Lessons in the "Lifestyle" Category

Singapore is expats’ top place to live in 2016

For the second year running, Singapore has been voted the top place for expats’ to live and work in 2016. The country topped the list of countries, in HSBC’s ninth annual Expat Explorer survey.

More than 60% of expats earnt more in Singapore, than they did in their own country. Nearly half, felt they were healthier living in Singapore. 84% of expats said the island was safer than their own country. 75% said the level of education was better than their original country. 58% of expats felt Singapore is a good place to start a business.

Switzerland offers the best wages, with annual incomes around US$188,000. In Singapore, the average expat salary is US$139,000. This is significantly higher than the global average of US$97,000.

New Words in Oxford Dictionary

Today, we are going to look at some of the 1,000 or so new words that have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in their September quarterly update for 2016.

Ones to watch out for are ‘moobs’, ‘gender-fluid’ and ‘yolo’. ‘Scrumdiddlyumptious’ and other colourful Roald Dahl words like ‘Oompa Loompa’ and ‘human bean’ are included in the latest edition to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Another of Dahl’s words includes ‘splendiferous’, which means full or abounding in splendour.

‘Moobs’ are a term used for unusually prominent breasts on a man. ‘Gender-fluid’ describes a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender. ‘Yolo’ is the acronym for the term “You only live once”.

Would you buy the iPhone 7 or the Samsung Note 7?

Today, let’s talk about the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Note 7. Both have hit the headlines recently, ironically, for different reasons.

Apple has unveiled the new iPhone 7. It’s a waterproof smartphone, with a longer battery life than its predecessor. It has a faster processor, and improved cameras.

The most talked about feature must be the new wireless headphones. These are an expensive optional extra. They are dubbed AirPods and come with a charging case. Apple has removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, by replacing it with an adaptor to their ‘lightening’ connector.

Orlando shootings

Today, let’s talk about the terrible shootings that took place recently at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. More than 50 innocent people were killed with 53 others wounded.

The terrorist attack was carried out by Omar Mateen. Most of the victims were men in their 20s and 30s. The 29-year-old gunman was killed after taking hostages at the Pulse club. The attack is the worst mass shooting in recent US history.

Omar Mateen was an American who declared allegiance to the Islamic State. He was the son of an immigrant from Afghanistan.

Food scandal in Eastern Europe – lower quality than West Europe

Recently a friend suggested I write an English lesson about inferior food being sold in Central and Eastern Europe. In other words products of lower quality, or the same product - but the contents having lower quality inside the package.

How can this be possible? Believe me it is! I live in Slovakia and I hear this story time and time again from my students and friends.

Many Slovaks like to go to Austria to go shopping. Why? Because food is cheaper, and of better quality.

Anyone shopping in Slovak supermarkets is likely to be sold inferior quality goods, like cheese, washing powder, coffee, milk chocolate, and Coca Cola. In Austria those same products are of a much higher quality.

Countdown to Brexit vote

The referendum vote in the UK on whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union is edging closer. The outcome is still too close to call, as it is still 50/50 as to what the result will be.

Many people in the UK are currently watching on YouTube BREXIT - The Movie’. I did. I wasn’t going to, but I am glad I watched all of it, as it’s an eye opener. The movie, whilst one sided, does show that in politics nothing changes - there is arrogance, people control, and power.

The EU in Europe is currently running its ‘empire’. It functions just like empires did 100 years ago – the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the British Empire. The latter had administrators sent out to places like India and Australia to run the ship. These days it is the likes of the Irish and Swedes working in Luxembourg and Brussels who keep the EU’s cogs working. It is no different.

Should cafes in the UK have toilets in them?

Today, let’s talk about whether cafes in the UK should have toilets in them. Well, should they?

I discovered that this is actually a wonderful topic to debate. Yes, really! After all, we all need to spend a penny.

I was intrigued to read about a recent court case in Hull, England. The court debated whether a bakery with a cafe in should provide toilets or not. The bakery in question is predominantly a takeaway, but does provide some seats for customers. Therefore it argued it should not need to provide a toilet.

The outcome could flush many cafes and takeaways down the pan, as a legal ruling now says that coffee shops and fast food outlets with fewer than 10 seats must now provide toilets for their customers.

The Czech Republic wants to adopt the name Czechia

The Czech Republic in Central Europe has decided to change its official name to Czechia. There are many reasons for this. One is that Czechs are fed up with people always trying to shorten their country’s name to Czecho or Czechland.

The new name will be similar to its neighbour Slovakia – that is also known as the Slovak Republic. Some people might say that Czechia is too similar in name to the Russian Republic of Chechnya.

Czechia is shorter than its former name of Czechoslovakia - before the country split in 1993 into two countries – namely The Czech Republic and Slovakia.

April Fools’ Day

Today, let’s talk about April Fools’ Day. Known also as All Fools’ Day it is celebrated on the morning of the 1st April when practical jokes and hoaxes are played on people. The victims are called April fools! Newspapers are fond of reporting fake stories, which are normally explained the next day.

April Fools’ Day in the UK can be traced back to around 1392 to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale mentions ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’. The passage was meant to mean 32 days after March – 2nd May – but was mistook for 32nd March i.e. 1st April.

21st Century Slavery

It may surprise you but today there are thousands of people around the world stuck in modern day slavery. It is a scandal that many governments are failing to tackle.

You might be thinking slavery was abolished in the 19th century. It was, only today it is once again flourishing. It is a global issue that needs resolving. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently reported that 21 million people, five million of whom are children, are victims of forced labour.