As I looked at the small mound of soil in the garden, images flashed through my mind and tears welled up in my eyes. Under the pile of soil lay one of the greatest friends I had ever had, one who had died because of me…
“Get out of my way! You stupid dog!” I yelled as I used my foot to nudge the sleeping golden retriever away from my bedroom door. Lucky whined and looked up at me with pleading eyes. “Don’t give me those puppy-dog eyes! Move!” I roared as I stomped into my room and slammed the door. I had had a bad start to my day when my team lost the rugby match. My mood foul, I slumped onto my bed and started watching television.
After a while, I could not stand the heat any longer. Sunlight has streamed in through the open window and heated the room till I felt like I was in a sauna. Irritated, I got off my bed and trudged down the stairs to get an ice-cream.
To my utmost dismay, the refrigerator was empty! Groaning, I dragged my feet to the door and threw it open, allowing more sunlight to pour in as I stepped out of the house. Ignoring Lucky, I stuffed my headphones into my ears and started to stalk across the road while surfing the net on my phone. Little did I know what was about to happen…
My headphones vibrated with the force of the loud songs playing in my ears which not only blocked out Lucky’s incessant barking but also, the sound of the approaching speeding car. Suddenly, I felt that something was amiss. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something approaching. Turning my head to the right, my jaw dropped as I looked right into the bright lights of the oncoming car. Paralysed with fear, I stood rooted to the ground as my legs refused to move. Cold sweat trickled down my forehead. My mind willed my legs to move to get me to safety, but my body was in too much shock. I could only close my eyes and await the inevitable.
Wham! A huge force suddenly knocked me backwards and I fell onto the hot, rough tarmac. I looked around. Who had saved me? A morbid thought suddenly came to my mind. Slowly, I turned around and my eyes widened in shock. Lying on the ground in a growing pool of crimson red blood was Lucky. Tears coursed down my face as I rushed to Lucky’s side. Upon seeing me, Lucky gave one last feeble bark before the methodical beating of his heart stopped. I stared in disbelief! No! No, Lucky could not be dead! I refused to come to terms with his death. I lay in the middle of the road, next to Lucky, as images of how I used to vent my anger on him flashed through my mind. Tears cascaded down my face onto Lucky’s thick fur as I stared at the most loyal friend I could ever ask for.
Finally, an hour later, I got up from my place next to Lucky. I knew I had to do something for Lucky. Carrying Lucky’s bloody body, I walked to my garden. I found a spade and started to dig a hole. Every drop of sweat that dripped from my face felt like a gift to the dog that had saved my life. I would never be able to repay his loyalty. When I had finished digging the hole, I placed Lucky’s body in it and smoothed the soil over and uttered a prayer for Lucky…
“Why are you crying?” A clarion voice pulled me out from my reverie. Startled, I turned around and saw my four-year-old cousin looking at me curiously. I shook my head and reached up to dry my face before following her into the house. In my head, I said a silent thank you to Lucky and hoped he could hear me from his place in Heaven.
Primary 6 (2016)
“Alicia! Go pack the storeroom!” my mother’s clarion voice echoed through the living room. Reluctantly, I switched off the television and padded to the storeroom. Sighing, I opened the dusty door of the storeroom. The minute I opened it, all the dust inside flew out onto my face. Annoyed, I stormed in. Just when I was about to start packing, a shiny golden item caught my eye. Curiosity got the better of me and thus, I went towards it, pulling it out. It was a trophy. I t was written – 3rd, three-legged walk finals. Memories of the wonderful incident flowed back into my mind. I closed my eyes and was instantly transported back to three years ago.
“Ok, I am going to pair you guys up for the upcoming inter-school competition. As you guys are always a clique, I would like you guys to split up. By doing that, I will pair you guys up!” Mrs Tan, our PE teacher, hollered to the class as she took the name list and began pairing us up. “Alicia and…” I prayed silently not wanting to pair up with anyone I dislike. Little did I know what was in store for me. “… Alesha!” Mrs Tan continued, shattering my hopes. Alesha and I shot daggers at each other. We were enemies since the day we met. Both of us marched to one corner of the classroom without breaking eye contact.
