Y o u n g
A u t h o r
A n t h o l o g i e s
C l u b V o l . 1
PenPal in Peri
r the es & O Stori
a T l n e s a i s A .... . . . . . .
man Bte Said i I l u r u N Age 16 Hougang Secondary School I wrote â€˜PenPal in Perilâ€™ when I was eleven years old and studying in Ang Mo Kio Primary School. While reading about the devastating tsunami, a photograph in the newspaper caught my attention. It depicted two beaming girls with muddied faces, their arms around each other, standing in front a house that had a boat crashed into it. Their smiles were captivating despite the destruction around them. I wrote this story in memory of these two smiling girls. My mother was my biggest inspiration behind my story. And she still inspires me to believe in myself and to pursue my writing. She introduced me to my favourite author, Roald Dahl, at a very young age. I still delight in his witty stories and sense of humour. Anthony Horowitz is another author I love reading as his mysteries are captivating and full of suspense. I am 16 years old now, studying in Hougang Secondary School. I hope to continue writing stories in the future. I would like to be a journalist, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and of course, writing about them.
PenPal in Peril By Nurul Iiman Bte Said
CHAPTER ONE: LOSING MY MIND
stared at the airmail envelope I had just received. My heart was racing. Not many people sent me letters by airmail. I knew of only one and I hadn’t heard from her for a long time. It had to be something very important. The envelope had the familiar stamp from Aceh on the top right hand corner but the handwriting was different, a bit crude. Even my name was spelt wrong. There were mud stains on it and the ink was blotched. Without a moment’s hesitation, I proceeded to tear open the envelope. The letter was written in halting English. “Dear Maron, You hef to help Sunti, my sister. She sik. She loose her mind. Our Mather lost in tsunami. Sunti no talk. Please help. Haiz.” Sunti was my pen pal from Aceh. We started writing to each other when we were nine years old and over the years, had shared many secrets. She wrote in English and Bahasa Indonesian and I wrote in English and Malay. I knew that she had a brother who was two years younger than her and the family lived by the sea as her father was a 11
fisherman. Without fail, I received a letter from her every month and I had got the last one just before my 12th birthday. There was silence after that. I wondered what had happened. Then I heard about the tsunami while I was in Kuala Lumpur with my family. My mind went blank with fear for a moment when I saw the news. The tsunami had struck very close to Sunti’s home! Could the sudden silence and lack of letters mean that the tsunami had swallowed her up? But Sunti’s village was not mentioned in the list of affected areas in the news. I kept praying that her village had been spared and remained anxious for weeks that followed. What could have happened to the family? Had they been separated? Now I knew for certain. At least she was safe although she was not herself. Tears fell on the letter I was clutching in my hand. I couldn’t imagine what Sunti must be going through. She had lost her mother and was also losing her mind. “Please help!” Haiz had written. The words kept repeating over and over in my mind. “No!” my mother said firmly when I pleaded with her to let me go to Aceh and help Sunti. “Mom, this is really important! Sunti has lost her mind! She has lost her mind!” I cried. My mother shook her head. “No Marion, dear, I believe you have lost your mind. Surely you don’t expect me to allow my twelve-year-old daughter to wander the streets of Indonesia by herself!” It seemed like she did not care about Sunti. Even when I asked my father, he just grunted and fell silent. They didn’t know her as I did and kept reassuring me that she would be all right. I was certain that she needed my help. So I made up my mind to go to Indonesia alone and to find Sunti without my parents’ knowledge.
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ourney to Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia through the eyes of Singapore’s very own young authors. Their stories explore mature themes like belonging, identity, loss, resilience, courage, love, family and friendship. The tales in this anthology are sure to amuse and delight and may even make you shed a few tears!
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Stories written by students from all over Singapore, from a roster of winners from the Young Author Awards and the varied writing courses fr...