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55 WORD FICTION

A collection of entries from the 55-Word Fiction competition 2016

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55 WORD FICTION

CONTENTS

FEATURE: All In! Young Writers Festival

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All In! 2016 Programming

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Message from the Festival Director

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55-Word Fiction Competition 9 • What is it?

• 2016 Entries

FEATURE: The Book Council

All In! Young Writers Festival is organised by National Book Development Council of Singapore 50 Geylang East Avenue 1 Singapore 389777 +65 6848 8290 | info@bookcouncil.sg | http://bookcouncil.sg

All rights reserved NBDCS © 2016 Book design by CB Peña

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FEATURE

All In! Young Writers Festival

All In! Young Writers Festival is an annual event for aspiring writers between the ages of 13 and 25. All In! brings together a wide array of writing mentors and industry experts in publishing, broadcasting, blogging, creative writing, screenwriting, journalism and advertising, and many more, to share their expertise with today’s young writers. The Festival showcases talented individuals and motivated professionals who have chosen writing careers and the paths they took to get there. In 2016, All In! was held at the National Library Building. The roster of sessions were divided into a masterclass, seminars, panel discussions, and workshops, over three days. A total of 323 delegates registered for this year’s festival, including 48 professionals as part of the Media Development Authority’s Story Lab Initiative. All In! is supported by the National Arts Council as an Art Education Programme (AEP). Schools can use the Tote Board Arts Grant of up to 50% subsidy of festival ticket costs.

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55 WORD FICTION TIME

DESCRIPTION

VENUE

9.00am – 10.00am

Registration

NLB Lobby near Visitors Briefing Room

10.00am – 11.00am

KEYNOTE Writing for Progress

Possibility Level 5

Tony Lambino, Ayala Corporation

11.00am – 11.15am

FRINGE ACTIVITIES

Possibility/ Imagination Level 5

NUS Literary Society Launch: ASEAN Young Short Filmmakers Exhibition

Redefining Content for Radio and Television

Possibility Level 5

Harry Corro, ONE FM Jo Furniss, formerly BBC

Retelling Stories as They Are Told: News Events of South East Asia

Imagination Level 5

Suzanne Jung, formerly CNA Manfred Rist, NZZ/FCA

People of Singapore: The Power of Engagement

VBR Level 1

Robin Rheaume, PeopleofSingapore.com

Lunch Sessions @ 12.30pm Film Screenings & Discussions

Possibility Level 5

National Youth Film Awards

Lunch Sessions @ 12.30pm Film Screenings & Discussions

Imagination Level 5

Singapore Polytechnic

Lunch Sessions @ 12.30pm Fringe Performance: Monologues R’ Us

VBR Level 1

NTU Epiphany

The Thrills & Frills of Review Writing

Possibility Level 5

Genevieve Loh, Mediacorp Jeremy Sing, SINDie

Understanding Your Rights: Rights & Contracts for Young Authors

Imagination Level 5

Samuel Seow, Rights Expert Catherine Carvell, Author

Strike the Prose: Fashion, Travel & Special Interest Blogging

VBR Level 1

Laila Lu, RockTheTrend.com Jemimah Wei, jemmahwei.com

The Business of Writing: Branding You and Your Work

Possibility Level 5

Leslie Tay, ieatishootipost.sg VJ Yamat, Havas Singapore Christopher Tan, foodfella.com

Mobile, Native, Impressionable: The Changing Faces of Writing Ads

Imagination Level 5

Andrew Hook, Havas Singapore

Getting Your Work Out There

VBR Level 1

Parallel Ink

SINDie Fringe Event | The Science of Writing A Film Review

Possibility Level 5

SINDie

Fringe Performances / Book Launch

Imagination Level 5

Victoria Junior College

Words Go Round Session: Modern Spaces: Writing As Reclamation

VBR Level 1

Marc Nair, Author/Photographer Verena Tay, Author/storyteller

Flash Fiction, Short Stories & More: Completeness in Brevity

Possibility Level 5

Yeo Wei Wei, Author Damyanti Biswas, Author

YOUTHspeak: The Future of Writing

Imagination Level 5

School Partners

Words Go Round Session: Wartime Cities: Writing Dangerous Truths

VBR Level 1

Atia Abawi, Author/Journalist

The Story Behind the Song: Writing the Lyrics of the Soul

Possibility Level 5

Desmond Moey, Serendip Lewis Loh, Singer-Songwriter Anise , Singer-Songwriter Bittymacbeth , Singer-Songwriter

Anglo-Chinese Junior College Book Launch & Performance

Imagination Level 5

ACSian Theatre

Words Go Round Session: Going Wild: Writing As Nature Disappears

VBR Level 1

Jan Latta, Author/Photographer N. Sivasothi, Nature Advocate Ow Yeong Wai Kit, Educator

11.15am – 12.15pm Sessions A

12.15pm – 1.00pm FRINGE /

Lunch@Level 5

1.00pm – 2.00pm Sessions B

2.00pm – 3.00pm Sessions C

3.00pm – 4.00pm FRINGE / Sessions C

4.00pm – 5.00pm Sessions D

5.00pm – 6.00pm Sessions E

SPEAKERS


PROGRAMMING

All In! Young Writers Festival 2016 TIME

DESCRIPTION

VENUE

9.00am – 10.00am

Registration

NLB Lobby near Visitors Briefing Room

Game Writing: Building Worlds of Stories

Possibility Level 5

Toiya Kristen Finley, International Game Developers Association

Creative Teaching for Creative Writing: A Workshop for Teachers

Imagination Level 5

Claudine Fernandez, WritetheWorld.com

Documentaries and Development Journalism: Writing Scripts for Change

VBR Level1

Alemberg Ang, Producer Tony Lambino, Ayala Corp

Fiction Writing: Developing Stories Through Unconventional Stimuli

Possibility Level 5

Don Bosco, www.supercoolbooks.com

Crafting Creative Stories for Young Readers

Imagination Level 5

Monica Lim & Lesley-Anne Tan, Authors Danger Dan Series

Book Cover Concept & Design for Children’s Books

VBR Level1

Low Joo Hong, Author/Illustrator

10.am – 1.00pm Sessions A

1.00pm – 2.00pm

2.00pm – 5.00pm Sessions B

SPEAKERS

Break (No lunch provided)

The All In! Young Writers Festival is an annual festival for aspiring writers between the ages of 13 and 25. Join us as we bring writers from a variety of fields – playwriting, blogging, creative writing, screenwriting, and journalism, among others – to meet and mingle with today’s young writers.

