When I was in Sec 3, I took part in this nationwide writing competition for Senior Citizens Day (yeah…there is such a day…lol). I remember my english teacher making the competition a compulsory event for all her students to partake in. Of course not all were sent in, it was made as a challenge, so surprisingly, after a few months when mine was submitted, I received a startling call that I had claimed top prize for my level. First time winning a nationwide competition, of course I was astounded, but it did show one thing which I believed in and that is if you write with your heart and your feelings, you are placing the very emotion into your words, something which mere description cannot achieve. So yeah, enjoy reading the essay.
Essay found in the entire post :
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GrandStories Essay Writing Competition – 2005
1st Prize Secondary Level
Pereira Helen Theresa – Soh Wee Kim, known adoringly as ‘mama’ throughout the children and grandchildren of the Pereira family. She is an old lady about seventy-five years of age with light curly hair and slightly yellow wrinkled skin. She speaks with a gentle touch of rigidness. She is pretty healthy for her age, able to run after a departing bus, and does morning exercises on the bed.
Many a time has my grandmother visited me. She does not live with my family and I, rather she stays in my uncle’s home to help look after two young sprouts of the Pereira family. On the occasion that she visits me, every moment is greatly treasured and remembered. I remember when I was young, about five or six years in age, I would usually sleep next to her whenever she stayed over, cuddling within her warmth and endearment.
My grandma is unique in her own special ways. She has an extremely great knack for spinning stories from her mind, and heart. I enjoyed her own version of Peter Rabbit, and the Three Little Pigs, in which she would add sound effects just to spice up the story. I greatly enjoyed it. Somehow, her little personal touch makes that big of a difference from commercialised storybooks. Once, she recounted to me her youth when she was living through World War II. The very detail in which she described each event greatly awed me. She vividly illustrated the point when the Japanese flew airplanes over Singapore, where she and her sisters had to run and hide in tall greenish brown tapioca plantations. The fear which struck her, was devastating. Before she knew it, Singapore had ‘fallen’. Luckily, the whole family was ‘passed’ by the Japanese, of not being in the service of spies. Life was hard and drastic for them, having little or no rice which was the staple food of Asians, they lived on tapioca porridge, cakes and bread. Almost everything was made from tapioca. Biscuits that were bought were treasured like gold and stored in tins at the very bottom of the cellar. I remember her telling me that at that time, she worked all day and night carrying heavy sacks of goods just to earn a little extra income for the family. It is not easy to face war in the eye, as it is always the civilians that suffer the most. The courage and resilience was therefore greatly instilled in the many people of Singapore, one of them being my grandmother.
Grandma had told me, as she looked out of her house window about fifty years ago, huge rows of trees were the towering architecture, children were scampering around, having fun in simple clothing or even their bare essentials. Now, everything has changed. As the years passed for her, Singapore had greatly changed in her landscape. From colossal plantations and clustered colonies of squatters, it has now become a metropolitan city with elevated skyscrapers. The amelioration in the civilisation of Singapore from third-world to first world in a short span of about fifty years is truly amazing indeed.
The stories of which my grandmother told me, the life in which she had been through is something which cannot be plucked from the pages of history books. The valuable knowledge of years of experience is not something that can be learned overnight. The basic foundation of creativity, and the English language was ingrained in me through her stories at a very young age, the age in which I was easily impressed by another person’s actions. I strived to be like her in the way she developed her stories and the level of attention given to each particular sentence.
Senior Citizens, are people who are to be valued and treasured. They have something that we young people do not have. They have the experience, of life.
They are the people who built the country with sweat and toil on their own hands, they are the people who gave life to this vibrant society, they laid the foundations for the family. Some say they gave their possessions to build, others say they worked hard without a reason, I say that they gave themselves for the future, for us.
Do not be the one who is not filial to them, no matter what they had done to you. Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, is a much greater hunger than the poor man who has nothing to eat. My grandma gave me the most important thing, love. We should return that love by not doing great things just for the sake of doing it, but by returning it by just doing a small task with the amount of love that surpasses all boundaries.
That is the greatest, that anyone can do.