Although the heats are close, we refused to practise with each other, as we could not stand each other’s attitude. A week before the heats, Mrs Tan made everyone practise in front of the whole class. When it was our turn, we could not even tie the string properly. I was so embarrassed that I wished the ground could swallow me up. Minutes seemed like hours before we could reach the end. We kept on stumbling and tumbling and developed many bruises after we finished. Tears cascaded down my cheeks as I did not want to continue anymore.
“Alicia and Alesha stay back for a while,” Mrs Tan ordered us before signalling for the class to go. Mrs Tan’s strict face turned into a gentle and caring one. She signalled for us to sit while she sighed, “Girls, I know you two dislike each other so I purposely placed you two together. The purpose of this competition is to build up your teamwork. Both of you have to work together. I believe that if both of you work together, you guys will accomplish a feat.” Before she left, she patted both of us on our backs. We stared at each other but this time, our eyes are not filled with hatred but with determination.
Time flew past and soon, we were at the stadium, on the track. It was the finals and we were both flabbergasted that we made it this far. Everyone else was at the stadium, cheering very loudly. For a moment, I was stood rooted to the ground like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. I was too nervous to move as I was not sure if our strategy would work.
Beep! The horn sounded. “One! Two! One! Two! …” Alesha and I yelled loudly as we moved forward. When we reached the end, a roar of jubilance echoed through the stadium. Realisation hit me like a twenty-poured sledgehammer – we won third! Alesha and I shrieked as we hugged each other.
“Alicia! Are you done?” my mother’s voice brought me back to the presence. “No!” I replied as I put away the trophy. This incident had indeed taught me a valuable lesson. Teamwork is the most important thing we need in our daily lives. Without teamwork, we will not be able to accomplish anything great. Teamwork not only allows us to complete our assigned tasks, but also bring people closer together. This competition had definitely brought Alesha and I close together.
Primary 6 (2015)
It was a hot and humid day. Hot rays of sunlight shone down onto the sun-baked earth. Chorong, Bomi and I were walking home together after school since we were best friends. As we were walking, I saw many colourful flamboyant posters hanging from the lampposts. But one special poster arrested my attention. It was an art competition that needed a team of three. Since Bomi, Chorong and I love art and are skilled at it, we all agreed we should register and try to win the $100 prize money. Determined, we all went to Bomi’s house to start preparing.
Hours of grueling practice made our arms and fingers tired and painful. But we ignored the urge to complain, as we knew we needed to win the competition. Soon, the whole school found out that we were participating in the event and would be representing our school. After weeks of undying perseverance, the big day had come. We were all nervous but we knew that our hard work would pay off. “Ladies and gentlemen, please settle down, the competition will start in a few minutes time.” A monotonous voice resounded through the art theatre from the large speakers. As our team was first, we were very nervous. Beads of perspiration trickled down my forehead and my palms were sweaty and sticky. We slowly breathed n and out reassuring ourselves that everything would be alright.
“First up!” Please welcome Team Chips! They will be drawing for 30 minutes! Best of luck to them! Team Chips! Your time starts now!” The announcer exclaimed. We began to take turns and draw out something, hoping it will surprise the judges. The audience’s eyes were all transfixed on us, trying to figure out what we were drawing. We were doing fine until Chorong made a mistake! She was paralysed with fear and did not know what to do. Tears welled up in her eyes. But I stepped up and reassured her “It is alright! Just draw some lines and it will be fixed! Come on, we still have a few minutes left, you can do it!” With those words, Chorong began to calm down and she picked up her brush with renewed vigour. She then drew some lines and fixed the drawing. Our classmates were cheering as hard as they could. Before we could complete our drawing, our time was up. We were not very confident in our drawing but we knew we tried out best.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we saw many pieces of jaw-dropping drawings. But one stands out from the crowd. The winner is… Team chips!” Chorong, Bomi and I were all astonished! We did not know our drawing could surprise the judges! All of us bear-hugged and went up on stage to receive the golden trophy. Tears of joy began to flow down my face. Bomi, Chorong and I then held the trophy up high elated that our hard work had paid off. It was such a wonderful day in my life and will forever be etched in my memory.
Primary 6 (2015)
The sun cast a warm glow on the earth, spilling light and warmth all over the land. The scent of the crimson running tracks filled my nostrils once I got to the stadium. Participants warmed up at the side of the stadium, while spectators from other classes who had already finished the run cheered us on. It was the bi-annual NAPFA run, which all students in Singapore must complete. The atmosphere was electric, hoots and cheers could be heard from all corners of the stadium. Our class was all ready for the run, and we took our places at the starting point of the track.
