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Passage 1

Four minutes! Studies tell us that is the crucial period in which impressions are formed by
someone we have just met. Within a mere ten seconds, that person will begin to make
judgments about our professionalism, social class, morals and intelligence. People tend to
focus on what they see (dress, eye contact, movement), on what they hear (how fast or slowly
we talk, our voice tone and volume), and on our actual words. Bungle a first encounter, and in
many cases the interviewer will mistakenly assume you have other negative traits. Worse, he
or she may not take the time to give you a second chance.

Most employers believe that those who look as if they care about themselves are more likely
to care about their jobs. Research shows that physically attractive people are generally
perceived by prospective employers as more intelligent, likable and credible. Your goal
should be to come across in the best possible light-attractive in the way you dress, in your
gestures and facial expressions and in your speech. Here is how to make those crucial four
minutes count.

Look your best. It signals success. Studies have linked clothing consciousness to higher self-
esteem and job satisfaction. Forget about personal style. At work, your clothes must convey
the message that you are competent, reliable and authoritative. Dress for the job you want,
not the job you have. If you are scheduled for an interview at a company you have never
visited and are not sure what to wear, send for a copy of its annual report and study what the
employees pictures as wearing, or drop by ahead of time to see how they dress.

Monitor your body language. How you move and your gesture will greatly influence an
interviewer's first impression of you. In a landmark study of communications, psychologist
Albert Mehrabian discovered that 7 percent of any message about our feelings and attitudes
comes from the words we use, 38 percent from our voice, and a startling 35 percent from our
facial expressions. In fact, when our facial expression or tone of voice conflicts with our
words, the listener will typically put more weight on the nonverbal message.

To make your first encounter a positive one, start with a firm handshake. If the interviewer
does not initiate the gesture, offer your hand first. Whenever you have a choice of seats,
select a chair beside his or her desk, as opposed to one cross from it. That way, there are no
barriers between the two of you and the effect is somewhat less confrontational. If you must
sit facing the desk, shift your chair slightly as you sit down, or angle your body in the chair so
you are not directly infront of your interviewer.

Monitor your body language to make sure you don't seem too desperate for the job, or too
eager to please. When a 26-year-old telemarketing specialist applied for a promotion, her
interview went so well she was offered the job on the spot. "I was ecstatic," she recalls. "But I
reacted to the offer with too much enthusiasm. Once the boss sensed how excited I was, he
knew I wasn't going to turn him down. Consequently, he offered me a lower salary than I had
hoped for. I am convinced I could have gotten more had I contained myself."

Say what you mean. Your goal is to exude confidence and be believed. Clinch that favourable
first impression by making your words consistent with your body language and appearance. If
they are not in sync, your misled messages are bound to confuse your interviewer. Open and
close your conversation on a positive note. When you leave, summarize why you are the best
candidate for the job and thank the person for his interest.

From paragraph 1 :
1. (a) What is meant by 'Bungle a first encounter' ?
(b) What effect will it have ?
From paragraph 2 :
2. (a) Explain what is meant by the expression 'in the best possible light'.
(b) Why is it important for one who is attending an interview ?
From paragraph 3 :
3. Describe how one should dress when attending an interview.
From paragraph 4 :
4. (a) What is meant by 'body language' ?
(b) Why is one's body language important when attending an interview ?
From paragraph 5 :
5. Give two examples of how one can make the first interview a positive one
I was rudely awakened by screams and shouts. My alarm clock showed that it was only 3.00
a.m. What could have happened at this unearthly hour ? Could it be a break-in ? I realized
that it was raining. Suddenly it dawned on me that our house could be flooded. How silly of
me not to think of the flood. Luckily the water came up to only the car porch, but it shows
how much the flood has affected us mentally. This is not the first time that our house, in fact,
the whole housing estate of Taman Bahagia, has been flooded. We have been facing this
nightmare every time there is a torrential downpour, since we moved in two years ago. The
latest incident occurred about two months ago. After a three-hour downpour, the whole of
Taman Bahagia was inundated to about 1.5 meters of water. We struggled to remove our
belongings to the top floor. Father's car was so badly damaged that he had to spend more than
$3,000 on repair. The amount of mud and slime took us a whole back-breaking day to clear. It
has come to a point that every time there is rain, we are all kept on tenterhooks. Father
especially has been having recurring nightmares.

"Why don't you shift out ?" a close friend once asked. We have been thinking about it a
hundred times. However, it is easier said than done. Father has bought this house for nearly
$100,000, partly from his life savings and partly from a bank loan. He spent another 10,000
on renovation and on some new furniture. We had all thought it was our dream-house when
we moved in, until we had the first taste of a flash flood three months later. We became
disillusioned when the second flood occurred just after we had spent two days cleaning up the
mess caused by the flood. Father was so furious that he decided to dispose of the house, even
at a loss. However, there were no takers for obvious reasons. Worse still, there was no
response to our advertisements to let out the house. To add insult to injury, insurance agents
gave us the cold shoulder when we wanted to insure our house. eventually we all agreed that
the only option was to stay put, and seek the help of the authorities to solve the problem.

