Tanjung Rhu by Minfong Ho

To all my students of 4 Anthurium 2016. This is for your semester break. I hope you enjoy reading the story.

Synopsis

Simple yet profound story.  This short story is about a successful man who forgets his roots as a kampong boy in Tanjung Rhu and realises the importance and how much he misses it after his mother’s death. The relationship between Mr T.W Li, a rich businessman and Ah Ma, his mother. Mr Li has his office at Shenton Way and is modern in ways and ideas. Ah ma is traditional with strong religious beliefs and practices ancestor worship. The day after Ah Ma’s funeral, Mr Li recalls the day he told his mother about using binoculars or see far glasses. The strory also looks at the conflict, struggle and tension between modern and traditional society in Singapore through the realtionship between Mr. T.W Li and his mother.Based on this short story Tanjung Rhu Form 4 Literature, Mr Li feels some degree of regret for the way he treats Ah ma after this mother falls ill and later passes away. He never pays much attention to this mother’s stories about the past and realizes a little too late that most of his questions remained unanswered. Mr Li promises to fulfil her last wish but is unable to find the key.

Moral Value

1) Although we live in modern world, we must not forget our traditional values
2) We must learn to appreciate people while we can
3) Money cannot buy everything
4) Learn to respect and tolerate each other
5) We should consider and accept changes in our lives and progress with the time
6) We should always voice out our feelings especially if we want to express feelings of love for a family member especially an old parent.

Exercise

Read the extract from the short story Tanjung Rhu. Then answer the questions.

  1. ‘Edward’, she said, crossing her legs, ‘come and join us?’

He refused, and was just turning away, when she noticed the binoculars he was holding,

And asked what they were.

‘Oh, these,’ he said. ‘I bought theme today. For the children’. He could not think of anything better to say. (p.20)

a.Who does the pronoun ‘us’ refer to?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

b.Why do you think Edward or Mr Li refuses to join them?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

c. In your opinion, why didn’t Edward tell the truth about the binoculars he

bought for his mother?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

d.What does this incident reveal about the relationship of these two characters?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2.   There was one drawer which would not open. The joss sticks, he thought, must be in there, with all the things that were most important to her. He pulled again at that drawer, harder this time, but it stayed shut. And then he realized that she always kept it locked. And he did not know where she hid the key. (p.35)

a) Where is Mr Li?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

b) Why is he looking for joss sticks?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

HOTS c) What does the locked drawer symbolise?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

HOTS d) If you were Mr Li, what would you do in this situation?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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