Showing posts from February, 2011

Synopsis of Heir Conditioning

This poem is written in London, May 4, 1995. It talks about issues regarding different lifestyles and values of two generations. It also talks about the generation gap that exists between grandparents and their grandchildren. This poem is like a dialogue between them. In the first stanza, the grandchild asks his grandfather if he could breathe without air conditioner and how people manage to survive without modern devices such as air conditioners, fans, faxes and telephones. The child asks his grandmother if she was uncomfortable fanning herself with paper fans. He inquisitively questions how they could communicate without today's modern media of communication which he cannot do without.
In the second stanza, the grandparents' answer sets the two generations apart. Though they lived void of the "basic necessities", they lived contentedly and respected nature. Also, they were God-fearing people. The grandparents warn the younger generations that they have inherited muc…

Heir Conditioning

M. Shanmughalingam

Grand dad did you breathe
Before air cons were invented
Wasn't it hard staying
Alive without modern inventions
Gandma weren't you flustered
As you fluttered with paper fans
Could you communicate before
Faxes and long distance calls
Became basic necessities?

Grand child we lived
Before your age because
Of our ignorance,
We did not know
Pollution, stress, traffic jams
Destruction of forests, streams and hills
We feared God and nature
Now nature fears you and
Money is your new God

Source: Curriculum Development Division. Ministry of Education Malaysia. 2010

Analysing the Characters in One is One and All Alone

Main character.11 years old; the only child on the spaceship heading towards Trion.Lonely and bored.Misses personal interactions with her parents as her Dad is busy with his work and Mum is away.Relies on the VoicePrinter (VP) for companionship and information.Intelligent: she masters the cloning technology and created a clone of herself.Short sighted as her cloning plan backfires.Clo becomes a nuisance to her.Clo in turn gets rid of Trish through the Disposal Hatch instead.Clo
Identical twin created by Trish in the Biolab using cloning technology.Trish's friend and companion before she "got sick" of her.Quick thinking as she out manoeuvres Trish and gets rid of her creator.Cautious, as she assumes Trish's identity at the end of the story.Trish's Dad
Executive Officer of the spaceship.Busy and preoccupied with work as the captain of the spaceship.Tries to spend time with Trish, his daughter at the diner; indulging her with chocolate milkshakes.Does not realise…

Synopsis of One is One and All Alone

“One is One and All Alone” by Nicholas Fisk is a science fiction story, set in 2045. The main character is Trish, an 11-year old girl who is the only child on a spaceship to Trion. Her father is the Executive Officer of the spaceship and her mother is in Trion helping to set up a space station. She will only meet her mother in mid January 2047. 
After three months, she feels lonely and bored as she does not have any real friends to talk to except her private, multi-functional diary: the VoicePrinter (VP). VP is an intelligent computer which keeps Trish entertained with its ability to perform many functions. 
Through her dialogue sessions with VP, Trish learns about clones and the cloning process. The idea of cloning fascinates Trish and she soon decides to create a clone to keep her company in the spaceship Biolab without her father's knowledge. She names her new identical twin “Clo” and initially it becomes her perfect friend and companion. They have fun playing and sharing their t…

Synopsis of Are You Still Playing Your Flute?

This poem is told from a first person point of view, where the persona, reminisces her feeling of guilt, missing the beautiful melody of the bamboo flute played by her beloved long ago. She later questions and wonders if the flute is still being played now, as the village is now under populated and the paddy field is in a deplorable state. She mentions that, nowadays, relaxing and savoring the beauty of nature is a rare luxury. In the final stanza, she questions for the third time, whether her beloved is still playing the flute. This time around, she admits that she couldn't help but on the contrary, she feels guilty to be thinking of their love at their difficult times. The hardships portrayed here are unemployed young men, people disunited by politics and a "dying" world.

Source: Curriculum Development Division. Ministry of Education Malaysia. 2010

Are You Still Playing Your Flute?

Zurinah Hassan

Are you still playing your flute?
When there is hardly time for our love
I am feeling guilty
To be longing for your song
The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo
Uncovered by the breath of an artist
Composed by his fingers
Blown by the wind
To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing the flute?
In the village so quiet and deserted
Amidst the sick rice field
While here it has become a luxury
To spend time watching the rain
Gazing at the evening rays
Collecting dew drops
Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Are you still playing your flute?
The more it disturbs my conscience
to be thinking of you
in the hazard of you
my younger brothers unemployed and desperate
my people disunited by politics
my friend slaughtered mercilessly
this world is too old and bleeding.

