How has everyone been coping with the Circuit Breaker? Boredom aside, I hope everyone is, at least, fighting fit. The Circuit Breaker has made teaching very difficult for both teachers and tutors alike, and I’ve been impacted as well.

In light of the time needed to prepare and conduct my online classes, I no longer have the time to create proper and detailed sets of notes for my students. Nevertheless, I will not leave you with absolutely nothing. Instead, I will be posting annotations, scanned directly from various literature texts. Whilst not complete as a study guide, they will provide a foundation to help you understand the text better.

As these are scanned directly from the texts, I will make them free for everyone to download and use. I make absolutely no claims to the play, and all its components. Yes, the annotations are mine, and based on my interpretation of the text and its literary devices, but the notes will remain free.

The first of these is Perfecting Pratas by Desmond Sim. It is the first of the three plays in “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed”, an Anthology of Singapore Plays, edited by Ken Mizusawa.

To download, just click the big DOWNLOAD button below. The file is in a PDF format, and is printable.

I hope this helps anyone who has to study this text.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me or connect with me via Facebook.
Until then, take care!

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23 thoughts on “Perfecting Pratas by Desmond Sim – Annotations

    1. Well, why make prata? It is because that’s what Albert’s late wife used to do. It is what Ben remembers of his late mother, and it’s one of the few memories of her that he has left. So, in making prata together, they have a connection that binds them as they grieve over her absence and hold each other more dearly because they are each all they have left in remembrance of her.


    1. Mm this is a bit of an obvious question, and I do not spoonfeed. Therefore, I will not be answering this. If you’d like my help, come up with a list of conflicts and I can help you to check if it is correct.


    1. Mm this is a bit of an obvious question, and I do not spoonfeed. Therefore, I will not be answering this. If you’d like my help, come up with a list of conflicts and I can help you to check if it is correct.


    1. Hmm…
      Various reasons, but fundamentally, it is mostly because he doesn’t want to talk about her.
      She’s gone and it still hurts him. Therefore, he doesn’t want to face it.


      1. Hello, im studying perfecting pratas for an upcoming exam. But i really cant place myself in alberts or bens shoes. Like, i cant understand their grief. I have lost someone before but i dont see how they can fight over it.
        I also know that both albert and ben didnt go deeper to their feeling, so i really want to understand their feelings about their late mother/wife.
        All i cam see is that albert is the heartbroken husband that refuses to express his feelings (out of embarrasment?? Feeling like a failure??)
        And that ben is the son that fears of loosing memories of his beloved mother.
        But i dont get how they can fight over the mother.


      2. Hello, Marga

        Ok so, your experience with loss can be helpful to understanding someone else’s loss, but you have to also acknowledge that your experience might be unique to you. That’s because we are all unique individuals.
        I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to have this unfortunate experience, but since you have, let’s use it to help you understand further.
        How did you get over it? Did you have a group of supportive people with whom you could talk about it, who was there to support you every time you needed it, etc? If you did, then your experience is already different from Albert’s and Ben’s.

        Yes, Albert doesn’t want to express his feelings for various reasons – it does make him feel like a failure talking about all the ways in which his wife was amazing and how he, by comparison, makes for a terrible parent. More than that, when she died, all he had was Ben. Ben was too young to be burdened by the painful emotions his father was going through. Ben would have been suffering at the time too. So, Albert chose not to burden his son by gathering all his feelings into a ball, squeezing it tightly together, and burying it deep down inside. This is terrible for Albert. But more importantly, he spent years doing this. So, to ask him to take those well hidden feelings out will be too difficult.

        In Ben’s case, because his father didn’t want to burden him, it means he doesn’t have anyone to talk to about his mom. And he does fear losing those memories, especially as he as just a child when he lost his mom. When you’re that young, you aren’t fully conscious of everything around you, or fully cognizant. He doesn’t have that many memories of her that he can hold on to. Talking about those memories can help to cement them, but Albert will not. Now that he’s older, he’s more conscious of the fact that he’s losing those memories of someone so important to him and that’s terrifying. Also, being older, he is more certain of what he wants and what he has to do to get them. That’s why he’s being a bit more combative and aggressive – it looks like rebellion, but it’s just the actions of a desperate child who has lost his mother once, and doesn’t want to lose what’s left of her again.

        So, for Ben to fix his fears, he needs Albert to talk.
        But Albert refuses to talk, because he has spent so long denying his feelings and hiding from them that to open them and feel ALL of them at once is too overwhelming.
        But Ben will push, so Albert will push back.
        Thus the fights.



  1. i still dont quite understand thw tory, despite his father being busy he still tries his best but how does this help them connect together? by bonding and making prata together?


    1. His trying his best never really connected them.
      That’s why they kept arguing.
      Also, making prata isn’t random – read the text again. Why did Ben so desperately want to make prata that he keeps on making a mess of the kitchen? What is the significance of making prata?
      Also, you used the word “together”. Since when did they do anything together?

      Do you understand?


  2. Hi I have an upcoming exam and I am required to write a wedding speech about Albert and how I appreciate him as a father. Could you suggest some ideas?


    1. Hello, so, I generally don’t give answers or, in your case, “ideas” because I firmly believe in teaching students to learn to think.
      But, what I can suggest is that you “reverse-engineer” your answer.

      Let’s assume you know Ben. Ben’s been complaining to you about Albert. And you think Albert’s just very misunderstood.
      What would you tell Ben, after he’s calmed down, about all the amazing things Albert has been trying to do as a single-parent?

      Refer to the play for evidence – it’s all in there.

      After that, approach it like you would your situational writing (English) – by putting yourself in the situation.
      Assume Albert is your father, and you’re looking at him from the perspective of Ben. Obviously you have to be thankful, grateful. So write tell me about all the things Albert has done that you’re grateful for, despite the difficulties he’s faced. And what is the result? You (Ben) – what have you learnt from him about being a husband and a father? Etc etc.

      Most importantly – put yourself into the situation given to you. If not, you’d only be writing an essay about how Albert is a good father instead of writing a speech.


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