Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"Reflection on Things Fall Apart" (In depth)


Think reflectively of the issues found in the novel:

Based on your reading of the novel, what aspects of the Igbo culture allow the British to take over?

Since Sarawak has also undergone colonisation, how has this affected aspects of culture in our society?

Are there any changes brought about in the lives of the indigenous tribes in Africa and Sarawak?

   Since the novel is about the Igbo culture that has taken over by the colonization of the British, I do think it is their firm of their own belief that plays important role for the culture to last long. The Igbo people do not have strong belief on their culture. For all this while, they are just practising it because they are by generation practising the same culture. Once the mothers give birth to twin children, they are sent to the Evil Forest to be buried alive. For generation, they are just blindly believes that it is the right thing to do. However, they do not have strong firm for that. So, when new culture comes and somehow it makes them wonder what has been wrong in their practise for all this while, they are easily moved and accept a better one.
   Furthermore, I believe everyone has been given their sense of humanity by nature. Everybody is able to think rationally without anyone tells them to do so. So, in this case where it is in their culture the burying of the twin babies is compulsory and practised in their culture, perhaps they know it is wrong and they might have sympathy toward the mothers but just because their culture taught that is what is supposed to do, they carry the practise without negotiating much. But then, when the missionaries in a nice way teaching that it is not the right thing to do, they might have thought all over again and reason well. That is why the Igbo culture is easily moved by the British missionaries.
   The colonization of the British has brought great impact to the culture in our society. The people are taught about Christianity where they come to know the Lord Jesus.
After Sarawak has been colonised, certain aspect of culture in the society has been affected. One of them is the hunting of human’s heads by the Iban people. Long time ago before the colonization of the British, they used to hunt people’s head to be their collection; the more they get, the better. That is their proud. However, when British took over, Christianity takes place and the people are taught about God.
Angela Devung

   The Igbo culture is a unique culture that is rarely been exposed to the world. However, there are a lot of opportunities that allows the British to take over. One of the aspects of the Igbo culture that allows this to happen is through religion. The Igbo culture believes in many God whereas the British, which are Christians, believe in only one God. Therefore, this allows them to develop a stronger belief towards the Christian religion. Furthermore, Christianity do not allow baby dumping and killing people as a sacrifice. The British approach the Igbo people softly and at last they succeed in dominating most of the culture.
   Sarawak is also one of the states in Malaysia that had undergone colonisation a few years ago.   Therefore, there are changes that can be seen clearly from the colonisation. The mix marriage in Sarawak nowadays is a very common thing. European people got married to a Sarawak people can be accepted in the society. The Christian religion also spread in Sarawak because in the olden days, Sarawak people also believe in the existence of many Gods. There are also changes in the law, whereas people do not cut off the head of the people that had done wrong. The colonisation helps the people in developing better rules so that everything is fair and not done cruelly.

   As stated above, there are many changes brought by the colonisation. People in indigenous tribe become more civilized and better in terms of religion, laws and many more. In my opinion, there are pros and cons brought by colonisation. Whether it is good or bad, both teach a lesson for the people, which is to be more advanced than other people from other countries so that we are not controlled by other people from other countries. 

                                                                                                                               Elfera Achin
                                                                                                                                (TESL R1)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Week 4: Perfect Character A Delusion or Reality

In the novel Animal Farm, the hope for a better world remains unattainable. Even with the change of governance, the animals are eventually mistreated. How is it possible that the longing for good can turn awry when the person is in power for long?

In the case of Okonkwo, he is not painted as someone who is without fault. In fact, he is in many ways a tragic hero. Neither is he a person who is evil despite his part in killing Ikemefuna. Based on your understanding of him in the novel, reflect on the following questions:

  • How has Okonkwo been a figure of inspiration and disappointment to his people? 
  • What are the characteristics of Okonkwo that you can find in your nation’s leader?
Source: http://reflectiononthingsfallapart.blogspot.com/

  In the beginning of the story, Okonkwo was seen as a very respectable man. This is because in a young age, he managed to win a fight with a senior fighter. He also owns wealth with his own effort because other people know that he could not inherit any wealth from his father. However, after the missionaries came to Umofia, he started to lose all his glory and in the end he became a disappointment to his people. 

