Article fourteen

The following talks about paper bags and plastic bags, changes in the attitude of conductors, the role of breakfast, the situation in the United States, expensive brand-name products owned by students, exercise methods, and the story of Mother’s Day.

Article 1: Should paper bags take the place of plastic carriers?

The supermarket of the Today Department Store is the sole department store or supermarket in the history of Taiwan to have used paper bags.

When Today opened the supermarket some ten years ago, everything was copied from the U.S. even the paper bags were similar to those available to American consumers and made of brown paper, a spokesman for Today said.  

At that time, many people did not have their own means of transportation. It was very inconvenient to travel around carrying a paper bag, the spokesman said. The paper bags were more expensive and of poor quality, therefore, we switched to hand-carried plastic bags, he added.

The 17 major department stores in Taipei consume about three million pieces of plastic bags each month.

Experts who are against the use of plastic bags have urged the owners of department stores and supermarkets to use paper bags instead of plastic bags.

A department store owner said that a big department store uses up about 200,000 plastic bags each month and even more during the holiday season. He disclosed that a paper bag costs twice as much as a plastic bag.

Article 2: A change in attitude of a conductor

A young woman carrying a three-year-old child got on a bus.

The conductor hurried to give her a warm welcome and then kindly asked the other passengers to make more room for the woman and her child.

On seeing this, people began to talk. “You know this conductor used to be very rude. Now suddenly he has changed his bad behavior , “said a middle-aged man.

“Yes, he should be praised and we must write a letter to the company,” said a second passenger. “That’s right,” another lady said, “I wish a newspaper reporter were here so that more people could learn from this conductor. “

Just then a gentleman who looked like a teacher turned to the conductor and said , “Excuse me, but can I know your name, please? Your excellent service must be praised…”

Before he could open his mouth, the three-year-old child sitting on the young woman’s lap interrupted, “I know his name. I call him Dad.”

Article 3: The role of breakfast

Will it matter if you don’t take your breakfast? Recently a test was given in the United States.

Those tested included people of different ages, from 12 to 83. During the experi ment, these people were given all kinds of breakfasts, and sometimes they got no breakfast at all.

Special tests were set up to see how well their bodies worked when they had eaten a certain kind of breakfast.

The results show that if a person eats a proper breakfast, he or she will work with better effect than if he or she has no breakfast.

This fact appears to be especially true if a person works with his brains.

If a student eats fruit, eggs, bread and milk before going to school, he will learn more quickly and listen with more attention to class.

Opposite to what many people believe, if you don’t eat breakfast, you will not lose weight.

This is because people become so hungry at noon that they eat too much for lunch, and end up gaining weight instead of losing.

You will probably lose more weight if you reduce your other meals.

Article 4: The situation in the United States

The United States covers a large part of the North American continent.

Its neighbors are Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Although the United States is a big country, it is not the largest in the world. In 1964, its population was over 185,000,000.

 When this land first became a nation, after winning its independence from England, it had thirteen states.

Each of the states was represented on the American flag by a star. All these states were in the eastern part of the continent.

As the nation grew toward the west, new states were added and new stars appeared on the flag. For a long time, there were 48 stars.

In 1959, however, two more stars were added to the flag, representing the new states of Alaska and Hawaii.

 Indians were the first people of the land which is now the United States. There are still many thousands of Indians now living in all parts of the country.

Sometimes it is said that the Indians are “the only real Americans”. Most Americans come from all over the world.

Those who came first in greatest numbers to make their homes on the eastern coast of North America were mostly from England.

It is for that reason that the language of the United States is English and that its culture and customs are more like those of England than those of any other country in the world.

Article 5: expensive famous brand products owned by students

Influenced by their families and society, many youths are infatuated with expensive famous brands. But not every youth is as rich as a millionaire and people are getting worried about this.

According to a recent survey, one out of five pupils wears clothes of well-known brands, including a belt worth 560 Yuan, more than an ordinary worker’s salary.

Among the 100 middle school students surveyed, as many as 70 own famous-brand clothes, 60 have famous-brand watches and 45 possess famous-brand bicycles.

Two of them even wear over 1500 Yuan worth of suits.

Most young people who come from ordinary families will try to steal money to have better food and clothing if their parents don’t satisfy their needs.

A boy named Chen even killed another boy simply for 500 Yuan and was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

People wonder how these teenagers can be independent in the future, while parents are calling for help from schools, governments and the society.

Article 6: Methods of exercise

Some people say that the best way to reduce the size of your waist is to do stomach exercise.

Many people believe that when specific muscles are exercised, the fatty tissues in the immediate area are burned up.

The truth is that exercise burns fat from all over the body and not from one specific area.

Of course, if you reduce the fat throughout your body, you will certainly see results around your waist too.

Some people believe that you need to exercise twice a week in order to keep a sufficient level of physical fitness.

However, studies directed by American scientists show that unexercised muscles lose their strength very quickly.

Within 48 to 72 hours, you must use the muscles again to reestablish the good physical effects. And what does that mean to you?

American scientists concluded that while daily exercise is most helpful, exercising every other day or three days a week will keep a sufficient level of physical fitness.

Is it true that you burn more calories running one mile than walking the same distance? The answer is no.

The truth is that you use the same amount of energy whether you walk or run the mile, since in both cases you are moving the same weight the same distance.

The speed does not matter. Of course, if you run rather than walk for 30 minutes, you will cover more distance, and therefore burn more calories.

If your breathing doesn’t return to normal within 5 minutes after you finish exercising, you have exercised too much.

Five minutes or so after exercising, your breathing should be normal, your heart shouldn’t be beating loudly, and you shouldn’t be tired.

Article 7: The Story of Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s day, and nearly all of the flower shops were crowded with people who wanted to send their love to their beloved mothers.

A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother, who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting by the roadside sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.” He bought the little girl a rose and ordered some flowers for his mother.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother’s.”

she directed him to a cemetery , where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a banquet of flowers and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.

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