Poetry in Parliament: A Brief Analysis

One month on and the school is in the news for the same reason – its name (I hereby profess that I love the local media as much as LKY loves SIA pilots). For this reason, we had a brief debate in the office today on the intention of Seah Kian Peng’s parliamentary speech. Is he chiding Eunoia? Is he on its side? Those who saw extended criticism cited the transcript Those who took the latter position referred to the call to action after his literary sleight-of-hand: ‘And to the students of Eunoia, be confident and make the name your own’. So what we have here is… a difference in interpretation of the same event.

My answer, is not cheem
But every week I walk around Braddell Heights, Marine Parade,
Serangoon Central (and yes Aljunied too)
I can see
Our language, is one kind,
Our style, you don’t mind I say
Is other places cannot find.
Nasi Lemak and Roti Prata,
Our yong tao foo got halal one.
Who is the Singaporean?
I ask you, you just listen, can tell lah.
By the way, I ask you, what is this – “Eu-no-ia”?

Seah Kian Peng

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Watch Men Watch: Surveillance in The Age of Innocence

2015 ‘A’ Level Paper 1 Q2a
‘The novel is about being watched.’ How far do you agree with this comment on The Age of Innocence?

Preamble
You’d think that the bewilderment from seeing the 2013 specimen question (arguably) repeated in the 2015 paper would be gone by now. The Archer-like impotent indignation has been quelled at least and we will, in this post, try to escape the typical concerns of privacy, scrutiny, the tribe and the hieroglyphic world to comment on Archer’s transition in the novel. Even though Archer finds himself ‘being watched’ with sinister undertones in Ch 33, the reader remembers that this was not always the case. Ch 1 opens in the Academy of Music, Archer taking his place in the boxes as one of the ‘chosen specimens of old New York gentility’. The invisible surveillance, where the reader’s understanding is limited by Archer’s perspective, takes place as Archer explores the social boundaries of New York between these two chapters. Why present this development? Is the novel more about watching (as an appreciation of New York’s defences) or more sympathetic to those being watched (as a critique of the above tribalism)?

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Can You Smell a Literat?

We are back and better than… okay maybe not. Born from the womb of Livre or DieThe Literat is an ‘A’ Level Literature blog without a captive audience (in 2016 at least). It will try to be a little more open in every sense. We will share thoughts, essays and lectures on a variety of texts, starting from our familiar reaches of The Age of Innocence and All My Sons and slowly moving onto the newer selections in the 2016-2017 ‘A’ Level syllabus. We will scavenge the internet, library@esplanade and our personal library for songs, poems, prose and plays to analyse.  We will even attempt to do podcasts, videos and other ways of teaching you analysis skills, comparison skills and essay writing skills.

For our future audience, we will try to fill in the gaps (if any) from your first four years in the Integrated Programme so that you may well exceed the requirements of Literature at JC level. If it means we have to stomach The Hunger Games, we still shall!

> ‘.’ <

Of Mice, Men and Foreign-sounding Words
Now that you know (yah) where we are hibernating, we have the obligation of explaining the origins of our name, the pronunciation, such and such.

Literat (n., litter-rat) is an obvious truncation of ‘literature’. The real story of our birth is slightly more interesting. We needed a more secure password than ‘literati’, and so chiselled the old one away to form something along the lines of – don’t you know it – literat.

The word ‘literature’ as most dictionaries attest has existed from the time of late Middle English. It is derived from the Latin and French word, litteratura, which translates to ‘knowledge of books’ and ‘writing’. Less common today than in the early 20th century and centuries before, the word is used interchangeably with ‘letters’. A man of letters is one who writes passionately and reads widely, discernibly armed with a 5 oz cup of drip coffee, cigar and monocle in hand (choose two only).

> ‘.’ <

The Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky
With an eye on Term One (January to March), we will scrap through the 2015 ‘A’ Level questions on The Age of Innocence and All My Sons, as well as introduce poetry comparison skills for those of you taking H2 Literature.

After our hearts skip a beat at the release of the 2015 ‘A’ Level results, we should be more ready to sniff around other texts, whether in the form of pop culture (songs and movies) or the ‘A’ Level syllabus. We have in mind Arcadia, Hamlet (Paper 1), The Great Gatsby and A Streetcar Named Desire (Paper 3).

In the meantime, we will also let loose some of our cherished and often stolen material from Livre or Die, so catch us by the whisker when you can. Ciao!

Yours,
Marc Kenji Lim
The Literat