Personal Recount

Personal Recount Model Essay #3

Write about a time you did not take the advice someone had given you and you regretted it.

Our school’s photography club was headed towards Lower Pierce Reservoir for a field trip. Upon arrival, our CCA teacher-in-charge, Madam Toh announced, “You have two hours. Meet here at four-thirty!” I hurried off with my best friend, Albus. Our mission that day was simple. We were having a competition and the best picture with the most apt caption would win a prize. I was determined to win the “Best Photographer Award”. The flora and fauna at Lower Pierce Reservoir was stunning. Birds were twittering away gaily on the trees, bees were humming and dancing in the flower beds and the leaves on the tree branches were swaying gently in the breeze. I closed my eyes and felt the breeze caressing my face.

“Harry, let’s take a picture of that tree!” Albus suggested, pointing at an umbrella-shaped tree which was nearby. Just then, I saw a troop of playful monkeys near some shrubs. Having rarely seen monkeys, I was naturally excited. I found them so adorable and charming. A few smaller-sized monkeys were intimidated by Albus’ and my presence and scurried away. However, there was one bold monkey which was unperturbed by humans and shot us a curious look. The monkeys all looked scrawny and hungry. I saw a couple of them rummaging through the dustbin. My heart wrung with sympathy for them. Remembering that I had some leftover sandwiches from recess, I zipped open my bag and fished out my lunch box.

Albus seemed to have read my mind. “Harry, you are not going to feed the monkeys, are you?” That sign clearly states not to feed the monkeys!” Albus reminded me, his eyebrows creasing into a frown. I brushed off his concern and edged closer to the monkeys. “Harry, steer clear of those monkeys! They might become aggressive!” Albus advised. Once again, I shrugged off my friend’s warnings. Anyway, what could a mere small monkey do to me?

With a piece of bread in my hand, I edged closer towards one of the monkeys which was nearest to me. The monkey seemed to have noticed me and when it spotted the piece of bread, it started scuttling towards me. Albus looked worried and warned me again. “Harry, no!” I looked back at Albus nonchalantly. I was sure I knew what I was doing. The puny creature could not possibly do any harm to me. The monkey looked more curious and friendly than belligerent. Its piercing green eyes were fixed on the food which it was about to get.

I stretched out my hand and offered the piece of bread to the monkey, which wore a look of happiness. It swiftly snatched the bread over, which disappeared down its throat in two seconds flat. Then it stared at me, as if thanking me for the delectable treat. Victorious looks spread across my face as I whipped around and looked triumphantly at Albus. “See, Albus. It’s harmless. It’s all right to feed the monkeys!” I exclaimed proudly. Albus just sighed. My best friend still looked concerned. From my school bag, I pulled out a packet of potato chips, which was my snack.

Suddenly, I heard some monkeys chattering behind me. I turned around and almost jumped out of my skin. Dozen pairs of green eyes were staring at me. More monkeys had emerged from the shrubs and there were at least ten monkeys around us. Where did all these monkeys come from? I had no idea that my packet of potato chips was like a magnet to the ravenous monkeys. My heart started thumping frenetically, as if it was trying to ram its way out of my chest. The monkeys started screeching and all hell broke loose. Clearly, the monkeys’ target was my food. However, I was not going to give away my entire packet of chips. My mother only allowed me to indulge in junk food once a month, and my intention was to give a few chips to the monkeys and savour the rest myself. Oh-oh. How wrong was I! Within a few seconds, I was surrounded by a bunch of ravenous monkeys.

One bold monkey attempted to snatch the potato chips from my hand. I was not about to give up my favourite snack so easily. I tried to shoo the monkey away. Then unexpectedly, I let out a painful yelp. “Ouch!” The monkey’s sharp claws had dug into my flesh. I could feel an excruciating pain sear through my arm and I dropped my packet of chips. Instantly, the monkeys tore and ripped at the plastic wrapping. “Are you all right?” Albus asked me, a concerned look etched on his face.

“You were right Albus. I should have heeded your advice,” I mumbled softly, as regret gnawed at my insides. When we went back to the meeting point where Madam Toh was, she gave me a severe dressing down and our field trip ended abruptly. I was brought to the hospital for outpatient treatment. I was told by the doctor that if the scratches had gone deeper into my skin, I would require stitches. I was given an injection and two courses of antibiotics to complete. “You should have listened to Albus. He has always been more prudent than you!” Mother admonished me.

All these happened because I had not heeded my friend’s advice. If only I could turn back the clock. From that day onwards, I have always steered clear of monkeys. I had not expected the harmless-looking creatures to turn aggressive over food. Till today, horrors of that incident remain vivid in my memory. The “No Feeding The Monkeys” sign is there for a purpose and it was foolhardiness on my part to disregard it.

Secondary 1, 2016, English Tuition

Personal Recount Model Essay #2

Write about a stranger who left a deep and lasting impression on you because of his or her actions.

He came, he saw, he helped. Then, he left without even telling us his name. To this day, I still remember his face and mannerism vividly. How could I ever forget him and the kindness he showed us?

It was during the March holidays and my mother and I were on our way to Malaysia to visit my aunt. We were in high spirits and the mood was set for an enjoyable day. Unfortunately, halfway through our road trip, one of our car tyres was punctured in the middle of the highway. As my mother did not know how to change a car tyre, we had no choice but to seek help. For almost an hour, we waved at every passing vehicle but no one slowed down, much less stopped. As if the situation could not get any worse, the weather changed suddenly. Thunder rumbled and lightning cracked open the ashen sky. Dark ominous clouds gathered overhead as rain threatened to fall.