Once the whistle was blown, we dashed as quickly as we could, making our way fast through half of the whole round. I found myself slowing down, as air and energy seemed to be draining out of me. Occasional hoots and cheers could be heard as we passed by various parts of the spectators stand. Whenever a friend ran past, I would give them a wan smile, which was a tired way of saying, ‘Go on! You can do it!”
In no time, sheer exhaustion hit me like a sledgehammer as I made my way round the track several times. Alexa, one of my close friends caught up with me. Without hesitation, I also gave her an effortless smile. As she was about to open her mouth to say something, she collapsed on the ground, as if an invisible string had pulled her down.
At that very moment, time seemed to come to a standstill as a myriad of thoughts rushed through my mind at high speed. “What should I do?” I panicked and stopped dead in my tracks, leaving me rooted to the spot.
All the spectators seemed to have their eyes fixed on us at that juncture. The atmosphere increased in tension as the sound of cheers and claps died down. Panic punctured the air around me, as I fell to my knees, hoping that Alexa was awake.
“What happened?” Chelsea questioned as she knelt down with me. I was not taken aback by her action, as she was the quietest, yet kindest and the gentlest girl in class. She leaned forward, resting her ear against Alexa’s mouth. “I think she fainted,” a tinge of panic could be heard in her speech and she was panting heavily.
“One, two, lift,” I exclaimed as we both lifted Alexa up into the air and carried her off the tracks. We both heaved a sigh of relief. Luckily, the teacher quickly attended to her. We were about to continue the journey when our teacher told us to retake the test instead, as we had already let two precious minutes fly away.
Our teacher also praised us for our helpfulness, sportsmanship, as well as teamwork. I felt my cheeks heat up as we smiled at each other. Teamwork and safety was most important not the results. I learned this valuable lesson that day that will forever be etched in my heart.
Primary 6 (2015)
The sunrays hit the stadium as the sun crawled over the horizon. Golden fingers of sunlight shone onto the surface of the earth, roasting everything in path. It was finally the day I had been waiting for, the school’s sport annual sport meet! I was bursting with adrenaline as I was chosen to run for St Bernadette’s blue house. I was determined to seize the gold medal I had been training for months. While warming up, I spotted my family who came to cheer me on. My siblings were each holding one side of the banner. My mouth curled into a pleasant smile as I felt comforted and encouraged.
The stadium was filled with spectators who were chattering away. Their excited chatter made me feel nervous. As the athletes stepped out onto the tracks, the overwhelming cheers of the spectators reverberated throughout the packed stadium. As we sauntered to the starting position, my arch enemy gave me a sharp nudge on my elbow and taunted, “Eh loser, you’re going down. I’m going to win the gold medal!” I shook off the uneasy feeling and focused on the race.
“Runners, please get into your positions,” a pleasant voice boomed over the speakers. To my horror, I was right beside my arch enemy! “Ready… Get set…” Bang! The announcer hollered through the microphone as the starter gun was fired. Melanie, who was blue team’s first runner, bolted pass our opponent with the baton. In an blink of an eye, the baton was thrusted into Sarah, our second runner’s hands. Her hair was flying wildly in the win. With every second, my team was in the lead. I felt nervous, as I was next. Once I felt the baton being slapped into my hands I sprinted forward. The cheering from the spectators and my teammates spurred me on to run faster. I dashed with all my might, nearing the finishing line. All of a sudden, something tripped me! As if an invisible string had pulled me down, I fall on my knees. My hands skidded on the crimson rubber tracks, leaving bloodstains behind. I grimaced in excruciating pain as my right hand was twisted in a weird angle. The deafening cheers from the crowd became soft murmurs and the bright blue sky became a shade of dull blue. Despite my injures, I used my left hand and picked up what had tripped me.
It was a rock! No ordinary rock, a rock with my arch enemy’s mascot carved on it.
The overwhelming heat made the pounding in my head worsen. After another good look of the rock, I clutched it in my hands, before allowing the pains from my wounds to take over me. All of a sudden, everything became black, my body gave way and I stepped out of consciousness.
