Monday, March 30, 2009

Meeting A Malaysian Writer

Today, I feel honoured that I am able to meet Kee Thuan Chye in person. great! It actually feels so great to actually meet a famous playwright actor. I learnt alot from the session with him.

His views about things is very different from any other Malaysians. It might be a little too sensitive to actually talk about it. But, the fact is that the things he said really make sense. He talked about issues of history, and issues of politics.

How far is our history true? How much truth are there in the history we have learnt? Who wrote them? Are they really reliable? Are they really believable? How much should we trust them? Should we actually listen and pass on the history we have learnt to our next generation without knowing its real values?

He actually told us about his backgroud; how he started writing, what at the few first writings he wrote, and so on. And then, he opened up my mind about the issue of politics. What do I know about politics? I am a person who do not care much about politics therefore, my schemata is equal to zero. He posted politics questions to us such as, Did Anwar Ibrahim really commited sodomy? Is there such things as sending you to ISA for your own protection? Did Answar Ibrahim commited the 2nd sodomy? His questions actually make me think. I mean, really think about politic. There are things and opinions that I wish to share, but not in this blog. It will be too risky and I might be send to ISA for my "own safety". Hahahahaha...

Meeting Kee Thuan Chye really change my view about things. I never really like history. I scored lousily for my sejarah in SPM so I don't expect myself to know much about history. But, I am so interested with his books and I actually bought all 4 that he sold. Amazing. The books are "1984, Here and Now", "March 8, The Day Malaysia Woke Up", "We Could **** Mr. Birth", and "The Big Purge".

I hope I will be able to enjoy his books. I will spend my coming holidays reading and analysing his books. =)

Thanks for the messages and signatures you wrote on my books, Sir. =)
And thank you Dr. Edwin, for taking up so much trouble to let us meet up with Mr. Kee. =)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"The Streetcar Named desire"?????

I spent my last weekend's nights reading "The Streetcar Named Desire"by Tennessee Williams. Well... I can say that the play is quite easy to understand. The language is more straight forwards and more to our daily everday language. The book seems thin, but the content is actually quite long.

I realise that the beginning and the middle of the play is quite easy to catch. but, towards the end, i start to feel confused. What actually happen to Blanche at the end? Is she caught and send into a mental hospital? And what actually happen between Stanley and Blanche when Stella is in the hospital delivering the baby?

What I understood from the play is that at the end of the play, Stanley rapes Blanche and Blanche is called as a mad woman and Stella actually believes that she is mad.

I actually think that this play brings some irony. Why? one of it it goes... At the beginning of the play, Stella and Blanche actually trust each other. No matter what Stanley says about Blanche, Stella never believe. Stella only believes Blanche words, but, it is an irony that Stella at the end choose to believe Stanley, rather than Blanche. What actually makes her act this way? Is it because she believes Stanley more than Blanche? Or it is because of the baby?

Next, I really agree with the proverb, "Do not judge a book by its cover". Why? throughout the play, Stanley protrays his dislike toward Blanche and how he despises her lies and actions. But, in the end, it shows that he actually has aome feelings towards Blanche that he would actually rape her. Is it because he has feelings towards her, or is it because he is jealous? or he is trying to get his revenge on her?

Maybe I need to read the play again to make me more clear about the story. Or maybe, I think it would be better to wait for Dr. Edwin to explain. Seriously saying, the play is very different from the other play that we have learnt. This is more applicable to our daily lives, compared to the other plays.

I think it is time for me to start thinking of the possible connection between the plays that we will be attempting for my final exam. A group discussion would be the best way. =P

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Shakepsearean's Plays

Macbeth The Movie

When I know that we are going to watch 'Macbeth' the movie, I was expecting the same movie that I warched when I was back in Institut perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim. I did 'Macbeth' when I was back in that institution. That play is tough. I really had a hard time studying the play. And I was kind of surprised that we had to watch the movie. Watching movie is not as interesting as reading the text itself.

King Lear

It isn't a surprise that the play 'King Lear', which we are doing right now, is hard for me to tackle. I did not really understood the dialogues of the play. It is so obvious that the Shakespearean's language is not my type. I really rely on Dr. Edwin's explaination to understand the text.

