"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Quote of the Post: "The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." - Mark Twain

[Keywords to help me find this post: amoral, immoral, animal, animals, men, "below them", "above them"]

Random Playlist Song: Victoria Junior College Choir - Symphony of Voices 2000 - Bengawan Solo (Arr Samuel Liew)


Some might remember that less than 2 weeks ago, I plugged the Raffles Players play - Lysistrata, in this very same spot. Of course, I couldn't have plugged it in good faith if I hadn't also gone, so yesterday Alvin and I graced its opening night (and were probably the oldest non-teachers there).

Of the place in general, all I will say (here at least) is that, after 3 years, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Except for the Purple Uniform, which has finally died. Hallelujah.

While I was wandering about, I was accosted by someone who asked: "Is your name Gabriel?". At this, I turned to Alvin and ejaculated: "Why does this always happen to me? Wherever I go, people come up to me and ask: 'Are you Gabriel?'". I daresay that the novelty of being recognised by people I don't has long worn out. Luckily, as it turned out, this chap was my choir junior Shen Ting, whose name I vaugely recalled in the mist of my memory, and not some strange guy like the presumably bisexual stalker I had some time ago. So I semi-apologetically demurred: "The amount a person's face changes from Sec 1 to J2 is much more than the amount from Sec 4 to J [He: 10] 5 [He: 10] 5!", and dismissed him peremptorily. Later, it turned out that he was actually 4 years my junior, and he remembered me from the times I went back in J1. What can I say - I seem to be memorable.

I wasn't expecting RP to put up a historically-informed performance, albeit in English instead of Classical Greek. For one, having all the roles played by males would have freaked the audience out, and disenfranchised the girls. Wearing masks would also have prevented the actors from using their faces as dramatic instruments.

However, there were some parts I was uncomfortable with. The cast shifted clumsily and repeatedly from modern speech to a more formalised way of speaking which was keeping more in tune with the manner of the original text. I spoke with the Production Manager on this issue, and she told me that they had took the text from a Puffin edition of Lysistrata. The transition scenes - where characters exit the stage and others enter - were also improperly handled, with the lights blacked out for too short a period. The result was that when the lights came on again, new characters could be seen coming onto the stage while at the same time, the buttocks of the older ones who were exiting the stage were still clearly visible.

At 4-5 points, the chorus started singing. While this was a nice homage to Greek theatre to have the chorus sing at least some of the time, I pounded my fists and gnashed my teeth in despair when at one point, they sang to the tune of Yankee Doodle. I didn't expect them to come up with Greek-like tunes as alien to the ear as the "Delphic paean, Athenaeus 127bc" I have on my playlist (De Organographia - Music of the Ancient Greeks), but hearing the chorus singing to Yankee Doodle almost made me cry. A short while later, the 2 choruses (male and female) started a dance sequence which I shall describe thus: the choruses combined and formed into a vertical line (from the audience's perspective), with one chorus at the rear of the line and one at the fore. Each faced opposite directions (stage left and stage right). They then linked their hands and made the line rotate clockwise. I would have cried out in despair at this point, but I was still recovering from the shock of hearing the chorus singing Yankee Doodle.

Also, the actors need to learn a very important thing about staging comedies: Always wait for the audience to finish laughing before you continue. If not, your lines, however brilliant or essential to the plot, will be lost in uproarious laughter.

On the upside, they did do a commendable job of sewing Greek-inspired costumes, and making the play entertaining.

Kenneth and Geraldine wanted to go to last night's play in their old uniforms. Gah.

Just after the intermission, there was a teaser performance by some HCJC students to promote YAWP! (Young Adult Writers Perform!, A Performance Poetry Event organised by the LitWing of the Hwa Chong Litterbugs, on August the 21st at the Chinese High Drama Centre. A girl sang a few lines of a song somewhat weakly, and then one guy started scolding another, and talking about stroking sheets while thinking of him, and tasting him at the back of his throat. The guy who was at the receiving end of this abuse then started wetting the other one (with water), while scolding him back. As one guy behind me remarked: "No wonder it's free". Maybe, for the privilege of advertising their event, they subsidised the play, which was why it was so cheap ($6).

I am happy that the North Korean girl (Kim Hyang Mi) beat our Singapore table tennis player. At least now she won't die in a mysterious train "accident" because the Dear Leader was angry at her losing the match. [solsetur: You forgot to speculate about the Finals for N.Korean player. Will she be killed to appease China if she wins? Rewarded for losing to great Communist China? Will they still withdraw food for her and her family if she loses in the finals?]

I search for "Dick Lee" (sans quotation marks) on Soulseek and I got porn. Joy!

There's a Democratic Socialist club in NUS. Wth?!

I've a friend in Science who somehow managed to get a 3 day week. Well done :) And enjoy your 10 hour days.


[Seen on blackboard presumably used for Lysistrata makeup] Do not eat your makeup. It does not digest well.

[On the Lysistrata performance] This is the only place in Singapore where you don't see dyed hair.
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