Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sadness

I don't know for sure what it is that makes me sad and melancholy. It seems to be the prevailing mood these rainy days. I have some reason to suspect that it might be Anton Chekov's play Three Sisters. It's so slow moving, so absolutely frustrating and devastatingly sad. It requires a concerted effort not to fall into a semi-literature effected depression.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Capoeira and Garcia Lorca

No, Capoeira and famous playwright Lorca have no correlation except for concurrently plaguing my mind. Lorca doing the Capoeira is however, a thought. Perchance he liked to dance? (Rhyming rules, like Dr Seuss) In the bathroom when no one could see. That'll explain why he didn't do well in school. Spain and Brazil aren't that far apart anyway, Portuguese and Spanish pretty much spring from the same core.

If I sound incoherent, it might be due to the fact that it is pretty late. I really ought to be going to bed but I want to finish The House of Bernarda Alba, originally 'La Case De Bernada Alba'. first. Oh how I wish I read Spanish, it's such a pretty language. I like it more than French because it sounds more free-spirited and less haughty. I think it has something to do with my general impressions of the French and the Brazilians. I know Spanish isn't Portuguese, but I really haven't met any Spaniards yet, and Brazil!Brazil! WAS ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY AWESOME. I intend to, though.

Bernarda Alba is written by Federico Garcia Lorca, who was hung up with sexuality, sensuality and the like. According to the brief bio in the front of the book, his early poems centered mainly around "the conflict in his mind between sexual desire and Catholic sexual morality". I'm guessing it plagues the modern teenage Catholic boy too.

It's a short play and I think it's rather intriguing because of the harsh Catholic rituals that Bernarda subjects her household to. The hypocrisy of her actions strike me, as does her (SPOILER) youngest daughter's death. It's not so much poignant and sad as striking and painfully real, like white light. I suppose Lorca intends this, as he meant for Bernarda Alba to be a Naturalist play. It's similar to Miss Julie in the more obvious sense of the delineation of social classes and its repercussions, and more importantly, the destructive force of sexual passions which is underscored in both works.

Also, its tragic and the girls die. Whoopee.
I'm beginning to wonder if the mark of a internationally acclaimed playwright is the ability to write at least one play where the female protagonist offs herself. I mean honestly, its seems pervasive around the world. Strindberg was from Sweden and Lorca Spain. And Arcadia too (by Tom Stoppard), where Thomasina burns to death in a fire by the end of the play. Or perhaps it's just Europe.

Strange that I'm studying all three for Literature. Shakespeare is a nice change because he kills off the men instead. Eponymous Julius Caesar (who is stabbed in the back- figuratively, but I'm convinced literally too, because this is Shakespeare we're talking about), and King Lear dies.

Though in King Lear basically everyone dies except Edgar an Albany so I can't say for sure.

Its 2:22 on my computer clock, and I assume it's a portent so I shall be off!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Trackpants and Jackets.

I've just read my English teacher's blog, and somehow, it made me want to blog again. Here I quote Mong as he generously informed us of it's existence. "Read and weep", he said in his email. The result? This.

I realise that I do so enjoy blogging because its therapeutic and it calms me down. I am sitting in my study all wrapped up in a warm, fresh and crisp new jumper and trackpants. Yes, in Singapore. I'll admit, it's not really a place to be bundling up, but tonight is proving especially cold. My hairs are standing on end and this is WITH all that material on. I like it, though. It's the I'm Abroad feeling which I sometimes inexplicably yearn for.

It's 8 days into 2011, and I've just made some resolutions, only I can't say what they are. In ST's Mind Your Body, an article explicitly stated that verbalizing resolutions decreased the chances of them coming to fruition.
I'm not completely convinced that blogging about resolutions is equivalent to VERBALIZING them, but I'm not taking any chances.


There is one thing that I would like to thank God for tonight.
.My teachers.

I can safely and convincingly assure you that never in my life have I been so in love with my teachers. This might sound disgustingly nerdy and loser-esque, because I'm supposed to be all teenagery along the lines of "teachers talk absolute rubbish all the time, who cares if their good or not?".

