Dear Ms. Angela

During this holiday season, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your business support over the last few years.

Since we have been working for such a long time, we look forward to continuing our cooperation in the future.

May the seasin's joy fill you all year around.

Best regards,

John

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"No good" means totally sucky.
"Not good" means simply "not good" but not necessarily "really bad."

Example:

He is no good = He is trouble, a bad guy, someone who causes problems.

I wouldn't use the second one without more, as in:
1. He is not good at showing his emotions.
2. He is not good at parallel parking.
3.
He is not good at managing his time.

The only time I could imagine using it is something like "She plays the piano so well. She is so good. He... well, he is not good. But he tries hard." Even then, the meaning is "He is not good at playing the piano."

 

Ref. usingenglish.com

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In Romance 17 February 2011 | By Leif Pettersen, Lonely Planet

 

Travelling as a couple can present unique challenges (and advantages) on top of the exhilaration and standard stress that accompanies long-term travel. Will it make or break the relationship? What happens when one person wants to go to the Full Moon Party and the other wants to do the jungle trek?

Like solo travellers, couples have various travel planning doubts and logistics to negotiate. But there are also a few, singular pre-trip myths that couples must confront. For example, Adam and Megan Seper, who spent a year on the road, visiting 11 countries and writing their World Travel for Couples blog (www.worldtravelforcouples.com), thought "that we'd kill each other".

"Most of our friends and family had that concern," said Adam. "They really thought spending 24 hours a day together for a year would do us in, but we were totally fine."

Former corporate consultants Ryan and Jen Fuller (www.consultingrehab.com), rather than hopping continents, spent six enviable months travelling and living in Argentina and Chile. The biggest myth they busted, they said, was that it is hard to quit your job and travel. "So many people focus only on the challenges and risks associated with it. Turns out, it is actually quite easy. You just quit and go." And the primary source of stress? "The biggest stresses we had were things like 'which cafe should we go to today?' and 'malbec or syrah?'"

In most areas, travelling as a couple has notable advantages, the biggest often being budget. In many destinations a double room is the same price or only slightly more expensive than a single. You can also share dishes, as the Fullers often did while exploring the extravagantly meaty Argentinean food.

Then there are the intangible advantages. "Honestly, my wife and I just really love to hang out," Adam Seper reports. "And when on a long-term trip, you do a lot of hanging out, on buses and trains, in hostels and parks, in restaurants and bars."

The Sepers also routinely employed the "divide and conquer" approach to their travels, where they could split duties, allowing the person with, say, organisational strength to handle planning itineraries and booking rooms (Adam) and the person with bargaining skills to haggle over tuk-tuk fares or purchases at the market (Megan).

"Get ready to find out the worst of your partner," say Two Backpackers (www.twobackpackers.com) aka the soon-to-be-married Jason Castellani and Aracely Santos), who travelled Central and South America for 11 months, posting travel videos along the way. "Will they whimper when sore, complain when challenged or blame you in despair?" They also note that any lingering privacy you might have had around your partner will be gone.

"The primary advantage travelling as a couple is that you are with someone that connects with home," Two Backpackers adds. "It makes you less homesick during long-term travels."

Like the Sepers, Two Backpackers also worked as a conditioned team while travelling, sometimes playing bad cop, good cop. "This can help when negotiating a cab fare or tour. One continues to walk away disgusted by the offer, while the other begs the service person to come down on the price or offer more. Don't feel bad about negotiations, tourists are usually being overcharged."

Jason and Aracely's last bit of advice for couples is to embrace the freedoms. "When people travel they are much more likely to experiment - hence travel tattoos and hallucination stories."

© 2010 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Long-term travel as a couple: Should you do it?’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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Taipei secondary school student Lai Wei-li swayed awkwardly while trying to make music with a Saisiyat tribal instrument of dangling bamboo tubes strapped to her back.

"It's really cool and interesting. It's harder than it looks. I have to control my footsteps, sway my body back and forth, and co-ordinate with others," said Lai, while playing the "tapangsan".

Half Han-Chinese and half indigenous, it is not often that Lai gets to experience indigenous culture.

