Sunday, September 28, 2008

Freedom Writer

Freedom Writers -The movie
First impression of the movie: I thought it was about a bunch of black school kids who evoke a revolution by writing stuff, like Martin Luther King style... But I was wrong... So wrong....
This is a very expressive movie and certainly deserves more credit that it does. It is a true story about a class of students, made up of mainly African- Americans, Hispanic, Vietnamese, and a white boy. They had a dedicated english teacher, Ms Gruwell who did so much that she changed the lives of her students forever.
Ms Gruwell forked out her own money, worked a few jobs, and partially paid the materials used in her class, just to get the kids to read and come to school. And they organised trips and invited people to come to talk to them. It was very amazing. And mainly, the plot revolved around a book, "The Diary of Anne Frank". Ms Gruwell first introduced holoclaust in her class and raised some issues in class, because of the multi-racial and multi- ethnicity of the class. But these issues soon subdued because they realised they after all, weren't that different from each other. The respect grew among each of them, and they became very close- knitted family. Their homework, a journal, was published in 1999, entitled "Freedom Writers Diary", because each of them fought personal battles everyday for their very own freedom. In reality, all of these kids grew up and went to college, because of a teacher who believed in them and who put in so much effort to help them change their lives.
Freedom Writer- Food for Thought
Well, Freedom Writers did gave me a lot of food for thought. For one, how come this cannot happen in our country? Globally, we are well- known for our multi-racial community living in peace and harmony. But in reality, is it really like that? I mean, there are a certain group of people who demand respect and special rights as if it is their birth rights. And there are people who think they can do and say whatever they want, just because they knew a few powerful friends or simply because they are rich. Even among the people of the same colour, there are unsettled problems and discrimination.
Education system wise... Well, if a teacher dedicated enough to pay for materials for her students, how come our government who obviously have enough money to pay for materials, with some extra to feed a few mouths, cannot do that? What is the point of dumping millions of ringgits into making CDs and buying laptops and projectors when most of the teachers are not using it? What is the point of having textbooks that are almost useless? Why can't they do something more holistic, like use the money to organise field trips to musuems and galleries? And why can't secondary school students read something like The Diary of Anne Frank or Romeo and Juliet? Or is it that our intellectual level is too high to read that, but very suitable to be reading stuff like Robinson Crusoe or Prisoner of Zenda, the CONDENSED version? Plus, why are we walloping in our own circle of misery? How come even university students are so ignorant of the world history? Most of my friends don't even know what is a holoclaust and what Hitler did to the Jews!! And certainly, not many knew who evoke World War 1 and what happen in the Cold War. Why? Because we are too well educated in Islamic History and of course, which region sells what during the Kegemilangan of the Kesultanan Melaka several hundred years ago.

With all due respect, I love my country and am certainly proud of our own culture, but should we also learn to look in a wider prospective? Should we also learn to be globally educated with globalisation happening so rapidly in the modern world? Alas, those writing policies, working in air-conditioned office somewhere, should perhaps pay a bit of attention to Hollywood, cause they don't only produced smoking ass actresses but also reality in the most polite way.

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