Both the plays, 'Macbeth' and 'king Lear' are plays of tragedy. Both the plays invlove in the reversal of fortunes. King Lear changed from a great king to an old foolish man. That was the point where he reached his reversal of fortune. He went against the natural order that the God had planned for him and that was why he suffered. He gave and divided all his lands to his two unfilial daughters and disowned the only daughter that really loved him. And in the end, King Lear and his three daughters died. Isn't it a tragic? In the play, 'Macbeth' on the other hand, he is bound by the fate that is casted upon him. He was given a prophecy; he would become the thane of cordor, then, he would become the king, and then Bonquo's son would become the king. He was also as ignorance as King Lear. He wanted to be the king and killed Banquo and his whole family to save his throne. But in the end, he too met his doom. He was killed and that was his reversal of fortune. He tried to change his fate but he failed and died.

The language used in the plays are hard to be understood but when I finally understood the story, I realise how tragic the stories are and how brilliant Shakespeare was in coming out with stories like these. Tragic stories aren't easy to write. maybe someday, I mean, maybe, I may want to try and crack my head and write a tragic story like what Shakespeare had written. ;P

The Swordfish, Then The Concubine

"Take out a piece of paper. Write down all the characters in the drama," Dr. Edwin said.

I was totally stunned. First, he asked us to write down the scenes and act including prologue. That was still considered as an easy task. But the listing of the characters was not as easy as if seemed to be. I remembered how well I re-write the list for 3 times, making me feeling frustrated and losing my patience. But, frankly speaking, this is something new and freash. I was thinking that maybe someday I can use this method in school if I ever to teach dramas or plays. Besides, this activity had actually given me an idea for my pre-reading activity for my micro-teaching. I was having a hard time thinking of what to be done for my pre-reading activities, but I guess this is a great idea. I will see and think through again before setting up my mind to using this idea.

The drama the Swordfish, Then The Concubine seems to be and easy drama, but it isn't so for me. Maybe it is because of the fact that I not good with politics and hot issues out there. I have never thought that Awang in the drama represents Mawi. The underlining meanings of the drama are not easily understood. For example, I couldn't figure out the significance of both the characters Ris Kaw and Logod. It was Farah and Bruno who explained to me about their opinions. I was totally....... slience....... "What are they talking about?"..... This is so embarrassing but it is the truth. They told me that Ris Kaw and Logod are people who travel from the 21st century to the 16th century, something like the movie, "Travel Back to The Future". Interesting huh?

Dr. Edwin finally explained. The puzzle in my head is solved. And Bruno and Farah were actually right. Brilliant!! Ris Kaw and Logod are; 1) time traveller, 2) They are people who seems not to be in the part of the play, 3) They seems to be telling us what to look for, and 4) Their job is to alert us, represents contemporary voices. Interesting, isn't? Kee Thuan Chye is indeed creative and also good at making me puzzled. Haha. ;)

All these actually make me to realise that I need to pay alot of attention to the significance and the underlying meaning of each of the speeches in the drama to get the underlying meanings. And most importantly, I must get rid of my ignorance towards the current issues in Malaysia. Maybe, the next time I read the drama "The Swordfish, The The Concubine", I will be able to see more from in between the lines.

Isn't it interesting?

Oedipus The Movie

At first, I thought I would be enjoying the movie 'Oedipus Rex'. It was a led down. I seriously enjoyed reading the play 'oedipus rex' compared to the other 2 books (play) that I have read. I really had high hope and looking forward to watching the movie. But, it was a sad thing that I did not enjoy the movie at all.
There are many things that I realised while watching the movie. They are:
  1. Oedipus the king does not have a club foot.
  2. The king is younger than I expected.
  3. The king's costume is not suitable at all. He wears as if it is a pyjamas (this is so suprising because I realise Creon wears more proper than Oedipus does).
  4. The character, Oedipus is not portrayed well.
  5. Oedipus in the movie does not really speak like a King.
  6. Oedipus in the movie does not sound caring or concerned at all towards his people compared to the text.
  7. The most obvious difference is that the setting: The setting in the movie is at a colloseum, whereas in the book, the setting is in the castle.
  8. It does not make sense that Oedipus can run up and down the stairs of the colloseum when he has a club foot.
  9. Teiresias look very big in size, not exactly what I have had in mind. He actually reminds me of Hagrid in 'Harry Potter'. Haha.

