wear an appropriate dress you impress others and when you chose the right location for your house you make a good investment. Your decision making is influenced by the following factors:

1. Your mood: What is your mood? Your mood decides your emotion and your emotion affects your decision. When you are not in a good mood you will turn down your daughter’s request to take part in her school’s extra activities.

2. Physical condition: Are you under stress? Do you have a clear mind? Don’t make any important decisions until you have cleared your clutter in your mind and you are fully rested.

3. Available information: You may not decide wisely when pertinent information is not available or limited. It is necessary to investigate fully before a big decision like choosing a car or buying a house.

4. Consultation: Do you seek the view of expert or getting a second opinion when a life-or-death decision has to be taken? To operate or not to operate? Consult and decide sensibly.

5. Support of family members: Are your family supportive of your decision? When your car is 15 years old and it is constantly giving you problems, I am sure all family members will agree to get a new one wholeheartedly.

6. Consideration: Take into account your present and your likely position in the future before arriving at a decision. Some of the things to consider are:

Need or want: You decide to purchase a big-ticket item. Is it a need or a want? Your car is five years old and in tip-top condition and you want to change to a newer model. Is it a wise decision?

Financial constraint: How does the decision impact you financially? Can you afford it? Our means are limited and we cannot satisfy all our desires.

What is your mood now? Are you in a position to make a critical decision?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Positive Emotions to Bring You Success at the Workplace

According to Salovey and Mayer emotional intelligence is the “ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”

What can you do to harness the power of positive emotions? Just remember that successful people attribute their success to emotional and social abilities more than IQ.
The other point to remember is that you decide your own emotions and you can replace your negative emotions with positive ones. Here are the things that you can do at the workplace to propel you to greater height:

·        Appreciation: Do you appreciate your talents and your capabilities? Are you being appreciated for what you have done for the company? Appreciation is a powerful motivating force at work. Appreciate yourself and be appreciated. By the same token show appreciation and gratitude to others for what they have done for you.

·        Enthusiasm: When you wake up in the morning, what is your thought? Is it another working day and I have to go to work or I look forward to another new day to achieve more at work?  When you are enthusiastic and full of energy you attract the attention of others.

·        Confidence: Feel and act confidently. Sit upright with your chest out, walk fast and look ahead. Be sure of yourself and you are ready to face everyday challenges.

·        Respect: It is just plain human relationships. Respect others and people will respect and like you. However there are people who feel that they are more superior and they look down on others. They will have a hard time to get things done through others.   

·        Happiness: This is the greatest asset that you can have at work. Happiness will generate many other positive emotions. A feeling of well-being, peace and calm will prevail at work.

·        Honesty: This is a golden rule at work. When you are dishonest, you betray the trust of others in you but you betray yourself as well. Can you be happy without a clear conscience?

·        Inquisitiveness or the curiosity to know more: Nothing excites you? Be thirsty for new ideas and new knowledge. Adopt a learning attitude. Enrich your life to learn and know more. The more you know the more efficient and effective you are at work.

·        Likeable: When you are friendly and you always wear a smile, you are approachable. Communication cannot take place if people refuse to talk to you because they always find you in a foul mood.   

·        Perseverance: This, again, has to do with your thinking. Do you see light at the end of the tunnel or do you want to give up because you think there is no future at all? 

·        Creative problem solving attitude: This has nothing to do with your intelligence. It is your attitude in the face of problems. Are you willing to face them squarely and think of ways to overcome them or just pass the buck to someone else?

·        Know the right time to act: As a good example, study the mood of your boss and pick the right time to speak to him or her and ask for a raise. When his or her mood is positive the chances of getting a good pay increment is enhanced.

Positive emotions will bring out the best in you and negative emotions will short charge your capabilities. Emotions determine your mood and your mood decides your choice and your choice decides your action and your action decides your success.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reductil , Toxins and Weight Management

As reported in the New Straits Times, anti-obesity drug Reductil has recently been recommended for suspension in Europe. It is mentioned that 11.4% of those who took it had heart attack or stroke. In Malaysia, there have been a total of 35 adverse drug reports for Sibutramine, the active ingredient in Reductil, to date.

Sibutramine is approved for the treatment of patients who are obese, have no previous history of cardiovascular disease and have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise.

The fact is that most overweight people with excess fat are also suffering from heart disease and diabetes. How do these diseases come about?


