Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Birthday To You !

Birthdays are the best and exciting parts, right? Some people just love birthday celebration. But there are also people who like to keep it low. Do you know that different countries have different ways of celebrating birthdays? Below are descriptions about numerous traditions in celebrating birthdays.

India: On the first birthday of a Hindu child, he or she is tonsured. Removal of the hair symbolizes the renewal of the soul. The birthday boy or the girl usually wears new clothes and seek the blessings of their parents and elders by touching their feet. Many even visit a shrine and offer prayers. At school the birthday child wears a colored dress and passes out chocolates to the entire class. Meal may include spicy curry, chutney and rice pudding as the dessert.

China: When a Chinese girl or boy turns one year old, its a special event. A variety of objects and toys such as dolls, coins, books, etc. are placed on the floor around the child. According to ancient beliefs, the object that the child picks up symbolises his pursuit in his life. In China people believe that tigers protect children. Family members bring newborns special food and present them with gifts of clothing or toys decorated with tigers. Clock as a birthday gift is considered unlucky. Noodles are served for lunch. The birthday child pays respect to his or her parents and receives a gift of money. Friends and relatives come over for lunch. 

Korea: In Korea on the 100th day after a child's birth (Paegil), a small feast is held to celebrate the fact that the child has survived the period. The family, relatives and friends celebrate with rice cakes, wine and other delicacies such as red and black bean cakes sweetened with sugar or honey. It is the popular belief that if the rice cakes are shared with 100 people, it will result in the long life of the child. Those receiving rice cakes do not return the empty serving vessels, but with skeins of thread expressing the hope of longevity, and with rice and money symbolizing prosperity. To prevent disaster and to bring the child luck and happiness, red bean cakes are placed at the four compass points within the house. 

Malaysia: The family members and friends gather together to enjoy food during the birthday celebrations. The birthday child is gifted with an "ang-bao" which is a small red packet filled with money. When the teenagers invite their friends to the birthday parties, they may sing together, dance or even play musical instruments.

Egypt: Egyptian birthday parties brim over with song, dance, fun and frolic when a child turns one year old. Flowers and fruit are used to decorate the party as symbols of life and growth.

Germany:  In Germany, a children's birthday celebration is called a Geburtstagsparty. German children are never given any household chores or homework on their birthdays. The house is decorated and a wooden birthday wreath is placed on the dining table. The wreath contains small holes for candles and a holder in the center where the lifecandle is placed. It is a tall and beautifully embellished candle. A member of the family lights the candles at sunrise. The candles are kept burning all day long. The birthdayboy or the girl blows off the candles after dinner that night. The wish of the person comes true if all the candles are blown out at one go.There is however a very curious ritual among the Germans. When men reach the age of 30 and they still don't have a girlfriend that they have to sweep the stairs of the city hall. All there friends will throw rubble on the stairs and when you're finished they'll throw some more rubble there. This way every girl can see that this man reached the age of 30 and still doesn't have a girlfriend.

Canada: Greasing the nose with butter or margarine is a common practice among the Canadians. In Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland) the birthday child is ambushed and their nose is greased for good luck. The idea is that the greased nose makes the child too slippery for bad luck to catch them. This tradition can be traced back to Scottish roots. In Quebec the birthday person receives a punch for each year they are alive and then one extra for good luck.

Brazil: The Brazilian children usually eat fruit and vegetable shaped candies on their birthday. Festive banners and bright colored flowers are used to decorate the house. Brazilians pull on the earlobes of the birthday boy or girl for each year of their birthday. The birthday person also gives the first slice of cake to his/her most special friend or relative, usually mom or dad.

For more information, you can read it here. And lastly, please enjoy this Birthday Song from the Beatles :D

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What is your fear?

What is a phobia?

A phobia is something a person fears to the point that they feel they have to change how they behave. One type of phobia, called specific phobia, can involve fear of an object or a situation that poses little or no danger. Phobias can also involve fear of being embarrassed, looked at, or made fun of in social or work situations. These are called social phobias. With both of these phobias, the fear is extreme and hard to control. Without treatment, phobias can last many years and affect a person's career, relationships, and daily life activities. 

It is important to know that when a person has a specific or social phobia, it is not her or his fault. And, it is not something a person can just "snap out of." 

Specific phobias and the symptoms:
When a person has a specific phobia, they have an intense fear of something that poses little or no real danger. Because there is no or little danger, a person's fear is not based on reality (called irrational fear). Some of the more common specific phobias involve fear of closed-in places, heights, elevators, bridges, water, cats, dogs, and injuries involving blood. And, a specific phobia often makes no sense. For example, you are afraid of chicken but you eat Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Most people with these phobias know that they don't make sense. But, facing their fear, or even thinking about it, can bring on a panic attack or severe anxiety.

