09 June, 2014

The Next Chapter

Hi everyone! I know. I know. It's been a while since I have written a new post on this page. I have had some of the busiest times of my life in the past few months! So let me now tell you just a little bit about what has been going on.

In January, I started my final semester as a college student (remember, to Americans, college and university are used interchangeably. We don't have to say "university student"  we can just say college student even if you go to a university). The semester was packed with a lot of interesting things. Not only did I have 4 classes totaling 13 hours of credit but I also was working part time for my brother Adam, building a new website and creating online English classes for people in Thailand.

So let me tell you about my four classes. Two of my classes were engineering classes and the other two were English classes. One of the engineering classes was maybe the most boring class I have ever taken. It is called "Industrial Safety and Engineering." Wow that was a doozy! It was once a week for 3 hours. I know safety in an industrial setting is important but it was just so boring. And plus, the professor has been using the same material for the last 20 years or something. He was still using his same slides from an old school projector and hasn't adapted fully to powerpoint. Here is a picture of in class to give you an idea of how boring and terrible it really was.

My other engineering class was really fun. It was a class where we worked on teams to make a final project. One team did things like research on how to help treat cancer using ultrasound and another team made a glove that would help teach people sign language. My team did something really different, however. We built what we called a "snowsports winch". It is similar to something we call a "rope tow" but it's actually different because the "snowsports winch" was built for speed not for transportation. It took our team about one full year to go from a basic concept to a fully working prototype. I could try to explain more to you but let me just let you watch the video first.

So skiers or snowboarders are pulled by this rope. It is usually used so that people can do spins and flips and tricks off of jumps. We ended up winning best of show that was awarded by Boeing. We were hoping for some money but they ended up giving us some backpacks. Good enough! But what do you think? That's a pretty cool project right? There are a whole bunch more details I could tell you but let's just leave it at that for now.

Ok, so my other two classes were English classes. The first was a class called "World Englishes." It was really very interesting. We would discuss different regions of the world and their history related to English in the past few hundred years. I was introduced to an interesting concept that was proposed by a scholar named Kachru where he splits the English speaking countries of the world into three categories. 1. Inner circle. 2. Outer Circle. 3. Expanding circle.

The inner circle is native English speaking countries like the U.S., Great Britain, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries all have their native languages as English. Some like South Africa speak English natively but often times speak Afrikaans as well.

The outer circle countries are countries like Malaysia, India, Singapore, Nigeria, and The Philippines. Most of these countries are former British colonies. These countries have large amounts of people that speak English as their first language but do not necessarily speak the same English as the inner circle countries. Countries like Malaysia, for example, have developed their own way of speaking English which is usually referred to as a variety. So, Malaysia has a large amount of native speakers of the Malaysian variety of English, not the same English as the inner circle countries, but the Malaysian version that has developed over the past 50+ years of exposure to the English language.

The expanding countries are countries like Indonesia, where English use is growing and where they are still getting exposure to English education and are also struggling with the decision of whether to increase or decrease English education. There is also debate as to whether increased English education will begin to affect the local cultures and languages. Many Indonesians are becoming less and less fluent in their local dialect and are beginning to be bilingual with only Bahasa Indonesia and English. The local dialects are at risk. And as they say, "hilang bahasa lenyap bangsa." It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with the countries that fall within this broad categorization of the expanding circle. Click here to read more about Kachru on wikipedia.

So my other English class was a practicum class where I was required to pretty much be a student teacher with another English teacher. I was able to teach the class along with the teacher for roughly 20 days through the semester. The teacher was super knowledgeable and very experienced. She helped me to understand some of the behind-the-scenes things that are required as an English teacher. I learned a lot of helpful things from this class and I feel that it will really help me as I begin to be an English teacher on my own.

May 2nd arrived much sooner than I expected and it was time for graduation!
Here I am (middle) with my friend Parker (left) and Joey (right) 

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Utah. The TESOL certificate was done through the Linguistics department at the the U of U (as we call it) so it is more advanced than an online certification. It added an extra year to my degree so I ended up being a graduate after a total of 5 years! It's difficult to summarize my entire college experience into one word without being too cliche but if I did, I would say that it was EPIC!

So I graduated! I finished college. No more school. No more classes. No more homework. No more walking from my car to class. No more waiting for the bus to get to campus. No more college experiences for me. Am I sad? Uh, not really. Am I sad that I am already done with a very monumental piece of my life? Yes. But I am ready for the next stage, chapter, period in my life. As many of you know, my mind is always in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Thailand, travelling, and more. I have wanted to go there for my entire college career but my classes and my education needed to be finished and completed before I was able to make any big changes to my life.

