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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Childhood is the best period of one’s life.

“Childhood is the best period of one’s life.” Do you agree?

1. Describe briefly how many people treasure their childhood.
2. Describe why childhood is the best period of one’s life.
It is filled with fun and play.
The child has no responsibilities or worries.
3. Describe why childhood may not be the best period of one’s life.
This is true of children who are abused or exploited.
There are also children who live in extreme poverty and who have to shoulder the responsibilities of adults.
4. Briefly conclude that any period of one’s life can be good if it is approached with the right attitude.



Many a time, I have longed for my childhood days. This is especially true at times when I would like to escape from the torture of examinations and homework. Furthermore, my childhood was filled with countless memorable moments that I would love to relive. Many, who have happy childhood memories, would also, I am sure, feel the same.

Childhood is a period which is associated with fun and play. The child hardly cares or knows what the adult thinks of him. He frolics with his childhood playmates in the sand, mud or water. Through his mother may chide him for his pranks, she may, secretly in her heart, wish that she too could be as carefree and happy as her child.

Children normally do not have any major responsibilities to shoulder. Political, economic, social and family problems do not disturb them. They may be confused because they can not comprehend the problem, but most of them will not go through heartbreaking moments over them.

However, the above beautifully painted childhood phase is not true in the case of all children. There are children who are abused and exploited and who suffer from dire poverty. In Ethiopia and other poor countries, children are afflicted with many diseases and continually suffer the pangs of hunger. They have to shoulder the responsibilities of adults, looking for food and taking care of their younger siblings.

These cases, however, may be considered as exceptions. Many still feel that the average child’s life is much merrier. Adult life is filled with responsibilities. Yet, responsibilities need not be viewed negatively. There are many joys that come with responsibilities. For example, I always experience great joy and satisfaction when I do well in my exam after studying hard for it.

Therefore, in my view, childhood can be looked back upon as one of the best periods in one’s life. With a positive attitude, a person can experience happiness in any period of his life.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Watching cartoons can be harmful.

“Watching cartoons can be harmful.” Do you agree?

1. Briefly talk about the attraction of cartoons to both adults and children.
2. Describe the disadvantages of watching cartoons.
Some promote violence.
Too much time may be spent on watching cartoons.
3. Describe the advantages of watching cartoons.
Some are very entertaining and not violent.
It helps the viewer to develop a sense of humor.
4. Briefly conclude that watching cartoons is not harmful if a person can separate reality from fantasy.


Almost every child develops a natural attraction to cartoons. Even some adults find it difficult to lose their taste for them. Yet, do cartoons cause more harm than good?

The answer to the above question depends on which cartoons one watches. One major concern of parents is that some popular cartoons, like the Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Superman all promote violence. Several cases have been reported of children who jumped to their death while trying to emulate Superman.

However, some argue that the cartoons impart good moral values because the good guys always win. This illustrates how good triumphs over evil. However, about eighty per cent of the viewing time concentrates on glamorizing violence. As a result, children may think that problems can only be solved through physical force. In addition, many children neglect their studies and other activities when they get carried away watching too many cartoons. However, some cartoons can be rather entertaining and are not harmful at all. Many cartoons are rather humorous too. These are especially enjoyed by adults who find them very entertaining after a hard day’s work. such cartoons help to cultivate the priceless gift of humor. They also help one to be more optimistic, relaxed and cheerful.

Therefore, not all cartoons are harmful. In fact, many children who watch violent cartoons do not necessarily become violent. This is because they know how to separate reality from fantasy.

Examinations should be banned.

“Examinations should be banned.” Discuss.

1. Briefly describe the existence of examinations in educational systems.
2. Describe the disadvantages of having school examinations.
Examinations may not be an accurate reflection of a student’s ability.
Some students may perform better without pressure.
3. Describe the advantages of having examinations.
There is no better substitute to assess a student’s ability.


School examinations are something which most students dread. Yet, there is hardly any educational system that does not set examinations.

Many feel that examinations should be banned because they test the students’ memory power rather than their analytical or reasoning powers. Such examinations require students only to memorize facts regurgitate them during examinations and conveniently forget them soon after.

