Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Salam and hello everyone. Firstly, please accept my apology for not responding to the
messages in the chatbox. Things seemed to keep piling up towards the end of the year. Well, we're all moving forward to the end of the month, which is also the end of the year 2010. It's the month in which almost everybody starts checking their deeds for the whole year:

1. Have I achieved what I have planned for?
2. Am I half-way there? Or...
3. I stalled the moment I wrote my resolution because it looked too good to be true?

Some of us might be smiling and says Yes!!! I finally made it!! Or even there are people who would say....I knew I could do it!!! And some might still be upset and say...If only I have listened....If I knew it turned out to be this way, I wouldn't have done it!

Yes, this is the month we normally reflected upon our work, our results, our achievements, our failures, our weaknesses etc. Then, we start to ponder on our regrets and decide to turn a new leaf, writing a new resolution....and we do this every year.

NOW....for a change. Why don't we pick the area that we were weak in and improve that weak part of our life? This will help us to build a stronger characteristic. Identifying our strength and weaknesses is the turning point for a better self in the coming years. New year does not only mean New would be more meaningful if our resolutions make us a better man. It's like saving the world, you can always Re-use our strength, Reduce our weaknesses and Recycle our successful strategies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

revision Q & As

Salam and hello everyone!! I guess you are busy with your revision since the examination has started. Here are some Q & As for the SPM 2010 students, for you to recapitulate the poems you learned last year. Good Luck!!

1. Why does the poet compare his beloved to a summer’s day?
The poet compares his beloved to a summer’s day because it is bright, sunny & the best season in the whole year.
2. Why is his beloved “more lovely” and “more temperate” than a summer’s day?
The poet’s beloved is more beautiful than a summer’s day because her perfect beauty does not change.
3. What does the phrase “darling buds” refer to?
“Darling buds’ refers to the tender/delicate buds that are waiting to blossom into flowers.
4. What will the rough winds do to the “darling buds”?
The rough winds blow strongly and the shake the tender buds.
5. Why is the summer season considered a “lease”?
Summer is considered a lease because it seems to be renting for only 3 months in a year.
6. Why does “summer’s lease” have “all too short a date”?
Summer only lasts for 3 months and it is too short to be experienced by the people.
7. What does the phrase “eternal summer” mean?
“Eternal summer” is a metaphor that refers to the everlasting beauty of the poet’s beloved.
8. What are the weaknesses of summer?
i)Summer is too short. It only lasts for 3 months.
ii) Summer is too hot when the sun shines too brightly.
iii) The weather is not exactly temperate as it is unpredictable.
iv)Sometimes the wind blows very strongly that it threats the lovely May flowering buds.
9. What are the strengths of “eternal summer”?
i) Summer season lasts forever.
ii) The beauty and joy of summer lasts forever.

10. Why does the poet describe the sun as the “eye of heaven”?
The sun is in the sky and as if it is looking at the earth from above.
11. Why is the “eye of heaven” itself not perfect?
Sometimes it shines too brightly that it makes people feel hot and uncomfortable.
12. What does “his gold complexion dimm’d” refer to?
Sunshine can sometimes be hidden by dark clouds.
13. What does line 11 mean : “Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade”?
Death cannot boasts over the death of the poet’s beloved as it can only take her life away, not her beauty.
14. “When in eternal lines to time thou grows’t” (line 12). What does this line mean?
The beauty of the poet’s beloved remains captivating as the poet has written about it in this sonnet.
15. What does “this” in line 14 refer to?
The lines in the poem.


