29 February 2012

Off the beaten track: Meryl Streep to melodious music

Nice to meet you after several weeks. Many of us would have watched excerpts from past Sunday's Oscar Awards Ceremony, in which the best picture award went to `The Artist' and the Best Actress Award to Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep
The Show reminded me of a cool evening in 2009, when I had the pleasure of watching the movie Mama Mia. Meryl Streep displays an impressive performance in this musical consisting of hit songs originally sung by the Swedish Band ABBA. Though the main lobby of OK guest house in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (where I was based) was fully packed, I enjoyed the show and my vegetarian dinner. So did Hans Langendam, one of my best friends. Hans was Education Management Advisor to the Regional Education Office, Kampot, Cambodia. He is also nearly of my age.

As I write about Hans, I nostalgically remember a vegetarian dinner which he and I relished in a South Asian restaurant in Kampot, during one of my official visits to the town.

Kampot waterfront
Like Hans, there were Dr Ravi (who was Advisor in the Ministry of Health) and a few other friends who had an interest in soft rock of the `60s. (Most of us were in the same age group).

Melodious music is a cohesive force which binds people across barriers, as evidenced by events such as Dr L Subramanium's Global Music Festival.

Dr L Subramanium

07 February 2012

Off the beaten track

Today  is an important day for me.

According to Hindu calender, `Vyaasa Puja' is performed on  this day every year. Vyaasa Maharishi was a great teacher. I'll write more about him when I find time.

Today is the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Dickens, the famous English writer. I had the pleasure of reading his works as a school boy. I continued my interest in his books well through my college days and during my 30 years long career. I have used his writings (particularly `Oliver Twist' and other such novels) not only when teaching English literature to my students but also in teacher development programmes when handling contemporary issues such as `quality classrooms' and `equity in education'.

On the other side of the Atlantic lived Mark Twain, whose works were also very popular among children in those days. I don't think that children can easily forget characters such as Tom Sawyer. I liked his novels very much as they were like travellogues (with incidents spun around river Mississippi and the Southern States in the US). His writings had a profound influence in my own career as a freelance writer (which formally began when I wrote `Racial Discrimination', an article in memory of Rev Dr Martin Luther King, in the college magazine, during my student days in the late '60s). 

Both Charles Dickens and Mark Twain made a mark by writing value based stories for children.



Off the beaten track: Digitally delivered Divine Delight

As I type this post, I experience the joy of listening to a live programme including Kirtans and discourse  by Pt. Balram Persad of Swaha International, a Hindu Organisation based in Trinidad.  It's a great experience. Hope you too enjoy listening to the programme.

About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.