According to Rudy Silvia a natural nutritionist, when you body is toxic, toxins hide and embed themselves in your body fat. This causes your cells and organs to become sluggish and lose efficiently. The fatter you are the more toxins you can store. When the elimination channels (the colon, the kidney, the skin, the lungs and the lymphatic system) can no longer push toxins out of your body; they themselves start to get clogged. Toxins together with other body debris combine to form layer upon layer of material that causes narrowing of elimination tracts. In the end fatal diseases develop. Toxins come from the food you eat and the air you breathe.

When you start to lose weight, this causes fat to be used up in your cells as energy and causes toxins to be released into your blood stream. If you lose weight too fast, you will have excess toxins released into your blood and this creates a variety of unhealthy symptoms and conditions. For this reason you need to lose weight slowly.

Weight Management

Stevie Tan, a weight loss coach, who is running   the LeanFator programme, says that the key thing is to make sure you eat and drink only fresh unprocessed natural food like fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, chicken and beef and not canned and process meant products. According to him eating too much fried food will cause the body to produce extra fat to store the toxin. The other thing is that eating less and skipping meals are a sure way of putting on extra weight. When you restrict your diet your body will start to burn your “stored glucose” called glycogen and fatty acids in your liver and kidney. Once depleted, your body will start to burn your muscle for fuel called ketones, which makes your body acidic and cause you to feel foggy and lethargic. If you keep on skipping meals and eating less you will condition your body to use less fuel and once you start eating normally, you will add on more weight simply because the excess calories will be stored as body fat.  

Lose your body fat the healthy way through sport and diet. Cardiovascular exercises like walking and jogging or other fun physical activities help your metabolism become faster and the faster it is, the easier it is for your body to burn fat.

Monday, February 15, 2010

14 Tips to Simplify Your Life

A simple life is a stress-free life. To simplify your life means to do only a few things that are important to you and offer you the greatest rewards and satisfaction. Here are some suggestions to do less and achieve more in life

1. Do just one thing that is important to you: Having too many goals will stretch your energy and make your life stressful. Just concentrate on one thing so that you are able to focus and do well.

2. A balanced life is a simple life without problems: Do remember to take care of the following things in life:

Health- Having a balanced diet and doing daily exercise will avoid health problems and complications later.

Work: Take breaks and be mindful at work You will do more in less time

Family: Spend time with children and spouse regularly to avoid stress and martial problems at home.

Relationships: Be in constant touch with people that matter to you. Don’t just go to them only when you need to. Like a bank account you need to deposit before you can withdraw.

Personal money: Follow a budget and don’t over spend.

3. Avoid clutter at home and in the office: A clutter-free home or office means getting rid of all unwanted items. Fewer things mean a clean and tidy environment to live with.

4. Make time to do what you like: When you have simplified you life you can do what you like with the available time. I make Sunday free so that I can enjoy a siesta in the afternoon

5. Automate: Use your credit cards to handle all your recurring payments like utility bills and insurance premiums every month. Life is easier without having to issue so many cheques and go to many places to make payments

6. Live within your means: Don’t keep up with the Joneses; you will avoid financial stress to buy unnecessary items and charge to your credit cards. Sooner or later you will accumulate debts beyond your means to pay and be a bankrupt. Life will get complicated then

7. Delegate routine tasks in the office: It is the best way to simplify your life at work. You get more time for yourself and you motivate another staff by giving him or her additional assignments.

8. Ignore minor issues and do less: Find out the things that you have been doing every now and then and find out how you can do away with some of the tasks without affecting your life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is not worth your effort and time.

9. Read less and watch less TV: Avoid reading too many newspapers and taking too much time to watch TV. Most of the time you are bombarded with bad news which affect you negatively and zap your energy.

10. Good habits: Adopting good habits mean doing things smoothly and avoid emergency at the last minute to do what you need to do. It also means that there is a place for everything so that you can look for it at the same place. Keys are such a good example. It is my habit to check my car every Sunday morning. I do a few simple checks like tire pressures, water levels, engine oil and fan belts. When you know the pressure of one tire is exceptional low, you will know that there is something wrong with it. Early detection will avoid a fatal accident later,

11. Do less online but more productive and meaningful: Blogging is a part-time activity for me. I have now do away with posting on social networking sites and social bookmarking sites and I just write and post an article a day and pass comments on other blogs when time permits. Traffic to my site is not affected adversely. Life for me is less stressful.

