"When children tell their stories, they are inviting you to be a part of their worlds. Accept their invitation and be prepared to be awed." - Claudine Fernandez
At Artistic Strategies Academy, we embrace the unique qualities of every child. Similarly, we carefully guide each child in producing unique pieces of writing that showcase their original voice and personal thoughts. This is how our students produce authentic narratives that keep readers interested.
Enjoy this selection of compositions by our younger students (ages 6 to 11), handpicked for your enjoyment.
By Muskan K.G
“Mum! I am leaving!” James called out to his mother while he was tying his shoelace. It was a windy Tuesday morning. The weather was not in his favour. The day had started with dark, ominous clouds, threatening to unleash a fury of rain. James overslept because his alarm had failed to ring and was running late for school. He gave a lovely kiss to his mother. Within minutes, he was out of the house, running to school, trying to beat the clock.
James is a Primary 4 student who lives near his school. Hence, it is convenient for him to walk to school. Just as James darted into the school building, the first raindrops began to fall. He was relieved that he did not get wet.
That day, he enjoyed having his lessons and playing with his friends during recess. As he was shoving his books inside his bag, lightning flashed and thunder followed. Before James left, he needed to take out his umbrella from his bag. “Oh no! I forgot to pack my umbrella!” exclaimed James who was shocked by his forgetfulness. By this time, his friends had already made a beeline out of school. “It is only a short walk home. Besides, the rain has already subsided,” he assured himself as he walked out of school. Unfortunately, the rain had a mind of its own and it was pouring cats and dogs after some time. By the time James got home, he was drenched from head to toe.
When James walked through his front door, James’ mother had a look of utter worry on her face. She ran towards her soaking wet son and quickly dried him off with a towel. She gave James warm food and rest. However, by evening, James’s mother noticed that his eyes were droopy and his face was as white as a sheet. She took James’s temperature and knew immediately that James had a fever. She called a doctor to their house to diagnose him. The doctor examined him and wrote the prescription for his medicines. James was given a two-day medical certificate. She thanked the doctor and he left. As he wanted to recover as soon as possible, James had lots of rest and followed the doctor’s instructions.
In two days, James was back on the path walking to school, relieved that he was finally out of bed. He was happy to see all his friends and teachers again. He felt that falling sick was the worst experience ever. Not only did he have to miss his lessons, but he would also be separated from his friends. Through this experience, he realised that even if he was in a rush, he should quickly check that he was prepared with all the essentials.
A Major Change
By Nathaniel Chan
Mary had always wanted a pet dog. Whenever she saw her friend’s pet dogs, she would always ask her mother if she could adopt one. Unfortunately, the answer was always a "no" because her mother did not think that she was ready to own a pet. However, when the day finally did come, it changed her life forever...
Mary took a deep breath. The fresh cool air filled her lungs. She was rejuvenated as the tall trees swayed to the gentle breeze. Mary was playing “catching” with her friends early in the morning. It was also her birthday, and Mary was dying to know what her present was. “Is the present going to be a watch? Or a toy?” Mary showered herself in an avalanche of possibilities. She had no idea what was waiting for her at home.
Mary hummed her favourite tune as she went into the lift. When Mary was outside her door, she giggled and squealed in delight. “Mum, I am home!” Her mother immediately opened the door to let her in.
“What is my present?”
“You will find out later,” Mum replied. Suddenly, Mary heard a barking sound coming from her room. She turned her head and saw two pricked ears popping out of the door with its tongue out.
Upon seeing this, Mary smiled gleefully as she punched her fist in the air in jubilation. Mary skipped merrily into her room and found a dog! It was covered in black spots and wagging its tail. Gently picking the dog up, Mary hugged it tightly. She whispered, “Now, I have a friend to talk to in the house. I have no siblings and I was very lonely until you came! Hmm...I shall name you Max!” Max started barking louder when he heard his new name.
Upon seeing Mary’s delight, Mum agreed to building a doghouse for Max. Once she came back with the wood, they got to work, spending three whole hours on it. By the time they were putting the finishing touches to the doghouse, it was nightfall. When Max saw the doghouse, its tail started wagging uncontrollably. Max quickly settled into it and within minutes, he fell asleep.
“Coo, coo!” The sound of a rooster’s squawk woke Mary up the next morning. Mary tottered to the doghouse to meet Max but he was nowhere to be found! Shivering, Mary’s heart galloped like an untamed horse. She started searching for Max under the sofa, under her bed, in the cupboard, but he was nowhere to be found! Soon enough, Mary had enlisted her friend’s help in the search party. They asked everyone in the neighbourhood if they had seen a dog with black spots and sharp ears. Fortunately, instead of asking hundreds of people, the friends only needed to ask eighteen people. The eighteenth person said that he always slept late and this time, he saw a dog running into a nearby abandoned house. He warned that the house had been abandoned for decades but it used to house a couple who loved dogs. It is said that they used to put bear traps at the entrance so no bear could eat their pet dogs.
The friends thanked the man endlessly and ran to the old house. There, the lawn was overgrown with thorny weeds and long grasses. The window was blackened with soot. As the friends tiptoed into the house, the door mysteriously creaked open. Somewhere upstairs, water was dripping from a leaking tap. The dripping sound echoed throughout the house. Cobwebs, big and small, hung precariously from an old chandelier, behind the cabinet and under the table.
Mary and her friend were shivering with fear. It was obvious that their teeth were chattering. They tiptoed into the rooms on the first floor and started looking for Max. Unfortunately, there was still no sign of Max. As Mary walked up the stairs, she thought that she may never find Max and was worried about how he was doing. With goosebumps all over her skin, her eyes swept all over every dark corner and crevice.
After they reached the second storey, they split up. Mary went to the corridor while her friend went to the kitchen. After what seemed like an eternity, they heard a barking sound. They bolted to the toilet where the bark was coming from and saw Max in the toilet bowl! Instinctively, Mary carried him out from the toilet bowl and hugged the drenched Max so tightly that no number of words could describe the joy that she and Max experienced at that moment.
From then on, Mary promised to take better care of Max. As the saying goes, “Money can only buy you a fine dog, but only love and care can make his tail.” After this incident, Mary realised that it is not easy to take care of pets. She was thankful for this wake-up call and the significant change in her attitude and mindset. Now, Max sleeps beside Mary on the same bed. The doghouse? Well, it sits on Mary’s study table as a reminder of what had happened. Whenever she sees it in the morning, she smiles slightly, thinking of that life- changing incident.
By Raeanne Chua
“We’ve signed the whole family up for an exclusive nature hike in Elmcroft Nature Reserve!” replied Joyce excitedly.
“Thanks for signing us up. I can’t wait!” Charlie loved everything about nature (except the spiders).
However, Charlie should have known before that there would be a catch. When he decided to search for more information about Elmcroft Nature Reserve on the Internet, a statement popped up on the screen: Elmcroft Nature Reserve- protecting rare insects and arachnids since 1977! He felt a sick feeling in his stomach as he had arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, for as long as he could remember.
Charlie ran outside to confront his sisters. “The nature reserve we’re going to was set up to protect spiders!” he yelled, his arms flailing wildly. “I’m definitely not going with you now!”
“You can’t back out now!” replied Brenda, folding her arms and shaking her head. “Everything’s already been planned and arranged.”
Knowing that his sisters had already decided for him, Charlie signed and trudged into his room reluctantly to pack his bags. The family left the house soon after that.
Stepping along the dirt path that led into Elmcroft Nature Reserve, Charlie trailed behind his parents and sisters, who were chattering away excitedly.
Almost immediately, a small spider scuttled across the path. Charlie jumped and let out a small shriek while the other tour members looked at his quizzically. Meanwhile, Brenda gave him a look that he knew meant, “Don’t make such a fool of yourself!” Still considerably shaken up, Charlie followed the others along the path.
Very soon, the tour members arrived at their picnic spot. Charlie shared a picnic blanket with his family members, who were flipping through a guidebook of spiders that Charlie’s father had brought. They were attempting to identify all of the spiders they’d seen earlier. Charlie heard snippets of their voices, “No, not that one...” “It’s definitely this one...”
“Wouldn’t you like to join us, Charlie?” his mother asked. Charlie shook his head, munching on his sandwich. Any more mention of spiders was bound to make him sick.
Just then, Charlie noticed that everyone was staring at him. He then felt an itch on his cheek. As he reached over to scratch it, it dawned upon him that there was something on his face that was causing the itch and that it had eight long, wiggly legs. “A spider!” he thought in a panic.
