Monday, 18 July 2011


One thing I've realized about Choral Speaking at BBGS is that it wasn't always about Shakespeare, Keats or Tennyson. In fact, some of the best poems were often written by the girls themselves!

Here's a fine example by Form 3A, who were the Intermediate Choral Speaking Champions in 1984. Till today, I still remember how entertaining and engaging the poem was because we could all identify with the distinctly Malaysian scenes, characters and flavours contained therein.


As dawn breaks over the tenement houses
Life begins in the heart of Petaling Street
The carts rumble into the market square
And the cries of hawkers (Rumble Mumble Hustle Bustle)

Ka ma lun pheng koh, yau pheng yau leng, hoong toh-toh, Aunty, aunty, ai beh cai boh... Ham yee ah (2x) Sam Khow yat ma (3x) Mai yat cek soong yat cek, cin-cin, cai-cai, mai toh soong toh,
Mingled with those of early shoppers

The morning sun rses
The shops are ready for business
The big bully jaga with his beard neatly curled
Grins as a Mercedes pulls up, eek....booom
It disgorges an opulent lady
Making her weekly pilgrimage to the jewellery store.

The Chinese medicine halls display their strange products
Guaranteed to cure every ill.
The sinseh by the corner picks his teeth as he awaits his firs client
The joss stick seller is busy fashioning a paper limousine complete with number plates.
While two shops away in the eerie darkness,
A coffin lies waiting for the same customers.

"You ain't nothing but a hound dog"
Hot rock music blares from the cassette players
While metal smiths and cobbles, beat in time.
Girls in the latest fashion
Strut among the hawkers
Selling platform shoes and handbags

A shout is heard, "Hoi!"
A wiry youngster wheels among the cars
He disappears into the lane
Clutching a gold necklace
No one goes after him
No one dares, it's wiser not to be involved.

Lunch time in Madras Lane
For the adventurous gourmets they are
Monkey brains, served fresh from the skull
With a dash of pepper
Or, if you prefer less exotic fare
Try: turtle soup, fried lizard tongue, mouth watering eels.

The sun has set
The market is closed
And shops will be shut
But wait, more carts rumble in and kerosene lamps are lit
The pasar malam has begun
The hawkers advertise their goods in the road now devoid of traffic
There is food galore!
Char Siew Pau, Chin Toi Chai, See Ham Chow Fun, Loh Mai Kai, Hoong Tau Sah

Customers stream in from the nearby cinema
Jostling and pushing, oblivious of the pick pockets
At midnight the carnival is over
Silence and darkness descend once more
A naked light bulb swings in one of the windows
A dustbin clatter, "Meeoooww..." as the cats begin their nightly haunt
An old beggar huddles to sleep on the cold sidewalk
All is quiet and still.....until tomorrow.

1 comment:

Rayhana said...
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