Sunday, April 3, 2011

~ Equality ~

We are one. That is the message of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He spurned racism and segregation. The lyrics of this song are a reflection of his thought. He wanted everyone to think and treat every soul equally. 

Equality is what he was fighting for in this song. He claimed himself to not to be second to anyone. He was trying to say that one should not be ranked according to race and creed. We are born human. God gives us only one race that is the human race. Why should we segregate ourselves is the question in this song. To narrow down the scope, he was singing about the plight of the coloured ones in America. Just because they were brought in as slaves, the Whites keep treating them as such even after slavery was banned. This circumstance should change. 

Jackson represented all the coloured ones in America to voice their dissatisfaction. The scene of two babies at the end of the song clip is a picture of unity that he had been yearning for. Segregation is a minority issues in America. However, it is still taking place; not only in America but also in the parts of the world. Together with Michael Jackson, I hope that one day some of humans who are ‘blind’ will open their eyes and realize of equality and may that one day come soon.

~ Power of Speech ~

Winston Churchill is no more a strange figure to us. He was one of the former Prime Minister of England. The same goes to Adolf Hitler who was a prominent orator and leader of the German Nazi. There lays few similarities between these two leaders especially their speeches. 

Churchill’s speech ‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’ in 1940 and Hitler’s speech at the Berlin Sports Palace in 1941 share some common features. Both speeches show good persuasion skills. Churchill kept inspiring his people to keep on fighting whereby, Hitler was defending his own people by telling them the benefits that they did not get to enjoy. Besides, both of them did not criticize their foes. Hitler did not criticize British. Churchill was talking about the sacrifice done by British soldiers. 

 In terms of language, both used simply structured sentences so that their messages can be grabbed by all their audience regardless of social background and age. They also created sympathy to get the attention of their audience. Hitler explained about the sufferings that German was going through during the war. Churchill was emphasizing on the death of uncountable number of their loyal soldiers. 

All these are very effective features to get people to support them. We can adopt and adapt some of the characteristics of these good speeches. We can use them in our coming speeches. I am sure that they are going to be useful and fruitful. A good speech is always a well prepared one. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

~ Animal Farm ~

Capitalism versus Socialism is the main issue in this story. George Orwell focuses on the qualities portrayed by a leader who practices Socialism in his story ‘Animal Farm’. The socialist cares more for the equality of everyone. It makes every single human the same to share the equal rights and treatment. Whereas, Capitalism emphasizes of one man leadership and does not give room for equality. The rich get richer; the poor get poorer under Capitalism.

Orwell uses symbolism in his story. The animals in the story represent our human society. He shows on how the animals in the farm were initially opposing on Capitalism. They did not want to be used up by their master. The rebelled against him and managed to chase him away with their cooperative. 

Later on, Snowball who was considered as the leader among them was chased away quietly by Napoleon. He was claimed as the new leader. All the animals listened to his commands and worked together. Napoleon always talked on equality and unity. However, he was just another dictator behind the animals like their previous master of the farm. Sadly, the other animals were unaware of his true colour.

Time passed, the commandments in the farm started to change and the animals became confused. Despite that, they did not fought over Napoleon. As a result, Napoleon changed the farm according to his preference. The new commandment was ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than other’. The ‘some’ mentioned refers to his species, the pigs. 

Napoleon was an opportunist. He utilized his friends’ innocence. The reversion of Socialism back into Capitalism is the main matter of this story. It tells us how we are unaware of the political condition in our own territory and how people can be very opportunist. They can use without our realization. This does happen in our daily lives. What is the way to prevent this kind of a situation? 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

~ Monalisa Smile ~

Are women really liberated? What I mean to say by liberation includes the conservative thoughts and perceptions of society( includes women) on women. The world has gone through several revolutions and still going through it today. So do women.

As time passes, the role of women in the social strata has metamorphosed as well. Time requires women to change. However, it is devastating that women are not given the space for them to play on. This is because the narrow minded society do not give itself time to ponder about women who are also a part of them.

The saddest thing of all is that most of the women out there are being brought up with the conservative way which is so called the 'art of being  a WOMAN'. Therefore, these partially 'blind' women often become vague when it comes to decision making. They do not know what they  actually want. Although they want liberation from the society, they keep the desire dying within themselves as they are taught to sacrifice, but they are not slaughter lambs of course.

Women should keep their minds clear. They should know what they want. They should be aware that they have the rights to make decisions; to decide their paths of life. Nothing should be let to interfere and bog them down. That's is what Katherine Ann Watson was trying to infuse into her students in the movie, Monalisa Smile.

The title of the movie itself is very provocative. Is Monalisa really smiling? Is Monalisa is man or woman?(controversial). The degree of provocation that the title poses, in a way stir the audience to ask themselves more questions when they watch the movie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

~ Lean on Me ~

Such an educating movie! Human needs discipline, etiquette. This is said based on the revolutions and civilizations that our species has gone through. Mr. Joe Clark wants his students to be such. As the newly appointed principal of Eastside High School, Mr. Clark was obliged to be correct the whole system of the school.

