Saturday, December 18, 2010

More on "Azreen" from The Curse

Dear readers,
I was not in a very good mood yesterday when I discovered my synopsis on "The Curse" has been copied and pasted by a blogger who claims it as hers.I'm writing this blog to help Malaysian students in their SPM.I've also indicated to the writer of the book,Lee Su Ann, I will write more of her work on my blog so that people recognise and acknowledge her work. I am proud that she is a Malaysian and is really looking forward to reading more novels written by her.


I find Azreen in many of us.At one period of our lives,we can be so vulnerable and emotional.However as we grow up, we learn a few tricks about how to live a happy contented life.A person changes with time.So does Azreen.Her friendship with the Old Lady has changed her outlook towards life.She begins to accept what has been fated and not to suck over small things that happen around her.

I have heard many times people saying that you cannot choose your parents.It is very true in Azreen's case.Though Salleh is extremely strict and hot-tempered, as a daughter,she ought to accept him. She mustn't have any ill-thoughts about her father.He must have loved her so much.He lays out some of his expectations clearly.He may be orthodox in his thinking but he never abandons her.He comes to her rescue in a few occasions such as when she is being attacked by Puan Normala and the villagers.

Many of us have conflict with our parents because we have so much in common with them.Lee tries to show this through Azreen.Azreen takes after her father a lot!She has his temper, his stubbornness and frankness.

So my dear readers/students, do read the novel.Try to understand the characters.Relate them to you or people around you.

Characters in "The Curse" by Lee Su Ann

Dear readers,

Today,I am not going to discuss the characters in the novel for exam purposes. I shall state what I have in my mind for the sake of appreciating it as a piece of literature.

Lee succeeds to explore the various themes in her novel through her main and minor characters.I can personally relate to the characters even though they are only fictional characters.

In my own life journey, I have met a person like Puan Normala, the gossiper or "Mami Jarum"(as called in the famous movie "Mami Jarum.)- the kind of person who causes misery to other people's life but still feels that she is the benevolent one.

There are many real-life characters like Madhuri and Mohd Asraf(or Asraf)- the ill-fated lovers whom I have met.Being a practical person, I can't help feeling how silly a person can be when it comes to love.To me,if the person is not meant for you, then he or she is not meant for you. (The fans of the romantic movies will definitely disagree with me on this matter.)If I were Asraf,I would seek the love of a single woman.Why should I make my life miserable?

I love Azreen.She represents the modern woman.The kind of woman who fights to improve her life and not easily swayed by emotions.She dares to speak out her mind.(I guess most successful woman has some of her characteristics)

That's all for now.I shall continue some other time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Theme:Education "The Pearl"

Based on the novel “The Pearl”, written by John Steinbeck, explain the role of "education".

First of all, it is shown that education plays an important role in Mexico during the colonisation of the Spanish. It widens the gap between the two classes of people; the coloniser and the Mexican Indians. The colonisers like the doctor, the priest and the pearl buyers live a luxurious life because they are educated. The doctor for example earns his living because of his medical qualification. Kino has to trust him to treat his son even though the doctor is known for his corruption. The doctor able to live in a huge mansion, drink hot chocolates from porcelain cup, wear silk robe and pay a servant to serve him. Meanwhile, the Mexican Indian, like Kino who is uneducated lives in a brush hut and eats simple corn cakes for breakfast. Unlike the doctor, he has to live from hand to mouth every day. He has to dive into the sea to look for pearl.

Moreover, when Kino finds the great pearl, he determines to sell it at a high price so that he can send his son, Coyotito to school. He believes that education can help to improve his standard of living. He does not want his son to be ignorant like him and can easily be cheated by the rich and educated. At one point of the story when the doctor visits his brush hut, Kino has no other choice but to let the doctor to treat his son. He has to rely on the doctor’s expertise because of his lack of education.

