Sunday, May 15, 2005

(R) Of Anagrams and Mammograms

On this early Sunday morning when brains do not function at 100%, an all-female team who called themselves The Unholy Trinity set forth to tackle the AIESEC Alumni Malaysia Charity Walk Hunt.

Imagine this scene - 3 rookie hunters lugging a thesaurus (the size of a small stool) and 3 dictionaries up and down the shopping mall.

We made two discoveries:
1. Writers are no good with anagrams. Really.
2. We are incapable of walking and thinking (really hard) (at the same time)

Nonetheless, the mammogram of our chests revealed a glossy picture of "spirit".

We did great girls ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

(R) Sacked

Following the two articles - Tabulation 101 for Judges and Ballot 101 for Judges - I received an authoritarian email stating that I've been sacked from the judging panel.

If only this can penetrate:

"True humility is intelligent self-respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be." Ralph W. Sockman

How far short are you?


Monday, May 09, 2005

(R) Ballot 101 for Judges

The ballot process turned out to be more horrific than the tabulation process. For a background on the tabulation process, please read Tabulation 101 for Judges.

The Procedure

Judges sit in a room and are given the final nomination list. There are 5 finalists in each award category and Judges are required to rank the 5 from the most favourable to least favourable (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Prior to this session, the Award Organiser sends videos of shows to Judges who did not manage to watch them live. They are required to watch the videos before the ballot session.

This is because the nominee list could include shows that judges did not watch live.

Judges who did not watch any performance live/on video are not eligible to vote for the category in which the show falls. Once these are ranked, a Consultancy Firm will collate the ballot. And the winners are then chosen.


1. What about the scores that were earlier tabulated? Of the 5 short-listed nominees, we already know which one has the highest score/lowest score.

In the nominees list, all shows start over with ‘0’.

Nominee List------Scores as Tabulated-----Ballot - No Scores
Show 1-------------------------28-----------------------------0
Show 2-------------------------25-----------------------------0
Show 3-------------------------22-----------------------------0
Show 4-------------------------18-----------------------------0
Show 5-------------------------15-----------------------------0

Judges are required to re-evaluate the shows again and rank them. This includes shows that they watch on video. Note that the shows watched on video are NOT scored.

2. What if the shows watched on video were scored? Would the final nominee list still be the same? How would a judge compare the value of the shows they’ve scored and the shows that they didn’t score but just rank?

(To the sound of the whirling ceiling fan…. “…the horror…the horror….”)

This is what it looks like:

Nominee List----------------Scores--Rank
Show 1----- Watched Live------28-------1
Show 2----- Watched Live------25-------4
Show 3—---Video---------------n/a------3
Show 4-- ---Watched Live------18-------2
Show 5—---Video---------------n/a------5

If the shows watched on videos were scored, would it make it to the final nominee list?

3. Watching the show on video is not the same as watching it live. Furthermore, some videos are not clear. The whole performance experience is not there. How can we score?

Using the same score sheets, judges can score the same way as with the performances that they watch live. (Refer to “Scoring” in Tabulation 101 for Judges)

However, in the treatment of scores during tabulation, we treat scores from live judging (X scores) and video judging (Y scores) as derived from two standards of scoring based on the objections raised in Question 3. This means Xn is not the same as Yn.

Then, we compute the standard scores (Z scores) between the X scores and Y scores.

Shows-----Watched Live---------------------------Shows----Watched on Video
Show 1------------X1-----------------------Z1-----------Show 6------------Y1
Show 2------------X2-----------------------Z2-----------Show 7------------Y2
Show 3------------X3-----------------------Z3-----------Show 8------------Y3
Show 4------------X4-----------------------Z4-----------Show 9------------Y4
Show 5------------X5-----------------------Z5-----------Show10------------Y5

After processing the scores with the Z-score formula, you may find that, for example, the value of X1 = Z1, Y2 = Z2, X2 = Z3, X3 = Z4 and Y4 = X5.

Nominee List after Considering Video Scoring

Show 1-----X1-----Z1
Show 7-----Y2-----Z2
Show 2-----X2-----Z3
Show 3-----X3-----Z4
Show 9-----Y4-----Z5

The nominees are no longer Shows 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, but Shows 1, 7, 2, 3, and 9.

From this revised list, judges can then proceed to ballot.

But then, the ballot process can also be made redundant and the winner can be determined simply based on the performance with the highest score since scores for both live and video judging are available; and it is accurate.

4. Judges who did not watch a particular performance live/on video are not eligible to vote for that performance in all categories in which it falls. Would this severely disadvantage the show?

The answers are No, No, and Yes.

Shows are ranked 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

Remember the movie Highlander that popularised the phrase "There can only be one"? The purpose of this ballot process is to choose only ONE winner (unlike scoring) out of the five finalists; so keep this in mind.

If the show is bad (ranked 4 and 5), then there is no difference if the show is short of one or two votes (or more) giving them a bad ranking. The majority of the judges would have given the show a bad ranking anyway; and the show won’t emerge winner.

If the majority of judges did not rank the show 4 or 5, then it follows that the judges must have given the show an average rank of 2 or 3. If the show is average (ranked 2 and 3), then there is no difference if the show is short of one or two votes (or more) of average rank. The show still won’t emerge winner.