12. Live near where you work: It will cut down traveling time and avoid traffic jam.You gain more time at work and get home earlier to be with your family.

13. A daily to-do list: It helps simplify your life and without cluttering your mind. Carry the list in you pocket and look at it from time to time. When things get done you get daily satisfaction out of it.

14. Be an early riser: You can do wonders when you are an early riser. You have time to do exercise and enjoy a leisurely breakfast- the most important meal in a day. There is no need to rush about and there is no building up of stress in the morning

A simple life is a delightful and happy life. Do only what you need to do on a consistent basis to avoid stress and problems in life.

Related post:

Simplify Your Life with Credit Cards - 5 Delightful Tips

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting out of Credit Card debt

It is easy to get into credit card debt. All you need to do is to charge and purchase what you want in life and then pay for the minimum amount at the end of the month when you receive the statement. Very soon, the outstanding amount plus interest will be accumulated to such an extent that it is beyond your means to pay. Getting out of debt is a different. ball game. You need a two-prong approach. You have to break your habit of spending indiscriminately and pay off your debt faithfully by using a consolidated loan or a balance transfer.

Break your habit: You have to stop your impulsive buying habit or you have to keep the credit cards at home. You need will-power and determination to spend only on what your need and within your budget. You can’t pay off your credit card debt and at the some time continue with your usual spending pattern. ”Here is a simple but profound truth. You cannot get out of debt by borrowing more money,” says Jerrold Mundis.

A consolidated loan: This is a loan that your get from a financial institution at an interest rate which is very much lower than your credit card. With this loan you pay off all your outstanding credit card debt and start repay the bank regularly until the full amount is settled. You will be able to pay off the debt much sooner as it is the only liability and the interest is very much lower. You can also transfer all of your credit card debt to a new credit card with a six-month 0% interest to pay off the outstanding amount in monthly installments. So you just need to focus on one credit card debt.

Control your spending and settle the outstanding amount faithfully and before long you will be out of debt. The most important thing is to stay out of debt.

Related post:
4 Tips to Stay Out of Debt"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tai Chi, Glucosmine, Calcium and Knee Pain

Tai Chi
Image source:

Tai Chi

A recent study suggests that practicing Tai Chi may not only reduce osteoarthritis pain, but improve joint functions as well.

Researchers from the Tufts University School of Medicine carried out a study on 40 people with knee osteoarthritis who had an average age of 65. Half were randomly placed in hour-long twice-weekly Tai Chi classes for three months. Participants were also asked to practice Tai Chi for at least 20 minutes a day at home.

The other 20 participants acted as the control group took part in full-body stretching exercise and were encouraged to stretch for 20 minutes a day at home

According to a Los Angeles Times report, those in the Tai Chi group saw a substantial drop in knee pain compared to the control group after three months. The Tai Chi group also saw more improvements in function, depression and health status.

There are more benefits of practicing Tai Chi on a regular basis. You can

• Improve blood circulation
• Reduce stress
• Enhance muscle coordination and flexibility
• Promote calmness and serenity
• Achieve fitness and relaxation because it is a form of meditation in motion
• Improve your mood and well-being
• Reduce heart rate and blood pressure and increase lung capacity

The best time to do it is in the early morning. Everything is quiet. The graceful and continuous movement will develop peace and calmness in you. When you do it mindfully you are in tune with nature. It is such a beneficial thing to do to start a new day calmly and peacefully.

Glucosmine and calcium

The other suggestion to promote healthy bones and joints is to include the following supplements in your diet:

• Glucosamine
• Calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium citrate or calcium lactate
• Vitamin D to help absorption of calcium.

According to a report in the newspaper the latest calcium products derived from wild yam which is also suitable for vegetarian. There is no side effect and you do not need to consume vitamin D to assist absorption.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

10 Things to avoid on the First Day of Chinese New Year

Chinese lantern
Chinese New Year is on February 14, 2010 this year. For the Chinese, New Year means a new and auspicious beginning. To make it smooth sailing throughout the year there are certain things to avoid like getting married in the first month of the New Year. The marriage will not last. Here are the things to avoid on the first day of Chinese New Year:

1. Avoid sweeping the floor and disposing off garbage: There is an old saying that there is money luck at home and that you should sweep from the outside to the inside of the house to avoid outflow of your wealth. You should also avoid throwing off garbage at night. If it is so important in other days in a year, it is even more so not to sweep with a broom on the first day of Chinese New Year. If you do you will sweep away your prosperity.