Social phobias and the symptoms:
Social phobia involves feeling very self-conscious in everyday social situations. It is more than just being shy or nervous, and can cause extreme anxiety. A person can feel afraid and uncomfortable when around other people. It may be hard to be at work or school, when you have to interact with others. While many people with these phobias know that their fear may be extreme, they are unable to control it. They often worry for days or weeks in advance of a situation they are dreading. This illness most often starts in childhood or the teenage years, and may run in families.

Symptoms include:
  • Intense fear that you will do or say something and embarrass yourself in front of other people.
  • Always being afraid of making a mistake and being watched and judged by other people.
  • Avoiding doing things you want to or speaking to people because you fear being embarrassed.
  • Worrying for days or weeks before you have to meet new people.
  • Blushing, sweating a lot, trembling, nausea, or feeling like you have to throw up before and during an event where you are with new people.
  • Staying away from social situations such as school events and making speeches.
  • Drinking alcohol to make your fears go away.
What should you do if you have a phobia?
If you think you may have symptoms of a specific or social phobia, a visit to your doctor is the best place to start. Your doctor will perform a careful exam to figure out whether your symptoms are really due to this illness, or if you have another anxiety disorder or problem.

Sometimes a person can feel awkward talking to a health care provider about phobias. They may blame themselves, think their condition is not serious, or feel embarrassed. Keep in mind that this illness can be treated. 

The next step your doctor may suggest is a visit with a mental health professional. This includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors. It is best to look for a professional who has special training in cognitive-behavioral and/or behavioral therapy. Keep in mind that when you start taking medicine, it may not start working right away. You need to give your body a few weeks to get used to the medicine. Then, you and your doctor can decide if it's working.

10 well-known people and their phobias

10. George Washington
Taphephobia (Fear of being buried alive)

9. Woody Allen
Panophobia (Fear of pretty much everything)

8. Richard Nixon
Nosocomephobia (Fear of hospitals)

7.Alfred Hitchcock
Ovophobia (Fear of eggs)

6. Sigmund Freud
Fear of weapons and ferns

5. Oprah Winfrey
Fear of gum chewing

4.Natalie Wood

Hydrophobia (Fear of water)

3.Billy Bob Thornton
Several fears (Bright colours, antique furniture, clowns)

2.Nikola Tesla
Fear of gems and jewelry

1. Napoleon Bonaporte
Ailurophobia (Fear of cats)

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health on

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pick the right one !

Do you know that sport shoes have different types of them? Honestly, at first, I didn't know about that. I know, I am so ignorant. The day I knew about it was during my first class of squash. The coach didn't allowed me to wear my sport shoes because it will leave marks on the court. I need to buy a new one, a pair of non-marking shoes. 

There are big differences in the way various sport shoes support your shoes. According to Mike O’Neill, from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, says that serious back, knee and hip pain, Achilles tendinitis, leg pain, traumatised toes and painful blisters are some of the conditions people wearing ill-fitting trainers may face.

Football can put a lot of stress on the feet, especially when playing on hard surfaces. The boots can also put pressure on your feet, and it is not unusual for a footballer to develop corns, calluses or damaged, thickened and ingrown toenails. A good, well-fitting pair of boots is essential and there should not be any signs of pressure on the foot after a game or training session. 

A dancer’s feet can experience a lot of wear and tear. Common foot problems include metatarsalgia which is a painful condition affecting the metatarsal region of the foot, heel pain, shin splints, etc. Pain at the front of the foot is common because many dance movements involve landing on the front of the foot after a jump, and friction blisters can be caused by ill-fitting shoes.

Racquet sports :
It is essential when playing racquet sports, such as tennis,squash or badminton, to choose shoes specifically designed for the purpose. These sports involve a lot of side-to-side movement and running shoes won’t offer the right stability. Racquet-sport shoes are heavier and stiffer than running shoes, as their toes are built for stop-and-go action. 

Running :
Running shoes are great for running, and only running. They are very flexible, allowing the foot to bend and flex through each step, but they are not suitable for sports such as tennis that involve sideways stepping. It is a good idea to get your running shoes properly fitted to suit your foot type. If they are too small they can cause blisters and black toenails. Therefore it is very important to find the right size.

Walking and hiking :Walking is a great way to start a fitness regime, while the more adventurous will be hiking. It is good for your heart and lungs but is a low-impact activity and so comes with less risk of injury. Below are the best advice on the best footwear for walking and hiking:
  • For short walks in urban areas or easy countryside, all you need is a good, comfortable pair of shoes that won’t cause blisters. Use tough shoes that are a good fit, with an arch support, a slightly elevated heel and ‘breathable’ uppers such as leather. Casual shoes or quality trainers with heavy soles will do.
  • If you go walking regularly, you could invest in a pair of proper walking shoes or some lightweight walking boots. These will give your feet and ankles proper support and will be waterproof. For highland walks over difficult terrain, good walking boots are essential.

