group discussion

Group Discussion

Discussion is a process where people talk, converse, and discourse about something trivial or significant wherein the end result is to express ideas, make decision, or solve a problem.

Good vs Bad Group Discussion

Video by PolyU ELC

Lesson 1

  • Characteristics of an Effective Group Discussion
  • Roles of Each Member in a Group Discussion
  • Steps in Conducting a Group Discussion

Instructions

  • Watch the video
  • Answer the following questions for the class discussion later
    1. What are the things to avoid in a group discussion? Make a list.
    2. What would make a group discussion successful? Make a list.
    3. Name/describe the role of each of the members in the group?
    4. How does a good discussion should start? Describe it.
    5. How does a good discussion should end? Describe it.
    6. Suggest ways on how to keep the discussion going.

Suggested Topics for Group Discussion

Make a list of the advantages of marijuana

Make a list of the disadvantages of marijuana

Talk about the benefits and challenges of the use of marijuana

Discuss about the feelings of the general Thai population about same-sex marriage

Why was same-sex marriage approved by the Thai government?

How can Thai people preserve their culture and tradition in the midst of changing times?

Lesson 2

  • Deciding on a topic for group discussion
  • Mind mapping topic for group discussion

Instructions

  1. Watch the video on how to mind map topics for group discussion
  2. Together with your group members map out your topic on a paper or on your electronic device.
  3. Submit your mind map for consultation, marking, and approval.
  4. Save your work and compile them on your portfolio (paper or electronic)

Lesson 3

  • Group Discussion Script Writing
  • Finish product: group discussion script

Instructions

  1. Meet your group members
  2. Go through the guidelines in writing a script for your GD.
  3. Write/ organize ideas and information, questions and answers
  4. Submit for approval, and practice for the GD presentation (onsite or recorded in a video).

Guidelines for GD Script writing

  1. Moderator/ facilitator open the discussion
    1. greetings
    2. set the objectives/goals of the discussion
    3. explain briefly but concisely the significance of the topic (why do you need to discuss the topic)
    4. take the attendance (can done immediately after the greetings or before the greetings)
    5. begin the discussion (use transitional phrases to move from this step to the next for example, without further ado let’s begin the discussion….)
  2. Discussion proper
    1. Members at this point share their opinion(s), ask for other’s opinion, express agreement, disagreement or partial agreement, ask or give explanation, ask or express clarification, and ask or give suggestion. You may find helpful phrases for group discussion here.
    2. The exchanges among members should resemble a web of opinions, ideas, and questions, answers that are being thrown around rather than a two-way traffic of question and answer just like an interview (refer to the illustration below).
    3. While discussions are going on, minutes are jotted down or recorded by the secretary or any one assigned.
    4. The GD is completed/ finished when the objectives/goals set in the beginning have already been achieved. The moderator will then transition from this step to the next.

3. The moderator summarizes the discussion and mentions important and salient points from the discussion.

  1. review objective(s)/goal(s) of the group discussion
  2. enumerate the decision reached
  3. closing remark (thank members and bid goodbye, and remind members of their responsibilities, or schedule of the next group discussion/ activities).

Group Discussion Notes HERE

MORE HERE

Basic Conversation Structure

Lesson 2 Getting to Know You

sample conversation
sample conversation

ACTIVITY #1. Answer these questions with your partner.

  1. Take a look at your conversation e-book, name the different ways of introducing yourself? Introducing other people?
  2. What is SMALL TALK?
  3. What are topics you should not talk about during small talk?
  4. What are good topics to talk about during small talk?

ACTIVITY #2. Do this activity with your partner.

  1. Look at conversation samples 1 and 2. Label the parts of the conversation according to the basic conversation structure above.
  2. Write and act out a conversation between two people meeting for the first time at a conference.
  • follow the basic conversation structure – kickstart, body, leave taking, goodbye.
  • small talk topics – nationality, home, occupation, workplace,  and the reason why they come to a conference

HELPFUL VIDEOS

Lesson 3: Request, Permission, Offer

  • Making a request (การร้องขอ)
  • Asking for permission (ขออนุญาติ)
  • Offering help (ให้ความช่วยเหลือ)

Activity #1

  1. Familiarize the common expressions used for making a request, asking permission, and offering help.
  2. Practice using the expressions – Go to MAKING A REQUEST PRACTICE and ASKING PERMISSION PRACTICE.
  3. Complete the conversation exercises below.

