Monday, February 22, 2010

A tiger story to usher in the Tiger year

Secondary school means the introduction of new subjects, notably the humanities, which is a big attraction for the very much humanities-inclined Lesley-Anne. It's still early days yet but so far, she has been enjoying the lessons, especially geography.

Under history, Lesley-Anne has already done one assignment which I thought was pretty interesting so I'm sharing it here. The assignment was to pick an object which had historical significance to the student's life or family and write about it. The writeup had to cover the item's significance, student's reflection, and challenges faced in doing the assignment.

Here's what Lesley-Anne wrote, verbatim.

History Around Us


My item is this photo of my great-grand father and his hunting party with their hired worker behind the tiger they just hunted. This took place around the 1930s. At that time, many tigers, which were said to have swum to the island from Johor, used to roam Singapore. However, they could only be found in the old Chua Chu Kang Village, thus making it a popular hunting ground. Many people would think that the ones in danger would be my great-grand father and his hunting party. However, they do not know the full story.

The ones that were actually in real danger were the hired odd-job workers. Their job is to track down. When the tiger was found, they would start making loud noises to confuse it and chase it to the designated location, which would be where the hunting party was waiting. Then, one member of the hunting party would shoot the tiger on arrival. The process of tracking the tiger could sometimes take up to a week, hence the hunting party often camped out near the site.

My great-grand father was also the friend of the sultan of Johor. This resulted in his hunting party being granted permission to hunt, not only in Singapore, but in Johor as well. Back then, hunting was considered a sport meant only for the rich. This was because a lot of money was required to buy weapons, hire workers and last, but not least, the photographer. My great-grandfather’s hunting party was quite well-known at that time. A photograph of his hunting party was recently featured in the newspapers. However, it is unknown to us how the press managed to acquire the photographs.


This photograph is special to me as my aunt and grandmother would often show me this photograph and tell me about my great-grandfather when I was young. My family and I find the photograph very fascinating as it lets us get a glimpse of what life was like for my great-grandfather back then. We also like the fact that it shows Singapore before the Second World War just as she was developing.


Through this assignment, I made use of my interviewing skills as I had to interview my aunt and grandmother to get the information. Some difficulties I faced were trying constructing the interview questions to make sure I get actual facts for answers instead of opinions and assumptions. I also found out about my weakness in time management. I found it quite difficult to find time to work on this project whilst juggling many other activities and my busy school life. However, in the end, I’m glad that I managed to pull it off and I’m extremely happy that I managed to learn more about my great-grandfather and his life back then.


I thought this was a very interesting assignment as it helped bring home the relevance of history in the students' lives and made them reflect on their past. Lesley-Anne scored 16/20 for this project which I thought was a credible result for the first try. Her use of language is very simple but I think the teacher only marked based on content.

The humanities is definitely an area of interest for me as well. Looking ahead, I will probably be blogging about some of Lesley-Anne's lessons and curriculum so I've created a new label called "humanities" (duh) which will cover language arts/literature, history and geography.

14 comments:

Lilian said...

I was always curious about this story ever since Kenneth posted about the newspaper article on his FB. Thanks L-A for your informative and fascinating write-up! What a great family history you have.

Which one is K's grandpa btw?

monlim said...

K's grandpa is the one in the middle (1st picture). The lifestyle of the rich was so colonial and decadent back then. Too bad all the riches were squandered way before our time! Haha!!

Lilian said...

Wah, very dashing leh. How old do you reckon he was at the time? Looks at most to be in his 20s!

monlim said...

Hahaha, dashing meh? Looks like a pai kia to me! No idea how old he was, I must find out...

Elan said...

wah! K's Grandfather must have been an important man. Hmmm, this would have made even more interesting scenes for "the Little Nonya" drama series; if only they had asked your family, hor? maybe next series lah.
LA should feel a sense of achievement for pinning down this bit of family history in words.

Anonymous said...

Wow wu3 song1 da2 hu3 leh! Very interesting family history you have which is good that you kept the photos with great care. How did your family history get to publish in the newspaper? You know the reporter?

~ my

monlim said...

Elan: Little Nonya? Hahaha, cannot lah, he not peranakan leh... and it would've been hard to cast a tiger LOL!

MY: no idea how the reporter got hold of it but it seems to be in the SPH file ever since so every now and then, it will make an appearance!

Anonymous said...

Wow what fascinating family history...I think it is very hard to catch a tiger in one's lifetime if that is not a professional job but just a lifestyle thing.

We only have WWII fugitives stories to tell... LOL

qx

monlim said...

QX: WWII fugitive stories are fascinating too!

monlim said...

HLin: If you're reading this, I wanted to let you know that I couldn't publish your comment and I've misplaced your email address, so if you wish to contact me, send me an email. Happy New Year to you too!

Anonymous said...

ha ha in fact we also have a WWII fugitive story.....this grand-dad of mine was almost executed by the Japanese bcos (priviliged guy) had a British passport...but my Grandma pleaded with the Jap officer saying it was only for travel as he was a businessman...apparantly her pleas were so heartfelt he was let off....he lived till age 74, passing on in the early 70's when I was about 5.
Kenneth

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally my grandpa also arrested by the Japs and they almost slaughtered him. Lucky he had a certain skill they needed so he was spared and also lived until 70+. The war stories never fail to give me the shudder...

qx

hlin said...

okay :D

Anonymous said...

Hey, this pic occupies (or occupied? can't remember) a huuuge wall of the choa chu kang library, behind the counter!

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