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55 WORD FICTION


MESSAGE FROM THE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR

Kenneth Quek

Deputy Director, NBDCS

Welcome to the 8th edition of the All In! Young Writers Festival. The Book Council launched All In! in 2009 as a way to bridge the gap between budding content creators and industry professionals who had wisdom to share on the ever-changing landscape of writing and its related fields. Fast forward to 2016: All In! has grown into a festival that not only lets young writers (of all flavours) meet their future counterparts, but also to improve their skills in content creation while seeing their writing come to fruition on various platforms. This year is the first time we have invited international speakers to come and share their expertise on gamification, development journalism, creative teaching and documentary production, coupled with seminars, workshops and panel discussions by local speakers on social media, broadcasting, short story writing, book design, film, young adult fiction and advertising. It is also the first time that All In! broadens its platform to launch books written by 13 to 25 year olds, and hold a pitching session that could lead to a potential internship. There is also greater support than ever from schools, government agencies, youth-oriented organisations and corporate partners, who have joined us in our bid to cultivate and develop our young writers. We are particularly excited with the new programmes such as YOUTHspeak, All Out for All In, and the ASEAN Young Short Filmmakers Exhibition, which offer our budding content creators more year-round opportunities to meet, share and create. On behalf of the Festival team, I wish you continued pleasure and success in your writing endeavours!

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55 WORD FICTION


ENTRIES

55-WORD FICTION COMPETITION All In! Young Writers Festival conducted a pre-festival competition called the 55-Word Fiction Competition, where entries were exactly 55 words and were posted on the Festival Facebook wall. There were two winners: the Judges’ Choice and the People’s Choice. Launched in 2013, the initial run received 121 entries. This year, 55-Word received 156 entries. Winning this year’s Judges’ Choice award is Carol Lerh from Singapore Polytechnic. The People’s Choice award went to Rachelle Chua from CHIJ Secondary. This compilation presents the entries from this year’s 55-Word Fiction Competition.

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55 WORD FICTION

JUDGES’ CHOICE

CAROL LERH

“We complete,” said the first girl. “Each other’s sentences,” finished her lookalike. The shopkeeper blinked blankly at them. “So what do the two of you want?” “We want a,” said the first girl. “vanilla cone,” said the second. The shopkeeper frowned. “So one cone or two cones?” The two of them held out one finger.


PEOPLE’S CHOICE

RACHELLE CHUA

Everyone was born with a star on their wrist. A small one that shone when they would first meet their soulmate. She was crossing a road when it happened. Staring at it in wonder, she never saw the car coming. She lost consciousness before she saw the driver. A shame. His star was shining too.

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ALLAN YEO RUSHINGS

Glancing at my watch. Late. The escalator, a darned rush of people. Elbowing and pushing through, the right column still wouldn’t move. “Hey! Can move or not?” People ‘tsk’ and stare disgustedly. The phone buzzes in my pocket. My wife. I curse, I might miss the delivery. Further up, an old ah ma climbs furiously.


ABOLI DATEY MY ENEMY CANNOT KILL ME

The sky was dark, wind chilly, my hands clammy. My mind was blank while carrying his head. Unsure about what I had done. Within a flash another man pointed a gun towards me. I snatched it, shot myself. I’d rather die than be shot by my enemy’s guard. The next second, I lay there, dead.

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AISYAH ADAM ROBOTS

Exuberant children jumping and skipping around energetically. Their mirthful laughter dominated the atmosphere. Wide toothless grins flashing. Yet, I feel empty. Without warning, darkness cowered over me. I blinked and found myself on the ground. My arms were clad in scratches. I mused,” Why don’t I feel any pain? Nor emotion?” Beep. Beep. Low battery


AISYAH YUSOF DAD

A daddy’s girl lost her hero at the stroke of midnight. She wept, prayed and hoped for a miracle. But was she not aware that hope is but a myth when gambled on the departed? Her mother kept silent, allowing her daughter to say her final goodbye. “Mama, what happens now?” “We keep on living.”

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ALYCIA TAY MOM’S SOUP

Mom has been cooking soup for as long as I can remember. Her recipe? A cup of truth, a tablespoon of tears. Sometimes it’s too salty from all of her sweat, but she’ll cover it up with a handful of smiles. Recently, I’ve been preparing soup for Mom too. She almost cried the first time.


ALOYSIUS KHOO THE AWAKENING

I awoke to a revival hymn playing outside. I slammed the wall, screaming “I am trying to sleep!” That didn’t work. Now people are screaming. I sat up furiously and banged my head on a ceiling. Looking around, I found myself boxed up on all sides. This explains the commotion now. This is my funeral.

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AMIRUL ARIFFIN THE STRUGGLE

I reached the cafeteria, just to see a tsunami of humans. I was overwhelmed by the sound waves slapping me in my eardrums. I wandered around, like a lost child. As I scanned through the cafeteria, I finally found the treasure I have been searching for, as another customer zips past and steals my spot!


ANDRIC TEO CRISIS

The night just went through as if time escaped. It was a brand new day as i woke up towards a new beginning. Just as I went into the washroom, my fate had changed for the worst. The house is shaking violently. Taking my essential items, I went out of the house not knowing what will happen to me...

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ANG YI LING MY LATE NIGHT LOVE

No more talk of darkness, forget these wide-eyed fears, you used to be here, no matter what happens, but where are you when I need you now? You left me here in the night all alone. You know I’m afraid to lose you, but you chose to leave. I miss you my dear teddy bear...


ANGEL GRACE UNREADABLE BOOK

Dear unreadable book, You express love, joy, peace, forgiveness and people who read you leave with warmth in their hearts. You are: Honesty, bravery, self-discovery. Authentic, heartfelt, & thrumming with truth. People don’t need to read you, they need to observe how you illustrate yourself. That’s because you are really special,unreadable book. You are you.

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ANGELICA KAYE RUFO DILIDILI DESIRES

Slippers sheltered feet that trampled sand on beaches the thought of touching bare earth burrowing fear into unprotected soles. Locks of hair hiding away beneath hats - knotting itself of trepidation at the thought of the caress of the wind. Yet, both the earth and wind continue longing to play– despite endless rejections. Just like us.


