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Friday, October 14, 2005

La Vie en Rose

A Friday ago, I was 10 minutes late for my Journalism 112 class.

As I brisk walked to class, I was surprised to see Mr. Chee having his nicotine break outside.

Too early for a break, I thought to myself.

I mumbled my hurried apologies and he said something along the lines of getting my ass into the class.

Some dude (from Marketing or somewhere, I think) was giving out evaluation forms to the students. It's that time of the year again when we get to bitch about who we really like (and think is doing a good job) and who we think should be shown the exit when the semester ends.

Mr. Chee is about 62 years old and hard of hearing. He has a smile that reminds me of my grandfather; it lights up his face and makes him look young despite the crows' feet at the corners of his eyes. He's probably one of the only lecturers that I've met so far who's honestly interested in sharing his knowledge with his students.

I liked Mr. Chee, of course. I like the way he made us sing that Brother John song in about a thousand languages.

To develop an appreciation for language, he says.

I like the way he's never stingy with praises, and very generous with criticism.

He hates that we have to study from books, and encourages us to read the papers and surf the internet more often.

So, anyway, when Mr. Chee reentered the class, he barked, "Oh, come on. How long does it take for you people to condemn me in that piece of paper anyway? Just do that damn thing and let us carry on with the class."

Someone's in a foul mood today.

And so we got on to our lessons.

People walked in an hour into the class. People sauntered in without looking the slightest bit apologetic. People talked and whispered in class. People banged about in class when they brought in the extra chairs for themselves.

He had enough.

And he lectured us about the importance of being punctual.

"It's not too difficult to come to class on time, is it? Why are you late? I know studying is not the easiest thing to do in the world and at times it can get pretty uphill. I know because I've been there, too. You're all privileged enough to be sent to pursue your tertiary education. Why don't you like what you're studying? Why don't you try to like it? Why do you produce lackadaisical work? Why don't you have passion for what you do?"

He left it at that.

At the end of the class, he said to us, "Before you go, I want you to listen to three versions of the same song. It's called La Vie en Rose. The first is by a soprano from Hong Kong, recorded in Mandarin, the second is by a Spanish singer called Julio Iglesias. The last one is sung by a French singer called Edith Piaf. Listen to all three and let me know which one sounds the most passionate to you."

La Vie en Rose.

Most of us agreed that the version by Edith Piaf sounded the most passionate.

And then Mr. Chee told us that Edith Piaf was born in the streets and was blind at one point of her life. Her mother was a street acrobat and she was the singer alongside her mother's shows. Life was difficult, life was harsh. Yet, la vie en rose. Life is rosy, she sings.

"Class, life was difficult for her, probably a lot more difficult than a lot of yours are. But she has passion in what she does. Life is still rosy to her. I hope you'll all find an Edith Piaf in you one day."

I sat there, stunned.

"Class dismissed."


  • Wow...LUCCT definetely has a knack for picking great JRN lecturers...

    By Blogger Aysh, at 11:44 AM  

  • Mr.Chee rocks.

    By Blogger Mystery Wolf, at 2:10 PM  

  • aysh> not all though

    mystery wolf> yah man. i so agree

    By Blogger Shavain, at 5:53 PM  

  • really? well shanti was fantastic, and then justin was good...oh ok...I know some other that weren't so cool...

    By Blogger Aysh, at 2:22 PM  

  • aysh> i've never liked justin as a lecturer. he just drones on and on and on...

    By Blogger Shavain, at 2:31 PM  

  • Mr.Chee is great, although he tried to make me sing in the corridor the other day. Thankfully my French is better than his, so I weaseled my way out of it.

    By Anonymous Jon, at 6:28 PM  

  • jon> unfortunately for me, mr. chee can speak more languages than i do. sigh...

    By Blogger Shavain, at 10:04 AM  

  • He is 62 years old?!? Whoa.... no wonder he give me the feeling like a grandpa. Nice, caring for us although at times, can be quite 'nagging'.

    I think his class is fun although sometime his actions surprises me =P.

    By Blogger SweePing, at 1:34 PM  

  • sweeping> remember that time he told us he was born post-war or something...

    By Blogger Shavain, at 3:07 PM  

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