  One of the characteristics that I can find in our nation's leader is the tendency to not follow the footsteps of other countries. In this story, Okonkwo does not give up and follow the missionaries and he fights for his people. This is one of the characteristics that I adored until now because this made Malaysia different from other people. 

Name: Elfera Achin
Class: PISMP TESL (R1)

Okonkwo had been a figure of inspiration just only at the beginning of his success. His villagers look up at him because he is the leader of the Igbo community of Umuofia. Okonkwo is renowned as a wrestler, a fierce warrior, and a successful farmer of yams which known as a ’manly’ corps in their community. He portrays all the masculine characters that a man should possess because he does not want to looks weak like his father. His wives and children are scared of him because he always isolates himself by exhibiting anger through violent, stubborn and irrational behaviour. Okonkwo also had been a figure of disappointment to his people. When the White came and spread Christianity to their clan, he thinks that the changes are destroying the Igbo culture. Okonkwa rashly kills a messenger from the British district office, his clansmen back away in fear and he realizes that none of them support him and that he can't save his village from the British colonists. He knows that he is defeated. He commits suicide, a shameful and disgraceful death like his father's.

one of the previous nation’s leader that possessed the same characteristic as Okonkwo is Rentap.  Rentap was a Dayak rebel leader in Sarawak during James Brooke’s era. Rentap's rebellion was due to James Brooke's action of eliminating the Ibans in Skrang. Being a leader of the Iban there, he wanted the Iban stay where they are and lives harmoniously so he fought for their right to the land. He also had the spirit of a leader and warrior which Okonkwo has. His spirit of fighting can be known with his battle cry which is Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban!! which means I will fight as long as I will live!! But in the end, he died, still in hiding. 


I personally think that Okonkwo is a great leader on his own way. After I read everything and gone through with the character analysis, I come to the conclusion that he has done well for his nation. When he was a young boy, he had to supply the needs for his family as his father was a useless leader of the family. His father kept jolly around and did not care much about the family. Even after the father’s death, he was buried in the Evil Forest as he did not contribute anything to the society. Since then, Okonkwo has this strong desire in his heart not to end up like his father, a failure. He has struggled a lot along his way and we can see that he is such an inspiring teenager when he has been trusted to plant a large amount of yam by the leader of his village. He also has been the inspiration to the young people when he has defeated the unbeatable person in his village, Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. This is seen great by the people as he is seen as the strongest person in his clan, replacing the unbeatable, Amalinze the Cat. For his whole life, Okonkwo rejects everything that his father has stood. Okonkwo even marries three women and becomes the father of several children.
However, he has brought disappointment to the people when he beats his wife during the Week of Peace. He also ignores the warning from the leader of the clan to not to kill his son, Ikemefuna. To make thing worse, he was then exiled from the village after he accidentally killed the son of the leader of the clan during his funeral ceremony. This is totally the beginning of his worst time.
Okonkwo also someone that is cannot adapt to changing. As the white men come to live among the society, Okonkwo cannot be able to function anymore. His anger, rashness and violence finally have brought to his own destruction.
In my place, there are a lot of leaders that have the characteristics of Okonkwo. The prime minister also has struggled a lot to bring the country to stand in the eyes of the world. As much as he wants to keep the tradition, there is a lot that has to stand for. However, there are also some that are just doing things right at the beginning. When things start to change, they cannot handle it anymore.
Angela Devung 

Okonkwo since the beginning has inspired the people of Umofia when he won the fight with one of the senior fighter and won the respect of the people around him. He was later being appointed as one of the leader. He inspired people to give their best and try to put in some effort in struggling in their life. As a leader he also inspired people to fight against the modernism and also against the new culture and religions that the missionaries bring in. Disappointment arrive when Okonkwo accidentally kill the son of his clansmen and he was exiled from his own fatherland. this show how people disappointed towards him for what he had done. 

I can see our country leader like Tun Dr Mahathir as an example of great leader. He managed the country well and also he have the hardest time but he managed to get through all those challenges. Tun like Okonkwo fight for their own people. When inflation happened in the world, country all around the globe struggling to get out of inflation and Tun have done a great job and our country save from the inflation and now we still managed to live well without any help from outside. 

