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THINKING ALOUD (LearnEnglish) - Abbreviations: TCB stands for Taking Care of Business

Updated on December 25, 2016


Turn On Dreams Abandoned Yesterday”

— Kamil Ali
Remember Send Valuable Presents
Remember Send Valuable Presents | Source

LOST IN TRANSLATION ChenRong's Little Dictionary

…lump..together in the same indistinguishable category
= yí gài 'ér lùn

…theorizing over various military stratagems = zhǐ shàng tán bīng

Initialism = shǒu zì mǔ suō lüè

.. leaving them with crumbs from the feast of the comfortable

ràng tā men yòng cóng shū shì de shèng yàn shèngxià de miàn bāo xiè

Barbarians at the Gate (of Rome)
= lì shǐ de bǐ yù yěmánrén zài luó mǎ de dà mén

Here comes the rub = zhe shi kùn nán zhī chù

..their elderly parents in tow = yǔ tā men nián mài de fù mǔ lái dào zhè ǐ

..Let us get real! = wǒ men bù néng diào yǐ qīng xīn !

…come to a dead-end! = zǒu tóu wú lù

Not In My Back Yard
Not In My Back Yard | Source


WRITER: Chén Róng,


Integral parts of Singapore culture

The abbreviations of GIMBY and NIMBY are subsets of ‘Kiasuism’ which are a deep-rooted Singapore culture. The term which derived from the root word ‘Kiasu’ (pronounced: /ˈkiːəsu) has its origin in a Chinese dialect meaning ‘scared to lose’. The nearest English equivalent ‘dog in a manger’ – someone who keeps something that they do not really want in order to prevent anyone else from having it - is considered not elaborate enough in explaining the meaning of Kiasu. Urban Dictionary defined kiasuism as an act where one is afraid of losing out to others. It is now accepted into the Oxford Dictionary so the word is officially English and now used everywhere in our media with impunity. Using just a simple Google search on the internet, all visitors to Singapore should easily find a host of literature on the subject. So, this short article will not discuss the varied topics poking fun at the mind-set of its inhabitants. I venture to put the matter in the perspective of someone born here and call this place his home.

Basically, a child’s personality has a lot to do with how he/she is being brought up and parenting probably takes on a larger share on the responsibility in shaping his/her character trait. In the same vein, a government of a small city-state with a significant hold on its people’s development for decades will have a strong influence on its people and their philosophy in life. Undoubtedly, all intentions were for the good of the people. A small country has no choice but to stay very competitive against big, powerful nations. These constant remainders to stay competitive unfortunately ingrained in its people a grasping, selfish attitude: Winning becomes a zero-sum game. It is just a case of Good-People-Doing-Bad-Things, an outcome totally unintended by the protagonists.

Visitors from far-off land may laugh at us. But this national culture can be our national treasure too if we embarrass its strength and discard its weakness. Keep the good, discard the bad can be a way of life. We need some time to develop the graciousness and kindness in us. Once we recognise that being Kaisu is not a zero sum game, we may be on our way to building an amazing Shangri-La of a city-state. We do not need a Keep-Singapore-Clean campaign to keep the island clean. Similarly, we no longer need a Singapore Courtesy campaign to show graciousness to both our people, as well as, visitors from foreign lands.

Just my positive thoughts aloud and may my hope turn to wishes, and wishes to reality.



DO NOT CALL | Source

Technology Abbreviations

Writer: Chén Róng

Everybody knows what SMS stands for. But this may not be the same for the term ‘FAX’ as an abbreviation for 'facsimile'. Computer literates may argue that "APP" as a shortened word had its origin with APPle Computer Inc. It is now commonly known that the abbreviated word "app" is a shortened version of "application" for software.

A new regulation hopes to remove some recurring annoyances to mobile phone users in Singapore. It is called the DNA Register. A visiting American might think you are referring to their Democratic National Committee, the principal organisation governing the United States Democratic Party on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it is not the case with the locals. People in Singapore may be more concerned with seeing a sound American economy than its politics regardless of its direction. The United States Federal government shutdown 2013 did not cause a stir; although it could throw USA and world economies into a deep recession.