Finally, education determines one’s status in a society. “The Priest” is one figure which is highly respected in La Paz City because he is the only one who can read and write in Latin. He is the only one who understands the bible which is written in Latin. So, by being given the authority as a priest at the church, “The Priest” earns the highest status and respects from the people. In the novel, it is depicted that after Kino finds the great pearl, “The Priest” visits Kino and Juana at their brush hut and reminds them to get marry at the church. The Priest seems to have an authority over them and very much respected by them and other Mexican Indians.
Education is clearly shown as important in this novel. Education determines one’s way of life, one’s standard of living and one’s status in a society.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SYNOPSIS "The Curse" by Lee Su Ann

“The Curse” is about a girl, named Azreen, her parents and sister, Madhuri. Azreen, a strong-headed girl is studying in London but has to take a leave from her study when she receives the news about her sister’s death. She is curious about the cause of her sister’s sudden death. When she reaches home, her sister’s body has been brought to the cemetery. She overhears a village gossiper, Puan Normala talks about her sister’s death. Normala claims that her sister has been murdered and has shed white blood.

On her return, Azreen discovers a few truths about her family and people around her. First she finds out that her sister has been in love with Asraf, and has planned to marry and divorced her husband, Hj Ghani. Second, Awang, the Shaman has actually caused the accident which his parents are involved in and causes her mother to become paralysed. Third, she learns that Madhuri is actually her adopted sister and the crazy woman is Madhuri’s biological mother. Fourth and finally, she discovers that Madhuri has accidentally been killed by her father.

There is one old woman whom Azreen has turned to for emotional support. The old woman lives alone in an abandoned house in the jungle. Azreen learns a lot about life from this wise old woman. The old woman however dies in a fire started by Asraf who has blamed her for his grandmother’s death.

At the end, Azreen returns to London to finish her study. She has learned a valuable lesson from her short break at her little village in Langkawi Island. She has learned to forgive others and to look ahead.

Contact me for further information about this novel.Good Luck dear.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Curse, by Lee Su Ann

The Curse will be taught as a literary text to form 5 students beginning next year. It's a wonderful book to read. A good work by a Malaysian writer.

About the Author

Lee Su Ann

Born 11th June 1978
Penang-born author.
The eldest child in a family of five.
She had her education at St George’s Girls’ School in Penang from 1991 – 1997.
Her novel, “The Curse” won second prizewinner in the English Novel Category of the Utusan Group’s Young Adult Literature Competition of 2005.
She began writing “The Curse” while she was at university and completed it in 2005.
She is happily married to a handsome local and bright young lad.
Presently, she is a full-time medical writer.

An Embarassing Incident

I had never arrived late to school. That Monday morning, I woke up much earlier than usual as the fan was not functioning. Feeling hot, I pressed down the switch but to my disappointment it was not moving at all. I then turned on the lights. Dark! I realised by then that there was a cut on electricity supply.
I found a torch in the chest in front of my bed but it had run out of batteries. It had been ages since I last replaced the batteries. I went to the closet and took out my school shirt and a pair of long green pants. They were creased all over but I did not mind as everyone would understand. Most people would be wearing creased shirts.
After drinking a cup of milo and a packet of “nasi lemak”, under the dim light of a candle, I left home. I walked past the recreation park and saw an elderly man whom I often met at the park. He waved his hands at me.
“You look awfully handsome, today young man!” he shouted.
“No electricity!” I explained briefly and signalling to him that I was in hurry.
I was assigned to deliver a speech during assembly. I was going to talk about “How to Cope with Stress” So, I had to be in school earlier. I would rehearse my speech a few more times before everyone entered the hall.
When I reached the school gate, only the guard, a few teachers and a number of students had arrived. The guard who was not friendly suddenly was very nice to me. “Good morning boy! Today must be a special day for you!”
Even the guard knew that I was going to deliver my speech. Today’s assembly must be really important then. So, I hastened my pace towards the hall and went on stage to rehearse my speech. Soon, it was bright. It’s already 7.00 a.m. The assembly will begin in 15 minutes. I decided to go to the changing room at the back of the hall. Practising in front of the mirror would be much better. I could check on my body language and facial expression.
Oh no! To my horror, I finally discovered that I had put on “Batik” shirt instead of my white shirt. Too late to go home and change.
“Afiq! Afiq!”
I heard someone calling my name. It was Puan Adida.
She was smiling and in her cheerful voice she said;
“I knew that you would make me proud......but what are you wearing?
I wanted to quit but Puan Adida insisted that I continue for a good warrior will never surrender even in the most difficult situation.
As I stood in front of the audience, I could feel blood rushing up my face. I ended my speech saying, choosing the appropriate colour for the shirt we wear can actually help to balance our emotion. Colour influences how we feel and it definitely helps to keep us calm. That’s why you find me wearing this colourful batik shirt on this bright morning. With that, I thank you.
Everyone, including my principal and teachers laughed until they shed some tears. They gave me a standing ovation. I was so embarrassed. My friends talked about the incident for the whole year. I bet they would talk about it on our twentieth reunion.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My Dream Place

