Capung Cinta: A Moment of Transformation
Updated: Apr 12
There are a few things in life more satisfying than seeing another human being suddenly step out of the shackles of fear, shyness, lack of confidence, or whatever it is holding them back from expressing their full potential. In my first period of teaching at the Bina Cita Utama School in Kalimantan, there was a boy, Ari, who was always silent. I sometimes wondered if he was actually hostile, but everyone assured me it was just that he was very, very shy. I was told that when Ari's father bought him to the school he explained that Ari was chronically shy and he implored the school to help his son become more confident. During my second term of the school, I once again had Ari in my classes and once again found him to be very, very quiet.
MUSIC AND DRAMA
About halfway through the term, my year 11/12 students got very excited about including music and drama in their English classes. There was a new volunteer teacher at the school, Alina Woodhouse, a trained drama teacher who worked with me. It so happened that Pierce Vaughn had written a film script called "Kampung Cinta, A Village Romance," which we turned into a play. It tells a story of two girls from the village whose friendship is broken up when one of them falls in love with a “bad boy”. We cast Ari as Pak Argus who runs the local motorbike repair shop where the “bad boy” works. His role called for him to be forceful and at times exasperated with the younger generation. These were not qualities that Ari usually displayed; indeed as I have said, he rarely spoke at all.
MORE AND MORE EXPRESSIVE But as he got into the role of Pak Argus he became more and more expressive. We included a number of songs in the production and I wrote a special rap number for Pak Agus in which he not only sings but moves as he complains about the unreliability of the younger generation. When we performed the play for the school, the greatest moment was without doubt “Pak Argus Rap”. The audience went wild. It seemed the whole school could witness that here was a young human being discovering potentials within himself that he had never expressed before. Ari, who couldn’t even look you in the eye 12 months ago, sang and danced solo in front of the whole school!
You could see how throughout this process Ari became much more sociable and confident, definitely "one of the boys."