So now... YES! I am done! I'm here! I'm currently in Bangkok working part time as an English teacher at Hollywood Learning Center and I'm also enrolled in a Thai language class. I love learning new languages. I loved learning Bahasa Malaysia and still continue to learn Bahasa Malaysia when I can. I have been working on my Mandarin skills as well. I can speak a fair amount and I have finally learned how to read and write some characters! Thai, however, is a whole new monster. The tones are more difficult than the tones in Mandarin. Thai also has some short and long vowel sounds that are not too easy. The script isn't easy. Plus, there are plenty of vowel sounds that are not in any of the languages I know. A lot of English vowels are similar to Thai sounds except that you can't do a dipthong with the vowel. For example, when I say the letter "o" in English, my lips naturally contract and my tongue moves forward slightly during the pronunciation whereas in Thai you can't move your lips or your tongue during the vowel sound. They're just straight up.  So it will take some time to really be a fluent Thai speaker I'm sure but at least I've already started the journey!

Me with some students in Bangkok

I've had a lot of people ask me, "why engineering if you are going to be an English teacher?" I'll give you the long answer. I really like mechanical things. When I was young, I was always building things, playing with legos, playing with blocks and making cool things. When I got older, I was into building models and building RC trucks. When I got older, I got really into electronics and new technology. Mechanical engineering seemed to be the right fit for what I liked to do and possibly what I wanted to do in the future. When I was entering college I had to make the decision of what major to enter and I decided that although I might not want to be an engineer, I knew that an engineering degree would help me in my life no matter what I decided to do with it. I've always liked being a teacher. I enjoy interacting with students and sharing my knowledge with others and helping them understand. So when I started getting some attention online from Malaysians that were also interested in languages, I decided that it might be beneficial to also do the TESOL certificate so that I can have a better grasp on at least my native language and then learn other languages from other people.

And now, I am here in Bangkok, scheming (planning cool things) with my brother Adam. We have some amazing things planned, actually not just planned, things that we are actively working on right now! I have some new things that will be announced and launched this year. I have been rather quiet online for the past few years but get ready for an explosion of activity from me online!

Thanks to all of you that are reading this. You all are some of the nicest people and I hope that we can meet one day in the future.

That's it for now. Keep it real!!!

-Cikgu Ben

18 October, 2013

Enjoying English Learning: A Short Story with Ben Bradshaw

The Kuala Lumpur Tower stands prominently above the school as I walk up the concrete road towards Bukit Nanas Convent 2, an all girls school ranging from ages in kindergarten to primary 6. I see a group of smiling faces bunched together, looking out the window as I approach the front gate, all trying to get the first view as to who is teaching the special English program for the day. I turn to the guard at the gate, give him my ID, tell him my business, and he instructs me to go in.

As a former private catholic school, the architecture seems to not fit in with the rest of the city. As I enter into the hallway, I notice there are no doors into the school, just open arches and long hallways. I realize that the outside temperature is going to be the same as the inside temperature, hot and humid, and roll up my sleeves as I walk through the first hallway. A teacher greets me and directs me towards the multipurpose room. It seems awfully quiet for a school full of children and the echoing high ceilings and empty hallways leave me wondering if there are any students at the school today.

I near the end of the hallway and see a beam of natural light shining into the multipurpose room ahead of me. It is less of a room and more of a large open space with tile floors, no walls on either side, completely open to the courtyards on both ends. A group of roughly one hundred students is sitting quietly waiting for the English program to begin. My shoes tap on the floor as I pace through the hallway. The students heads whip up when they hear me approaching and they all change from a silent group into small, whispering chatter boxes. I can see that these are some of the most excited students I will ever teach.

“Students, quiet down please,” one of the teachers says into the microphone, hoping the noisy students will hear.  A moment or two of waiting later, the students are dead silent. “Today we are privileged to have Mr. Ben Bradshaw here as our English teacher. Mr. Ben, I turn the time over to you.”

“Terima kasih cikgu,” I say. The students laugh as they realize that I can also speak the local language. I can sense their excitement building even more. After a small introduction of myself and where I am from, I begin: “Today I am going to help you improve your English. I have heard that many of you, although only 10 or 11 years old, are very good in English. So today we are going to focus on your spoken skills! I know that each and every one of you has learned English since you started school and some of you may speak English with your families. I am confident that your reading and writing skills are fairly good! So today I want to focus on your speaking and listening skills. Are you ready?”

