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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Religious Studies Classes in Primary School (2)

This is the  continuation of this post.

After discussing Buddhism in one meeting some weeks ago, this week, my students -- especially grade 4 -- were discussing Hinduism. The same as the material of Buddhism, I downloaded the material of Hinduism from this link.

This is very interesting to directly compare Hinduism and Buddhism because they seem to have the same root.

  1. Both of them were first spread in India.
  2. Both of them believe in the life cycle -- birth, death, rebirth.
If Buddhism was founded by Siddhata Gotama around 2500 years ago, Hinduism was founded (by no one) around 4000 years ago.When reading this part -- about Hinduism does not have any founder -- a student raised his hand and said, "that is weird, Miss. how could a religion exist without anybody founding it?" Furthermore, he said, "In my opinion, it sounds more logical if someone named 'Brahman' (in the material, it is stated that Hindu people believe in a supreme god called 'Brahman') says to people around that he is god. Those people believe in him and they start worshiping him."

For adults, I believe what was said by that particular student of mine was not something new. But when that idea was said by a 4th grader, I am of opinion that it is great. After writing on the whiteboard how long ago four religions were founded

  • Hinduism dates back over 4000 years
  • Buddhism was founded by Siddhata Gotama 2500 years ago
  • Christianity was founded by Jesus around 2000 years ago (although some students also agreed with me when I said that in fact Jesus was Jewish)
  • Islam was founded by Mohammad around 1400 years ago
I discussed the statement of my student. For people who do not believe in Buddhism, they probably think that Siddhata Gotama is just a common person, while for his followers, Siddhata Gotama is for sure a sacred person or even a saint. Perhaps his life was already perfect so he was not reborn, he 'moksa' after his death. For non Christian people, they think that Jesus is just a common person, not the son of God.

After saying this, one female student looked into my face with weird facial expression, while mumbling, "Jesus is indeed the son of God." 

For Muslim people, they are taught that Jesus -- or Isa -- is 'just' a prophet, not the son of God. Furthermore, for non Muslim people, they believe that Mohammad is just a common person, not a messenger or prophet of God. Perhaps he just happens to be a good man so that when he says that he gets messages directly from God, people believe in him.

That particular female student then raised her hand, "What is your religion, Miss?"

I said that it was not important for me to say what my religion was because I wanted to position myself 'outside the box of any religion' so that I could give 'balanced' opinion and I would not take side to any religion.

Around two weeks ago when discussing 'Christianity' in the classroom, (I took the material from here) I explained that in fact not only Judaism and Christianity have the same content in their holy books. Some materials in Alquran -- the holy book of Muslim -- are also similar with the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. People who are critical to the Bible said that the author of this book is not  creative because he just copied some material from the Torah. But the worst copycat of all is the author of Alquran, because he copied and combined (some parts of) both the Torah and the Bible. And to make it a bit different from the previous two 'holy' books. the author of Alquran added some more material.

I remember one female student looked at me with disbelief look, then said, "Miss, isn't it wrong to copy other religion's holy book?" -- I know her parents are Christian.

I didn't answer her question, but continued explaining. Nevertheless, for people who believe in Alquran, they believe that Alquran is the most perfect holy book because it has perfected the 'not perfect' parts of the previous two holy books. They are taught to believe that Islam as the last religion is the most perfect of all.

One student then commented, "But I don't believe in it, Miss."

I said it was okay for them not to believe in it. I explained that as one knowledge. I said, "Believe in your own religion as what your parents teach you. The most important thing is we respect other people's belief. Let us respect each other."

At that time. one particular student I mentioned in this post who said that he didn't want to be Muslim because he was afraid to be punished after death looked so 'relieved'. He no longer feels afraid to be a Muslim.

I said,

"Wise people say that those who sow will reap. If you do good, you will get good things. If you do bad, you will get bad things. No matter your religion is. The three Abrahamic Faiths teach that there are heaven and hell. If you are a bad person, you will go to hell after death. If you are a good person, you will go to heaven after death. If you are Buddhist or Hindu, you will be reborn and perhaps you will have a worse kind of life if in this life you are a bad person."