The spider seemed almost as large as a dinner plate. It was covered all over with hair. Charlie shuddered at the repulsive thing. He tried to stay as still as he could, hoping that the spider wouldn’t think that he was dangerous and attack.
Meanwhile, Charlie remembered that he had read a book about a group of superheroes who could send telepathic messages to animals and people. He decided to try out this idea. He screwed his eyes shut and thought fervently, “Go away, spider... go away...”
Cold sweat poured down his face and his arms began to ache- he could not stay still for much longer.
Finally, the spider turned around and crawled off into the grass. Charlie exhaled. Suddenly, spiders did not seem so scary after all.
Charlie enjoyed the rest of the tour and chatted happily with his family. He even spotted the same species of large spider that had jumped on him crawling up a tree, another spider with it. He spent a long time watching them with fascination, something that he would never have done in the past. Grinning, Joyce said, “Looks like we didn’t come here for nothing after all!” Hearing this, Charlie’s heart swelled with pride.
From that experience onwards, Charlie realised that spiders were in fact fascinating and that most of them were harmless as long as he did not hurt them. Also, he wondered if he could discover more about telepathic messages and how they could help him face his other fears.
Who says PSLE compositions have to be boring? On the contrary, examiners are looking to be wowed. Learn how to impress the PSLE markers.
A Lack of Self-Control
By Lukas Knick
“Goodness me! I need some entertainment!” Steve exclaimed. Steve was at home alone and had finished his homework for the day. His mother, Mrs. Tan, was at the mall and his older brother had tennis CCA that day. His father was at work. So, they left Steve at home alone. Steve got up and plonked himself lazily on the sofa and turned on the television. All of a sudden, Steve’s stomach growled loudly. He knew that all that math, English, Chinese and science homework had made him peckish. He got off the couch and walked towards the kitchen as if it were calling out his name.
Steve entered the kitchen and saw his favourite snack on the top of the refrigerator, chocolate-chip cookies. Steve licked his lips at the thought of sinking his teeth into a few cookies. He grabbed a stool from the bathroom and placed it in front of the refrigerator. He hopped onto the stool like an eager beaver. He stretched his arm and just when it felt like his arm could not go any further, he caught hold of the jar and took it off the refrigerator. He beamed with satisfaction as he opened the jar, and the scent of chocolate-chip cookies filled the air.
Steve put his hand into the jar and pulled out a cookie the size of his palm. Steve sunk his teeth into the confectionery and chewed on it noisily. Steve gobbled down the cookies like there was no tomorrow as he feared that his mother would be home any minute and catch him red-handed. He put them into his mouth one by one he let the sweet chocolate taste penetrate his taste buds.
When he decided he had filled up his stomach, he noticed a bit of satisfaction spring inside him and he could not stop himself. He felt possessed as he moved his hand through the jar and kept on taking cookies until the jar was close to being empty. He then muttered to himself, “Thank goodness there are no more cookies left. I am already starting to feel slightly bloated.” Finally, he put the empty jar back on top of the refrigerator.
As he sat on the sofa 20 minutes later watching his favourite television show, he felt a sudden pain in his stomach. He bent down in agony. As he was too engrossed in the show, he decided it was not worth his time to do anything about it.
That night, when Steve and his family sat down at the dinner table to have their evening meal, Mrs Tan smelt a rat as Steve kept groaning and had not touched his food. His father, Mr. Tan, and his brother, Alex, had not noticed as they were too busy devouring their food.
When Steve had retired for the day, his mother stormed into the bedroom with one question. “Steve! Did you eat all the cookies?” His mother asked furiously after she had found the empty cookie jar.
Steve started to panic. He knew that he had no choice but to confess to his mother. Mrs. Tan gave her son a hard lecture on self-control and stripped him of all privileges for a month. She banned him from playing video games and eating sweet foods such as cookies and cake for a month. He did not just suffer from being deprived of these, but he also had a severe stomachache later that night and eventually, a huge cavity in his teeth. He felt terrible and regretful of his actions. He realised that for his own sake, he should practise self-control in the future, which he did.
A Special Gift
By Chloe Song
“Wake up! Do you know that it’s Mother’s birthday?” a voice rang in my head and I felt someone vigorously shaking my shoulders.
“I’m up!” I yelped. “Stop shaking my shoulders, it hurts.” I opened my eyes to find my brother, John, staring at me with wide eyes. “Why do you look so worried?” I asked, yawning and stretching my arms.
“I completely forgot it is Mother’s birthday! I haven’t even prepared anything for her!” he exclaimed. “Have you? I hope you did, or we’ll be in trouble.”
Slowly, it dawned on me the implications of what my brother was saying. I gasped, the recent lethargic feeling fading away as I realised the situation that we were in. “Oh no,” I said.
My brother groaned. “You forgot it is Mother’s birthday too, right?” I nodded. “Mother went out to meet a client and she said she was going to come back before lunch, which is in three hours’ time. We’ve got to act fast, I’m sure she’s expecting gifts and cakes from us,” my brother said.
Panic rose in my throat as I thought of a way to get out of this sticky situation. Nothing was prepared! Mother was going to feel upset, and it was all my fault. If I had remembered that today was her birthday, this would never have happened. I racked my brain, trying to find a proper solution. How could anyone forget it was their mother’s birthday? It was too late to either make a card for her or put up any decorations, or order a cake. We also did not have money to buy her a gift.
“Alright, we need to calm down and think of a proper solution,” I said slowly as I got out of bed and walked into the kitchen. There had to be something there that we could make to replace the cake. Rummaging through the cabinets, I tried to calm myself down. We had three limited hours, and there was no time for me to panic. I wanted Mother to feel happy and have a memorable birthday. However, due to the fact that I had completely forgotten the occasion, I highly doubted that she would enjoy it. Imagine not getting presents on your birthday plus your children forgetting it! How disappointing is that? I bit my lip and continued searching the cabinets for something. That was when I noticed a packet of biscuits, and an idea soon formed in my head.
“John, I have an idea!” I exclaimed, a slight smile forming on my face. “It isn’t the best, but it’s better than nothing.” I told him what I had in mind, and after I finished, he looked at me incredulously.
“That’s a weird idea, but I guess Mother wouldn’t be that upset if we went ahead to make that,” my brother said.
An hour later, we successfully prepared a biscuit cake. After several failed attempts, we had stacked the biscuits on top of each other and managed to make a “biscuit house”. My brother and I pumped our fists into the air, glad we had accomplished making a “cake”. We also prepared Mother’s favourite coffee using her Espresso Machine. However, slowly, a negative thought came across my mind. “What if Mother doesn’t like it?” I asked, looking down at my feet. “I mean, biscuits aren’t unique. They have a bland taste compared to birthday cakes. And the coffee we prepared is something she can drink daily without us specially making it for her. She’d be so disappointed!”
My brother sighed and placed his hand on my shoulder. “I’m sure if she knows that we’ve put in effort to make this, she’d be happy. It’s an unusual gift, but it’ll be a special gift from our hearts,” he said gently. “But if you’re still worried that she’ll be unhappy, we could apologize to her, and make sure to leave out the part where we forgot it is her birthday,” he added sheepishly. I nodded.
“I’m home!” a voice exclaimed from the doorway. I jumped, surprised that Mother had come back home so fast. Had time really flown by so quickly? Looking at my brother, I whispered to him, “Do we surprise her with the cake now?”
“Obviously, what else would we do?” he replied, raising an eyebrow. I gulped and took the plate of biscuits from the table.
I took a deep breath, sure that Mother would not like the biscuit cake. However, although it would never be as good as an actual cake, it was better than nothing. As I walked out of the kitchen with my brother trailing behind me holding the cup of coffee, I smiled and shouted, “Happy birthday Mother!” I showed her the plate of biscuits in my hands. “This might not be what you were expecting, and I’d understand if you feel disappointed. I’m sorry we couldn’t give you a proper cake...”
Shock and surprise first flashed across her face, soon replaced by happiness and ecstacy, and then replaced by confusion. “Jenna!” she frowned. “What do you mean? Why’d you think I’d be disappointed?”
“Are those biscuits?” She asked, before I could answer her question. She dropped the bag she was carrying in her hands and rushed towards me. “Is that a house you tried to make? And is that my favourite coffee that I smell?” she questioned, admiring the plate of biscuits and taking the cup of coffee from my brother’s hands. Looking at my mother’s reaction, I felt relieved that she was not upset and let out a breath I did not know I had been holding. She had a bright smile on her face and seemed far from disappointed.
