Monday, April 17, 2017

My Newly Published Book on DEPRESSION

My Way! No Way! TAO Is The Way!
TAO Wisdom To Live And Survive In A World Of Depression

My newly published book is perhaps one the few books with a totally unconventional approach to depression, a universal mind disorder. Instead of the conventional ways of avoiding depression with distractions, such as exercise, suppressing its symptoms with affirmations and visualizations, and elevating its depressive moods with medications, this 180-page book uses the ancient wisdom from China, what is known as TAO wisdom, to experience anything and everything in depression, that is, going through every aspect of depression.  

TAO wisdom may enlighten you so that you may ultimately free yourself from depression, or at least look at your own depression very differently.

Here is the INTRODUCTION to the book:

“TAO is neither a religion nor a philosophy.

TAO is simply a way of life about the Way of life, that is, a general way of thinking about everything in life. It is a pathless path of humanity to live as if everything is a miracle.

TAO is the Way through anything and everything in life in order to fully experience them and live in balance and harmony. TAO is not about avoiding or getting out of anything unhappy and undesirable in everyday life, such as depression; rather, it is about going through depression by experiencing every aspect of it in order to become enlightened, if possible, with the profound human wisdom to continue living in peace and harmony in a world of depression.

TAO is looking at life not as a series of both happy and unhappy episodes, but simply as a journey of self-discovery and self-awakening to the real meaning of life existence. You are defined not by your words and thoughts, but by the ways you act and react, as well as the impact you may have on others around you. You exist not because you are simply here; you are here in this world to love and to learn how to live, as well as to help one another do the same.

TAO is formless, shapeless, and inexplicable in words; after all, it had existed long before there were even words. TAO is infinite human wisdom, which is a pathless path to the infinity and the origin of all things.
TAO is not about making your life any easier; it is about acceptance of all aspects of your humanity that need to be fully experienced, embraced, and then to be let go of in order to become wholesome at other times of your life and living—that is the essence of TAO wisdom, which is true enlightenment of the human mind.

Living in a world of depression, you might want every-thing your way or no way. But TAO is the Way through your depression, enabling you to understand how and why you might have your depression in the first place.”

If this book is suitable for you, you can click here to get your Amazon digital copy, or here to get your paperback hard copy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slang and Colloquial Expressions

Language is forever changing. What is currently popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing. The more you learn, the more you will know when to use them or not to use them in your writing or speaking. 

Blue pencil: censor.
e.g. The committee will blue pencil whatever you are going to say.

Put one's shirt on: wager everything.
e.g. We have to put our shirt on this project; we've no other option.

Pooped: exhausted.
e.g. I was pooped after working for nine hours in the yard.

Hard at it: busy.
e.g. "Are you working on the project?" "You bet! I'm hard at it."

Not so dusty: quite good.
e.g. Well the performance was not so dusty; much better than I expected.

Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Bang out: reveal.
e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.

Half-baked: silly.
e.g. What do you take me for? A fool half-baked!

Not worth powder and shot: not worth the effort.
e.g. If I were you, I would just give it up; it's not worth powder and shot.

Cry blue murder: make a great fuss.
e.g. Just ignore him: he's crying blue murder over everything.

Beat hollow: be superior to.
e.g. She is bossy, beating everyone hollow.

Excuse my French: pardon my bad language.
e.g. Ladies, please excuse my French; he really made me mad.

Back to square one: back to where one started.
e.g. We're back to square one: no deal.

Jump on: blame or criticize strongly.
e.g. You jumped on him every time he opened his mouth.

Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.

Keep one's head above water: stay out of debt or a difficult situation.
e.g. In this economic environment, it is not easy to keep your head above water.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More American Idioms

Idioms are words and phrases in a language that have come into existence for a variety of reasons, some obvious enough, some inexplicable, but most of them appropriately and delightfully characteristic of the race that created them.

Hit the nail on the head: do exactly the right thing
e.g. Your remark hit the nail on the head; that was precisely the solution to the problem.

Flash in the pan: only temporary
e.g. His initial success was only a flash in the pan.

Keep a straight face: refrain from laughing
e.g. It’s difficult to keep a straight face when someone acts so funny.
Add insult to injury: make things worse
e.g. Enough is enough! Don’t add insult to injury.

Have it coming: deserve what one gets
e.g. Failure was unavoidable. What you did had it coming.

After hours: after normal working hours
e.g. We are so busy that many of us have to stay after hour.
Just as well: good that an unexpected problem has come up
e.g. It was just as well the customer didn’t show up; we didn’t have anything ready for him.

Pitch in: help and get busy
e.g. We need help for this project; would you like to pitch in?

Play both ends against the middle: gain an advantage by pitting people on opposite sides of an issue against each other
e.g. In American politics, it is not common for politicians to play both ends against the middle to win their elections.

Quick on the uptake: quick to understand; smart
e.g. He is quick on the uptake; you don’t need to give him unnecessary details.

All thumbs: awkward and clumsy with one’s fingers
e.g. She will not learn to play the piano because she knows her fingers are all thumbs.
Make headway: make progress or advancement
e.g. Despite our effort, we have made little headway with our business.

Actions speak louder than words: do something about it, not just talking about it
e.g. Show me what you have done! Actions speak louder than words.

Have one’s fingers in the pie: become involved in something
e.g. As long as you have your fingers in the pie, things will not run smoothly.