2. Avoid slaughtering: In the morning avoid killing of animals such as chickens and ducks. Knife is used to slaughter and it is associated with bad omen. It brings bad luck to the people at home. This is not a problem because you can buy from the supermarket chickens and ducks pre-slaughtered and ready to be cooked.

3. Avoid eating porridge: In the old days in China rich people eat “dry” rice while poor people eat porridge. However, for the first day of Chinese New Year, it does not matter how poor you are you must eat “dry” rice, hoping that you will be able to eat ‘dry’ rice throughout the year. There is another folklore saying that if you eat porridge you will be caught in the falling rain and be soaking wet.

4. Avoid taking medicine: It is not an auspicious thing that you have to take medication on the first day of Chinese New Year. When you must, wrap your medicine in a red packet.

5. Don’t take nap in the afternoon: According to tradition you get rich by working hard. For the start of a new year you should be prepared to work hard and not taking a nap in the afternoon.

6. Don’t reprimand the children: When you reprimand your children it means that they are not behaving well. It signifies that there is no peace at home and your children are mischievous throughout the year.

7. Avoid breaking of china and glassware: When you break something especially cups, plates and spoons on the first day of Chinese New Year, it means it will “break” the people, the family or your money luck. If it does happen wrap the pieces in red paper and throw it away after the fifth day of Chinese New Year.

8. Avoid quarrelling and fighting: On the first day of Chinese New Year we wish for auspicious omen, so you do not quarrel or start a fight. If there is an argument it means it will not be a smooth year for the family and business. It is even worse when you start a fight with someone. It means there will be bloodshed and jail term in the year.

9. Avoid giving money: Apart from the giving of Ang Pow, the first day of Chinese New Year is not a time to pay debt, give out loan or give as a gift ( give red packet instead). It signifies outflow of wealth and poverty

10. Avoid crying and sobbing: Your house is usually fill with happiness and laughter and if there is crying and sobbing going on the house, it is not going to be a good sign. It signifies that it is a difficult year for the family members or disaster will befall.

The truth is that when you have all along taken care of the family and getting along well with others, there is nothing to worry about. Doing household chore with care will avoid breakage of items.

Wish you happiness throughout the year of the Tiger.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Avatar in 3-D and your Dream World

I have seen Avatar in 3-D recently. To me it is just a movie. However, for some people it is an escape from the real world to a place of their dream. Actually you can conceive and create an ideal world of your own. Here are the ways to shape your world:

Positive emotions: What is your mood now? How do you feel? Are you happy, excited, and full of hope and expectations? Your world is decided by your mood and your emotions. Generate positive emotions to create a world of contentment and satisfaction.

Energy: Are you feeling down and listless? Feel the energy within you on a daily basis. Wake up in the morning and look forward to a new day with excitement. One effective way to energize yourself is to be physically active every day.

Pandora in the real world: In Malaysia you can go to Cameron Highlands or Fraser’s Hill. These are places like Pandora. Go there and embrace nature from time to time to escape from the concrete jungle. Enjoy the cool air, catch the butterflies, watch the animals in action and feel and touch the rushing streams and waterfalls. You can also visit China ( where there is s scenic spot resembles the floating mountains as depicted in the movie

Peace and calm: Go to a quiet place do nothing and think of nothing, just listen to the surrounding, and enjoy a peaceful moment. Indulge in calmness peace and tranquility.

Visualize your dreams – Imagine and visualize your world and see it in your mind’s eyes. Focus your attention to develop and realize your dreams.

You can make this place a better place to live by changing the world. For those things that you cannot change; just change yourself. Make the best out of what you have and be happy and contented with the situation. Our world is more than 3-D without wearing the special glasses. We can connect and communicate. Can you get in touch with Na'vi people?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Malaysia’s Government Transformation Programme and Blogging

 Datuk Seri Najib Razak

As reported in The New Straits Times on January 29, 2010, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has just revealed the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). In a nutshell it is about:

Corruption: Nine initiatives to regain public trust.

