Speaking Test - Part 1 (Question set 4)

Topic: Festivals

Q. Tell me about the most important festival in your country.
Q. What special food and activities are connected with this festival?
Q. What do you most enjoy about it?
Q. Do you think festivals are important for a country? [Why?]
 

Q. Tell me about the most important festival in your country.
Answer: Malaysia is a multicultural country where people of all religions and faiths live in peace and harmony, and one of the most important religious festivals in my country is called “Vesak day” (or Wesak) to commemorate the Lord Buddha’s Birthday which is usually observed during the first full moon in the month of May. To all Buddhist people in Malaysia, this is a very, very important festival because they believe that the Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death had occurred on the same calendar day.

Q. What special food and activities are connected with this festival?
Answer: A typical Wesak Day usually begins at dawn at Buddhist temples throughout Malaysia by getting devotees to gather in order to meditate on the Eight Precepts as well as having Monks in saffron-coloured robes to chant the sutras in unison. A candle procession is also the highlight of the celebration, and at the same time, offerings of prayers and burning of joss sticks/incense also run in full swing.

As far as the question of special foods, connected to this particular festival, is concerned, well-wishers and devotees do come together, at the end of their prayers, to dine on simple offerings of vegetarian food and drinks while providing the same to the poor and needy. Donations are also made available to the deserving ones.

Q. What do you most enjoy about it?
Answer: What I enjoy the most about the “Visak” is that it manages to bring people from all walks of life in the spirit of “giving” and “charity” in order to the help the “less privileged” section of our society.

Q. Do you think festivals are important for a country? [Why?]
Answer: I don’t just think, but I actually believe the festivals are absolutely important for any country as it helps bring all kinds of different people together so that they could learn about each other and appreciate them, in a world which has seen too much hatred and animosities already towards each other. They spread brotherhood, faith, love, sense of respect and duty among the people without destroying others emotions and beliefs.


Topic: Traffic where you live

Q. How do most people travel to work where you live?
Q. What traffic problems are there in your area? [Why is that?]
Q. How do traffic problems affect you?
Q. How would you reduce the traffic problems in your area?
 

Q. How do most people travel to work where you live?
Answer: I live in Kuala Lumpur where most people travel to work by bus since it is, by far, the cheapest transportation mode in Malaysia. Besides, these buses, fully air-conditioned and equipped with free Wi-Fi, are hard to miss and can be boarded at any of its stops, and has a frequency rate of about 15 minutes.

Q. What traffic problems are there in your area? [Why is that?]
Answer: With the rapid growth of population, urbanization and transportation, traffic problems in the area, where I live, has become a real cause for concerns because vehicles run at a snail’s pace not only during the peak hours but also during the “off-peak” hours sometimes. These traffic problems are not only causing us to lose very valuable 'working hours' but also causing extra fuel consumption and air pollution in an otherwise clean city of Kuala Lumpur. 

Q. How do traffic problems affect you?
Answer: Traffic problems affect a person both mentally and physically. Because of the traffic problems, I actually have to get ready well ahead of my regular travel itineraries in order to allow myself enough time to reach my workplace. Then, by the time I reach my office, I am already tired because of “struggling” extra time on the roads. Besides, when I can’t reach home after work on time, because of the huge traffic problems again, sometimes, I just don't have enough time to relax in the company of my loved ones.

Q. How would you reduce the traffic problems in your area?
Answer: First, I would try to reduce the number of private cars and vehicles and increase the number of public transportation to ease the traffic problems in my area. Secondly, I would encourage using bicycles more and more since improvements and construction of the bicycle infrastructure, and the introduction of the urban bicycling program is already underway. Finally, new roads and streets should be built with a better plan in order to connect different parts of the city since we already have enough empty space to be used for building new road infrastructures.

 

Topic: Family

Q. Do you have a large family or a small family?
Q. Can you tell me something about them?
Q. How much time do you manage to spend with members of your family?
Q. What sorts of things do you like to do together?
Q. Do you get on well with your family? [Why?/why not]

 

Q. Do you have a large family or a small family?
Answer: I have a small family of 5 people which includes me, my brother, my sister, my father and my mother. We all live together, except my sister, who is married and has her own family now. We enjoy our life as caring members of an extended family.