ASHER WONG FRIENDS

They seem so important to us don’t they... Yet so close but yet so far you think you know them but do you? You would share all the things in the world to them would u ever hesitate? Is loneliness suffering or a blessing if they ever looked into your true self and left you...

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ASHLEY TAN THE NEW KOPITIAM

“Papa, can we get one of those Frappuccinos with whipped cream on top? Pleeaase?” the teenage girl importuned for the umpteenth time. “Okay,” the Papa finally relented. Holding the unfamiliar plastic cup with its queer green siren logo, the Papa took a sip of the expensive concoction. He murmured, “Last time, auntie’s kopi-o still better.”


BERWYN ANG HOWEI THE END OF THE LINE

Gasping for air and grasping air,two opposites similar to each other, much like having your lungs filled with emptiness. To feel pleasuring pain from the depths,your soul begins to pack up and go, that light fades into shadow. Who knows for sure where it goes, but starting anew is what it must do.

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BOEY JER QI, REBECCA SUPERSTITIOUS STUPOR

Colin was greatly worried for his life. The paraskevidekatriaphobic had shattered a mirror on Friday the 13th and distractedly walked under a ladder after seeing three black cats while rushing to his workplace. ~~~ Edmund groaned loudly. “You’ll be fine, Colin!” No response. He rolled his eyes at his unconscious colleague and called for the doctor.


BRYAN CHEONG BLODDY PUPPET

I awoke to the constant grieving echoing inside my room. Curiosity killed the cat and I rose from my bed. I glanced at the figure hanging from the ceiling, crimson red blood dripping onto the snow white tiles. The figure resembled a ventriloquist’s dummy – and when I looked closely, I realised that it was... myself.

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CAROL LERH WEEDS

So I was busy doing my homework and my mother was calling me for lunch. I wanted to finish up the eleventh page first so I ignored her. Then when I finally came, my mum said, “We waited so long for you that plants are growing on the food already.” It’s parsley by the way.


CASSANDRA CHEW YAN LING COMA

“She is in a coma, we are not sure when she will wake up.” Where am I? I felt trapped, suffocated. Many voices echoed all around me. I tried screaming, crying, banging on the walls confining me, but all that surfaced was whiffs of air exhaled deeply. “It’s been four years, let’s pull the plugs.”

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CHARMAINE LIM REALISING HE NEEDS HER

The boy stepped out, revealed in the faint street light, finally leaving the prison gates. His hair longer than when he had first entered the compound. A woman waited, tear stains gleaming in the moonlight. Mother and son closed the distance between in complete silence. Then they embraced, for the first time she could remember.


CHEANG MEI XIN FIFTY-FIVE

Five. He’s pouting at his mother, refusing to take a nap. Fifteen. He’s looking at his girlfriend, and she’s the only thing that matters. Twenty-five. He’s watching his fiancé walk down the aisle, and she’s never looked more beautiful. Thirty-five. Forty-five. Fifty-five. His son’s pouting at him and his wife, refusing to go to bed.

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CHEN XIN YU WHAT SHE USED TO BE

She used to be so horribly perfect, loving to inflict kindness on others. Now, she inspired cruelty as her life became a chore. It was an open secret that she was just a shell of what she used to be after he left. Unable to return from her poisoned medicine. All because he left her.


CHEN JUN ZHI TYRANT

The simplicity of darkness. Destroy and kill. Blinding light. Morality. The hero and the villain, he knew not which he was. Was he one of the monsters he had fought for so long. Doubt filled his heart. Light filled his shadow. His choices, seared into his mind. How many had he murdered, to stop murderers.

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CHEW JUNLIANG GLUE

You come in different forms and Colours...traditionally liquid, sometimes solid but always holding the same function–To unite the broken, to mend pieces, to fix problems. You are often overlooked and taken for granted. At the cost of a soft drink, easily neglected with tubes unclosed, left to die in the elements left unknown.


CHOONG DENG XIANG MATHS ISN’T EVERYWHERE

My maths teacher once said, “Maths is everywhere.” It’s not true. I don’t see quadratic equations on the MRT. I don’t see Pythagoras’ Theorem on skyscrapers. And I don’t see logarithms on my shoes. Maths can only be found on textbooks and exam papers, that is what I know. My maths teacher must be mad.

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CHRISTSTELA KAI EN RAVIKUMAR & CHESNA DERECHO EXPERIMENT NO 626

“Let’s begin.” He opened his eyes, his vision blurred by glaring lights. People in white coats wearing surgical masks surrounded him. He started thrashing around but to no avail. He was strapped down. He panicked as he saw them slowly inject a needle into his arm. He felt it in him, running through his veins.


CHUA YAN PENG PSYCHOPATHIC LOVE

Grab my hand...tell me not to leave. Turning backwards, his corpse lied on the floor lifelessly in the pool of crimson. What happened...? My clutch loosened. Staring at the knife stained in pure red, I peeked at my gory hand. Ah... at least his whole belongs to me forever. Bloodcurdling laughter echoed throughout the room.

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CONDE SAGUITAN CONFUSED REALITY

Lying horizontally, my thoughts like wildfire burning. Ruminating about what is reality, my sick mind is bullying me. Whispers, screams is all I hear right now. Knocking on the door but no one is home yet. A silhouette standing there watching me. “They are out to get you,” a whisper said. My sanity gone insane.


DAHLIA HARTINI BINTE MUHAMAD RIZAL GOODBYE

I looked over the edge of the building– my toes already hanging off the concrete ground as I held my frailself together. The loud whispers echoing in my head encourage me to go, while the voices below called to stop. Closing my eyes, I lifted off, ignoring the panicking calm inside. Goodbye world, I’m done.

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DANIEL CHUA SCAR

A mark that you got from an unfortunate incident, the one that lets you think back to when you got it. The memory that could be good or bad, the past that you want to forget about. At first, you wanted to get rid of it. As time pass, it becomes what makes you unique.


DANISH SOCCER

Soccer is delightfully painful because of all the great games played.All the happy sad moments and the awfully lucky goals. After all, it could be the best moments of your life. After the games we will be the living dead. We imagine to score wonder goals but in the end it is virtual reality.

