Thank you, chị Yến and chị Kitty, for being my heroines. You both are very good. Your writings are very smooth.
Especially chị Yến, I think you have proven that my theory is correct. There is a marked difference between this piece of writing and the English translation you did the last time (of chị Oanh’s article). That difference may come from 2 things:
1. My approach of asking you guys not to translate, but just to write the way you are comfortable with, and
2. Yen has the ability to learn at Appollo speed.
But I tend to rule out the number two. Yen has been good since a long time ago. We just need to find out the right approach to bring out that talent.
And that is what I’ve been telling you guys, but few have taken my words seriously. I know that you guys are good and can write English beautifully. Just do it and you will be surprised with what you can do.
But we, you and I together, have a more important goal in mind: To find out the most effective way to improve our national English-teaching methodology. (Need I remind you guys that our national level of English fluency is low, compared with other countries? And I have stressed this point for a long time, directly with anh Trần Hồng Quân many times, when he was the minister of education, and with all kinds of folks in Hanoi. And I am still talking today).
What we are doing is slowly experimenting the “total submersion” method: Having the students totally submerged in English—reading, writing, talking, listening and, most importantly, thinking in English. One hour of this method will have the equivalent effect of 10 hours of other methods.
Let’s keep this goal in mind, as we feel our way around, trying to figure out where is the strength , where is the weakness, what works, and what doesn’t.
OK, I will have Yen’s and Kitty’s writings below. I have dome some minor changes to each piece, here and there, just to smooth them out and make them sound more natural. There aren’t many errors to really correct. Just refining.
Chị Kiêm Yến’s writing:
The first time I visited Đọt chuối non, its slogan made a strong impression on me! It’s “Positive thinking everyday”!
I participated in a short course of positive thinking two years ago. Then I’ve read a few articles about it. Now, I recognize that I don’t totally understand positive thinking yet. So, what is positive thinking? How can ưe distinguish it from other kind of thinking? And, most importantly, why do we need it?
I suppose “thinking” means thoughts producing from a special area of brain. In other words, it’s the result of brain activities. After reading more and more articles in Đọt chuối non, I recognize that it’s really different from what I imagined before.
In fact, “thinking” has a wider sense. It means a living attitude, a vision of life and living. So, “positive thinking” is equivalent to “positive living” or “ positive attitude”.
“Positive” is not “negative”. It means:
1. While looking a thing, a person, or an action, we always find out its good, beautiful, nice side.
2. If we see something bad, we have abilities to change it into goodness, and
3. We always act to make things better.
For example: (1) Our fiend is a dynamic and friendly colleague, (2) but she only knows working and working. It’s good if we choose her as our team leader, and (3) we introduce Đọt chuối non to her, little by little, she will enjoy her life more.
The characters of positive thinking are:
1. To concentrate vision and thinking on the good side of things. If seeing something bad, we have to find out the good in the bad to concentrate thinking on.
2. To use goodness as a motivation for living and working, towards the final goal of making life better. Life means s our own life, and the lives of others in the world we’re living. In other words, goodness is a motivation to live and, concurrently, is an ultimate goal of living.
We can summarize positive thinking as loving ourselves, loving others, and loving this life! We always pick up the best in all things. It helps us enjoy life in the best way! And, that’s the reason we need positive thinking!
Chị Kitty’s writing:
What is positive thinking? What is the difference between positive thinking and other kinds of thinking? Why should we think positively?
We could immediately relate the word “Thinking” to an image of brain activities. Actually, “thinking” has a broader meaning. It is an attitude to life or a view about life. Positive thinking is positive living and positive attitude.
“Positive” means…non-negative, as below:
– We always see the nice side of any thing or any event around us,
– If we see some bad points, we would have ability to change them into good points, and
– We always act to make thing better.
For example, (1) My dear friend A. is very dynamic and kind, (2) she is just a litte too thrifty; but if she becomes our treasurer, she would do the job very well; and (3) if she continues to do charity works, gradually she would no longer be so thrifty with the poor.
Positive thinking have these characteristics:
(1) Concentrating thought and view on good elements of any thing/event. If you see some bad thing, try to find out some good elements in it to concentrate your mind on.
(2) Using goodness as the motivation for our life, our work, and making our life more wonderful. Life in this case means your own life, and your world where you are living in. In other words, the goodness is our motive, as well as the most important aim in our life.
Note: “Nice” is an overused overabused word. Don’t use it in writing, except in informal writing.
Today we have 2 challenges, to give more people more choices to work on.
1. Rewrite the following text in English. Rewrite it anyway you want. No translation is necessary.
Tất cả những hiện tượng bên ngoài, đều không có ý nghĩa gì tự chúng cả; các ý nghĩa đều từ tư duy của ta mà sinh ra. Mưa chỉ là mưa; nếu ta cho là mưa buồn thì mưa buồn, nếu ta cho là mưa vui thì mưa vui. Nắng chỉ là nắng; nếu ta cho là nắng đẹp thì nắng đẹp, nếu ta cho là nắng chói thì nắng chói.
Tất cả các tình cảm–vui, buồn, giận, ghét, yêu, thích–chỉ là phản ứng của ta đối với sự việc bên ngoài. Nếu chàng trễ hẹn mà ta cau có phàn nàn thì cũng phải, hoặc ta cười vui vì kẹt xe thế mà chàng cũng đến cho bằng được thì cũng phải. Trễ hẹn chỉ là trễ hẹn. Đó chẳng phải là chuyện vui hay buồn, tốt hay xấu. Vui buồn chỉ là phản ứng của ta đối với việc trễ hẹn thôi.
Nửa ly nước, nếu nói là đầy nửa ly thì cũng đúng, mà cạn nửa ly thì cũng đúng. Đằng nào cũng đúng. Tất cả chỉ tùy thuộc vào sự lựa chọn của chúng ta thôi. Ta muốn tư duy tích cực, yêu đời, mạnh mẽ? Hay là muốn làm kẻ phàn nàn, người thua cuộc?
2. Translate the following piece into Vietnamese.
This piece contains excerpts from “Song of Songs”, which is a sensual and sexy poem 🙂 that King Solomon wrote for his lover, himself, and their love. It is from the Bible. I have it here to surprise you guys, if you have been thinking that the Bible is such a dry and boring book 🙂 This is within my purpose of familiarizing you guys with the most fundamental book of the western civilization, for your (future) diplomacy/PR works with Westerners.
Lover (man, Solomon)
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!
Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.
You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.
Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread abroad.
Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
I arose to open for my lover,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the lock.
OK, guys. Have fun.
Have a great day!