“Oo you think he will be alright?” “Oh my gosh!” He has to be!” “Why is he not awake?” Half drugged and half-awake, I could hear the voice of my anxious mother ringing every second. “Ugh, Mum! I’m alright!” I groaned, staring daggers to her. I woke up in a hospital bed, all white. “Congrats Sharlene. We won third place!” Melanie and Sarah shrieked in unison, leaving me open-mouthed. I felt guilty. We were supposed to get first place but no thanks to me. “I’m sorry guys for not winning first place.” I blurted out. Because of what my arch enemy had done, they disqualified and their medal was awarded to yellow team, who came in second.
After this incident, I will look where I am running and will do a better job next time.
Primary 6 (2015)
An Unexpected Tragedy
Ominous dark clouds loomed treacherously like it was about to fall, signaling overcast. Hearing a faint rumble, the scoutmaster paused in his tracks, looked at the sky and gestured us to build a tent. We unpacked our heavy bag to reach out for the tools and started work.
Pitter, patter, pitter, patter! We were halfway into building our tents when the sound of raindrops could be heard pelting on our heads. “Hurry! There’s going to be lightning!” The scoutmaster hollered. Then, the loud rumbling of thunder struck. Before we could react, a bolt of lightning flashed in the sky, forming a divine bridge from heaven to earth, blinding my vision for a while. Consecutively, an ear-piercing scream resounded in the atmosphere. It was no laughing matter; John had been struck by the lethal bolt. “Johnny!”
I scampered to the poor boy’s rescue. John’s lips turn dark blue, his eyes forming the colour of blood. Blood was streaming profusely from his nostrils and his light-green attire turned red within a matter of seconds. My stomach squirmed at the ghastly sight.
Looking at my best friend with tears forming on the brim of my eyes, I knew that he needed immediate medical attention. The scoutmaster ran towards him and lifted his finger to John’s nose.
We were shocked to hear from the scoutmaster that there was hardly any air flowing through his nose. I was afraid to lose a great friend. Was he going to give up hope and leave the world just like that?
The scoutmaster performed some cardio-pulmonary resuscitation exercises on John. However, John was still lying motionlessly on the floor, unconscious. I muttered a silent prayer.
Seeing that John would not react, we hailed for the ambulance. We left our bags and our minds were set to bring him to safety. Just as we reached the end of the campsite, the paramedics were also about to enter the campsite. We left John in their hands. Then, we went back to the campsite to grab our bags and exit the campsite. Sadly, John breathed his last on the way to the hospital. He was my only best friend.
The next day, the principal decided to shoulder the money for John’s funeral. But it did little consolation for his parents. We could just see his parents weeping quietly in a corner, mourning over the death of their only son. I closed my eyes and I could still vividly see how John passed away under the canopy of raindrops. There was indeed a lesson to be learnt – Mother Nature was not always benign.
Primary 6 (2014)
Saving A Life
Exhaustion hit me like a sledgehammer. After a tedious day at the office, I could not wait to hit the sack. Walking side by side, Father and I enjoyed one another’s presence wordlessly.
“Hurry! He is here!” A boisterous voice called out as we neared the dingy lift landing. We turned round the corner and the lift landing came to view. Alarmed, a man wearing a pair of sunglasses wailed when he saw us approaching, “Oh will you hurry up?” With that, he shoved a frail body, which I recognize as Mrs. Tan, our neighbour, into the lift, causing her to stumble. Seizing the man’s jittery actions, Father dashed with much difficulty to the lift. Before Father could get into the lift, the man had already shut the doors by jabbing the close button several times rapidly. “Come on! Mrs. Tan could be in danger!” Father bellowed. Without much of a choice, we ran up the dimly-lit staircase as the only lift was used.
Panting like a pair of pathetic fish out of water, we finally reached the tenth floor. A chill went down my spine as I scanned down the long stretch of corridor, realizing all the apartments were dark and empty. To make matters worse, the lights along the corridor were all out and the thought to walk to Mrs. Tan’ apartment at the end of the corridor was simply horrifying. All of a sudden, a torch-like object was turned on at the end of the corridor, emitting a ghastly green glow. “Hello? Is anyone there?” Father boldly called out. Being the cowardly man I was, I gripped onto Father’s wrist as we groped our way down the corridor. My heart palpitated wildly as I made out eerie silhouettes of different objects in the dark. Every step I took made me want to scream and run away to somewhere else with light, but I mumbled under my breath, “I am a man” repeatedly. Beside me, I could feel Father muffling his laughter in vain. “S…Stop laughing,” I choked out.
