Monthly Archives: September 2013

Pakistan’s Natural Course for Healthy Living

Lahore school papayaThis morning at the breakfast table, before leaving for school, I passed around juicy, succulent papaya slices.  Three of the young people in front of me made faces and turned it down claiming they didn’t like papaya.  Furthermore, it was explained to me that as a whole Pakistanis don’t eat papaya.  In fact, in the villages it is simply thrown away.  I am an English teacher, but I think this morning I got a shocking education.

I can’t imagine turning down fruit, let alone throwing it out.  I come from northern Canada where we are lucky to grow some hardy apples, some strawberries and a few other fruits in the summer.  We simply don’t grow fruit in the winter.  Papaya, mango, guava and all these exotic fruits do not grow in Canada.  So it is unimaginable that someone would throw fruit away. 

I tried to explain, as any good teacher will do, the benefits of eating this fruit.  The fruit has anti-bacterial and anti-parasitical properties.  There are many other benefits too.  But it is the leaves that I want to talk about today.

The headline for Pakistan Today reads “Dengue on a never ending spree”.  Dengue fever cases throughout Pakistan, including Lahore are on the increase.  Many of the ill cannot afford the expensive medicines needed to combat this disease.

Pakistan holds a natural cure for dengue fever and it is time that Pakistani’s are taught what that cure is so they can put themselves on a course that not only cures the disease but also prevents its occurrence.  There is no need for a science course or degree, one simply has to go to the market or pluck this fruit from the tree.

Pakistan has papayas, lots of them; yet so few people eat them to reap the benefits of this delicious fruit.  And it is not only the fruit that has health benefits, but the whole plant has medicinal properties as well.  But today, we will take a short course in the cure for dengue.

Papaya tree leaves – the cure is in the leaves.  The juice extracted from the leaves replenishes the necessary platelets.  All you need to do is cut down two green leaves, remove the green segments of the leaves (don’t use the leaves’ veins and then grind these leaf segments to a paste.  A mortar works well, although you need the strength to grind the leaves.  You will only get a small amount but you will feel the positive effects of it within 24 to 48 hours.  Take 4 teaspoons twice a day for 5 days, but you must mix it with some sweet juice (such as mango) as this past as a very bitter taste.

Recent medical research and tests in Pakistan, India, Malaysia and Costa Rica, just to mention a few countries, are finding evidence that papaya leaf extract may be nature’s cure for dengue fever.  So, it is time we take advantage of those papaya plants that we have been blessed with in this country, find out all we can about them and eat the benefits of the papaya plant; its fruit, its leaves, its roots and even its seeds.  We will put ourselves on a course of healthy living.

Should I Handwrite or Type my Term Paper?

studying writingWe have all had that problem – trying to read someone’s illegible handwriting.  The page is before you in some form of hieroglyphics called writing.  But what does it say?  The handwriting is so bad that you can’t make sense of it.

And professors are no different; they want to be able to read their students’ papers and if they can’t, well you can bet the students will get a low mark on the paper or may not even get a mark at all.

Long gone are the days when a person’s handwriting was important.  I grew up in Canada when we had to learn how to write well.  I remember spending hours at school learning cursive writing.  All of those up and down strokes and circular motions had to be done with a nib pen and ink.  One had to hold the pen just right; there was lucidity to the wrist that gave way to a smooth flowing writing style and well-formed letters.  It was a real art form.  But cursive writing isn’t even taught anymore.

Today, professors in Canadian universities will not accept a handwritten paper.  They will ask that all papers be turned in typed, double-spaced on 8 x 11 inch paper.  The typed paper is absolutely essential and these professors will not even accept and mark a handwritten one.  Why?  Many students turn in chicken-scratched papers and call it a handwritten document.  If the professor can’t read it, don’t expect to get a mark, let alone a good one.

So, if you come from a school system, or are a college/university graduate from Pakistan or somewhere else where handwritten papers are accepted, and if you are planning to study in Canada, then it is time to learn how to type and use your computer for your term papers, etc.  Just having the academic marks is not sufficient for going to university in Canada.  You should know how to type and not just the one finger method either.

When I studied my undergraduate degree in Canada, I didn’t know how to type.  So I used the one-two finger typing method.  It took me forever to type those term papers, but my professors would not accept a handwritten paper.  So I had to type them.  By the time I studied my post-graduate program at a major university in Canada, I had learned to type and could use all my fingers without looking at the keyboard.  My papers got done a lot faster!