DNC actually stands for DO NOT CALL. On December 2nd, a Do-Not-Call Registry will be open for consumers here to register their names so that telemarketers cannot call them without permission. This piece of legislation is part of the Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act. For years, consumers have been bombarded with daily SMSes from marketers selling their wares including ready cash from money lenders.

So, will this new DNC Registry be consumers’ saviour, so to speak? It is not a time to celebrate yet. According to Mr Cook, a Chief Technology Officer, DNC registry alone will not stop spam and fraud cases. If you have not heard this before, Mr Cook had this message for you. Despite the advent of this registry and the tightening regulations not just in Singapore but across the region, the problem of mobile spam and fraud is likely to increase instead of decrease. This is because currently there are not many operators in the region which have implemented network filtering for their mobile networks, resulting in almost unfettered access for spammers to get their malware-laden messages across to consumers. It is also more economical for cyber-criminals to send SMS spam using prepaid SIM accounts than it is to send out e-mail spam which can be easily filtered out. Incidentally, Simulator, Simulation, Systems Insight Manager or SIM is part of a removable smart card ICC (Integrated Circuit Card), also known as SIM Cards, for mobile phones.

So, it seems we may have to bear with the annoyance of unwanted SMSes until Mr Cook or other CTOs can find a smarter way to filter them out completely. Until then, if we get messages from money lenders offering quick and easy credit, the writer suggests that these SMSes be deleted immediately. The credit comes at a high price. Some notorious ones would scribble the abbreviation "O$P$" on the outside walls of homes of delinquent borrowers. It stands for ‘Owe Dollar Pay Dollar’.

Enough is enough for such a mouthful of technology abbreviations for a day!



The Singapore Traffic Police has a new safety message for motorcyclists because of increasing number of road accidents involving them. The message takes the form of an acronym: VROOM.
The acronym refers to being "Visible" by switching on their head lights, taking "Responsibility" by riding with caution, especially in wet weather, to "Obey" traffic rules and "Machine" - a reminder to do pre-ride checks on the motorcycles before moving off.

Riders making food delivery services are particularly vulnerable because their stressful delivery time-table caused many of them to take on unnecessary risks. They weave in and out of traffic on highways often used by heavy vehicles. These riders do not realise that big vehicles come with blind spots - areas obstructing the view of a truck driver.

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WRITER:Chen Rong

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. In general, we tend to lump all abbreviations together in the same indistinguishable category. In truth, there are two main types of abbreviations, namely, acronyms and initialisms.

An acronym is usually (but not always) a pronounceable word formed from the initial letters of a name For instance, NATO stands for The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is pronounced as NA...TO. Incidentally, some have made a joke out of this acronym calling it No-Action-Talk-Only portraying a group of grey-haired men sipping Earl Grey tea whilst theorizing over various military stratagems. Meanwhile, battles are raging in some far-off land. The World Trade Organization is similarly ridiculed. To some, WTO stands for the Wealthy-Taking-Over the organization as its operation takes a systematic bias toward wealthy countries and rich multinational corporations, at the expense of poorer countries which have less negotiation power.

An initialism is a group of initial letters forming a word that is usually not easily pronounceable (e.g. IRS for Inland Revenue Service). Initialisms are mainly used for catchy phrases or expressions. In my multicultural country, two expressions stand out as uniquely Singaporean culture: NIMBY and GIMBY. In the past, superstitions had it that people of Chinese descent would never want their homes located near hospitals because of probable bad auras; or next to temples as the gods might take all things good and leaving them (humans) with crumbs: NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). Today, my country’s development, lifestyle, wealth and millionaire mentality has taken root so much so that people generally are becoming self-centered. A house is no longer just a home for them. It is seen as an appreciating asset. Hence, when the government unleashed a master plan to build a new town in Punggol filled with water sports, fun-n-games, flashy shopping malls, people vied for these facilities to be located near their homes: GIMBY (Good in My Backyard). Self-centeredness is an offspring of self-preservation. With such indiscriminate flow of foreigners from distant land, many of my countrymen felt their livelihood threatened. If these “Barbarians at the Gate are not restrained through proper checks and balances, more locals will be out of jobs by age forty! “ It is a common outcry. I have had conversations with taxi drivers who claimed they were general managers and senior executives in their heydays just a few years back. What has these talks about jobs to do with asset enhancement? Well, a lot. If one gets retrenched with no alternative employment in sight, selling an enhanced value home and downgrade to a less desirable one will mean food on the table for the family and education for the young ones. Here comes the rub! What if you were to place a nursing home in my backyard? Protest bells start ringing NIMBY, NIMBY - because affected homes will become depreciating assets!

