Monday, April 4, 2011

The Power of Believing

Bieber fever is everywhere. It is amazing to see a 17 year old boy rocked the world through his single hit “Baby”. He has become an inspiration for the whole world, let it be teenagers or adults, everybody want to be Justin Bieber. Among his best hits, one that made the whole world turn to him is the song “Pray”. This song is written by Justin Bieber with Adam Messenger,Nasri and Omar Martinez. It is also an inspiration from Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” song.
            What we can see in the music video are the victims of devastating earthquake in Haiti which happened 2010. Many people were affected because of this and they were featured in this music video. There are also victims of Katrina hurricane of New Orleans, soldiers being reunited with their family members and those who are homeless also featured in this music video. It is more like a short documentary of how all these people were given another reason that life still has to go on.
            The lines from this song highlight the difficulties and sufferings of people around us. There are issues of poverty, how innocent lives are being affected, sacrifices made by soldiers fighting for their country, living behind their loved ones. There is a way for us to change all these, we have to pray. We must believe in the power of believing and have faith in GOD. The purpose of Bieber singing this song is to instill hope on those who are giving up in life. We can see this from his visit to the hospitals, homes and soldier camps. We can also evidence it through the lines from the song; “Cause I know there's sunshine behind that rain, I know there's good times behind that pain”, “I close my eyes and pray”.

                This song can be used in the classroom to create awareness among the students of how lucky they are. Most of us are not appreciating what we have. We often waste food, water and other necessities. We do not appreciate the love of our parents and we do not appreciate the beauty of nature around us. On the other hand, less fortunate people are craving for everything that we have been wasting. So, through this song, we can show the students how people are suffering, how happy they are when they get something that they really wish for. The students are also given a chance to use their critical thinking skills. They are given a chance to imagine something that they hve never experienced before. This will make them realize how lucky they are to live a happy life.
            At the end of the music video, there is a quotation that relates all of us to the Almighty; “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” This phrase is very true as we should never let the faith towards God fade away and by praying, we are moving closer to God.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two different sides of coin with the same value

     One of the super powers that are really attainable is the power of persuasion. You do not need any gadgets for it, just use what God has given you, mouth, tongue, voice and the mentality to manipulate words. Two best superheroes that the world has witnessed are Adolf Hitler and Churchill. These are the best public speakers as well and till today, people are analyzing their speech and use it as example to learn the skill of persuading people. Even though they both practice different belief, they have the same style in presenting their intention.
     First of all, both of them use persuasive language that we can clearly see. For example, in the speech of “We will fight on the beaches” by Churchill, he has used persuasive words like …“I have, myself, full of confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home…”, “…we shall not flag or fail…”, “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France…”. Hitler has the same trait as Churchill. It is clearly noticed through his speech as well; “Now here are 85 million Germans looking into pride and confidence. They are heirs of a great history. We had a world empire when England was nothing but a small island and for a longer time than for 300 years”, “We go into the new year with a fighting force armed as never before in German history. The number of our divisions on land has been enormously increased. Pay has been increased…”  What we can notice is that both leaders are trying to gain their audience’s support through this persuasive skill that they possess.
      Further similar trait that we can notice is the use of pronoun “We” and “I”. The use of “We” here shows the connectivity between the leaders and their audience. It is a good way to gain support because when the pronoun “We” is used, the leaders are including the audience as direct involvement. This gives the audience confidence that the leaders are giving them the attention that they needed. The use of “I” here shows superiority. Both leaders are very influential, that we know. Hitler is a famous symbol for dictatorship. We can see his urge for power through the usage of “I” in his speeches. Churchill is not a dictator but in his speech, we can find the usage of “I”. This is maybe to show his influence of what he has done, addressing his achievements.
Moreover, they both are well prepared for their speech. This is truly a quality that a leader should have. We can see their confidence in their speech and this is one of the evidences that they are well prepared. There are no pauses or fillers in unnecessary places. This is also another sign of how much they have prepared. Moreover, their speeches are spontaneous as they only have main points with them when they gave the speech. Not all can do that but a great leader like Adolf Hitler and Churchill.


What are we, pigs or humans???