So, if you are planning on studying in Canada, then you must learn to type and use Word well – that is if you want to turn in term papers and other documents that your professors will accept and if you want to get good marks.

How to Get Good Marks

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Everyone wants to get good marks at school.  So how is it done?  Well a lot depends on you, the student.  Teachers and parents can only do so much, but the rest is up to you.  Here are some quick pointers for getting good marks at school:

  1. Get sufficient rest, nourishment and exercise – getting proper rest, eating enough food and getting plenty of exercise will give you the energy you need to study.
  2. Have a set time and place to study – if you have a set routine and a good place to study, then you will not forget to study or procrastinate.  The study place should not be your bed; you will only fall asleep.
  3. Plan a daily study schedule, don’t cram for exams – plan to study everyday.  This will help your long term memory and you will remember everything you need to for the exam.  Cramming only lasts as long as the cram; the facts may not even remain in your head long enough to write the exam.
  4. Take notes in class; don’t rely on your memory – take notes; most of us don’t have a photographic memory and we forget.  You have many subjects and facts to remember so don’t rely on your memory.
  5. Try to understand; don’t just memorise – to get good marks you need to understand your subjects, not just memorise them.  If you memorise only, you will forget, but if you understand you will remember; perhaps even as long as a lifetime.
  6. Study the questions at the end of the chapter – the summary and questions at the end of the chapter are there for a reason – to help you study.  So make use of this important part of the chapter.
  7. Review, review and review again – this is essential for good marks – review your text, your lecture notes; not just once or twice, but many times.  Remake notes in your reviews, not just read and you will remember most of the information.

If you follow this simple regime, you will benefit from the result because you will be the guy or gal with top marks.  So don’t procrastinate, set up a study schedule today and reap the rewards.

Money Makes the World Go Round

CAD study in canda MoneyWell that is the saying, and although there is a lot more to life than money it sure helps to pay bills and to cover the cost of living when studying in Canada.  If you don’t immediately have a bank account, or prefer not to use a debit card, paying for items in Canada is your next best option.

Here are some things you will want to know about Canadian money:

It’s Coloured – That means that each denomination is coloured differently.   A $100 bill is a beige/tan colour, a $50.00 bill is red, and a $20 bill is green.  The $10.00 banknote is purple and the smallest banknote, $5.00, is blue.  It’s pretty easy to figure out and not make mistakes because the numbers as you can see in the image are fairly large and the colours keep you from getting confused.

LoonieToonie studying in CanadaDollar coins – Our smallest dollars are coins, called of all things loonies and toonies.  The $1 denomination is called a loonie and the $2 one is called a toonie.  How did Canadians choose those names for their currency?  Well, the $1 loonie bears the image of a loon, a bird commonly seen on Canadian lakes.  The $2 toonie combines the number two (2) and loonie to make toonie.

Cents studying in CanadaCents or Sense – It takes 100 cents to equal 1 dollar and we have a number of coins that we use.  There is a 25 cent coin, called a quarter, or in slang called two-bits, which is the largest of our non-dollar coins.  Then we have a dime which is equal to 10₵ and a nickel which is equal to 5₵.  The penny, or 1 cent coin is no long being minted and no one should be giving you pennies.  If you do have some pennies, the bank will exchange them into larger denominations.

They’re Washable – I am not saying that you should wash your currency.  But unlike banknotes in other parts of the world, if you do, by mistake end up washing your dollar bills, don’t panic, they will not disintegrate in the washing machine.  They will come out of the wash nice and clean and totally useable – none the worse for wear.  As a student on a budget while studying in Canada, it is an important piece of information.

Damaged Currency? – If you accidentally tear a Canadian banknote, it still has the same value.  Just tape it up with clear tape and use it.  You can still give it to a shopkeeper and he/she will accept it.  Even a slightly damaged coin is worthwhile.  A small dent is okay and you probably will not have coins that are damaged completely.  If your banknote is old, it too is valuable; although with the rate of inflation these days, but if you are a student studying in Canada, it will be difficult to keep your bills long enough for them to ever get old.

Canadian dollars are made out of good quality material and it is hard to counterfeit.  But just like in every other part of the world, take care of your wallet and purse when you are out shopping in Canada.  Make sure you don’t leave them behind in a store or other public place.  Canadians like to pride themselves in their honesty, but an easy temptation is a thief’s lucky day.