L Gayam 17.05 22/02/12

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love on Valentine's Day

This semester I happen to handle ‘value education’ subjects in some classes, from grade three until grade six. So far, we have discussed some various topics, such as healthy food, talents, dream jobs, hobbies, pets, kind of friends they love to have, until love.

When discussing ‘love is ...’ in grade 6 some weeks ago, I found some funny and unpredictable answers from my students.

“Love is yucky ...” one male student exclaimed.

“Love is not appropriate for kids, it is only for adults,” another student answered.

“Love is icky!” another student remarked.

But there are also some ‘nice’ answers, such as

“Love is romantic, it is about two hearts united together,” a pretty student said.

“Love is understanding,” another female student sweetly said.

The most unpredictable answer was, “love brings pain!” a male student wrote it.

However when I led the discussion to love between parents and children, everybody agreed that love is great.
Nearing Valentine’s Day, last week I asked my students to make a Valentine’s card from a very simple material: one piece of blank white paper. Before asking them to do that, I said that love is the core of all values, to make a better and more peaceful world. You can guess many of them made the card for their parents. Some others made it for their classmates (by writing ‘I love you as friends’), some others made for their siblings, and some made for themselves.  and one student made it for his adorable female classmate.

Below are some impressive, funny and touching writings in the cards. I don’t mention the names though.

1.    (a 6th grader):
I hope you get a soul mate. Tips for broken heart /a/ just sit in the porch /2/ drink coffee and eat biscuits. Happy Valentine’s Day

2.    (a 4th grader):
Dear friends, happy valentine’s day! Sorry, I didn’t give chocolate to you, I’m so sorry. Is that ok? I hope so. But thank you so much to cheer me up when I’m sad. Love. I.

3.    (a 5th grader):
To my pet, Y. (she wrote a name of one classmate). Thank you for torturing me this year! :) Remember,  I had fed you like a pet. Also being in the bathroom just for you to take a bath, but I still love my REAL pet. Arrrgghhh ...
And the last is for my fat Grandma and bony Grandpa.

Thanks for making me angry every day because you like to tease! But I still like your cooking, though I’m curious when you hug me because I think you’re just playing a drama that you love me but in fact you don’t. Still, you are my only fattest cuddly grandma.

And for my Grandpa, thanks for giving me everything I want, but it’s just, you’re very scary when you are angry. Just don’t be that EMOTIONAL.

4.    (a 6th grader)
To my sister. Thank-you list.
  1. Thank you for being there for me even when I’m sick
  2. Thank you for cheering me up when I’m down in the mouth
  3. Thank you for being annoying (sometimes)
  4. Thank your for your generosity (even sometimes it’s useless)
  5. Thank you sista.
5.    (a 6th grader)

Hearts for the girl I adore, my favorite girl. Happy valentine’s day, xxxx the girl I love.

6.    (a 6th grader)
Happy valentine’s day. To my Mom.
Thank you for your love and care for me.
Thank you for the protection for this journey of mine.
Thank you for the lucky life I have from the live you gave.
Your son.

7.    (a 5th grader)
To my DAD who like to disturb me with NO REASON! And MOM!
Anyway, thanks for letting me play games! And for accompanying me to ride roller coasters. You’re the best DAD I could ever have. But your pinch was really hurt. But I love you DAD. But why do you even like to disturb me?
Mom, I have questions for you!
Why are you angry with me when my brother disturbs me?
Why do you always play with your BB when I’m asking you something and you get angry?
Mom, I love you but you like to force me to do things I don’t wanna do!

8.    (a 6th grader)
with love from me.
To my beloved family that includes: parents, grand parents, cousins, uncle and aunt: have a lovable valentine’s day! Hugs and kisses. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.
The fact that I took most samples from grade 6 students is because there are more students in grade 6 () and also because they are more creative in expressing themselves (due to their age)? In other classes, they wrote almost similar things.

There will always be nice stories to share on Valentine’s Day, do you agree?