Passing examinations could also sometimes be a matter of luck. Lucky student who spots questions accurately will probably do better than one who just studies his books. Moreover, there are some students who perform better when they are not under pressure. These students may panic and perform poorly under examination conditions.

Though reasons for banning examinations may be many, there remains one basic explanation as to why examinations have not been abolished. That is, all educational systems need a standardized method of testing the students’ understanding of what they have learned. No one has thought of a better substitute in that respect. Whether examinations test a student’s memory power or analytical power depends very much on the type of questions asked. Therefore, there is no need to abolish examinations. Rather, examinations could be set such that they truly test the student’s understanding. Some even argue that the students’ ability to withstand pressure during examinations do reflect a certain form of capability.

Furthermore, students need examinations to act as a form of motivation to learn. If examinations were banned, many would become complacent and would not do their best.

In conclusion, it can be said that examinations should not be banned because of the need to assess a student’s ability.

Boys should be taught cookery in school.

“Boys should be taught cookery in school.” Do you agree?

1. Briefly describe the stereotyped roles of boys and girls.
2. Describe the advantages of teaching boys how to cook.
It teaches boys to be independent.
Cooking is a creative and educational activity.
It prepares boys for married life.
3. Explain why it should not be made compulsory.
Boys might develop hatred for it if they are not interested in cooking.
Boys might not be serious about lessons.
4. Briefly conclude that knowing how to cook is a necessary basic skill.


Most Asian societies shun the idea of boys doing any household chores. This is because, for many generations, only girls helped their mothers in the kitchen. However, times and values have changed. Perhaps, boys could be taught cookery in schools as an elective. Unmarried men, single parent families and men living on their own are common in a modern society. Thus, teaching boys cookery in school would certainly ensure that they eat proper meals. This is especially important since employing maids and eating out are both becoming more expensive by the day.

More significantly, cooking is a creative, challenging and educational activity. Learning about food and nutrition is also an important step towards healthy living. For instance, not many boys know that a deficiency in calcium can cause bone and teeth problems. Once they are aware of things like this and they are able to cook, they will be able to ensure that the ingredients in the dishes they prepare contain the nutrients that they require.

Knowledge of cookery could also prepare boys for married life. Married man who are able and willing to cook, can help lessen the burden of their wives.

Despite their advantages however, I personally feel that cookery lessons should not be made compulsory for boys. This is because if boys do not have an interest in cookery, they might eventually hate cooking if they are forced into the kitchen. Moreover, young boys, by nature, tend to be playful. Thus, they may be unhygienic while handing food. This may lead to contamination of food resulting in food poisoning. Carelessness and playfulness may also result in accidents in the cookery room.

Thus, a good suggestion would be to teach older boys cookery on a voluntary basis. The main aim of education is to prepare the student for life, and teaching cookery is an invaluable step towards achieving that aim. It would be imparting a necessary basic skill to the student – the art of survival.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Keeping pets is wrong.

“Keeping pets is wrong.” Do you agree?

1. Briefly describe the types of animals kept as pets.
2. Give the good points about keeping pets.
Pets are good companions
Keeping pets develops good qualities.
3. Give the cons of keeping pets.
It is cruel to restrict the freedom of animals.
Owners may not be responsible people.


“A dog is a man’s best friend.” People all over the world keep dogs and other kinds of animals as pets. The more popular pets in Singapore are dogs, cats, birds and fishes. In some countries, people even choose to keep snakes elephants and lions as pets.

From the point of view of most people, keeping pets is not an evil deed at all. In fact, keeping pets nurtures desirable qualities in the owner such as responsibility, care and love. Young children are taught how to take proper care of their pets. They save their pocket money to buy bird seed, worms or other necessities for their pets. Further more, keeping pets can be educational. It stimulates great interest in the particular pet. Pet owners also read and discuss much about the pets they own.