Q. Can you tell me something about them?
Answer: My parents are retired old citizens, and they have raised their family and children really well. My father used to work as a Director at the Agriculture Ministry in our country before retiring from his job about a few years ago while my mother has been a housewife for all of her life. Both my parents have lived most of their lives in the countryside before moving to (...say the name of the city where you live now...) with us because of our careers. My elder brother is a software developer and married to a lovely lady while my sister lives in another country with her husband. We are a family of great traditional values where we love and care for each other as best as we can. 

Q. How much time do you manage to spend with members of your family?
Answer: In this busy modern life, unfortunately, I don’t get as much time as I would have preferred to spend with my family members except during the weekend. Of course, if I ever manage to get back to my home from works earlier than usual, then I certainly try to make the best use of the extra time, added to my life. 

Q. What sorts of things do you like to do together?
Answer: They say that nothing brings a family together than a great meal.  So, as a family, our most favourite time also is when we all get to cook some of our favourite dishes and enjoy them together. And, we do this whenever we get an opportunity, but it happens mostly on the weekends. We also like to enjoy a nice movie, when my sister is around, together during the holidays and at the weekends. By the way, my younger sister has a “bubbly” personality, and she just loves birds. So, whenever she is around, she never forgets to “force” (to put it jokingly) all of us to join her in visiting her favourite “Bird Park” which is home to pretty much all kinds of birds from all over the world. 

However, another thing, that we really enjoy doing together, is when we all get to travel to our hometown which is located far outside of the city. We all enjoy being there as this place reminds us of a lot of our memories. 

Q. Do you get on well with your family? [Why?/why not]
Answer: We are blessed to have such a family where we all get along with each other very nicely primarily because we all try our best not to “impose” anything on the others. Besides, the mutual respect and appreciation, we have for each other, helps us get on well with each other. On top of that, as a great functioning family, I never shy away from sharing my thoughts and experience with any of my family member which always helps us to put things in proper perspectives. Finally, we never stop offering “gifts” to express our love for each other because “gifts” help build a stronger bond among the family members in my opinion.


Topic: Your friends

Q. Do you prefer to have one particular friend or a group of friends? [Why?]
Q. What do you like doing most with your friend/s?
Q. Do you think it’s important to keep in contact with friends you knew as a child? [Why/Why not?]
Q. What makes a friend into a good friend?

 

Q. Do you prefer to have one particular friend or a group of friends? [Why?]
Answer: Having one friend is certainly good, but having a group of friends is even better primarily because you get to lean onto more people than just one when you are in need. Getting to know different people with different backgrounds and interests helps me to grow as a dynamic person. When you get the chance to learn about someone new, you have a new insight, and you get to experience new things because he/she will almost inevitably introduce you to different ideas and thoughts.

Besides, allowing myself to step out of my comfort zone and letting my guard down with new friends will really help me build up my strengths and confidence which are absolutely essential to succeed in future not only in my personal life but also in professional life.

Q. What do you like doing most with your friend/s?
Answer: I mostly like to hang out with my friends over a cup of coffee or some snacks that we all like. Then, there are times, when we just love to hit a movie theatre to enjoy one of our favourite movies together. Another thing also, which we really like, is to have some stimulating conversation and/or debate among ourselves about the various aspects of our societies as well as what is happening in our part of the world.

Q. Do you think it’s important to keep in contact with friends you knew as a child? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Friendship is like a special “gift” to me, and I try not to take any “friendship” for granted. Therefore, if someone was my friend as a child, I would certainly make every effort to keep in touch with him because this kind of friendship carries special memories. Besides, when we develop a friendship as a child, we usually do it without any expectation of “personal gains”, and as a result, this kind of friendship paves the way for even a better and stronger kind of bond between two friends later on in our life.

Q. What makes a friend into a good friend?
Answer: I am not really into judging whether someone is a good friend or not. In fact, the very fact that someone chooses to “befriend” me is a matter of great joy and happiness for me. Therefore, I would say that every friend is a “good” friend to me. But, in my opinion, a good friend would turn into even a better one if he or she remains by my side not only during my happy days but also during the ‘not-so’ happy days because as they say, “a friend in need is a friend indeed”, and I happen to agree with it whole-heartedly. 

 

Topic: Travel

Q. Do you enjoy travelling? [Why/Why not?]
Q. Have you done much travelling? [Why/Why not?]
Q. Do you think it’s better to travel alone or with other people? [Why?]
Q. Where would you like to travel in the future? [Why?]