“You’re not upset? Aren’t you expecting a proper cake and gifts?” my brother asked, looking down at his feet.
Mother stared at him, her expression softening as she said gently, “John, I’d never be upset.” She patted both mine and my brother’s heads. “I know both of you have put in effort into making this unique cake and coffee for me and tried to make my birthday special, which I appreciate. But the best gift that I could ever ask for is for both of you to celebrate my birthday with me.” She grinned at us. However, I did not reciprocate the smile. If Mother knew we had forgotten her birthday, I was sure she would feel hurt.
“M-mother, as much as I don’t like saying this,” I started, noticing my brother looking at me and shaking his head, not wanting me to say what I was about to. However, it was better to tell Mother as I knew I would be forever ashamed if I did otherwise. “W-we had forgotten it was your birthday today, and we’re truly sorry. We did try our best to make this biscuit cake and coffee, though..." I closed my eyes, awaiting Mother’s angry shout or the hurt expression on her face. Surprisingly, in contrast to what I had been expecting, she laughed.
My brother frowned. “What’s so funny?”
“I found.... the looks on both.... of your faces when you told me... was funny,” Mother said in between giggles. My brother and I simply stared at each other, not understanding what was so hilarious. Finally, Mother regained her composure. “Children, I forgive you for forgetting my birthday, and if you were thinking that I was expecting gifts from you, you’re wrong,” She said. “The most special gift I ever received was both of you. I don’t need a proper cake or an expensive gift to make my birthday memorable. The ultimate gift is for you to celebrate with me, understand?”
I breathed a sigh of relief as I placed the cake I was holding on the table and ran forward to hug Mother.
The best gift that a mother could ever ask for and want, I realised, was for acknowledgment for all that she had done for her children, or in my mother’s case, to spend quality time with her children. Simply being able to spend quality time with family made her birthday enjoyable.
A Special Gift
“Tim, I know what to get for our father’s birthday tomorrow’’, John whispered to Tim.
“Yeah? What?’’ Tim asked.
“An autographed jersey of the famous basketball player, Thomas Koh! I bought it at a garage sale a few blocks down the road. It was worth a fortune,’’ John answered.
“You’re a genius, John! Dad’s a huge fan of Thomas Koh!’’ Tim said in a satisfied way.
After school that day, Tim and John found out that their pet dog, K-nine, a jack russell, had urinated on the autographed jersey. John panicked and so, Tim had to help him pull himself together.
“Let’s just use the washing machine,’’ Tim suggested. John agreed.
“John, remember to set the washing machine to ‘Delicate Mode’. We do not want the signature to fade,’’ Tim reminded.
When the washing machine was done washing the jersey, Tim took it out. The autograph was gone! He then questioned John who concluded that he must have accidentally set the washing machine to ‘Stain Remover’ mode.
“This is all your fault!’’ Tim accused Jon.
“But it was my idea,’’ John replied angrily.
“Yeah! An idea that you failed to execute!’’ Tim snapped with rage.
“There is no point fighting now! The damage has been done,’’ John calmed down.
“We need to come up with a plan,’’ Tim agreed but was still irritated with John. They decided they would think of a plan after dinner, which was ready on the table. That moment was a blessing in disguise. Their father was surprised that they were going to a basketball game where Thomas Koh was playing. After dinner, they discussed a plan.
“Tomorrow morning, remember to bring the jersey. We do not want to have another problem,’’ John explained.
The next day, Tim put the jersey in the bag as planned. John and Tim then headed for the car and left When it was halftime, their father left for the restroom. At that moment, John and Tim approached Thomas Koh’s manager. They explained the whole incident in record time. After a long pause, Thomas Koh’s manager agreed to pass the jersey to Thomas Koh to get it autographed again.
After half a minute, John and Tim got the autograph they wanted and ran back to their seats. Their father was there waving at them.
“Happy Birthday!’’ they shouted. They gave him the jersey and their father was on cloud nine. He gave them a big hug. They continued to watch the game, cheering on Thomas Koh’s team, after half time. After the game, they went back him and their father thanked Tim and John again for all the effort they had gone through just to give him an autographed jersey. Tim and John realised that quarrelling does not help a situation but actually slows it down. Instead, they should look for solutions together.
We are proud to feature some of our favourite award-winning entries which have earned accolades not just locally but also internationally.
How Do You Appreciate Your Grandparents
By Avivah Wajahat
Original poem penned for a writing contest organised by St. John’s Home for Elderly Persons
Soft, kind eyes
looking up at me,
Scent of roses,
And mandarin tree.
grinning all day.
And words to say.
I wrap my parent’s parents,
in a warm, long hug.
I hold them tightly,
As lint would to rug.
I embrace them,
and kiss their warm cheeks,
I respect them and listen,
their happiness does not leak.
They turn to me,
and hug me again.
They kiss my cheeks,
even in their pain.
They fill my heart with love,
and not with knives.
They lost their youth,
yet are full of life.
Imagine You Are Planet Earth
By Raeanne Chua
Silver Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020
How many years have I left to live, humans? I think it all depends on you! Day after day, you keep stealing portions of my wealth and make me poorer. Not only that, you misuse me, abuse me so much that I will be ultimately destroyed.
Why are you so reckless, humans? Your carelessness has resulted in my forests burning. Oh, my skin is singed! The thick black smoke chokes me. Where will my creations, animals and plants go? So many of them are already gone from my home and I will never be able to find them again. Due to lack of water, many of my plants are rapidly dying of thirst. Meanwhile, you humans have occupied all my land and refuse to share it with the animals and plants. They have as much right to live in my home as you do! Will I ever see them anymore? Again, this is your choice, humans.
Why are you so reckless, humans? You have even transformed my climate to immeasurable proportion! My ice sheets are meant to keep you cool, but are you protecting them? No, you are not! You are making my waters rise as I get hotter and hotter. Polar bears and other Arctic creatures are now homeless! In fact, you will be affected too as your homes are being drowned and destroyed by flash floods. My ozone layer is meant to keep the sun’s ultraviolet rays from reaching you, but you are not grateful for it at all! Instead, you are making holes in it, giving me a fever and making all of you feel hot and bothered. My trees are also being cut down for your own selfish purposes, contributing to making my climate warmer.
When I see you sit back and do nothing about my situation, I feel afraid that I will lose my wealth over the next couple of years and that I will shrivel up and die. Or that you will abandon me and that I will no longer be special to you. Simultaneously, anger sweeps over me to think that you humans care so little about me. Of late, I have unleashed my fury to show what I am capable of if you treat me shabbily. Don’t you experience deadly weather patterns from time to time? Earthquakes, hurricanes, hailstorms, volcanic eruptions... the list is endless! I hope you will learn your lesson soon, humans.
All I expect from you is to care a little less about fulfilling your selfish desires and care a little more by changing your lifestyle. I have a few ideas of my own. Perhaps you could switch to using solar power and wind power so as not to waste my resources. Or you could use reusable water bottles instead of drinking from mineral water bottles which are piling up in my landfills after use as trash! Maybe you could avoid wasting food and only take what you can finish. What about spreading awareness in the community on how young people are banding together to root for me or how concerned individuals have started campaigns to plant trees or to recycle. You can play an active role too. Thankfully, even world leaders are working to stop global warming. Seeing this, I feel a little heartened by the fact that I might be restored to my original glory.
With a greener world, you are in for a treat! You can breathe in my fresh air, drink my clean water and stroll around in my parks with more plants and animals than you have ever seen. Once I become calmer, you won’t have to face my wrath with natural disasters! With less landfills and garbage cluttering up my ample space, children would have larger areas to run and play.
In the future, you would live a better quality of life, all because you took the effort to clean up after the mistakes you made and saved me from destruction. All of you are as special to me as I am to you! You can enjoy my goodness forever if only you appreciate me in return.
Welcoming an Overseas Visitor
By Nadia Goh
Bronze Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2019
I heard that you are coming to Singapore for the first time. I look forward to taking you to some of our famous attractions.
After arriving in Singapore, you might want to relax at Gardens by the Bay. There, you will experience the scenic greenery in the Green House and climb up the tall, purple supertrees. Did you know that the supertrees use the light in the daytime to operate its rainbow lights at night? Some say that director James Cameron was inspired by it and designed his set in the movie "Avatar" based on the scenery in Gardens by the bay. I think that you will be mesmerised after visiting this attraction.