In my view, however, it is wrong to keep pets. Man assumes that animals do not have much intelligence and hence have no rights. He just assumes that animals like being kept as pets. This is especially true in the case of caged birds. By nature, birds are meant to fly. It is most pitiful to see a creature that can fly around the entire globe being imprisoned in a cage.

Keeping pets is even more wrong when people fail to take proper care of their pets. Many pet owners do not ensure that the cages, fish tanks or dog kennels are clean at all times. Sometimes, they even forget to feed their pets. I strongly feel that the very act of caging animals and depriving them of freedom is a form of evil.

Solidarity

Write a story with the title: “Solidarity”

1. Describe how the students of Secondary 2C lacked the motivation to excel in anything.
2. Describe how their form teacher told them a story to inspire them to work together as a class.
3. Describe in detail how the class then worked together by forming various committees and working responsibly.
4. Describe the result of solidarity in the class.

Three classes were judged to be the top classes of the form. However, Secondary 2C was not on the list. Some of the students felt downcast. They felt that they would never be able to excel.

Mrs. Chen, their form teacher, however, had great faith in her students and felt that they only lacked motivation.

Just before beginning her lessons that day, Mrs. Chen told all her students how a single stick could be broken easily but when a number of them were bound together, it would be impossible to break the bundle of sticks. The students realized that the moral of the story was a guideline for them to put into practice.

As soon as class was over, the class chairman, Thomas, called for a class meeting. He divided the class of thirty-five students into seven equal groups and delegated each group with a special task. There were to be four academic committees, one discipline committee, one social affairs committee and last but not least, one counseling committee.

The academic committees were put in charge of one or two subjects each, and it was the members’ responsibility to collect relevant notes, question papers and model answers. The discipline committee’s duty was to enforce the policies agreed upon by the class as a whole. The members of the social affairs and counseling committees were to organize social activities, and to help those who were facing any personal or family problems, respectively. This plan for solidarity turned out to be a roaring success. The class felt great fervor and excitement in performing the tasks assigned to them. In the process, they interacted more with one another and got to know one another better.

By the time the final examinations were near, the class had a large collection of notes, ideas and model answers to rely upon. Most importantly, there was a strong bond of friendship which was charged with sincere interest for one another’s welfare. After the examinations, none of the Secondary 2C students was even interested in the results of the class evaluation. They knew, in their hearts, that they were winners.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

An unsolved mystery

Write a story with the title: “An unsolved mystery”

1. Describe how three boys were going to camp and how one of them felt that something terrible was going to happen.
2. Describe how they passed by a ruined castle and how Hans suddenly took a different track and went towards the castle.
3. Describe how Hans’ friends followed him to the castle.
4. Describe Hans’ strange behavior and how Bob went for help.
5. Conclude with an unexplainable mystery.

James had a strange foreboding. For no rhyme or reason, he felt that something disastrous was going to happen.

Hans Davidson, Bob Hester and James Clifford were setting off on their summer holiday trip again. This time, they were going to camp at Fraser’s Forest, a developed island resort off Singapore. The camp site was located at the outskirts of the dense forest which covered most of the area.

As they were following their tour guide, Hans suddenly spotted an old and partially ruined castle in a distant clearing. Always the most curious among the three, he suggested that they take a closer look at it. Before either Bob or James could protest Hans had taken a different track and was heading for the castle. The other two ran after him, to try to persuade him to turn back and to remain with the rest of the group.

When he got close to the castle, Hans quickly walked up the stone steps and tried the handle of the front door. The door did not budge. The window frame next to it, however, could be lifted easily. He climbed in and the other two who had just caught up with him, followed suit. None of them wanted to reveal the fear they were feeling.

Amazingly, Hans seemed to know his way about the inside of the gloomy and dusty castle. He walked straight on, as if in a trance, and kept muttering, “I feel I was here when the castle was being built”.

“But how can that be possible? That must have been centuries ago!”, James exclaimed.

Hans did not seem to be aware of the presence of his friends. He proceeded to walk up the old marble stairs. Both James and Bob tried to prevent him but he pushed them aside roughly. James hastily instructed Bob to run off and get the other campers to help while he stood watch with a pounding heart.