Q. Do you enjoy travelling? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Ibn Battuta, one of the world’s famous travellers of the middle ages, once said that “Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”. Now, I am not too sure if there are any people in this world who don’t like to travel, but I do- I really, really like travelling whether it is inside my beautiful country or outside of it.

I love travelling because it reminds me of how “unimportant” I really am and my life is to this big and wonderful world in the grand scheme of things. Getting exposure to new places, new customs, new traditions, new cultures and new people can take our life experience to a whole new level by opening our eyes and hearts to new possibilities which just wouldn’t really be possible otherwise. Travelling helps me realize that my life isn’t the only life I could live as I could be anywhere and anybody at any point of time without getting caught up so much in my daily routine life.

Q. Have you done much travelling? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: I am not too sure how much exactly is ‘much”, but I think that I have done my fair share of travelling. In fact, having travelled extensively not only inside my own country but also to some Asian, European and North American countries so far, I guess it is fair to suggest that I am a well-travelled person. I have been lucky to travel these countries mostly because of family reasons, either to see some of the family members who are already living in some of those countries, or to take some of them there for the purpose of providing better treatments. Of course, I am looking forward to the days when I will have to travel to some countries purely for fun and adventures.

Q. Do you think it’s better to travel alone or with other people? [Why?]
Answer: I think that it is better to travel with other people because we should be able to share the fun and adventures of travelling with somebody on the spot. Besides, wandering around along in a new place can be a bit tiring and boring sometimes. Friends are like families when you are travelling in a country, far away from your home. So, if you ever are not feeling well, or if you ever get into to “troubles”, you know that your friends are there to support you and take care of you, particularly if you are travelling abroad.

Finally, if you are with your friends, you don’t really have to worry about planning your trips alone because your friends can help you with this, especially, when you don’t know for sure what things/activities are more fun and adventurous than others.  

Q. Where would you like to travel in the future? [Why?]
Answer: I would like to travel to many places in future, but one particular place, which comes to my mind, is Japan. Having carried some of the most interesting cultures and traditions for thousands of years, Japan certainly is one of the most beautiful and clean countries in the world worth a visit. Besides, the people of Japan interests me a lot because of their very gentle and calm demeanour. I would also like to visit Japan as I would just love to witness the Sakura, Japanese Cherry Blossom and the best in the world, from up close during the spring festival in Osaka which attracts more than 1.5 million visitors from all over the world over the entire 4 weeks of the festival. Finally, the marvellous architecture of Japanese temples, castles and shrines are just too unique and great to be missed.

 

Topic: School

Q. Did you go to a secondary/high school near to where you lived? [Why/Why not?]
Q. What did you like about your secondary/high school? [Why?]
Q. Tell me about anything you didn’t like at your school.
Q. How do you think your school could be improved? [Why/Why not?]

 

Q. Did you go to a secondary/high school near to where you lived? [Why/Why not]
Answer: Yes, I did attend a high school which was close to where we lived.  In fact, it was very much within the walking distance which would take me only about 8 to 10 minutes to reach my school at a moderate pace. I attended that high school primarily because of the convenience, safety and security. Having lived close to my high school, it would always be easy for me to commute back and forth from my home without getting tired. Besides, my father had to live away from us because of holding a government service, so living close to high school would provide my father with a greater sense of safety and security for me as I wouldn’t need to travel far to attend my school. 

Q. What did you like about your secondary/high school? [Why?]
Answer: Getting an opportunity to study in a high school, after passing the elementary/primary school, is completely a new experience with new teachers, new books and new library to be accustomed to.  However, one of the best things, which I really liked about my school, was that it had plenty of open space in and around it with beautiful garden and a lake with crystal clear water for students like us to enjoy during the breaks in between our classes. Another thing that I really liked was our school would provide funds for us to organize picnics every month so that we could travel to some remote picnic spots (not too far from our school, of course), like in a park or forest site, and enjoy the outdoors while enjoying some delicious meals, cooked by none other than ourselves. Of course, the best thing about my high school was the opportunity, I got, to make friends who I still treasure to this date.