I would also like to share with you another exciting attraction on an oshore island called Sentosa. Although there are many fun attractions in Sentosa, in my opinion, the best attraction is The Luge. I assure you that this will be the most enjoyable experience you will have in Singapore. Firstly, you will get to ride on a "Skyrider" and admire the view from the top. Next, you will get to ride in a tiny car. When you are in the car, you will need to pull back the handles to accelerate. You could go at a rapid speed or take it at your own pace, moving slowly. There are four dierent trails that you can ride on with the car. My favourite is the Jungle Trail as it has a lot of sharp turns and curvy twists. It is very adrenaline pumping. You could also race with your friends to see who is the fastest. When the ride ends, you will converge with the other three trails and take a picture. I hope you will remember Singapore for this unique attraction.
The dierent ethnic groups in Singapore have dierent cultural holidays, such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali. As you will be arriving in June, you will get to see what happens when Ramadan ends. The Muslims start fasting during Ramadan when they are only supposed to eat before and after sunset. Ramadan is the holy month and Muslims fast to make sacrifices to become better people. It also urges Muslims to empathise with the less fortunate who do not have enough to eat. When you arrive in Singapore, it would be the middle of the Ramadan period and you will be able to visit the stalls at Geylang Serai bazaar selling various snacks. These snacks are both colourful and unique, such as the Galaxy Milkshake, colourful noodles, rainbow bread, metallic drinks and many more. You will definitely enjoy these delicious snacks.
As Singapore is a multicultural district, there are places representing our dierent races in its decorations, such as Little India for the Indians, Kampong Glam for the Malays and Chinatown for the Chinese.
Kampong Glam has a lot of unusual shops that you cannot find in the city, such as shops that make perfumes without alcohol, places that sell batik cloths to make dresses and restaurants that make delectable delights. Kampong Glam also has a heritage centre which is about Malay history and exhibits how the wealthy Malay ancestors lived.
Although Kampong Glam is very interesting and extraordinary, it should not be overshadowed by Little India. Little India, which is for the Indians, is a remarkably bright and vibrant place, especially at night. During Deepavali, there would be luminous lanterns dangling around sculptures to make shapes of animals, making Little India much more radiant and vivid than before. Little India also has sumptuous delicacies, such as Roti Prata, which I have declared my favourite snack. I usually tend to add some sugar to accompany the salty snack.
As for Chinatown, it has a lot of shops packed together by a closed-off road. The minute you step into Chinatown, you would be able to hear the hawkers’ loud yelps to purchase their goods. Many people come to buy Chinese New Year decorations here.
Now that I have finished sharing about Singapore, I would like to know more about France. What are some specific holidays that you celebrate? What kind of local delicacies do you have? When you arrive in Singapore, I have many questions to ask you. I am very excited to see you in Singapore.
I hope you will enjoy your visit to Singapore!
Yours sincerely, Nadia
Students' Works—By Levels
Model compositions organised by levels, from Primary 1 to Primary 6
A Bullying Incident
By Alyssa Pang
My name is Alyssa and I have Down Syndrome. I am in primary four. I had been bullied since I was very young but apart from all the stares I get from people, there are two bullies who make me feel the saddest; their names are Sally and Sasha. Ameera, my best friend, has always been standing up for me. She solved every little problem I had. Sally and Sasha would mock me whenever I looked at them. I had been sad practically my whole life.
The bullying started a long time ago when we were just four years old. A few months ago, they had started putting mean notes inside my locker. “U are so ugly” or “No one likes u, ugly duckling” were written on the papers. This whole thing happened because of the way I look. I was affected badly and could not focus on my studies while coping with this problem at the same time. This problem had been shaking me out of my wits. Ameera also looked very worried as we could not tell the teachers or our parents because Sally and Sasha would always make the adults think that we are the ones that are at fault.
One day, Ameera could no longer tolerate the mean bullying so she reprimanded them. “Stop bullying Alyssa this second or I will make sure that you will regret it!” The bullies were terrified and they ran away but I knew that this was just a temporary solution and before long, they would return to taunt me. I turned to look at Ameera and while she was still seething with rage, she also looked exhausted. Defending me had taken a toll on her.
The thoughts about Ameera worrying about me and the bullies leaving mean notes to me were so overwhelming that my mind went blank and I did not know where to start. Eventually, I thought about my future and how I should protect myself without Ameera. I also thought about what I would do if somebody was bullying me and Ameera was not around.
I told my mother that I wanted to be more self-sufficient and not have to depend on Ameera. She said that it was alright to seek help from Ameera only if I really needed to. I told Ameera this idea the next day and she felt like it was a good idea.
Over the next few days, Ameera seemed less stressed out and healthier because she did not have eye bags like she used to. She did not have to stand up for me as I could defend myself. She did not have to worry about me being bullied. I stood up for myself by going up to Sally and Sasha and told them off. When they saw how brave I was, they stopped teasing me.
From that day onwards, Ameera did not need to stand up for me as I could stand up for myself. I am very thankful that Ameera had helped me this whole time and had been by my side. I knew that Ameera is a friend that can be trusted forever but I also felt better about not bothering her.
I hope that over time, Sally and Sasha realise that people with Down Syndrome are also humans just like themselves, the only difference would be their looks and that does not change anything. We should always treat others how we want to be treated.
A Special Gift
“That handphone is really amazing,’’ I told my friend, Katy, as we walked past a gadget shop. A brand new handphone was being displayed and I really wanted it. That was when an idea dropped into my mind. My fourteenth birthday was just around the corner and I could ask my parents to buy the handphone for me. I really longed for a handphone as all of my friends had one while I was the only one who did not. They would spend their free time on their phones while I would stare at them, green with envy.
Over the course of the next few days, I tried to drop hints to my parents about the handphone, Once, when I was doing my social studies project, I went up to my mother and asked to borrow her computer. Right after I had asked, I proceeded to say, ‘’It would be so much more convenient if I had a phone.’’ I snuck a peek at my mother’s reaction without her realising, but to not avail. It seemed like she had not heard me.
After a few days, I decided to tell them straight. During dinner, on that same day, I mumbled, “Mum, Dad, I want a.....’’ I was so speechless that I could not gather the courage to ask my parents for a handphone. I was worried that they would scold me for being ungrateful for what I already had.
Time flew by quickly and before I knew it, it was four days before my birthday. I realised I had to tell them in case they would buy me the wrong gift. When my parents and I were sitting on the couch and watching television, I switched it off and hesitantly said, ‘’Mum, Dad, I want a handphone for my birthday.’’ Perspiration dropped down the side of my face. After a period of silence, my father shook his head. I was devastated. ‘’Why? All of my friends have one! Why can’t I be like them?’’ I thought to myself. My parents just kept silent. I began to cry uncontrollably and ran to my mom. On the other hand, my parents kept straight faces and not a word escaped their mouths.
The next day, I was in no mood to celebrate my birthday. I laid in bed for a while until I heard my mother’s voice reminded me to start changing. I got ready and soon enough, guests started arriving. They would come into my house, give me their gifts, and wish my ‘’Happy Birthday.’’ I smiled superficially and thanked them but I knew none of the boxes contained what I really wished for. Despite knowing that, I kept a smile on my face and I pretended everything was divine.
After the party had ended and all the guests left, I was about to go into my room when my parents stopped me. They looked really happen when they suddenly handed me a small box. I thanked them and turned around to go to my room. However, my parents insisted that I opened it with them. I could believe my eyes when I opened the lid of the box. It was a brand new phone!
“Why did you only give this to me now?’’ I asked. “We wanted you to wait. We wanted that as we felt that you would treasure it more if we waited until the very last moment to hand it to you,’’ my father replied. I hugged my parents tightly and thanked them profusely.
From this incident, I learned that good things come to those who wait. This birthday gift was truly special!
A Special Gift
“I’m home, Lisa! Ben!’’ I ran upstairs to hug those bundles of joy. As they both hugged me, I told them that I had taken the week off from work. I wanted to spend the week with my family. They had faint smiles on their faces but I knew they were a little disappointed on the inside. I had hardly spent time with my children, so I thought that they would be excited to see me, However, I had second thoughts when I saw they unenthusiastic reaction.