“YES!” the students scream in unison. Their response was so quick and loud that I see it as a sign that they must have understood everything I just said. Their listening skills are already up to par. Now time to test their speaking skills.

“Great. So rule number one with me is only speaking English! If I hear you speaking Malay, Chinese, Tamil, or anything else, you are in big trouble! Rule number two is that you cannot be shy and cannot make fun of other students! Now everyone, pretend you have a hat on. This is your ‘shy hat’ as I call it. I want all of you to follow me.” I lift my hand to the top of my head and pretend to be taking off a hat. 

“Now, take off your shy hat, and throw it out the window!” I yell as I make a throwing motion towards the window. The students laugh as they follow my lead and throw their ‘hats’ out the window. I glance around the room and try to read the students faces, hoping that they are ready for the activities I have planned.

“Let’s start out with a game! Games are fun right? Each of you is sitting in a row. That row is your team. Now stand up. The game is called ‘two truths and one lie.’ Everyone in the team will take turns telling three things about themselves. Two of them will be true and one will be a lie. I will start: My name is Ben. I have blue eyes. I love eating onions.  Now guess which one is a lie!”

“The onions!” one of the students yells out from the back.

“That’s correct. OK, now your turn! Everyone take turns telling two truths and one lie with your group.”

The students seem confused a little at first but at least a couple of students per row understand what I have said. Those that understand motion to the other students to stand up and begin to explain the instructions again.

“Remember, everything is in English!” I reiterate over the microphone.

The multipurpose hall gets loud with young voices creating truths and lies about themselves. For a moment I question the effectiveness of having students create a lie, but I remember that it is simply to spur creativity and to help them think outside of what they normally would say about themselves. I walk over to one of the groups and hear one of the students telling their three points.

“My name is Amira. I like to read. and....  I like eating fish.” She says quietly but confidently. From her pronunciation, I can tell her parents try to speak English with her at home. The other students look at each other in confusion. The girl right next to Amira laughs as Amira says she likes to eat fish.

“You don’t like to eat fish!” one of the other students in the group yells out. Amira admits that was her one lie and tells the next student to go. 

I walk over to the next group and see a bunch of students not talking to each other. They must have not understood what I instructed them to do. I try explaining again but they do not understand. I give them my three examples and they still sit there puzzled. I try asking a particular student to give us three things about herself, two truths and a lie. They seem to not understand what I am saying so I try explaining it to them in Malay. I see their expressions turn from confused to enthusiastic as the first student in their group begins telling their two truths and a lie. I tell them to continue and I move on to the next group. I see the next group is having success and let them continue.

I then make my way to the front of the room and quietly observe the students. I listen closely for any small mistakes in pronunciation, sentence structure, or emphasis. This way I can bring up these mistakes later and not have to embarrass the students in front of the rest of the class. I plan to have the students practice avoiding these common mistakes after I teach them. That way I can ensure that all are getting the proper instruction and improving.

“My dad is a photoGRAPHer,” I over hear one of the girls say to his group. Another student says, “Chicken rice is the bess food.” I make a mental note of their errors, wait for them to be finished, and direct their attention back to me.

I walk to the computer that is linked to the projector. I pull up Microsoft Word and type in the word, “photographer.” The students mouth the word as I type it in. I can already hear them all emphasizing the wrong syllable.

“How do we pronounce this word?” I ask them. They all say it to me with the emphasis on ‘graph’. I tell them that is incorrect. They are surprised because the Malay word for photographer is fotografer, with the emphasis more or less on the ‘graf’. I instruct them on the correct English pronunciation and direct them to create a sentence with the word photographer and write it down in their notebooks. I wait for a moment and let the students create a sentence. I tell them to then turn to their neighbor and read the sentence to them. I walk around listening to the students and tell the other teachers to walk around and listen to the students' pronunciation as well. I begin to see how quickly the students learn and how much they must trust me to so quickly change their pronunciation of this word!

I move on to the next mistake and type in the word ‘best’ onto the screen. They all read it and start saying it to each other.

“BesT! Everyone. You need to enunciate that ‘T’ on the end! BesTTTT.”