Q. Tell me about anything you didn’t like at your school.
Answer: Well, my high school was great for me for the most part except the fact I didn’t exactly like the idea of wearing the same shirt, the pant and the same shoes every day. Neither did I ever like the fact that my school offered us the same “boring” tiffin every late morning. Another thing that I really dislike about my school was that I had to face more “bullies” than I was perhaps ready to deal with.   

Q. How do you think your school could be improved? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Again, I liked my high school, for the most part, as it always tried its best to bring the “best” among us academically. But, it didn’t exactly encourage us enough to take part in “extracurricular” activities such as creating a school debate team or culture clubs. So, my high school certainly would need some improvements on those fronts. Besides, little works on to fixing and repairing some of the old building structures (by the way, it was a really old high school) of the high school would also go a long way to improve the “looks and sights” of an otherwise great school.
 


Topic: Weekends

Q. How do you usually spend your weekends? [Why?]
Q. Which is your favourite part of the weekend? [Why?]
Q. Do you think your weekends are long enough? [Why/Why not?]
Q. How important do you think it is to have free time on the weekends? [Why?]

 

Q. How do you usually spend your weekends? [Why?]
Answer: I usually spend my weekends by mostly doing the outdoors like enjoying swimming (on summer days), fishing and gardening. I enjoy these outdoor activities mainly because I spend too much of a time indoor at my work. Oh, by the way, I also like to go to my favourite restaurant with my friends in order to enjoy some “relaxing and fun” time. I enjoy doing all these outdoor activities because they make me strong, positive and rejuvenated to deal with “all-so-familiar-struggles” of our modern, tough and complicate world.

Q. Which is your favourite part of the weekend? [Why?]
Answer: My favourite part of the weekend is certainly the “morning” when I don’t have to worry about waking up early and getting ready quickly to get to work. Then, of course, I also like the part when I don’t really have to worry about going to bed “early” or staying up late at night. Even more special are the Friday nights when my mind is pretty much “occupied” with the very thoughts of enjoying a long weekend, waiting ahead of me. 

Q. Do you think your weekends are long enough? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I do think that my weekends are long enough because it helps me to rejuvenate for the challenges of the next week by allowing me to do the things that I really enjoy. Of course, an extra weekend day would certainly be welcome by many people like me, but I don’t see it happening in the near future. So, essentially, whether our weekend is long enough or not depends on how we plan to spend the time.

Q. How important do you think it is to have free time on the weekends? [Why?]
Answer: There is no doubt that work is important, but so is the recreation, families and friends. But, without enough free time, be it on the weekends or some other times, we just won’t be able to “recharge” ourselves, nor will we be able to interact with our families and friends enough in order to show them that they really matter in our lives. Therefore, it is absolutely important that we have enough free time in order to ensure a “balanced” life so that not only we can succeed in our professional life but also in personal life. 


Topic: Music

Q. What types of music do you like to listen to? [Why?]
Q. At what times of day do you like to listen to music? [Why?]
Q. Did you learn to play a musical instrument when you were a child? [Why/Why not?]
Q. Do you think all children should learn to play a musical instrument? [Why/Why not?]

 

Q. What types of music do you like to listen to? [Why?]
Answer: We all have our own taste and preferences when it comes to listening or liking a particular type of music. As for me, I like “soft rock” or mellow music as opposed to the hard rock or intense ones. Soft rock is a subgenre of light, melodic, radio-friendly pop (some would say “rock”) music which employs clean and a highly polished piano and/or acoustic guitar, aided by some bouncy and harmonious bass guitar as well as the smooth and restrained use of electric guitar.

I listen to soft rock mainly because of its “ambience” as it creates a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere around me on a subconscious level and thus allowing me to be anywhere I like. 

Q. At what times of day do you like to listen to music? [Why?]
Answer: I like to listen to my favourite soft rock at night before going to bed as its mellow and smooth sound, together with a slow rhythm, help me to get rid of the tiredness of a stressful day.

Q. Did you learn to play a musical instrument when you were a child? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: No, I didn’t learn to play any musical instrument when I was a child. I did, however, wanted to learn to play the guitar, but unfortunately, my parents were against it as it would, according to them, impact my studies negatively. 

Q. Do you think all children should learn to play a musical instrument? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Yes, I do really think all children should learn to play a musical instrument if they are interested in it. They should learn it because it requires good hand-eye coordination which is crucial to a child's healthy development. Children also need to read the music and then convert that in their brain to the physical part of playing the instrument which helps them develop not only good coordination but also fast thinking. In fact, studies have shown that learning to play an instrument can make a difference in a child's academic performance by helping him/her develop better listening skills.

