Monday, December 15, 2008

Email address update

Hi everyone,

My ACS(I) email account will expire soon. If you would like to contact me, please email me at This email account will work for years and years to come, unless Yahoo! becomes a victim of the recession or is cannibalized by Google.

Thank you!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

180 Degrees

For those of you who need extra practice with 'unseen' poetry, here's a major list.

And congrats to the blog-boss, who already has a charming 'assistant' as evidenced by the photo below this post!

The reason why I have not replied to your emails

First, thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to ask after the baby and even to visit and buy gifts, even though I've asked you not to. Thank you especially to 6.14, Maria and Evelyn!

Next, apologies to those to whom I've replied late, or, worse, not at all. Babies are challenging little creatures, and I am unfortunately currently in colic hell, which means I have no time to get on my laptop and read emails or essays.

Lastly, some of you are asking me now whether I would still be able to read your essays. I would really like to - I'm not kidding, strange as that might seem - but I cannot promise, because it depends on when the baby stops crying and gives me time to open my laptop. If you email me I will try my best. If I don't reply, your best bet would be Mr Quek, Mr Connor, Ms Silverajan or Ms Loh. I wish I could do everything but I don't have superpowers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stream of consciousness

"As it has been refined since the 1920s, stream of consciousness is the name for a special mode of narration that undertakes to reproduce, without a narrator's intervention, the full spectrum and the continuous flow of a character's mental process, in which sense perceptions mingle with conscious and half-conscious thoughts, memories, expectations, feelings, and random associations."

This is sometimes also called "interior monologue".

James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) has one of the most famous examples of the use of stream of consciousness: this is "a passage of interior monologue from the 'Lestrygonian' episode, in which Leopold Bloom saunters through Dublin, observing and musing:
Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugar-sticky girl shoveling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother. Some school great. Bad for their tummies. Lozenge and comfit manufacturer to His Majesty the King. God. Save. Our. Sitting on his throne, sucking red jujubes white."
All information taken from Abrams, MH. A Glossary of Literary Terms (6th ed). Orlando: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1993. Pg.202-3.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thinking of Literature as Art

We're supposed to be thinking about Art now in TOK, and there are some interesting ideas that can be transferred to English A1 - as to how we appreciate literature as an art form.

Two excerpts from Reuben Abel's Man is the Measure:

"Joseph Conrad's short story 'The Secret Sharer' is about a young sea captain on his first voyage in command. The captain protects a stowaway who is a murderer and a fugitive. The simple adventure has profound and ambiguous overtones - of delusion, homosexuality, the force of authority, the conflict between morality and justice, the story of Cain and Abel, the doppelganger, Conrad's own life. There is little point in inquiring what the author's 'real' intention was, or what the 'true' interpretation is: any hypothesis which can be supported by evidence in the text ought to be thoughtfully examined and joyfully experienced. To insist on the 'real meaning' is to mistake literature and art for idealized science. A work of art is not a sense datum; it is not merely something perceived, but rather something interpreted. And in the richness, multiplicity, and range of its legitimate interpretations lie its fertility and vigor as a work of art" (257).

"The essential requisite [for a work of art] is that the materials be so formed that they are finally experienced as a unity, whether they extend timelessly through space (as do painting and architecture) or whether they cumulate nonspatially through time (as does music). The frame of a painting, the pedestal of a statue, the proscenium in a theater, the silence that precedes and follows a piece of music, and the space around a cathedral all act to enclose the work of art in what Rilke called a 'circle of solitude.' Thus it is experienced as an isolated, unified, instantaneous presence" (258).


In one of your readings - the one that says 'Rebel-Seeker' at the top of the page - we are told that Hesse "was favorably impressed by Lao-Tse" and "became a passionate advocate of Chinese thought and belief" (Mileck 161).

I was looking at the Tao Te Ching recently and found a few excerpts whose sentiments and ideas Siddhartha seems to echo. I've included one example below, for your perusal and mystification.

"Be done with knowing and your worries
will disappear.
How much difference is there between yes and no?
How much distinction between good and evil?
Fearing what others fear, admiring
what they admire -

Conventional people are jolly and reckless,
feasting on worldly things and carrying
on as though every day were the
beginning of spring.
I alone remain uncommitted, like an
infant who hasn't yet smiled:
lost, quietly drifting, unattached
to ideas and places and things."

(Walker, Brian Browne. The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tze. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Does Time Exist?

Many of the articles I looked at looked horribly difficult, so I've only included a couple of links below that looked more manageable and human:

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: What is Time? (Try the 7th paragraph onwards.)

Discover Magazine: 'Newsflash: Time May Not Exist'