Activity #2

  1. Write and act out a conversation involving making a request, asking permission, and/or offering help. (Be mindful of the structure of your conversation)

HELPFUL PHRASES

Making a Request

polite request in english
polite request in english

Asking Permission

simple sentence pattern for asking permission

Offering Help

CONVERSATION EXERCISES – 1

Somchai: Good morning, Madam. ________(1 offer help)____________?

Nattawadee: Good morning. __________(2 permission)__________________?

Somchai: I’m sorry, he’s out of the office at the moment.

Nattawadee: Oh, well, never mind.

Somchai: _____________(3 offer help)_______________________ for you tomorrow?

Nattawadee: Oh, yes please. For 10 AM.

Somchai: Just a minute… _____(4 decline)_____________ he has another meeting at 10 AM. Will three in the afternoon be all right with you?

Nattawadee: No, thank you. I’ll meet him at his residence tonight. It’s something urgent.

Somchai: ________(5 offer help)________________ him anything?

Nattawadee: Thanks. You could tell him that Ms. Nattawadee was here.

Somchai: I will tell him.

Nattawadee: Thank you.

CONVERSATION EXERCISES – 2

Tom: Hey Jerry, going somewhere?

Jerry: Yes. I need to pick up the new guests at the airport.

Tom: ______(1 offer help)___________________?

Jerry: That would be great! It can be pretty lonely driving alone you know.

Tom: I certainly know that. Ok, ______( 2 permission)______ quickly grab my bag.

Jerry: Ok. Oh by the way I forgot to bring my wallet. ___(3 request)___________ bringing it. It’s on my table next to the computer.

Tom: Sure thing!

Jerry: I’ll wait for you in the car.

Tom: OK.

CONVERSATION EXERCISES – 3

Follow the conversation in the video. Fill in the missing conversation lines.

HELPFUL VIDEOS

Lesson 4

Complaining, Clarifying, Apologizing, and Thanking

Instructions

  1. Go over your e-book, unit 4.
  2. Define the following complain, clarify, apologize, and thank.
  3. List down words and phrases used for making complaints, asking for clarification, apologizing, and thanking.
  4. Use 2 to 3 of these expressions in a sentence. Share your sentences with your seatmate.
  5. Complete the conversation in the video below. Practice and present your conversation with the customer service agent.

MORE HERE

Helpful Phrases to Remember for an Effective Group Discussion

Discussion is a process where people talk, converse, and discourse about something trivial or significant wherein the end result is to express ideas, make decision, or solve a problem.

.

MORE HERE

travel tips to Thailand

Travel Tips to Thailand

travel tips to Thailand

If you’re travelling to Thailand on a budget, these few tips might help.

Our family has been living in Thailand for the last 16 years and so we can say we are quite familiar with the do’s and don’ts of being a tourist here. And while traveling here is relatively safe, the most common headache a tourist/foreigner can encounter in this country is getting overcharged. I know there are some foreigners who don’t really mind shelling out some extra cash to make their hosts happy but for those who are on a budget, like us, can’t really afford to be that generous or extravagant.

  • Clinics: Getting sick or getting hurt on your vacation is the last thing in mind but it does happen and it’s during this time that we become vulnerable. If something like this ever happens always ask where the nearest public hospital is. Public hospitals here are good. They can be crowded but they are good. One of the biggest tourist traps in these areas are private clinics/hospitals. Clinics like these could charge you as much as 800-1000 USD for an overnight stay due to diarrhea.
  • Restaurants: I have seen many tourists resorting to eating at 7Elevens or the usual Western food chains like Mc Donald’s and KFC which will end up costing you a lot of money and missing out on the authentic Thai experience. Eating at local restaurants can save you a ton of your budget but the only thing is it’s a bit daunting. The communication barrier is a headache and most of the time their menus are all in Thai and you end up relying on faded photos on the menu when choosing your food.

Choosing a local restaurant is actually easy. Just go where the locals go. If you see an old looking rundown two story restaurant building with a lot of locals eating in it, that’s your best bet in that area. And as for ordering food, make sure that you have done your research beforehand and saved the photo and name of the food you’d like to have in your mobile device so you can just show it to the old lady taking your order. A meal can cost from a dollar and fifty to two dollars per person unless you order a dish ala carte which is usually good for two to three persons and will cost you more.