After what seems like eternity, we finally reached Mrs. Tan’s apartment. Father pushed open her door that was left slightly ajar, revealing another dark room. “M… Mrs. Tan? W… Where are you?” I whispered timidly as my eyes darted around me. In the room, I felt as though many pairs of eyes were staring up at me. “That’s just a figment of your imagination, “Father told me as if he heard my thoughts. Pop! Pop! Pop! Suddenly, something went off, sending hundreds of strips of paper into the air, causing me to let out an unmanly scream. “Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you…” A few voices sang, getting louder and louder – the lights was turned on too, getting brighter and brighter, much to my delight.
When the lights were all on, I found myself in the centre of a living room. Balloons bobbed up and down at the ceiling, a variety of food was spread across a table, there was a banner reading,” Happy Birthday!” that was hung in the middle of the room and to complete the touch, there was my neighbours joyful smiling faces. “Happy birthday, Brandon!” I smiled from ear-to-ear, seeing my neighbours all gathered in the living room. “Happy birthday, son!” Father said while giving me a bear hug, a rare gesture the reserved father of mine would show. Overwhelmed with emotions, tears welled up in my eyes, as I stood rooted to the ground not knowing how to react. Everyone actually remembered my birthday when even I had forgotten it myself!
That’s when I realized. There was a man standing in a corner observing everyone. He was the same man that had shoved Mrs. Tan into the lift and he had taken off his sunglasses. And his eyes as big as owl’s told me who it was.
That man was Kyungsoo!
Kyungsoo, my childhood friend whom I did not see for the past ten years, had came back! He smirked and said, “Thank the great Kyungsoo for the fabulous birthday surprise plan.”
“Argh! This brat! Don’t do that again! I almost died of heart attack!” I cried and whacked the back of his head.
“Such a cowardly man you are!” He snickered.
That was the most memorable birthday I ever had, not only had my neighbours plan a surprise for me, I also got to meet up with my best friend! Who knew such a dull day could turn into such a memorable one?
Lee Xin Chun
Primary 6 (2014)
The sun rose in a pool of crimson and gold, spilling light all over the land and the white fluffy clouds. It was a glorious day, but the thought of serving hundreds of rude customers dampened my mood.
Passing by the many shops along the stretch of road, the familiar white shophouse that had turned yellow with age came to view. “Ah! Help!” All of a sudden, blood-curdling screams reverberated throughout the neighborhood, jolting me to attention. Stopping dead in my tracks, my fell agape at the scene before me. People with terror written on their faces were flooding out of the shophouse in all directions! Confused, I grabbed the arm of an elderly lady and enquired, “What is happening?” “H…Help! R…Robbery!” She cried breathlessly before breaking out out of my grasp. “Robbery?” I gasped in horror as blood drained from my face.
“Stop!” I pleaded in desperation when I saw the masked men whipping out their knives. “Don’t move!” A burly man, with beady eyes that resembled rat’s, threatened as he brandished the knife. Standing paralyzed with fear, I could only watch helplessly as they wrecked the cashier and bagged all the cash. “Let’s go!” The other man ordered before escaping out through the back door.
Frustrated, I let out a sigh, seeing as the workers from the shophouse had still not recovered from the shock yet and had no intentions on chasing the masked men. I ran out through the back door, just in time to see a shadow disappearing round the corner. Chasing after one of the masked man had brought the man and me into an alley. Before we knew it, we ran into a dead end. “Got you!” Smirking triumphantly, I tore the mask off his face. The shock robbed me of speech.
Hidden under that mask was Father!
“F…Father? Is…Is that really you?” I managed to choke out. No response came, but after a while, he turned and faced me with tears in his eyes. “Son, you would probably hate me after this, but I really need this money! Mother needs it!” He cried as tears trickled down his cheeks. I softened at the sight and loosened my grip on his collar. “Kenny! Are you there?” A sudden call echoed through the alley, startling us to our wits. “Go Father! Hurry!” I hissed and push him towards the opening of the alley.
When I entered the shop, everything was still in a mess. I pretended the attempt in chasing the robbers was in vain, an unexpected wave of guilt swept over me, but I quickly suppressed it.
When it comes to family, will you still chose integrity?
Lee Xin Chun
Primary 6 (2014)