FORUM: Michael Hwang vs Tan Tock Cheow

Last update20 January 2006


Mike Chan wrote (20 January 2006, 1310 hours)

Hi everybody, Mike Chan is back in town or rather cyberspace...just discharged from GH after ops on my injured leg with 4 screws to hold the tibia and fibula together. Dr Tan Kim Ping kindly gave me a copy of the x-ray showing the before and after. Will take couple of months before returning to normality.

Alan, how could 1984 by George Orwell be considered childish? It's one of the best political satire ever written and is a really frightening book of what can happen in any country, Singapore inclusive. Watch the movie now on cable TV starring Richard Burton, his last movie, acting as the torturer.

Cheers to all, I'm still alive, although I did get a phone call in hospital from CTL who asked me where he can send a wreath.I  replied" I'm not dead yet lah!". Actually ,he mis-phoned me instead of Chia Khong Sien whose mother just passed away. Anyway mistakes do happen. Regards to Chia KS on his mum's demise recently.

Eio Eng Hua wrote (20 January 2006, 0217 hours)

Alan - I don't think it is a matter of English. Those who read '1984' even at an early age were more concerned about world events (economic, military and political) than their contemporaries.


Allan Wong wrote (19 January 2006, 1657 hours)

I was a fan of Enid Blyton (especially the Famous Five, Secret 7 series etc) books as well from 1953-59 including "Biggles' and Hardy Boys series.  The book 1984 was used for my GP at Dover College when I was doing my A Levels.  Childish or not, I nevertheless found the books thrilling and I think those who used to read such books from an early age tended to have a better command of English.


Michael Hwang wrote (18 January 2006, 2245 hours):

If we had started to read War and Peace and Gone with the Wind, we would probably only be finishing them now. Far quicker to have read the comic and/or seen the movie.


Eio Eng Hua wrote (18 January 2006, 1041 hours):

How come everyone is attracted to comics (classics or others)? Has anyone read "The adventures of Robin Hood", "The Three Musketeers", "The Good Earth" , "Gone With The Wind" and "War and Peace"?  Personally, I think, value for money, these books are better. I like to hear opposing views!


Robert Gay wrote (18 January 2006, 0923 hours):

Yes, I collected all the classics comics for a few years. Also read Enid Blyton and all the weekly/monthly comics like Dandy, Beano, Mickey Mouse etc.  Superhero and horror comics were also favourites.  I think Henry who collects comics may be able to tell us more. Didn’t do my English any harm!!


Michael Hwang wrote (18 January 2006, 0026 hours):

Actually, when I went to England for further studies, I managed to pretend that I had read many English classics simply relying on what I remembered from the Classics Comics series.

But I have to confess I spent more time on Disney and cowboy comics.


David Han wrote (17 January 2006, 2400 hours):

It depends what you mean by "...for our education..." In the Singapore context it must be to pass the exams with the highest grades. I strongly believe in comics, especially the "Classic Series" comics that had most of the stories on our Literature list including the Shakespearean plays. I never read through most of our literature books for Form 4 and 5. I read the comics over and over. Then I went to Bras Basah Road to get the 10 years' series and the Model Question & Answers booklets. They were really God sent. I did not get a distinction but at least I got the best credit for literature. Are such comics still available? Another "book" I really would recommend to present day students is the English bible called "The Wren & Martin High School English Grammar & Composition".  My father, bless his soul, had us read this every day and worked on the examples given therein. Is this book still in print? For some reason these wonderful model questions and answers and the book came from India.


Eio Eng Hua wrote (17 January 2006, 1041 hours):

Michael - I think "berated" is too strong a word to use. I just felt that it was childish reading books by Enid Blyton. At the time when our classmates were reading "The Famous Five", I was reading "1984" - a book which you lent me!


Michael Hwang wrote (17 January 2006, 1011 hours):

I seem to remember similar exhortations from Eng Hua back in our schooldays, when he berated us for arguing over trivia like whether the Famous Five books were more fun than the Secret Seven series, and he thought we should focus on more important issues like world security and peace…plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

I still think it more interesting to debate whether Enid Blyton was better for our education compared to reading comics… would anyone like to debate me on that?

Eio Eng Hua wrote (16 January 2006, 2317 hours):

Why argue about Perry Mason (some character who is 'obsolete')?

We should be debating on the subject - "Why only certain countries can have WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION while others are prevented from developing such weapons by those who already have them!?"

Francis Seow Tai Kong wrote (16 January 2006, 1129 hours):

Dear Michael - I was also a fan of Perry Mason novels and TV shows in the old days!

Mike Chan wrote (16 January 2006, 1124 hours):

TTC also read all the Mickey Spillane novels, remember "I, the Jury"? He lent it to me and I was hooked at age 14 or 15....plenty of detective action and naked girls. This was 1956-57 when you can't even see female boobs anywhere.... except in movies of Brigitte Bardot when 1 or 2 French females would expose their boobs (not BB), and we young horny testo-driven males would ogle with hearts pounding. Interesting history of sex in Singapore. Now with god, easy access to explicit pictures/videos of young beauties from all over the world exposing everything, not just boobs. Check it out and see for yourself. Cheers!

Michael Hwang wrote (16 January 2006, 1101 hours):

There was an ongoing cultural battle between Tock Cheow and myself. I was a great fan of the Perry Mason novels. Tock Cheow thought they were all crap and favoured novels by James Hadley Chase. Does anyone remember this, and which side did they favour then and now? 

(Note: This subject arose from the Yap Ah Chuan vs Tan Tock Cheow thread. Click here to read the exchange of emails between cohorts)