GL7 11.50 130212

Some comments from my other blogsite

rudal2008 wrote on Feb 13
Selamat hari Valentine ya......
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 13
rudal2008 said
Selamat hari Valentine ya......
thank you Rud,
happy Valentine's Day for you too ya?
onit wrote on Feb 13
thx for sharing..
yep interesting writing.. quite diverse & creative :)
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 13
they are really unpredictable by me :)
rembulanku wrote on Feb 13
duitku habis buat beli coklat murahan untuk temen2
tapi bukan dalam valentin
sekedar ungkapan terima kasih krn mereka sudah menerimaku dan bersedia jadi temanku :D
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 13
wahhh ... tapi juga dapat coklat sebagai balasan kan ya La? :)
rembulanku wrote on Feb 13
wahhh ... tapi juga dapat coklat sebagai balasan kan ya La? :)
ucapan terima kasih dan minta lagi :((
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 14
ucapan terima kasih dan minta lagi :((
huuaaaa??? ^_^
rembulanku wrote on Feb 13
happy valentine mbak Nana :D
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 13
sama-sama ya La, happy valentine ...
lebih baik menyebar cinta dari pada benci kan ya?
dinantonia wrote on Feb 13
Agree :D
afemaleguest wrote on Feb 13
ouch :-P

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Countess

(A movie based on the life of Erzebet Bathory 1560-1614)

“History is a tale told by the victors. Barbaric warriors, mad kings, and greedy traitors. Maybe most of our histories are made of fables fabricated by those glorious victors. ” 

Istvan Thurzo in “The Countess” the movie.

Elizabeth (Erzebet) Bathory is very popular as one cruelest woman in the history. She was said to have murdered more or less 650 women “only” because she was greedy of youth and beauty. One accident that was caused by the splashes of one maid’s blood to her face – that she thought it had remarkable effect to make her skin look younger, softer, and fresher – triggered this heartless cruel act of hers.

Some articles in the internet do not explain what caused her greed of youth and beauty. However, the movie “The Countess” illustrated it. At her 39 years of age, Erzebet fell in love with a gorgeous man who was 18 years younger. His name was Istvan. They both were depicted to very passionately love each other. However, Istvan’s father – Gyorgy Thurzo who also wanted to marry Erzebet for power and wealth, not for love – tried his best to stop their passionate love, accusing that Erzebet only played his son’s heart. Meanwhile, Erzebeth’s most trusted ‘accomplice’ – Darvulia – also doubted Istvan’s true love. “Young people easily change their minds. He will find another woman soon,” said Darvulia to Erzebet.

Istvan’s disappearance without letting her know what was going on and Darvulia’s remarks made the tough Erzebet relent. She blamed her age. She believed if only she were younger, Istvan would not leave her. Therefore, when finding out that the blood of young virgin girls could make her skin look younger and softer, Erzebet started to be thirsty of those unfortunate girls’ blood.

As a child, Erzebet was raised to have cruel and merciless heart. Since she was very young, she was ‘trained’ to see merciless treatment toward poor peasants who happened to do crimes. When she was a teenager, she fell in love with a boy coming from a poor peasant family. As a result, the boy was tortured to death before Erzebet’s own eyes, while the baby she had from the boy was taken away directly after Erzebet gave birth.

Erzebet married the Hungarian baron Franz (Ferenc) Nadasdy at 15 – their marriage had been planned since Erzebet was born – and had three children from him. Nadasdy died after he returned from a war against the Turk. As a great warrior, from the war he gained a lot of wealth that Erzebet inherited after his death. Despite the fact that in that era a woman could not become a proprietor of wealth, the King could not object it since he had a lot of debt to Erzebet after the Turkish wars.

Erzebet’s murderous act was ‘safe’ until her accomplices started arresting daughters of lesser nobility. Gyorgy Thurzo – aiming to get more power and wealth – reported to the King about it while convincing him that by taking Erzebet to court would make his debt to the widow of Nadasdy gone. Conspiracy.

History is indeed written by the victors?

Erzebet is a loser then. History has made her notorious.

LG 15.36 040212