Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Famous Latin Phrases And Quotes

Continuing from my previous post on the inability to locate online translation software for Latin, I managed to locate some websites with the translation for some Latin phrases which were quoted in some English novels that I had read.

One of the excellent websites with English translations for many Latin phrases and famous quotes. According to the writeup on the website, these are commonly used Latin phrases with some of them translated from famous Greek phrases. Apart from the English translation, additional notes about the Latin phrase example the origin or explanation of certain words are also included. This website is at

I would also like to recommend other websites that introduced some basic Latin phrases that can be useful in simple communication. has a list of common Latin phrases useful for everyday use with its English translations. is an online guide for beginners learning the Latin pronunciation. It includes special pronunciations for some consonants, vowels and stresses on certain syllables which vary from the English language.

Some of the Latin quotes that I like

Latin QuotesEnglish translation
Veni, vidi, viciI came, I saw, I conquered
Dum spiro, speroWhile I breathe, I hope
Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverareIt is the nature of man to err, but it is the nature of only the foolish to persist in error
Carpe diem, quam minimum credulo posteroSeize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow
Sapere aude !Dare to be wise !
Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendoThe drop hollows the stone, not by force but by falling on it often
Tamdiu discendum est, quamdiu vivasYou live, you learn
Fallaces sunt rerum speciesThe appearances of things are deceptive

Sapere aude ! (In English, Dare to be wise !)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Online Translation Application

I was writing a document in English and Chinese when I found myself struggling to remember the Chinese translation of an English word. I used two different online translation applications offered by Google and Altavista's Babel Fish for assistance.

Both applications translated my English word as shown in the images. However, the translated Chinese words were entirely different. Personally, I feel that it may be necessary to have some knowledge on the two languages to use the online translation applications in order to select the translated words that best reflect the meaning of the words in the original documents or discard the translated words.

In this case, I have to check up the translated Chinese words given by both applications and select the most suited version for my own use while while in some other cases, I had to modify partially as none reflected the original meaning.

Altavista's Babel Fish is at Google's translation is at

Lastly, why didn't the two applications include the feature of translating Latin to English ??

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ex-Classmates Gathering Session

I do not like attending gatherings with my ex-classmates. It had always been a session where everyone was "comparing" with each other, whoever had switched to more high-flying careers or someone had a new addition to their family.

As for me, it seemed that nothing much had changed. I am still broke, out of a job and still living in my sister's house. The loads of application letters that I had sent out had already turned into ashes and buried deep in the ground at some places which I may have walked on but not aware of.

Everyone has moved forward in their life while I am still lagging behind and stagnant. Quite often, while watching them conversing and updating each other on their latest changes, I would begin to visualise myself ten years from now.

Ten years later,
will I be walking past them on the street dressed in shabby clothes and looking haggard one day ?
will I be struggling to perform small tricks in the underground MRT station while they stand opposite me watching ?
(I think I am having too much time in my hands.)

This whining reminds me of a comment given by one successful businessman in an interview. He said, "Successful people never sit down and whine or think about what is life because they do not have time to do so. They are so busy working that they do not think of things that are not practical to them."

Words of wisdom and truth. Ouch, ouch, my heart hurts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unforgetable Words From A Mentor

Recently, I watched an episode of television show that invited famous Singapore chefs to cook their famous dishes for their own guests. This famous chef in the episode which I had watched invited his "culinary angel" to the dishes he had cooked. He related how this mentor had encouraged him and helped him in his career path.

It brings back memories of my mentor in my first job after my graduation. I had worked on temporary assignments but it was my first full-time job which required me to meet clients and provide assistance to the system users. I was given a short period of in-house training on my own to understand our systems and the software applications.

During one of my user support trips at one of our client' company site, I made a big blunder on their system. I can remember vividly the anger on the client's face. He made a complaint call to my assistant manager about my blunder. The assistant manager managed to calm the client down and assured the client that the problem will be solved. He rushed down to the site, bringing with him the most experienced senior developer in our team to assist me. While he pacified the client, the developer worked with me patiently on the mess I had created. The assistant manager managed to prevent the client from complaining to my manager and both he and the senior developer stayed with me for hours late at night till the system was working smoothly.