     Thanks to George Orwell and one of his masterpiece, the question is now arisen. Are we really behaving like humans or did we revolutionize ourselves from characteristics of animals? Is Darwin’s theory is proven? This is because no matter how you control yourself the animal inside will wake up one day, which is a true statement, whether we realize it directly or no. Psychology aside, let just focus on the animals. This story is about how the animals started to fight for their rights and started a ruling government of their own among themselves. The smartest of their kind are the pigs, how contradicting. It is a good example of how both dictatorship and socialism have their own pros and cons.
     I do not want to see this from the angle of representation of the characters towards any person who lived or lives on the surface of planet earth. Let us just see this as a story with moral values. The animals wanted to bring revolution to their farm and that is not wrong at all. They fought for their rights, they earned themselves of what they deserve, freedom. So, Napoleon and Snowball, the smart and competitive pig started to take over. They did not lead but just monitor things around. Things seemed to go in the right flow. They even created seven commandments;
1.       Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2.       Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3.       No animal shall wear clothes.
4.       No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5.       No animal shall drink alcohol.
6.       No animal shall kill any other animal.
7.       All animals are equal.
     Such were their rules that they based their life upon. All the animals did their job as usual, only this time they did it happily with no pressure or fear of being mistreated. But things turned ugly when Napoleon secretly plans to topple Snowball even though they were getting the same rights as the monitors of the animals. He secretly reared the puppies for quite some time. He used these dogs as his weapon to threaten other animals and eventually gain control of them. Soon, he began to change the commandments to suit his actions. At the end, commandments were as below;
Four legs good, two legs better.
No animals shall sleep in bed with sheets.
No animals shall drink alcohol to excess.
No animals shall kill any other animal without cause.
     The best part has to be the ending where the pigs and humans celebrate their reunion but the celebration ended in a brawl. This is what happens when animals try to behave like humans and humans behave like animals. Dictatorship or socialism, it all depends on the heart that follows it. If you have a strong heart that you can practice certain beliefs without deviating from the original path, then what you are doing is right. There can be some changes, but those changes should bring improvement and not degradation. What we should learn from this story is that as humans, we are better species than the others; we are given special gifts by the God, the ability to think. We should never use them to behave like animals and demolish our own kinds or torture animals. Everyone has their own specialty and it should be respected or else “from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man; it will be impossible to say which was which”.

Lady-like Smile

     A star studded movie is always a movie worth watching few times. Julia Roberts, Kirtsen Dunst and few other big names are a bunch of talented crew that can be found in the movie Mona Lisa smile. For me, I viewed this movie from a perception of a feminist or rather I was made into thinking that way because most of the casts in this movie are ladies, I just cannot help thinking that way. Nevertheless, it was very entertaining as I never have the thought that I would be watching a movie from this point of view.
     Feminism is one of the theories in literature and so was taught to me. To me, this is absolutely a good theory because it stands up for the women who deserve to shine like a star among the suns in the literature galaxy. In this movie, Julia Roberts is appointed as a lecturer to teach arts in a famous college in Wellesley. The first day does not go as how she had expected because the students were just too smart. They have studied everything in the syllabus and it was just another day for them. But Julia Roberts’ character sensed something that they lack, freedom. All they have in their mind is to finish studying and find the right guy to be married to. So, the savior steps up to the duty and does her job well in making the girls realize that life is not only about getting married. Women have their rights to choose what they want to do with their life and they have expectations, ambitions and dreams that worth chasing.
     My favourite part is when Julia Roberts shows them a picture of flower in a vase and the students could not answer what kind of art it is. They started arguing within themselves and that is when Julia Roberts started to put some sense into them. This is what I would like to do to my students. Education is not for them to pass examination. Knowledge is not something to be copied on the answering sheets and be forgotten the next day. It is something that worth keeping forever, it is meant to be shared with everone. Life has to offer so much yet we constrain them and make the hell out of it.
     This movie has really put some sense into me as well. My students will be friends. There are limits and rules to be followed but apart from that, I want them to know that as a teacher, I am able to make a difference in their life and I would want to gain their trust. All this is through the innocent smile introduced by a legend that never spoke a word or even blink her eyes, Mona Lisa.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lean On Me...

At first, this movie seemed to be one of those movies that I would not really watch even if I have the free time. The reasons are it is kind of old, the colour was not so clear and it is just not my type of movie. But to watch beyond all those reason is what the real deal is. As for the entertainment value, this movie should be in the list because it has all the elements that an entertaining movie has to have. Comedy, suspense, drama, all these can be witnessed in the movie. As it the setting takes place in a suburban area, the students in the school are mostly African-Americans and some of them are South Americans. Their slang is one of the entertainments in this movie. Moreover, the incidents that happen in the movie serve as the fun lesson for the audience as it makes them laugh and think at the same time. This is how an entertaining movie should be.
Personally, I feel that this movie is a little bit exaggerated. I do not know the real situation in that country or specifically, that part of the state. But, I was taken by surprise to see the condition of the school. It really reminds me of how it will be when I go to school and start my career as a teacher. For me, first impression is always important. If the first school that I’m going to teach will be in that condition, then, I should see my way out of this noble profession soon because I could not take it even when I watch it in the movie. You can always control what happens in the movie but when it comes to reality, you cannot predict what will happen. That is why watching the movie really scares me.
Principal Clark acted by Morgan Freeman is really the concrete pillar that holds the movie together. He is the boss and he acts like one. His best weapons are his self-composure and the persuasive speech that one can never avoid. He constantly pushes his staffs and everyone has to work their sweat off. It really looks harsh but at the end, the result is something that no one had expected. The school passed the Basic Skill Test and that is all Principal Clark needed. He really reminds me of my Secondary school principal, Tuan Haji Farid. If Morgan Freeman’s power is his speech, Tuan Hj Farid’s power is silence. Whenever he passes by the classes, students will even try not to breath. When he gives speech, it seems to be normal, but to think of it now, I can see the dedication and the hopes that he has for the students and the school’s achievement. The fear that we had for him made us go all out and it made our school one of the best performing school in state of Pahang academically and also in co-curricular activities. He is truly one of the best Principal that I have seen.