She can't speak the language of her tribe - the Paiwan. Her mother never learned it, and her maternal grandparents who can, live in a rural area and she only sees them twice a year.

This is the state of indigenous languages in Taiwan.

The island is considered by many anthropologists to be the source of Austronesian languages; all but one of the four primary branches are found here.

It is believed that Austronesians migrated from mainland Asia and Taiwan to South East Asia, the Pacific islands, East Timor and Madagascar thousands of years ago.

But of the world's estimated 300 million Austronesians - including New Zealand's Maori and Hawaii's Polynesians - few can speak their language, and many languages now face extinction.

Culture eroded

In Taiwan, only about 35% of the 500,000 Austronesian indigenous people can speak their tribal language, said Chang Shin-liang, head of the language and culture department of the government's Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Boy pounding millet flour to make mochi Activities at the summer camp are designed to make learning fun

"We're facing a dangerous situation for indigenous languages. Seven out of 14 indigenous languages here are listed by Unesco as critically endangered," said Mr Chang.

"Many people in their 40s and 50s can't speak their mother-tongue, so they can't teach it to the younger generation. The younger people also think 'I'm fine if I can speak Mandarin and English; learning indigenous languages doesn't help me increase my competitiveness'."

The decline of the languages of the island's more than 14 tribes did not happen by accident.

The first large wave of Han Chinese to Taiwan, which started in the 17th Century, consisted of mostly men. They inter-married with indigenous people, with the Chinese culture becoming dominant.

Previous governments' oppressive policies also had destructive effects.

Under Japanese occupation (1895-1945), Taiwanese people were forced to learn and speak Japanese.

The Kuomintang party, which took power in 1945, was responsible for years of harsh suppression of native Taiwanese languages and dialects.

The Kuomintang was trying to promote Mandarin as the national language to consolidate its power, in the face of resistance over its sudden takeover of the island after it lost a civil war to China's Communist party.

"The Japanese and Kuomintang governments' combined 100-year policy of forbidding us from speaking our languages did a lot of damage. It affected three generations," said Mr Chang.

Harsh punishment

Like others of his generation, Lin Yu-cheng, 57, whose Atayal tribal name is Bon, was severely punished under Kuomintang rule when teachers caught him speaking his native language in school.

Lai Wei-li

“Start Quote

I hope to become fluent one day - our culture needs to be passed to future generations”

 

End Quote Lai Wei-li Summer camp student

"They would beat us with bamboo sticks - sometimes until the stick broke - and with their bare hands, which left marks," said Lin, who had picked up words of the Atayal language from classmates as his parents had raised him speaking Japanese.

Teachers also made students wear wooden boards around their necks with the words "I won't speak local dialect" until the next student got in trouble; or a black button as a mark of bad behaviour until graduation day.

"This made us feel so ashamed of our language, our culture, which is something we actually should be proud of," said Lin, now director of the Saisiyat tribal community, which includes the Atayal tribe's people.

More recently, migration from tribal villages to cities, where such languages are rarely heard or spoken, has caused a further decline. About 50% of Taiwan's indigenous people live in cities.

The government has begun to make efforts to save Taiwan's indigenous languages, not only because indigenous culture is a key attraction for tourists, but there is growing recognition that it is an integral part of the island's identity.

Tribal languages are now taught in schools if there are enough students of the same tribe.

If not, children can learn at special centres that run free weekend classes; some 10,000 have already benefited. The languages have no written form, but teachers are being trained to use the Roman alphabet to make learning easier.

Future generations

Summer camps, such as the one attended by Lai in this Saisiyat tribal area in central Taiwan, are also organised. Activities here are designed to make learning fun - by mixing in ancestral worshipping rituals, lessons about medicinal plants, storytelling and music.

A young boy performs an indigenous dance Indigenous languages are being kept alive through song and dance

But some believe the government's efforts are not enough. And it is unclear whether they can undo past harm.

Some experts believe the best way to save the languages is to improve the economy in the villages where the languages are still spoken, to stem migration.

Slowly, however, there is growing interest among indigenous people and non-indigenous mainstream society in the culture. Several parents, including those who are Han Chinese, have come along to the camp, to learn alongside their children.

