Ding! Dong! The doorbell reverberated throughout the walls of the house. It had jolted me from my deep slumber. Standing up, I darted towards the gates, seeing my owner, Mark. His uniform was crumpled and he had unkempt hair, his shiny, dark-blue spectacles shimmered under the sunlight.
“Doggo! Good to see you too!” Mark greeted with a smile, fumbling with the lock.
After he came in, I sped towards my bowl, sitting there waiting patiently for my food. Mark dragged his feet and took a box labeled “dog food” and poured it into my bowl. Upon pouring the food into my bowl, I stuffed my face into it, devouring all the food.
Just as I grabbed the ball with my jaws signaling playtime with Mark, he gave a large yawn and replied, “No buddy, I am going to take a nap.”
He shook his head and marched towards his bedroom. As I was extremely bored, I slumped myself on the grass patch outside looking forlornly at my ball. Soon, my eyelids drooped and I dozed off.
An acid smell hit my nostrils. Huh! Why is it so hot? Why is it very hard to breathe? A million questions raced through my head. Opening my eyes wearily, I was flabbergasted to find myself in a room of fire. The monstrous beast wolfed everything its way and nothing was spared. Out of the corner of my eyes, I caught a glimpse of a burning cigarette that was on a pile of newspaper. Immediately, everything clicked. Our inconsiderate neighbor, Mr Nelson must have flung his cigarette after smoking, onto the newspapers in our garden. The suffocating smoke jolted me to my senses. My senses were heightened. A thought struck me like lightning; I bolted to Mark’s bedroom. Just as I thought, the sleepyhead was still in a deep slumber on his fluffy bed. Biting his sleeve, I pulled him onto the floor.
“Ouch! That hurt!” Mark exclaimed while rubbing his head. He glanced around, sniffing the air and getting teary-eyed from the smoke. As realization dawned upon him, he bellowed, “We got to get out of here!”
Both of us sprinted out of the house. Crack! Thud! An excruciating pain shot up my leg without warning. It turned out that a metal beam had fallen and landed onto my left hind leg.
Yelping in pain to get attention of Mark, I tried to push the metal beam aside. Despite my efforts, my attempt was futile. Mark turned around and mustered all his strength and pushed the meal beam away into the fire. He scooped me up and bolted for the pavement. All of the sudden, a loud boom echoed through the houses and we were hurled in front. Soon, a wave of darkness swept over me, pulling me under.
When I woke up, I could smell the familiar scent of the hospital. Glancing around, I looked and I had a metal leg and I was on a warm and comfortable ‘cushion.’ When I looked up, it was Mark’s parents. They put me down to walk. I staggered and wobbled but soon got the hang of it. Then, they carried me to Mark’s bed. He had a plaster on his forehead and thin tubes sticking out of his hand. Seeing me, a radiant smile swept across his face like a painter’s brilliant stroke and murmured, “You are truly my best friend.”
Primary 6 (2017), Maha Bodhi School
Looking at the faded black and white photograph by my windowsill brought back fond memories of my childhood years with my best friend, Caleb. I wheeled myself closer to the picture for a closer look. Caleb’s impish grin ripped a scab off my brain exposing raw memories of my childhood.
Ring! The shrill ring of the school bell punctured the silence signaling the start of the school day. The new school grounds enclosed me like an animal as I slowly wheeled myself to my classroom. I had been wheel-chair bound since an accident that fractured my spine that made me lose my ability to ever travel on my own two feet again.
“We have a new classmate, Tim, who will be joining us for the rest of the year.” Miss Lim, my science and Form Teacher announced as I timidly wheeled myself into the classroom at a snail’s pace, eliciting stares from my new classmates.
Instantaneously, conversations broke out within the class. Curious eyes were fixated on me as whispers filled the atmosphere. Two boys with huge and lanky frames seated at the back laughed at me and made rude gestures at me. I hung my head low, my tears threatening to flow.
“Silence!” Miss Lim ordered as she glared at the student before her.
Breaking the pin drop silence, Miss Lim broke into a huge grin like a painter’s brilliant stroke across a sheet of canvas, as she told me to sit next to Caleb. On hearing this, Caleb instantly hopped to his feet and helped to wheel me to the empty table next to him. Touched by his kindness, I broke into a grin and introduced myself to him and shared my hobbies with him. To my delight, he shook my outstretched hand and told me that we shared the same hobby – reading! From that moment onwards, we would often exchange numerous books and devour them with a voracious appetite. Unknowingly, we soon became the best of friends.
However, the two boys sitting behind me who never failed to make fun of me on a daily basis were notorious school bullies, Tom and Jerry. They had not forgotten about me and were plotting to bully me when Caleb was not by my side. That fateful recess was one I would never forget.
Thunk! An errant missile landed on my can of drink, causing me to lose my grip and spill my drink all over myself. Caleb was at the drinks store, oblivious to what was happening to me. Tom and Jerry could not believe their luck! They had hit the bull’s-eye! With arrogant smirks on their faces, they swaggered over and picked up the can. Looking at me with a smug superior smile curled on his lips, Tom tipped the can over and poured the remaining drink on me. Jerry slapped my face lightly and hollered, “What a useless and pathetic little fly we have here!”
Tears stung my eyes and glistened like broken beads as they burst into peals of laughter before sauntering off. Warm salty tears cascaded down my pale, soft cheeks onto my lips, which were dry as crust.
“Hey! What did you do!” A familiar voice rang out above the noisy chatter of the canteen.
Caleb stood before Tom and Jerry with miss Lim behind him. Miss Lim nodded approvingly at Caleb who instantly wheeled me to the General Office for a change of clothes. At the office, Caleb explained to me that Miss Lim had witnessed the entire scene and promised to reprimand them. Noticing bruises on Caleb’s arms and face, he seemed to know what I was about to ask. I explained that they were caused by Tom and Jerry when they were leaving the scene. They had snuck a few throws at Caleb when Miss Lim was not looking.
Later in class, Tom and Jerry apologised to me meekly. With tails in between their legs, they scampered back to their seats.
Though I knew that that was not the end of their antics, I was glad to have befriended a loyal friend like Caleb who stuck through thick and thin with me. I vowed to be an ambassador of loyalty and promote trust between friends in the future with the hope that they would share a close bond like mine with Caleb.
Primary 6 (2017), Nan Chiau Primary School
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)