Try as I might, I can never be one of those couldn't-care-less, I-am-cool-and-independent kind of students. I worship the teachers who I think really care about the class and (unless sleepy) usually listen rather intently to them.

This year, I am blessed with the most fantastic teachers ever. For HLEnglish we got Mr B.Conner (said blog), and Mdm Thiru, Dean and Deputy of the English Dep. For BM we got Mdm Angela Ong, who is so effective I remembered ALL the Ratio Analysis sub-categories by the end of her lesson. For History we got TKC again, but we all adore him because he's funny and doesn't take Limheng's bullying seriously.

Mr Kishor is taking us for Bio again, he's brilliant too. Today he told us all about anorexia and nutrition and although I was sleepy, it was fascinating all the same.

Woe, however, to maths. My brain was not meant for numbers because they always fall out after I stuff them in desperately. It's annoying selective about what it registers, it can remember cool words like perspicacity (keeness of mental perception), but it won't comprehend why the First Principals of Differentiation must exist.

My brain will remember for example, after a year, the song for Differentiating something (Bring down the power, reduce the power by one, differentiate inside the brackets, and multiply- to the tune of Three Blind Mice), but not the awful double angle formulas and the like.

Our teacher seems to me pretty brilliant though, his name is Max Tan. Neat qualifications: Dean of Math Dep in Hwa Chong, taught there for 8 years. Worked in the MOE (if I recall accurately). I doubt it'll make a marked difference though. The method to my acing maths is doing so much until I become utterly sick of it. I like to call it The Hammer Method. You hit hard enough, you hit frequently enough, and it's bound to get in.


I just finished reading what I propose to be one of the most wonderful books I have ever devoured. In actual fact, of course, I'm not supposed to be reading non-academia books. Hence nothing outside the realm of Siddhartha, Huck Finn (btw the new 'revised' version is a special kind of revolting to me. If someone had to gall to switch my words in any of my work I'd rather not have them read it. I'm sure JRR Tolkien would agree with me, and Twain himself. Lightning bugs and lightning! Also, I would rather be called nigger than slave.), Shakespeare and Russian plays.

I don't most of the time do what I'm supposed to. This is why I become a ball of nervous wreck just before major examinations, I suppose. (Speaking of major examinations, 10% of the cohort got 44pt and above for IB which was released yesterday. It is highly disturbing.)


Said book is Looking For Alaska, by John Green. It is from the Kids section in Kino but I am not the least bit ashamed to have read it. Besides, it was under the 'Gifted Readers' section. SO. Anyway, I am in love the story. The way Green weaves his story is so remarkable it makes me want to weep. And so I did, toward the end of the book I was unashamedly tearing. His book is heart wrenching and breathtaking and beautiful. I admire the way he manages to capture the emotion of the moment with stunningly poignant metaphors which I might elucidate on later.

For now my sister is crying and sobbing because of her insomnia brought about by the flu bug which has been going around. Duty calls!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Here's To New Beginnings.

My younger sister randomly muttered that just before she went to have a bath. I thought it rather apt.

So here, is to new beginnings.
Cheers.
Found this on someone's Livejournal(:


Declaration of Revocation:
by John Cleese



To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of
your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to
govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective today.



Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical
duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.



Except Utah, which she does not fancy.



Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the
97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world
outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without
the need for further elections.



Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.



A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether
any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown
Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate
effect:



1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be
amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.



The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and
'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness
on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without
skipping half the letters.



You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed'
not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."
You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g.
Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if
you can't cope with correct pronunciation.



Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.
Look up "vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed
with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an
unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.


Look up "interspersed."



There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're
not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have
chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you
won't have to use bad language as often.



2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft
know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to
take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."



3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to
cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).



You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents ---
Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with
subtitles.



While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no
such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is
"Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American
States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire,
Louisianashire.



4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to
play English characters.



British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will
not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience
who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.



5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want
you to get confused and give up half way through.