Stanza 1
The father advises his son to:
keep his sanity and be sensible at all times
trust himself when others doubt him
give others the benefit of the doubt
practise patience (line.5)
avoid lying and being lied to (line 6)
put aside all hatred (line 7)
be moderate in appearance and speech(line 8)
be humble and not be arrogant (line 8)

Stanza 2
The father advises his son to:
not to indulge in dreams(line 9)
not to show off or try to impress(line 10)
be open-minded and treat success and failure on equal terms (line 11)
to be strong in times of failure (line 12)
remain calm no matter how other people twist your words of truth.(line 13)
evil cheater will twist your words and use them for their own advantage. (line 14)
remain calm when you watch your life’s work being destroyed by unscrupulous people. (line 15)
to rebuild whatever he has lost in life(line 16)

question 8
To become a true man who is perfect in every way.

Stanza 3
The father advises his son:
to gather all his wealth in one venture(line 17)
to be prepared to take risks(line 18)
that if he loses all of his wealth, he has to start all over again(line 19)
not to tell anyone about his loss.(line 20)
to perservere and discipline your mind and heart. (line 21)
be positive and be objective even if you are feeling weak or fearful (line 22)
not to quit even though the odds are against him(line 23)
not to give up easily and to have strong will power(line 24)
Stanza 4
The father advises his son to:
mix with all sorts of people and be true to your values and upbringing(line 25)
socialise with the upper class without looking down on the lower class (line 26)
live in harmony with both your friends and enemies without being harmed by them. (line 27)
be just and equal treatment to everyone(line 28)
be virtuous
have humility
socialise without fear or prejudice
live in harmony with others
be careful not to get hurt
be dependable
appreciate time
make full use of time

si tenggang’s homecoming
by Muhammad haji salleh
1) What does “physical journey” refer to?
The physical journey refers to si tenggang’s journey overseas.
2) What does “A journey of the soul” refer to?
“A journey of the soul” refers to the journey of the mind and heart of the persona.
3) What do lines 5 & 6 mean?
the knowledge that sweats from it
is a stranger’s knowledge
The word sweats suggests that it is not easy to acquire new knowledge. The word stranger means foreign. Now this knowledge is part of his identity.
4) What has this knowledge helped si tenggang to do?
It has helped him to think, see and choose between realities
5) How do his family members feel about the new si tenggang?
His family members do not understand the new si tenggang and they feel that si tenggang has entirely changed.
6) Who understood and accepted him?
His wife
7) si tenggang feels he has “not entirely returned”(line 16). Why is this?
He has physically returned but he is not accepted by his people. He also has a lot of knowledge to share with his people but they refuse to accept the new changes.
8) How has he been changed?
He has been changed by time and place during his travels. He can overcome his problems by himself.
9) What does “the contents of thee boats are yours too” mean (line 37)?
The knowledge he learnt from his travels.
10) Why does si tenggang say that he is “still malay”(line 32)?
He still practise the Malay traditions and believe in what is good.
11) 26.What is si tenggang’s journey compared to (line 28-30)?
A loyal teacher.
12) 27.Why does he say he is “not a new man?”
He has not changed into a different person.
13) In the last stanza (line 55-68), what does he say he has learned?
He has learned not to brood over a foreign world,
He has learned not to be fearful of possibilities.

14) What do lines 64 to 66 mean?
i am you,
freed from the village,
its soils and ways,
si tenggang is still the same person, but he has changed his way of thinking because he has gain more knowledge than his villagers, He has freed his way of thinking which was narrower before his travels.
15) What does he say he has become in lines 67 to 68? What does he mean?
independent, because
i have found myself
He has become more independent because he has discovered his strength and weaknesses.
Monsoon History
By Shirley Geok-lin Lim
1.Describe the air and what it does in lines 1-3.
It has been raining heavily and the air is filled with water vapour.The water vapour soaks into the mattresses causing them to be damp.

2.Why does the poet use the word “apparitions” to describe the air (line 3)?
The image of damp air is seen in the water vapour looking like circles of smoke.

3.What other creatures start to appear in the garden?
fat white slugs and snails.

