[Review] Virginia Woolf – Short Stories ‘Monday or Tuesday’

Had I not done history, I may well have read literature.

But that is all ancient history.

Challenging myself but paradoxically being conservative, I picked the above collection of short stories. Well, story in the conventional sense may not fit here. The stories here are as brief as 2 pages of (smaller than I think)  A5 sized paper.

Her writings, brought me out to a new understanding. This time, I truly experienced what literature students describe as ‘streams of consciousness’. It is rightly described by others as an ‘internal monologue’ or ‘soliloquy’. For some it can be jarring. For others, it is a chance to enter to world of a character’s thoughts. Particularly in the story(?) ‘Blue & Green’, the first of the two paragraphs (on a mere single page) is punctuated, among other marks, by 12 semi-colons and 3 dashes. It was as though, the audience became the synapse between the neurons in the brain – simply taking in information at furious pace. You could also say it is similar to telegraphese.

In ‘Monday or Tuesday’, one wonders if the subject or protagonist was the heron since the story began and ended with the animal. Yet, concomitantly, one may have gotten a visceral(?) or visual sense of what the first two days of the week are like.

Undeniably unique if I may hereby say…

With that I end my adventure… and I doubt I would tread into James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’.





Grammar (through a poem!)

A NOUN’s the name of anything;

As school or garden, hoop, or swing.

ADJECTIVES tell the kind of noun;

As great, small, pretty, white or brown.

Instead of nouns the PRONOUNS stand;

Her face, his face, our arms, your hand.

VERBS tell of something being done;

To read, count, sing, laugh, jump or run.

How things are done the ADVERBS tell;

As slowly, quickly, ill or well.

CONJUNCTIONS join the words together;

As men and women, wind or weather;

The preposition stands before

A noun, as in or through a door.

The INTERJECTION shows surprise;

As oh! how pretty! ah! how wise!

from Robert A. Day. (1995). Scientific English (2nd Edition). Phoenix, AZ. Oryx Press, p. 23-24.

in Christina Low & Daphne Pan. (2002). The Write Right Guide (4th Edition). Singapore. Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning, National University of Singapore, p. 16.

Comprehension Strategy

In John Button’s Longman Upper Secondary Comprehension Practice Passages, I found a gem of an advice.

Attempt the summary question first! This can be applied also at the Junior College for the General Paper. Thence, the student is built in to re-read at least some portions of the passage. The re-reading facilitates greater understanding. Moreover, some questions would likely overlap with the short answer questions in the earlier segments. Therefore, this may make them easier to answer.

Of course, under examination conditions, one must continue to manage time well.

Like all things consider giving it a try (under situations of relative low risk)!

Indexes and Policies

In the 25-26 April edition of the Singapore The Business Times Weekend (p.31), we find a report from the AFP (I presume this to be Agence France-Presse). It spoke of the 3rd Word Happiness Report, which counted economist Jeffrey Sachs as one of its 13 editors. The document uses as variables: ‘real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity.’

It definitely is a more comprehensive measure than the United Nations Human Development Index. That measures: ‘…a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living.’ (In its defence though, the index does not claim to be all encompassing.)

Perhaps even better is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index. It has 11 variables. Alas, it began only in 2011. Hearteningly at least, it is a major attempt to accurately put the importance of income (wages/GDP or other various names) in its more proper place among other crucial factors of overall welfare.

(Intellectual) Piracy and theft

Comment on letter in Today newspaper (25 Apr 2015) “Equating piracy with theft ineffective” by Heng Cho Choon.

The author does raise some valid points. Piracy differs from stealing in that the owner is not deprived of the asset. On another note, enforcement of piracy can be considered a lost cause. The examples  of a Dutch legal ruling (in favour of file sharing platform Kazaa) and Paulo Coelho’s Russian version of his book ‘The Alchemist’ are supported by a few internet sources.

There a few questions however: how can a ‘fair compensation’ framework be set up for producers of intellectual goods like music? What would it look like?

On a related note, allowing free downloads of your ‘product’ does not necessarily lead to greater sales revenue. Nevertheless, the marketing value is unmistakable. Perhaps it may be useful over the longer term. This though may mean the artiste may need a concurrent source of alternative income to tide over each day…