Week 3: Religions and superstitions

Karl Marx once commented that 'religion is the opium of the people'. Do you agree with him? In the case of Umuofia, do you think their native religion stunts their development? Is the 'new' religion seen as a way of bringing development to Umuofia?

Apart from religion, superstitions play an important part in the Ibo culture. Do you have your own sets of superstitions which you find difficult to discard?

The following points can help you as you write your reflective post on the role of religion and superstition in the novel and in your life:
  • Analyse how superstitions and religions play in the life described in the novel. 
  • Do superstitious beliefs and religion affect the development of a country? How?
  • How does one's beliefs affect the nation in terms of politics and culture?
Source: http://reflectiononthingsfallapart.blogspot.com/

    In the Things Fall Apart novel, superstitions played an important role in the peoples' life. This is because they tend to be clouded by the superstitions that they believed in. For example, they kill twin babies because they think it is evil. They also make children as sacrifices. However, these are not the good superstitions and therefore I do not agree with all the bad things that they believe in. 
   Superstitious beliefs and religions do affect the development of a country. This is because their mind will never be open to new development if they keep believing in something irrational such as the Evil Forest in The Things Fall Apart novel. They believe that the forest is evil, so any development could not be done there. 

Name: Elfera Achin
Class: PISMP TESL (1)

A question to ponder upon..

Think of your own country. Are there any superstitious beliefs which affect the development of the nation? Your own state?

In Malaysia, each and everyone has their own religion. Until now, there are no cases of burying twin babies or sacrificing children to make anything happen. I strongly believe that superstitious beliefs that can affect the development of my country are not present in Malaysia. This also includes my state. However, what I can observe is that people of Malaysia are not as open-minded as other developed countries and that is for me, the greatest challenge that affect the development of the nation.

The most unacceptable yet practiced belief of the Igbo people is the dumping of the twin babies. I strongly disagree with this because obviously, this is very cruel. However, this practice is still happening as they believe the twin babies bring bad luck to the society. The mothers must be so hurt by this but they are helpless as this is a culture that have to be practiced by hook or by crook. Another is practice of throwing away the bodies of those that don't excel and contribute much to the society during their lifetime to the Evil Forest. I think every person deserve the same treatment which by mean their bodies are perfectly buried even though they might be a failure during their lifetime. Besides, the women are also not allowed to go out but to stay at home and serve the family well. In Okonkwo's case, he even beats his wife when he knows that she's not preparing dinner but to go out to get her hair braided. 
However, when the new religion comes which by means the coming of the White people, I can see this as a great relief to those mothers that are carrying the twin babies. The babies are saved as this practice is strongly rejected based on the Christianity belief. 
In my society, the Kayan bride are not allowed to go to the house of the groom's family if they haven't married. This brings shame to the bride's family if she is doing so. Another one is the practice of not cutting hair at night. It is believed that the ghosts are wandering around at night and they are going to haunt them if they are doing so. 
As we are living in a multicultural country, I think the practices and cultures are greatly influence the economy as they are attractive to the tourists to come and experience by themselves. The practice of the Chinese people during the Chinese New Year by hanging the red lantern is one of the practices that I found attractive. 
Therefore, we have to be proud of our own beliefs and live it so that the next generations know their root. 

Posted by, 
Angela Devung Dennis

In the novel Things Fall Apart, superstitions in the Igbo culture can be seen in a lot of aspects and events that happened in the village. For example, they believe that the members of the tribe that suffered from infirmities were seen as unclean. These people would not be buried, but be cast into the Evil Forest. Besides, during the Peace Week, Okonkwo commits a great sin when he beats his wife and in their superstitious and beliefs, it is believed that evil will fall upon the whole clan, so he must repent and sacrifice a lot. They also kill twin babies because they believed that it is evil which for me are not relevant. Because of their superstitious and belief, there are no development occurs in their country. They are blinded by their fear of the superstitious and belief until they are afraid to make any changes to their country and always lives in fear towards their belief.

For me, one’s belief shall not affect the nation in terms of politics and culture as if it is a good belief and can be accepted in the culture and society. Everybody has their own right to hold on to their belief as long as it is not affecting the nation in a bad ways.