6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one
kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a
very good game.



The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your
borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.
You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play
proper football.



Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a
difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed
to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not
involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full
kevlar body armour like nancies).



We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by
2005.



You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an
event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played
outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is
a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead
of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called
"rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized
gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.



7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no
longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public
than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible
enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a
permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.



8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a
new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called
"Indecisive Day."



9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand
what we mean.



All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time,
you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of
conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.



10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call
'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they
are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered
fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.
Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called
"crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The
traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served
warm and flat.



Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.



11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added
to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this
quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.



12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper
British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of
known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The
substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be
referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the
product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true
Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech
Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.



13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline,"
as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005)
prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to
those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK
petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).



14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to
sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,
then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.



15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.



16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you
shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation.




To the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

We welcome your concern about our electoral process. It must be exciting for you to see a real Republic in action, even if from a distance. As always we're amused by your quaint belief that you're actually a world power. The sun never sets on the British Empire! Right-o chum!

However, we regretfully have to decline your offer for intervention. On the other hand, it would be amusing to see you try to enforce your new policy (for the 96.3% of you that seem to have forgotten that you have little to no real power). After much deliberation, we have decided to continue our tradition as the longest running democratic republic. It seems that switching to a monarchy is in fact considered a "backwards step" by the majority of the world.

To help you rise from your current anachronistic status, we have compiled a series of helpful suggestions that we hope you adopt:

1. Realize that language is an organic structure, and that you aren't always correct in your pronunciation or spelling. Let's use your "aluminium" example. Sir Humphrey Davy(an Englishman) invented the name "aluminum" (note spelling) for the metal. However, in common usage the name evolved into "aluminium" to match the naming convention of other elements. In 1925 the United States decided to switch back to the
original spelling and pronunciation of the word, at which point we dominated the aluminum industry. We'd also like to point out that the process of actually producing aluminum was developed by an American and a Frenchman (not an Englishman). However, we'd like to thank you for the Oxford English Dictionary. It's an interesting collection, considering that over 10,000 of the words in the original edition were submitted by a crazy American civil-war veteran called Dr. William Charles Minor.

2. Learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents, and then we'll talk about the English and Australian accent issue.

3. Review your basic arithmetic.(Hint 100 - 98.85 = 1.15 and 100 - 97.85 = 2.15)

4. If you want English actors as good guys, then make your own movies. Don't rely on us for your modern popular culture. We liked "Lock, Stock,and Two Smoking Barrels", "Train spotting", and "The Full Monty". We've also heard good things about this "Billy Elliot". But one good movie a year doesn't exactly make a cultural powerhouse. However, you're doing pretty well with music, so keep up the good work on that front.

5. It's inefficient to have a national anthem that changes its title whenever your monarch dies. Let's not forget that your national anthem has an extremely boring tune. We suggest switching to that Rule Britannia ditty, it's toe tapping. Or maybe Elton John could adapt "Candle In The Wind" again for you guys.

6. Improve at your national sport. Football? Soccer? This just in: United States gets fourth place in men's soccer at the 2000 Summer Olympics. United Kingdom? Not even close. By the way, impressive showing at Euro 2000. You almost managed to get through the tournament without having your fans start an international incident.

7. Learn how to cook. England has some top notch candy. Salt 'n' Vinegar chips are quite yummy. However, there's a reason why the best food in your country is Indian or Chinese. Your contributions to the culinary arts are soggy beans, warm beer, and spotted dick. Perhaps when you finally realize the French aren't the spawn of Satan they'll teach you how to cook.

8. You're doing a terrible job at understanding cars. The obvious error is that you drive on the wrong side of the road. A second problem is pricing, it's cheaper to buy a car in Belgium and ship it to England than to buy a car in England. On the other hand, we like Jaguars and Aston Martins. That's why we bought the companies.

9. We'll tell you who killed JFK when you apologize for "Teletubbies".


Hahahah WEAK-Near-Frozen-Gnat's Urine.
(: