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Introduction

Good morning everyone.  Welcome to the Blog site of Mr. Cibubur the native English Teacher who lives in Cibubur Indonesia.

So far since August 2015,  I have posted more than 300 lessons on a variety of different topics.

The aim is to provide easy English to students anywhere around the world who wants to learn and improve their English.

I have been asked by a number of people to provide either a RSS feed or alternative news feed from my blogsite.

I am not a technical person and I have stumbled across the free platform which I use from WordPress more by accident than intention but it works for me and I am pleased to hear that the blogsite can be easily accessed.

So far as I understand, links to all my blogs appear on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter.

I encourage visitors to my blogsite to post comments so that I know what you think about the blogsite itself and the material on it.

In time – when I have time, I plan to expose my blogsite material to greater traffic and to commercial potential.

At the moment, the WordPress platform suits me fine and I am happy with it

Good luck with your learning of English and I hope I can be a good teacher to help you along the way.

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AMAZING GRACE

A repentent slave trader humbled the words of the first stanza to a modest gathering of folk at a prayer meeting on the first day of 1773.

It was barely a year since the itinerant clergyman had been admitted to Gods ministry and twenty since he had, whether by intention or fate, given up the debauchery of his previous vocation.

It would have taken more than just a shipwreck for this shattered soul to become found when once he was lost and to be able to see when once he was blind.

Here was a man who sought reconciliation with humanity, forgiveness and redemption in exchange for freedom and peace.

But he knew not if he would make it through heaven’s pearly gates while twenty thousand ghosts were haunting him day and night to his grave.

They were not going away anytime soon.

In two hundred and fifty years, the stanza has hardly been modified, though there were many additions to it by the clergyman’s own hand.

A tune was added and the stanzas formed into a hymn which in turn became a popular anthem, sung rejoicingly and reflectively by millions of people across the world of every creed.

The stanzas do not intend to convey anti-slavery sentiment and yet there are those who looked beyond the persona of the evangelist who wrote them and applied them to campaign and fight for the cause to remove chains from every man woman and child who was deemed not free.

It is a hark from a bygone era but still strikes a cord in the world today.

Slavery and Colonialism went very much hand-in-hand

And the chains were coming off.

The author of the stanzas lived for eighty-two years between the years 1725 and 1807.

He lived just long enough to see laws passed in his homeland which abolished slavery.

He wrote the lyrics for many more hymns but none more meaningful than the one which the London seaman derived from his own personal experience.

This, as you may have gathered, is the background story to ‘Amazing Grace’, written by John Newton and the inspiration for a Yorkshire member of parliament, William Wilberforce, to finally win the day for the abolition of slavery at the fourteenth attempt in 1807.

Both John Newton and William Wilberfore lost a parent in childhood.

They both claim to have seen the light when once they were blind.

They were drawn together and united for the cause of abolishing slavery.

John Newton was ironically blind in his last years but this did not prevent him reciting ‘Amazing Grace’ one more time before he died and in the presence of William Wilberforce.

This was the stanza which struck the chord on that occasion:

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the veil

A life of joy and peace.

It was a surreal moment in time and a testament of faith.

Amazing Grace.

DELIVERANCE

I have no idea who E.S. Whipple is but I stumbled upon his quote in a school library. It was he who said that ‘a book is a lighthouse erected in the great sea of time’.

It is that quote which has inspired this poem.

Put a book into the palm of my hand

And I will be its reader.

Without any limitation to what I can readily understand

Or the fodder of the feeder.

 

Once just a thought, then written down, later published

To a waiting world not yet suspecting.

But in a thousand years could it ever be wished

That the prize of knowledge is worth collecting?

 

Books are, after all, the cradle of our knowledge,

If not a lighthouse erected in the great sea of time.

They are the benevolence of our cultured college,

Leading us to where we’re surely goin’

 

Without you, Book, as some part of my life,

I would be despondent and distinctly destitute.

Can there ever be a failing of mankind to permit such suffering and such outright strife

When the force and power of literature is absolute.

 

Gosh, I still remember that delirious day

When first as a young child, I could read.

How the blessing and good fortune of Gods grace came my way

And showed me difference between greed and need..

 

Books have an uncanny way of saying things

To you no human being ever can.

Deliverance is simply sourced from eternal springs

To every able-bodied man.

 

I see the lighthouse over yonder

As I stroll along the beach.

This is a moment to wonder

And feel a sense of destiny within my reach.

 

What if all the words ever written

Are no more than an inglorious monsoon?