After what seemed like an eternity to James, several holiday-makers climbed in through the open window and rushed towards James who stood stupefied. He told the others that Hans had not come down despite his repeated cries for him to do so.

Everyone immediately rushed up, but Hans was nowhere to be found. Then they heard a loud scream from the attic. A few men had found a skeleton in an ancient looking coffin. Dust-ridden but well carved, the coffin looked quite plain except for the words printed in gold – “Hans Davidson”.

A person who bravely overcame his/her depression.

Write a story about a person who bravely overcame his/her depression.

1. Describe briefly Sumitra’s background.
2. Describe how Sumitra met with an accident and became a quadriplegic.
3. Describe how she met a person who inspired her to live her life bravely
4. Describe Sumitra’s Changed outlook and the subsequent changes in her life.

“I believe that I am just as good as a person with legs”, Sumitra told the bewildered spectators who were also handicapped. Sitting in her wheelchair, Sumitra commanded all their attention as she narrated how she had overcome her depression. Tall, slender and beautiful, Sumitra was the most promising athlete in our school. She had competed at several interschool races and had won many medals for long-distance races.

One fine morning, as she was jogging along the road, a car swerved round the kerb and knocked her down. Sumitra lay in a coma for eight days. When she regained consciousness, she had to undergo three major surgeries. Despite sessions of physiotherapy, she was not able to move her arms or legs an inch. She was paralyzed from her neck downwards. Sumitra was devastated.

For many weeks, Sumitra was in a state of severe depression. Her family visited her in the hospital every day and did all they could to console her. However, she continued to wallow in her misery and refused to talk to anyone.

One day, as the nurse was wheeling her round, Sumitra chanced upon a young man in a wheelchair. He held a paint brush in his mouth. At her request, the nurse took her nearer. The young man, Louis, too was a quadriplegic. Yet, he had mastered the art of drawing and painting with his mouth, and was at that moment, painting a most enchanting picture.

A friendly person, Louis hit it off with Sumitra instantaneously. He both intrigued and inspired her. He taught her how to write by holding a pen in her mouth. More importantly, he taught her the most important lesson of her life – she should not allow her handicap to take control of her and restrain her from enjoying life.

With renewed enthusiasm, Sumitra learnt to love life again. In fact, her bubbling interest in life helped to encourage other handicapped people who were feeling depressed. They liked to crowd round her and listen to her lively and cheerful talk.

A courageous deed

Write a story with the title: “A courageous deed”

1. Describe how Ron, the disc jockey, felt troubled by the poverty in his country.
2. Describe how Ron made use of his time on the air, to let the public know more about the suffering of the poor.
3. Describe how he bravely went ahead with his plan despite attempts to stop him.
4. Describe how Ron’s courageous deed helped the poor and how he himself was rewarded.

“… And here are the headlines again. The survey carried out by the Welfare Ministry says that at least three children die every day due to acute starvation…” Ron gave a run-down on the main point. Then, he shut down the sound system at the newsroom and went on air to play some sentimental music.

Ron could not understand how there could be so many poor people in this wealthy country. He felt that the chief problem was caused by the general apathy of the public.

Ron wondered if he, as a disc jockey, could do anything. Just then, a brainwave hit him. Dare he do it? “Yes, I must!” he told himself as the idea began to take shape in his mind. The next day, Ron went on air as usual.

“Hi, everybody! Today, I have very special program for you. I was down at our numerous slum areas in the afternoon and have made a recording of the voices of pain and suffering that I heard there”.

With that, Ron played nothing for two hours but the voices of crying and dying children. He interspersed the program with interviews he had carried out with the inhabitants of the slums. It revealed shocking truths about their living conditions. The Management of the Broadcasting Co-operation was alerted about Ron’s conduct and demanded that he stop at once. Ron, however, locked himself in the Control Room.