So that is what sport shoes all about. I can conclude that it is very important to find and pick the right shoes and sizes. Then, with the right shoes, you can do whatever sports or activities that you enjoy and at the same having a fit and healthy body. 

References: (Last viewed on 11th Feb 2011)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dream High

Dreaming is one of the most mysterious and interesting experiences in our life. You can say that dreaming does affect your mood. When you have a good dream, you will feel light and happy through out the day. If you have a bad dream or what we call as nightmare, you will feel a little bit moody, sad, angry, etc. Even sometimes we dream something that make us wonder after that.

So here are some interesting facts about dreams. Check them out (:

1.You forget 90% of your dreams.
Within 5 minutes, half of your dream is forgotten. In 10 minutes, 90%  is gone. We do forget part of our dream and then suddenly remember them all or just part of it.

2. Blind people also dream.
Blind people can dream as well. What they see in their dreams depends on how much they could ever see. If someone has been totally blind since birth, they only have auditory dreams. If they have become blind after their birth, then they will continue to dream about images, shapes and colors before they were blind. And if they are blind at birth, they will dream about the other senses.

3. Animals dream too
Studies show that animals' brains follow the same series of sleeping states as ours do. The animals dreams can be highly complex involving long sequences of replayed waking events. Try watching your pet sleeps sometimes. The paws move like they are running and they make yipping sounds as if they are chasing something in a dream.

4. You cannot be dreaming if you are snoring
Occasional snoring is usually not very serious, but it does prevent dreams. However, the habitual snorer not only disrupts the sleep patterns of those who close to him, he also disturbs his own. Habitual snorers snore whenever they sleep and are often tired after a night of what seems like quality rest.

5. Men and women dream differently
Men and women dream differently, but age, vocation, family structure and other factors seem as important as anatomy in many cases. Men tend to have more men in their dreams and be in conflict or competition with them.  Weapons, tools, cars and roads are common. Women dreams have more people they know in them and more concern with personal appearance. The interactions are more friendly have more references to food and have more female characters in them. Girls are more likely to report longer dreams and recount them with more feeling, using colors to express feelings.

6. Not everyone dreams in colour
12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white colour.  The rest of the number dream in full colour. Most dreams are in color, although people may not be aware of it, either because they have difficulty remembering their dreams or because color is such a natural part of visual experience. People who are very aware of color while awake probably notice color more often in their dreams.

7.  We only dream of what we know
Dreams often express our current concerns and preoccupations. If you are nervous about assignments or exams, you may have nervous dreams on the same topic. If you have a crush on somebody, it is likely that you may dream about them. Other than that,  in our dreams we see real faces of real people that we have seen during our life but may not know or remember. We have all seen hundreds of thousands of faces throughout our lives, so we have an endless supply of characters for our brain to utilize during our dreams.

8. Dreams sometimes can be symbolic
That question doesn't have a definitive answer. Some people would say yes, and we'd have no way of proving them right or wrong. Some dreams may well contain "hidden" meanings in the form of metaphors or symbols, but  lot of dreams are just  taken from the events of our lives. If you are having recurring dreams or nightmares, it's best to contact a therapist experienced in this area. Don't go down the mystical route of trying to analyze yourself by means of a book.

9. Body paralysis
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. REM sleep in adult humans typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, about 90-120 minutes of a night’s sleep.
During REM sleep the body is paralyzed by a mechanism in the brain in order to prevent the movements which occur in the dream from causing the physical body to move. However, it is possible for this mechanism to be triggered before, during, or after normal sleep while the brain awakens.

10. Everybody dreams
Everyone dreams. There is no such thing as "I never dream".  They are wrong. They just cannot recall or remember their dreams. Don't worry too much if this is the case. Not remembering dreams doesn't mean you're abnormal or unnatural in any way. While most people do remember their dreams, the memory is fleeting and occurs mainly when the sleeper first awakens.

Reference: Ken Jones, (Last viewed on 4th February 2011)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai !

Chinese New Year (CNY) is getting nearer in two days more. I bet the Chinese are busy with the preparations. So much things to do, yet so little time. For this upcoming festive, I have prepared some information for you guys to read. Enjoy your reading people ! (:

The CNY is known as the Spring Festival in China because the Chinese consider the spring as the beginning of new year. This season is the perfect time for family reunion and get together. According to legend, the celebration began as a way to drive away the ferocious Nin monster, which regularly arrived at midnight of New Years, demanding a snack and could only be driven off by loud noises and lights like those made by firecrackers.