With more foreigners coming here both for work and settle in as permanent citizens: their elderly parents in tow, more stress is added on the infrastructure – more nursing homes, hospitals and schools have to be quickly built. On a broaden front, these foreigners are also fuel to accelerating inflation in housing and communication costs. The latter is a touchy subject. Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) are rocketing sky-high in prices. People in marketing and sales see a need to own their own vehicles; at least not until public transport becomes a more reliable option. One Chinese national in his blog said of our ERP gantries and their impact on these Singaporeans: ERP can say to be their expression for zǒu tóu wú lù ! Meaning: they have come to a dead-end!

Let’s get real! Our country is now at an economic crossroads. Adjustments can be painful and difficult for both its people and government. While it is human that we give our frustrations a voice, we all have to come together as one united people to make things work for the better. Complaints alone cannot be the answer to our economic woes. To start with, what we now seriously need is a bag of good acronyms as food for our psyche.

How about a SMILE. Yes, you have got it: Special Magic In Living Everyday!


Hubpages do not support words written in the Chinese Language. Readers can get a free online English-Chinese translation from GOOGLE TRANSLATE OR

I have also included ChénRóng’s Little English-Chinese Dictionary for a more precise translation of select English phrases from the article.


Shorten Words and Phrases

Writer: Chén Róng

There are words, particularly new ones, which are either so distracting or difficult to pronounce that their abbreviations (abbr) are deemed necessary to help readers understand better. Shortening of such words is considered proper, both in writing and speech. However, when such abbreviated forms become over-used, people generally take these words for granted. Ask anyone for their long form, few could provide you with a correct answer.

When I was about 15 years of age, I asked my elder brother what R.S.V.P meant on a wedding invitation card of his office colleague. I did not know then if my brother had the answer but nevertheless I was impressed by his witty response: “Remember Send Valuable Present”. Now, some decades later, educated friends might just be able to tell me the translated version “respond, if you please” and not the original French phrase: “Repondez s’il vous plait” my tutor at Alliance Francaise Singapour had it accurately pronounced.

Some abbreviations have evolved into common acronyms. They are words with points (or periods) omitted. NATO is a fine example. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is another common acronym. AIDS, an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome’, was first recognized in United States of America (USA) in the early 1980s as caused by a virus known as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). It immediately gripped people’s psyche after actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS. People, including educated ones, became paranoid with fear and limited their casual contact with others because they were told AIDS could be transmitted through saliva or tears. There were others who made a joke of it by telling friends they could not join them at get-together parties because they had AIDS: Acute Income Deficiency Syndrome. But one thing is certain – nobody could provide you with the long version of the word. Most do not even know that AIDS is an abbreviation. You might also hear the word AID being used in place of the correct one.

SARS, another viral acronym that stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome - a several viral infection of the lungs - is also mentally challenging for many people when asked to give the long version of the word. SARS is now a common acronym and any organisation using the word will be better served if it comes with points (or periods):’ S.A.R.S.’ to distinguish itself from the mysterious and contagious lung-disease. But the South Africa Revenue Service has the acronym SARS as its image logo. People visiting South Africa may be taken aback on seeing the flag with a SARS logo; an acronym not trademarked as a slogan name or logo in commerce. In any case, Trademark Law is finical and must be defined to each country. Besides, the word used as a medical acronym may defy trademark infringement claims. In any case, South Africa Revenue Service did not see the need to do so because its logo has been around longer than the viral acronym which only started in China in 2002.