After two hours, Ron came out of the Control Room, exhausted but happy. He was immediately apprehended by the police. His courageous deed had, however, drawn much public attention to the plight of the poor. Charity shows were held to raise money for them. Moreover, the government began to put in an extra effort to upgrade the standard of living in the slums. Many people demanded that the police release Ron. Hence, instead of being punished, Ron was praised for his courageous deed. Now, Ron is the main host of charity shows and the most popular disc jockey in the country.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An incident when you were faced with a difficult problem.

Narrate an incident in your life when you were faced with a difficult family problem.

1. Describe how your grandmother discovered that you had run away from home.
2. Describe how your parents quarreled and how upset you felt.
3. Describe how you finally ran away to your grandmother’s house to avoid facing the family problem.
4. Describe how your Grandma took you back to your home, and how you slowly learnt to face the problem.

“What is the meaning of this?” Grandma questioned in a frightened whisper as she thrust the newspaper at me. I took it from her tremulous hands. A picture of me stared back and my parents’ plea for my return was stated in bold print. Now, I had to tell my grandmother the truth.

For weeks, my parents had been bickering. I never understood what started the quarrels and neither of my parents explained the problem to me. When the bickering finally stopped, it was only to be replaced by a cold war between them. They were no longer on speaking terms and they made me relay messages from one to the other.

I was very confused. My performance at school was affected and my teachers thought that I was becoming lazy. This compounded my problems. Finally, I decided to run away from home.

One morning, instead of going to school, I went to Johore Bahru where my grandmother lived. I told her that it was my term break and I had decided to spend the holidays with her. I fabricated a tale about my parents going on a business trip to Australia, as the reason for their not being able to accompany me. However, since my disappearance from home had come to light, I confessed everything to my grandmother. She put her arms round me and comforted me. That afternoon, she took me back home.

My parents were relieved and happy to see me. Before they could question me, my grandmother took them aside and they talked for several hours.

That night, as I prepared to go to bed, my mother quietly came and satisfaction by my side. She apologized to me for not having been sensitive to my needs. She told me that there were irreconcilable differences between her and my father and that they had filed for a divorce. She also said that I was to live with her. She hoped that I would try to be strong as we went through our crisis together. Her soft and soothing voice made the news easier to bear. I now know that running away from a problem will never solve anything.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Revenge!

Write a story with the title: “Revenge!”

1. Describe how Jinsheng and you planned to take revenge on your principal because he had punished you in public.
2. Describe what plan both of you decided on and how you executed it.
3. Describe how you waited behind a tree to watch the planned accident.
4. Describe how Jinsheng and you were hurt instead.
5. Describe how you felt after the incident.

“We must take revenge on that fat old man!”, Jinsheng snarled.

“Yes, we must!” I agreed enthusiastically. “I will never forgive him for publicly humiliating us.”

Mr. Singaram, our principal, had hit us with a cane on stage, for vandalizing school property. Both of us thought that it was too harsh a punishment. We had only broken the fire alarm glass, hoping that the disturbance would disrupt lessons. Unfortunately, we were caught by our teacher before we could flee from the scene.

“I know, we’ll cut the wires of the brakes of his car,” I said.

“Oh, yes!” Jinsheng said, “If he dies, he’ll never be able to punish us. And if he runs over someone else, he’ll be thrown into prison.”

We executed our plan the next day during our free period. Jinsheng had some knowledge about cars, for his father was a mechanic. He slipped agilely under the car, snipped the brake wire, taped it up, and was on his feet again, in only three minutes. I had stood watch, to ensure nobody saw us.

That evening, after the flag lowering ceremony, we took a short cut to the main road junction. We hid behind a tree and waited for the red Honda. Soon, we saw Mr. Singaram driving towards the function. The traffic lights changed to red and from afar, we could see him struggling to brake. A women and a child were crossing the road. The car swerved abruptly and sped towards the tree behind which were hiding! I heard a loud crash.

I regained consciousness in hospital and later learnt that Mr. Singaram’s car had hit the tree. It was uprooted by the impact and fill on Jinsheng and me. Both of us were seriously injured and we had to wear a cast on our arms for almost two months.