  • Dubious Deals/Cheap Deals: As the saying goes “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Avoid deals that are questionable. There’s always a catch to it.  We’ve done some questionable/cheap deals over the years we have been here and we can accurately say we regretted every single one of those deals. A good example of such deals is our first ever island hopping trip in Krabi.  We opted for the cheapest private group trip after a long discussion with the hotel front desk. When she offered us the lowest rate trip it was as if she was kind of hesitant and as if she wanted to say something to us about it but we were kind of adamant of getting that trip since it was within our budget and it had the same amenities as the expensive ones. Welp… let’s just say saving a few thousand baht was not worth it. It felt like we came from the movie castaway with our rundown long tail boat. Our lunch was sticky rice with fried chicken but… it seemed to me more like a drumstick from a house bird. And our boat was not allowed to dock with the regular tour boats. We docked on the opposite side of the island and had to walk quite a distance to where the toilets and restaurants are so we could at least buy the kids some decent lunch and drinks.
  • Prices: Always ask for the price then confirm it again before you get on the tuk-tuk/motorbike taxi even if it makes you look annoying. For the taxi always ask them politely to turn on their meter. If they don’t and ask for a fixed price, it’s best to politely walk away from that deal.
  • Smile: In the land of smiles it really helps when you are smiling and friendly when dealing with the locals. In this part of the world a genuine smile really pays. The locals become more helpful when they are helping a smiling and friendly visitor. They would even go out of their way to walk you to your destination if it’s just within the area.

Other Reminders

  • Before booking a flight/hotel, please check Thailand Travel Restrictions.
  • To be aware of the latest happenings, Thaiger provides the latest news and information about Thailand.
  • For the latest news on CoviD-19 cases in Thailand, check out their official Facebook page @ไทยรู้สู้โควิด (https://www.facebook.com/thaimoph)

MORE HERE

Affordable Hotels

Cheap to Free Admission Tourist Destinations

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toddler reading

Reading and Writing #4 (short passage)

Getting a vaccination could soon be as simple as eating a potato. Researchers at the University of Maryland, led by Dr. Carol Tacket, are developing edible vaccines that could grant immunity against some diseases.

To be inoculated against a virus, bacterium, or toxin, the antibodies of our immune systems must be exposed to the illness-bearing agent, or pathogen. Vaccines work by exposing the body to pathogens that have been killed or disarmed. Once sensitized, antibodies can mobilize rapidly against familiar enemies by binding to them and preventing their growth and activity.

Most vaccines are delivered in shots or pills, but the new one will be incorporated in raw potatoes. The potatoes have been genetically engineered to produce the key piece of an E.coli toxin that causes acute diarrhea. As the spuds move through the intestinal system and are digested, the toxin fragment is released and exposed to the immune system, which then generates antibodies against the toxin.

Dr. Tacket’s group is waiting for approval from the FDA to test the potato vaccine on humans; it has already been tested successfully in mice. The next step would be to genetically modify bananas to carry vaccines, because raw bananas taste better than raw potatoes.

The potential for edible vaccines is tremendous, especially in developing countries. Whereas current vaccines are expensive to produce, store, transport, and administer, an edible vaccine could be grown where it is needed in the quantity desired, and requires considerably less medical expertise to use.

EXERCISE 1: Below are list of vocabulary from the reading article. Complete the table by providing the definition and sample sentence for each of the given vocabulary. You may download, link below.

vocabularymeaningsample sentence
edible fit to be eaten as foodFruits found in the forest may not be edible.
grant (verb)to giveTheir request for monetary allowance was granted.
immunitythe condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to diseaseVaccines help the body build immunity to diseases.
disease
inoculate
toxin
antibody
immune system
expose
pathogen
genetically engineered
generates
potential
tremendous
current
administer
quantity
desire

EXERCISE 2: Reading Comprehension Questions

Download questions to test your reading comprehension.

EXERCISE 3: Write a short essay on any of the following topics.

  1. How a CoViD-19 vaccine works?
  2. Benefits of CoViD-19 vaccine
  3. Advantages of a vaccinated person over unvaccinated individual
  4. Importance of vaccination
  5. How are CoViD-19 vaccines administered?

