Quotation of the Day

Monday, March 30, 2009

A memorable session with Kee Thuan Chye

Ed says we look like father and daughter, you think so? =P

Finally, we met Kee Thuan Chye! It was really an eye-opening session for most of us. I am so sorry Sir for you actually spotted me dozing off for a few minutes when you were talking, forgive my rudeness for i was really exhausted. Back to the meeting with Kee Thuan Chye, what can i say about this famous local playwrighter and a man full of interesting political views?

First of all, I would like to thank you for bringing me into the world of politics, there are several issues which i never bother to give it a thought about. For example, did Anwar really commit sodomy? Well, what is the truth? No one, except he himself, and God knows right? Mr Kee also told us that the TRUTH is according to the author himself, if he thinks that is the truth, then he conveys it out. We readers are free to voice out our views and have our own interpretations on the stories, plays and political views. What makes a good politician? That is a tough question. No one is perfect I suppose. Sadly, I was told most of the politicians are greedy, they have only their best interests in mind therefore tend to neglect the benefits for the people.

March 8 incident has passed for a year. Still, the book remains one of the best seller as it portrays the voices of young Malaysians, their hopes for a better Malaysia! Most of us managed to buy a copy of that book and Kee Thuan Chye kindly signed for us with a quote of "Here's hope for a better Malaysia!" but he careless signed 30/03/2008! haha. The date doesn't matter that much, it's the fact that we did take photos with him and met him in person, listen to his talk and share a magical moment with him.

What else have I learnt throughout this valuable 2 hours session? I am inspired by Kee Thuan Chyes' love for Malaysia, that he is willing to spend his time and energy to act, write and direct movies, plays about Malaysia for us. He never gives up writing. I remember his childhood stories regarding how he started off writing and let his uncle reads, how he competes his works with his childhood friend who is now probably earning bigger bucks than him as a pharmacist. Writing may not make one super rich, it can, but then it's the works that you leave behind when you leave the world. How many of us can leave traces behind? Will we be forgotten straight after we die? But books, authors that make it publish their works will forever be remembered. Like Dr. Edwin, Kee Thuan Chye, Shakespeare and many other famous writers, they were and will be remembered forever! Hm..wonder how many of us in TESL Cohort 4 will make it to publish books?

In short, this session with Kee Thuan Chye has make me realize we as young Malaysian should treasure and value our golden opportunity to vote. MAKE WISE DECISIONS. The future of Malaysia is indeed in our hands! May we live the lives as true Malaysians and bring peace to the world through literature!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Set Induction - Swordfish.

Two weeks ago, I presented my set induction for simulated teaching. The play i chose is 'The Swordfish, then the Concubine' by Kee Thuan Chye. The reason I choose this play is mainly because this play catches my attention and I hope to get to know more about the author Kee THuan Chye. Thankfully, we will be meeting him in real person in another 30 minutes! Can't wait!

For the set induction, i showed my students a short video clip of the execution of Anne Boleyn from Tudors. This movie is one of the favourites among us now. I am very shock by the impalement Nurhalisa has to undergo. I never imagine one could die of such terrible torturous death and humiliation. Nurhalisa is convicted for a crime she didnt do, in other words, she is being framed. Same goes to Anne Boleyn, she did not sleep with other guys but King Henry did not really listen to her plea and sentenced her to death. So I believe through this set induction, my students will have a clearer picture of how a person feels minutes, or hours before knowing she's going to die and I hope they can 'feel' the sadness and despair of being frame by trying to be in the shoes of Anne Boleyn.

I made a mistake during my set induction, according to Mr. Harold, i shouldn't talk or give instructions when i started to play the video. Well, guess I was too excited or bit nervous as I told my students to pay extra attention to facial emotions and conversation in that video clip. Other than that, I think i did okie. Students give feedback regarding the video on their own experience. Most of them has experienced being accused of things they did not do and none of them love the feelings of being framed. The lucky ones will voice out their displeasement while the quiet ones just remain quiet and be 'bullied'.

For the time being, I hope to be better prepared for my pre-reading and while reading presentation, especially after Mr. Harold gave feedback to other friends who have finished presenting this morning. Being a teacher just isn't that easy, one has to be well-prepared for their lesson and also, confidence and add humour when teaching. Good luck to all presenters~! =)

The swordfish, then the concubine

The Swordfish, then the Concubine by Kee Thuan Chye can be considered one of the most interesting and easier play to read this semester. Simply because the setting is local and we can thus relate to the story. The swordfish, we all remember that story, about a young boy who saved Singapore from the Todak attack by using banana stems as shield, and was later innocently killed by Sultan Iskandar simply because the politicians are afraid to loose their face and position to a young boy.