The movie has actually made me more confused with the drama. The movie is not adopted fully from the original text. The producer actually edited the story. Besides, the movie is not at all attractive. Both the audio and visual system is not good. The speeches are unclear and the movie is blur. I lost my interest to continue watching because I can hardly hear what they are talking about. The charcters in the drama are not portrayed well enough. Therefore, I still prefer reading the original text than watching the movie again.

If the movie is ever to be produced again, I hope they will improve on the speeches and the characters portrayal. The characters play a vey imprtant role in making a movie attractive. Besides, I hope, the porduct will follow exactly what is in the drama, especially the fact that OEDIPUS THE KING HAS A CLUB FOOT!!!

Don't you agree?

Will both be effective and be praised?

Do I enjoy micro-teaching? Seriously saying, I am not that kind of person who really enjoy micro-teaching. I do not dislike it. I just have some fear for it. Why?

1. Simply because I have stage fright.
2. I fear that I cannot well and make a fool of myself in front of the class.
3. I fear that my lesson plan is not good enough and odes not reach the tutor’s criteria.

My presented Induction (2nd prepared set induction)
Recently, I have just presented my set induction. I have chosen do the play ‘Selfish Mr. Pederson’ by Rheitta Desmond. I showed a short video entitled ‘Presto & The Bunny’. Then, I paused my video a few time during my process of teaching to ask the questions based on the video. Students have to predict what would happen next and what they could see from the characters in the video. My focus is on the word, ‘selfishness’. I wanted the students to identify the word so that they would have a rough idea that the lesson will be about the issue of selfishness.

(I have problem uploading the video so I will just omit it)
My Unpresented Set Induction (1st prepared set induction)

The video viewing set induction is actually my 2nd set of my prepared set induction. I actually planned to do a set induction based on a series of comic strips. I adapted the idea from Mr. Harold. The procedure will be almost the same as the video. I will let the students see the first part of the comic strips. Then, I will ask the students to predict what will happen next. The process will carry on and I will ask students more questions that will lead to the issue, ‘selfishness’.
What do you think the boy will do next?

What do you think will happen next?

What kind of characteristic does the boy portray?

What do you think the comic strip is trying to portray?

Why Did I Choose The 2nd Set Induction?

At first, I was confused which set induction to use. I had a lot of worries. Set induction 2 was an idea given by my coursemate, Jasmine. At the beginning, I was worried that the movie would be too time consuming. Thanks for Jasmine's power of persuasion, I finally made up my mind to use the 2nd prepared set indcution. I was expecting scolding because the video is of a little too long but, never did I predict that my tutor actually praised my set induction. I really have to give credits to my friend, Jasmine for her help and guidance. She is the source of my success in set induction presentation. This is my first time being praised for my micro-teaching. Thank you.

Sometimes, I do wonder what will happen if i have carried out my first prepared set induction instead of my 2nd prepared set induction. Will it bring the same effects?; 1) Attract the students' attention, 2) get praised, and 3) make the students enjoy the lesson.

What do you think my friends? ;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Queen Elizabeth

Before I watched “Elizabeth” the movie, I really have no idea what the movie is all about. But, after I have watched, I realized that I know who Elizabeth is. She is King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s daughter. Anne Boleyn was executed because she was found guilty of treason. For that, Elizabeth was called a “bastard” and sent away from the kingdom. But after King Henry’s death, Elizabeth was coronated to be the Queen because King Henry VIII had no son and she was the next to the throne. I get to know about this story through watching Tudors and my classmate, Azhar Khan’s explanations. He is really good at the history of King Henry.

The movie is really interesting and I really love it. I was disappointed at first when halfway through the movie, Dr. Edwin forbid us from watching anymore because of some problem. I was really upset that I did not manage to finish watching the ending. But, luckily, kind hearted Dr. Edwin lent us the DVD again to continue watching. I learnt a lot from the movie.