Let rip the sudden storm,  unrestrained and unforbidden.

On this October afternoon.

 

The words have found me, as they will find you too,

So be gladdened and  heartily contented.

A poet must do what a poet must surely do,

Write passionate poetry unlamented.

 

And so I come to express my greatest gratitude

To that lighthouse erected in the great sea of time.

God has willed from me this mystical and marvellous mood

As I have put pen to paper and words to rhyme.

 

As I stroll further, I’m enveloped by a mist

But the shadow outline of the lighthouse remains.

I have written this poem now.  I have reminisced

And Deliverance reigns.

NEED A FRIEND

I need a friend who listens

And pays me due attention.

I need a friend who reasons

The rationale of my comprehension.

I need a friend.

 

I need a friend who reaches out

In every possible dimension.

I need a friend who is all about

The measure of my extension.

I need such a friend.

 

I need a friend who’s ears and eyes

To everything that I do.

I need a friend who can spring that element of surprise

And yet be so totally true.

I need that kind of friend.

 

I need a friend who laughs and cries

And on whom I can definitely depend.

I need a friend who is wonderful and worldly-wise,

I need that faithful friend.

 

I need a friend who sees what I see

And hears what I hear.

I need a friend who is everything to me,

Who’s honest, humble and sincere.

I need that friend.

 

I need a friend who’s the very fabric of my existence

And the essence of who I am within.

I need a friend who has zero resistance

To the gravity of my sin.

I need that friend.

 

I need a friend who touches a nerve

And feels as I do indeed.

I need a friend who’s possessed of veritable verve

To be my one true friend in need.

Oh how I need that friend.

 

I need a friend who represents an ideal

Of life itself on earth.

I need a friend who is not just real

But the calculation of my life’s worth.

I need a friend.

 

I need a friend who drives and motivates

As a spiritual pioneer.

I need a friend who thrives and necessitates

I need you now dear.

Friend, I need you dear.

 

 

 

FOREVER AND A DAY

Listen to the beat of the distant drum

As the morning message seeps through.

Phillippe Coutinho, EF KP, Lady Diana, my dear Mum,

This passionate piece of poetry is for you.

 

Every one of you will be mournfully missed

More than you will ever know.

So much is given; so much more is promised

But all that’s left is the evening echo.

 

Some things are perhaps best left unsaid

Because saying them so sorely pains.

Look up to the heavens instead

And pray let go of the reigns.

 

A heart can be broken into a thousand pieces

But the soul does not concede.

The wheel of fortune chances but never decreases

The measure of human need.

 

Go on, call me a sentimental old fool

Who am I to question it?  It might be true.

No more a poet than a simple scholar of the old school.

Phillippe Coutinho, EF KP, Lady Diana, my dear Mum, how can I forget you?

 

 

The pernicious poignancy with which

This deliverance is expressed

Calls upon the mortal maid who first submits

And then applies the logic of the test.

 

 

And so it is that 31st August is Forever and a Day,

The grasslands of my eternal grief.

I call on Fate to lend a hand and help me find a way.

It’s quite simply a matter of belief.

DESCRIBE AN AUCTION

This is a two minute talk for IELTS or TOEFL to talk about an Auction.

The keywords of the talk are highlighted in bold.

An auction is a great place to go and hunt for a bargain.

You can buy anything and everything at an auction and often at a very cheap price.

Unlike a shop, there is no fixed price and things are sold by a bidding process.

The Auction is conducted by an auctioneer.

Every item for sale has a Lot Number and Lots can be previewed beforehand.

To bid for something you want to buy, you should either raise your hand or use a paddle with a specific number given to you prior to the auction starting.

An auction is competitive and many other people will be bidding for the Lot just like you.

Quite often, there is a reserve price on the item being sold, so if that reserved price is notr reached, the item will be withdrawn from the sale.

The price usually goes higher and the item is sold to the highest bidder when the auctioneer says ‘final offer’ and ‘going going gone’.

Paintings, old furniture, televisions, mobile household ornaments, bric-a-brac, books, records and even a love letter collection from a famous person can be sold at an auction.

I once bought a 1927 nokia cellphone for next to nothing.  Can you believe that?

The rule of thumb is that something is considered antique if it is more than one hundred years old but these days, anything from yesteryear might be considered antique.

There are also auctions for vintage cars, second hand cars, houses and land.

Don’t forget to raise your hand if you want to bid for something and don’t raise your hand (or paddle) if you don’t intend to bid for something.