Crime: Police officers, from the rank of inspectors and above, to take in walkabout. This will be considered in their performance appraisals

Education: The ranking of all 10,000 primary and secondary schools to be published beginning this year.

Transport: Rakyat (the people) can expect efficient and comfortable public transport this year.

Rural Basic infrastructure: RM18 billion over the next three years to improve the livelihood of the rural community

Poverty: Government to eradicate hardcore poverty and reduce poverty rate form 3.6 per cent to 2.8 per cent this year.

I feel that the same thing can be applied to how we manage our own site just like how a country is to be managed and transformed: Here are my thoughts:

Corruption: A blog owner cannot offer bribes to induce readers to visit his or her site. The effectiveness is just short-lived. The most important thing is still the content. Can the readers trust your site? It is all determined by what you have written and offered to the readers.

Crime: It is like committing a crime not to write original and unique articles. A crime is against the law. Not offering readers what are unique and original posts is amounting to a crime. Writing quality articles may be a challenge, but quality can be improved over time by writing more and more articles.

Education: The quality of your site is reflected in your Alexa Traffic Rank and your PageRank. The number of followers you have is also a factor of your blog’s popularity. Blogging is a level playing fields. Only the best will be at the top.

Transport: Most of the time readers search your site using Google or Bing. Apply search engine optimization by using the right keywords in your articles is important to allow readers to access your site easily. You also need to go to where the readers are to invite them to visit your sites. Such places are social networking sites and social bookmarking sites. Posting your articles at article directories sites such as Ezinearticles is also important to reach out to readers

Infrastructure: How is the setup of your blog? Is it easy for the readers to navigate and look for things easily at your site? A simple layout will make the readers stay longer at your site.

Improvement in the quality of life: When you are talking about self-improvement, are your articles able to motivate the readers to change their lives for the better. If you are offering money making ideas, are the readers able to improve their financial position by applying your methods?

The success of managing a site or running a government is determined by the readers or its people. The more you can do for the readers or the people the more support you will get. Your approval rating will also go up.

Monday, February 8, 2010

World Cancer Day

The most common cancers worldwide
The campaign slogan for this year’s World Cancer Day on February 4, 2010 is “Cancer can be prevented too.”

The World Health Organization has warned that without urgent action, global cancer deaths will dramatically increase from 7.6 million this year to 17 million by 2030. Each year, more than 12 million people were diagnosed with cancer. In Peninsular Malaysia nearly 70,000 new cases were reported between 2003 and 2005. According to WHO at least 30 per cent of all cancers could have been prevented through simple measures such as adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, no tobacco use and protection against cancer-causing agents.

No tobacco use: Smoking causes 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.

A healthy diet and regular exercise: There is consistent evidence that taking regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. High fibre intake (27g a day) is associated with 20 percent lower risk of bowel cancer, whereas red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer, and a high intake of salt and salt-preserved foods increases the risk of stomach cancer. Evidence indicates that being overweight or obese (body mass index above 25) increases the risk of developing cancers of the womb, kidney, oesophagus, stomach, colon, breast (in post-menopausal women), prostate, gall bladder and pancreas. Excessive exposure to the sun or artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation such as sunbeds increases the risk of skin cancer.

Limited alcohol use: Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box, breast, bowel and liver.

Protection against cancer-causing infections: Close to 22 per cent of cancer deaths in developing countries and six per cent in industrialized countries are caused by chronic infections such as Hepatitis B or C viruses (which cause caner of the liver), human papillomavirus (which causes cervical cancer) and helicobacter pylori bacteria (which increases the risk of stomach caner)

About one third of the cancer burden could be decreased if cases were detected and treated early. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to protect yourself from cancer

Extracted from the New Straits Times (February 3, 2010)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

4 Tips to Stay Out of Debt

You are a young graduate and you have landed on your first job with a decent pay. You have also acquired your first credit card. You are on top of the world. Wait, before you spend your hard-earned money consider the following points to avoid getting into debt:

1. Spend within your budget: Curb your temptation to spend on what your want. You have worked out your monthly income and expenses including setting aside an amount to save. You know how much is left for you to spend discretionary. Keep to the limit

2. Credit card: Use your card like your cash. For each amount you charge to your card you have to put aside the same amount to meet payment when you receive the statement. Don’t think that you can pay the minimum amount. Further spending plus the interest charged will snowball the amount beyond your means to pay. Bankruptcy is the outcome.

