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The Power of Immersion: How Mandarin Retreat Transformed Language Learning

Written by April Zhang on Wednesday, 02 August 2023. Posted in Student's Posts

The Power of Immersion: How Mandarin Retreat Transformed Language Learning

The following post is from Mischa, who has achieved remarkable success primarily through self-study. As a dedicated learner, he is always giving 100 percent of his effort. And he helps others wherever he can.

A simple checklist for Chinese Writing Contest participants

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 24 July 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

A simple checklist for Chinese Writing Contest participants

Chinese Writing Contest 2023 will be receiving submissions on August 1. It’s only a few days away!

Get your writing ready for the big day and use this simple checklist to make sure that your submission stands a chance to get qualified.

Using character bios to create characters that connect with your readers

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 17 July 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Using character bios to create characters that connect with your readers

Last time I wrote about using 4C to improve your story telling skills. Today we zero in on the fourth C — “Characters”, meaning that your characters need to be alive and convincing. 

There are many ways to do this. As mentioned in the last post, action is one of them. However, your character’s action can not be random. Although it is you who create that character, you can not ask him or her to behave in a way that is not in-line with his or her personality traits, social background, economic strength, personal experiences, and so on. 

Use the concept of 4C to improve your story telling skills

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 10 July 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Use the concept of 4C to improve your story telling skills

The majority of submissions during the previous Chinese Writing Contests were short stories. While some were exceptionally good, there were stories that really confused me. This year I hope to receive more of the former, none of the latter.

This is the reason that we’re going to talk a little bit about the 4C in story telling. I’ll use some successful entries from 2022 to illustrate.

Know which Chinese punctuation marks to use in your writing

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 03 July 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Know which Chinese punctuation marks to use in your writing

Use “ “” ”, not “「」”.

Use “ 。”, not “.”.

As the opening day for Chinese Writing Contest 2023 is less than 30 days away, I’d like to remind all participants to pay attention to Chinese punctuation marks in their writings.

Originality and passion, rely on your human traits to outperform AI

Written by April Zhang on Tuesday, 13 June 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Originality and passion, rely on your human traits to outperform AI

The first Chinese Writing Contest was launched in 2021. It was started as a response to an ongoing prevalent belief among Chinese language learners, teachers and test authorities.

At the time, I did not anticipate the rise of ChatGPT. All of a sudden, this amazing and fascinating AI powered chat bot gives a new meaning and mission to why this Chinese Writing Contest must carry on.

Write your story in the simplest way to capture your readers

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 09 June 2023. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Write your story in the simplest way to capture your readers

We’re talking about how to write well and earn a place in the coming Easy-to-Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 3.

My understanding of writing well is to write in a way that is simple, engaging and easy to follow. I believe this is the ultimate trait of good writers. Think of Hemingway’s little book, The Old Man and the Sea.

Students’ anger after DSE English exam calls for reflection on HK’s education system

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 05 May 2023. Posted in Front Page

Students’ anger after DSE English exam calls for reflection on HK’s education system

One bizarre thing happened last month after Hong Kong DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education) English exam, which used some excerpts from the former US First Lady Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming in one reading section.

After the exam, many students went on to Michelle Obama’s social media account and left unseemly comments, blaming her for the exam being too difficult and for their own failures.

Schools need to have a clear definition for what constitutes cheating when using ChatGPT

Written by April Zhang on Friday, 24 March 2023. Posted in Front Page

Schools need to have a clear definition for what constitutes cheating when using ChatGPT

Despite harsh penalties, cheating has never been stamped out in schools. The advent of ChatGPT, or generative AI in general that is widely available, is making the situation worse. 

Before ChatGPT, the following ways are considered cheating: students pay someone to write papers for them; they copy papers from other students; they plagiarise sections from other sources; they present translated materials from a foreign language as their own; they describe ideas of others as their own; they do not give proper credit to others.

Feel the sorrow from a distance - our very first song “By Myself” released

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 13 March 2023. Posted in Front Page

Feel the sorrow from a distance - our very first song “By Myself” released

I’m not a bar person, but I regularly visit a nearby bar on Tuesday evenings. It is because that night is the jam night. Each musician gets to choose two songs to play or to sing. Other musicians will go along with these choices and stage a performance. The sounds of keyboard, guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and sometimes a saxophone, are fused together and exemplified by loud speakers.

Although I am always a spectator, I find the whole experience fascinating.

Sorry about broken links after “disruptive” software upgrade to MSL Master website

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 06 March 2023. Posted in Front Page

Sorry about broken links after “disruptive” software upgrade to MSL Master website

On the surface, it may not look any different. But MSL Master website had just went through a massive software upgrade over the weekend. I was told that there were many benefits that this new upgrade would bring. However, an immediate problem is that the upgrade seemed to be able to rewrite old URLs, and my tech support guys couldn’t figure out why.

I admit that it is very very “disruptive”, a fitting term used so often in the technology community. And I’m very sorry about the problems that readers will likely to experience when browsing the website, a ton of “404” pages.

It’s crazy! We’re making a song

Written by April Zhang on Tuesday, 24 January 2023. Posted in Front Page

It’s crazy! We’re making a song

Meet Luiz Antonio Gonçalves Neto, everyone!

Last year there were a few beautiful poems included in Easy-to-Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 2, a collection of the best entries of Chinese Writing Contest 2022. 

And I said to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if at least one of these poems could be made into a song?

Thanks to Luiz, it’s going to happen.

Hello, 2023! Hello, new office!

Written by April Zhang on Sunday, 01 January 2023. Posted in Front Page

Hello, 2023! Hello, new office!

What has magnificent 2023 brought us?

A new office!

MSL Master just moved in to its brand new office, located at Bonham Strand. It’s a very lively neighbourhood with so many restaurants, shops and convenient stores. It is very close to the old neighbourhood where the previous office was, about five minutes on foot, yet it’s so different. It is definitely appropriate to say 新年新气象!

Easy-to-Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 2, published!

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 21 November 2022. Posted in Chinese Writing Contest

Easy-to-Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 2, published!

The final prize for Chinese Writing Contest 2022 is coming out. It is an old fashioned paper book that gives bragging rights to all fourteen authors who have written remarkable short stories and powerful poems. 

Following the previous book in the series, the title of this book is Easy-to-Read Chinese Short Stories, Book 2. It’s ready for shipping starting Dec 1, 2022.

YouTube mini lessons for learning bits and pieces of classical Chinese

Written by April Zhang on Wednesday, 14 September 2022. Posted in Front Page

YouTube mini lessons for learning bits and pieces of classical Chinese

Have you ever thought about learning classical Chinese but are discouraged by its difficulties? Here is a good news. A series of mini video lessons that teach some must known classical Chinese is now available! 

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