Yes, this story is sarcastically connected to politics, an area which I really need to polish at. Politics are dirty, so they say. This is so true! From the emotional point of view, the poor boy who is the hero and saved Singapore is actually murdered because the other politicians are jealous! They are afraid they will loose their positions to someone brilliant. Those losers just want to secure their seats and they are 'brilliant' enough to fool the foolish sultan. And being a SUltan, how can he be so so foolish?! Well, this is a story that tells us despite being the head of a company, you have laws to abide. Even if you are the king, there is still a more powerful force up there who is watching over the things you do. Do not break the law of nature, or you will suffer from the retribution, face the reversal of fortune, your life will be doomed, and this might lead you to madness.

The concubine is another story which attracts my attention. Nurhalisa, the concubine of Sultan Iskandar, is symbolised as someone who is always thirsty of knowledge, she is curious to know more. This positive attitude of hers (and also her beauty, of coursE) has lead to the jealousy of the sultan's wife. Without listening to the truth but to rumours, Sultan Iskandar actually put the death sentence to his beloved concubine Nurhalisa through impalement! Impalement is the cruelest way to kill someone. The spear is pierce through her bottoms, all the way up out of her mouth! Imagine the torture she has to undergo! And also the humiliation she has to bear, over something she is framed! Man, who is the King to do such a crime?! Putting an innocent lady to such shame and torture, thankfully there is GOD, since Sultan breaks the convenant of the order of nature, he looses his country at the end. This is the retribution. Do you believe in Karma now?

"Someone is watching" - King Lear

There is someone watching you from above. All the things you do, the soup you drink, the words you say, the hair you dropped, the sin you commit and the love you give, it's all being observed from above. Yes, we are all under God's watching eye, the Almighty power up there is watching us and there is retribution of the things you sinned, of course there will be good returns too if you do good.

In King Lear by the reknown Shakespeare, King Lear has go agaisnt the convenant, though unknowingly. He break the law of nature order. How is that so? First all of, he is foolish enough to order his daughters to profess their love to him: the one who love him the most (verbally) will be given the land of his country. How stupid and foolish is that? The most unbelievable part is that he actually banish his beloved youngest daughter, Cordelia away from his country simply because she says the truth, saying she will love him like how a daughter loves his father. But King Lear wants to hear more than that because the other two elder sisters Goneril and Regan, professed their love to their father in a way greater extend. Anyway, all these wordings are useless, because once King Lear gave away his trusted land to his daughters and banished dear Cordelia, Goneril and Regan begin to show their true colours. They not only treat their father, the King like stranger but worst, they do not respect his existence! This drives poor King Lear to madness, and i mean, true madness!

Imagine being 'so loved' by your beloved children, you entrusted him or her with all your possessions, your life, you give him the best, yet the time he got hold of your belongings, you are a worthless old man to him. Well, King Lear has no one to blame but himself simply because he has to be responsible of his own actions. Then again, all these are fated, predetermined. Maybe he is meant to undergo all these hardships and betrayals so as to know who is the real faithful daughter and who is not.

Indeed, having a filial child is what most parents would expect. We all hope to be loved and to love. But are empty promises that important that you are willing to risk everything? Well, I remember Puan Saleena Chang's advice "Be a rich grandmother!" How true is that. If you are rich, surely your kids and even grandchildren will love you! But if you are a poor grandmother, you can just pray for a better luck that they will be as true to as you are to them. In short, King Lear shows us the importance of FATE and what it can do our lives. Be good to others, and do not risk every gold card you have at hand, hold tight to it, at least you still have something to fall back on should your nearest kin betrayed your trust and love. Remember, someone is watching.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hello Swordfish, Goodbye Oedipus

Finally, we finished reading the drama 'Oedipus Rex' under the dedicated guidance of Dr. Edwin. The first time I read on my own, i just catch the surface meaning of the drama (and that is with reference to wikipedia!) I wonder how many of us truly understand the underlying message of this drama at first read.

Anyway, after these few weeks of lecture with Dr. Edwin, again, I feel there is so much to learn, explore and experience! The world is so big out there. There are so many places to travel and explore. What have this got to do Oedipus Rex? Well, I agree with the statement that travel broadens the mind. In this drama, Oedipus did broaden his mind through 'traveling'. He came closer to the truth when he was running away from home. He fears the prophecy might come true, and that leads him to his downfall as a king to a blind beggar.