4.Why do “Nyonya and Baba” count “silver paper for the dead” (lines 21-24)?
It is the practices of the Chinese custom of preparing “silver paper” for the dead to pay respect to the dead.
5.Why do they hang the “portraits of grandfathers” in “the parlour”?
The family has great respect for their ancestors.
6. Why does the poet mention the ancestors and their portraits?
To show the customs and traditions of the Nyonya-baba family which respect their ancestors and preserving the family history.

7. What creatures does the poet see around her?
termites, black spiders, gnats

8.Why are these creatures associated with the “down-pouring rain”?
The creatures normally appear when it rains.

9.Why do you think this poem is called “Monsoon History”?
It tells about an old tradition of the Nyonya Baba family.

10.State 3 themes found in the poem.
a)Monsoon Season in Malacca
b) Family
c) The Nyonya Baba customs
10. State 3 moral values found in the poem.
a) We must know know and value our heritage
b) We must appreciate our home for it is a place of love and warmth.
c) Man and nature can live in harmony with one another.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

SPM REVISION: Monsoon History

Monsoon History

The air is wet, soaks
Into mattresses, and curls
In apparitions of smoke.
Like fat white slugs furled
Among the timber,
Or sliver fish tunneling
The damp linen covers
Of schoolbooks, or walking
Quietly like centipedes,
The air walking everywhere
On its hundred feet
Is filled with the glare
Of tropical water

Again we are taken over
By clouds and rolling darkness.
Small snails appear
Clashing their timid horns
Among the morning glory

Drinking milo,
Nyonya and baba sit at home.
This was forty years ago.
Sarong-wrapped they counted
Silver paper for the dead,
Portraits of grandfathers
Hung always in the parlour.
Reading Tennyson, at six
p.m. in pajamas,
Listening to down-pouring
rain; the air ticks
With gnats, black spiders fly,
Moths sweep out of our rooms
Where termites built
Their hills of eggs and queens zoom
In heat.
We wash our feet
For bed, watch mother uncoil
Her snake hair, unbuckle
The silver mesh around her waist,
Waiting for father pacing
The sands as fishers pull
From the Straits after monsoon.

The air is still, silent
Like sleepers rocked in the pantun,
Sheltered by Malacca
This was forty years ago,
When nyonya married baba.

black spider

1. Describe the air and what it does in lines 1-3.
2. Why does the poet use the word “apparitions” to describe the air (line 3)?
3. What other creatures start to appear in the garden?
4. Why do “Nyonya and Baba” count “silver paper for the dead” (lines 21-24)?
5. Why do they hang the “portraits of grandfathers” in “the parlour”?
6. Why does the poet mention the ancestors and their portraits?
7. What creatures does the poet see around her?
8. Why are these creatures associated with the “down-pouring rain”?
9. Why do you think this poem is called “Monsoon History”?
10. State 3 themes found in the poem.
11. State 3 moral values found in the poem.

SPM REVISION: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


1. How many roads are mentioned in line 1?
2. Where are these roads?
3. What does “diverge” mean (line 1)?
4. What is significant about the colour yellow (line 1)?
5. Which road does the poet take?
6. What does “just as fair” mean (line 6)?
7. What does “wanted wear” mean (line 8)
8. Was his choice a careless one?
9. Do you think the traveler chose wisely? Explain your answer briefly.
10. What does “in leaves no step had trodden black” mean (line 12)?
11. What does “way leads on to way” mean (line 14)
12. Why will the traveler tell this story with a sigh?
13. What does “ages and ages hence” mean (line 17)?
14. Why has his choice made all the difference?
15. List 3 moral values found in this poem.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

1. List the advice given in stanza 1:
2. List the advice given in lines 5-8:
3. List the advice given in lines 9-12:
4. List the advice given in lines 13-16:
5. List the advice given in lines 17-20:
6. List the advice given in lines 21-24:
7. List the advice given in lines 25-28:
8. What is the reward that comes to the man who can follow all the advice given in this poem?