Games ESL Students Play in Class

AREC English class mimePlaying games is not just child’s play, it’s for adults too, especially if you are learning English as a second language.  Everyone gets bored with the same old routine of phonics, dictations and learning the rules of English grammar.  So it is always good to break the monotony of learning with fun learning.  That’s what we have been doing in our English language classes – we have been playing games.   Even the quietest and shyest person comes out of their shell to play a game.  The other great thing about this is that everyone is having so much fun, they don’t even realise they are participating and improving their English language skills.

Some of the games that we have played recently in our English class are:

Run on sentence – this game improves your memory, your listening ability, your vocabulary knowledge and your ability to make sentences.  It is a great way to review vocabulary while having fun.

Pictionnaire – this game improves your ability to spell and to helps you to review your previously learned vocabulary.  The great actors and actresses in the class also show up because this is a mime acting game.

Telling lies and truths – this one gets everyone speaking.  So this improves speaking skills in a relaxed and fun way.  Everyone tells two lies and three truths and everyone in the class guesses which sentences are true and which ones are lies.  Then each person shares in more detail one of the true sentences.  Of course the best liars win the day.

So if you want to enjoy learning English and not just get the dry bones version of English language learning, then you will want to join one of the English language classes at Alberta Rose Education Centre.  There is one class both morning and evening, so call Alberta Rose Education Centre today join; we are conveniently located in DHA Lahore.

Disembowelling Illiteracy

we all need an educationIlliteracy rates in Pakistan are staggering.  Official statistics brag that the country is closing the edge on illiteracy where 46% of our children are now literate, and girls now are at a whopping 26%.  Critics of those figures say that the percentage would be closer to 26% and 12% respectively.  This may be closer to the truth when we consider that Pakistan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.  Furthermore to that, Pakistan stands as having the second largest population of out of school children in the world; the record holder being held by Nigeria.

If you ask a young person in Pakistan what it would mean to be educated, the quick response is a good job.  If you ask someone who is fortunate enough to go to a good school in Pakistan, or who has been brought up in a developed nation, a glib response will be again a better job, more money or you might even get the answer that the now literate will know their rights and no one will be able to take advantage of them.  Although lack of employment opportunities and ignorance of rights are bedfellows with illiteracy, there are more dire repercussions to illiteracy than these casual answers.

A literate person is an informed person who can now understand and analysis the situation or facts before him or her.  This is especially true once it comes to the medical services provided to the poor and disenfranchised of Pakistan.  The uneducated look up to the medical profession; assuming that they will get quality service, because they are dealing with an educated man.  Perhaps nothing is further from the truth.

Imagine if you will; an uneducated young man enters the doctor’s office with severe stomach pain, perhaps a little further towards the kidney area.  An X-ray is done, a surgical procedure is scheduled and the young man’s kidney is removed.  Assuming that he is in the hands of a respected educated man who knows what he is doing, no questions are asked.  And he doesn’t even know what questions he should ask; for he does not have the knowledge it takes to ask anything.  He is simply at the mercy of this exalted figure.  Mercy is what this young man really needed, for this respected pillar of the community removed the only kidney this young man had and sold it on the black market.  When questions did rise (by an educated man) the records were no were to be found.  Needless to say, the young man died leaving a grieving family.

Not all doctors are preying on the vulnerable poor and uneducated and engaging in the criminal activity of selling healthy organs extracted from unsuspecting illiterate peasants.  No, one would never accuse the medical profession of crimes, but perhaps we can indulge in the word malpractice.  There are some good doctors around who uphold the Hippocratic Oath to provide quality service to all, regardless of creed or economic position in life.  I have met a number of these special doctors.  But there are a sufficiently high number of doctors who Guinea pig with the lives of those who are voiceless against the educated elite.

Illiteracy’s ignorance leaves way for practices unquestioned.  And again, how can you ask a question if you don’t know what question to ask?  Why would the uneducated question the educated?  Unthinkable!  How dare him!  To be scorned, I am sure!   And so malpractice continues unchecked with no one the wiser.  Let me give you an example.  A father is informed that his son needs blood; again.  “Why does he need blood?”  The father’s answer is that he has white spots under his eyes.  When asked if the doctor had done any tests to determine the need for blood, the answer was no.  “What type of blood does your son have”, the father was further questioned.  Type A was his response.  And “what type of blood is the donor?”  Type O is the response.  Okay you say; O is a universal donor.  Ah, but only if you are an adult, not for a small child under one year.

