Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Kids at the Competition

Here's a couple pictures of the students that took part in the Drama Competition in Kangar, Perlis. I took these right after we finished the presentation, when everyone was unwinding and feeling good about what we had done. We didn't win, but non-biased observers felt we were one of the best there, and should have at least placed.

The winners? MCKK of course. It seems that they are supposed to win everything by default, while everyone else is in a race for second and third.

The rules were that the dramas had to be no more than twenty minutes in length, with five minutes for setup, and five minutes for take down. The whole thing should therefore take no more than a half hour, max.

Well, MCKK came in and gave a presentation that ran more than 47 minutes, not including setup and take down. It was supposed to be an English drama presentation, but theirs had a large dose of Malay and Manglish throughout it. Different people who saw their presentation, (I wasn't there, as me and Mr. Wong got bored, and decided to take a drive around Perlis), said that they should have been disqualified, or at least placed last. But hey, They are MCKK, the most prestigious secondary school in the country, so you can't do that. In Malaysia, reputation and status count more than actual merit.

There were two sessions: the morning session of six schools, of which we were third, and the afternoon session of five schools. The Judges gave the first three places to the schools in the afternoon session. Fourth place went to STAR, which is unbelievable. Their drama was so bad it was almost unwatchable. No wonder they had to take the third best school bus. Their drama was so bad, they were lucky they didn't have to walk home! As for us, we took fifth place. Needless to say, the students were very disappointed and frustrated, especially since they sat through all the other dramas and saw what they were up against. If nothing else, they learned a valuable lesson that life is not fair, and things don't always go by the rules.

The girl on the right wearing the bow tie and vest did all the props and backdrops, and did a fantastic job. If she was with us last year, when we were part of the local competition at St. Georges College, we would have won. Last year, we had a good script, (adapted by me, of course), good actors, and a good presentation, but horrible props and costumes. Our students spoke loud enough so that you could hear them clearly all the way in the back of the auditorium, and their English was clear. Which was more than could be said for the others, most of whom looked like they were doing mimes. Plus, we kept the audience's interest throughout the play, and got a really good reaction. Our costumes and props were horrible, though.

So of course who did the judges give the prizes to? The ones with the nicest costumes and props, who you couldn't hear, and if you could, you couldn't understand them, or wished you couldn't!

But that's the way things are here- it's always form over substance. "Appearance is Everything" should be the Malaysian national motto!