SPM REVISION:There's been a death in the opposite house

There's been a death in the opposite house
As lately as today.
I know it by the numb look
Such houses have always

The neighbours rustle in and out,
The doctor drives away.
A window opens like a pod,
Abrupt, mechanically;

Somebody flings a mattress out, -
The children hurry by;
They wonder if It died on that, -
I used to when a boy.

The minister goes stiffly in
As if the house were his,
And he owned all the mourners now,
And little boys besides;

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade

Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, -
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.

1. How does the poet know that someone in the opposite house has died?
2. What does the poet really mean by the phrase “numb look”?
3. What does “such houses” (line 4) refer to?
4. From your knowledge of the poem, say who the speaker in this poem (the persona) is.
5. Why does the doctor “drives away”?
6. What does the word “rustle” suggest?
7. Why is the dead person referred to as “It” rather than “he” or “she”?
8. Why does the minister “own” all the mourners?
9. What does the milliner do?
10. Why does the speaker call the undertaker the “man of the appalling trade”?
11. What could the “house” (line 19) be in this poem?
12. Why is the funeral a “dark parade”?
13. What is the effect of using the word “dark”?
14. Why is it “easy as a sign” to tell when someone has died?
15. What is the theme of this poem?


1. Numb look suggests …………………….…………………
2. houses (line 4) suggests……………………………………….
3. house (line 19) suggests ………………………………………
4. dark parade suggests……………………………………….
5. I used to when a boy suggests………………………………
6. The intuition of the news suggests…………………………..
7. In just a country town suggests……………………………….

1. Neighbours …………………………………………………
2. Minister …………………………………………………
3. doctor …………………………………………………
4. Milliner …………………………………………………
5. The man of the apppalling trade……………………………
6. mourners …………………………………………………
Dark parade IS ……………………………………………..
Tassles and coaches ARE ………………………………………..
A window opens like a pod & somebody flings the mattress out MEANS ………………………………………………

SPM REVISION: si tenggang's homecoming

si tenggang’s homecoming
the physical journey that i traverse
is a journey of the soul,
transport of the self from a fatherland
to a country collected by sight and mind,
the knowledge that sweats from it
is a stranger’s knowledge,
from one who has learnt to see, think
and choose between
the changing realities.
it’s true i have growled at my mother and grandmother
but only after having told of my predicament
that they have never brought to reason.
the wife that i begun to love in my loneliness,
in the country that alienated me
they took to their predecisions
i have not entirely returned, i know,
having been changed by time and place,
coarsened by problems
estranged by absence.
but look,
i have brought myself home,
seasoned by confidence,
broadened by land and languages,
i am no longer afraid of the oceans
or the differences between people,
not easily fooled
by words or ideas.
the journey was a loyal teacher
who was never tardy
in explaining cultures or variousness
look, i am just like you,
still malay,
sensitive to what i believe is good,
and more ready to understand
than my brothers.
the contents of these boats are yours too
because i have returned.
travels made me
a seeker who does not take
what is given without sincerity
or that which demands payments from beliefs.
the years at sea and coastal states
have taught me to choose,
to accept only those tested by comparison,
or that which matches the words of my ancestors,
which returns me to my village
and its perfection.
i’ve learnt
the ways of the rude
to hold reality in a new logic,
debate with hard and loud facts.
but i too am humble, respecting,
man and life.
i am not a new man,
not very different
from you;
the people and cities
of coastal ports
taught me not to brood
over a foreign world,
suffer difficulties
or fear possibilities.

i am you,
freed from the village,
its soils and ways,
independent, because
i have found myself.


