Anne’s Best Friend
Do you want a friend whom you could tell everything to, like your deepest feelings and thoughts? Or are you afraid that your friend would laugh at you, or would not understand what you are going through? Anne Frank wanted the first kind, so she made her diary her best friend. Anne lived in Amsterdam in the Netherlands during World War Ⅱ. Her family was Jewish so nearly twenty-five months before they were discovered. During that time the only true friend was her diary. She said, ”I don’t want to set down a series of facts in a diary as most people do, but I want this diary itself to be my friend, and I shall call my friend Kitty.” Now read how she felt after being in the hiding place since July 19
  42. Thursday 15th June, 1944 Dear Kitty, I wonder if it’s because I haven’t been able to be outdoors for so long that I’ve grown so crazy about everything to do with nature. I can well remember that there was a time when a deep blue sky, the song of the birds, moonlight and flowers could never have kept me spellbound. That’s changed since I was here. …For example, one evening when it was so warm, I stayed awake on purpose until half past eleven in order to have a good look at the moon by my self. But as the moon gave far too much light, I didn’t dare open a window. Another time five months ago, I happened to be upstairs at dusk when the window was open. I didn’t go downstairs until the window bad to be shut. The dark, rainy evening, the wind, the thundering clouds held me entirely in their power; it was the first time in a year and a half that I’d seen the night face to face… …Sadly …I am only able to look at nature through dirty curtains hanging before very dusty windows. It’s no pleasure looking through these any longer because nature is one thing that really must be experienced. Yours, Anne
the Road to Modern English
At the end of the 16th century, about five to seven million people spoke English. Nearly all of them lived in England. Later in the next century, people from England made voyages to conquer other parts of the world, and because of that, English began to be spoken in many other countries. Today, more people speak English as their first,
second or a foreign language than ever before. Native English speakers can understand each other even if they don’t speak the same kind of English. Look at this example: British Betty: Would you like to see my flat? American Amy: Yes. I’d like to come up to you apartment. So why has English changed over time? Actually all languages change and develop when cultures meet and communicate with each other. At fist the English spoken in England between about AD 450 and 1150 was very different from the English spoken today. It was base more on German than the English we speak at present. Then gradually between about AD 500 and 1150, English became less like German because those who ruled England spoke first Danish and later French. These new settlers enriched the English language and especially its vocabulary. So by the 1600’s Shakespeare was able to make use of a wider vocabulary than ever before. In 1620 some British settlers moved to America. Later in the 18th century some British people were taken to Australia to. English began to be spoken in both countries. Finally by the 19th century the language was settled. At that time two big changes in English spelling happened: first Samuel Johnson wrote his dictionary and later Noah Webster wrote The American Dictionary of the English language. The latter gave a separate identity to American English spelling. English now is also spoken as a foreign or second language in South Asia. For example, India has a very large number of fluent English speakers because Britain ruled India from 1765 to 19
  47. During that time English became the language for government and education. English is also spoken in Singapore and Malaysia and countries in Africa such as South Africa. Today the number of people learning English in China is increasing rapidly. In fact, China may have the largest number of English learners. Will Chinese English develop its own identity? Only time will tell.
Journey Down the Mekong
My name is Wang Kun. Ever since middle school, my sister Wang Wei and I have dreamed about taking a great bike trip. Two years ago she bought an expensive mountain bike and then she persuaded me to buy one. Last year, she visited our cousins, Dao Wei and Yu Hang at their college if Kunming. They are Dai and grew up in western Yunnan Province near the Lancang River, the Chinese part of the river that is called the Mekong River in other countries. Wang Wei soon got time interested in cycling too. After graduating from college, we finally got the chance to take a bike trip. I asked my sister, “Where are we going?” It was my sister who first had the idea to cycle along
the entire Mekong River from where it begins to where it ends. Now she is planning our schedule for the trip. I am fond of my sister but she has one serious shortcoming. She can be really stubborn. Although she didn’t know the best way of getting to places, she insisted that she organize the trip properly. Now I know that the proper way is always her way. I kept asking her, “When are we leaving and when are we coming back?” I asked her whether she had looked at a map yet. Of course she hadn’t; my sister doesn’t care about details. So I told her that the source of the Mekong is in Qinghai Province. She gave me a determined look -- the kind that said she would not change her mind. When I told her that our journey would begin at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters, she seemed to be excited about it. When I told her the air would be hard to breathe and it would be very cold, she said it would be an interesting experience. I know my sister well. Once she has made up her mind, nothing can change it. Finally, I had to give in. Several months before our trip, Wang Wei and I went to the library. We found a large atlas with good maps that showed details of world geography. From the atlas we could see that the Mekong River begins in a glacier to move quickly. It becomes rapids as it passes through deep valleys, traveling across western Yunnan Province. Sometimes the river becomes a water fall and enters wide valleys. We were both surprised to learn that half of the river is in China. After it leaves China and high altitude, the Mekong becomes wide, brown and warm. As it enters Southeast Asia, its pace slows. It makes wide bends or meanders through low valleys to the plains where rice grows. At last, the river delta enters the South China Sea.