They all start over emphasizing the ‘T’ and I hear a wave of ‘Teh’ sounds fly through the room. I instruct them to write down a sentence using the words “best” and “photographer”. I ask for volunteers to come to the front of the class and read their sentence in front of the entire class.

“Mr. Ben is the besT phoTOGrapher I know,” the first student says as she reads her sentence and clearly pronounces both newly learned words. She smiles as all the students and teachers reward her with a round of applause.

I look at the head teacher in the room. She nods and smiles as I instruct the next student to come forward and read aloud their sentence. At this point, we know that the students are having a good time and actually improving. 

I get lost in thought while the next student reads their sentence. I feel overwhelmed with joy as I see these students learning while having fun and feel privileged to be a part of their English education. I can see a bright future for all of the students and know that English fluency will help them in the years to come. 

Later, students created group cheers and cheered simultaneously to a clapping beat. 
The entire school could hear them cheering at the top of their lungs. 

08 June, 2013

The Next Part of the Story: YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter

And here I am, writing the next chapter. I know many of you would prefer me to update this blog more often. I am sorry. I want to. I need to. I enjoy doing so. Many of you may understand how busy you can get with classes while studying at a university. Currently I am on semester break for the summer. (The "summer" usually refers to May, June, July, and August, although, the summer according to the calendar is from June 21 to September 21. "Summer" is usually used to speak about the time when kids or students aren't in school sessions. Just a fun fact for you.) This summer I will be working with the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. I work in the Public Affairs section and deal with different English language programs for teenage kids in different libraries throughout the country. It has been very enjoyable so far and living in Malaysia in enjoyable. But, an update on what I have done here will be saved for later.

In this chapter, I want to connect where I left off about my older brother Adam. On October 2nd, 2010, I woke up on a Saturday morning and decided it was time to film a video, one very similar to my brothers first video. I didn't want to spend too much time on it because I don't know if I was going to get a positive response or not. I didn't know if Malaysians (or anyone who spoke the language... I'm looking at you Singpore and Brunei) would like my Malay speaking abilities. I was scared that my American accent would make people not interested in what I had to say. I knew that people were amazed with Adam's video because he speaks Thai like a native speaker. I didn't feel like I was at that point at all; I spoke more similar to an East Malaysian (bahasa baku) and hadn't lived in Malaysia or practiced speaking Malay for over 2 years.

So, I got my housemate Joey to come and film a video with me. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hey Joey, I am making a YouTube video like what Adam made last year, but for Malaysians and in Malay. If I ask you 'What's up' will you respond normally?"
Him: "Yeah sure. When?"
Me: "Right now. Come in My room and let's film it. I have my iphone ready to film."
Him: "Alright lets do it!"

So we entered my room and pressed the record button on my iphone. I just had it propped up on the top of my TV and used the front camera actually so we could watch ourselves while we were filming. You've seen the video right? Well just in case you haven't, here it is:

So after we were done making the video, we went onto YouTube and uploaded it onto my new account. Then we left it for the public to search it and watch it. I tried to make a smart title for the video so that people could search and find what I had posted.  

About one month later, I started getting a bunch of comments, and views. But mainly, I was getting an insane amount of adds on Facebook! I opened up my Facebook account one morning and had over 900 new friend requests. I knew something was happening! I then got onto my YouTube and the analytics weren't working. The view count was climbing but I wan't sure how quick. It was getting flooded.

Then, I had some people say that I should start a Facebook Fanpage as opposed to just have people add me on my personal account. Then I could start making posts about English and other interesting things and accept over 5000 people. I started the fanpage and quickly built up to over 5000 likes. I was like, "This is awesome!" I didn't expect Malaysians, Singaporeans, and Bruneians to have such a positive response to the video and so fast! But 5000 fans was just the start. Within the next few days I still was getting more and more people following my fanpage. I built up to over 20,000 within that week and it still kept climbing.

I also opened up a twitter account and began to use twitter. I didn't have twitter before then since I didn't really understand what it was for. It was when twitter was still new to a lot of people and I just though, "Why should I use twitter when I can just use facebook?" Now I get it now. Touche twitter.

My YouTube view count for the month of November 2010 was just about 430,000 views!

It also just so happened that I had a trip planned on Thailand and Malaysia in December of 2010. I had been gone from the country for over two years and wanted to make a trip back to the country to explore some places I didn't get to my first time around. There is just so much to see in the region! So, I announced this on my facebook page and planned a couple of meetings with fans while I was there. I documented some of it in a video and posted it to YouTube when I got back home. Here is the video!