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toddler reading

Reading and Writing #2 (short article)

Just a few minutes’ chatting on a mobile phone reduces the brain functions of children for almost an hour, according to new Spanish test results quoted in Norwegian media.

The tests, conducted by the German investigator Michael Klieeisen at the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella, are the first to show how children’s brains react to the use of mobile phones. With the help of a scanner, Klieeisen was able to create pictures of how the brains of an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl reacted while they used a mobile phone. The results were compared with similar tests using adult subjects.

The tests showed that the brain activity of the child subjects was reduced significantly, especially on the side where the mobile phone was held, a few minutes after the call was begun, the report said. Also, brain activity was lower than normal in large sections of the brain for 50 minutes after the end of the call, the test results showed.

“My advice to all parents is not to allow children to use mobile phones.” Klieeisen was quoted by Aftenposten as saying. “Not only are electrical activities affected, but also bio chemical processes. We do not know if it is dangerous, but we do know that children’s brains, which are not fully developed, are more vulnerable than adult brains are,” the researcher added.

Researchers in Britain confirm the Spanish results, and Norwegian and Swedish experts are also studying the health risk posed by mobile phones.

Reading Comprehension Questions

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american culture

American History, Language, and Culture

American culture encompasses the customs and traditions of the United States. “Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones, and a million other things.

The United States is the third largest country in the world with a population of more than 332 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A child is born every 9 seconds, and a person dies every 11 seconds.

In addition to Indigenous Americans who were already living on the continent, the population of the United States was built on immigration from other countries. *Despite recent moves to close the U.S borders to new immigrants and refugees, a new immigrant moves to the United States every 666 seconds, according to the Census Bureau.

The United States is sometimes described as a “melting pot”, in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct “flavors” to American culture. Just as cultures from around the world have influenced American culture, today American culture influences the world. The term Western culture often refers broadly to the cultures of the United States and Europe.

Because of this, the United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Nearly every region of the world has influenced American culture, most notably the English who colonized the country beginning in the early 1600s, according to the Library of Congress. U.S. culture has also been shaped by the cultures of Indigenous Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians.

The way people “melt” in the United States differs. “Different groups of immigrants integrate in different ways. For example, in the United States, Catholic Spanish-speaking communities might keep their language and other cultural family traditions, but are integrated in the urban community and have embraced the American way of life in many other ways.

The Northeast, South, Midwest, Southeast and Western regions of the United States all have distinct traditions and customs.  

*As the American government changes from Trump to Biden administration, there have been changes and modifications regarding laws on immigration and refugees.

**Sources: https://www.livescience.com/author/kim-ann-zimmermann

Guide Questions

Answer the following questions. You may need additional information from other internet sources.

1. What is culture?

2. Who are considered indigenous Americans?

3. What is “melting-pot”? Give examples.

4. What countries have contributed to the diversified culture of American people?

5. Give examples of ways on how immigrants integrate their culture in American society?

6. What is being referred to by the term western culture?

Test Your Vocabulary: American Culture part 1

American Culture Part 2

Language

The United States has no official language according to the U.S. government. While almost every language in the world is spoken in the United States, the most frequently spoken non-English languages are Spanish, Chinese, French and Filipino. Ninety percent of the U.S. population speaks and understands at least some English, and most official businesses are conducted in English. Some states have official or preferred languages. For example, English and Hawaiian are the official languages of Hawaii.

The Census Bureau estimates that more than 300 languages are spoken in the United States. The bureau divides those languages into four categories: one, Spanish; two, other Indo-European languages, which includes German, Yiddish, Swedish, French, Italian, Russian, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi, Greek and several others; three, Asian and Pacific Island languages, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Tamil and more; and number four, “all other languages,” which is a category for languages that didn’t fit into the first three categories, such as Hungarian, Arabic, Hebrew, languages of Africa and languages of native people of North, Central and South America.

Religion

Nearly every known religion is practiced in the United States, which was founded on the basis of religious freedom. About 71% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, according to information gathered by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research group, in 2017. The research also found that about 23% had no religious affiliation at all and around 6% of the population is made up non-Christian religions. The number of people who identify with no religion seems to be decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, this category is expected to drop from 16% in 2015 to 13% in 2060.