I took a quick shower to refresh myself. I was already tired and did not want to pursue the matter. I took a stroll towards my children’s room, hoping to have a nice family talk. As I pulled open the door slightly, I peeked and saw both of them handling some art supplies that lay on the wooden floor. There were paints, markers and even a few white mugs! I wondered what the art materials were for as I opened the door fully. As Ben and Lisa saw me, they immediately told me not to bother them and to leave them alone, I felt upset and wondered why they did not want me with them. I sighed as my head hung low and walked back to my room to sleep. I was as disappointed as a student who had failed an important examination. I was expecting them to let me in and give them their special hug! It was the hug that we always used when one of us feels happy, sad or grumpy. It helped everyone grow closer.
The next morning, I was getting irritated, Ben and Lisa had been ignoring me for a while then and I had a feeling that it was the cause of the new computer I had given them. My wife, Becky, told me that they have been playing with it too much the week before. I texted them, as I was at a cafe with Becky, ‘’Dear children, would you like to go out for a family lunch later on?’’ When I saw a "No," I angrily stormed out of the cafe with Becky trying to calm me down. My eyes were full of fully as I drove back home. I quickly went upstairs to Ben and Lisa’s room and knocked on the door. ‘’Ben! Lisa! Open the door now!’’ I saw the door crack open as I saw their terrified faces. ‘’What’s wrong?’’ Lisa squeaked as Ben stared angrily at her. Lisa hopped towards her mini-safe and took out a big box. She handed the box to me as I was confused. ‘’We made these for you. That’s why we could not really spend time with you.’’ I unwrapped it and saw a beautifully decorated, personalised white mug and many cards with stickers thanking me. They were the best gifts I had ever received, given that they have spent a lot of time making them. I knew those gifts were the most special ones to me. I felt very guilty on the inside as my eyes welled up with tears. I hugged my children and they hugged me back. The special hug was in action!
I was very touched by their thoughtful actions and that they had put in so much effort to surprise me and make gifts for me. They were also very young, so I felt even more touched that they had made it all by themselves. I could not believe that I was mad at them for something they did not do. I hugged my tiny little ‘monsters; and apologised for all my mistakes. I realised that I was wrong for thinking that they did not want to spend time with me I loved that gift as it was made with time and effort. It was also made by my precious children. They had smiles on their faces as I hugged them. I guessed that they had forgiven me. At least, I hoped so. They both seemed relieved too, as they did not get scolded by me. I knew that as even though they were silent, they had grateful looks on their faces.
From this incident, I learnt that I should not assume things before finding out about them. I do not want to accuse my sweet little angels again! I loved the special gift that my children made for me. I have not received so special a gift since I married Becky before that incident.
Essays and poems that won acclaim in local and international competitions
When I Grow Old
By Avivah Wajahat
Original poem penned for a writing contest organised by St. John’s Home for Elderly Persons
When I grow old, I will smile,
When I am old, I will have knowledge.
When I am old, I will be grateful,
When I am old, I will ponder about youth.
I will dance in the rain,
with the wind in my hair,
I will walk on grass, barefoot, the little blades on my toes.
I will remember my youth,
when I could play and run and rest
But most of all, I will keep climbing the great mountain of life and I will not stop until I reach the top. And fall into eternal sleep and will only be woken to go to a world of tranquillity and serenity.
When I grow old,
I will live my life till its end.
When I Grow Old
By Elizabeth Loo
Original poem penned for a writing contest organised by St. John’s Home for Elderly Persons
I wrote this poem because I wanted to pay a tribute to all the pioneers who discovered everything about the world. This poem was inspired by my grandparents who are generous, caring and considerate. Most people may not pay a lot of attention to the elderly. That’s why I wrote the poem as it is to encourage and inspire people to be caring of elderly people and treat them well! Overall, this poem is for my grandma who makes the special effort to wake up at 6.00 A.M. to cook breakfast and make lunch for me to bring to school. She always treats me to delicious things and has been caring for me for all my 11 years. Please treat your grandparents and the elderly well; they are hidden gems in the world, waiting for us to discover!
~When I Grow Old~
When I grow old,
I would have traveled the world. Learnt Latin, Spanish and Greek
And met animals that are big, bulky or sleek Went to every nook, cranny and creek
When I grow old,
I would have explored the world.
Met people around the globe,
No matter whether they were black, white or yellow.
Some of them were very mellow, While others were very bubbly!
When I grow old,
I would have read all of the books in the world Learnt every word, vowel and phrase. And did every Sudoku maze
Learned about every food and spice, Went to Disneyland to lecture them about the unpleasant
Food they sell there.
And in my spare time,
Gone to ride on the merry-go-round mares.
When I grow old,
I would stay at home.
And wait and watch grass grow, Read and re-read,
My favourite book.
That's how I would’ve done everything in the world...
When I grow old.
The Country of My Dreams
By Rizqin Nasuha Mohamed Ridzuan
Merit Award, ‘My Country’ Writing Competition of Kids World Travel Guide 2020
The country of my dreams would be called "The Land of Clouds". It is a kingdom up in the sky where different species of fairies and creatures live. There are also many beautiful landscapes there, such as the Silk Mountains and The Cloud Castle. The Cloud Castle is where my sister, Princess Ariette, and I live. It is very majestic and magical. The walls are painted skilfully using very realistic colours and paints. The Silk Mountains are towering, with many mountain goats living there.
There are also all kinds of fairies living in The Land of the Clouds. When the Dreamer Fairies sleep in a cave in Silk Mountain, they dream about happy things and they produce silk that the Weaver Fairies use to weave the clouds skilfully. But there is one Dreamer Fairy that is special. When she dreams at night, she produces Rainbow Silk that is used to make a cloud up in the sky called the “Emotion Cloud”.
If the people in the land are happy, the cloud will turn yellow, the colour of happiness. But if the people are sad, the cloud will turn blue, the colour of sadness. Usually, the people are as happy as larks because they all live together in harmony. It is like an ecosystem. Everyone plays their part in doing something for the country. For example, there is no shortage of food. That is because the Fruit Fairies grow and plant some seeds in the Fluffy Forest so that fruit trees will grow for the people in the kingdom to eat.
The Fruit Fairies are also helping the Royal Jeweller, who collects berries from the Fluffy Forest, turns them into gems and decorates them on the Royal Family’s crowns and tiaras for them to wear.
One of the drinks in the Land of Clouds is special and it cures diseases. It is called the “Rainbow Medicine”, which can be found when the Rainbow Volcano erupts. When it erupts, it will produce the Rainbow Medicine. The fairies and creatures there drink it when they are sick or unhealthy.
Whenever fairies from other kingdoms visit, the Fruit Fairies will always give them a delicacy called Licorice Berries before they leave. This delicacy can be found in the Fluffy Forest when the Fruit Fairies plant its seeds. These berries can also boost your immune system.
The citizens are happy living there, as all their neighbours are helpful and kind. Every fairy or creature in the Land of Clouds lives peacefully together.
Thank you distinguished judges for reading my idea of my dream country. What inspired me to write this idea was a book about five young girls who are very adventurous and go on many adventures with each other. One of their adventures to a cloud land inspired me to write this idea. I added some extra parts to the idea so that it would be more interesting. I hope you think my idea was creative. 🙂
Imagine You Are Planet Earth
By Nora Bedi
Bronze Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2020
You are living inside me. If you are going to slowly kill me with air pollution, global warming, deforestation and many other things, then you won't be around anymore.
I am your only home and your only hope. Think wisely about your actions and start treating me as your one and only home.
I want you to listen carefully to my warnings. I don't want it to be a complete mess.
Clean me like how you would clean your clean homes. Stop treating me like a giant trash can. Respect me, treat me like how you would treat your dearest friend, or family member so that I will be a safe home for you.
Time is really ticking as I speak. Think carefully as I say to you to hurry up and think fast. Do you want your home to vanish? Or do you want your one and only home to be there for you?
Look at the past, look at the present. In the past, homes used to be a happy environment. Look at us now with construction workers invading me. Factories, spreading air pollution vigorously.
I wish I could turn back time and live my peaceful happy life. If we don't stop, think of all the little earthlings who are going to suffer.
You will be destroying their innocent lives before they even begin. I shudder to think what might become of them.
I always think to myself, "Why don't the governments, or the presidents or anybody else in power want to help save me?"
Probably because they think that the citizens will start hating them, as some would purely disagree.
What about those earthlings wanting more and more and they will still never be satisfied? You earthlings already have done so much that it is killing me!
Come on. Both your future and mine lie in your hands.
Life has given you so many options. You know which is the right option to pick.
