Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today is the start of the long school holiday. Mama and my brother deserve a long relaxing break after working so hard over the last few months. Papa also has 22 days of paid leave still unutilised for this year. Since everyone is in a jolly mood, it looks like we are going to be doing a lot of travelling leading up to the New Year 2009.

On Thursday before the holiday, my brother made my parents proud by getting excellent result in the UPSR public examination. There are 46,640 other students all over the country who obtained straight As like him. In Kedah, the three top schools based on the most number of students with straight As are SJKC Keat Hwa in Alor Setar, SK Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin in Kubang Pasu and SK Ibrahim in Sungai Petani. My brother’s school, which is named after the grandfather of our Father of Modern Malaysia, is no longer one of the State’s premiere schools, which is rather sad really.

After he got back from school, his former Standard One to Three classmates from SK Bandar Baru Darulaman came over and later they all cycled to the eaterie by the murky river near our house to celebrate their exam success.

To kick off the holiday, on Friday we made a day trip to Penang, and had a jolly good time at the cinema. My siblings watched Madagascar 2, whilst my parents and I watched Wayang, and we were the only audience in Box 4 for the 4.30pm show. And that was a shame really because the movie is good, albeit the dialogue is almost exclusively in Kelantanese. It tells the story of Pok Awe, who keeps the dying art of wayang kulit alive in a quaint little kampong by the sea. Together with his wife, they raise up two orphaned kids, Awi and Melor, who have not only developed a special affinity with the fine art and each other, but are special in their own ways. Awi, the blind boy, is able to “melihat tanpa memandang” and Melor, the girl with sengau voice, later surpasses Pok Awe in the intricate craft of puppet-making.

The acting by the main casts is superb all-around. Particularly Ida Nerina, Best Actress at the 13th Malaysian Film Festival in 1997 for Layar Lara, who plays the loyal and serene wife of Pok Awe to the hilt. She is amazingly versatile as a Kelantanese Mak Cik and gorgeous without any make up. Papa chuckled when she uttered do-oh. Mama chuckled too at some other instances.

Unfortunately the movie has its fair share of cringe moments. The most glaring is the brief but unnecessary cameo appearance by the producer. The silly antics shown by the UiTM undergraduates during the fine art lectures given by Pok Awe, Melor and Awi are too much to bear. Their blur and terpingga-pingga (bewildered) looks are irritating, to say the least, and dredge the awful memory of Cinta Antara Benua.

One of the subtle messages that Wayang exudes is this: Do not be fooled by the lebai appearance (or tudung lingkup for that matter). The holier than thou appearance may be all wayang.
Note: Wayang kulit is a shadow puppetry play theatre. The two-dimensional shadow puppet is crafted from cow or buffalo hide and is gently presses on the translucent screen. The light bulb suspended behind the white cloth screen emanates a bright glow to project the shadows of the puppets on the screens. The shadow master cum storyteller, or tok dalang, conducts the whole show from behind the screen by sitting cross-legged and reciting the tale by moving the figures to the sounds of drums, gongs and flutes that, at dramatic moments, rise to a crescendo. Hearing the storyteller change his voice to suit the different characters is one of the highlights of the show. The puppet characters and stories are usually adapted from ancient epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and thus the art is often associated with Hinduism. In 2003, UNESCO recognized wayang kulit as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. There has been call by Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, a spiritual leader and the present Chief Minister of Kelantan to “mewayangkulitkan” local personalities such as Tok Kenali, and perhaps Tok Janggut.


Kak Teh said...

Tahniah to your brother and also to your devoted parents! and i must say, you're becoming a very good movie review, starting very early too. I expected you to start with kids movies, but no, straight to PG. Well done.

GUiKP said...

I was glued to the big screen for the first 30 minutes, the swaying wayang kulit and the haunting music are mesmerising. But later the noneng, noneng is more mesmerising, if you know what I mean. Wink wink.

Thank you for your mabruk.

changgeh said...

AMiR, thank you for revisiting me. Yes it really been quite sometime .

Below I reproduce some paragraph of what you commented on my blog about this one man...... ....

(......After AG signed the books, I made a beeline towards a familiar looking septuagenarian among the chock-a-block crowd. After confirming that he’s a pre-Merdeka Shell Scholar who has worked for Shell all his working life, he then dropped the, er, bombshell. He is a blogger too, and quietly blogs about the philantrophic work that he has been doing in KT after his retirement in the early 1990s. Lately he blogs about his carefree student days in the UK. And he is merely scratching the surface, so you ain't missing anything yet.)
Thursday, December 27, 2007 9:17:00PM

Isn't that philanthropist Pak Chik Hassan of ALMANAR?

GUiKP said...

need i say more?

Al-Manar said...

The following message was left with changgeh:
An encoded message, private and confidential: I see that you have been telling tales! Leave the poor humble bee alone to make some honey. There are greater events around that we should fuss, laud or worry about - the Obama of this world, the UPSR exam achievers, the coming change of prime misnister, the increasing number of illegitimate children registered and so on and so forth. End of message

Congratulations to your clever UPSR brother. I can imagine how your parents feel. I have brothers and sisters who never sat for their UPSR. And I never did, too! During my early days I used slate (papan batu) and ‘kalam batu’ for writing and pieces of cactus leaves for erasing - otherwise just a spit on my hand would do the job equally well. It does sound like the Stone Age! But that was fun – never had to attend tuition classes to prepare for UPSR.

elisataufik said...

This gives me hope for Ilham! :)
Please send my congratulations to Arman. Nanti auntie balik belanja ice cream! :)
(And congratulations to mak bapaknya jugak, setelah berhempas pulas hantar-pergi tution selama setahun.. ha ha )

GUiKP said...

That's right. Mama jadi hamba tuition, pukul 10 malam pun sanggup keluar rumah untuk jemput Arman dari kelas tuisyen di Alor Setar.

As we said earlier, The BM Pemahaman paper is the most challenging because the questions ask for things which we hardly use in our daily communication in Malay like the peribahasa, patek and beta and terminologies such as kendong, jinjing etc. Instead we say "bawa beg tu". The other papers are a breeze.

GUiKP said...

Pak Cik
You're always humble, modest and publicity-shy. Some of us must learn to contain our excitement. But sometimes when we're too excited, we just can't hide it.

I hope during my time, we will not have to woory about UPSR, just like what it was during the good old days. Psst, my Papa sat for his Std 6 public exam yonks ago. He got only one A. And a C for Science! How he later got distinction for Physics really amzed me. Must be due to the strong motivation given by the American Peace Corps guy during his Forms 4 and 5 in SIC.

Al-Manar said...

Your dad told you something that proves my strong belief that with purpose and dedication we can help to turn round those with poor start. Pupils of Almanar generally have UPSR results around 1A,2B and 2C. A surprising number of them have proved what your dad did and said to you, getting motivated, without even the need of an American Peace Corps guy. Tell your dad if he believes in what he said, he is now in the best position to help motivate those with unfortunate beginning to graduate with first class honours. The community is in need of people like him, a far better person than the APC guy. And you, I pray, will grow to be like father like son.

GUiKP said...

Yes, with strong motivation and a singular purpose, one can achieve feats which are beyond expectation. InsyaAllah one day we can all follow your path, serving with all our hearts and minds for a given cause.