1. What does “physical journey” refer to?
2. What does “A journey of the soul” refer to?
3. What do lines 5 & 6 mean?
4. What has this knowledge helped si tenggang to do?
5. How do his family members feel about the new si tenggang?
6. Who understood and accepted him?
7. si tenggang feels he has “not entirely returned”(line 16). Why is this?
8. How has he been changed?
9. What does “the contents of thee boats are yours too” mean (line 37)?
10. 25. Why does si tenggang say that he is “still malay”(line 32)?
11. 26.What is si tenggang’s journey compared to (line 28-30)?
12. 27.Why does he say he is “not a new man?”
13. In the last stanza (line 55-68), what does he say he has learned?
14. What do lines 64 to 66 mean?
15. What does he say he has become in lines 67 to 68? What does he mean?



Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as man can breath, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

1. Why does the poet compare his beloved to a summer’s day?
2. Why is his beloved “more lovely” and “more temperate” than a summer’s day?
3. What does the phrase “darling buds” refer to?
4. What will the rough winds do to the “darling buds”?
5. Why is the summer season considered a “lease”?
6. Why does “summer’s lease” have “all too short a date”?
7. What does the phrase “eternal summer” mean?
8. What are the weaknesses of summer?
9. What are the strengths of “eternal summer”?
10. Why does the poet describe the sun as the “eye of heaven”?
11. Why is the “eye of heaven” itself not perfect?
12. What does “his gold complexion dimm’d” refer to?
13. What does line 11 mean : “Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade”?
14. “When in eternal lines to time thou grows’t” (line 12). What does this line mean?
15. What does “this” in line 14 refer to?


Thursday, March 4, 2010


[verb + preposition(s)]
Choose a phrasal verb to complete the following sentences.

1. They hope to _________ _____ a contract and sign it before the end of the week.
a) set up b) put up c) draw up d) make up

2. He's a very dependable person. You can _________ _____ him in any circumstances.
a) count for b) trust in c) stand for d) rely on

3. Many husbands avoid any housework. They manage to _______ _____ _____ it.
a) get safe of b) go past on c) stay away of d) get out of

4. I'm glad you're coming to the meeting. I _________ _________ to meeting you.
a) look ahead b) look forward c) see forward d) think ahead

5. Harry reads the newspaper every morning. He likes to ___ _____ ____ the latest eventS.
a) stand up to b) stay on to c) keep up with d) get up to

6. Tom and Bill had a meeting in order to _________ _____ their difficulties.
a) bash out b) wash out c) iron out d) spread out

7. Tests will be _________ _____ to determine the causes of the failure.
a) taken up b) carried out c) looked into d) run on

8. The plans for the new theatre _________ ______ _______ a lot of criticism.
a) ran up to b) faced up with c) came up against d) was opposed to

9. Sophie wants to leave the company. We'll have to _________ ____ a way to make her stay.
a) set up b) turn out c) figure out d) stumble on

10. Anyone can make a mistake but George never _________ ____ to his errors.
a) comes on b) owns up c) goes forward d) pays up

You've no need to light a night-light
On a light night like tonight,
For a night-light's light's a slight light,
And tonight's a night that's light.
When a night's light, like tonight's light,
It is really not quite right
To light night-lights with their slight lights
On a light night like tonight.


Thirty sly thick thugs sought thirty slightly thin slugs;
Did thirty sly thick thugs seek thirty slightly thin slugs?
If thirty sly thick thugs sought thirty slightly thin slugs,
How many slightly thin slugs did thirty sly thick thugs seek?


Thirty-three Finns found thirty free things.
Did thirty-three Finns find thirty free things?
If thirty-three Finns found thirty free things,
How many free things did thirty-three Finns find?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Kino is a pearl diver who lives among a community of "fishing people". He has a canoe which used to belong to his grandfather and father. Unable to get his son treated by the doctor, he goes out in his canoe with Juana and his son. Hoping to find a pearl which he can sell to pay for Coyotito's treatment. Before Juana gets into the canoe, she place a poultice of seaweed on the baby's swollen shoulder.They, like the other pearl divers in their community, to go to where the oyster bed is located. Kino has two ropes. One is tied to a heavy stone and the other is tied to a basket. He takes the rock in one hand and the basket in the other and dives into the sea. At the sea bed, he looks for mature oysters, breaks them away and lays them in his basket.

