Model Essays

Discursive / Argumentative Model Essay #3

“Money can’t buy happiness.” What are your views?

Can you imagine living without money in this day and age? Is it even possible to survive without money in today’s materialistic and cash-driven world? It has been said that money makes the world go round. Hence, it is no wonder that money has become the central focus of many people’s lives. Everyone seems to be working tirelessly for money. Even students are studying hard so that they can get a well-paid job and earn lots of money in future. Although I think money cannot buy happiness, it is something that we cannot live without.

It is clear that money cannot buy happiness as many people who work hard and long every day for money are often very unhappy. Most of them do not even have time to spend their hard-earned money due to heavy workload or long working hours. They have no time or energy for leisure activities and needless to say, their family and friends hardly get to see them too. This can make them feel lonely and depressed. Thus, working hard for money does not bring happiness but instead misery in this case.

Worse still, money is often the main culprit that ruins relationships. People frequently fight over money and this can become a very serious problem, whether it is between friends or family members. For instance, it is not uncommon to hear of family members fighting over inheritance or longtime business partners squabbling over money-related matters. In some cases, ugly lawsuits ensue and relationships are destroyed forever. What then is the point of having lots of money when there is no one to share it with?

However, from a different perspective, money can sometimes make one happy. For some, earning enough money to pay their monthly bills and put food on the table makes them happy. For others, it could be saving up enough money to buy things of their interests or go on a dream vacation. Having some savings instead of living pay cheque to pay cheque also gives one peace of mind. After all, a person cannot possibly be happy if he or she is constantly worrying about running into financial difficulties. Hence, money does buy happiness where one’s survival is concerned or when he wishes to satisfy his wants.

Mark Twain once said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil.” I agree with him as no one can survive without money in this day and age. Like it or not, money matters and one’s financial situation has a direct bearing on his happiness. That said, money does not guarantee contentment. Money often rears its ugly head and ruins relationships. One also has to make sacrifices such as lack of family time in the pursuit of wealth and material comforts. Therefore, to be happy, I think one must realise that there is more to happiness than money.

Secondary 3, 2017, English Tuition

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

Discursive / Argumentative Model Essay #2

“Fear is good.” Discuss.

Fear is the bad feeling that one has when he is in danger or when a particular thing frightens him. A German proverb goes, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” This is absolutely true as fear will often cause people to imagine the worst and act irrationally. In that case, can fear be any good? Personally, I think a small amount of fear is good and even necessary as it not only acts as a form of control and deterrence but also serves to motivate oneself. Nonetheless, being overly fearful is bad as it will severely hamper man’s progress. In this essay, I will discuss how fear can be a double-edged sword, bringing both advantages and disadvantages to man.

Fear is good as it deters people from doing dangerous acts and prompt them to control and regulate their behaviour. For instance, despite the numerous wars since World War Two, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan remain the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare. This is because the world is fearful of the widespread devastation that such weapons will bring about. Therefore, the fear of total annihilation has prevented world leaders from acting irresponsibly and going down the path of self-destruction. 

Next, fear is good as it is a powerful motivator. For individuals such as students and entrepreneurs, the fear of failure will prompt them to work hard and put in their best effort in their studies and business undertakings. This will lead to results and progress. Similarly for nations, the fear of losing their competitive edge will spur them to constantly improve and reinvent themselves to keep pace with the fast-changing world. For example, Singapore is taking active steps to maintain and improve her skilled and flexible workforce to ensure that she remains competitive and does not fall behind major economies like China. Retraining schemes and upgrading courses have been provided for the workforce to ensure that it stays relevant. Hence, we can see that the fear of losing out to others is one of the reasons that has motivated nations to take active steps in improving their economies. Without fear, nations will become complacent and they will eventually fall into a decline. 

However, although fear is good, man must keep in mind that too much fear may be detrimental to his development. Being overly fearful of the unknown and intangible will prevent people from venturing into areas previously unexplored. For instance, in the area of space exploration, Apollo 11 would have never landed the first humans on the moon if the Americans had let fear get in the way of their dream. As the late John F. Kennedy once said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” To achieve great feats, man must learn to conquer his fear and find the courage to overcome the obstacles that life presents. Only then can the human race continue to make progress and enjoy the sweet smell of success. 

In sum, fear is good as it will ultimately lead to a well controlled and motivated society. Nevertheless, people must keep in mind that they should not be clouded by fear as it will hinder their progress. I believe that a small dose of fear and a good deal of courage will make a great man as such a man will have the spirit to pursue his goals and the sense to act responsibly in the process. 

GCE O-Level, 2014, 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

Discursive / Argumentative Model Essay #1

Teenager Pondering

What are the problems faced by teenagers in our society? How can these problems be overcome?

