Monday, April 25, 2016


This being the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, I thought I will write a bit of my relationship with his work which has nothing to do with economics.

For those of us who are now are old enough, there was a time when we had to do Shakespeare for examinations in English Literature. The exam piece changed from year to year, and for us it was Macbeth. It started in Form 4 and the task was to get ready for exams in Form 5.

While we were struggling with the play bit by bit in the first year, we were getting a bit confident by the second year. But exam was still a drag and there were many extra-curricular activities for us to participate and enjoy. One fine day, a few of us decided that the only way to force us to study really intensely on the play was to play it! We decided to tell the Principal of the school that we wanted to put up the play for the school concert that year.

We immediately tried to figure the enormity of the task we had got ourselves into. We had to decide how many people we needed to play the characters. We needed the three witches to do the opening. We needed Macbeth and Macduff to do the main fight. Lady Macbeth had to do her soliloquy. There you all, we needed only six people to get the show going.

Of course, the play being only an item in the school concert, we had a time allocation of half an hour max. We started doing what was (and still is) unthinkable and probably sacrilegious - editing Shakespeare! Well, we made a photocopy of the whole play and started crossing out all the portions that we couldn't do. That was quite a lot. There would be no forest of Birnam moving to Dunsinane Hill. There would be no bedroom scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Costuming and the props were no problems. We dressed up in t-shirts draped over with some shawls, and short sarongs. We used tobacco and glue for beard which stunk like hell. We got the woodwork club to make swords for us. We used dustbin cans wrapped around with cloth as shields. The three witches dressed in black enhanced with lighting; the cauldron could be imagined as nobody could see in the darkness.

We used the play to sell the school concert tickets to other schools in town as a short cut way to learn the play for the exams. I think we didn't do that badly. We thought we did quite well because of the excitement of doing it and couldn't think of any other things. We did what we set out to do and did it.

On the following weekend, the local newspaper did a small write-up saying that that it was the first time that Shakespeare was staged with local costumes. We weren't bothered for we were then busily thinking about how to pass the exams and worrying about what we should do next with our lives.

I am happy to report that all the players in the play eventually all flew the nest and left the small town in search of greener pastures. We are planning a class reunion and maybe the small group of us who are still alive and well could reenact the play for old time's sake.

"When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lighting or in rain. When the hurly burly is done. When the battle's lost and won. That will be ere the set of sun. Where the place? Upon the heath. There to meet with Macbeth...Fair is foul and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air.

Is this a dagger which I see before me? The handle towards my hand. Come, let me clutch thee.

We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we shall not fail.

Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty."

So, it is all about power and power. There is no economics. Whoever takes the throne wins. Ha! Same old story.

1 comment:

walla said...

Mine was Julius Caesar. Today, 'et tu brutus' and 'lend me your eyes' have fallen afoul of each other.

As ordinary folks, we are only empowered to plant a single vote for change.

If we collectively don't, it will be the same again of what everyone knows is bad. Including those who are perpetrating what is bad but who then brazenly cast out those they consider unsavory but only because they are paradoxically too arrogant and cowardly at the same time to cast themselves out having seduced themselves with the hollow sense of self-importance of their own making which carry the same tonal prejudices as those which had engulfed their others of the same cut before them.

It's just a heritage and tradition of unfettered pompous powerized corruption, strangely still perpetrated by those already given too much blessing.

Why should power corrupt absolutely? This is a good question to ask and to answer.

Why should anyone given power want to abuse it? Is it because they think with power comes the responsibility to do what they think those who have given them power want?

But do those people know what they want is really good and does the want relate to what is done good throughout the term of office of the said office-bearer?

After all, let the record show that throughout each tenure, things done were bad otherwise praises would have been heaped by those who had benefited from them who were needy in the beginning yet continue to be needy and down to the end.

So, if things done were bad, how can wants met be good?

Let me stop here a second...there, something done.

I just took a bottle of cold water from a fridge the Unseen One has kept working still, walked across the road, and gave it to the man watering the tree in this heat.

Thereby connecting Him to the tree in one simple supply chain.

Help those who really help others; don't be like those who say big things one day and slyly make inside deals for themselves the next using money not theirs to misuse.

Let us ask the second question. How many of the political and civil service leaders and executives whose business enjoy political patronage can say they have or will retire with a genuinely good feeling about their own real conscience and performance satisfaction?

The Unseen One will say there is not even one in our midst. Just think about it. Not even one in over half a century of self-rule. What kind of rule is that?

Indeed having seen all the willy-nilly wishy-washy's of those who swear by Machiavelli, there are lessons to be learned from the books of the Bard on the foibles of human duplicity.

We are all just simple folks ruined by craven crooks.

Let's spend some time instead to mathify the zen of om.

What's for dinner, sayang ku? (no, not you again).