3. Your credit worthiness: Establish and protect your credit worthiness by paying your credit card statements promptly and fully to demonstrate an impeccable credit status. It helps when later in life when you apply for other loans.

4. Zero interest installment plan: You may think that it is a great idea when credit card issuer offers you up to 36 months to purchase big-ticket items without interest. You still have to factor the monthly installments into your monthly spending. If it is out of your budget, don’t sign for the item.

Live within your means and stay out of debt, it is much more difficult to be in debt and get out of it. According to Thomas Jefferson, " Never spend your money before you have it."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Take Breaks at Work

It may be a boost to productivity in the short term to work non-stop and without taking breaks. In the long run it is counterproductive. Here are the reasons to take regular breaks at work:

1. Follow the rhythm of your body: Your body is designed to alternate work and rest. Just like an engine it will break down if it is functioning non-stop.

2. Get away from you work station: Get away from your office to have your lunch break and afternoon tea break. These breaks are essential to fight fatigue, stress, exhaustion and regain your energy and concentration.

3. Clear clutter in your mind: You may not get the answer when you continue to find a solution to a problem. However, after a short break you are able to get the answer quickly.

4. Creativity: Ideas may not occur while you are at your desk. When you take a short break to talk to other staff or walk about you get a surge of inspiration.

5. End the day with a happy note: Taking breaks means more productive and more effective at work. At the end of a day you are satisfied with your performance without the stress.

Work smart by taking short breaks to get more done in less time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Carbohydrates and Wholegrains


One of our energy sources is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose which is used for energy by our brain and muscles. Carbohydrates come in two forms: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can be found in fruit (fructose) and table sugar (sucrose). Complex carbohydrates are present in most grain products.


The Health Promotion Board of Singapore has recently revised its consumption guideline for wholegrains for adult Singaporeans. It now recommends a daily intake of two to three servings of wholegrain foods or 50g of wholegrains. One serving of wholegrain is equal to a bowl of cooked brown rice or two slices of wholemeal bread or two chapatis made from wholewheat flour.

Wholegrain products include:

Brown rice
Wholemeal bread
Brown rice beehoon and wholemeal pasta
Oats and wholegrain breakfast cereals
Wholewheat biscuits
Wholegrain corn (pop corn)

What are the health benefits of whole-grains?

• Lower the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart problems, diabetes and cancer
• Reduce and control weight issues
• Soluble fibre found in oats helps reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.
• Reduce digestive disorders and help prevent constipation
• Reduce the risk of stroke
• Boost immunity
• Maintain bone health

Anatomy of a grain

Wholegrains possess all three parts of the grain: the fibre-rich outer layer known as the bran; the central starchy part known as the endosperm; and the nutrient-packed inner area known as the germ.

The bran is rich in fibre, B vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. The germ is packed with vitamin E, B vitamins, polyunsaturated fats, trace minerals and phytochemcials while the endosperm contains mainly carbohydrate and protein.

Wholegrains contain more fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) than refined grains. When wholegrains are refined or undergone a milling process, the bran and germ are removed, reducing the grain’s nutritional value.

Extracted from Wholegrain Goodness, The Straits Times (November 12, 2009)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Growing Old in Good Health

Growing old does not mean that you will live in ill health. Take our former Prime Minister as a good example, he is already 85 but he is healthy and active mentally and physically even after undergone two heart bypass surgeries. It is only when you are not using your brain and your limbs that you are courting health problems.

To have a quality and healthy lifestyle you need the right nutrition and exercise to avoid common health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, cataracts, stroke, urinary incontinence and osteoporosis. When you live in isolation and do not interact with others you may develop Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

You have a chronological and biological age. You celebrate your birthday with your chronological age but your biological age is a different story. You may be 60 but biologically your body is that of an 80-year-old because you do not eat well and do not do exercise. When you are active physically and follow a balanced diet you could be that of a very much younger person biologically.