This trip was fun! It was a success! Adam and I had a great time in Malaysia and Singapore. We also spent sometime in Thailand together before I went back home but didn't put it into the video.

So, that is enough for this part of the story. Look forward to more updates in the future!


05 November, 2012

Hello people. So I am writing this in English. Don't be offended. Jangan ambil hati. You know how it is much easier to write something in your own native language. Plus, I bet most of you reading this can totally understand everything that I am writing right now. You don't need to look things up in dictionaries. You already know English. It's more about perfecting your english that you already have. So, for most of my blog posts, I plan on writing them in English so I can make them a little longer and more detailed. Also, you can get an idea what it is like to write english in a non-formal setting. I may have spelled some things wrong(spell checker says no, but you never know really) and made a few grammatical mistakes, but hey, that is what you gotta accept. This isn't an essay on my life, just an update on what's currently going on in my life. So, as you read, if there is any phrase or word that is new to you, then don't forget it. Send me a message on facebook or an email and inquire about it. I will do my best to answer!
So things in my life have changed! two years ago, almost to the day, I posted my first video on youtube. It was basic. It was kind of entertaining. But the response was amazing! Tons of people were liking my fanpage, giving me suggestions and helping me learn malay. 

Two years later, here I am, still wishing I was more talented at Malay, wishing that I could somehow find a way to live in Malaysia for an extended period of time in order to just be there, but also so I could continue my quest at becoming an expert Malay speaker. I mean, as much as I love reading things by myself all the time, I would much rather be speaking to people in Malay, speaking to people who speak the language as their first language. People who can say "hold up, what you just said was wrong." and then correct me. Tell me to write it down so I don't forget it. If I really want to actually increase my abilities, I need to be in the country. I can't just really on far away social communications on facebook and twitter to advance my abilities as a language learner.

But, as much as I wish I could just be over in Southeast Asia at this very moments, I am determined to first finish my studies. I am currently a student in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT. This major is pretty dang long. I am to the point that I wish I was just done already. Extensive knowledge in fluid mechanics is something I don't care much for. I don't need to be extraordinary at robotic design. I don't need to understand how heat transfers from one system to the next. I don't care about how much energy is lost in this or that process. But, what I do care about is what kinds of things I am learning. I am learning how to learn. And at the same time, I am learning how to teach. Pretty much the way that I get by and pass these classes is through my math skills. I have always been pretty good at math and it has helped me stay in the engineering program. Really, all I have are story problems, equations, and then I have to use logic and math to solve.

Right now I am also a volunteer tutor at a local school district here in Salt Lake City. I tutor kids between the ages of 12-18. Mainly I help them with math. But it is nice to also encourage the kids to have an outlook for college and universities in the future. Many of them feel like college is so far away and in such a long time that they don't really need to prepare for it at all right now. I do my best to remind them otherwise. While they are in junior and senior high school, they need to start getting ready. 

As for work, I am now interning at a company called Schiff Nutrition International. I am a manufacturing engineer intern and provide support for standard work and standard operating procedures for the equipment there. I also lead projects to purchase and set up brand new machines and processes. I am having a pretty fun time there and am learning a lot about things like GMP, five-s, lean manufacturing, and so on. Manufacturing is an interesting setting. I know that there is such a wide range of manufacturing facilities in Malaysia that maybe I could end up with a career in Southeast Asia as a manufacturing engineer. Who knows. It would be cool to be able to use my language abilities at work. But at the same time, I don't know if I really want to turn out to be an engineer! I feel like just because I have math skills, doesn't mean I don't have other skills too! I like talking to people. I like dealing with languages. I enjoy teaching. Wouldn't it be awesome to be some sort of English professor at a University in Malaysia? I think it would be great. I think it is time to put in a minor like TESOL and so I at least have some credibility other than "English is my native language".
In terms of what's going on new for me in my life, I live with my two younger brothers and another friend in a small house close to the University. All four of us are students at the University of Utah studying different subjects. I am in mechanical engineering. My brother Tom is in Economics. My youngest brother James just started college this year and is in computer science and game design. Our friend/roommate John is in accounting. We love the seasons here in Utah. We have spring, summer, fall, and winter. It isn't like it is in Malaysia where it is just hot and hotter. Oh yeah, and rain. 

