Sunday, July 31, 2011


Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own. ~Harold Coffin

After watching BRIDESMAIDS, I realised how silenced communication can sometimes be. And that unhappiness may conceal itself in the form jealousy and will only surfaced in the form of an outburst. Even between best friends, sometimes the different signals of jealousy can easily be missed. Am I making sense?

Whatever it is, I guess what I am trying to say is… not everyone is very open verbally. Some may choose to drop hints to show that they are not content with something. And sometimes, even between best friends, who knows each other for so long, may not be able to pick up signals or hints. (especially yours truly). So…sometimes it helps if everyone could play a part and say out a thing or two about what they are not happy about, rather than to drop hints here and there… hints could be misread, and assumptions are not healthy.

And if you don’t understand what I am trying to say here, then neither do I. Maybe I was just trying to be analytical (plus trying too hard to sound poetic and clever) of the movie I just watched. Bridesmaid—damn funny, but storyline is a little bit meandered… Get it?

"Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point - that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you. There is only one alternative - self-value. If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved. You will always think it's a mistake or luck. Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within. Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences. Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security. Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them." ~Jennifer James

Monday, July 25, 2011

Self reflection after Larrry Crowne

I don’t do this often, but then again not many movies touched me on a personal level. This movie definitely did; and it made me reflect on the reason I chose to be a drama TEACHER. I have always known that teaching is something that I wanted to do, but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to be teaching.

Of course, needless to say, my mum was pretty much against the idea. To her, a man must take on jobs that exuberate masculinity—a pilot, a soldier; she’d even settle for a construction worker. A teacher is never in her mum-approved list of jobs.

Fast forward to end 2005, I was in drama club and was the president and therefore I had a peek into the amount that was paid to our then drama trainer. $120 per hour. That was hell lot of money! (to me... back then.) and straight away I know: Drama trainer it shall be for me.

But then again, it was slightly more complicated than what I had expected. To be a drama trainer, you have to have a decent amount of experience in the industry itself. You have got to be an actor. Back then, out of 10 auditions, I will be lucky enough to even get one call back. Not even a confirmed job. Everyone who opened their audition doors to me, slammed it back shut, citing me being too green. Everyone except a lady called Jillyn Koh. She opened one small door of opportunity for me; to work in Sentosa as an Interactive Character, which was then still considered as a pilot project. They were not sure which direction to take it to.

From there, i established connections, and I landed my first drama teaching assignment- teach drama in Malay.
Paywise- not that fantastic.
Assignment wise- I vomited blood, literally. It was fasting month. The kids were rowdy as hell. I had to take on 40 Malay students (of whom majority never fasted).

After the first class, I sat on the pavement outside the school gates, and bawled my eyes out. I almost gave up. But I comforted myself by repeated telling myself that no other jobs would pay $35 an hour just to teach kids to move. So I made money my top motivation. I never really cared if the students grasp concepts or understand what I was teaching. Drama was non-examinable subject. So who cares right?

There was once, I had to teach one neighbourhood school- the stereotypical one where parents don’t give a fuck on what their children do or where the children are lucky enough if their parents don’t end up six feet under due to drug induced deaths or AIDS or worse end up in DRCs for what seems like as if they were born there. Yes. That kind of school does exist. The drama companies didn’t hype it up. Just so you know.

Anyway, the class I took had 40 students. Most of them came in with tattered shoes and bags and their teachers told me that some of them didn’t even have money to have lunch. Of course, i still didn’t care; the only thing I cared was to get my money and after 10 sessions, I would be out of there.

That changed when a student called Aidil. He came up to me and his body was riddled with fresh bruise. He handed over $80 to me.

Aidil: Cikgu Adi, ni duit untuk kelas drama. (Mr Adi, this is the fee for drama class)

Adi: Duit ni, kenapa tak kasi form teacher? (why you never give this to the form teacher?)

Aidil: Form teacher cakap Aidil kasi duit lambat, jadi kena kasi Cikgu Adi. ( form teacher said I got the money late, so now have to give to you directly)

Adi: Tangan dengan kaki kenapa? Gaduh eh? (what happened to your hands and legs? Got into a fight? )

Aidil: Tak. Bapak pukul sebab Aidil mintak duit untuk masuk drama kelas. (No. My father hit me for asking money to join drama kelas)

Adi: (stunned)

Aidil: Tapi tak per. Aidil suka kelas drama. Aidil nak jadi pelakon, (It’s okay. I like drama class. I want to be an actor)

Needless to say, I was too stunned to even respond. But that totally changed the reason why I chose to teach drama for a living. To bring about a change in students who failed to see a reason to be in school. That is one of the reason why they introduced drama in schools anyway. To help students discover themselves, express themselves and learn how to convert their non-academical talents to the fullest advantage.

Fast forward again to end 2010. I took on a teaching assignment at a neighbourhood school. 18 students from NT class. (this is the lowest grade of the cohort in a school). Class starts at 0800hrs. School located an hour plus away from my house. First class, only 4 students turned up. I felt like cancelling but i persevered and pulled through the first and then the second. Subsequently the number grew to 14 students in that class. They put up a performance on the twelfth week of lesson. And at the end, a boy came up to me and said

Boy: Cher. We are a difficult class, right?

Adi: I’ve had worse.

Boy: Really meh?

Adi: Okay fine. Your class is difficult.

Boy: Cher.

Adi: Yes?

Boy: Actually the whole class want to thank you for not giving up on us.

And just like that, it made the whole journey so fucking worth it. And just like Julia Roberts in Larry Crowne, I am now always seeking for that spark in every class I teach- a life that I could turn around.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What is your worth?

What if one day you woke up
Only to find your value reduced
To nothing more than that of a cash cow
Will you still believe in life?

Why won’t you look me in the eyes
And tell me my worth to you
The truth hurts much
But so do the lies...

Every words that you say
Every concern you express
Was it cos you really cared
Or were you afraid to lose your investment?

Every conversation we ever had now
It all circles around dollars and cents
Whatever happened to blood runs thicker
I guess they were all ideal talks.

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
I guess they forgot to include
Dollar for dollar...