Suddenly, he spots a very large oyster and gets a glimpse on the shiny object within. He picks it up and, while holding it to his breast, rise to the surface. He place the oyster into his canoe and get into it. He opens the oyster in the basket first which do not produce anything. Juana urges him to open the larger oyster, which he does. In it he finds a large perfect pearl-as big as a seagull's egg. They look at Coyotito, only to find out that the swelling on his shoulder has gone down. Kino is overcome with emotion and screams. The other pearl divers head towards Kino's canoe.

this is a seagull's egg

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Kino wakes up at dawn and he feels happy. It is a beautiful morning. Juana makes corn-cakes for breakfast. She is also happy. She is singing an old song which is very comforting. It is the 'Song of the Family'. Kino's son, Coyotito is sleeping in a hanging box. Kino and Juana eat their breakfast and Kino sighs with satisfaction.

Suddenly, a scorpion stings Coyotito and he cries in pain. Kino kills the scorpion in rage and Juana quickly tries to suck out the poison. They take Coyotito to the doctor but he refuses to treat him as Kino has no money. Kino strikes the gate of the doctor's house with his fist until blood flows out. The crowd melts tactfully away. Everyone is aware of Kino's public humiliation and shame.


‘QWERTYUIOP’ by Vivien Alcock is about a young graduate named Lucy Beck who has just finished her ‘O’ levels at Belmont Secretarial College. Being a slow learner herself, she has no confidence that she will find a job. Fortunately, she is offered a job by Mr. Ross, the Manager of Ross and Bannister’s. During her first day, she encounters many peculiar incidents. Later, she finds out that there is a spirit lingering around the office who is adamant in holding on to her position as the company’s secretary. Towards the end of the story, Lucy tries to get rid of the spirit that has been haunting that place for many years by putting the spirit at peace.


Hello everyone, today I would like to talk about a short story called QWERTYUIOP. Here are some notes that would help you to understand the text better. Thank you to CDC for providing us with a complete Literature Component module.

The story revolves around two main settings: Lucy’s house which she shares with her mother and her Uncle Bert, and the office of Ross and Bannister’s where Lucy works as a secretary.

Lucy Beck : She is a young, shy and insecure graduate of secreterial studies. She is satisfied with her current life and is determined to improve it. She obtains a position with Ross and Bannister’s, only to find that the position comes with a chilling secret.
Ghost of Ms.Broome : She was the previous employee of Ross and Bannister’s. She is unwilling to let go of her position and continues to defend her post, even after her demise.
Lucy’s mother : A housewife who lives a hard life. She has to support her brother.
Uncle Bert : Depends on his sister for support. He is also a drunkard.
Harry Darke : Ross and Bannister’s handyman. He is an old man who has been working with the company for years.
Mr. Ross : The younger partner of the company.

Possible themes that can be found in the short story are determination, possessiveness, loyalty, loneliness, commitment, the supernatural, and compassion.

Despite the supernatural nature by which Ms. Broome badgers and demoralises Lucy, she shows no signs of giving in to her demand. Instead, she is steadfast in defending her position as the secretary.

Not even death could part Ms. Broome from what she feels is rightfully hers. She continues to haunt the office through her electronic typewriter.

As with her possesiveness towards her job, Ms. Broome was also extremely loyal towards Mr. Bannister. Even after she passed on, her spirit continued in its endeavour to serve her employer.

Loneliness can be a strong influence in a person’s life. Ms. Broome had no life outside of her office. That made her more possesive of her position in the company; a possesiveness that went beyond the grave.

This attribute can be clearly seen in both Lucy and Ms. Broome. Both are extremely committed to their profession.

It is interesting that such an integral character in the story happens to be an ethereal entity. Yet this theme is rather prominent in the story.