 His capability and intelligence in managing the rebelious students is definitely laudable. The line 'Students will behave like animals if you treat them as one', is really a meaningful one. Teachers need to be exemplary.

This movie is so associated with me. We, teachers are given the responsibility to educate the young generation. The current generation is our 'hope' and the duty of raising up this 'hope' is ours. We are very powerful and we are the agent of change. The metamorphosis of this current generation into a civilised one lie on us. Together we can create history,so lean on me!

~ Mother & Child Out of Wedlock ~

'A Great Injustice' and 'The Merry Maid' are such poignant stories. Both stories narrate on women and child born out of wedlock. Sex before mariage is not safe for women and the baby. Women can get pregant and end up aborting their unborn babies. The baby born out of wedlock will be tormented by the society. In Asian culture, we are not allowed to talk or think about sex and on top of all committing sex before marriage is a crime.

In 'A Great Injustice', Ah Nya became pregant and was left by her boyfriend Steven. Months later, her tummy started to bulg and that made the society opened its eyes and mouth wide. Ah Nya felt embarrassed. She illegally aborted her baby with indescribable pain. In this case, Ah Nya was affected physically and emotionally. She had to bear the physical pain of abortion and the prickly comments from her unscrupulous neighbours. The innocent baby whom she believed to have a bleak future did not get the chance to see the world.

In "The Merry Maid', Lakshmi had to run away from her family. She could not even raise her newborn and left the innocent child at the door of a rich man. So pity! Her supposed-to-be husband was caught before they could get married. Laskhmi would not want to be insulted by the society and let go of her baby. Later, she joined ad a maid in the house where her daughter, Sakinah was. She had to conceal her love in front of Sakinah. That was a severe torture she went through.

Pre-marital sex is taboo in our culture. Sex is carried out to make baby and this should only be done by those who are married. Pre-marital sex does not benefit anyone and sex to be done without love but lust is not meant for human!

~ Arrange Mariage & Dowry ~

Reading local literary masterpieces brings one near to their culture. This is a generalization that I have formed based on my experience of reading  tremendously culture and tradition oriented stories, 'Everything's Arranged' and 'A Question of Dowry'. These two short stories highlights the culture and tradition of Indian in Malaysia and its complications.

In 'Everything's Arranged', Rukumani and Devanayagam loved each other very much. However, both of them did not inform their respective families about the new relationship that they are engaged in. Love among young ones before their marriage is forbidden in Indian culture. This tradition kept both Rukumani and Devanayagam to conceal their feelings. Later on , both families started to find suitors for their son and daughter. Accidentally, both families agreed to marry their children to each other with knowing that Rukumani and Devanayagam loved each other. When the truth is discovered towards the end of the story, both families cancelled the marriage. This shows how important is family honour in Indian tradition.

Dowry is a must in Indian family. It is traditionally offered by the bride's family to the groom as a gift. Some grooms are very demanding and fixed the dowry while some are not. In 'A Question of Dowry', Sivasothie's marriage is cancelled because the groom was not contented with the dowry offered to him. Mr.Ramachandran, Sivasothie's father failed to offer a good plot of land to his future son in law, Thiruchelvam. this failure leads to another failure that is the Sivasothie's wedding.

Arrange marriage and dowry is a must in Indian tradition. This customs started long a time ago and breathes till today. It a blasphemous to have a love marriage. It is taboo for a female and male to love before their marriage. Parents are the decision makers of their children's lives. I feel this to be unfair as children's interest and suggestions to be taken into account by parents. Children must be given the liberty to decide what they want. Situation has improved a little today. There are space for love marriage and wedding without dowry. I don't mean to condemn arrange marriage and dowry but both have a limit. Some extremists have really given me a bad impression on this topic and they deserved to be blamed for the mess they have made.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

~ Akeelah and the Bee ~

I feel good. The movie makes me feel good. The resolution of the plot was a little different from the one that I have illustrated in my mind. Akeelah and Dylan winning together colours the unlimited happiness of sharing one's victory. Sharing is better than celebrating one's victory solely. It is one the ways to dilute happiness to the society. This movie emphasizes on spelling, reminding me the importance of mastering words.