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DEXTER LOK CHUN YEW ENIGMA

The room plunges into a deafening silence. She falls lightly. Even then her barbie-doll figure resembles perfection, fair skin almost snow-like and her hair a stunning shade of blonde, only tainted by a small pool of glistening blood flooding the cold marble floor. ‘Darling,’ he emerges from the darkness, whispering, ‘I have always loved you.’


DOROTHY YUAN BURNT OUT

Passion is like candles, flame dancing on the wick when just lit, alive and glowing. However eventually a strong gust of wind blows or the flame evaporates into the atmosphere, a trail of smoke lingering in its wake. The faint aroma remains, a mirage of the flame’s presence; figment of imagination only unclothed upon sight.

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EDSEL LIM UNTITLED

The last. Three words. Before her body gave up, the small glimmer of light extinguished. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It was expected, the frail old woman, she was already at the last stage of leukemia. She was the pillar of strength of our family, my grandma. And her last words were,”I love you”.


ESTHER TAN HUNTED HUNTER

I was crouched down in the tall grass. The hot sun was beating down on me, but I wasn’t sweating at all. Not far into the distance, a rustling was heard. I saw the beast, sat on its haunches, it’s steely gaze fixed on me. “Click!” Its weapon sounded. It seemed the tables had turned.

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EUNICE YEO TREVOR

“Mom, I’ll miss Trevor lots,” Jack cried. “It’s okay, honey, I’ll get you another tortoise.” Mom comforted her son. “Let’s go inside and eat some cookies.” Jack patted the damp mound of earth where Trevor was buried, bid a silent farewell and left. Deep in the earth, hidden in a shoebox, Trevor the tortoise stirred.


EVANGELINE CHAN MARKETPLACE

“Stop, thief!’’ I heard him scream before making a mad dash towards the crowd, hoping to lose him there. My heart was racing as fast as the thoughts in my head on a way to escape. I needed to feed my family. With this newfound determination, I bolted towards the exit of the bustling market.

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FOO KAI RAN SCP-SPECIMEN

There it was. Documents on a familiar mystery. In a steel five by five by five, it was a humanoid creature, about 2.4 meters tall, pale white skin, with a jaw four times the average and face that can’t see. This is an example of forbidden fruit, the feeling of joyful sadness was imposed on me.


GILLIAN LOVE

You’re a walking oxymoron. You told me you hated learning, but many hours were spent contemplating everything from science to the meaning of life. You, whom draws butterflies on my hand that always creeps back into my stomach, every time I see you. You are a walking oxymoron but that is why I love you.

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GLENIS GAN UNFORGIVABLE

‘Unforgivable.’ That was the word that summed up Sheridan’s life. She was a bastard child forced into her father’s house, an unforgivable infringement. She was a genius, an unforgivable affront to her father’s retarded, legitimate son. And now… She was seven and covered in blood, the mangled body of her half-brother splayed out before her.


HAMIZAH RUTHLAN HOPE

I’m pretty ugly and no one likes me. Everyday, I’m all alone and in front of people’s eyes, I appear invisible. Sometimes in my mind, I wish I was born dead as I am nobody to anyone at all. The reason I’m still here is because of my family who really cares about me.

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HANNAH PANG UNTITLED

There she sat by the window, taking in every bit of her surroundings. The door was padlocked, and the windows were latched, leaving her with no escape. If only she hadn’t made that wrong decision, she wouldn’t be in this mess. There was no time for “if only,” she desperately needed a way to escape.


HEMA RUBINI D/O ANBALAGAN & NITHIYAH D/O PERAGASH BEAUTY

Her beauty is a mask. An alluring mask harbouring the most appalling traits Yet, it captivates others in a way it should not. How does one define beauty when she is around? Her heart as cold as ice, her complexion as pale as her soul that is barely alive sucking on the anguish of the weak.

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HSU WEN LING MARK’S LEGACY

Home it was for me, seeing my brother Mark lying flat in the pool. Seconds later, chants and wails rose from the congregation, restrained by a tape barrier guarded by a buff bouncer. Tears streamed down their faces, flashes were everywhere. Ambulances were called, not for Mark, but for the crowd. Mark’s such a celebrity!


HUANG RUIMIN AND TAN LI CHOO ROOM

I woke up shivering as darkness shrouded me. I turned to the side, an eyeless skull was facing me, illuminated by phosphorescence. The rest of its body was all around the room, every joint detached. A spherical object was lodged between my teeth. Realizing it was an eyeball, I put it back in and chewed.

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IAN HIEDIE ZURAIMI ROSES

You would always receive roses from everyone around you. Everybody loved you. You didn’t have to worry about waking up as sad as night, there’s always roses blooming on your table. But after you died, the only roses you receive are from me. And they’re black roses, to symbolize love and death for complete eternity.


IGNATIUS BAN THE DEATH OF LIBERTY

The empire created, the army assembled, the people cheered. The government debates over authority while the other issues are eternally unresolved, stuck in endless debates. With time, a virtual dictatorship is established, crushing the old democratic parties under its heels, all rise to celebrate the milestone. So, this is how liberty dies-with thunderous applause.

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IRIS ANU GEORGE I AM

Ever since could remember people have shunned me. I could never understand why. They mock my existence when all I’ve done is lead people to success. So, Instead of shutting me out when I come knocking, open wide and embrace me. Because I am failure and I have come to turn your world right-side up.


IZZAH NAJIHAH I’M LOVING IT

I’m atop of the world for all the wrong reasons. Would it all end this way? With everything that happened, thinking deeply, it’s high time. Every step I took, felt as if a burden was lifted from my shoulders. At the peak of the hill, I sighed in relief. “My dear MacDonald’s, I have returned.”

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JACELYN NG UNTITLED

You: Whenever I am feeling down, your diabetic words hit me like a huge tsunami that can swept my heart away with you. But your cold replies make me felt I am carbon dioxide to you. I want you to look at me. Your voice made my heart shook like earthquake. I want you.


JAMIE TOH DREAMS

Dreams, dreams, why do you always make me feel ecstatic, yet revolted, hopeful, yet hopeless? They say ‘dreams do come true’, but why don’t my dreams come true? Sweet Evil angels create sweet dreams at night, but munch on them one by one in the gloomy morning. Dear dreams, please stop entering my mind hopelessly.