I have always dreamt to visit the most romantic city in the world. People say it is a city that is full of many amazing love stories. Many newlyweds go to Paris to spend their time together. It is also a city famous for its Eiffel Tower and the painting of “Monalisa”.

I would love to go there and climb the tower with the person that I love.It must be very romantic. My friend, Hanida always laughs at me. She keeps saying that I will only step my feet there if I have a chance to marry a rich business tycoon.

No way! I will prove her wrong. I would visit Paris with my own hard-earned money. I would take my mum,dad and sister.Yes! Paris! Wait for me!

My teacher said that from the top of Eiffel Tower, a visitor can witness the fascinating view of the city. Paris is beautiful because the Seine River ,which is running across it, is lined on both sides by beautiful architecture of old historical buildings from the fifteenth century.

She further informed me that a visit to the Lourves is a must to visitors. It is an art gallery where many famous paintings and scuptures are displayed. Almost half a day is needed to tour around the gallery.

If you are a keen perfume collector,then Paris is the place to shop for popular brands like “ Beautiful” and “Eternity”.You can get your favourites at lower price. I remember my friend once said after her visit. How I envy her.

However I am very positive that one day I shall fly to Paris. Before I leave for the metropolitan city, I will first of all learn French Language so that I can
communicate with the locals. I will learn how to order garlic bread, croissant and a cup of pure black coffee in French.


My Favourite Holiday Resort

The long winding narrow road made me felt so sick.Terribly sick! I really hated the journey up the mountain. Fortunately, my dad enjoyed driving.

Yet the moment my dad announced “We have arrived!”, I changed my opinion. I fell in love with Cameron Highland's breathtaking view and temperate climate.

A visit to the strawberry park was an unforgettable one. My mum bought a packet of strawberries sprinkled with sugar. Being skeptikal, my dad refused to eat them. He said he preferred to have them without sugar.So, he bought two packets of strawberries and gobbled them all. Mum warned dad “ Your tongue will surely get sore!”

Half an hour later,while mum was immersed in the sweet scents of roses grown proudly on the hilly areas of Brinchang, dad secretly asked for some sweets from my little brother.

Another spot I enjoyed visiting was the tea plantation. It was fascinating to witness the workers plucking the tea leaves at such a fast speed. I felt so small when I stood among the tea trees.

The stay at Merlin Hotel was great.The room was large and comfortable.What I like most was the view fom the balcony. I could see the large golf field framed by the natural landscape of tall trees and small thick tropical ferns.On top of that,the rental was reasonable and affordable.

Mum took the opportunity to do facial and went for a spa massage at the beauty salon. Meanwhile dad tried to get some naps. My brother made some cute poses while I took charge as the camera girl.

