Off Centre: A Necessary Resource

OFF CENTRE: A NECESSARY RESOURCE
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY ALVIN TAN, LAREMY LEE AND AKANKSHA RAJA

Off Centre: A Necessary Resource is the much-awaited guide to Off Centre, one of Singapore’s most celebrated plays. This resource guide comprises material that will greatly benefit all educators and students of Off Centre. It features pedagogical notes, insights on the play, as well as a question and answer section with the playwright, Haresh Sharma.

Off Centre made history in 2007 by being the first Singapore play selected by the Ministry of Education to be offered as a GCE O- and N-Level literature text. The play, best remembered for presenting an honest and unflinching look at mental illness and the social prejudices surrounding it, has been back on the syllabus since 2018.

Off Centre: A Necessary Resource also features:

  • Founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage, Alvin Tan shares his insight on directing and staging Off Centre
  • Educator Laremy Lee provides a useful guide on approaching narrative, characters, themes, and theatrical and stylistic devices in the play
  • Journalist Akanksha Raja reflects on her experience studying Off Centre

Off Centre: A Necessary Resource is available at The Necessary Stage and other select bookstores.

Email admin@necessary.org to purchase a copy now.

Retail Price: $16.00
ISBN No. 978-981-11-8956-2

The Kikwit handshake and culture

(IMAGE: Metro.co.uk)

Some trivia from the Ebola outbreak in 1995:

Outbreaks and the news they create also give the public a chance to see culture being created and transmitted because people invent behaviours and management strategies when they encounter new diseases. One small example of this occurred during the early days of the Ebola virus outbreak in Kitwit, Uganda. Villagers who were deathly afraid of contamination began to stop shaking hands and to start touching elbows in greeting, a gesture that became known as the ‘Kitwit handshake’… Shaking hands in greeting became briefly supplanted by touching elbows as a polite way to greet one another without passing the pathogen” (96).

— In Epidemiology and Culture by James A. Trostle (2005)

I thought I’d share this because of the behaviours manifested in:

  1. The public responses thus far – boomer-tips, panic-buying after the raising of the DORSCON risk, the response to the panic-buying itself, etc.; and
  2. Me, because of my own responses to boomer-tips and hand-shaking.

Boomers and their medical expertise


    (IMAGE: Gregory Grinnell/Northeastern University)
 

I like how, thanks – or no thanks – to the 2019-nCoV, almost every single boomer has become a medical expert on the subject.

Last Saturday morning, my Grab driver told me we can protect ourselves against the coronavirus by eating “a lot of hot stuff: ginger, chili, curry – all these!”

He added that going out into the sun and taking a walk will result in the sunlight “burn[ing] off the virus”.

These pro-tips were in addition to many other pro-tips from other boomers I’ve had the honour and privilege of receiving, such as:

  • Don’t use cheap toilet paper because it’s a possible cause of the infection;
  • Gargle with warm salt water; and
  • Take non-spicy food.

Interestingly, the last tip completely contradicts what my good friend told me today. I guess there are some things boomers still can’t agree on.

What boomer advice in relation to the 2019-nCoV have you received? Please share.

When all this is over, we’ll compile these nuggets of wisdom into a book and give a copy to each boomer during a mass ceremony to confer on them their honorary medical degrees.