Source: Curriculum Development Division. Ministry of Education Malaysia. 2010

Analysing the Characters in The Curse (part 2)

An obedient daughter of Pn. Kamsiah. She helps Mohd. Asraf to look after his grandmother while he looks for the medicinal plants. She is also a responsible girl as she warns Azreen about the mob that is lead by Mohd. Asraf to the Old Lady's house. She is gullible as she likes to ponder over the gossips and rumours told by Normala, the village gossip.

Puan Normala
The rumour monger of the village and her topic of interest is on Madhuri and how she died. She is sneaky and malicious when she coaxed Mohd. Asraf to confront the Old Lady, accusing her as the reason why his grandmother's health deteriorates and she finally dies. She is also superstitious when she blamed the Old Lady's visit to Mohd. Asraf's house as the reason for the continuous rain.

Old Lady
An educated woman as she has knowledge of herbal medicine to treat illnesses. Her house is always neat and situated by the hillside. She is a caring and concerned woman as she takes Azreen in and gives her food and s…

Analysing the Characters in The Curse (part 1)

Main character of the novel. Studies in England. Happy to be away from her village. Did not have good relationship with her parents especially her father due to her defiant behaviour and tomboyish outlook. An outspoken and independent girl. Envious of her adopted sister, Madhuri. A helpful friend especially when she claimed responsibility for letting the bull run loose in order to save Mohd. Asraf's skin. Caring for her sick mother and Old Lady. Intelligent as she managed to further her studies in the United Kingdom.

A beautiful and polite lady. A submissive wife and daughter. Religious and good at reciting Quranic verses. Conservative compared to her sister, Azreen. Protective of her sister when they were young. A polite and caring daughter. Concerned about her sick mother.

Mohd. Asraf
A dedicated and popular teacher in a local school on the island. Independent since young. Good friends with Azreen while they were in school together. A caring grandson who is concer…

Analysing the Characters in Catch Us If You Can (Granda)

GRANDA – delightfully funny; often repeating phrases and is able to surprise the reader in some instances (hitting the bully unconscious in Perth railway station and stealing the car)

Forgetful and often helpless, he has a good sense of humour. Loves his grandson who he says makes up for his lost son. Charming to ladies, he considers himself lucky to have Rory as his grandson - “What did I do to deserve a boy like you?”

He unwittingly embarrasses Rory's school teacher and becomes a hit among the children when he accidentally sets his coat on fire during Parents' Day. In his forgetfulness, he nearly sets the flat on fire and because of that is hospitalised. He is very co-operative with Rory during their journey and never once complains.

He has no serious motives except that he wants to be together with his grandson at all times.

Consequently he is separated from his grandson but runs away from the home. He meets strangers, some of whom he harbo…

Analysing the Characters in Catch Us If You Can (Rory)

RORY – has a rich inner life; capable of growing and changing, adapting to every new situation with hope and optimism. Readers follow his development through a very wide variety of experiences.

The novel is seen through the eyes of Rory. Readers get access to his young mind – how he thinks, feels and reacts. This narration technique reveals Rory's love for his granda, the concern and anxiety, fears, doubts and frustrations as he goes on the journey of love and protection with his grandfather. Reader can appreciate Rory's growth and maturation because the first person narration has made it possible for an inside view of Rory's mind.
Kind, respectful and very aware of his responsibilities.
He plans the great escape and is solely responsible for getting his grandfather out of the home for old people. Along the journey, he meets new people who extend help.
Honest and sincere; he is very determined to be with his grandfather all the time. He does not want…

Catch Us If You Can (Summary of Chapters 22-33)

Chapter 22
The public has mixed responses over Rory and Granda's running away. Ruby indicates that people are taking sides about them, arguing about the rights and wrongs of their case. Rory realises that they would have to be on the move again. Sammy suggests that he drives them to Dundee so that they can take a train to Glasgow to be with family friends who would provide them with shelter and time to think.
In the train, Rory realises that they have been recognised and alights at an earlier station. When Granda goes to the toilet, Rory is bullied by a young man who recognises him. Granda beats the latter with a bottle and decides that he will steal a car to escape.
Chapter 24
Granda seems an expert at stealing cars and his driving scares Rory. They stop at the lay by to have some rest.
Chapter 25
The runaways meet Rab when they stop to buy petrol. He offers them help.

Chapter 26
Rab says that he wants to help them because Rory and Granda are not criminals. He allows them t…