The police never found out who had tampered with the brake wires of Mr. Singaram’s car. Mr. Singaram was using his seat belt and therefore sustained only slight injures. The woman and the child escaped unharmed.

Jinsheng and I never told anyone about or part in the accident. However, we knew that the accident was not a coincidence, but a fitting punishment for our heinous intention.

Richness is not everything

Write a story with the title: “Richness is not everything”

1. Describe how your new attitude to wealth surprised your father.
2. Describe your former expensive habits and attitude to wealth.
3. Describe how you used to enjoy showing off your wealth to your friends.
4. Describe how you arranged for a grand party and how you were let down.
5. Describe why your friends did not go for the party and how you realized that richness is not everything.

Today, I declined to be driven to school. My father, a prosperous businessman, seemed rather puzzled at this change in me. Instead of my usual expensive gear, I wore an ordinary pair of school shoes and carried a simple haversack. Little did he know hat it took a painful incident for me to realize that richness is not everything.

I used to enjoy being driven to school in my father’s limousine. I enjoyed showing off my collection of Gucci and Charles Jordan watches and bag to my friends. I thought that I could buy friendship with my wealth.

I decided to host a fabulous party for my birthday. I invited all my classmates. My parents decided to go out on that day so that we youngsters could enjoy ourselves to the fullest. I arranged with the chef to prepare the most exquisite dishes for the banquet. The roof garden, where the party was to be held, was transformed into a fantasy land, with a myriad of colored lights. Three waiters were stationed at intervals, from the main gate to the front door where I would greet my friends in my best tuxedo.

My birthday, however, turned out to be a terrible flop. Not a single friend whom I had invited, turned up! I felt greatly humiliated and infuriated. I could not for the world of me, imagine why they would not want to come to such a fabulous party.

Yesterday, I stormed into class, and demanded why they had all failed to attend my party. One of my friends, Jainwei, explained on behalf of the whole class. He said that they would have loved to celebrate my birthday with me. However, they were intimidated by my wealth. They could not afford to bring me expensive gifts. Besides, they did not like having to be on their best behavior all the time. I was shocked. Never had I realized that my wealth was driving away my friends.
I spent the whole day yesterday thinking. Finally, it dawned on me that I myself, and not my wealth, should attract friends. Today, as I head for school, I feel like a changed person-simple, ordinary and unaffected. Richness is not everything.

A lesson learnt

Write a story with the title: “A lesson learnt”

1. Describe how the three families called in an astrologer to suggest ways for them to get richer.
2. Describe how the astrologer taught them to find out which of the three families was the richest and most virtuous.
3. Describe how each family cheated so that they could boast to one another.
4. Describe how they found out that the astrologer was a swindler.

One day, members of three families invited Yog Fu, an astrologer from Tibet, to suggest ways in which they could become richer.

Living in a competitive neighborhood, the Chens, Lims and Gohs vied with one another fiercely to secure the most wealth. Each wanted to have the most to boast about. After several sessions with the astrologer, Mr. Lim finally asked him which of the three families would become the most prosperous.

Yong Fu smiled benignly, and took out three ornamental boxes with velvet. He gave each of the couples a box and told them to keep it in their prayer room. He then told them that money would soon appear in the box of the most virtuous family. If money appeared in all three boxes, the one containing the most money would be the most virtuous and of course, the richest family.

However, the families had to surrender half of the money that appeared in the box, to the astrologer. He would then offer this money to the goods. If they failed to do this, their whole family would meet with a tragic and fatal end. The superstitious families all gasped and swore to abide by the condition.

The subsequent days, they checked their boxes anxiously but no money appeared. Each felt humiliated as this meant that none of them was virtuous.

One day, during the third week, however, Mr. and Mrs. Lim announced their discovery of a hundred dollars in their box. Following that, each couple claimed that money kept appearing in their box. Of course, half of the money was promptly given to the astrologer.

A month later, a sensational news item appeared in the local newspaper: Bogus Astrologer… Police are searching for Yong Fu. A Tibetan “astrologer” has swindled about thirty thousand dollars from wealthy families. He uses a scheme in which he gives people ordinary boxes and says money will appear in them if the person is virtuous. People who are ashamed normally plant their own money in the box to boast to others.