Apart of having a clearer understanding of this drama, I have learnt from Dr. Edwin that teaching of Drama is not easy! How many years of experience will I need to gain before I can be like him one day? Standing in front of the class, and giving out lecture about the world's famous literature so confidently! Or worst, will I ever be that good? Hm..

Anyway, for now, we will leave Oedipus for a while and fly to Singapore to visit Raja Iskandar, Nurhalisa and Hang Nadim! I've read this drama, and find it comically sacarstic. Another good read for us to explore! =)

A 'FAT' Soul

Does this title catches your attention? Well, if it does, what is your first thought about the story with that title?

A 'Fat' Soul is play writen by Jasmine Wong, Lam Hui Nee and I, Ho Jia Yiing. The story resolves around the main character, Ellen, whose boyfriend dumps him due to her drastic weight gain. She then starts diet but on a wrong way which causes her to faint. Her colleague,Ron , who is secretly in love with her told her repeatedly that inner beauty outshines outward appearance. He later went overseas for work, and purposely gained some weight, in the hope that Ellen would feel more at ease to have a boyfriend who is of the same size as her. What he did not expect is that Ellen has slimmed down upon his return to Malaysia~

I think the issue here is clear: Weight issues those caused a lot of stress among teenagers as well as adult nowadays. You are considered pretty if you are slim. Otherwise, you might be poked fun of if you are slightly fat. This mentality seems to grow its roots in most of our minds nowadays. There are cases where girls as young as 8 years old is diagnosed of Aneroxia! They would rather starve and be bed-ridden just because they force themselves not to eat!

Parental and teacher guidance lead an important role here. As educated people, we have to show our youngsters that everyone is born unique. We should love ourselves despite the fact of being fat, poor, ugly, stupid etc. It might be hard to change the inevitable. On the bright side, weight is something we CAN change. First, control your diet. Yes, it works. Not that you must only eat an apple a day like Ellen, but eat a balance diet - fruits, vegetables etc.

Writing this play has let me ponder of these issues. The bright side about writing a play in a group of 3 is that we get to contribute the ideas for the story, agree and disagree some of the points our friends point out, challenge their remarks. In short, co-operation is needed in group work. Basically, Jasmine came out with this remarkable idea, we added minor details to add juices, then each of us write either one or two Acts. It was fun to continue another person's story from your point of view. There are visible difference in our style of writing, but we iron that problem out throught drafting and editing. Heartfelt thanks to Sir Harold and Dr. Edwin for their time to comment on our work.

Reminder: Love your body!

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

The moment I heard Dr. Edwin is going to let us watch the movie 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age', I felt excited, my mind raced back to the Tudors series I had been catching for the past few months, and am still in love with the movie. Frankly speaking, before entering this course, I've very shallow knowledge about the history of England. There are just so much for us to learn, explore and experience! At least after watching Elizabeth:The Golden Age, I have now a clearer imaginary idea of the culutre and people during the Elizabethan Era. I was so amazed by their customs! (secretly wondering if i would be able to wear one of those for my wedding..tsk tsk.)

Coming back to the movie. Elizabeth is the Virgin Queen of England, whom, in my humble opinion, think is one of the greatest ruler in history! I admire her leadership and intelligence in ruling England! She is afterall like any other woman, who yearns for love and affection of another man. Dr, why she doesn't want to get married? Is it because she is too powerful and an ordinary man like Raleigh will never be compatible to him?

Another issue here would be the power of love and forgiveness. I think it is very understandable for Queen Elizabeth to be furious of Bess' action of getting pregnant and not letting her know. Bess is afterall, her most favoured trustworhty lady friend. Being betrayed by your most trustworthy friend is indeed a heartbreaking incident, but in here, Queen Elizabeth shows LOVE is greater than betrayal and hatred. Thankfully, once she decided to FORGIVE Bess and Raleigh, she found courage to face the war!

Third issue revolves around FATE. There is an astrologer in this movie, predicting England will have a war soon. There is a reversal of fate here when Elizabeth was suddenly left alone, and there was once when she felt extremely directionless, fearing Her people might suffer from the the war and that England might be overruled by Spain. She chose PERSEVERENCE. She lead her army to war. I was so impressed at Queen Elizabeth's speech to her troops at Tilbury and the way she was seated on a war horse wearing full plate armour made me nearly fall in love with her! Such poise and dignity! Long live the Queen!

In short, I would like to thank Dr. Edwin for introducing such good dramas for us. Sincere apologies for our mistakes. Please do introduce more GOOD movies to us.

P/s This is a must-watch!