This theme holds water especially in the final confrontation between Lucy and Ms. Broome. It is not through hatred nor coercion that Lucy manages to outsmart Ms. Broome, rather, it was through compassion and understanding of Ms. Broome’s intentions.

• Do not judge a person merely through credentials or qualifications
• We must be committed and responsible to our vocation or profession
• We must value our family.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Kino, Juana, and their infant son, Coyotito, live in a modest brush house by the sea. One morning, calamity strikes when a scorpion stings Coyotito. Hoping to protect their son, Kino and Juana rush him to the doctor in town. When they arrive at the doctor’s gate, they are turned away because they are poor natives who cannot pay enough.

Later that same morning, Kino and Juana take their family canoe, an heirloom, out to the estuary to go diving for pearls. Juana makes a poultice for Coyotito’s wound, while Kino searches the sea bottom. Juana’s prayers for a large pearl are answered when Kino surfaces with the largest pearl either of them has ever seen. Kino lets out a triumphant yell at his good fortune, prompting the surrounding boats to circle in and examine the treasure.

In the afternoon, the whole neighborhood gathers at Kino’s brush house to celebrate his find. Kino names a list of things that he will secure for his family with his newfound wealth, including a church wedding and an education for his son. The neighbors marvel at Kino’s boldness and wonder if he is foolish or wise to harbor such ambitions.

Toward evening, the local priest visits Kino to bless him in his good fortune and to remind him of his place within the church. Shortly thereafter, the doctor arrives, explaining that he was out in the morning but has come now to cure Coyotito. He administers a powdered capsule and promises to return in an hour.

In the intervening period, Coyotito grows violently ill, and Kino decides to bury the pearl under the floor in a corner of the brush house. The doctor returns and feeds Coyotito a potion to quiet his spasms. When the doctor inquires about payment, Kino explains that soon he will sell his large pearl and inadvertently glances toward the corner where he has hidden the pearl. This mention of the pearl greatly intrigues the doctor, and Kino is left with an uneasy feeling.

Before going to bed, Kino reburies the pearl under his sleeping mat. That night, he is roused by an intruder digging around in the corner. A violent struggle ensues, and Kino’s efforts to chase away the criminal leave him bloodied. Terribly upset by this turn of events, Juana proposes that they abandon the pearl, which she considers an agent of evil.

The next morning, Kino and Juana make their way to town to sell the pearl. Juan Tomás, Kino’s brother, advises Kino to be wary of cheats. Indeed, all of the dealers conspire to bid low on the pearl. Kino indignantly refuses to accept their offers, resolving instead to take his pearl to the capital. That evening, as Kino and Juana prepare to leave, Juan Tomás cautions Kino against being overly proud, and Juana repeats her wish to be rid of the pearl. Kino silences her, explaining that he is a man and will take care of things.

In the middle of the night, Juana steals away with the pearl. Kino wakes as she leaves and pursues her, apprehending her just as she is poised to throw the pearl into the sea. He tackles her, takes the pearl back, and beats her violently, leaving her in a crumpled heap on the beach. As he returns to the brush house, a group of hostile men confronts him and tries to take the pearl from him. He fights the men off, killing one and causing the rest to flee, but drops the pearl in the process.

As Juana ascends from the shore to the brush house, she finds the pearl lying in the path. Just beyond, she sees Kino on the ground, next to the dead man. He bemoans the loss of the pearl, which she presents to him. Though Kino explains that he had no intention to kill, Juana insists that he will be labeled a murderer. They resolve to flee at once. Kino rushes back to the shore to prepare the canoe, while Juana returns home to gather Coyotito and their belongings.

Kino arrives at the shore and finds his canoe destroyed by vandals. When he climbs the hill, he sees a fire blazing, and realizes that his house has burned down. Desperate to find refuge, Kino, Juana and Coyotito duck into Juan Tomás’s house, where they hide out for the day. Relieved that the three did not perish in the blaze, as the rest of the neighborhood believes, Juan Tomás and his wife, Apolonia, reluctantly agree to keep Kino and Juana’s secret and provide shelter for them while pretending to be ignorant of their whereabouts.