Chinese New Year Custom:

  • Chinese New Year is a time when evil spirits, ill fortune and bad luck are swept off. Grudges are forgotten, arguments are settled, old things are thrown out, debts are paid off and lots more. The Chinese will buy new clothes (preferably in red colour) and get hair cuts to symbolize a fresh start for the new year.
  • On the streets and in homes they greet one another by clasping and shaking hands and telling each other Happy New Year—Kung hey fat cho (“wishing you prosperity”) in Cantonese or Xin nian hao in Mandarin.
  • They give presents like gift-wrapped baskets of delicacies, flowers or small mandarin orange trees. The trees represents wealth. For your information, red is synonym with the festive and decorations. Red symbolizes life, happiness and good luck.
  • This next part is the most exciting one, which is Hong Bao. Hong Bao are red packets filled with money and given out to bring good fortune and success and ensure that nobody begin the new year short of cash. Usually the kids will received Hong Bao from the relatives.
Chinese New Year Home Custom:
  • Around the house everything has to be cleaned and repaired and all of these must be finished before the festive begins. During the festive, all the brooms must be hidden because the Chinese believe that sweeping at that time will sweep away the good fortune. Other than that, rubbish must be placed outside and no one is allowed to use knives or scissor for the first three days of festive.
  • They will also buy paper lanterns, red-and-gold paper holiday decorations, and good luck scrolls to decorate their homes.
  • The "elders first" rite is the central ritual of the Chinese New Year. Family members kneel and bow on the ground to everyone older than them: first grandparents, then parents, siblings and relatives, even elderly neighbors.
Chinese New Year Dances:

  • This festive are famous with dragon dances and lion dances. Bruce Edward Hall wrote, "The Lion appears, his long, twisting body trailing out behind that huge brilliantly-colored head, both frightening and fantastic with its rolling eyes, his flowing mane, and his snapping jaws ready to consume money offered by store owners eager to have the beast come and frighten those evil spirits away another year."
Chinese New Year Foods:

  • New Year feast foods are often served whole;fish with the head and tail, chicken with their head and feet, and whole oranges, all of which are said to bring good luck. Long noodles, which are said to represent longevity, are served uncut. These days salmon is often served instead of traditional carp as the featured fish dish. Some families eat only vegetarian dishes on the first day of New Year and eat only air-cured products on the second day and not forgetting the famous Moon cakes.
The best thing about festive season is we can reunite back with our family and relatives and spend a good time with them. Nowadays, people are too busy working, studying, etc. So appreciate the joy and happiness.

Happy Chinese New Year in advance ! (:

References: Jeffrey Hays, 2008, (Last viewed on 1st Feb 2011)
Pictures taken from Google Images.


Yes, for this post I am going to write about PMS, which stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. I know some of you will think, "Why on Earth she chose this topic?" But believe me, I have my own reason and I am not trying to create any controversies.We always heard the comment, "Oh she must be PMSing," when a female cries or loses her temper. But do we really know what is PMS, what causes it, how to cure it, etc. Therefore, I want to share some information about it because not all of us especially men know about it.

What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
According to, Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur 1 to 2 weeks before your period starts. The symptoms usually go away after you start bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman. For some people, PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it may be so severe that it makes it hard to even get through the day. PMS goes away when your monthly periods stop, such as when you get pregnant or go through menopause.

What causes PMS?
Changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle seem to be the main cause. These changing hormone levels may affect some women more than others. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved like stress and emotional problems. They don't cause PMS but they make it worse. Other causes are:

  • Low levels of vitamins and minerals
  • Eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause you to retain (keep) fluid
  • Drinking alcohol and caffeine, which may alter your mood and energy level

What are the symptoms of PMS?
Acne, feeling tired, troubled sleeping, upset stomach, bloating, backache or headache, appetite changes or food cravings, joint or muscle pain, tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells and anxiety or depression.

How do I know if I have PMS?
Your doctor may diagnose PMS based on which symptoms you have, when they occur, and how much they affect your life. If you think you have PMS, keep track of which symptoms you have and how severe they are for a few months. Record your symptoms each day on a calendar. Take it with you when you see your doctor to discuss about your PMS.

How common is PMS?
PMS occurs more often in women who:
  • Are between their late 20s and early 40s
  • Have at least 1 child
  • Have a family history of depression

What is the treatment for PMS?
There is no cure for PMS, but eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and taking medicine may help. The doctor may prescribe medicine for you, depending on what your symptoms are and how severe they are.

I think that should be enough for you guys. For the ending I would like to show a video made by Maria Elena. In this video, she is also talking about PMS. Have fun watching the video! (Because I do) Kudos (:

References: (Last viewed on 1st Feb 2011)