Waxing philosophical here and on my soapbox.
Positive moral values.
To turn kids into model Malaysian citizens.
When I was teaching teachers here (in my previous life when I was a respectable upholder of societal norms) I was supposed to check my students' lesson plans for the inclusion of "moral values" and make sure that they were slipped into the lessons at the approriate point. Moral value included? Tick the box.
Literature lessons too, of course, were supposed to have a moral message for the kids. Texts were supposed to be morally uplifting. Every ounce of moral message was supposed to be wrung out from the words and soaked up by the kids' souls.
"What's the moral value for today, class?" "Tolerancepatiencepatriotismcleanlinesshelpfulness".
It seems to me that a whole generation got hung up on that literature-has-to-equal-morality gig.
Which is terribly sad, because heavily laboured morality turns most kids off.
And, (shock horror!) literature at its best is deliciously delightfully wonderfully subversive.
And if we become better people because of reading, it is not because a text has preached at us, but because we've learned how it feels to step inside someone else's head and life.
Matric Blues (24/5/06)
Malaysian Anti-Semitism (11/6/05)
To His Coy Mistress (24/4/06)