On the way home down the highland,mum made dad stopped at a few places. The boot of the car was filled with vegetables,strawberries,oranges and lots of roses. When questioned on her lavish spending, she answered “ They are all for your mum,aunties and sisters”

If mum loves Cameron Highland so much, I love it even more. One day, I will definitely go there again.Cameron Highland is indeed my favourite holiday resort.

(This is the description of Cameron Highland back in 2001.Now, Merlin Hotel has been taken over by another hotel)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Where there's a will,there's a way

meaning: if you have the determination,you will find ways to achieve your dream

Adam is determined to win the scholarship to study medicine at London University. He knows that where there's a will,there's a way.He will not easily give up and must therefore study really hard.



meaning: someone who does not get what he wants is usually frustrated and can easily provoked to anger.

sentence: Lina keeps quiet.She does not say a word since morning.Her grandmother said to her father "You'd better give her what she wants because a hungry man is an angry man.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On 11th.July 2010

SPM: 134 days more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010



meaning: anyone has the right to look at or speak to anyone else or anything at all without having to worry about status, position and upbringing.

sentence: I know that she is the Sultan's daughter,but a cat may look at a king,may it not?She needs friend too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pictures of the Mexican Indians

To those students who are answering The Pearl for the novel, here are some pictures that may help you to have some ideas about the Mexican Indians - the poor and the rich.

The Fruitcake Special

My review;

When I first read this short story, I could not help laughing. A perfume can have such a great impact on someone.This story reminds me of some kind of oil used by the traditional Shaman in Malaysia to cast a spell on someone so that he or she will fall in love with the one who casts the spell.(I am not sure whether it is still in practice in modern time.However,this practice is definitely forbidden in Islam and by many religions.)

Well, I can't help but admire Anna who works as a chemist at Amos Cosmetics.As she was making an experiment, she adds a bit of the fruitcake which her Aunt Emma gave into her mixture of perfume. She then tests the perfume on herself.The consequence of her action causes her a serious problem. Her boss,Mr Amos who smells the scent of the perfume on her suddenly finds her exceptionally beautiful.
Anna however does not believe him. She is a confident person who knows her real self. There is no way a flamboyant like Mr Amos will like a plain girl like her.

When Mr Amos asks her out,she has no choice but to go because he is her boss.When she sprays on some Amos perfume, Mr Amos seems want to shun away from her and is embarrassed to be seen with her.On the other hand, when she puts on her fruitcake special,she is surprised by a sudden attention and love declaration from her boss and a waiter at the restaurant where she and her boss are having dinner. She realises then,that her boss's wierd reaction towards her is all due to the fruitcake perfume she made.A fight between her boss and the waiter over her occured right in front of her boss's girlfriend.

So when Mr Amos and his dead gorgeous girlfriend mock her two days after the incidence at the restaurant, she sprinkles all the fruitcake special on the girl's dress. She wants them to experience what she has gone through.She imagines how many men will fall madly in love with her boss's girlfriend because of the fruitcake special.All these men will give troubles to her wicked boss and his girlfriend.

Finally, she finds her love right under her nose. It is a young delivery boy who has fallen in love with her for so long but can only express his feeling after he is successful to own a pizza shop.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

QWERTYUIOP By Vivien Alcock


This story is about a seventeen - year - old girl called Lucy Beck,who had just received a diploma from a secretarial college. With the diploma, she hoped to secure a job as a secretary. Her principal,Mrs Price however did not have much confidence in her because she was small, she looked timid and could only type at a slow speed.

Lucy too was not very confident in her own self. She feared that she would not get a job. So, getting a job at the first interview she went was really a blessing. On her first day, she was surprised by a spirit of the former secretary, Miss Broome. The spirit communicated with her using the electronic typewriter. At first, she was horrified and frightened. Yet when she thought about the many luxurious things she could buy with her salary as a secretary, she became determine to fight the spirit.