Abide by: accept and follow
e.g. If you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you must abide by U.S. immigration laws.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

American Idioms

Give someone or something a wide berth: keep someone or something at a distance.
e.g. That dog is very fierce. We’d better give it a wide berth.
e.g. Your Mom is in a foul mood; give her a wide berth.
As plain as day: plain and simple

e.g. The briefing was as plain as day; nobody had to ask any question.
All at sea: confused
e.g. The lawyer was all at sea when he read the two conflicting reports of the incident.

Odd man out: atypical person or thing
e.g. Everybody has a partner, and you are an odd man out because you don’t have one.

Take the bull by the horns: deal with the challenge directly
e.g. This is a very difficult situation, but we must take the bull by the horns.

Accountable for: able to explain why
e.g. You have to be accountable for every decision you are going to make.
Actions speak louder than words: do something about it, not just talking about it

e.g. Show me what you have done! Actions speak louder than words.
Vested interest: a personal stake
e.g. He showed a vested interest in his uncle’s business.

Above all: most importantly
e.g. Above all, you must have a valid visa if you wish to continue to stay in the United States.

Go for broke: make great effort; risk everything
e.g. To win his re-election, the Mayor would go for broke.

Mind one’s p’s and q’s: pay attention to one’s manners
e.g. When you meet the President, you must mind your p’s and q’s.

Run in the family: a characteristic in all members of a family
e.g. Longevity runs in the family: they all live to a ripe old age.

All at sea: confused
e.g. The lawyer was all at sea when he read the two conflicting reports of the incident.

Act one’s age: behave maturely

e.g. Stop behaving like a teenager! Act your age.
You bet: yes, of course
e.g. “Are you hungry?” “You bet!”

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 6, 2017

Learn Some American Idioms

Kettle of fish: a mess, an unpleasant incident
e.g. That was a pretty kettle of fish: your in-laws and your parents arguing at the party.

Late in life: in old age
e.g. It was only late in life that he became a famous writer.

Abide by: accept and follow
e.g. If you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you must abide by U.S. immigration laws.

Take to one’s heels: run away
e.g. Before the police could come, the thief took to his heels.

Feel like: have a desire for something
e.g. I feel like eating a hamburger.

Under a cloud: under suspicion
e.g. He has been under a cloud; the police has been investigating him for some time.

Open a Pandora’s box: uncover a lot of previously unsuspected problems
e.g. If I were you, I would not look into his past; you might be opening a Pandora’s box.

Late in life: in old age
e.g. It was only late in life that he became a famous writer.

Poke one’s nose into something: interfere with
e.g. I don’t like the way you poke your nose into my affairs.

Above all: most importantly
e.g. Above all, you must have a valid visa if you wish to continue to stay in the United States.

A little bird told me: somehow I knew
e.g. “How did you know what I did?” “Well, a little bird told me.”

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Begin Writing

Begin your writing by announcing or introducing your topic. There are different ways to do that:

Direct and no-nonsense approach

e.g. We all have some form of racial prejudice.

e.g. All men are not born equal.

The focus is on clarity and directness, rather than on interest. Place your topic sentence in the very beginning of the first paragraph.

Indirect or delayed approach

e.g. Iron is essential for life. It is required to transport oxygen in the blood, as well as to burn food and body fat. Iron deficiency has long been a health concern in the medical community. But, recently, scientists discovered that excess iron could cause cancer and heart disease.

Identification of the topic is delayed by covering another aspect of the topic first.

Limiting-the-subject approach

e.g. A community college is different from a university in  many ways—especially in teaching.

The approach conveys that the content is limited to only one aspect—teaching.

Catch-attention approach

e.g. Do you know why some cancer patients survived, and most did not?

This approach immediately arouses the curiosity and interest of the readers.

Amusing approach

e.g. “What is truth?” said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer. (“Of Truth” by Francis Bacon)

This approach uses the strategy of amusing the readers with a satirical remark.

Here are some tips on introducing your topic:

Do not make the opening too long, such that it seems to cover everything that will be covered.

Do not make the opening too short, such that the readers do not have time to digest what is about to be discussed.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 24, 2017

Learning Slang

Learning a language takes time and effort due to its complexity. Language is forever changing. What is currently popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing. The more you learn, the more you will know when to use them or not to use them in your writing or speaking. 

Power of: a great deal of.
e.g. Surely he can do anything: he has power of money.

Hold your horse: delay taking action.
e.g. Come on, hold your horse, and just take it easy!

Right you are: I agree.
e.g. "I think I'm going to accept this job." "Right you are."

All at sea: confused.
e.g. "What do you think of the proposal?" "I'm all at sea; I'm completely clueless."

Give someone a piece of one's mind: scold.
e.g. He was rude, and I would like to give him a piece of my mind.

Pop the question: propose marriage.
e.g. Did he pop the question on Valentine's Day?

All hot and bothered: agitated, confused, or excited.
e.g. She was all hot and bothered when she heard the news of their divorce.

Poorly: sick or unwell.
e.g. What's the matter with you today? I say, you look poorly!

Easy on the eye: good looking.
e.g. I say, your girlfriend is easy on the eye.

Pooped: exhausted.
e.g. I was pooped after working for nine hours in the yard.

Say one's piece: say what one ought to say.
e.g. I must say my piece: that was not a nice thing to say to your parents.

Give someone a break: leave me alone.
e.g. Come on, give me a break; I don't want to hear this from you.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau