1. Leisure Activities:
- What types of leisure activities are popular in your country?
This is a great question for me and as an Irish, and I’ll be truly glad to reply your query. In Ireland, there are different types of leisure activities for all types and classes of people. There are a large number of rivers, lakes, hills and open fields are available across the country and accordingly, the people have set their own leisure activities. The most prominent leisure activities in Ireland are golfing, cycling, fishing, walking, rugby, horse riding etc. The activities are undertaken by all ages of people and help them to keep fit. Besides, these are the common forms of entertainment of the Irish people. The cycle ride helps the people to be physically fit and discover the country from a different perspective. When you are on the bicycle ride, you’ll be able to explore the nature and its wonders in the country. Besides, in line with adventures, the riders will be able to get familiar with numerous secondary streets, high mountains, and stunning landscapes of the country. Further, there are many golf courses available in every part of the country including North East West and South Ireland. Thereby, the sports-loving people go in all the golfing clubs to pass their leisure hours.
- Why it is important for people to have time for leisure activities?
Ummm! Leisure, I think, is an important thing for the human beings and is one of the essential needs too. It is a must for several reasons and I think there are two important benefits are the key factors to make it important. Firstly, it provides us mental satisfaction for the participants in the activities, and secondly, it provides physical fitness to them as well. Recreational activities are essential for the human to live a better and healthy life. When people are engaged in their works only, their working qualities get down to a great extent. It happens as they are bored with the regular routine works. The routine makes the life dull and boring. As a result, people cannot concentrate on their activities. The quality of the work falls. But when they participate in the leisure activities, it appears that they are recharged. The regular routine is broken with the leisure activities which bear positive impacts on their body and mind. I think you will also have the same opinion about participation in the leisure activities with me, don’t you? Besides, people may not manage time to perform some physical exercise on their usual days and when they take part in different outdoor leisure activities, they go through a good form of physical pressures which help to reduce their week-long stress in a single day. So, for a wide range of reasons, people should have time for leisure activities.
- Why are some activities more popular than others?
Right you are. Some activities are sometimes different or popular from the other activities. I’m afraid a few words are rarely enough to express the entire causes. To be brief, the activities mostly change or become popular for several reasons. Firstly, when the activity is accessible to everyone and costs less than the other activities of the same type, it becomes popular. Secondly, the activity should be easier and comfortable for all ages of people. Besides, the activity should also be entertaining. If the activity has no entertaining value, it won’t be able to attract the attention of common people. To take an example, I can recall the horse riding in Ireland. There are fewer people who own a horse for riding during the leisure hours as this is a costly issue. Besides, its maintenance is also a troublesome issue for many of the Irish. But if you consider bicycle riding, you’ll find it more popular than horse ride. Why? It is because of the accessibility. Riding a horse is easy but maintenance is tougher while there are no such notable maintenance issues with a bicycle. You’ll need a small barn for the horse whereas a bicycle could be kept at any corner of the house and even under the stairway.
- Are the types of leisure activities that are popular today the same as those that were popular when your parents were young
It is a regret that the activities are not the same as my parents did in their youths and we are doing in our times. A lot of changes have taken place regarding the leisure activities in Ireland. But it should be acknowledged that the activities have been massively changed comparing the past days. I think you are also well informed about the past leisure activities in Ireland. Earlier, there were fewer types of activities in the country but now there are a wide number of activities available around different parts the country. Horse riding, hiking and fishing were the common sources of passing leisure hours and my parents used to participate in the activities. You won’t believe how large fishes my father had caught in his early days. A day out with family and friends was another popular pastime for them which is rare in the current days. But the growth of time and technology, different sorts of activities have been invented which have influenced the youths of my days greatly. Some of the current day activities are of extreme excitement. Golfing is my preferred leisure activity and I have participated in different competitions too. My success in golfing is enviable to other golfers.
- What types of leisure activities may become more popular in the future?
Ummm! There will be changes in the form of leisure activities. I think you have noticed that there are already changes have begun in the surroundings. The kids and youths are passing more time on social networking website, watching television programmes and playing exciting video games. I think after five to ten years, video games or social websites etc. would be the greatest source of entertainment for the youths of that time. But the appeal of hiking, fishing, day out with family and friends, riding horses etc. would remain the same as it is today.
- Is shopping a popular activity in your country?
Thank you for the question. Yes, shopping is one of the preferable activities in Singapore and there are large shopping malls across the country to entertain the shoppers. It is very common activity in my country and most of the time the shopping malls are crowded with visitors. The most important thing is that almost sixty percent of the shoppers belong to foreign countries who come here to shop their necessaries. Besides, the products they get are the best in their class and quality. So, most of the foreigners (particularly who came here before) rely on the shopping malls of Singapore. The most important thing for shopping in Singapore is that the sellers do not compromise with the quality while the prices are also cheaper comparing the other countries. Additionally, there is a wide range of products and services are available in the shopping malls. It will unbelievable to you that almost all types of modern products and services are available in the shopping malls including dresses and attires, toys, cosmetics, jewellery, perfumes, electronic gadgets and many more things beyond your imagination. They are of various designs, colours and sizes to fit all classes of people. Moreover, sometimes the buyers could get some discounts on their shopping and you know the discounts are offered primarily during the Christmas or New Year occasions.
- How have shopping habits changed over recent years?
Well, the shopping habits have been changed greatly in the recent years. Earlier, people used to shop once or twice in a year and therefore, there were less shopping centres or malls for the consumers. But Singapore, being a tourist country, is visited over 10 million tourists in a year and to meet their growing demands for shopping, a large number of shopping malls have been built. Interestingly, the shopping malls were made to attract the tourists visiting the country but the natives of Singapore were also attracted greatly. As I told you earlier that there were one or two occasions for shopping for us in the country, now we shop round the year. People now prefer to go to the shopping malls rather than bargaining at the street markets. Though the street markets have lost some of their clients, they are still the charming places for a good number of natives and tourists. When the shopping was done at the street markets, the sellers and buyers had to bargain over the price of the products and services. In fact, the sellers demanded four or five times higher prices to make a huge profit while the buyers bargained a lot to get the things. But in the shopping malls, there are almost fixed price for the products and services and sometimes there are few discounts on specific products.
- To what extent do you think advertising affects the way people shop?
Great question! I think you are also sometimes influenced by advertisements, don’t you? Like buying a pack of chips or getting a wristwatch etc. are frequently influenced by advertisement. So, we are to admit that advertisement is a great way to influence the people’s decision over getting any specific service or product. You know that the advertisements are made to remind us that we are in need of any specific thing, service or product and the advertisers are there to support us in our needs. Sometimes, in my personal life, I have seen that advertisement has changed the entire decision on a specific issue. So, it is clear that advertisement is the greatest way to persuade people to get the advertised product.
- Do you think shopping habits are likely to change in the future?
Ummmm! This is an uncertain issue but to me, it appears that due to e-commerce the entire shopping system may get a massive change in near future. Now people go to the shopping malls, pick their necessaries and get back home. But when the e-commerce will boom, there will be no such physical visit at the shopping malls. Rather the clients will sit before a computer, will have some mouse clicks to search their desired product or services and will order for that. Then the selling authority will deliver the product to the doorstep of the consumer. I think you are well informed that the e-commerce has started such activities in different parts of the world and it is available in Singapore too (in some limited scale). Someday it may happen that everything including the shopping is also being done virtually.
- What types of sports are popular in your country?
Well, India is a land of sports and the outdoor sports are mostly preferred in the country. There are a large number of games and sports are played across the country including cricket, soccer, badminton, kabaddi, cycling, golf, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, wrestling, boxing etc. But the country is globally famous for its top class cricket playing team, Team India. Cricket has occupied the highest position in the country in comparison with the other games and sports and is played everywhere of the country. Recently, motorsport has gained much priority in India and racing are also held on different occasions with the sponsorship of large corporations or multinational companies. If I talk about indoor games of India, chess will be at the top position and various chess championship events take place round the year. For our information, when I was in my college, I was the chess champion of my department. Though soccer is an important outdoor sport in India, it could not shine that much in the international arena like cricket did. But whatever the game or sport is, the participation of the common Indians on the sports as the audience is spontaneous. Sometimes they wait in long queue for having a ticket of any international cricket match both in and outside of India to enjoy and inspire the players. But sometimes they turn violent on losing the matches as they are always on the view to grab the victory. It is sad that when their dreams shatter, they turn the worst audience.
- What are the benefits of playing a sport?
Ummm! I think initially there are three benefits of participating in a sport, and they are – physical benefits, psychological benefits, and social benefits. When you are participating in a sport, you are having sufficient physical movements which are termed medically as physical exercise. We all need physical exercises for a healthy life and living. When we lack the proper physical movements, we cannot burn the calories we take through foods and consequently we turn the victim of different diseases. Sometimes the seriousness of the diseases leads to death as well. You know, we all are to die someday but a premature death by diseases is entirely unwanted for all. Secondly, when you are participating in sports, you are having enjoyment through the sport. Participation in games and sports make the mind free of worries and unnecessary tensions of the players. So, psychologically you are remaining free of stress which consequently will lead you to happiness and a sound mental state. Finally, when you are attending in sports either by being a spectator or contestant, socially you are marching ahead. You are having the chance to meet and greet other people including players and audiences which increase your social value. You are potentially growing the field of influence in the society by meeting with a large number of people while a sense of brotherhood is also being created. Your access and acceptance in every sphere of the society are being opened. Therefore, it is important to participate more and more in games and sports.
- Do you think the types of sport that are popular will change in the future?
Ahh, if you ask me individually, then my answer will be that we may experience a substantial change in the sports and games for the aggressive emergence of virtual games and sports. Earlier, people used to participate in sports out of the home while the kids and youths of the current days participate in a wide sort of games and sports before their computer. Using internet connection they play different games and sports with each other and sometimes by forming local groups. This may have some negative impact on the real-life sports and games. Earlier, chess competitions were held around the year, soccer players were hailed on the playing grounds while the cricketers were adored for their performances. But in the current days, the number of such large competitions has reduced to some extent. If you ask the reason, then I’ll refer it to the availability and accessibility to the virtual options. The kids and youths of the day are unwilling to participate or be the audience for the events. Since a large portion of the audience is lost by this way of virtual gaming, multinational corporations are afraid to sponsor the events lest their advertisements turn into failures. I’m afraid that an age is appearing where people will be playing or participating in different games and sports sitting before their computer desk.
- How can sports bring people from different countries closer together?
Hmm, it is true that sports can bring nations together. When an international sporting event takes place in a country, people of different nations crowd to see the event. When they spend a notable time together, they get familiar with each other and a sense of friendship is formed among them. It helps to create a social bonding and sometimes they get connected to the social networks. You are highly familiar with social networks, aren’t you? So, I think you could get my point. Thus, they come closer and the relationships are cordial and longer lasting too in some cases. This is the charisma of sports in uniting people from different corners of the world.
- How do most people travel long distances in your country?
An outstanding question for me! Thanks. You will be happy to know that my country, Malaysia, is now a complete country with its wide network of air, road and waterways. Frequently most of the people travel either by bus, airplane or by boats on the waterways. Besides, the travel modes are also popular among the tourists of different countries. Mostly the tourists prefer the waterways as sightseeing becomes perfect for them from the boats and other sea vehicles available across the country. But the native of the country prefers to travel by bus and air. If the distance is short, some of the people use their own transportation modes like privately owned cars and other vehicles. But a majority of the people use the public transports. Regarding the transport fares, it is very reasonable to the people and almost fixed in some cases. The fares are decided based on the distance actually in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. To move inside the cities, a large number of public transports are available and found in every five minutes. For long-distance travel, the passengers are to pre-book the tickets either through the online system, by phone call or being physically present at the bus stoppage or station. When you are travelling by air, you are to book tickets and the most important fact about air travel is that you can reach the destination within the shortest possible time. Besides, a large number of domestic flights are available to take you to your destination inside the country while the international flights are also frequent to cater the needs.
- Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?
Umm, yes, the types of transportation have changed to many extents in Malaysia. Earlier, in Malaysia, the transportation modes were fewer than as it is seen in the current days. Then people used to travel most by land and waterways for reaching their destinations. But with the advancement of technology and modernization, airways were created inside the country. Now there are around 70 airports available in the country of which eight are used for international purpose while the remaining are for domestic purposes. The airway has become a popular transportation mode in the current days for the easy transportation mode. Before the development of airports, people used to travel more by bus and even they used to go to the other countries by riding on buses and in some cases, ships were used for international trips. But the rapid change in the transportation system has held after the modernization of the airways. As a result, the transportation system has been boosted. But I heard from my parents that about 40 years ago, people used to travel on foot to reach different places both inside and outside of the country. I’m feeling lucky I was not born in those days.
- What kinds of improvement have there been in transport in your country in recent years?
It is a very good and thought-provoking question. Since I frequently use the streets and transport modes to go for places inside the country, I, in fact, did not notice the changes earlier, but there were some changes. I can recall that the roads were made smoother than before and the numbers of public transports have been improved inside the cities. Ummm! There are some changes in the streets as they are now well decorated than before. One more thing about the changes, the fares have been made reasonable for the public in different routes inside the cities. Earlier, the number of private vehicles was more comparing the number of public transports but now the ratio has been improved. People have realised the benefits of public transports. But one thing should be considered – the traffic congestion. When the numbers of vehicles are more on the street, naturally traffic congestion will occur. Another important thing is the service provided by the transport service providers. They try to offer the best available service to the commuters.
- Do you think transport is likely to continue to improve in the future?
Ummm, I think there will be some other changes in future over the transports in Malaysia. But the changes are unpredictable and you know the future is always uncertain to all. So, I think everything might be accessible to all as now a notable portion of people do not have access to public transports for different reasons like they live in distant places where the vehicles cannot go to fetch them. The improvement of streets will be more advanced with the increase of public facilities. Even today, in some places there are no sheds for the waiting passengers and hope those sheds will be made. Sometimes tickets are unavailable for the rush and in occasions. I think if the number of public transports is increased, then getting or booking a ticket will be easier for the commoners.
- Do you think that it’s important to remember all the things? Why?
Well, it is important to remember all the things as the failure to remember the information right at the moment that is needed may cost more than your imagination. Let’s take a very practical example. I’m attending the IELTS exam. I got prepared for the exam and accordingly answering the questions rightly. But what if I forget something important during the exam? If I cannot write the answer as I failed to remember the specific point or answer? Then ultimately I will fail to pass the course and I have to take preparations again (the preparations include lots of reading, watching movies without subtitles, speaking with the other people and more others). Therefore, I think you have realised why it is important to remember all the things, don’t you?
- How can we remember better things that need to be done during the day?
Ummm, there are several ways to remember things better which are needed for me. One can use his or her cell phone reminders to remind things that should be done and I follow the way to get remembered in important issues. Besides, using notebooks is another way to remember things. If someone writes down the things to be done during the day and check the notebook from time to time, I think s/ he will be able to remember things. Moreover, I have another interesting idea. If you write down your necessary things on a piece of paper before sleeping at night and check the paper on the next morning, I think you would be able to remember better.
- How can a good memory help people to do their work?
I think you won’t disagree that a good memory is one of the best gifts to a man from Lord. It is of great help to us. When the memories are dull, we cannot do anything and even I have seen that an aged man has lost his way to home since he forgot the address. The entire event was too pathetic for him and I helped him reaching his home. So, there are many other troubles have also been found for the memory loss. If you have a sharp memory, you can instantly respond to any issue and the immediate response would be in your favour. Besides, if you cannot respond instantly as you forgot the issue, you may have to regret in the long run. Thereby, it is important to have a good memory and a good memory is of great help for the people.