Elizabeth at first was unsure of her new role as a Queen. She had feelings towards one of her most trusted friend, Lord Robert Dudley. Lord Robert Dudley considered Queen Elizabeth as naive.

Queen Elizabeth Tudor who donned the English coronation in 1558 was a great politician who was not afraid of her power and knew how to use it. She learnt from her father’s history and knew too well how dangerous even a slight personal or political misstep could be. Elizabeth’s strength of character came from her survival of being the only child of Anne Boleyn, “The Great Whore”. Besides, Elizabeth was taught by the finest teachers to be a true Renaissance princess. By the time she came to her throne, she could spoke fluent Latin, Greek, Italian, and French.

Her throne and her country were threatened when the Spanish wanted to have a war with her. To my astonishment, Elizabeth actually joined in her army to fight the war. I could not imagine myself doing that if I were in her shoes. She was indeed a brave woman. With the help of her best friend, Lord Robert Dudley, she won the war and England gained peace and harmony for centuries.

The history says that Elizabeth lived and died a virgin. It is difficult for people to believe that Elizabeth lied and died a virgin. Yet she did. How do we know that? As the movie shows, spies in any court in Europe were common. It was their job to report what they see to their masters and much of that writing survives. No one ever wrote about anything more than rumours. We must also keep in mind that no one, not even the monarch, slept alone. There was always at least a servant sleeping in the royal bedchamber, no matter what was going on in the royal bed. Thus, not unlike our times, there were no personal secrets of any monarch could keep. And Elizabeth’s virginity was everyone’s interests.

What I really like about the movie is that:
- The costumes are pretty and unique.
- The dresses were elegant and intricate.
- The background of the movie is very beautiful.
- The real story behind the movie is an attention grabber.
- The characteristics of Elizabeth was shown clearly; naive, brave passionate and uncertain.

What is the difference between Elizabeth and other Plays such as Macbeth, King lear and Oedipus rex? Can you see the difference? Well, Elizabeth is a woman while the others are men. King Lear, Macbeth and Oedipus the King met their doom and suffering. It was what we called as tragic plays and a reversal of fortune. For Elizabeth on the other hand, it was not a tragic story, It was a comedy instead. Even his father, died without leaving any boy heir for his throne. Interesting isn't it? Isn't it an oxymoron? A woman can rule better than men.

I really enjoy the movie and hope to get to watch more of this kind of movies in the coming days. :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles


The study of Oedipus Rex have opened my mind about understanding a real tragedy play. Oedipus The King or Oedipus Rex is an Athenian tragedy written by Sophocles. Oedipus gets his name through a complex pun. Oedipus also means “swollen foot” or “clubfoot” pointing to the injury sustained in the title character’s infancy when his ankles were restrained together like a goat's.

The play begins with a King (Oedipus Rex) talking to his people and his priest about the plague in Thebes and that is when he came to know about the murder of Laios, the previous king before him from Creon. Oedipus wants to know about the truth very much and so he summons for the famous Teiresias, who is blind but can see the future. Teiresias hints Oedipus that he himself is the murderer but Oedipus is ignorance. In the end of the story, Oedipus finds out the truth. The prophecies that are cast upon him have came truth.

The prophecies:
1. Oedipus will kill his father.
2. Oedipus will marry his own birth mother.
3. Oedipus will have children from his own mother’s womb.

Locaste, both Oedipus’s mother and wife, kills herself. He cannot continue seeing his wrong doings so he blinds himself and becomes a beggar.

The truth of the ending of the story is a tragedy. That is when the 'Fate' issue comes in. Oedipus faces a reversal of fortune and ends up being a beggar. We can never escape on our fate that is fixed for us. How do I feel for Oedipus? I pity him. He does not kill his father or marry his own mother intentionly. Everything is fated. That is when he says:

"It was my fate to defile my mother's bed,

to bring forth to men a human family

that people could not bear to look upon,

to murder the father who engendered me."

King Oedipus is known as the famous King who solves a famous riddle that also brings him to the dead end and blinds himself.

"This is the king who solved the famous riddle

and towered up, most powerful man.

No mortal eyes but looked on him with envy,

yet in the end ruin swept over him."

I have always believed in fate. I believe everything we get and face in our lives are fated. In the play, we can see how powerful the word 'FATE' is. When your fate is there, We have no where to hide. Challenging the God's power and plan is useless. We can never avoid the fate that is set upon us, "You can run, but you cannot hide". But I personally believe that Fate can be changed. There are certain things we can changed. I am not saying that you can avoid fate. What I mean is that some things are meant to be changed if we try harder. For example, if we keep getting low marks in exam, we cannot blame entire at our fate right? nor luck. We should blame ourselves for not studying harder. Therefore, we can change our fate by studying harder, not baliming entirely at our fates.

Don't you agree?

My Experience in Writing "A Fat Soul"

"Your first assignment is to write a drama script in a group of 2 to 3 people", Dr. Edwin said.

Arghhhhhh....... script? Writing a script? Script? I have never seen myself as a potential or possible script writer for anything. It just seems so hard to me. I could not even write an interesting short story or essay so I kept thinking, "How am I going to cope?".

It is somehow a good thing that it is a group work. There are pros and cons of writing a script in a group. The pros will be that things will get done faster when there are three brains thinking and while the cons will be that there will be clashes or ideas and complains of who does the most work in the group. It is a good thing that there are no quarrels between my group members. There are Jamine Wong Xin Yee, Ho Jia Yiing, and i myself, Lam Hui Nee.

The first thing I did when the task was given was THINK!!! Think of what? The storyline for the script of course. It was tough though. But, Jasmine, my group member, also the head of the group, came out with the theme, 'love' and named our drama, "A Fat Soul". She started off with the script. She wrote the first 2 scenes and Jia Yiing wrote the 3rd and 4th scenes, while I wrote the next last two scenes. This sounds crazy, but it is really how we started of with our script. The reason? To be fair and square.

When the script was done, Jasmine read through and thought that the script was not appealing.

"Nee, your dialogues are lengthy and wishy-washy." Jasmine commented when she came to read the script in my room.

I was so sad, not because of her comment, but because I did not really help in making the script a good one. Jasmine edited the storyline and I was there watching as while. I really have to give special credit to her because she did the most work in the group.

We handed in our first draft without the teacher's guide part, but Mr. Harold said our script is interesting. We were so happy. There were little grammatical mistake.

I felt guilty and because I did not do well for my part so took the initiative to write the teacher's guide for the drama script. It was hard to write a two paged teacher's guide, but i managed to do it and passed to Jasmine again to edit. She did the edition and I printed the work as the second draft.

We are lucky that Dr. Edwin marked our script but we are unsure of the real situation. He just gave a tick on the front page without leaving any comments. We are actually in a mixed feelings. Who knows he actually did not finished reading our script. I hope that is not true. Anyway, we are waiting patiently for our thrid draft to be given back.

Throughout the process of writing the script, i have learnt few things:

  1. We must be ready to accept ideas of group members.
  2. We must not feel hurt and keep grudges when people commented on your writing.
  3. We must take other people's comment as a guideline to improve in our writing.
  4. We must sit down together as a group and discuss how our storyline should be before start to write the script.
  5. Group work is important.
  6. Every members in the group has the responsiblility to read and check the script from time to time for grammatical errors and sentence structures errors.
  7. Writing a script is a good way in improving our understanding on drama and play because;
  • We learn how a drama should be like.
  • We learn how to choose the setting so that the written drama can be used in a classroom activities.
  • We also learn that the characters we have chosen for our play must be suitable for a classroom activity.
  • We learn that the stage direction should be in present simple tense only!

I have gained much experience and I really enjoy writing a script. It is a way to improve my understanding of a drama and also to improve my writing skills. I learn from people's comments and reflect on my weaknesses and hope to improve fro the better. I believe that this experience can help me in my teaching in schools for the future. I will be able to choose a an appropriate drama as a class activity next time. And who knows, I might use this script that we have wrote on as my classroom activity in the future.