Fashion

Clothing styles vary by social status, region, occupation and climate. Jeans, sneakers, baseball caps, cowboy hats and boots are some of the items of clothing that are closely associated with Americans.  Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Victoria Secret are some well-known American brands. American fashion is widely influenced by celebrities and the media. And fashion sales equal around 200 Billion per year according to a paper published by Harvard University in 2007. More and more Americans are buying fashion, electronics and more online. According to the Census Bureau, U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2017 totaled around 98.1 Billion USD.

Food

American cuisine was influenced by Europeans and Native Americans in its early history. Today, there are a number of foods that are commonly identified as American, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meat loaf. “As American as apple pie”, has come to mean something that is authentically American. There are also styles of cooking and types of foods that are specific to a region. Southern-style cooking is often called “American comfort food” and includes dishes such as fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread, according. Tex-Mex, popular in Texas and the Southwest, is a blend of Spanish and Mexican cooking styles and includes items such as chili and burritos, and relies heavily on shredded cheese and beans. Jerky, dried meats that are served as snacks, is also a food that was created in the United States, according to NPR.

The Arts

The United States is widely known around the world as a leader in mass media production, including television and movies. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States comprises one-third of the worldwide media and entertainment industry. The television broadcasting industry took hold in the United States in the early 1950s, and American television programs are now shown around the world. The United States also has a vibrant movie industry, centered in Hollywood, California, and American movies are popular worldwide. The U.S. film industry earned $31 billion in revenues in 2013, and is expected to reach $771 billion by 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The United States’ arts culture extends beyond movies and television shows, though. New York is home to Broadway, and Americans have a rich theatrical history. American folk art is an artistic style and is identified with quilts and other hand-crafted items. American music is very diverse with many, many styles, including rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, country and western, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll and hip hop.

Sports

Baseball is called America’s favorite pastime. The United States is a sports-minded country, with millions of fans who follow football, baseball, basketball and hockey, among other sports. Baseball, which was developed in colonial America and became an organized sport in the mid-1800s, is known as America’s favorite pastime, although it has been eclipsed in popularity by football for the past three decades, according to the Harris Poll.

American holidays

Many holidays are celebrated only in the United States. Americans celebrate their independence from Britain on July 4th. Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, honors those who have died in military service. Labor Day, observed on the first Monday in September, celebrates the country’s workforce. Thanksgiving, another distinctive American holiday, falls on the fourth Thursday in November and dates back to colonial times to celebrate the harvest. Presidents’ Day, marking the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, is a federal holiday that occurs on the third Monday in February. The contributions of veterans are honored on Veterans’ Day, observed on November 11. The contributions of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are remembered on the third Monday in January.

*2021: 350 languages

Guide Questions

Answer the following questions. You may need additional information from other internet sources.

  1. Why do you think the USA has no official language?

2. In the context of American society, what does “religious freedom” mean?

3. How has American celebrities influenced how people around the world view beauty?

4. Suggest ways on how American media have permeated into the world.

5. Which American sport is popular in Thailand? Why is it popular?

6. What American holiday(s) can be matched to any Thai holiday(s)?

Test Your Vocabulary: American Culture part 2

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united kingdom culture

United Kingdom: History, Language and Culture

Woven into the fabric of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is a rich history defined by wars, rebellions, royals, social upheaval and the rise and fall of what was once the biggest empire in the world. The Romans occupied Britain from AD 43 to AD 410 and left behind straight roads, a sewage system and hot baths, amongst other things. After that the Romans, Jutes, Saxons and Angles all established kingdoms south of Hadrian’s Wall before the Normans arrived and gave rise to the myth that it was the last time England was invaded. It wasn’t. England was subsequently invaded several times by the French, a few times by the Scots, at various intervals by pretenders to the throne and once by the Dutch. The Spanish and the Germans also had a go but neither actually set foot on dry land.

King Henry VIII is not only famous for having six wives, but also for breaking away from the Church of Rome, setting up the Church of England so he could get divorced. After Henry, battles between monarchs, nations, nobles and sections of the population invariably became tussles about how to run the country, culminating in the English Civil War (1642-1651), which was won by the Parliamentarians.

The constitutional monarchy that exists in the United Kingdom today developed during the 18th and 19th centuries as power came to be increasingly exercised by an elected parliament. In 1801 Great Britain – that’s England, Wales and Scotland – were formally united with Ireland. The subsequent reign of Queen Victoria, whose role was now little more than symbolic, coincided with a period of great economic success and unfettered empire building before events of the 20th century, notably two world wars, resulted in the dismantling of the empire.