At nightfall, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito set out for the capital. Skirting the town, they travel north until sunrise and then take covert shelter by the roadside. They sleep for most of the day and are preparing to set out again when Kino discovers that three trackers are following them. After hesitating briefly, Kino decides that they must hurry up the mountain, in hopes of eluding the trackers. A breathless ascent brings them to a water source, where they rest and take shelter in a nearby cave. Kino attempts to mislead the trackers by creating a false trail up the mountain. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito then hide in the cave and wait for an opportunity to escape back down the mountain.

The trackers are slow in their pursuit and finally arrive at the watering hole at dusk. They make camp nearby, and two of the trackers sleep while the third stands watch. Kino decides that he must attempt to attack them before the late moon rises. He strips naked to avoid being seen and sneaks up to striking distance. Just as Kino prepares to attack, Coyotito lets out a cry, waking the sleepers. When one of them fires his rifle in the direction of the cry, Kino makes his move, killing the trackers in a violent fury. In the aftermath, Kino slowly realizes that the rifle shot struck and killed his son in the cave.

The next day, Kino and Juana make their way back through town and the outlying brush houses. Juana carries her dead son slung over her shoulder. They walk all the way to the sea, as onlookers watch in silent fascination. At the shore, Kino pulls the pearl out of his clothing and takes one last, hard look at it. Then, with all his might, under a setting sun, he flings the pearl back into the sea.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

In The Midst Of Hardship-Synopsis

This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. The elders return at dawn in soaking-wet clothes. They go straight to the kitchen. They are probably hungry. Their hands and legs are bruised but they do not show any sign of despair or of losing hope.
After braving the dreadful flood for the last 24 hours, they still can not find their son’s albino buffalo. Despite all the adversities and suffering, the people in the poem do not complain or lament on their misfortunes. They spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. They are grateful for the fact what they still have instead of what is lost. Life goes on with their daily chores of preparing food and habit of rolling their cigarette leaves. They are still able to joke with one another.

In The Midst Of Hardship;-Background of the Poet

Latiff Mohidin
Born on 25 August 1941 in Negeri Sembilan, Latiff Mohidin was educated at Lenggeng, Seremban, Singapore, and the University of Fine Arts in Berlin. This poet and artist has held exhibitions of his works and travelled abroad extensively in the 1960s and 1970s. He has served as Writer in Residence at the Science University of Malaysia, Penang, the National University of Malaysia and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. At present, Latiff is a freelance poet and artist. His poems have won the Putra I poetry Award. Among his books are: Sungai Mekong (1972), Kembara Malam (1974), and Wayang Pak Dalang (1977). Garis: Dari Titik ke Titik (1988), a book on the creative process (art and poetry), won the Honourable Diploma Prize at the Festival of International Books at Leipzig, Germany in 1989.
Latiff Mohidin is usually known for his graphic and imagistic experiment. He addresses social themes in his poems, illustrating the all-important concept that poetry serves society. Among the poems he has written are Dream 1, Mirror, The Puppeteer’s Wayang, Words Adrift on Air, The Legend of the Dawn, His Thick Shroud, The Shore of Time, Mask of My Name is Rawana and ‘A City, A Grandmother and Death’.

Welcome 2010

Wow! I haven't been blogging for quite some time, it seems. Well, having a long year-end break was so satisfying that I managed to adapt to the changes in the first month of 2010. It is pretty tough to juggle both career and family world, but keeping this statement in my head seems to be the driving factor so far="If you don't have time, MAKE time." It is true, somehow because the crucial part in managing the routines is to manage time. Trying to quit my position as the Queen of Procrastination is not an easy task. Well, perhaps by reminding my students everyday will help me to remind myself most of the times that Procrastination is the thief of time.