“Did the doctor do a cross match,” the father was further inquisitioned.  No, was his response.  So, the educated man phoned the doctor only to be told that he asked too many question.  The doctor was not comfortable with the questions.

So, in this case, the small child was taken to a doctor where proper medical treatment was administered, for a financial sum of course.  The blood tests showed severe malnutrition and an extremely low haemoglobin count.  Yes, he needs blood, but Type A please.  Today the baby is doing well and on a nutritional based diet.

These two examples are only the faintest cries of how the illiterate are daily being disembowelled.  The millions that remain voiceless, if their cries were heard should ricochet around the world; but who will hear their cries?  Will you?  Will I?

Of course we cannot leave all the work to malpractice because every day the illiterate are stripped of dignity when the lords of this country tread on their emotions, their personage; reducing them to the sub-humans they think them to be.  They are criminalised because of their ignorance and poverty.  When an elite official can charge a young girl of abuse simply when she herself was the abuser, witnessed by over 50 people, where is the justice for the poor?  Where is the voice she needs?  What advocacy does she have when illiteracy and poverty is her state?  Not only are they being disembowelled of their vital life givers, but they are being disembowelled emotionally, mentally and financially.  The ugly head of injustice and inequality; the disparity between rich and poor cannot be ignored.

So, what can we do?  Those who care enough must take action, giving voice where none currently exists.  The severity of the situation cannot be undermined; this is ugly business.  It is not just about better jobs and knowing rights, as important as they are.  Yes, an educated person’s better job means a better standard of living, an ability to rise above the sub-meagre existence and to be able to pay for services once denied or skewed.

When we strip another human being of every emotion, every dignity, even their body and leave them a dismembered skeleton, then we need to do something now, urgently.

There is no place for complacency, no place for passing the task of education on to others – we all need to rise and take part.  Someone has said each one, teach one.  Others are advocates pushing authorities to take their responsibilities seriously.  Others fund NGOS that are making inroads into educating the neediest members of our society.  Whatever way we do it, it must be done.  We can no longer stand by and watch the one next to us perish emotionally, mentally, physically.  The disembowelment of our poor must stop with us.

Prepare Now to Study in Canada September 2014

Niagara FallsEven though Canadian employees in the Canadian embassies throughout the world are still on strike and study visas are being processed ever so slowly, Canada is still a choice study abroad destination for September 2014.  Strikes don’t last forever and the Canadian government is urging students to use the online application process when applying for a study visa.  The processing time is quicker.

Especially if you are planning on taking a graduate program you must start your search and inquiries now.  Many graduate departments state on their websites that it is advisable for a student, regardless if he/she is an international student or a national to start their process up to one year prior to the start date.  It takes time to determine if a particular university offers not only the program, but also research in your interest area.  It takes time to take all the necessary exams such as IELTS, GMAT, GRE or some other requirement.  Some departments require the student to find a supervisor for their thesis even before they apply.  It takes time to write to prospective supervisors and start building a relationship whereby they would take you on as a student.  So for graduate programs it is essential that prospective international students start looking now.

Although undergraduate students do not have the lengthy processes prospective graduate students have, high school students too should start looking at potential programs.  They should make sure that they know the admission deadlines which may be as early as February 2014.  They should make sure that what they are studying will meet the requirements.  For example, if you want to take human resource management at a Canadian university, are you taking the right courses to meet the university’s academic admission requirements?  Also check out the marks you need to qualify for college or university in Canada; then strive for those higher marks.

Also remember that student visa processing takes time, especially if you live in Pakistan where it can take up to 3 months.  So you should process your admission application about 5 to 6 months prior to the September 2014 start date.  Many universities and colleges will even grant a conditional early admission confirmation letter based on your mid-term marks.  This way you can still apply for your study visa while waiting for your final marks.  Once the final marks are in, you send them off to the university.  They will then send you a final confirmation of admission letter.  In the meantime, you will have your visa permit and be ready to fly out to Canada.  The only times your admission will be withdrawn is if you do not produce your final marks, or if your final marks fall below the admission requirements.

So, don’t procrastinate.  Start thinking about where you want to study next year and then pursue your dream.