“Where are all the helpful people! I can’t imagine being stranded here for hours!” I began to whine.

Just then, a screech of brakes was heard.

A battered old truck stopped a few centimetres ahead of me and out came a towering man with broad muscular shoulders and strong heavily-tattooed arms. His weather-beaten skin was as coarse as an alligator’s and he had a pock-marked face that looked like a pimple plantation. His eyes were so tiny that they were almost non-existent and his bulbous nose had the shape of a large garlic clove. To put it plainly, he was ugly and formidable looking.

“Do you need help?” the intimidating stranger asked in a gruff voice.

An irrational fear overwhelmed me, causing my heart to palpitate so fast that it might just leap out of my mouth. Instinctively, I moved behind my mother for protection.

“Ermh… yes please. Our tyre is punctured,” my mother muttered hesitatingly after what seemed like eternity.

Without a word, the stranger walked back to his beat-up truck and took out a toolbox. Taking the spare tyre from my mother, he flashed us an enigmatic smile and started work. We stood near him uneasily, half thankful and half suspicious of his motives.

Minutes passed and a gentle drizzle began to drift down from the darkened sky. Heat was instantly radiated from the ground as the light drizzle cooled the surroundings. My mother immediately told me to get into the car while she took an umbrella to place over the stranger to prevent him from getting wet. However, as the rain got heavier, my mother also came into the car at the stranger’s bidding.

“It’s okay. There’s no point in you standing here and getting wet too,” he said, his coarse voice muffled by the pelting rain.

For the next ten minutes or so, we sat silently in the car and watched the good Samaritan fix our tyre. He was focused on the task even though the wind had grabbed the umbrella and he was drenched to the skin.

When he was finally done, he simply knocked on the car window and said casually, “Your car is good to go.”

Before we could utter a word of thanks, he turned around and hopped into his truck. Then he left as quickly as he came. Just like that.

This mysterious man has left a deep and lasting impression on me because he has taught me two valuable life lessons. Firstly, he has taught me not to judge a book by its cover. When I first saw him, I instantly associated him with criminals. Nevertheless, he turned out to be the kindest person I have ever met. Thanks to him, I no longer form an opinion about others just because of the way they look. More importantly, he has taught me what it really means to help others. There are people out there who are willing to help those in need without asking for anything in return. These are the people who make the world a better place with their kindness and consideration. Although our encounter was brief, I will never forget this memorable character who gave my mother and me a helping hand and so much more.

Secondary 2, 2015, English Tuition

Personal Recount Model Essay #1

Singing on Stage

Write about an occasion when you had to step out of your comfort zone to complete a task.

While waiting for my turn, I tried to calm my nerves by doing mental sums. Nonetheless, instead of helping me to relax, it only contributed generously to my great height of anxiety. I was out of my comfort zone and was a nervous wreck.

“The next contestant is Annette Lim from 3B. Please give her a big round of applause!”

My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name being called. Biting my lip nervously, I strode onto the stage gingerly, my hands clammy from perspiration.

“God, please help me!” I prayed desperately.

However, when I saw the countless pairs of eyes staring at me, the rubber band of stress in me snapped.

It all happened about two months ago. I was in the girls’ changing room belting out my favourite song when my music teacher walked in. She commented that I had a mellifluous voice but I did not think much about it. The next thing I knew, she had signed me up for the Teachers’ Day Singing Contest. When I first learnt about it, I was flabbergasted and protested immediately.

I had always been an awfully shy person who disliked any form of attention. I hardly spoke up in class or participated in group activities. Thus, it was not surprising that my history teacher of two years did not even know my name. Being in the limelight stressed me out, so asking me to perform on stage in front of the whole school was as good as telling me to jump off a plane without a parachute. The thought of it caused me severe emotional distress. I refused to come out of my cocoon and began to conceive a believable excuse to wriggle my way out.

“I can’t do this. I have a throat infection,” I floundered in a trembling, almost stricken voice.

“Stop giving excuses, my dear. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone to complete a task? You have the talent. You just need to have faith in yourself,” my teacher said in her usual affirmative voice.

She then showered me with many words of encouragement. Eventually, I decided to give the contest a shot as I did not want to let her down.

Standing on the stage, I looked at the audience with mute horror. The music had started playing but I could not utter a single word. An irrational fear overwhelmed me, causing my heart to palpitate so fast that it might just leap out from my mouth. I had never felt more nervous and embarrassed in my life before. How I wished the ground would open up and swallow me.

“Calm down! There’s nothing to be afraid of!” I psyched myself as beads of perspiration trickled down my forehead.

I took a deep breath and asked the judges if I could start again. Perhaps out of pity, they agreed readily. The familiar music played once more. Shutting my eyes, I blocked out all negative thoughts in my mind and sang my heart out. To my surprise, the audience were so blown away that they gave me a rapturous ovation. Happiness bubbled up inside me as I walked off the stage. Although I could not see my own face, I knew I was glowing in delight.

In the end, I came in first for the contest. Frankly, winning was not that important to me as I was just glad that I had listened to my teacher and stepped out of my comfort zone. That said the prize was definitely an added bonus.

GCE O-Level, 2011, English Tuition