Someone once told me that adolescence is the most wonderful time of a person’s life. As a 14-year-old, I have to say I do not feel that wonderful. Teenagers are supposed to be leading a wonderfully easy life: full of fun and free of stress. Their sole responsibility is to study hard, which according to adults, is a simple task. However, living the life of a teenager is not that easy. Some of them would even describe it as a horrendously awful experience that they can do without. Here are some problems that confront adolescents today.

As society becomes more competitive with each passing year, teenagers face increasing pressure to excel. Even from a tender age, they are loaded with tons of assessment books. They are drilled to work hard and long, with their well-meaning parents breathing down their necks to make sure that they do well academically. As a consequence, many of them are brought up to fear failure; they must not let their parents down. To make matters worse, some parents are known to impose their unfulfilled dreams and wishes on their children. Woes betide teenagers if they are unable to live up to their parents’ high expectations. Their parents will reproach them and even make deprecating remarks and endless comparisons between them and the neighbours’ children. Eventually, arguments break out and the relationship is strained.

In school, teenagers are faced with immense mental strain. Assignment after assignment, project after project – life is one big cycle of schoolwork. Many students often feel like “walking zombies” memorising and regurgitating all those mathematical formulae and historical dates. As if all the schoolwork is not enough, they are constantly bombarded with tests and examinations. In addition, they are expected to excel in extra-curricular activities like sports and music, causing them to undergo added stress.

The hectic education system leaves teenagers little time for social activities and hence, greatly hinders their personal development. Some of them may become reserved, to the extent of being anti-social. Their primary concern is to score distinctions; what becomes of their social life takes a backseat. This kind of thinking eventually filters into adulthood, which explains why many adults put more emphasis on establishing their careers than on starting a family.

When teenagers cannot withstand the demands of this modern society, they turn to their friends for support. Peers are an important influence on behaviour during adolescence and teenagers often find it difficult to resist peer pressure. While peer pressure can have positive effects on teenagers when they are inspired by their peers towards positive behaviour such as volunteering for charity, it can also affect them negatively. This is because peer conformity among teenagers is commonly linked to episodes of adolescent risk-taking like underage drinking and smoking, shoplifting and drug abuse as these activities usually take place in the company of peers. Therefore, when teenagers associate themselves with bad company, they may engage in risky behaviours and become juvenile delinquents.

Some teenagers also face problems with their love lives. Boy-girl relationships are becoming increasingly common among teenagers. Curious about many things, teenagers are more than eager to try them out. Though not without good effects, these infatuations have their negative consequences. Whilst a relationship may help to alleviate the stress of schoolwork, it in turn gives rise to emotional pain when it fails to work out.

The complicated stresses and strains that teenagers face can be quite unbearable. How then can they make their teen years a fun-filled experience?

They can do many things such as planning their time between work and play wisely for a start. They can also share their problems with a counsellor or even their parents. Having regular communication with their parents will ultimately lead to better understanding. Furthermore, a harmonious and cohesive family is a safety net that will provide emotional support when they need it. As for friendships, teenagers must bear in mind that they are vulnerable to peer pressure and exercise caution when they make new friends. Similarly, when it comes to affairs of the heart, they should deliberate over entering into a relationship with the opposite sex to avoid unnecessary heartaches. Only when they become more mature and responsible should they seriously think about a romantic involvement.

Finally, teenagers should note that the various obstacles they face are there for a good reason. As the aphorism goes, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Once teenagers learn how to cope with each and every problem, they will be stronger and more able to deal with the challenges ahead. Although adolescence may not always be smooth-sailing, it is still a very special phase to be cherished.

Secondary 3, 2010, English Tuition

Mixed-text / Descriptive / Reflective Model Essay #2

I am who I am today - Eleanor Roosevelt

Who are you? Describe the people, places and experiences that make you who you are today.

Former First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” I agree with her as the choices we make in life often define us and determine our destiny. Apart from that, there are also other important factors that make us who we are today. In my sixteen years on earth, a few people, places and experiences have made a profound impact on me and influenced my outlook on life.

A person who plays a significant role in my life is my older brother, Andrew. He is special. Born with one less chromosome, he has problems with learning and speech, which makes it difficult for him to be independent. Currently, he attends a school for the intellectually challenged, learning basic skills such as simple arithmetic. At home, he sometimes throws tantrums in an attempt to get attention, and these episodes may occasionally be violent. As his brother who has lived with him for so many years, I have grown to be more tolerant of his random outburst. I love my brother dearly and I try to spend as much time as possible with him despite my busy school schedule. Personally, I feel that I am more mature than others in my cohort as I had to step up to be the “big brother” and help to take care of Andrew from the tender age of three. I am who I am now because of Andrew and I feel very privileged to have him as my brother.