Both he and the senior developer did not reprimand me, instead, they tried to help me to salvage the damage quickly without incurring attention from the manager. I will always remember the words he had said to me when he saw my tired face and downcast eyes.

"I make mistakes too but I always remind myself not to make the same mistake more than three times. I will try to remember and take note of the mistake I had made for the first time, avoid repeating the same mistake. The second time I made the same mistake, I will remind myself that I had made it twice. If I made the same mistake thrice, I deserve to be punished harshly by myself as I do not learn from my mistakes and am not serious in my responsibilities." He advised me to give myself three chances to learn from the mistakes that I had made and remind myself not to repeat those mistakes.

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Short Story On Complaining Unfairness

I have often hear many people including myself complaining of unfairness when things do not go our way and we feel being unfairly judged by judges in competitions, our bosses in our workplaces, our parents and the list goes on endlessly.

When my mother first heard me screaming "this is so unfair" at the top of my voice, she simply smiled and asked me this question, "Do you know why your heart is placed at the left hand side of our body ?" I simply stared at her not knowing how to answer her.

My mother began explaining her own view, "We always say that our feelings come from our hearts. However, our feelings, judgements on people and issues vary individually and are never fair because we have added in our own personal consideration factors before passing our judgements. These personal factors have included personal preferences and dislikes which are unjust factors. The heart is thus not located at the centre as it will never be fair."

She then told me her own "philosophy" and that is, in her own words, "Accept the fact and get on with your life. Anyway, you will never know who is prejudiced in your favour instead of against you."

Friday, June 8, 2007

Son Purchasing Father's 1 Hour of Time

This story was related by a Radio DJ over the radio station.

A father was so busy with his work that he normally returned home late at night. One night, he found his son waiting for him at the doorstep. The son greeted the father and asked his father sheepishly, "Dad, how much are you paid for working an hour ?". Though, the father was very perplexed at his son's question, he still answered "20". Upon hearing this, the son's eyes looked downcast and his face seemed disappointed.

The father became concerned and inquired his son for the reason he was asking this question. The son, instead of replying his father, asked his father to lend him 10 dollars. The father turned angry, reprimanding his son, "Why do you need so much money to purchase some worthless toys ?". Without waiting for his son's explanation, he sent his son to his bedroom. The father sat down feeling very angry but cooled down after few minutes and began to regret his attitude. He went into his son's bedroom.

"Son, are you asleep ?", the father asked.
The son sat up and replied, "No".
The father handed to the son a 10 dollar note, "I am sorry I had lost my temper, this is the 10 dollars you have asked for".
The son took the 10 dollar note gleefully and held his pillow up. Under the pillow, was a stack of small dollar notes and coins. The son counted the money carefully while the father looked on confused as to how his son managed to get so much money.

After counting, the son handed to his father the stack of notes, coins and his father's 10 dollar note. "Dad, can I buy one hour of your time to come home early and have dinner with me ?", the son asked. The father was speechless, he was so busy with his work that he had neglected his family and the son had hoped to pay him to have dinner with him.

Post-Breakup "Invoice"

This is one post-breakup story which had me stunned for five minutes. I am not kidding...

A week after the couple had broken up, the lady received a letter from her ex-boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend had mailed a computerised "invoice", a stack of receipts and a letter addressing to her. In the letter, the ex-boyfriend requested her to pay him the total monetary amount printed in the "invoice" for all expenses he had spent on her during the courtship period.

Upon reading the "invoice", she almost fainted. The ex-boyfriend had noted down the prices of every single flower, teddy bear, gift and meal that he had paid for her over the period they were together. In the end, the lady simply issued a cheque to the guy.

When I hear the story, I almost could not believe my ears. I thought my friend was joking, my friend told me later that my jaw opened very wide after I had heard the story.

Do most guys take notes on all the amount of money they spent during dates so that they are able to reclaim the money from the ladies after breakups ? It is understandable that the meals and gifts may be of substantial amount but the guys may wish to discuss with their girlfriends that each pays for one's own meals at times and the ladies could even give their boyfriends treats occasionally. To demand payment for presents given to the other party after breakups, I think the gesture is very rude.