A Night the Earth didn’t Sleep
Strange things were happening in the countryside of northeast Hebei. For three days the water in the village wells rose and fell, rose and fell. Farmers noticed that the well walls had deep cracks in them. A smelly gas came out of the cracks. In the farmyards, the chickens and even the pigs were too nervous to eat. Mice ran out of the fields looking for places to hide. Fish jumped out of their bowls and ponds. At about 3:00 am on July 28, 1976, some people saw bright lights in the sky. The sound of planes could be heard outside the city of Tangshan even when no planes were in the sky. In the city, the water pipes in some buildings cracked and burst. But the one million people of the city, who thought little of these events, were asleep as usual the night. At 3:42 am everything began to shake. It seemed as if the world was at an end! Eleven kilometers directly below the city the greatest
earthquake of the 20th century had begun. It was felt in Beijing, which is more than two hundred kilometers away. One-third of the nation felt it. A huge crack that was eight kilometers long and thirty meters wide cut across houses, roads and canals. Steam burst from holes in the ground. Hard hills of rock became rivers of dirt. In fifteen terrible seconds a large city lay in ruins. The suffering of the people was extreme. Two-thirds of them died or were injured during the earthquake. Thousands of families were killed of injured reached more than 400,0
  00. But how could the survivors believe it was natural? Everywhere they looked nearly every thing was destroyed. All of the city’s hospitals, 75% of its factories and buildings and 90% of its homes were gone. Bricks covered the ground like red autumn leaves. No wind, however, could blow them away. Two dams fell and most of the bridges also fell or were not safe for traveling. The railway tracks were now useless pieces of steel. Tens of thousands of cows would never give milk again. Half a million pigs and millions of chickens were dead. Sand now filled the wells instead of water. People were shocked. Then, later that afternoon, another big quake which was almost as strong as the first one shook Tangshan. Some of the rescue workers and doctors were trapped under the ruins. More buildings fell down. Water, food, and electricity were hard to get. People began to wonder how long the disaster would last. All hope was not lost. Soon after the quakes, the army sent 150,000 soldiers of thousands of people were helped. The army organized teams to dig out those who were trapped and to bury the dead. To the north of the city, most of the 10,000 miners were rescued from the coal mines there. Workers built shelters for survivors whose homes had been destroyed. Fresh water was taken to the city by train, truck and plane. Slowly, the city began to breathe again.
Elias’ Story
My name is Elias. I am a poor black worker in South Africa. The time when I first met Nelson Mandela was a very difficult period of my life. I was twelve years old. It was in 1952 and Mandela was the black lawyer to whom I went for advice. He offered guidance to poor black people on their legal problems. He was generous with his time, for which I was grateful. I needed his help because I had very little education. I began school at six. The school where I studied for only two years was three kilometers away. I had to leave because my family could not continue to pay the school fees and the bus fare. I could not read or write well. After trying hard, I got a job in a gold mine. However, this
was a time when one had got to have a passbook to live in Johannesburg. Sadly I did not have it because I was not born there, and I worried about whether I would become out of work. The day when Nelson Mandela helped me was one of my happiest. He told me how to get the correct papers so I could stay in Johannesburg. I became more hopeful about my future. I never forgot how kind Mandela was. When he organized the ANC Youth League, I joined it as soon as I could. He said: “The last thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws stopping out rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all.” It was the truth. Black people could not vote or choose their leaders. They could not get the jobs they wanted. The parts of town in which they had to live were decided by white people. The places outside the towns where they were sent to live were the poorest parts of South Africa. No one could grow food there. In fact as Nelson Mandela said: “…we were put into a position in which we had either to accept we were less important or fight the government. We chose to attack the laws. We first broke the law in a way which was peaceful; when this was not allowed…only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.” As a matter of fact, I do not like violence… but in 1963 I helped him blow up some government buildings. It was very dangerous because if I was caught I could be put in prison. But I was happy to help because I knew it would help us achieve our dream of making black and white people equal.
 

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