Saturday, October 28, 2006

Re-thinking of Today's Predicaments from the Holistic of Literature of Malaysian Chinese Theatre

Due to the special multi-racial community in Malaysia, the Malaysian theatre is divided into Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese and Indian. When we talk about Malaysian Chinese Theatre (MCT), it means that the production and the performance itself consists of only the Chinese language, and the target audiences are Chinese as well.

MCT started in 1919, and the earliest theatre practitioners mostly came from China. Thus the performances presented are closely related to the current situations in China.

From Malaysia's independence in 1957, to the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the multi-racial society structure started to alter itself, and the MCT came to foster its uniqueness in different facets. Unfortunately, due to the lack of man power and financial support, there were only minimal activities happening in the MCT. This was not sufficient enough to evolve a bigger trend in the 1980s. It was not until the late 1980s, with the establishment of the Malaysian Institute of Art, that the Drama Department successfully cultivated a new generation of theatre practitioners, which lead to a new trend in MCT. What was different from the works of earlier theatre practitioners, was that the sources and influences were mainly from Taiwan in the past. In the 1980s, they had a chance to learn and connect with the western theatre, and thus started to involve themselves in different countries and different districts.

The only setback after 87 years of Chinese Theatre performances in Malaysia, is that it lacks the exposition of the thinking framework. The early stage expositions in the theatre mostly emphasized social effectiveness, and explained the drama performances from the social functionality point of view. Some of it looks into the theatre organization, but without acknowledging the interactions of other influences, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive observation to solve and confront the challenges and the problems that are faced by MCT.

Thus, I am trying to write a thesis which starts with the foundation and research done by our ancestors, in order to to analyze MCT thoroughly. First, to briefly depict the overall evolution of the theatre through the discrepancies between the organization's structure within different periods, it could be divided into two stages: 1) The outline of MCT over 70 years (1919 - 1989); and 2) from the 1990s to the current MCT (1990 - present). Then, I would examine the influential factors of politics, culture, society, and the use of language and so on, probing the predicaments of today's MCT under the current situations, such as the unequal distribution of cultural resources, the discrepancy between the acknowledgement of cultural art and so forth. This would be followed by the re-thinking of how and where the MCT could balance these influences. Also, I would like to focus on its future direction and position, and establish its main subject in such an immature circumstances. At the same time, the theatre should acknowledge its own position within the international and the current era, and to exhibit it own temperament and culture, while finally walking a path that highlights the uniqueness of the Malaysian Chinese Theatre.

By Mr.Koh Choon Eiow
Translated by Joanne Tai

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's Another Month!

It's another month! I really feel bored almost all of the time here, even though I only work for 4 hours a day!

Since day one, I have been doing the same thing. I come to work on time every day. Most of the time, I am only a helper for my supervisor. She will ask me to go to the bank to deposit money or go to our mailbox to collect letters or follow up on some payment stuff. I do not think this is what an assistant supervisor's job is!

I did ask the box office (BO) supervisor to teach me on how to handle the BO, but I sense that he is unwilling to teach and never allows me to touch anything relating to the BO. Even when I am trying to help when they are busy, he will say, "I don't know what you are doing, let me handle this". Up until today, he was not felling well and did not show up to work. While he was gone, I had the chance to learn how to handle calls, sell tickets and complete online transactions.

Unfortunately, even until today, I still did not have any chance to handle any production on my own.

What can I do to improve or change my situation here? I do not want to wait until one day when my boss comes to me and says they do not need me anymore since I can't help them much. I need to find a way to improve it.