She discovered from Harry Darke, an old man who worked at the firm that Miss Broome was a lonely woman who dedicated her life to her job as secretary. She was asked to leave by the late Mr Bannister after working for 43 years. She was reluctant as the office was like her home and she had no family. Even in her death, she was adamant to keep her job and frightened off many young girls who wanted to take her job.

Finally, Lucy was able to persuade the spirit of Miss Bloome to leave the job to her. She told her that Mr Bannister had passed away and he desperately needed her to take care of him in the new world. Lucy related to Miss Bloome that she was told to leave because Mr Bannister was worried about her health.

Moral values/Lessons

One should not be prejudiced towards others.

Example 1:The Spirit of Miss Bloome, for example was looked down by others before Lucy. She may be a spirit but she was a lonely spirit .By understanding her loneliness, Lucy succeeded to tell her to serve Mr Bannister who had also passed away and needed her.

Example 2: Lucy was also a victim of prejudice. Being young, small and shy, her principal and even Harry Darke thought that she was a coward. Yet she proved to herself and others that she was a brave person who would not submit to the wish of a lonely spirit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Cope With Stress

How to Cope With Stress
Stress is a common problem among students. In Malaysia, it is stressful for the students because the education system is exam-oriented and each student has to study at least nine subjects for the Malaysia Education Certificate. Moreover, the schools and parents expected them to get perfect score in all the subjects so that they can have a better chance of entering Public University.

Despite of the pressure, students should not complaint about not having enough time. Amalina, Siti Fatimah and Siti Madihah who had obtained perfect scores in their SPM examination had proved that one must know how to manage one’s time well. Students must visualise their goal and work towards achieving it.

Planning a time-table is one of the most effective ways of managing time. A timetable helps a student to schedule their study time,doing sports,engaging in leisure activities, sleeping hour and meal times. He must focus on completing a task given within the time scheduled. He should not procrastinate.

As sports and leisure activities are also included in the timetable, students ought to feel relax. After all, within 24 hours, they are not only studying and completing tasks given by their teachers. In fact, they also have enough sleep and a set meal times.

Besides, a well-plan timetable, a student needs a balanced meal. As he should never miss a meal, he should also make sure that the food he takes is nutritious. A meal must begin with fruit. Fruit provides vitamin C which helps to boost a student’s immunity system against diseases. Fruit is also good at balancing emotion. Student should not also miss carbohydrate, protein and minerals in their food intake .They ensure a student to have enough energy and strength to go through a day.

Furthermore, many evidences have shown that students who work in a group find studying less stressful. They are able to discuss the topic they do not understand and get solution to problems faster than studying own their own. Amalina for example had pointed to working in group as one of her success tips.

Nobody in this world is living a problem-free life. Students are not exempted. So if they have problems, they should talk about their problems to people whom they can trust. Parents are the best persons to talk to. Others whom they can seek advice from are teachers and counsellors. A wise friend may help too. Talking to someone will make the problem lighter and bearable.

Many people believe that listening to music helps to reduce stress but students need to choose music which soothes to the ears. Since stressful people usually suffer from headache, heavy rock music may only increase the stress.

Some religious people like the Buddhist and Hindu resort to meditation while the Muslims perform their prayer and recite the Quran as way of reducing stress. Students may do so according to their beliefs.

Stress is clearly manageable. A student must develop a positive approach towards life and avoid being saddened by trivial matter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Mind Map" in composition writing

Dear SPM candidates,
"Mind map" (or some call it "graphic organiser")is very helpful in guiding you to write a good composition.It helps you to organise your thoughts more systematically.It also works as a mean by which you can check your weaknesses and strengths.For example, you can easily detect repetitive ideas.
With a mind map, ideas will flow smoothly as you write.It also enables you to write within the time given so that you can move on to the next composition.
Unfortunately, most students fail to see the advantage of using a mind map.I hope you will change your way of thinking because even the best-selling writer uses a mind map to note down his ideas.

Good Luck to all SPM candidates 2010.