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?