In January alone, I worked on three different assignments for the class. A set of comprehension questions based on a text of my choice, a set of assignment questions based on Schema Theory, and a written and oral report on a reading. The class was given a reading list to choose from and the selections had to do with reading, writing, the reader, the writer, the contexts where reading and writing take place, and language. The reading list was a healthy mix of novels, non-fiction work and even children's literature. We had a choice among Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, On Writing by Stephen King, Someday by Isaac Asimov, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink and others. Among the children's books there were The War Between the Vowels & the Consonants which I absolutely loved, Maniac Magee, Inkheart and many more.
I chose to read Fahrenheit 451 for I have never gotten a copy of that science fiction classic and found it to be a work of pure virtuosity. It is set in the very distant future where firemen, instead of putting out fires, start them by burning down houses with inhabitants known to read books, a crime in that far-off time. The title of the book refers to the temperature at which paper burns.
For the oral and written report that I needed to present in class, I looked up available footage of the 1966 movie of the same title and found a really nice part to show to my classmates. It was the scene where an old lady, ratted on by her own neighbor, chose to go up in flames with her beloved books instead of surrendering to the firemen and the police. It was a chilling scene but also a significant moment in the life of the story's protagonist Guy Montag. I hope more people get the chance to read this compelling novel about the power of the printed word and how it threatens the stable order of a world that is continuously rendering it useless and obsolete.
After the class reporting, I borrowed The Reader from classmates who worked on that book and also loved it. After reading it, I watched the DVD of the movie starring Kate Winslet and found that I was emotionally responding to the film because of my recollection of how it was written. It was a little strange experience for me and something really new. I guess my reading and viewing stances have become much more aligned. I have evolved as a mature, adult reader.
This month we held a Support Group Meeting (SGM) (see our group pic above). We met at the conference room of Isis International on the third Sunday of the month and had an education discussion on transsexualism and gender, sexuality and human rights. The former was discussed by our first clinical psychologist.
I am in Hong Kong now by the way, upon the invitation of Dr. Sam Winter, the author of the Transgender Asia Research website. He invited me to speak in an undergraduate class called Sexual & Gender Diversity, which is one of a handful of so-called broadening courses in the University of Hong Kong. I am getting ready for that session now and I will tell you more about that in my succeeding posts. In the mean time keep safe and I hope that all is well at your end.