Imagine if... you could stop saying, “Spread awareness!” and start taking action right now. Spreading awareness and other things are helpful but it’s not enough. I’m dying, can’t you see? We don’t have all day. My body is getting weaker and weaker.
Imagine if... you look up at the sky, seeing how clear it is. I can’t imagine what you earthlings did to my dirty sky. If you want your home to have a cleaner environment, you have the power to make the change happen.
The oceans, my lovely dear oceans. Imagine if the ocean was so clean, so fresh. My marine creatures are screaming for help. They are whispering to me, telling me how you earthlings are poisoning them. Oh, earthlings. I thought I could trust you but now at this rate, I don’t think so.
Despite the number of times you have betrayed me, I will still trust you but you must change. Please listen to me. This is not a polite request. This is a must as I am crying for help. You can be my salvation and my only hope like I am to you.
Your broken earth
A Safer Future
By Haney Binte Mohd Sallehuddin
Silver Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018
A safer future means less disasters,
we are all brothers and sisters.
We make the community clean
and make the world more green.
If the future is safe and peaceful,
people could be more hopeful.
The community brings us together,
it makes us friends forever.
Having a safer future makes you positive,
it will make you more attentive.
The future can be safer
if we work together.
No poor, no poverty,
happiness for the majority.
People should have equality
and people will be happy for eternity.
I wish there was no corrupt government,
so there will be less judgement.
If we have good education,
there will be a prosperous nation.
We want to end war
but people go against the law.
We want to end murder
but there is no world order.
People use nuclear arms
without any alarms.
Our data is being monitored,
privacy is not ensured.
A safer future will have no criminal activity,
there will be more festivity.
Showing empathy to our neighbours
will encourage us to show care to others.
We have to care for strangers,
like cleaners and construction workers.
We can be a prosperous country
if we have a successful community.
Skin colour does not make you superior
and you have no right to be make others feel inferior.
People must be aware
about others’ welfare.
I wrote this poem to tell you what we need to do to have a safer future to us and our community. It is important to have a safer future because we can enjoy a peaceful environment around us. We can also focus on our work as there will be no unnecessary distractions happening around us. The rhyme in the poem makes it more interesting to read.
A Day in the Life
By Nadia Goh
Bronze Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018
If I were my country’s Head of Government for the day, it would be my job to help ensure a better future for the new generation by ensuring that they know what to do to have a better and brighter future.
Firstly, I would plant more trees so that the children can learn to appreciate nature and encourage them to not litter as it is harmful to our environment. This way, it would make the world a cleaner, greener, and better place. I would work with the Ministry of Natural Cleanliness to promote recycling, cleaning up trash from beaches and planting trees. This might even interest the children and motivate them to start planting trees, recycling and to not litter. When the children collaborate, they will influence the new generation to save the environment.
Next, I would organise events where children can learn about saving the earth. I feel that saving the Earth is important because if our natural resources run out, our chances of survival will deteriorate rapidly so we must all do our part to ensure a better place for everyone. We can all play a part by recycling recyclable materials. Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling will help to reduce the pollution caused by waste. We can recycle almost everything, such as rigid plastic bottles, paper and cardboard, metals, glass, and even more. We can even upcycle, also known as “creative reuse”, which is turning unwanted items into useful objects that we can use every day. I would task the Ministry of Recycling to organise events to promote upcycling and using unwanted plastic bags, cans and paper to make into wallets and pencil cases.
Recycling is as important as protecting the environment. I would encourage both children and adults to save electricity to prevent global warming as global warming is making the icebergs in the north and south pole melt, leading to frequent floods. As a result, many lives would be lost especially for countries that are located near the north and south poles. Other than that, the Earth’s temperature would rise and forest fires would occur. Forest fires create haze and air pollution that can not only spread to other neighbouring countries, but also be detrimental to our health. Animals are also changing migration patterns and it could even cause their extinction. We simply must protect animals and their habitats.
Protecting the environment is important but education is just as important. The Ministry of Education can organise field trips to historical sites so learning will be much more interactive. Individuals will also be able to find out about our country’s history so we will not repeat our mistakes and know where we come from. History helps us understand change and how the society we live in came to be. They can also learn about global issues so that they would be more aware of them and be more motivated to help those who are less fortunate than them.
We should also help them to discover their ambitions so they can begin pursuing their dreams. Having goals would make them feel even more excited and eager to live more meaningful lives. According to research, only 6% of children pursue their ambition so we must help them to make their ambition possible so they would not give up and be successful and have a contented life in the future.
I would also want children to learn about equal rights. Eons ago, men and women were treated differently. Women were always looked down on and we do not want this to repeat. Equal rights between the genders are important, so I will enforce a policy that men would get the same salary as women. After all, people should be judged based on their own capabilities.
Therefore, a well-rounded education is important. I would also improve the quality of education by creating special classes for students who require personal help in their studies. This way, they will gain confidence in their own abilities I will also set up charities so that people can help donate money to the impoverished so that they can have an education and gain better jobs to break the poverty cycle that they are in.
To conclude, I hope that in the future, the world would be a better place and that people would work together to achieve this dream.
Recipe for a Common Future
By Shaun Danny
Bronze Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018
□ 1⁄2 cup of cooperation
□ 1⁄2 cup of care mixed with 1⁄2 cup of respect.
□ 1 teaspoon of modern technology
□ 25 ml of ocean mixed with a pint of leaves from conserved forests surrounded by air.
□ 1⁄2 cup of quality education
□ 1⁄4 cup of fairness in workplaces
□ A sprinkle of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and non-corrupt officials
- Take the 25 ml of ocean mixture, strain it and discard the pollution.
- Peel away people’s negative behavior by cleaning up the remaining inequality, discrimination and crimes and replace this with 1⁄2 cup of education and mix it with 1⁄4 cup of fairness in workplaces, 1⁄2 cup of care, 1⁄2 cup of respect and 1⁄2 cup of cooperation.
- Make a batter by pouring the 25 ml ocean mixture in the mixture of education, care, respect and cooperation. Pour in 1 teaspoon of technology.
- Pour the batter through a strainer and into a mould that is shaped like a sphere.
- Put a sprinkle of NGOs and non-corrupt government officials and mix the batter.
- Bake until it becomes a nice, fully baked common future.
It will be green and blue, and in the shape of a sphere, and it will be known as a common future. It will be pollution-free, there will be respect, care, fairness and cooperation practised by people who do not commit crimes and not believe in inequality or racism. They will be people who perform good deeds, who are not corrupt and will protect Mother Nature.
Why do we need all these ingredients for a common future?
Cooperation- Everyone has limited time and resources. Therefore, learning how to cooperate with others can boost the productivity and efficiency of societies as well as maximise the possibility of success and competence. Countries will focus on building structures together like houses, skyscrapers, buildings for workplaces, hospitals and other architectural elements instead of discriminating against each other and committing crimes.
Education- With education, we can enable people to shift their level of consciousness from a lower state to a higher state. Along with this shift, we can make immense progress. It is the reason why we have many technological advances today. A high quality education would make someone think about the question, “How can we do this better?” or “How can we push this to a higher level?” and come up with new ideas and initiatives to solve problems.
For example, educating people about conserving nature is crucial and we should learn how to harness new technologies to conserve nature, to stop global warming and the spreading of greenhouse gases. This will prevent the deterioration of the Earth.
Technology- Technology can make our lives easier and more comfortable. For example, we could use smart phones to communicate with people from all around the world; we can also keep ourselves entertained on the smart phones by watching movies and playing games on it. Hence, to an extent, technology is good.
However, the misuse of technology is a major issue. Obsession with technological devices could result in bad eyesight and a lack of exercise and physical activity, leading to obesity.
Fairness- I believe in workplace fairness, which does not exist completely in today’s world. For example, in both developing and developed nations, women are being sexually harassed by their colleagues and employers and are not supported. Evidence of this can be found in the statistics written in articles such as, “Study Finds 75 Percent of Workplace Harassment Victims Experienced Retaliation When They Spoke Up” on the website ‘Vox’. Workers are also treated like robots and not like people. They are expected to work long hours, without much rest and are penalised for not doing so.
Additionally, in several developing nations, sweatshops pay very talented workers who work for a long period of time, a very small amount of money. We should all treat workers with respect and care. In order for countries to practice such fairness, the governments of the countries should lead with integrity and not be corrupt. Furthermore, NGOs could continue to help people stand up for their rights.