It has been two years now, and nothing concrete has been done yet by the authorities, except
promises that the river nearby will be deepened. An action committee had been set up in
Taman Bahagia. The committee had met a number of times. The members hope for a
dialogue with the local town council so that they can work together to avoid another major
flood. In fact, anxiety runs high again among the residents with the anticipation of the
adverse effects of the approaching La Nina. Based on reports in the mass media, massive
floods of greater intensity would deepen the nearby river without further delay. The Drainage
and Irrigation department estate. Diversion channels will be built, including an internal
drainage system with a retention pond. These will allow excess run-off to flow into the river
without overloading the existing drains of Taman Bahagia. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the
town council workers will keep the drains free of refuse regularly.

Despite the effort to solve the flood woes, the committee has been piqued by the residents for
their apathy. They have in fact aggravated problems with their indiscriminate throwing of
garbage which caused drains to clog. Old tyres, plastic bottles, tins and other refuse that are
thrown into the river eventually find their way to the floodgate, negating its mitigating
function. Incidentally, the floodgate has not been regularly manned and monitored. with built-
up silt and garbage around the floodgate, the flood situation may even be worse.

The action committee together with the residents' association formed recently ahs come out
with their own line of action in the event La Nina causes the river to spill over. they will take
turns to keep vigil. Boats are on stand-by to rescue flood victims. individuals have stocked up
bricks in their houses to protect their refrigerators and other electrical appliances from
possible damage by flood waters. The residents have been advised to stock up sufficient
essential food in the house. the long term plan of the committee is to have a permanent
solution to the floods.

From paragraph 1 :
1. (a) What did the writer mean when he said that he was 'rudely awakened ...' ?
(b) Why did he regard himself as 'silly' ?
From paragraph 2 :
2. Explain why the writer and his family could not shift out.
From paragraph 3 :
3. (a) What did the writer mean when he said, '... anxiety runs high again' ?
(b) Why do they have such anxiety ?
From paragraph 4 :
4. Give one reason why the action committee has been piqued by the residents.
From paragraph 4-5 :
5. (a) What danger is posed by build-up silt and garbage around the floodgate ?
(b) Give two examples of the 'line of action' taken by the action committee in overcoming
the effects of La Nina.
Between the devil and the deep sea
To choose between two equally bad alternatives in a serious dilemma.

Where there's a will there's a way

When a person really wants to do something, he will find a way of doing it.

A burnt child dreads fire

A bad experience or a horrifying incident may scar one's attitude or thinking for a lifetime.

First come, first served

The first in line will be attended to first.

A friend in need is a friend indeed

A friend who helps when one is in trouble is a real friend.

Discretion is the better part of valor

If you say discretion is the better part of valor, you mean that avoiding a dangerous or
unpleasant situation is sometimes the most sensible thing to do.

A hungry man is an angry man

A person who does not get what he wants or needs is a frustrated person and will be easily
provoked to rage.

Empty vessels make the most noise

Those people who have a little knowledge usually talk the most and make the greatest fuss.

A man is as old as he feels

A person's age is immaterial - it is only when he thinks and feels that he is ageing that he
actually becomes old.

Great talkers are little doers

Those people who talk a lot and are always teaching others usually do not do much work.

An idle brain is the devil's workshop

One who has nothing to do will be tempted to do many mischievous acts.

An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit

It is better to be careful and discrete than to be clever.

Faint heart never won fair lady

To succeed in life one must have the courage to pursue what he wants.

A penny saved is a penny gained

By being thrifty one will be able to save up.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

A person who never settles in one place or who often changes his job will not succeed in
life ; one who is always changing his mind will never get anything done.
As you sow, so you shall reap
One will either enjoy or suffer the consequences of his earlier actions or inactions.

Barking dogs seldom bite

Those who make loud threats seldom carry them out.

Better late than never

To do something that is right, profitable, or good a little late is still better than not doing it at

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush

Something that one already has is better than going after something seemingly more
worthwhile that one may not be able to get.

Birds of a feather flock together

People of the same sort of character or belief always go together.

Call a spade a spade

If you say that someone calls a spade a spade, you mean that they speak frankly and directly,
often about embarrassing or unpleasant subjects; an informal expression.

Charity begins at home

A person's first obligation should be to help the member of his own family before he can
begin thinking of talking about helping others.

Dead men tell no lies

( often used as an argument for killing someone whose knowledge of a secret may cause one
loss or get into serious trouble.)

A great talker is a great liar

A smooth and persuasive talker may be a good liar.

Every cloud has a silver lining

If you say that every cloud has a silver lining, you mean that every sad or unpleasant
situation has a positive side to it. If you talk about silver lining you are talking about
something positive that comes out of a sad or unpleasant situation.

All that glitters is not gold

Do not be deceived by things or offers that appear to be attractive.

Eat to live, but do not live to eat

Man was created for a divine purpose and he has a destiny with his Creator - he was not born
just to enjoy food.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

One should not risk everything he has in a single venture.

Every dog has its day

Everyone will get a period of success or satisfaction during his lifetime.
Every one can find fault, few can do better
It is easier to find fault in other people's actions or methods than to do it properly or correctly.
Any time means no time
When an event is not decided on or planned earlier it will never take place.

Fair exchange is no robbery

A contract is fair as long as both the parties understand and agree to the conditions willingly;
after a deal is closed neither side can turn around and say that he was unfairly treated.

Fire is a good servant but a bad master

Fire, like any other manmade tool or device, will serve man well only when it is controlled
and used wisely.