 Here is a pic I took on the way to the gym the other day. we got a small, unusual October snow storm and Mount Olympus looked so nice with the blue sky and clouds. I couldn't resist but take a picture of its greatness.

So there are some other big plans that I am working on right now also. I have some fairly big things currently in the works that are better kept quiet for now. When they are completed, I am sure you will all hear about it!

In terms of why I have been so quiet on the interwebs as of late, it is simply because I am sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of people that I get commenting, sending messages, and reacting to my posts and videos. I LOVE the positive response that I get. But it is hard because I like responding to people. I enjoy writing people back and giving them a personal response. So, if you have ever sent me an email, message, written a comment, asked a question, or anything like that, and I haven't gotten back to you, I am sorry. If you keep trying, I will eventually get back to you. I am getting back to people. I am writing people. But there are just too many for me to get back to and there are just simply other things in life that I need to focus on for the time being. 

So if you are wondering what I exactly do with my free time, I will tell you. First, I spend a lot of time doing homework, studying, reading, searching for answers for homework problems and such. When it was warmer, I would often go on hikes. Here is a pic from just about a month ago. It's called Granduer Peak. The mountain you can see in the distance is the same mountain as you saw above. This is just from a different angle. 

If you turn to the right, you will see this:

This is looking at downtown salt lake city and the campus of the U of U is just behind that ridge on the right. 

Also, I like to go to the gym when I have about an hour and a half of free time. I feel like I sit down too much. I am sitting at work. I am sitting at school. I am sitting in the car. I am sitting when I watch something on TV. I am sitting when I am browsing online. So, to make sure I get some good physical activity, I head to a local gym called Planet Fitness. I try to make it there at least 4 times per week. I have a routine(for those of you that care haha) of what I call push, pull, and abs. So one day I do my push muscles, chest, tricep, and shoulder. the push day i do back, bicep, and traps. the last day I do extra cardio and abs. then I start over. It is a little more detailed than this but I don't want to bore you.

So on the weekdays I am busy with school, work, gym, and then just some hang time. I will usually get something on from Netflix. Or see what is going on lately on youtube. Oh and also, I play a good amount of xbox 360. I know it isn't as big of a thing over in Malaysia and Singapore as  Playstation, but I would say that most people in the US use xbox over PS3. but I mean, there are definitely people who play ps3 also. My favorite game at the time being is mw3. if you don't know what that is, then that's probably a good thing. you will quickly get addicted haha.

On weekends, we usually start it out on friday evenings by having a few people over to our house. Then we will head out to get some food, and maybe do some sort of activity. and then do it again on saturday night.  Last weekend we went to a little french cafe for dinner and also swung by best buy and barnes and noble to check out some of the latest electronics and books. Then on saturday night we went bowling and to a pizza place. It's funny because our group of friends is always budget minded. We are always trying to find fun, cheap things to do. 

The weekend before that was halloween. So, we bought some pumpkins to carve. You may have seen my pumpkin already:

It is just a tradition and holiday thing that we all do in the US. kids go door to door looking for candy. For some reason (i don't know why) carving pumpkins into faces and shapes is a tradition. I think it comes originally from a Mexican tradition but I can't really remember. If you are interested in more on halloween, try using this website called Google. :)

So, where from here? well, as I said, I have more to come. There are some big things in the works. This does include videos. This does include some brand new things. It includes a bunch of cool things. I hope that it all goes well.

Will there be more videos, facebook updates, blogger posts, tweets, and pictures? YES! I am still alive and well! Things will always be going forward. I have a plan on how to consolidate all of my efforts into a central location. That is the only hint I will give you about what you can expect in 2013. It will be awesome.

Oh and just so you know, Ben Bradshaw ajar Bahasa Utara is not my page. I have tried multiple times to contact facebook to take the page down. They have taken it down before. But they haven't taken it down again. Oh well. haha. We will get it taken down soon enough.

Other than that, thanks for being interested in the things I do! It is fun having a connection between the US and Malaysia.  Peace!


PS. Jangan lupa memberus gigi dengan ubat gigi yg memutihkan gigi! nanti you boleh cakap "putih kan?" macam Ben... just playing around with you guys.   :) 

16 January, 2012

Cerita Pasal Abang Adam, dalam Bahasa Inggeris

Hari ini saya nak menulis semua dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Saya akan cuba menggunakan perkataan-perkataan serta ayat-ayat yang biasa untuk saya di America sini, tapi mungkin tak biasa untuk kamu semua dekat Malaysia. Jadi, semasa kamu membaca ini, ingat ayat-ayat yang mungkin tak biasa untuk kamu, cuba teka maksudnya, dan check dekat bawah untuk penjelasannya. ok? faham? dah jelas? good!