In 1920, Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom, leaving behind Northern Ireland, whose troubled relationship with the UK led to an ethno-nationalist conflict better known as The Troubles (1968-1998). World wars and internal conflicts led to social upheaval, which resulted in universal suffrage, the Welfare State, the repeal of the death penalty and the legalization of homosexuality. In 2014 Scotland held a referendum to determine whether it would continue being part of the United Kingdom or not. It voted to stay, but calls for independence can still be heard across the land.

Did you know? Cricket, football, boxing, rowing, rugby (league and union), tennis and golf were formalized into sports in the UK. • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the world’s oldest and largest broadcaster. • The Orkney Vole has inhabited the islands for 4,600 years and does not occur on mainland Britain.

United Kingdom Culture

Religion in United Kingdom. Predominantly Christian (Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist), sizeable Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Hindu minorities. Around 15% of the population have no religion. Social Conventions in United Kingdom Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. One or two kisses on the cheek is gaining popularity for close friends. Normal social courtesies should be observed when visiting someone’s home and a small present such as flowers or chocolates is appreciated. It is polite to wait until everyone has been served before eating. Some nightclubs and restaurants do not allow jeans and trainers, otherwise casual wear is widely acceptable. For business, a suit and tie should be worn, although in some workplaces an open neck is acceptable.

Topless sunbathing is allowed on certain beaches and tolerated in some parks. Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including stations, pubs and restaurants, throughout the UK. The monarchy, though now only symbolic politically, is a powerful and often subconscious unifying force. Members of the Royal Family are the subject of unceasing fascination, with their every move avidly followed and reported by the popular press, both in the UK and abroad.

Language in United Kingdom. The main language is English, but Welsh is spoken in parts of Wales, and Gaelic in parts of Scotland. The many ethnic minorities within the UK also speak their own languages like Cantonese, Greek, Hindi, Mandarin, Turkish, Urdu, so on and so forth.

*Source: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/europe/united-kingdom/history-language-culture/

Guide Questions

  1. How has Great Britain’s invaders enriched the countries culture?

2. What was the initial purpose for setting up the Church of England?

3. What comprises Great Britain? United Kingdom?

4. Look for additional information regarding the ethno-nationalist conflict known as “The Troubles”.

5. How does UK’s social courtesies differ from Thai social customary?

6. Why do you think the UK Royal Family fascinates people around the world.

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australian culture

Australia: History, Language, and Culture

History of Australia

There were numerous early European explorers to Australia, among them Willem Janszoon, the Dutchman generally credited with being the first outsider to land on Australian soil doing so in 1606, and his compatriot Abel Tasman, who in 1642 discovered the large island off Australia’s southern coast – hence its modern name, Tasmania. It was Captain James Cook, however, who landed at Botany Bay in 1770 and changed the fate of the land forever. When he and his men stepped onto Australian shores, they encountered an Aboriginal way of life that went back some 40,000 years. The first governor, Arthur Phillip, was ordered to encourage a positive relationship with the indigenous locals, although a mixture of disease, malice and mutual suspicion meant this was over-optimistic. The first settlers treated the Aboriginal population with appalling brutality, which gave way to racist policies from subsequent administrations. Tensions still exist between mainstream Australia and the guardians of the Aboriginal way of life. While the native way of life was being strained, the island’s new settlers were putting down firm roots. A British colony had been established not long after Cook’s arrival, and by 1868 (recognising the powerful crime deterrent afforded by penal transportation) London had sent more than 160,000 convicts to Australia. By this time there had also been the mass arrival of free settlers and speculators, many of them pouring into the country in the gold rush of the 1850s. It led to significant economic expansion. By the 1880s the majority of people in the colony had been born and raised in Australia, which in turn was creating a deeper sense of nationalism. The Commonwealth of Australia came into being in 1901.

The nation was deeply involved and affected by both world wars and the Great Depression, but it continued to develop into a modern, versatile nation and grew as both a domestic and international power. Racial reconciliation was given a boost in 2008 when government issued a formal apology to the indigenous population for the past.