What I have learnt from this movie is that, at times, to fight terrorism, we need to be one of them. That is what Principal Clark has done. He did not give mercy to any of the problematic students until they realize their mistakes and come asking for a second chance. But that does not mean that I can constantly push everyone around me to do the work that I wanted. I learnt to press the right button at the right time. I also understand the power of persuasion. Speeches given by Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi prove to be the best examples, these people are my inspiration and I will adapt their skills so that I can persuade my students as well. Of course, even if not the whole school, I will try my best to change at least a bunch of students. This goes into my to-do list when I start my career as a teacher and I will make sure that my students will remember me as I remember the teachers that made me change my life.
Lean On Me Lyrics

Songwriter: Bill Withers

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tommorow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand (Chorus)
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Second Verse
Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand (Chorus)
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you need to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

Call me (if you need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me (if you need a friend)
Call me (if you ever need a friend)
Call me (Call me)
Call me
Call me (if you need a friend)

Lean On Me Lyrics © Interior Music Corp


Bad is better than worse

There are so many cases of dumped babies nowadays. There could be so many reasons for it but there is only one life is affected, the innocent baby. it is very saddening to see it happening around us. There is no value for a human life and the evidences are everywhere. If killing the baby after its born is a sin, then killing it while it’s in the womb is not less than that. Youngsters, they tend to rush into things and does not have the courage to be responsible of their own deeds. Yes, pre-marital sex is culturally and morally wrong. But when it happens, we should see what the consequences are and be responsible of it. If the girl gets pregnant, aborting baby is not the best solution. As a matter of fact, we should not even consider it as an option. There are other ways to deal with it.
In the story of “Great Injustice”, Ah Nya commits the same mistake. But Steven is not willing to take the responsibility for it. As Ah Nya takes the decision to abort the baby, she blames it on the society for her action. It is true that the society provoked her but that is what they do all the time. She should have been able to stand tall against all the talking and gossips because she is the reason why they were talking such things. Her mother, her greatest strength had agreed to help her and take care of the baby. But she still went for the abortion. This shows that she herself does not have the confidence to be responsible for her mistake.
On the other hand, Lakshmi from the story “Merry Maid” took a better solution compared to Ah Nya. Lakshmi is also a victim of situation when she has pre-marital sex and gets pregnant. But she does not think about abortion at all. She chooses to abandon the baby in anyone’s house so that the baby will have a better future. She even chooses the best house so that her baby will live a better life. After a few years, she comes back to the house and work as a maid so that she could stay with her daughter as much as she wants. This shows her love towards her baby.
It is clearly shown that there are other ways to help children born out of wedlock. Abortion is not the only way. There are so many NGOs and even government organization to help people who are facing this situation. It can be justified that Ah Nya did it out of her motherly love yet she does not has the right to take away a life. So, that is why I feel, giving the child away is better than killing it.

Good turns bad

One of the issues that always stir up the Indian community is the dowry system. Even though years have passed since the Indians came to Malaysia, some of the culture still remains as it is being passed through generations. It is the inheritance that will never go missing. As such is the dowry system. To be truthful, it is not a bad culture. The real purpose of dowry is actually an emergency fund set up by the father or the brother of the bride. It functions as a sum of money to help the bride in case of abandonment or the death of the husband. But now, if the bride does not provide enough dowries, it becomes a cause for her death. This is how a good thing turns bad.
This was the case in the stories “Everything’s Arranged” and “Question of Dowry”. First of all, in the story of “Everything’s Arranged”, the dowry system is mistreated for real. When Devanayaki’s parents “assumed” that Devanayaki is in love with Johny, the Chinese boy, they decide to stop Devanayaki’s education in university. But earlier, they have promised to bridegroom’s family that she will be an undergraduate. So, to overcome this problem, they increase the bribery or so called “dowry” 20,000 more as compensation. This is absolutely something that should not happen in the first place. A bride is not a property to be sold and if it is void in any way, people get to sell it in some kind of garage sale or anything like that. This is the kind of mentality of the people who does not consider the heart of a human or more likely when it comes to a young girl.
For the second story “Question of Dowry”,  Sivasothie is clearly treated as a property by both her own family and the bridegroom’s family. Just because Mr.Ramachandran could not pay for the necklace, the marriage is called off. Even the bridegroom did not consider about this and Mrs.Ramachandran acted as though she does not care about anything. No one considered Sivasothie’s feelings. All she had to do is nod her head whenever they want. All this is the consequence of mistreatment of the dowry system.
The examples above are how the dowry system has been mistreated. It all comes down to the tradition that has been followed. There might be some changes made here and there. Yet, in my opinion, the root cause would be the first step of inheriting unnecessary culture.