As a third year student of B.Ed TESL, I think I should organize this kind of an activity in the school that I will be teaching soon. I believe that it will motivate my students to read more in order to know more words. The movie portrays the perseverance of Akeelah and her coach Dr.Joshua to give out the best performance. They both practised day and night to win the competition and they made it at the end. It takes me back to my Form 5, when I was about to take part in the District level Debate Competition. I would be having practice everyday in the afternoon with my team member and my teacher, Ms.Yeoh. We were a very new team but somehow we managed to the 2nd runner up. I would really like to thank my teacher for she was there with us through the thick and thin. Greatest luck comes with greatest hardship. This is my fundamental principle and it is proven in this movie. When you work hard and pour sincere effort into anything that you venture, you will succeed because you deserve it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

~The Ugly Duckling~

I have read ,listened and watched several children stories when I was young. However, of all the stories, I love The Ugly Duckling the most. It is a story about a young swan that hatched together with some beautiful duckling. Well, I do not know how this could happen. Perhaps a mother swan mistakenly left its egg among some duck eggs or maybe a naughty girl like me would have stolen a swan egg and placed with the duck eggs. This is just a speculation of mine. 

The mother duck thought that it has got an ugly baby and thus everyone started to call him as The Ugly Duckling.  He was not treated well by anyone, so sad. One day, he ran away to a moor and stayed with some wild ducks. The summer was almost at its end. The Ugly Duckling saw a flock of  white birds migrating to another area. They were so beautiful with their white wings and long necks. The Ugly Duckling did not even knew what they are called.

Summer became winter; winter became spring. The Ugly Duckling went to the water to swim. Unexpectedly, a group that unknown beautiful birds were there and approached him. They praised him for his features. Then, he looked at his reflection in the water and was shocked to his beautiful self. At that point, he realised that he was actually a swan.

The story impresses me because it motivates the readers through the portrayal of the character, The Ugly Duckling. In a way, it resembles the children being young. It was disliked by many for some moments due to its physical appearance but somehow later on it awed others by turning into a young beautiful swan. I like the message of the story which tell that ugly does not mean forever ugly and that everyone has chance to improve.  When the right time comes, everyone will definitely SHINE!

The Ugly Duckling was a very positive character in the story. Despite being disliked by many, he lived all by himself. At the end, he became a beautiful swan. This part also explains that plot of the story;having a twist at the end. This story also depicts that good souls will definitely be helped by God. This is a very good choice of story for children. I hope more parents and teachers will take initiative to narrate this wonderful story for the kids and students. 

~The Gruffalo~

The Gruffalo! What is it? First of all, I would like to thank a talented woman by the name Julia Donaldson to have thought about such a story by creating an imaginary creature called 'The Gruffalo'. Thanks a lot....

Well, the story is about a mouse that had a walk in the jungle. Somewhere (at different points) and somehow during the walk, it came across three preys who were the fox, owl and snake. Afraid of being eaten by one of them, the mouse created a tall tale. It told the trio that is going to see it's friend, The Gruffalo. In addition, it described The Gruffalo as a fierce creature and that has successfully scared the three animals off. 

The mouse was strolling happily and suddenly it came across the described creature. This is where the twist of the story takes place. The mouse introduced itself to The Gruffalo as the most scariest animal in the jungle. It brought the The Gruffalo behind and went to see all the three animals mentioned earlier. They were terrified to The Gruffalo and dashed into their abodes. The Gruffalo trusted the mouse after seeing the animal fleeing. Towards the end, the mouse managed to fool The Gruffalo. 

This is definitely a very good story to impress the children. The mouse in the story represents the children who are small in term of their appearance. However, they need not have to be timid as the most important thing is they can be as smart as the mouse in the story. It is narrated with some repetitions and that would help the children to remember the characters and the story better. 

This masterpiece of Donaldson is very impressing. Her imagination to create The Gruffalo is simply mind blowing. Not only that, her idea to name as The Gruffalo; a name which never existed is amazing too. Donaldson and her story The Gruffalo definitely deserve compliments from all of us. 

~Edwina The Emu~

It is fun to read children stories. Blimey,they help me to travel back into my childhood! I definitely love this feeling. In this case, I should really say that children stories are the best ever time machines on earth.

Edwina The Emu by Sheena Knowles is one of that kind of stories. Edwina is a female emu in this story. She was living a happy life with her lovely spouse, Edward and one fine day, she laid ten eggs. How am I going to bring up all my ten babies later? She was a little apprehended thinking of their future. She became emotional at once and requested her husband to take care of the eggs. She left the nest to look for a job. She found various types of jobs. Unfortunately, none was apt for her and came back home.Edwina realised her role as wife and mother; to take care of the family. She settled back at home and took care all her ten cute newborns. 

This story shows to children the love and perseverance of a mother. The willingness of a woman called mother to  sacrifice her time and energy to feed well her babies. At the same time, from my point of view as an adult, I think the story defines the conventional role of man and woman. I do not mean to condemn the statement wholly. Of course,women are the best care takers of children. However, it is significant to us that the role of man and woman has evolved. Women today have additional role despite being a wife and mother. They share half responsibility as breadwinner for their respective families. 

Knowles wrote the story in a rhythmic way to make sound interesting to attract children to keep their attention. It is indeed a creative way. I hope more humans on earth will get the chance to read this book and experience the joy blossoming from it.