Narrative

Narrative Model Essay #2

Expectations

Standing on the edge of the rooftop, Benson had a melancholic look on his face; as if he did not care whether he lived or died. Overwhelmed with despair, he suddenly broke into a loud cry, “Stop it! Leave me alone, please!”

“Why? Feeling like a loser? Wait, you are! You’re pathetic!” the little voice in his head continued to spew vicious insults.

“No! I’m not a loser! I’m Benson, The Flying Fish! I’m the best!”

“The best? Then what happened today? You’ve failed everyone! You don’t deserve to live! You should die! DIE!”

A feeling of emptiness gripped Benson’s heart as floods of tears streamed down his face. He covered his ears with his hands to block off the sinister voice in his head but it only became louder, drowning his sanity.

Benson was a professional swimmer. By the age of 13, he had already won countless gold medals in various national swimming competitions. The Singapore Sports School saw his potential and recruited him with the aim to mould him into a world class swimmer. Benson knew how lucky he was to be given such a wonderful opportunity. His family, friends and coach had high hopes of him and he did not wish to let them down. Thus, he trained hard and long, spending up to 12 hours a day in the pool. His efforts finally paid off when he not only came in first but also broke the world record for the men’s 100-metre freestyle race at the Commonwealth Games.

Overnight, Benson became a sensation. He had exceeded all expectations and everyone loved him. The whole of Singapore celebrated his remarkable victory and he was aptly nicknamed “The Flying Fish” by the media. Everywhere Benson went, he was swamped by legions of ardent supporters. Everybody asked if he would break his own record. Unknown to them, their high expectations brought him tremendous stress. Soon, pressure built up and he was losing sleep and appetite. He also became depressed and kept to himself. His teammates would often see him alone in the changing room, facing the wall and talking to himself. However, not realising that these were the early signs of schizophrenia, they would leave him alone.

The long-awaited race finally arrived. It was the qualifying round for the Olympics Games and Benson had trained tirelessly for this moment. He desperately wanted to do Singapore proud and nothing must go wrong.

Benson stood on the plunge board, waiting for the referee to blow the whistle. Thousands of frightful thoughts flooded his mind and he was talking to himself again. Suddenly, he plunged into the pool. The spectators were flabbergasted. Lowering his head in mortification, Benson returned to his position. One more false start and he would be disqualified. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead as fear gripped him like a vice. He started to tremble violently, as if another person had entered his body. Once again, he dived into the pool before the whistle was heard. His family, friends and coach gasped in horror, unable to believe their eyes. A humiliated Benson emerged from the pool and immediately stormed out of the stadium. His loved ones chased after him and everyone ended up at the rooftop.

Benson was in a state of fluster. The voice in his head was making all kinds of nasty remarks about him and he could not shut it out.

“Look, you loser. Everyone is here to laugh at you! You’re the joke of the century!” the voice ridiculed him.

Benson turned around and looked at his loved ones. All of them were very concerned and anxiety was written all over their faces. Nevertheless, the troubled boy saw an entirely different picture. They were staring at him wide-eyed, trying to stifle their giggles.

“I’m sorry to fail all of you. I’m sorry for not living up to your expectations,” Benson spoke in a faint murmur, gulping back his tears.

Then, he spread his arms and threw himself off the building. A flicker of smile crossed his face as the voice in his head finally stopped.

Secondary 3, 2011, English Tuition

Narrative Model Essay #1

Japanese Soldiers March into Singapore

War

Ah Hua was thrown to the floor and before he could even reset himself, more kicks and punches were delivered on him. He yelped in agony as blood oozed out from his mouth. Nonetheless, that did not stop the savage attack. In fact, his captors seemed to take pleasure in his pain and laughed at him. Shutting his eyes, he tried to detach himself from the harsh realities of war, in a distant place with Mei Xiang, the love of his life.

15 February 1942 marked the beginning of the darkest days in Singapore’s history. Military forces of the Empire of Japan occupied the tiny island after defeating the British troops. Many innocent Chinese who were suspected of being anti-Japanese were subsequently detained by the Japanese Secret Police known as the Kempeitai and thrown into prison, where they were subjected to brutal punishment for acts they never remembered doing.

Ah Hua, a reporter with the Nanyang Daily, was one of the victims. He was arrested because he had previously written an article on the Japanese invasion of Nanking. However, that was not the worst thing that happened to him. It was the fact that he had to be separated from his beloved wife, Mei Xiang. The couple had just tied the knot but before they could even indulge in each other’s love and comfort, they were torn apart.

The four bitter years behind bars were a total nightmare for Ah Hua. The prisoners of war suffered dreadfully and many died a slow and painful death. Ah Hua was often beaten by numerous men and put through all kinds of experimental torture that never failed to surprise him. Cruelty was no match for the barbarous treatment that those heartless creatures had prepared for him. His battered body cried in pain and exhaustion while his mind played tricks on him. Nevertheless, he endured everything with stoicism, mentally fighting to stay alive. The reason was simple: Mei Xiang was waiting for him. The couple had made a promise to stay faithful and committed to each other forever and Ah Hua could not bear the thought of making Mei Xiang a widow.

Then, the moment that Ah Hua had been hoping for arrived. The war ended and the colonial masters were back to reclaim their ‘property’. With the Japanese gone, all the prisoners of war were set free. Still bearing the scars of his four-year captivity, Ah Hua was not quite familiar with the freedom he had suddenly regained. Nonetheless, he was overwhelmed by happiness that his ordeal was finally over.

Immediately, he search everywhere for Mei Xiang. Bombs had devastated much of the island, making everything almost unrecognisable, but that did not deter him. He walked miles and miles, scanning his eyes around all the unfamiliar places. Weariness pulled him back but the thought of his beloved wife kept him going.

Night fell. The full moon looked like a shiny dime in the dark blue sky, casting its pale light over the quiet neighbourhood. Ah Hua was walking along a narrow alley when a little boy bumped into him. As he bent to help the child up, a couple who seemed the child’s parents rushed over and apologised profusely. One of the voices struck Ah Hua. He looked up and recognised the mother of the child at a glance. She was none other than Mei Xiang.

“Ah Hua!” Mei Xiang gasped in astonishment.

The moment was frozen as the two stood still, speechless by the awful truth that lay ahead of them. Before Mei Xiang could utter another word, a crestfallen Ah Hua turned around and limped away. Tears stung his eyes as all his hopes began to crumble away. He felt betrayed and saddened that Mei Xiang had forgotten their promise and moved on with life. Nevertheless, he could not bring himself to blame her, knowing that it was a love not meant to be, a love destroyed by war.

GCE O-Level, 2010, English Tuition