Sunday, April 20, 2008

Malaysia Sings

I am fortunate enough to borrow a very old book from a school library which still stocks some very old books published by the Borneo Literature Buerau. It helps me recollect my school days and my siblings' school kid singing.

Looking at Malaysia Sings 1, I am delighted to see that the compilation by Gloria M. Smith which is so global in outlook.

Let me share with you what she wrote in the Introduction,

" Singing is a source of delight and expression for almost all young people. Thus the chief aim of the singing lesson must be enjoyment.

This book has been assembled to fulfil a dual puirpose. First, it provides a selection of songs with varying moods which should be within the range of the studnets' experience or understanding. They should be sung for pleasure, with feeling for the mood of each particular song.

Second, it is designed to encourage a music reading programme so that students may achieve some independence in reading musical notation for themselves. Each song is provided with a short study in music reading. The intention is that students shoud learn correctly the rhythm and melody of the study before attempting to read the music of a song."

Smith went to on write the following procedure for teaching:

1. the teacher wries the study on the blackboard.
2. the class claps the thythm while counting, or "saying" the thythm to Frnech time names.
3. the class sings the melody to "so-fa" in correct thythm.
4. the class sings the melody to "loo" for good head tone.

This is a teaching methodology which has proven time and time again effective during my years of teacher training. My English trainees taught their English songs within the English lessons following this guide. Singing in an English class is full of enjoyment and helps many children learn English in a happy environment.

The local songs included in this booklet also enrich our repertoire of songs. In Smith's words, "Students should be encouraged to take pride in their songs of their own peoles, and to contribute more of these to the music class.

The results of a good singing programme are increased enoyment in singing, satisfaction from participation in a group effort for the attainment of excellence, and the social and cultural benefits to be derived from the appreciation of the crative efforts of one's own people and one's neighbours."

Written and published in 1964, this book was used by almost all Sarawak schools for music lessons until the programme was stopped when music was no longer offered as we "ran out of music teachers". Some of the very good school music teachers in Sibu were Miss Saroha Mamora, Miss Ida Mamora, Mr and Mrs. Lee Bee Teik (they were younger teachers), Mrs. Catherine Chew Ing Seng, Miss McKay, Miss Thompson.

I believe if you remember your school days and you were part of my time, you would remember them and your music lessons.

One of my favourite school songs from this book is Planting Rice from the Philippines

Planting Rice

Planting rice is never fun,
Bent from morning until set of sun
Cannot stand and cannot sit
Cannot rest a little bit.

Oh my back is like to break
Oh my bones with dampness ache
And my legs are numb and set
From their soaking in the wet

When the surly sunbeams break,
You will wonder in your wake
In the muddy neighbourhood
There is work and pleasant food.

Chorus: Planting rice is no fun,
Bent from morn till set of sun
Cannot stand cannot sit,
Cannot bent a little bit.

Oh my back is like to break
And my legs are numb and set
From their soaking in the wet

You must move your arms about
Or you'll find you'll be without!

Whatever the new policy makers today may rationalize their policies regarding curriculum, my friends and I can testify that we had from a great group of dedicated teachers was a fantastic education . I only hope that each generation will be given a better education than the generation before with all the research done and commitment made by the government to our new generation.

Reference:Malaysia Sings Book One. Borneo Literature Bureau. 1964. (Price :M $1.20)

8 memories:

Unknown said...

Borneo Literature Bureau reminds me of Dolphin (which youposted earlier). Do you remember there was an elderly man selling kompia early in the morning at Huo Peng Road?

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Sort of. He sold the kompia with the special sauce and until to day no one can get it just right. He had that tray which he carried on his head..and this style of selling is really traditional and very attractive , likened to one in Sibu does that any more.

I like another food - the rice cake steamed in a tin bowl. We would call the foot vendor and he would give us a stool to sit was so safe, so good and so meaningful, and not stressed at all.

Unknown said...

And the kompia is also always crispy. Ans he is stingy with the sauce (which made his kompia special as I always wish he add in more sauce - very tantalizing sauce!!).

Unknown said...

The crispiness and the sauce made his kompia special. Eating it early in the morning has a special aroma to it!!

RIce cake? There are two types. The one with sauce and shallots (with chilly sauce optional?)? Or the steam rice cake?

I Am Sarawakiana said...

the one that comes in a tin bowl, so small that it fits into the small palm of a child. I have been trying to get some of these bowls - enamel ones which come in green only, with a blue rim.

He would sprinkle some kicap and some shallots on the rice, cut up the rice cake into pieces and he would go "Shiiiish..." with his saliva.....I was not offended by this action at that time. But now, it might just be a him? I would to eat this cake again, and along Blacksmith Road.

Unknown said...

Can still get the rice cake at the Pasar Malam. I just tried that few months back (last year). There are three stalls selling the rice cake. Yes, it is delicious.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

I must try them ...nostaligic...when I get back to Sibu for theLabour day holidays

thanks for the tip.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

I had the Yew Chang Kwei at the Central Market. Awesome, but the small bowl is gone, replaced by Indian aluminium bowl, still two bowls placed face to face together.

But the baskets and the little bamboo cutter are gone!! By the main stair case.

I took photos and will put them on the blog.


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