Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shakespeare in Singlish - Hamlet, Act 2

Act 2, Scene 1

Polonius was sending off his man Reynaldo to check on his son in France, and at the same time spread some rumours about him.

POLONIUS
But breathe his faults so quaintly
That they may seem the taints of liberty,
The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimèd blood,
Of general assault.

(Translation)
Only say he got some minor faults lah,
so that they'll think he's just a little chao ah beng,
but not big gangster.


The reason why Polonius wanted Reynaldo to kind of bad-mouth his son was a trick that would render the people to agree with Reynaldo if his son was really behaving badly in Paris.

After Reynaldo left, a scared Ophelia looked for her father to tell him that Hamlet went looking for her in an extremely untidy state and pale face. However Hamlet did not speak a single word, just held her tight by her wrist, stared long at her, then left the room as suddenly.

Puzzled, Polonius asked Ophelia what did she tell Hamlet lately, which she replied that as he had instructed, she has sent him back his letters and avoided him. Polonius then regretted suspecting that Hamlet was not serious with Ophelia and now he could be getting crazy. He had no choice but to look for the king now.

Act 2, Scene 2

Meanwhile, Claudius and Gertrude have called for Hamlet's childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and requested them to spend some time with Hamlet, who has changed much since his father's death.

After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern left to find Hamlet, Polonius entered to inform the king that the ambassadors were back from Norway, and that by the way he knew why Hamlet has gone crazy.

The ambassadors were brought in and they said that the king of Norway has sent out messengers to stop his nephew’s war preparations, which he originally thought were directed against Poland. Fortinbras has then swore never to threaten Denmark again. With that promise, the old king gave Fortinbras three thousand crowns and permission to fight Poland. However it was necessary for the troop to bypass Denmark to Poland, so he sent an official letter to seek permission from Claudius. Claudius then told the ambassadors that he would think over it first.

POLONIUS
I will be brief: your noble son is mad.
Mad call I it, for, to define true madness,
What is ’t but to be nothing else but mad?

(Translation)
In short, your son is siao already.
Siao as in "ki siao", because there's no order way to put it
Siao means siao liao.


And Polonius proceeded to read to the king and queen a letter from Hamlet to his daughter, and said that there were more of such letters since Hamlet was courting his daughter. Polonius admitted that he did instruct Ophelia to avoid Hamlet and now he believed that was the reason Hamlet has gone mad. He then went on further to tell Claudius that they could hide and see while Ophelia approach Hamlet, just to prove that he was right.

Later, Polonius met Hamlet and greeted him. He asked Hamlet whether he knew who he was but Hamlet replied "fishmonger". He was then convinced Hamlet has gone crazy because of love.

Guildenstern and Rosencrantz went looking for Hamlet too. Of course Hamlet could guess that though they were his childhood friends, they were sent by the king and queen, and they honestly admitted. Then the men went on the watch a mobile performance troop doing some speech. They were invited to perform in the palace and Hamlet instructed Polonius to take good care of them while they prepare.

HAMLET
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion!

(Translation)
I am such a stupid idiot! Like that damn brave lor!
My father kana murdered, and I was told to seek revenge by heaven and hell,
yet all I can do now is to kao peh like a whore!


Then Hamlet thought he heard that guilty people watching a play can be so affected by the artistry of the scene that they are driven to confess their crimes out loud. So he decided to ask the actors to act out something like his father's murder in front of his uncle and he would see how he react.

HAMLET
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T' assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
More relative than this. The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.

(Translation)
The ghost that I saw may actually be the devil
because this devil very good at disguising.
And then he may be taking advantage of my weakness and sadness lor.
I need more evidence than the ghost lah.
Best is the king can show his tail in the play.

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