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JANELLE LIM NO RETURN

The house doesn’t seem right without you. I spend my day sat in front of the television, the images and sounds blurred as my mind remains on your smile and laugh. Dinnertime rolls around and I set the table for two, purely out of habit. I have to remind myself that you won’t ever return.


JASMINE ONG THE NOTEBOOK

I take out my notebook, and write all my troubles. I fill it with my fears, then put it away as I wipe away my tears. This is the story that goes on repeat, once every few months as I work through the years. Stowed under my pillow, just waiting to be taken out again.

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JESLINA BINTE ZULKIFLI THE CHILD

She looked down at her subjects, kneeling down to her. Oh, how wonderful royal power felt! Walking down the aisle, peasants shook. Just out of the crowd a child walked up to the tyrant. The child asked, “How did it feel?.... You destroyed my family..... Even our world.....” Tears rolled down the boy’s pale cheeks.


JOANNE YEP MASKS

I have a bitter taste in my mouth. In the pot of chemically condimented volcanic soup, a handful of spiced chashu floats contentedly. “The chilli is good,” he says. “It masks the taste.” I down the bowl of hotness, but yet I can still feel it. The pang of defeat in the sea of lies.

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JOVEN NG UNTITLED

Down went an icicle. For we were lackadaisical. Down went an iceberg . Once majestic, now a monster submerging Hamburg. For we have yet to realise our selfish acts. Done by us, that is a fact. Disaster strikes, which nobody likes. Too late! This is fate. We are to be blamed, for nature can’t be tamed!


JULIANA TANG SOH TENG THE ADVENTURE OF THE LOCKED DOOR

“This does seem like quite the grisly murder, doesn’t it?” I commented off-handedly when we entered. Holmes asked with a knowing tone, “Watson? Would you do me a favour and check if the door over there is locked?” I complied, twisting the doorknob in each and every direction. I replied, tongue-in-cheek, “It’s sure locked, Holmes.”

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KAISAH BATRISYA GOODBYE

The cardiac monitor starts to beep slowly. I have lost this winning battle, but I really don’t mind. Everyone’s pleading for me to stay but I can’t do anything now. The man glistening in white gives me a broad grin standing next to Mum. As I reach out for his hand, I know it’s goodbye.


KAYLIN CHING EMPEROR ONCE AGAIN

Donned in majestic yellow robes not worn since leaving the Forbidden City. Crimson ink bleeding onto the parchment, with even the wind screaming its approval. A small fluttering in my chest, a smile tugging at my lips, yet fear lurked not far behind. I cradled the gift that the Japanese had so graciously given me.

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KELLY LION THE PAINTING

In the finite ocean there sat a blinded artist Bare and alone in his opaque tank With a beatless heart and a sliver brush He continued painting vertically on his final work When a humorless laugh escaped the lady in his painting As salty river mixed with red poured from her “Soon, we’ll be one.”


KESSLER TAN UNWANTED DREAMS

It was like a frightful dream that every child wish that would never happen to them. It was like World War two repeating itself in my home, while I would be hiding in my room waiting for the berserk battle to end. Finally, there was peace, but the warmth of a family wasn’t there anymore.

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KING HAI WEI NATASHA NIGHTMARE

Now that your’e gone, I don’t feel butterflies in my stomach, my lips don’t curve as high it used to be. Leaving without notice, leaving me hanging. Waiting for you, you never showed up. The deafening silence was replaced by my soundless cries. Crying for help, waiting for you to wake me from my nightmare.


KRISTIE TAN SKINNY PIG

Everyone made fun of her by calling her as a skinny pig! She wasn’t bothered at all. She wasn’t mad that everyone gave her such a nickname. Instead she always felt blissful with that identity. At the end of the day, all she wanted was- a mountain of food, that excited her all the time.

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LEE HUI LIN MEMORIES

In the dark, nothing stirred, the deafening footsteps were not to be heard. Her tear were heated by the blazing memories she held on tight as it sparkled off her eyes. The laughter could not be reached though it was longed to be rich. A final tear glistened on her cheek as her soul cried.


LIM EN CHI FAMOUS

He was a famous man Yet no one was there to admire him He was no longer afraid nor sad No emotion, no sentiment Specks of smut to be his only friends He welcomes death with open arms Because no one would be there to mourn him For he is the last man on earth.

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LIM JIN NING GOLDEN DAYS IN HOSPITAL

I smiled.They were people that visited me every single day. From here, all I could see was tears rolling down my cheeks even though they wore masks. Despite bring separated by a glass window, we are somehow connected by a word- Love. I really anticipate the day when I can leave here, much healthier.


LIM LI CHENG THE REALITY OF LIFE

I kept to the shadows of the nursery, watching my father cuddle his new-born son, with his new wife watching on adoringly. He didn’t see me. He never did, my father and his new family. Was I a practice run? I packed my bags, murmured a silent prayer, and left for the dark, silent world.

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LIM YU TER A DEMONIC ANGEL

He was dressed up as an angel just like the person he likes. He just wants to take advantage of an angel that looks like dreamboat. He has been waiting for that day... The day where he could shower his pretty ugly angel with his unconditional love. But, Angels looks just as bad as demons.


LIM ZIXUAN GLENDA JUST A TOY

The heartfelt lies you told me each day, they enslaved me to you with delicate chains. I was blinded by your treacherous smile, blinded by the you that you’re not. I was but a doll in your oversized, crammed toy chest, sitting there among the rest. Sometimes, I wonder: when will you chuck me out?

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LOH JIN LOONG A TAME BEAST

Almost as a fleeting dream, my body escaped the frighteningly serene water. The crushing winds from the territory hit me like a tsunami-the struggle of a friendly war with my bare limbs was about to halt. This was the perfect ending I wanted. I reached the cloudy summit- oh boy, he was a tame beast!


LOUIS LIM UNTITLED

We are the ultimate couple, love and hate. We are not so different, both ruthless and merciless. I am hate, created not by god or anything but mortals. My counterpart, love was made from the desires of mankind. A couple was formed, love created and when destroyed, hate created. Therefore, our lives are forever entwined.