First of all, I believe I am going to begin posting in a combination of English and Malay. It is nice to be able to speak a little more freely in my native language; Malay is still not as natural to me as English, although I would love it to become that way. I also do realize that there are quite a few people that will read this post that are very fluent in English and maybe even prefer English to be used in their daily lives. This is fine and enjoy interacting with people in whatever language they choose to engage me in.

As many of you have already realized, I love learning languages. I know that most of you know me for my ability to speak Malay, but I also have learned a couple of other languages, although, not as well as I have learned Malay. These languages include Mandarin Chinese, Iban, and Thai. It may be surprising to some people, but I  am not the only person in my family that has a knack for speaking a language of the Southeast Asia region. My older brother, Adam, speaks Thai very, very fluently and continues to have quite the response from the locals in Thailand. He has a similar set up as I have, with youtube videos, a Facebook page, and a centralized blog that he uses to share more and more information on teaching English to the people in Thailand.  In fact, the original reason that I made my first video, of posting it on youtube and waiting to see if there was any reaction, was Adam's idea. He made a few videos about a year before me and had great success and a huge response from thousands and thousands of people in Thailand. People love his blond hair, blue eyed look. Here is a picture of Adam:

When I finally decided to make my first video, I decided to use the exact same content that he used in his most popular video. Yes, his most popular video was his video of teaching "what's up" and "not much. just chillin" as the response. When Adam made this video, him and I were currently living in Texas, working there for a few months during the summer. I always thought it was kind of funny that he was recording himself and putting it on youtube. He actually had me be the person in his first video, that responded to his question of "what's up?". Here is his first video below. You can see me at 0:34 and then again at 1:00. Adam refers to me as "nong Ben" because I am his younger brother, "nong" being similar to "adik". As in Malay, Thai uses family pronouns that indicate the age of the other person in comparison to the person speaking.

After Adam posted this video, he quickly received a positive response, and the views were starting to add up. All of a sudden, Adam's video had been viewed a few hundred times. This was a huge amount to us! We both couldn't believe how many people were watching his video, commenting, and raving about this "farang" that could speak such perfect Thai! Little did he know that this was only the beginning. Throughout the rest of the summer months, Adam continued to make a few more videos, often times in response to people's questions. More and more views started adding up. After just a few months, his videos began to slowly but surely creep up to over 100,000 views! This was totally unexpected by Adam and myself. Eventually more and more exposure was imminent for Adam, and we could both see a potentially bright future with what he was doing. It was amazing how many people in Thailand were supporting him!

When the next year year arrived, from about January 2010 to May of 2010, Adam headed to Thailand to be an intern at a University in Chiang Mai Thailand. During this time, Adam was contacted by a TV show called "I Love Thailand". The show featured Adam in Chiang Mai, doing various activities with the Host, such as Muay Thai, bungee jumping, playing with animals, eating the local food, and even singing karaoke. 

The show boosted Adam's popularity on youtube, and the whole internet in general. When Adam lived in Thailand during this period, more and more people began to recognize him everywhere he went. Since he was assisting in teaching English to the Professors at the University, he himself became known as a professor. He is now known in Thailand as "Ajarn Adam" or Professor Adam. Also during this time, Adam made a number of videos with another intern in the same program as Adam. This friend's name is Mike Boonack, or as he is known in Thailand, Mod. Here is a video he made with Mod:

They were quite an entertaining two to watch.

When Adam finished his internship in Thailand, he moved back to the US for the summer, and worked with me in Nashville, Tennessee and Little Rock, Arkansas for the summer. Our job was simply selling alarm systems to people for their homes. We worked hours and hours each day finding people interested in protecting their house with an alarm. Adam and I would come home at the end of the night, exhausted from the heat of the day. We would have funny stories about weird people and how their dogs wouldn't quiet down. We would joke about how slick of a salesman we were, closing some people that did not show any interest in the alarms we were selling at all. It really was quite fun and we enjoyed the competition. Some nights when we did not have much to do, we would make a video. This video below was filmed while we were in Kentucky:

We had discussed many times of how I wanted to visit him in Thailand that year, and that he should accompany me to Malaysia to see some of the places I hadn't seen yet either. During the summer I booked a trip to Thailand and Malaysia and couldn't wait for December to come. Adam returned to Thailand after the summer was over, in September, right as I began the fall semester of school. October went by. On November 1 of 2010, I finally decided to follows Adam's advice and make a video very similar to his first video and see what kind of reaction youtube viewers would give me. This was just the beginning.

