Friday, 9 September 2011

Welcome to the Amazon!

This poem was written and recited by 5 Arts 4 who won the Senior Choral Speaking Competition in 1987. They were conducted by Tomasina Oh, who has since gone on to earn a PhD in Linguistics from Cambridge University. The girls did superb rendition complete with sound effects, humour and all-round entertainment! Even as a losing finalist, I happily applauded 5A4's success that year as they clearly deserved to win the trophy.

(Sound Effects: Jungle Sounds)

The fleet of 21 canoes travelled down
The muddy waters of the Madeira
A prominent tributary of the immortal Amazon
42 unique individuals (that's us!)
All set to conquer the force that looms over
The mysterious Amazon

What lies beyond, we know not
As the curtain of mystery slowly unveils...
To reveal its awesome splendour
We behold with wonder the gigantic trees
Majestically guarding their territory
Snake-like creepers trailing from their boughs
Chattering monkeys protesting the intrusion
As our canoes disturbed the calm waters
"Fish!" Forty-two eager hands reached out...
"Piranha!" And our hands shot back at lightning speed

"I'm getting hungry"
"I'm frightened"
"I'm hungry"
"Besides, it's getting dark"
"I'm VERY hungry"
And so, we decided to camp
But that was easier said than done
The tents seemed to have minds of their own
They just refused to stay up!
Our dismal attempts at starting a fire
Ended up with
Frayed tempers
Red faces
Burnt hair...AND...
No fire.

What's that? It can't be! But it is!

We've been beseiged by a horde of savages!
Immediately we turned to our martial arts expert
(She got her yellow belt just last week)
Unfortunately martial art does not really help
When you're surrounded by savages with long spears.

The battle has ended
(There wasn't even a struggle)
Soon forty-two wriggling forms
Were slung over the backs of savages
Curiosity got the better of us
We strained our necks to look at our captors
(Hoping they'd be as handsome as Tarzan)
But we didn't like what we saw,
Flat-flaring nostrils, Evil-looking eyes
Gggrrr.....grinding teeth
Waiting impatiently for our juicy, tender, human flesh

Then they stopped
And we were thrown into a dark and creepy pit
What would happen next?
Were we doomed to die at such a tender age?
Or was rescue at hand?

"Girls! Are you listening?"
The familiar voice of our Geography teacher
Brought us back to reality
"Do you have any idea how important this chapter
on the Amazon Jungle is for the exam?"
"Of course we do! But we think we'd be able
to handle this chapter pretty well;
...Don't you?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

My Alma Mater

This poem was written by Ruth Hew (5 Science 4) and taken from the 1985 School Magazine. Ruth was Head of the Literary Department for the School Magazine that year, and I remember being in awe of her deportment and writing skills when she asked me to join the department. Reading this poem again today definitely brought a catch to my throat.

There are no high, cloistered halls,
no wide, bay windows,
no tall, stately buildings.

There are no towering spires,
no imposing gates,
no chiming bells.

There are no rolling lawns,
no immaculate courts,
no cobblestone roadways.

There are no stern professors,
no musty book lined rooms,
no hushed atmosphere.

There are no gowned students,
no teas of cheese and wine,
no muted whispers.

But there are sprawling colonial styled buildings,
scattered shrubs and trim grass,
majestic palm tree guardians.

There are strong, upright morals,
time-tried traditions
far more than book knowledge.

There are dedicated teachers,
gatekeepers of wisdom's portals,
lovingly nurturing young minds.

There are bright young girls,
chattering, giggling, irrepressible,
energetic, determined, fun loving.

There are binges in the canteen,
antics in the classrooms,
action on the playing fields.

There is a living, growing entity
pulsing, throbbing with life,
and the joy of living.

This is my alma mater
second home for 11 years,
surrogate mother, teacher, refuge, friend.

BBGS, I am proud to own thee,
thy name, traditions, principles
for my own.