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LOVEIN SUI LEYING THE END

YEAR 2990. A time-bomb ticks. 1MINUTE. Muffled sobs, helpless moans. 30SECONDS. Panicked scrambling for loved ones. 15SECONDS. Weeping. Screams echo in the silent, lifeless world. 1SECOND— Darkness. Silence. The sky clears and wide eyes blink in awe. Words are written in the New Sky. “You destroyed my World. But here’s a New Beginning. Cherish it.”


MEGAN NGAI UNTITLED

The fires, the floods, everything that had happened during the tenth century and after, Igneel had been through it all. The pain, the torture when somebody lost a loved one, Igneel had witnessed what it did to people. However he always seemed to be the cause of these, because dragons were believed to bring trouble.

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MEGAN WANG REI XI SILENCE OF THE CHILDREN

The pitter-patter of the girls’ footsteps filled the silence Mourning faces Fearful eyes A girl flys by Her footsteps Louder and faster The sound of horror fills the air As the bullet homes in on its target She falls The ghost of her spirit Dying in her eyes More girls scream Crimsom enters the scene.


MEHTAZ HAQUE FORGOTTEN MISTAKES

“You are leaving?” That voice. Her. Why was it her? “You are leaving?” She repeated. ‘’Why did you not tell me? We are best friends!” Thunder cackled. “Apparently, I lost that chance months ago.” The usual bright green eyes were now a darker shade of grey reflecting the approaching storm that was not far away.

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MICHAEL YMNH FOO UNWRAPPED

She was beautiful and knowledgable. A virgin. I’ve looked all around town for her and I finally had her on my lap. She laid there, completely still, as I undressed and caressed her body. Slow. Sensual. Deep. And when we finished, I cried while holding her close. No doubt, the best book I’ve ever read.


MICHELLE ONG LOST

As darkness gradually looms, Aaron felt a sense of fear down his spine. Surrounded by green vegetation and tall trees, he did not know how to turn back. His water supplies had drained and his compass had malfunction. He had no way out; he was lost in this foreign place. He stood rooted, feeling helpless.

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MUHAMMAD AFIQ MOHAMMAD LOST IN THE WOODS

He was perplexed as he travelled along the abandoned railway track. Losing his bearings,he tried to find his way back. He felt insecure as the sky turned darker, minute by minute. He was enraged as he was tricked by his friends. A bright light appeared in the distance, but it was just his imagination.


MUHAMMAD SHAFIQ CYCLE OF LOVE

Love is a real fantasy , with much doubt in our faith. With a clouded clarity of our future , we move on ahead. After marriage , bitter-sweet moments began poisoning our hearts – a lovely nightmare had thus began. Nearing the end of our never-ending friendly war, we had an amicable divorce – the end is a new beginning.

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MUHAMMAD SUFI MY MOTHER

The pain in my heart was pleasently painful. She left this world in peace as I stood beside her. I cried, but I’m thankful I was able to say I love you one last time. Back home, there was a noticable absence. I wish I could rewind time to spend more time with you, Mom.


NABILA IF THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY

Mandy felt miserable. She failed her sports trial and was bullied by the other kids. But she remembered, “To keep your balance, you have to keep moving.” She jog everyday before school. Two weeks later, she knocked down her competitors and won the race. She then realised, that if there’s a will, there’s a way.

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NADHIRAH FATIN TOO LATE

It felt like running on an endless path, but my jelly-like legs insisted to move forward. With the bright, dull building in view, I sped up and pushed through the clear dirty doors. The scent of disinfectant and mortality swept past me as I dashed towards the counter. “Is it too late to see him?�


NAZ RIE I TOLD A LIE

“Damn!” I muttered furtively. It seemed that nightmare had just turned into reality. I held my nerves together, avoiding eye contact with the professor. This is like a case of any port in a storm. Impatient eyes were already darted at me. The words I stumbled across eventually blurted out... “Professor, I told a lie.”

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NORMAN CHIN COMFORT

I admire Mr brown, with his neatly parted hair I envy madame Lee, with lovers everywhere Sparkles come to view No doubt its Mary, her dress sewn anew But things are not always as they seem, As there are things left unseen For those are not for imagination, When you see the final revelation Mr brown, his prosthetic arm Madame Lee, plagued by depression Mary, with her children at harm I chance upon tranquil aqua I look at the girl in the reflection I finally get a sense of satisfaction A ray of lukewarm heat casts over me I smile and heave a sigh, content with what I see


NUR ATIQAH UNTITLED

We give each other bruises, yet we care tenderly We are so mean to each other, yet we’re so sweet We’re aggressive with each other, yet so gentle We are so strong, yet our weakness are clear We are so different, yet so alike We hate each other, yet we’re so in love

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NUR EMIRAH BINTE AHMAD HUSAINI INVISIBLE PRESENCE

I’m standing here, in a smaller crowd, but to you i’m still an invisible presence. Closer than usual but still far apart. I’m screaming loudly even though you can’t hear, taking every chance to be noticed by you. Wishing the night would never end, i walk home thinking what if you were an unpopular celebrity.


OLIVIA CHAN THE CANCEROUS TRUTH

My hair falls, like ice cream on a cone. My tears still, like icicles of the north. Their hands move to their pale purple lips, a wail: they sound like devils; their tears like free flow drinks, gushing when i near, like I’m a cup. I embrace the darkness. A blanket of lukewarm, how nice.

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PEARLY TAN BROKEN GIRLS

Dressing in the hideous majestic blue gown, the girls look gorgeous. Warming up their angelic voices, none of them resembles like one. They were supposingly to be graceful like an unrefined swan but now one of them tumbles and fall. They went on their first note and sounded like a living dead chicken. They lost.


PEEJAY GOH SCREAM

He needed help. No matter how much he cried, scream and begged for help, nobody ever responded. He couldn’t speak. “Hey Kevin, want to hang out tomorrow?” He looked up with a smile and nodded. The girl walked away happily, not noticing as he stared at her back. He screamed but there was no sound.

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PREETHI MUTHUKUMAR OF FRIENDSHIP AND COMMUTE

Emilia smiles at the Ah-Mah boarding the bus. Ah-Mah returns it as usual. Emilia looks back down at her phone. The exchange is brief, but special. Emilia anticipates it. Someday, she’ll talk to Ah-Mah. Where does she go every morning? Emilia disembarks. As does Ah-Mah, eventually. It will be her last visit to the Yīshēng.