As a senior citizen what can you do to remain healthy for many more years to come?
Here are some of the things that you can do:

• A good night’s sleep
• Stay connected
• Keep a pet at home
• Drink green tea
• Do exercise daily
• Be active mentally – continuous learning
• Spiritual connection
• A balanced diet
• Learn to meditate – aim for calmness and serenity
• Forgive and do not hold grudges
• Be happy – enjoy what you have
• Live in the present – do no regret about the past or worry about the future.
• Self-love – good health is your own responsibility
• Be financially independent
• Find peace of mind and contentment at home

You can enjoy a good life when you take good care of yourself physically, mentally with proper nutrition.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

5 Gifts for Your Child

There are five valuable gifts that you can give to your child and the usefulness of the gifts will last him or her a lifetime. Here are the five gifts:

1. First gift – Cultivate a disciplined lifestyle: Inculcate a healthy habit of early to bed and early to rise. Be hygienic and follow a routine of regular exercise. Avoid junk food. Complete it on the same day as and when the homework is given by the teachers. The earlier the habits are formed the better it is for your child in the long run.

2. Second gift – A love for books: Help you child to form the habit of regular reading. A quest for knowledge will develop in him or her a capability of imagination and creativity. This is a fast moving world. What you have learnt now could be obsolete in three to five years. The only way to catch up is to adopt a habit of continuous learning. Set a good example by reading at home instead of watching TV. Don’t expect your child to develop a reading habit when you are glued to the TV set all night long.

3. Third gift – Learn to lead and to be led: Encourage your child to mix with children of different age groups. Allow him a chance to lead and to be led so that he can learn how to get along with others and be connected. To lead and to be led mean learning how to express and listen. The future of your child is about relationships and connections. When you are in different groups you play different roles. In a younger group you are the leader and in an older group you are an order taker.

4. Fourth gift – An appreciation of nature: Nowadays our children have lost touch with nature. They are occupied with homework and tuition indoor and when they are free they are glued to the monitor surfing the net and playing computer games. To develop a healthy and fit body, get your child to be outside more often to discover the wonders of nature. It is also beneficial to breathe in fresh air and play under the sun in order to release stress

5. Fifth gift - Parent’s love: The most precious gift that a child can have is the tender loving care of his or her parents. It ensures a healthy growth in your child psychologically. He or she feels that they are wanted and cared for and they feel safe and warm at home.

These are the best gifts that you can give to your child

Monday, February 1, 2010

5 Things the Teacher Wants Your Daddy and Mummy to Do

Helping the teachers at school is helping your child to attend classes every day smoothly and successfully. What does the teacher expect you to do? Here are the five things:

1. Respect the teacher: How do you show respect to the teacher? Send your child to school on time, duly sign and return documents as requested by the teacher and make sure that they are in the school bag. Notify the teacher early when your child cannot attend school on a particular day. When you come face to face with the teacher say hello and talk to the teacher mindfully. You are only talking to the teacher, who attends to your child for many hours in a day, just for a few seconds.

2. Appreciate the hard work of the teacher: Show your appreciation to the teacher from time to time especially when your child is making progress at school. A word of thanks will motivate the teacher and make him or her happy in their work. A teacher‘s job is about passion and patience. Your kind gesture will make the teacher more patient to the students and love them.

3. Communicate with the teacher more often: Allow the teacher to understand your child’s family background. As an example, it is the responsibility for the parents to inform their teacher about certain abnormal behavior of your child. Providing more information for the teacher means that the teacher is able to understand your child better. Talk to the teacher, say, about your child progress in singing or piano lessons. It is to allow him or her to manage your child more effectively. Meet the teacher or chat over the phone to get connected

4. Have trust in the teacher and be cool-headed always: Teachers respect parents who are able to listen attentively to their suggestions, especially when there is bad news to convey. You do not know what your child has done at school. If the teacher speaks to you about his or her misbehavior, do not be emotional or try to tell the teacher that you know better about your own child or demand to see the headmaster for the matter. Do not take a hostile stand against the teacher. The teacher is trying to communicate and make you understand the situation. Be patient and listen to his or her views first and then you speak your mind. In this way it tells the teacher that you respect him or her and you are willing to consider their stand.

5. Participate actively in your children’s school activities: According to research when you wholeheartedly take part in the school activities of your child he or she is less likely to be undisciplined. It is a sign that you support the school and it is a motivation for the teachers. How do you involve in your child education? First and foremost ensure the completion of daily homework by your child. Encourage your child to enroll in extra curricular activities of the school. Join PTA and attend meetings to communicate and understand the school system.

Some simple things to do but they mean a lot to the teachers at school. Facilitate the teachers to allow your child to learn happily at school.
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