Australia remains a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth Il as its present monarch. The country saw its first ever female prime minister in 2010, when Labor’s Julia Gillard won a narrow election victory. Her rule lasted three years, before a political merry-go-round then saw Labor’s Kevin Rudd, the Liberal Party’s Tony Abbott and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull all have stints in power before 2015 was up. Turnbull, of the Liberal Party, is currently serving as Prime Minister, having been reelected in 2016 and served until 2018. He was replaced by Scott Morrison who is currently serving as of the recording of this video in 2021.

Did you know? • Melbourne is said to be home to the most sizable Greek population in the world outside Greece.• The country’s largest cattle station, Anna Creek in South Australia, is more than three quarters the size of Belgium. • Former PM Bob Hawke once held the word record for downing the equivalent of a yard of ale. Australia Culture Religion in Australia 35% Protestant, 25% Roman Catholic, and the rest are smaller minorities of all other major religions.

Social Conventions in Australia. A largely informal atmosphere prevails; shaking hands is the customary greeting. Casual wear is worn everywhere except in the most exclusive restaurants, social gatherings and important business meetings. Most restaurants forbid smoking.

Language in Australia. The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages.

Source: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/oceania/australia/history-language-culture/

Guide Questions

Who are considered indigenous to the country now known as Australia?

Where does most of the mainstream Australians came from?

Why are there tensions between the mainstream Australians and the indigenous people?

What is “Common Wealth of Australia”?

In what manner did the Australian government reach out to the indigenous locals to mend their broken relationship?

What is a constitutional monarchy?

Who was the prime minister when the great Australian wild fire happened? Where was he at the time of its occurrence?

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sai thong resort

Sai Thong Resort (ทรายทอง รีสอร์ท)Trang

On our way to Krabi we decided to have a stopover in TRANG. We immediately started thinking of an accommodation that would not break the bank as we already have booked a nice resort in Krabi, Green View Village Resort. While we were discussing the plans for the day we remembered a resort our university booked us in during our annual university sports meet held in Trang a few years back.  Sai Thong Resort is located at 8WJ+64H, Mai Fat, Sikao District, Trang 92150.

Sai Thong Resort (ทรายทอง รีสอร์ท) was a good experience the first time we stayed so we decided to spend our stopover night there.  We walked in and booked for a night. The family room that we got costs 800Thb (23.8USD) per night. We opted for the cheapest family room thinking that it’s only for a night. Not really the best decision. ^_^

Room

The cheapest room is part of a quadruplex bungalow, one of the older structures the resort has. Inside the room is like a time machine that brings you back to the late 90s to early 2000s with the dated items you can find inside. A picture tube TV attached to a TV Box, old switches and electrical outlets, a vintage shower head, and the room itself is showing its years. The good thing is that they retrofitted an Air conditioner which seems to have been added recently. With all that being said, for us, as long as it works we don’t really mind. ^_^

Bathroom

The bathroom was clean. Old but clean. The bowl and sink are either new or just well-maintained. As for the shower set, the bidet, the mirror and the rack beneath it have seen better years.

Amenities/Complimentary 

We had at least 3 water bottles when we got in the room and presumably will be replenished daily.   A roll of toilet paper and a bottle of body shampoo. There’s a mini ref to store your drinks and food.

Wifi:  The room has free WiFi, but connecting our mobile phones was a struggle. Two out of four phones could connect and get decent feed. The moment a third and fourth phone logs in the feed starts to lag. This is something the management needs to look into. At this day and age we all know that having a good wifi signal is akin to having air to breathe. ^_^

Swimming Pool

This resort does not have a pool but is very very near Pak Meng beach. We also did not mind this aspect since it’s only a stopover for a night. ^_^

Food

They did not offer breakfast during our stay but we clearly remember a buffet breakfast was available during our first stay. I think they only offer breakfast to big group deals or something like that. But it does not matter though since it is surrounded with restaurants with affordable prices and with actually good food. ^_^

Recommendation

Do we recommend Sai Thong Resort??? ABSOLUTELY!!! You have options to either save money or be comfortable in your stay.  We opted to save money and we got what we paid for but they do have better rooms for a higher price. This resort is not only near Pak Meng Beach and restaurants… it is also near Rajamangala Trang Aquarium, an affordable place where you can have a bit of an educational fun with the kids. It’s a very convenient resort to be in with your family. A good place for a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Affordable Family-Friendly Hotel/Resort

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