RACHEL LEE & CHRISTINE LIN THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE

there once lived a devil in disguise. she pretended to be evil and cruel to everyone but deep down she had a pure heart. she hid all her feelings for fear that she would get her heart broken once again. she refused to walk out of her house and closed the walls of her heart.

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RACHELLE CHUA ANGELS OF THE DEAD

Gunshots sounded somewhere in the distance, an agonized cry following. I flew on, willing but unable to help him. He was not the one. He would live. I landed before a young, bruised and beaten teenunconscious and bleeding out. What a life this mortal had lived. “Come child,” I whispered, “come and be happy.”


RAE-ANN WU BACKWARDS

The man I once loved stood there, holding a knife decorated with blood. He had a sadistic smile on as he stared at the woman he once loved on the ground. Blood was oozing out from her open wound. I slowly backed away, not wanting to face his wrath. “It’s too late now,” he smirked.

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RAFFAELLA NATHAN 感觉

Her stretch marks were lightning strikes down her arms and back. His smile was brighter than the sun’s rays, as a matter of fact. His eyes - soft. His voice - her favourite track. Whenever she saw him, her heart jolted like it was under attack. She felt confused and lonely, if only he liked her back.


RUIJIA HUANG HIS LAST WORDS

The plane is crashing I’m writing as much as I can I love you Mum Dad Betty sorry I went to prison I know I’ve let you down don’t grieve for me Betty marry again take good care of the family remember me if you will I owe you everything you deserve better and thank

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RYAN HENG HAO TIAN INHUMANE HUMANS

We were beastly to each other, weren’t we, darling? All the venomous words, a poisonous love coursing through our veins. We were destined to break. And yet I find myself howling at the moon and clawing at my chest, knowing you are no longer here. I’m just a lone wolf yelling into the infinite void.


SABRINA FAISAL 18

Tumbling, stumbling. 5, “Wait, w-what are you doing?” Shoving, crying. 7, “Why must I do that?” 2am, a slurred name. 9, “I d-don’t wanna go to the room.” 3am, always the same. 13, “Will it s-stop soon?” Empty bottles, late nights. 15, “No, please.” Red vision, dimmed lights. 18, “Stop.” “Stop, please, don’t touch me.”

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sammi yeo run

I ran from the howls of the wolf. Running across the plain grass field, a dozen wolves tailing behind. I made a turn when I saw an old run down building, running into an area that screams danger. I ran, and I hid in a smelly trash bin. I held my breath. I was caught.


SAMUEL CHONG HEAVY LIGHTWEIGHT

The cushioned, hard punches kept hitting me in the face, I was up against a macho midget,known for his defensive attack. The deafening silence was killing me, I could not hear but there was this ringing in my head. There was no where to run in this square ring, I regretted joining Light Heavyweight.

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SAMUEL CHUNG GUNSHOT

Dead of night, he walked through the alley, eyes darted left to right, beads of perspiration dotted his forehead, he knew something was awry. Before having another thought a piercing “bang� broke the silence, the color red permeated his shirt, soon he had found himself collapsed, laying on the floor, dead.


SARAH HENG A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

The crowd gave the performers on the stage a standing ovation. The aroma of scrumptious food filled the air as more performers came on to the stage with psychedelic costumes that left the crowd in awe. “Would you like a magic trick?� The voice asked. Before I knew it, it became a night to remember.

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SHANNAMAE YANG EX-PENSIVE

What is a pen? Well, a pen you might think, is a pen. What else! You hold a pen so you think you are using it. But really, deep down, you know the truth. So I ask you, are you using the pen, or is the pen using you? Think deep, think hard and pan.


SHANNICE LEO SPECTACLES

It was a calm day, i was on my way to the optical shop to test my plastic glasses. although my spectacles is original, they looked exactly like an expensive brand. my mom thought that it was pretty ugly. I was confused and and there was a deafening silence in the shop. What a frustrating day!

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SHAWN KUAN JIAWEI THE HOSPITAL

The stale hospital air filled my nostrils as I awoke slowly. I blinked my eyes open, once, twice. My eyelids felt heavy as though I had been asleep for very long. I lifted my gazed and saw my family crying. I stood up, felt my bed but my body remained on it. Was I dead?


SHERLYN LEE THE ENCHANTING ROSE

Roses are exquisite, but only the red rose is. With your flaming petals, why do you hurt me with your coldness? In a vast field of roses, I could not see anything except the shades of velvet on you. In a flash, you disappeared into the monotonous background. Where are you now?

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SHERYL GOH LATE LATE NIGHT

It’s three a.m in the morning. I’m sitting on the cold tiles of my bathroom floor. Taking a swig from the alcoholic beverage beside me, I sigh. I clutch the shiny, metallic, razor blade tightly and pressed it to my wrist. A cut here, A cut there. No one will notice, No one will care.


SITI NUR SARAH BINTE ASHRI NOT ME

Tears streamed down my face as I ran towards home. I rushed to hug my mother standing at the front door. “Lily, what’s wrong?” I took out a wedding invitation card. My heart broke for the second time not at my fiance’s name but the unfamiliar name of the bride-to-be that was definitely not me.

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SITI NUR SYARIFAH MOTHER

I can’t stand it anymore. I have always been the best in my year but, Mother just can’t accept it. Mother always expects more. “You’re not there yet,” she says. Knotting the scarf, letting it serenade ny neck like a pair of loving arms. I jumped off the chair then and darkness clouded my eyes.


SNG HUI YING EUNICE NECROPOLIS

In the realm of forgotten Spectres and apparitions Wander among crumbling effigies Fading epitaphs Above cadavers in various stages of decay Hopelessly, fruitlessly yearning and Watching recycled hearts Never saved Time that loses significance Mourning for a better age Grieving for endless lives lost Screaming a silent anthem For humanity’s ignorance Never resting in peace.

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SURESHKUMAR RESHMA 55-WORD ESSAY

55 words to go and I don’t know how to begin. 44... 43... It need not be fictional right? 36...Thinking of ways to start... 30...Are hyphenated-words considered 1 or 2 words??? 23...Still thinking... 20...Are contractions considered 1 word??? -13 more to go9 more words, questions flashing through my mind.... ......Exactly 55...