Golshan, Tara. “Study Finds 75 Percent of Workplace Harassment Victims Experienced Retaliation When They Spoke Up.” Vox, Vox, 15 Oct. 2017, www.vox.com/identities/2017/10/15/16438750/weinstein-sexual-harassment-facts.
By Saamiya Khan
Silver Award, Singapore Performing Arts Festival Creative Writing Competition 2018
Sweetwoman lives in a sweet mansion suspended in the sky. Her house is made of different shades of pink and sweet cotton candy. It is spacious as there are two levels and on every level, there are five rooms. The other superheroes and superheroines often visit her and together, they experiment with different types of magic to defeat all the villains.
On May 15th 2050, all the superheroines and superheroes gathered at Sweetwoman’s house for an emergency meeting. They passed Sweetwoman the newspaper from the day before and she could not believe her eyes! The headlines of the newspaper read, “Two supervillains take over the city of Wonderland.” Wonderland was 50 metres lower than Sweetwoman’s mansion. They all were confused and bewildered as they did not know what to do. “We came to you because you have the power to say sweet spells to stop them,” Wonderwoman said, “Only you have the ability to defeat those villains causing trouble. We cannot do it because they are invincible,” Batman said. Do they have any weaknesses?” Sweetwoman asked innocently. “Unfortunately not,” they replied dejectedly. “There must be a weakness because every villain has one! I must defeat them,” she thought with conviction.
“However, before she could think of defeating them, Sweetwoman was so famished as she had not eaten her lunch and could even eat a horse. She decided to go to her favourite restaurant, Food Paradise. As soon as she went inside, she saw two malicious and conniving villains. Both the villains had the same physical features as they both were bald, and wore a patch on their left eyes. They had perpetual frowns, evil glints in their eyes and crooked smiles. They looked threatening and the whole restaurant was at their beck and call. They could harm the people by throwing fire and snowballs without getting hurt as no one could even touch a hair on their heads.
Sweetwoman was sure that those two were the notorious supervillains. She lost her appetite and was fuming with so much rage that she could almost see smoke coming out of her ears. She knew that if she shouted at them she might lose her life and so, she held her emotions and flew angrily back home. She had to devise a plan quickly and kept reminding herself, “No time to waste!” Then after a few hours, which seemed like infinity to her, she knew what she had to do. She dressed herself up in a waitress uniform and disguised her face with a mask.
She went into the same restaurant, hid behind a curtain and recited a sweet, magical spell to stop time but surprisingly, the supervillains were immune to it. She was so shocked that she could barely speak. “How could that happen?” she thought disbelievingly. “They turned out to be more powerful that I had expected!” she mumbled to herself. She did not know what to do. Then she suddenly remembered that both the supervillains had a patch on their eyes. “Wait, is that their Achilles’ heel?” she thought, having an idea. She thought of luring the supervillains somewhere and attacking him by taking advantage of their half-blindness. Just before executing her plan, she overheard the terrible twins talking about someone having a plan to defeat them. Then, Sweetwoman had an epiphany. “What if they knew her plan?” Now, Sweetwoman had no plans except one, which was to speak some sweet words to make them realise how evil they were. She almost had no hope of winning but she believed in herself. Once Sweetwoman came out from behind the curtain, she went straight to the villains, without hiding and disguising and said these sweet words:
“Please listen to me, you have done enough damage. You both really have a lot of potential to become good people and everyone will start loving you two instead of fearing you. I promise to be kind and help you to become good people!”
Those words were so effective that to everyone’s surprise, the villains started to cry and promised not to wreak havoc in Wonderland again. They replied, “Your true words have really touched us! Now, we know how much trouble we have caused. Please forgive us! We won’t do any bad deeds in the future!” Sweetwoman decided not to punish them and they joined forces with her to defeat the evil presence in the whole world.
By Saamiya Khan
Bronze Award, The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2017
My name is Saamiya and I am 11 years old. I attend Whimsical Primary School in Peaceland. I didn’t always live in a peaceful place. I was living in Wonderland during World War III. I remember hearing a siren blaring and announcement being made throughout the land: “Alert! Alert! Country X is going to invade our land! Everyone is advised to rush to a safe shelter.”
My parents could hardly speak. They were left both shocked and scared. Suddenly, I heard a gunshot outside my house and I was sure that Country X’s soldiers were approaching. I heard their feet marching and our front door breaking open. Then, I saw a few soldiers grabbing my parents. “We know that we cannot escape but you can! Knock three times, clap three times and look at the mirror in our bedroom,” Father told me before he was dragged away. I knew I had to make haste and so I ran into their bedroom and followed Father’s instructions.
Suddenly I fell into an illusion. I felt so dizzy that I thought this was real magic and I was right! I found myself standing on a piece of cotton and thought I was flying. When I looked around, I could see big houses in different types of colours. The air smelled as fresh as morning dew and there were animals, fairies the size of humans, children and fairytale characters. The fascinating thing about the animals was that they were kind and could also talk. I tried to taste the water from the fountain and it was as sweet as honey.
Out of nowhere, a tour guide approached me. “You must be Saamiya. Your parents have sent me a message to take care of you.” You may not believe me but my tour guide was Cinderella! When I looked at myself, I realized that I was no longer wearing my T-shirt and pants but I was decked in a gown, just like Cinderella! I was overwhelmed with joy. “Welcome to Peaceland. In this place you and I will be living in a grand, big mansion painted in purple. I will be showing you around,” Cinderella added. I was excited but at the same time, sad because I had lost my parents.
However, when I entered the mansion, I was awed and mesmerised by its appearance. The floor of the mansion was made of glass and marble and the walls were painted in my favourite colour, purple. My bathroom has a bathtub and a Jacuzzi. I knew I was going to be as happy as a lark living in Peaceland. I went on many treasure hunts with Cinderella and I became more and more familiar with the place.
Every day, I discovered something new about Peaceland. Once, I saw a cat talking to a person. Other times, I witnessed many animals talking and playing with the fairies. I learned that everyone living in Peaceland, including the animals, were very generous. The fairies and people would take care of the animals and in turn, the animals would give them juicy, sweet mangoes from their trees. I also realised how much the citizens loved nature. They would grow plants and crops frequently and no one would pluck flowers.
Everyone lived harmoniously with one another. Even though everyone was rich, they would share their things among themselves. There was no such thing as money or greed and everyone was very kind. On occasions like birthdays, a wedding or a festival, the fairies and animals would give each other rare, precious gifts, that were not commonly found in Peaceland.
Despite the peace in the place, there were a few disagreements. I once witnessed two fairytale characters quarreling about something. One of them said in frustration, “Why did you take my precious diamond book? It’s not yours!” The other replied defensively, “I didn’t take it! Why don’t you understand?” The quarrel was soon resolved by a child. “Calm down, you two!” said the child. “If you didn’t take his book, I will ask the King of Peaceland to give him another book. Now, both of you can be friends again?” the child asked innocently. The two characters agreed, shook hands and asked for one another’s forgiveness.
It’s been three years since I’ve arrived in Peaceland. I never regretted my decision to listen to my father and escape from Wonderland. I don’t think I will ever be leaving Peaceland as it is now my home and I feel very contented living here.
By Haney Binte Mohd Sallehuddin
First Prize Winner, UNIFEM Sheroes Competition 2016
Tissue Packet Aunty
By Genevieve Loh
Second Prize Winner, Kidz Parade SG 50 Kidz Challenge 2015
“Darling, what would you like when we get to the hawker centre?” my father asked.
“Hmm... There is a lot to choose from.” Thinking about the lovely fruit scents with their colours that looked like the rainbow always brightened me up, and the strong smell of Hor Fan, just made my mouth water. I could not wait to get there! The tweeting of birds and the people chattering were typical of a Saturday afternoon in a Singaporean heartland. I was in the car with my father going to my favourite hawker centre. After fifteen minutes, we finally arrived.
Many people were queuing for the Mee Goreng. “Jennifer, do you want Mee Goreng?” my father asked. “ Oh! Yeah!” I replied. My father went to queue for the Mee Goreng.
“Here is $1, go buy yourself a drink,” he added. I clutched the $1 in my hand and went to the drink stall. “One sugar cane juice please,” I ordered. “Yi-bei su-gar cane juice (one sugar cane juice),” said the Aunty at the stall to her companion. I smiled at her as I handed her the $1. I carried the sugar cane juice back to the table. My father was already eating his Mee Goreng. “You had better eat this fast or it will turn cold,” my father said. “After this, can we have Lao Ban?” I asked. “Ok,” he replied.