There are also other common acronyms which people generally do not even attempt at finding out the exact words for them. People refer the morning hours as a.m. and the afternoon, p.m.; and they mistakenly interpreted them as ‘at morning’ and ‘past morning’ instead of ante meridiem (not meridian) and ‘post meridiem respectively. When used in the written form, they should be in small caps and no points. Do not write: ‘10 AM in the morning or 10 o’clock AM’. It is incorrect. People still made these mistakes.

Some shortened words are foreign to native English speakers visiting Singapore. It may come to their surprise hearing UNI undergrads (university undergraduates) using the localised diminutive word ‘sabo’ (for sabotage) when talking among peers. But when visitors randomly talk to people on the island, they may get ready answers for this commonplace term. Do not laugh at us. It is just part of our culture. But SPG, short for Sarong Party Girl, is not our national icon; nevertheless, visitors will have no difficulty in a getting a clear version of the term. The Merlion - an 8.6 metre tall statue of a mythical creature - is our national icon. An abbreviated Merlion is on display at STB - Singapore Tourism Board. Merlion (like Mermaid) is a compound word. It is not an abbreviation.


Free Trade Fracas: TPP

TPP is an important free trade agreement abbreviation forTrans Pacific Partnership.

Donald Trump has been vocal against TPP, calling it an attack on American business. When she was President Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton called TPP the “gold standard” of international trade agreements.

Indeed it is a fracas - a noisy argument. An argument with diverging or opposite views expressed by Donald Trump and Hilliary Clinton.

Many arguments are confined to a small group, but not the TPP. It has both political and economic consequences that reverberates round the world. They affect the well-being of both the elites and the common man, especially within countries of Southeast Asia.

Do not think that with or without a TPP signed, it will not affect you, a small merchant with little or no international trade exposure.

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PPP: Public-private Partnership.

PPP applies to anything from a simple short term management project to a long-term one that requires funding, planning, building, operation, maintence and divestiture. It is funding model in which the public partner is represented by the government at a national, state or local level. The private partner can be a privately-owned business, public corporation or consortium of businesses.

In short, PPP arrangements are useful in countries that require the state to legally own a project that serves the public. One useful example is the Hefei City (Anhui Province, China) home care services for the elderly. It is a fitting example of a PPP model (zhèngshèhézuò).The city refurbished some idle buildings in older streets to operate centres with professional care for the elderly citizens. These services take the form of education, entertainment, health care, meals, housework, day care , temporary foster care and other cultural activities to help the elderly enjoy a healthy, happy and rewarding life-style.

There are different models of PPP and their special funding and operational characteristic in which one partner is responsible for owning and maintaining assets at different stages of the project.

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APEC stands for The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

APEC is not a global hegemony.

Dr Malcolm Cook Senior Fellow ISEAC: "If you look at the US global alliance system, that is not a hegemonic system where countries are forced to join the US or face some type of punitive reaction".

Neither USA nor China is in an extraordinary leadership position as a hegemon working with submissive allies. APEC is not a legally binding free trade agreement of twenty-one economic entities or member countries. Members can pull out anytime since participation is voluntary. It is a consensus-driven institution implementing all economic decisions a step at a time.


Fridge is not an abbreviation. I do not consider it to be one. Its variant is Frig which looks like an abbreviation. It is an acronym - a pronounceable shortened form of the word refrigerator.

But why Frig ?

I think Frig is also a slang word for Frigidaire. The company making Frigidaire is a subsidiary of Swedish Electrolux home appliances manufacturer. In Asia, consumers probably know and buy Electrolux fridges. Many have never heard of Frigidaire.

Refrigerator is spelt without 'd' and the variant 'frig' becomes part of the word.

Fridge is not an abbreviation. I think it does not come within that category. Its variant is Frig which looks like an abbreviation.


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