Ok, itu sahaje untuk saya ni malam ni. Pukul empat petang untuk k'orang.... pukul satu pagi untuk saya... haha. Saya mengantuk gileee.  Saya selalu suka membaca komen-komen di bawah. Walaupun saya suka baca komen2 tu, saya tak selalu dapat menjawab setiap soalan. Kalau ada cikgu2 English lain, jangan malu nak jawab soalan-soalannya untuk saya!

Selamat Malam. 

11 January, 2012

Hello semua!
Selamat datang ke blog Ben! Blog ini membolehkan Ben mengajar kamu semua pasal Bahasa Inggeris dgn cara yang lebih panjang dan lengkap. Kadang-kadang Ben nak beritahu lebih banyak lagi daripada yang dapat dituliskan di Facebook.
Jadi subscribe kepada blog ini, dan teruskan membaca post-post Ben!

Pertamanya, Ben nak ingatkan kamu semua pasal beberapa post dari tahun lepas. Munkgin ramai di antara kamu belum membaca post-post ini. Jadi membaca dengan teliti lah! Jangan malu-malu tanya soalan pasal English kepada Cikgu Ben... ok:
Dec 8, 2010
bukan"good luck in your exam."
bukan "good luck for your exam."
bukan "good luck to your exam."
ada dua cara yg betul: "good luck on yourexam" ngan "good luck with your exam".

Dec 9, 2010
"Don't have a cow" bermaksud"relax lah bro".

Dec 11, 2010

em = them. contoh:
a:"Do you know those guys?"
b:"No, I don't know em."
Ini pun penting. 'Them' ngan 'em'('they' juga)boleh digunakan untuk benda, bukan sahaja orang.
a:"Why dont you like apples?"
b:"I just dont like em. They'regross."

Dec 26, 2010

kat USA, kita orang cakap "take you to thestore" bukan "send you to the store." lagipun, kita orang takcakap "fetch you from the store" tapi cakap "get you from thestore." dia memang macam tu.

Dec 29, 2010

‎"Tunggu sekejap" atau "tunggusebentar" boleh dikatakan di USA macam ni:
1. "hold on just a second"
2. "just a second"
3. "just a sec" (cara ini biasa bagisy)

Jadi, ada soalan nak tanya? tulis itu dekat ruang komen di bawah supaya kita semua dapat berbincang.

21 April, 2011

Pelajaran Slang America: November 2010

Tahu tak maksud ayat ni:'Do you get it?' 'get it' bermaksud 'faham'. Tapi kalau cakap,'Get me one' maksudnya 'ambil saya satu'. Belajar ni... lah

Kalau cakap ini: "I'm boring lah," maksudnya "saya membosankan" bukan "saya berasa bosan". jadi, cakap ini: "I'm bored." Baru ada BI yg baik

yang mana ayat betul: "I'm taller thAn you" atau "I'm taller thEn you"...? Apabila membandingkan, guna 'thAn', bukan 'thEn'...=-)

Beberapa cara bercakap goodbye: 'See ya later', 'See ya', 'Later', 'Talk to ya later', dan 'Bye'. Kalau ada dua lelaki, boleh cakap, 'Peace out' atau 'Peace'.

Kelas malam: 'what's up?' tak perlu dibalaskan dgn 'nothin'. kamu boleh cakap 'hi' atau 'hey' saja untuk jawab. Cara ni biasa bagi saya =-)

Biasanya cuma lelaki yg guna 'dude' dgn kawan2 rapat dia. Jangan guna 'dude' dgn seseorang yg kamu baru kenal. Kalau baru kenal, guna 'man'. Contoh:'Whats up man?" Ladies: jangan guna 'dude' atau 'man' saja... don't ask me why. Macam tu saja haha

Pelajaran baru: kat USA, kami sebut "you're" dan "your" seperti "yer". Jangan lupa menyebut huruf R dgn kuat. contoh: "What's yer name?" Nanti saya nak jelaskan dalam video

Saya "pulled an all nighter". Itu bermaksud tak tidur sepanjang malam dengan sengaja

-Ben Bradshaw. Nov 2010.