Zurinah Hassan's Guilty Song

on Tuesday, 27 September 2011
So, the SPM examination is creeping near and we're all busy trying to get the students to remember back all the literature components. Trust me, they know the stories, poems, and novels but getting them to actually embrace the content is a whole different story. Almost every kid I know taking their SPM would be lining up to get those Memory Trainer Guide to Literature or Top Ten Literature Questions or You Got Literature Problems? We Have It Translated into Malay!

Being a traditionalist, I ain't gonna fall for all those. So I had to have a different approach in how to get these fellas to remember the gist of Zurinah Hassan's poem.

What I told them to do was to find a song. Since Zurinah felt guilty and was longing for the artist's song, it is only natural that I told them to find a song that they thought gave them the same sense of guilt and longing for something. It could be a Malay song or even a Hindi one (which they are required to translate into English) and write down the lines of the lyrics that they thought had the same meaning as guilt or the sense of longing for something.

Even the naughty notorious ones actually rose to the occasion. I think songs do speak to these Sabahan kids. They seem to love the idea that songs are part of their classroom tasks. Is it really that interesting? Maybe they just like to express themselves in the form of music... well, they should know that music and poetry aren't that far off. Melodious, rhythmic and lyrical with a hidden message in between - these characteristics are the embodiment of both song and poetry.

Literature-singing... anyone?


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