 

Topic: Dancing

Q. Do you enjoy dancing? [Why/Why not?]
Q. Has anyone ever taught you to dance? [Why/Why not?]
Q. Tell me about any traditional dancing in your country.
Q. Tell me about some popular dancing in your country?
Q. Do you think that traditional dancing will be popular in the future? [Why/Why not?]

 

Q. Do you enjoy dancing? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: I don’t exactly dance primarily because I am not really good at it. But, please don’t get me wrong as I don’t have anything against “dancing”, and I do like to watch “dancing” but it is just that I never feel the “desire” myself or the passion to “shake” my body at the beat or sound of any music. I guess that it is just not in my “gene”. However, I do think that “dancing” is a “domain” which should be left only for the people who know how to dance.

Q. Has anyone ever taught you to dance? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Nobody has ever taught me how to dance because I was never really interested in learning it and nobody in my family was a dancer.

Q. Tell me about any traditional dancing in your country.
Answer: Our country has a rich culture, because of its multi-cultural and multi-racial heritage, with its fair share of traditional dance and music. Malaysia, sometimes referred to as ‘truly Asia”, has at least 15 different kinds of dances.  However, the most popular type is called “Joget” which is a lively dance with an upbeat tempo. It is usually performed by couples who combine fast, graceful movements with playful humour, and it has its origins in Portuguese folk dance, which was introduced to Melaka during the era of the spice trade.  Some of the other dances are also a bit more popular than the others, depending on which part of Malaysia you live in. 

Q. Tell me about some popular dancing in your country?
Answer: In Malaysia, Chinese Lion Dance is very popular which is performed during the Chinese New Year festival. Dragon Dance, another popular dance type, is typically performed to usher in the Chinese New Year. 

Besides, the Indian Bharata Natyam, a classical Indian dance, is famous in my country which is poetry in motion based on ancient Indian epics. Moreover, I can recall  "Bhangra" which is lively folk music and dance form of the “Sikh” community. Then "Zapin" is a popular dance in Malaysia that has its root in Islamic tradition finally, "Bamboo Dance" is a highly popular and entertaining traditional dance in which two long bamboo poles are held horizontally above the ground at ankle-height and then they are clapped together to a high-tempo drumbeat. 

Q. Do you think that traditional dancing will be popular in the future? [Why/Why not?]
Answer: Malaysia is a very diverse country with many traditions and heritage which have survived for centuries. Many traditional dances have also survived for centuries just as they exist today because we, Malaysians, always try to promote and practice them in every kind of celebration and social gatherings one way or another. Therefore, it is only natural to assume that traditional dance in Malaysia will become more and more popular in the coming days. 

 

Topic: Job

Q. Are you working or studying?
Q. How long have you been working for this company?
Q. What are your job responsibilities?
Q. What do you like about work you do?
Q. What do you want to change or improve in it?

 

Q. Are you working or studying?
Answer: I am currently working as a Manager at one of the leading chocolate manufacturing companies in my country. 

Q. How long have you been working for this company?
Answer: I have been working for this company for almost 3 years in the same position. However, I have 6 years of professional experience in total.

Q. What are your job responsibilities?
Answer: I have varieties of responsibilities like developing a strong working relationship with internal & external partners, implementing and influencing the best practices within the 'Supply Chain' department, facilitating the internal approval process for importing/exporting products raw materials, and working with third-party transportation groups, distribution centres and store operations team in order to forecast store delivery effectively and efficiently among other responsibilities.

Q. What do you like about work you do?
Answer: I like a number of things about my job, but it is the “challenge” that I really like about my job the most. In fact, I never have a “dull” moment at my job since I have been given the authority to “try” new things to improve the supply chain process of my company. Another thing that I really like about working at my company is that it makes me feel “important” since I am allowed to voice my concerns and opinions without any fear.

Q. What do you want to change or improve in it?
Answer: There are plenty of areas in my department which beg for improvements one way or another. But one thing that I would certainly like to improve is the overall knowledge of our "supply chain Executives" in order to keep them up to date with the relevant rules and regulations of storage, shipping and logistics since we are not only operating locally these days but also globally.

 

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