Otherwise, the auctioneer might accept your bid and it will be ‘going going gone’

Keep an eye out for things which are valuable and collectable but be careful not to buy something which might not be the genuine article and is completely worthless.

You do not want to waste your money!

Good luck!

MICHELLE SELLS SEASHELLS

This is an adapted and revised version of a famous English Tongue Twister.

Practice it slow, medium an fast to improve your English speaking fluency.

 

Michelle sells seashells by the seashore,

The shells Michelle sells are the cells of the seas

Surely only Michelle sees

So if Michelle sells shells

She sees by the seashore

I’m sure Michelle sells seashore shells

 

It is important to understand the following word spelling and pronunciation

Sea                  See

Sure                 Shore               Saw

Sell                  Shell

Sell                  Cell

Shell                Michelle

 

A good English speaker knows how to ‘chunk’ his word and phrases.

Practice ‘chunking’ the tongue twister.

Like this.  There will be a short pause between each word or phrase

 

Michelle sells seashells

(pause) By the seashore

(pause) The shells

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) are the cells of the seas

(pause) surely

(pause) only Michelle sees

(pause) So

(pause) if Michelle sells shells

(pause) she sees by the seashore

(pause) I’m sure

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) seashore shells

 

Some further comments about the tongue twister.

The word ‘saw’ does not appear but the tongue twister could be rewritten again to include the line:

‘I’m sure I saw Michelle on the seashore’

The phrase ‘sea-saw’ is common in nursery rhyme English but has nothing to do with shells on the seashore.

The tongue twister could be adapted even more.

Hyphenation.

Most people would put a hyphen between sea and saw to make ‘sea-saw’.  ‘Sea-Saw;, when spoken, could easily be mistaken for ‘sea-shore’

So is it seashore without a hyphen or sea-shore with a hyphen?

Look it up and you decide!

Finally, I have used the phrase ‘cells of the seas’ in the tongue twister.

‘cell’ has the same sound as ‘sell’ and can mean a jail or what is in our body as a science form or in our mobile phones.

In this context, ‘cell’ is taken to mean the life form (the shells) which exists in the oceans of the world Michelle finds on the shores of the seas.

I hope you understand.

 

Enjoy the Tongue Twister and good luck with improving your English speaking fluency.

PORTRAIT PAINTING OR INSTANT PHOTO

This is an essay which takes a reflective look at the transition to digital photography from portrait painting.

We must first pose the question – has the instant photo replaced the portrait painting forever?

The keywords of the lesson are highlighted.

The modern trend of taking a selfie brings into sharp focus how much we all enjoy taking photos and capturing memories to share with others.

The digital camera is part of all our lives in the modern world and instant photos are taken at the press of a button.

They are then immediately transmitted to friends and family by social media, smartphone apps, stored in digital photo albums or in remote clouds.

Very few are printed and displayed around our home.  We try to be selective of the best ones taken.

Long before photography was ever invented, people had to be content with portrait paintings comissioned from professional artists.

The subject of the portrait would be expected to sit for long periods of time while the artist made sketches or painted directly onto canvass.  This all took time.

The invention of the first camera prototype by Frenchman Louis Daguerre in 1837 was the first step in the eventual transition away from portrait painting to photography.

Significantly, not only was the concept available to the public masses but it was affordable.

We would all come, in time, to know how to use the zoom lens, shutter, flash and tripod with relative ease.

Our grattitude is extended in American George Eastman who founded his Kodak company and heralded a new era in photography.

We must also be thankful to Englishman Edward Muybridge who conducted a galloping horse experiment with pictures that captured the simple stride of a horse in twelve sequential moments.

The world was about to embrace moving pictures as a concept or movies as we call them today and my dear Mum (my Grandmother too in fact) would talk of a night out at the Picture House.

Remarkably perhaps, this modern era of the instant photo has not killed the portrait painting stone-dead but rather given us the opportunity to reproduce imagery with new skills developed in photo-editing software with a sense of surrealism and novelty.

Not only that but we have come to respect and value the capture of an image by an artist of a subject either in cartoon lampooning or in caricature.

Hands up who has not contemplated or had a sketch done by a street artist or looked for the personal touch of a ‘togetherness’ picture for your wedding day to be hung in the hallway for guests to see?

The old saying that a picture paints a thousand words is never more true than today.

The ultimate irony is that we are using the technology of today to create the memories of yesteryear and also of the future.

Photography moves with the times.

As we move with the times, there is a place for the commissioned portrait painting to exist alongside the instant digital photo in the capture of a memory.