If the show is good, there is a high chance that it won’t win because the show would be consistently short of one or two votes (or more) in each award category it’s nominated for. This is especially important in marginal cases. The second best show would then emerge winner.

Therefore, if the production does not provide a video to the Awards Organiser, there is a high chance that the show will not win an award (though it will make it into the nominee list).

Friday, May 06, 2005

(T) May 6, 2005 - Water Puppet Theatre, Vietnam

During a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam end April 2005, I chanced upon a delightful folk art – Water Puppet Theatre. The performance took place indoors in a small theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake. 1st class seats are a mere RM10, and for 2nd class, the price is about RM5. There are 2 shows a day – 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

Pictures (taken from my point-n-shoot):

And since I don’t know much about this art form, I’ve taken the liberty to summarise the text from "Vietnamese Theatre", a book I bought from Noi Bai Airport, Hanoi, published in 1999 by The Gioi Publishers.


Puppetry is a traditional art form closely linked to the longstanding spiritual life of the Vietnamese people. Marionettes of different kinds can be found all over the country. However, puppetry art concentrates mostly in the midlands and the plans of northern Vietnam where it has developed and has been modified. The word roi (puppetry) has become part of the proper name applied to villages (for example, the Roi village in Yen district, Nam Ha province) to pagodas (for example Roi pagoda in Phu Xuyen district, Ha Yay provinces), and even to ponds found in many places.

In the Middle Ages, such acts as leo day, mua roi (“climbing up a rope” and “manipulating puppets”) appealed to people of all ages attending villages festivals. The excitement of puppetry art is expressed in proverbs, folk songs, rhymes and other literary forms.

Puppet shows were usually carried out at religious ceremonies and festivals.


Water puppetry is present in almost all provinces and cities of the Red River delta and midlands. It is closely associated with the material and spiritual life of wet-rice growers. This art was shaped with two components: puppets and water. The latter is an essential element for wet-rice cultivation. The wonderful combination of these two elements has produced an art typical of the regions of the fertile plains of North Vietnam criss-crossed by a dense network of rivers, lakes and ponds with their yearly flood cycle well-known to the local inhabitants.

This is an outcome of the creativeness of the Vietnamese people, an art that reflects their philosophy, way of life, behaviour and attitude toward the universe, nature and cohabitants.

Water provides not only the setting. It seems also to have magical powers of transformation. Water puppets are simple, sometimes crudely craved works with rough forms to give just the idea of an animal or a human being. The surface of water constitutes a “mirror” reflecting the images of puppets while providing them with supple and graceful reflection of their movements which thereby become lively. Thus, the stage is an extensive space where the sky, clouds, trees and scenarios are seen in constant motion, serving as a background for the characters to display their life. Since ancient times, water puppetry has always been a charming performance art of commoners.

Water puppets are made of light, rot-resistant kinds of wood (such as Ficus Racemosa L. or Ficus Glomerata Robx). They are coated with resin from the lacquer tree (Rubus Succedanea) in the Midland region of North Vietnam which was formerly used to paint boats.

Water puppets are controlled from a distance by means of strings and poles with a simple or complex system of long and short rods and wooden perches, etc. Water puppeteers must stand with their body half-immersed in the water behind the stage to direct puppets acting on the water surface.

Water puppet performances are given in the open air with the following components:
1. Puppeteers’ manipulation room: it is built on the pond or lake with a screen to hide the puppeteers
2. The stage: a water area of 4m x 4m with long low slopes on the sides, where the puppets operate
3. Audience area: the ground in front of, behind and on the sides of the stage, in the shade of trees surrounding the pond or lake

The repertoire usually includes the following items:
- Scenes describing people’s life (rice growing, duck-raising, fishing, rice-polishing, weaving, etc.)
- Entertainment (wrestling, horse-race, ladder climbing, dragon or unicorn dances, swordplay, etc.)
- Scenes reproducing historic stories and figures or national heroes
- Scenes borrowed from Tuong and Cheo

Puppet shows are usually short, depicting various aspects of people’s life. Originally, they are accompanies with no songs and music. Later, these components were incorporated into the puppet show with the help of a small ensemble of singers and musicians of traditional music and folk-song.

Great attention is paid by the State to the preservation and development of folk water puppet guilds in villages. Some famous water puppet theatre companies, both private and State-run, offers travelling performances inside and outside Vietnam, which has made it possible for this art to become well-known to numerous audiences.

(R) April 28, 2005 - Krishen Jit

Krishen Jit returned to the Lord on April 28, 2005.

When I arrived at Changi enroute to KL, I received a flood of messages informing me of his death. I was stunned and felt deeply saddened. What a lost! Already Malaysia is so short of talent and intellectuals. I knew of his heart failure and that he was in and out of the hospital. But I was betting on him to pull through. A man of great spirit. Of course he'd make it, I reasoned.


My first encounter with Krishen was 2 years ago. I do not know him personally but have spoken to him once during a Q&A session in a dance seminar. (Refer to article "October 2, 2003 - Diversity in Motion")

When he declared that "Dance writing in Malaysia is deplorable!", I challenged myself to improve my writing. Now, 2 years and many, many articles later, I had hope he would say, "There is a small glimmer of hope at last!".


Learn. Learn from those who has so much to offer as soon as you can.