From afar, I saw a hunched-back old lady carrying a plastic bag going from table to table looking for scraps of leftovers and putting it in her plastic bag. She looked famished, but clearly, she did not have enough money to buy her own food. She was wearing a worn out tee-shirt and three-quarter over-sized pants. Perhaps, she could not afford proper meals and had grown too thin for her own clothes.
As she approached the table where my father and I were sitting, I noticed how thin and frail she looked. The skin on her face was sagging and she had many wrinkles on her forehead. Perhaps, she was worried when she would have her next meal. She looked at us, took out the tissue packets from her bag and said in Mandarin, “Mai ti-sue mah? (Want to buy tissue?)” She had a soft voice and her plea was desperate. I looked into her eco-bag, which was still full with tissue packets. Maybe no one had bought her tissues.
I reached into my pocket and felt a one dollar coin. I slipped it out and passed it to her. “Aunty,” I said as I shot a glance at my father, hoping that he would notice my good deed. After he saw this, he opened his wallet and took out a ten dollar note. He passed it to the Aunty. Perhaps he wanted to set a good example for me. She smiled and reached into her eco-bag and took out $9 to hand to my father. My father gently pushed her hand away. “Xie xie! (Thank you),” she said, as she handed us five tissue packets. I watched her walk towards a stall. I could tell she was happy.
“Jennifer, let’s go to the Lao Ban store”, my father said. I held hands with him and walked off. I took one last glance at the “Tissue Packet Aunty”. She was eating Mee Goreng.
I felt glad for her.
As we drove home, I wondered whether there were more “Tissue Packet Aunties” out there. That experience will forever be etched in my mind. I realised that I should not be picky with my food choices because the “Tissue Packet Aunties” and others like her have to eat whatever leftover food they could find. After that experience, I felt that we should be more generous towards the under-privileged people in Singapore.
One day in 2050, in the midst of a pandemic, I decided to sit down and write a story. This story was about my Covid-19 experience back in 2020, during another pandemic. The story was created, like a jigsaw puzzle, from some of my most vivid memories. Some of these memories are painful, some are filled with hope and all of them are true.
Lying on that hospital bed, the scent of death hung in the air. One of my roommates had succumbed to the virus that morning, just as I had. Unsure if I would survive this ordeal, I hold up the silver ring that my grandmother bequeathed to me. I suddenly remembered my grandmother’s words, as clear as crystal. It almost felt as if she was standing at the bed beside me.
I first felt the chills on Monday morning. “Just a cold”, I had thought, and went to work as usual. However, the symptoms steadily worsened and by Thursday, in addition to the chills, I was also coughing and had a high fever, coupled with a headache.
As I had read about the symptoms of Covid-19 and as my health situation did not seem to be improving, I called my brother, telling him about my problems. Very soon, I was rushed to the hospital, hacking my lungs out and holding a silver ring in my hand.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was tested positive for Covid-19 and rushed into a ward with three other roommates.
A few hours later, I felt the most excruciating pain in my chest, like somebody was pressing a heavy load of bricks down on it. The doctors explained that this was because the virus was attacking the lungs. Because of that, I would need to be on oxygen support. I wondered if I was dying. What was it like in the hospital? Were there other victims of Covid-19 who surrounded you?
All that time, I had the silver ring with me. My grandmother, whom I had always admired, had given it to me just before she died. I had always wondered if that ring contained something which could help me.
I held the ring up, allowing the light from the bright, white hospital lamps to bounce off its shiny surface. I was suddenly transported back to when my grandmother was still alive.
I suddenly felt like my younger self, sitting next to my grandmother’s hospital bed. My grandmother took a silver ring off her wrinkled, calloused hand and pressed it into my hand. I heard her familiar voice telling me those words that I would repeat to myself many times after that. “This ring will give you strength and carry you through the hard times.”
I suddenly snapped out of my memory, feeling my vision getting blurry. I thought about how that memory seemed so near yet so far. For a moment, I was filled with a sudden determination to survive that experience.
During my journey to recovery in the hospital, I relied on both my ring and my family to empower me. My family would send me messages and videos about what they were doing at home. Whenever I felt slightly more discouraged than usual, I would tell myself about how my family members were waiting for me to come home.
Two weeks later, I was put through a battery of tests and was declared fit to be discharged. At that moment, I was so elated that I was finally going home.
I was jubilant to feel the frigid, cold air outside on my face. Due to the lockdown, my family members could not visit me. However, they still managed to give me a warm welcome back by making use of video conferencing. Meanwhile, the ring lay silently on my dresser.
This is not just any story. The journey to recovery that I have written about would lead me to become a vaccine researcher in order to help others. That journey helped me to experience the meaning and significance of family in a different way. Even till this day, I still keep the ring with me as a reminder of this journey and how I overcame it.
Sirens were blaring. Mr Nough, the Werewolf, was ripping people apart and leaving blood stains behind. His son, Joe, was busy mind-controlling people to stab themselves. Joe escaped without any blood on him. People were shooting at each other mercilessly, firing bullets from their long, black fingernail tips. Just like Joe, there were groups of people who were hypnotising others to indulge in evil. A young, innocent-looking teenager suddenly used his crimson lasers to ruthlessly kill. I was gripped by fear watching the whole scene unfold in front of me. Terror seeped into my veins. Feeling completely helpless, my wobbly legs gave way. I crouched on the ground and sobbed silently…
The year is 2050 and I am Abhinayya, a medical researcher. Humanity is at stake. The military has taken over control in most countries as more people have started to die because of the increase in super-powerful people. People are losing their loved ones and are losing their own lives.
Covid-19 was eliminated with an emergency vaccine in 2020 and everyone was satisfied.But, in 2025, mutants began to surface from all parts of the world.This was because the vaccine had not been tested properly;people transformed into man-beasts and some developed strange powers.The problem in 2020 (covid-19) was solved but that solution made another problem rise in 2025.Where is the peaceful world I once lived in!?
Chaos broke out all over. There were fights, robberies and killings everywhere. The world slowly turned into an ocean of bloodshed. Countries surrendered to severe lockdowns. The military shot down anyone who left their home. It did not matter whether they were wearing masks or not--the situation was beyond that. No second chances were allowed. It was a hundred times worse than the horrors faced in 2020. The vaccine is causing loved ones to lose their minds and kill each other in their homes.
My superpower is unique; I can time travel. As I am done watching gore and bloodshed, I have decided to overhaul this explosive mess. I have two missions. First, I am going back to 2020 to seek help to fix the vaccine, so that humanity returns to normal. Second, I will gather as much information as I can to safekeep at the museum to ensure humankind learns from its mistakes.
Immediately,I am consumed by shining white light, being transported to another time. Incredibly, I am twelve years old again! I suddenly realise that I miss my childhood.I keep time-travelling till I reach the year 2020. My ears are blocked—I feel I am hurtling through an endless tunnel.Memories of my childhood disappear like burnt ashes as I move.Moving at the speed of light, I am being pushed so violently that I hardly see anything at all. ‘ZOOM’. At last, I am in 2020! I spot some rental bicycles and grab one to ride to my science teacher’s home. A medical researcher, Mr Simon will be the right person to assist.
On my way, I observed that there were no riots and no powers being misused. It was so peaceful. I realise I missed these times where instead of fighting, people are spending quality time as families and working together as communities to keep everyone safe. We wore masks and socialised in small groups. Indeed, it was a simpler way of life.
Finally, I arrived at Mr Simon’s home. When he answered the door, I quickly explained the future to him. Mr Simon was stunned. However, he assured me that he will contact the necessary people to reproduce the vaccine. We also visited the library to gather some resources that explained how COVID-19 originated and the dangers of the emergency vaccine. I would store these at the museum, in my own time. I thanked Mr Simon and set off to return home.
Whizzzzzzz! I am back in 2050. Anxiously, I walk the streets, afraid that I would be shot down by lasers or clawed by werewolves. To my astonishment and exhilaration, it is peaceful and quiet –just like in 2020! There was one major difference though: Covid-19 has been completely vanquished and life had returned to normal as it was prior to 2020.
I make my way towards the museum. It was crucial to hand over the useful information that I had gathered with Mr Simon’s help. There was a gentle breeze blowing, and the sun was at its highest. A strong feeling of bittersweet pride welled up in me. I would no longer be able to time travel…