All three families looked rather sheepish when they read this news and shifted out of their neighborhood in a great hurry. They had each paid about two thousand dollars to learn an expensive lesson that when one attempts to deceive others, he only ends up deceiving himself!

A Teachers’ Day gift

Write a story with the title “A Teachers’ Day gift”

Suggested Outline
1. Describe how the class planned to give Mr. Nanthan a nasty gift to humiliate him.
2. Describe how Mr. Nanthan accepted the gift graciously.
3. Describe the speech that Mr. Nanthan gave during the concert.
4. Describe how embarrassed the class felt after the speech.

“Let’s insult him with our gift”, I said through tightly gritted teeth.

The class was planning to present all the subject teachers with gifts on Teachers’ Day the next day, and wanted to purposely humiliate Mr. Nanthan, our Biology teacher, was disliked by most of us. He unsparing gave us tons of homework to do. He also had the habit of making us to back to school during the holidays for extra lessons.

I explained to the class that Mr. Nathan was a sensitive man and we should, instead of giving him flowers, give him a cactus! The class was thrilled at this idea and was unanimous in agreeing that it was a fitting insult for such an unpleasant person. He would indeed be terribly humiliated!

The next day, in the midst of the Teachers’ Day celebrations, we publicly presented our “gift” to him. Attached was a message that read. “The gift tells you what we think of you”.

Mr. Nathan was startled at first, but he recovered quickly and thanked us graciously. During the Teachers’ Day concert, however, an unscheduled item was announced – a speech by Mr. Nathan. It was a speech that I shall never forget.

Mr. Nathan first thanked our class for the thoughtful gift and then displayed the cactus to the entire school. There was an ourburst of laughter. Unruffled, Mr. Nathan explained that he thought it was a meaningful gift for the cactus was a life-giving plant that sustains weary travellers in the desert. Symbolically, it signified life and growth. In a sincere voice, Mr. Nathan said it pleased him to think that he had inspired his students to give him such a profound gift.

With the exception of my class which looked awkward and sheepish, the entire school gave Mr. Nathan a round of applause.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Undercover spies

Write a story with the title: “Undercover spies”

1. Describe how you felt about the violent crimes committed by some youths in the neighborhood.
2. Describe in detail your friends and you joined the gang to spy on their activities.
3. Describe how the police managed to arrest the gangsters with your help.


“Gosh! How dreadful”, I exclaimed when I read in the newspapers about the spate of violent crimes carried out by youths in some neighborhoods.

What I felt was even more alarming was that the number of such crimes, which went unchecked, was increasing by the day. The problem was that many people were reluctant to identify these youths for fear of being assaulted further.

“I’m glad I’m doing something to help stop the crimes”, I thought. Then, I went downstairs to meet my friends, Robert and Terry. A few days earlier, we had agreed to work with the police. Acting as uncover spies, we were to look for a chance to infiltrate the gang, and then inform the police of the gang’s members and activities.

I met Robert and Terry, both looking very excited. “Our chance has come”, Robert said. Then, they told me that two young thugs were bullying an old lady at the playground.

We immediately ran to the playground and grabbed the old lady’s handbag as she tussled with the two bullies. The thugs immediately ran after us. I readily ran after us. I readily gave up the handbag saying that my friends and I indulged in unruly activities for the thrill of it and had not need for the money. This pleased them immensely and they invited us to join their gang. A few days later, we joined their gang officially. We spent a month getting to know everyone, especially the ring leader. Altogether, there were eighteen of them. We went to their favorite haunts and found that they engaged in picking pockets and petty thefts. At the same time, we won the confidence of the members in the gang. This enabled us to get the particulars of all the members.

In the meantime, we kept the police updated about all the gang’s moves. We were cautioned to be careful by the police. After a month, the police arrested all the youths who were tried and sentenced in a juvenile court. The papers covered the story in detail. It had been exciting working as an undercover spy. However, my parents forbade me to do it again as it was too dangerous.