TAN JUN JIE EXAMINATION FEELS

Loud whispers flows into my ears, quietly stomping my feet as i moves. Walking past everyone, i greet them with a smile without happiness. Looking at people with sad joy faces around, i reflect on my actions. Everyone is equal around me, but some are more equal. I was receiving my results during earlier today.

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TAN XAUN YUN THE ONE WHO DISAPPEARED

He said he missed me. I laughed happily. He said he missed my smile. I smiled for him. He loves me, but I love him more. “Meet at our usual hangout today?� he asked. I agreed. I waited and waited, but he never came. After all, I was just listening to a decade-old voice recorder.


TAN YULE MATTHEW STRANGE LAND

The boat rocks and sways, we are crammed together like tin can sardines. We dip, twist and turn, the sea toying with us like a mischievous child. Fear is the numerous rats that scuttle around our huddled bodies. Light brings land and a dead body. A boy. We are foreign people to a strange land.

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TAN YUNG ZHEN NOT WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE

“The Prophecy must be complete, there is no point trying to evade it. Your greatest ranks have CRUMBLED, your empire is FADING into nothingness, I am the one leading MY forces to VICTORY... Can’t you see, you have been blinded with your power. Such a FOOL, but it ends now...”


TANIA TAN DARK IN THE LIGHT

It was pitch black. I was frightened and all alone. Warm tears started rolling down my cheeks as I screamed without a sound. My footsteps feathery lead as I walked down the stark silent streets carrying the echos of almost forgotten footsteps. Suddenly, I saw a dark light shining bright and knew I had company.

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TARA PHUA FLOWER

He gave me flowers today.But it wasn’t any special day. we had our first fight yesterday. It felt like a traumatizing dream. I woke up with bruises over me. I know he must be sorry because he gave me flowers today.I got flowers today. He gave me chrysanthemum. It was a special day.


TAY CHER VY THE FUTURE

The phone rings, I pick it up. “Hello?” “I’m Elizabeth Heather Jones.” “No, I’M Elizabeth Heather Jones”, I said doubtingly. On the other side of the phone, Elizabeth doodled the wall. “Can you see that?” I looked up, staring at the wall in amazement. ”Trust me I’m the future you.” I wasn’t expecting that.

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THAM DING XUAN A DREAM

I had this weird dream, I dreamt that I was in Taiwan at a night market being alone in the crowd. Walking around, the pungent smell of food invaded my nostrils. As I walked on, I saw my favourite food, fermented beancurd. I went to buy one and ate it and it taste awfully nice.


TRUMAN TAY HAN YEAR OF THE MONKEY

All around me, there were rowdy and mischievous monkeys who were all filled with such effervescence that they couldn’t keep still. Suddenly, a towering titan trudged in with a wide and curly grin. Instantly, it fell so silent that one could hear a pin drop. “Welcome, to the first day of school!” said the titan.

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TUNG SZE LIN HIDE

“Open the door,” a voice demanded. After a slight hesitance, the door swung open. No one was behind it. The man smirked and stepped into the messy home, his shoes leaving marks on the dusty floor. “You can’t hide from me.” Echos. He slammed the door behind him. “Come out. Or I’ll come for you.”


VIJAY & XANTHUS LIEW RIGHTFULLY WRONG MISTAKE

His eyes widened and his jaws dropped. However, this matter was too personal for him to share with any other adult. He thought he should just call the police. He stood there blankly. Thoughts bombarded in his mind. He was clearly confused. He didn’t know how to help his victimized parents from the loan shark.

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WANG JIAYI THE MOST HARDWORKING MAN ON EARTH

No one could be more committed. No one could work that hard. No one can match his focus, his dedication. He could work for endless hours on the writing desk tireless and driven. They say that he would do anything you ask, uncomplaining. The most hardworking man in the world is, in fact, a robot.


YEO WEN HUI ASHLEY A PICTURE

I looked at him, he smiled. I sat beside him, he didn’t move an inch. I complained to him, he said nothing, but smiled. When I say “I miss you my love,” all he did was smiling through the two dimensional piece of paper. I have been, and have always been, talking to a picture.

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YONG CHUN SAN A LONG SLEEP IN PETER’S HOUSE

Yesterday I went to Peter’s house again with Daddy. Daddy likes to say ‘house-peter’, but that’s wrong english. Mummy is so tired, she’s still sleeping. I asked Daddy will Mummy wake up today? Daddy said he hopes so. Then Daddy cried. I told Daddy it’s ok sometimes I feel very sleepy too. Daddy cried harder.


ZAVIER TENG WEI KANG I DID IT

There was once a pugnacious boy, who experienced mal de mer. As he sat down to write a story, he thought to himself, “Can I actually do it?” “Aha!” With the use of vocabulary in mind, he remembered Dictionary.com’s ‘Word of the Day’. At this point, he effortlessly scribbles down his last three words. I did it.

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FEATURE

The Singapore Book Council

The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) is a nonprofit, charitable organisation founded in 1968. The Book Council initiated the Festival of Books and Book Fairs in 1969, and with Reed Exhibitions launched the International Library Expo (ILE) in 1998. Since 1990 the Council has been organising the prestigious Singapore Literature Prize. In January 2006, the Singapore Writers Centre (SWC) was set up with the support of the National Arts Council. SWC has been providing consultation services to aspiring writers by answering their queries on writing and publishing and directing them to the relevant channels. The Book Council has now set its sights on energising publishers, writers and related professionals with the objective of developing Singapore into an International centre for writers and publishers of Asian Content. It promotes storytelling, reading, writing, and publishing through a variety of programmes and festivals, including the Asian Festival of Children’s Content and the All In! Young Writers Festival. NBDCS also presents many annual and biennial awards, including the Singapore Literature Prize and the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award for works published in Singapore; the Scholastic Asian Book Award, and the Scholastic Picture Book Award for unpublished works. Their training arm, the Academy of Literary Arts and Publishing (ALAP), also runs publishing-related and literary arts-focused courses and workshops throughout the year. NBDCS is a recipient of the National Arts Council’s Major Grant. Know more about the Book Council at www.bookcouncil.sg.

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ALL IN! YOUNG WRITERS FESTIVAL 2016

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All In! 55-Word Fiction Competition 2016  

The Book Council held its annual 55-Word Fiction Competition, which is exactly what it sounds like: you write a story that is exactly 55 wor...

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