A place I visited last year has also shaped me as a person. It was a small, impoverished village in Cambodia. The trip was part of my school’s community service project and I was there with two teachers and all my classmates. To be honest, I got a rude shock when I first arrived there. The place was practically made of sticks and stones. It also lacked basic facilities such as clean water pipes and sanitation. It was hard for me to get used to the living conditions there as my life back in Singapore was worlds apart compared to the shed where I stayed in for a week. Nevertheless, I took it in my stride and worked like a Trojan, repainting the only school there and even mending a leaky roof. In retrospect, my trip to Cambodia really opened my eyes to the outside world and allowed me to see how fortunate I am to be living in an urban and affluent city like Singapore. In the past, my life was rather sheltered and I was blissfully ignorant of the many hardships in this world. Now, I am an adolescent with a social conscience. I will always remember Cambodia fondly and I hope to go back for a visit in the near future.

Finally, an incident that happened nine years ago has profoundly affected me and made me who I am today. It was a typical Saturday morning and I was at a grocery shop with my mother. Back then, my parents were very strict and they forbade me from eating sweets except on special occasions. However, being a young and simple-minded seven-year-old, I furtively grabbed a handful of candies from the shelf and hid them in my pocket. When we left the shop, I felt elated that I had gotten away with the theft. Upon reaching home, I went to my room to feast on a few candies and kept the rest in my pocket, which I soon forgot. The following day when my mother was doing the laundry, she found the remaining candies and immediately questioned me. I lied that I had picked them up on the road. Needless to say, she did not believe me and demanded to know the truth. As her big eyes were boring into me, I was scared stiff and confessed my crime. She then dragged me back to the grocery shop and insisted that I apologised to the grocer. To teach me a lesson, she even suggested to the grocer to alert the police as I must pay for my mistake. Thankfully, the grocer was a magnanimous man and I was forgiven on the spot. Since that fateful day, I have learnt that stealing is wrong and that our actions must always square with our conscience.

To conclude, I am who I am today because of the above person, place and experience. I am grateful for them as they have taught me valuable life lessons and moulded me into a better person.

GCE O-Level, 2014, 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

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

Mixed-text / Descriptive / Reflective Model Essay #1

What is your idea of beauty? Describe some people, places and objects that you think are beautiful.

According to Confucius, “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.” This is because beauty is a subjective concept and people all have different ideas about what is beautiful. As such, beauty cannot be measured by any absolute standard. However, we can all agree that beauty comes in various forms. It can be a person, a song or even an everyday occurrence like the sunset. To me, beauty is whatever gives joy like the following person, place and object.

A beautiful person I know is my mother. At 46, she does not have a face that can launch a thousand ships. Instead, she is rather plain-looking and seldom puts on make-up. She also does not carry a stunning figure or wear fashionable clothes. Nevertheless, beneath her ordinary exterior lives a beautiful soul. As a physician, my mother has a clinic where she treats all kinds of patients. Besides that, she also makes frequent trips to the nearby hospice to care for those who are bedridden or terminally ill. However worn out she is from a long day of hustle and bustle, she always attends to each patient with a heart-warming smile. She will also rush home every evening without fail to cook for the family and spend quality time with us. I think my mother is really beautiful because the true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the love that my mother selflessly gives and the care that she lovingly shows that make her beautiful. Such beauty does not fade but grows with the passing years.

A place that exudes great beauty is my homeland, Singapore. A tiny island off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore has prospered and developed very rapidly since its independence in 1965. Today, the young country is a highly urbanised city that is full of charm and character. It also boasts a stunning skyline and one of the best places to look at it is the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. Although I have been to the observatory deck several times, the spectacular views of the island city never fail to take my breath away. This is indeed a beautiful country and its beauty can be attributed to the tremendous drive and dedication of the people. Singaporeans are highly motivated but in our pursuit of success, we remain a caring nation with a strong community spirit. I believe this spirit will continue to grow in the heart of every Singaporean and make this country an even more beautiful place to live in.

An object that I think is beautiful is the piano that stands proudly in my living room. The piano has been with my family for three generations. Although it looks old and has a broken pedal, it can still play melodious tunes that touch the soul. Whenever I play it, I would be reminded of my late grandmother who taught me how to play my first song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. She was a superb pianist who played with deep emotions, and thanks to her, I have great appreciation for music. This piano is my most treasured possession because of all the beautiful memories it brings back. I hope that it lasts for many more generations and that my grandmother’s love for music lives on in the family.

In conclusion, beauty comes in multiple forms and everyone interprets it differently. To fully appreciate beauty, I think it is not sufficient to see it. We must feel and be affected by it.

Secondary 3, 2012, English Tuition