Bon, who is hosting Lai and 200 other students at this camp, still gets teary-eyed when he remembers being punished in school.

Despite being nearly 60, he says he also wants to take lessons.

"I want to tell the kids there's still time to learn our languages. Our mother-tongue is our mother; it's something passed down to us from our ancestors. We cannot forget it," said Bon.

At the camp, the children communicate mostly in Mandarin, but they are having a great time learning about their culture.

On arrival, Lai could only say thank you "mali mali" in her tribal dialect, but now she is singing indigenous songs.

"I hope to become fluent one day," she says. "Our culture needs to be passed to future generations."

Ref. by http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10602697

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At least 10 people were killed after a magnitude-5.2 earthquake toppled several buildings in southern Spain near the town of Lorca, officials say.

The quake struck at a depth of just 1km (0.6 miles), some 120km south-west of Alicante, at 1847 (1647 GMT), the US Geological Survey reported.

Lines of cars lay crushed under tonnes of rubble and a hospital was evacuated as a precaution.

The quake followed a 4.4-magnitude tremor about two hours earlier.

It is not clear how many people were injured, although Spanish media say there are dozens.

Military deployed

Spain Earthquake rocks Lorca

Spanish TV captured dramatic images of a church bell tower crashing to the ground, landing just metres from a cameraman.

Shocked residents and workers rushed out of buildings and gathered in squares, parks and open spaces. Old buildings were badly damaged.

As night fell many people were still too afraid to return to their homes.

"The whole of the centre of Lorca has been seriously damaged," a delegate from the regional government of Murcia told national radio.

"There are thousands of very disorientated people."

A doctor told the online edition of El Pais that she and her colleagues went into the streets and treated people with serious injuries, many of them "unconscious".

"The ambulances could not reach them. They took more than 40 minutes," the doctor said.

Angel Dominguez, a translator based in Lorca, tweeted: "A friend of ours was in the main avenue of Lorca - she saw debris falling down on pedestrians. The poor girl was shocked."

The earthquakes were felt over a wide area.

"Unfortunately, we can confirm... deaths due to cave-ins and falling debris," Lorca Mayor Francisco Jodar told radio station Ser.

"We are trying to find out if there are people inside the collapsed houses," he added.

A number of aftershocks have been felt in the region after Wednesday's quake, and authorities fear the death toll could rise.

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has deployed emergency military units to the scene, the Spanish news agency Efe reported.

Mr Zapatero was in a meeting with Spanish King Juan Carlos when he was informed of the quake, the premier's office said in a statement.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid says the quake is the most serious to hit Spain in about 50 years.

Spain has hundreds of earthquakes every year but most of them are too small to be noticed.

Murcia is the country's most seismically active area and suffered tremors in 2005 and 1999.

Murcia is close to the large faultline beneath the Mediterranean Sea where the European and African continents meet.

Ref. by http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13368599

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Give a hand 提供幫助或協助

Example:
I will give you a hand when ever you ask. 只要你開口我都可以協助你

Alan give a hand to Angela when she move to the new apartment.
當安琪拉搬入新家時,艾倫也協助幫忙她

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Be/Get used to 習慣

Example:
He is used to living along. 他已經習一個人住了

The new shoes felt a bit strange at first time because I was not used to them.
新的鞋子剛開始穿起來感覺有些奇怪因為我還沒有習慣它們

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It's a phonics song with a picture for each letter.
爸爸媽媽可以帶著小朋友一起練習發音喔! 也可以請小朋友換上他們喜歡且相對應的單字做替換。

Ref. kidsTV123 Enjoy learning and have fun!

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Edge sb/sth out 排除,擠掉,邊緣化
to cause sb/sth gradually to lose their position or power

Example:
The new product design has edged all the competitors out of the market. 新的產品設計,使現有的競爭者被擠下市場

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Eat like a bird 吃得很少
He eats like a bird and smokes like a chimney. 他吃得很少,菸卻是抽個不停

Eat like a horse 吃得很多,諭旨狼吞虎嚥
John eat like a horse.  約翰吃起來狼吞虎嚥


Eat like a pig 吃得太多,或指用餐時無禮儀
Those children eat like a pig. 那些小孩吃得太多且吃得很大聲

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