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Write a story based on this line : "By evening, she was running a high
fever ... "

Far up in the mountains of Canada, there is an old abandoned log cabin. Once it was
occupied by a young couple who wanted to distance themselves from the chaos of
this modern world. Here they were miles away from the nearest town. Bob, the
husband, made the occasional trip into town to buy supplies whereas Jan, his wife,
spent her free time by the fire, sewing. Their life was simply idyllic.

Then, one midwinter's day, Jan woke up from bed with a strange ache in her bones.
Putting it down to overwork, Bob shooed her to bed and made sure she rested.
Though Jan was impatient to get to her chores, Bob soothed her, "Relax, Sugar.
You're overdoing things. All these chores will be here when you recover."

However, Jan seemed to be getting worse instead of recovering. By evening, she


was running a high fever and in greater pain. In spite of his best efforts, Bob could
not manage to ease her suffering. And then suddenly, she started to lapse into
unconsciousness.

It was then obvious that she was seriously ill. What could Bob do? He had no
experience in treating the sick and Jan was getting worse by the minute. He knew
that there was an old doctor in town but he lived three miles away, downhill. Pot-
bellied and obese, there was no way the doctor could make it up to their cabin.

Something had to be done quickly! Bob racked his brains but to no avail. The only
thing left to do was to go to the doctor. In Jan's condition, she could never walk that
far in the waist-deep snow. Bob would have to carry her!

Bob searched his mind for a way to move poor, sick Jan. Then, he remembered. He
had once made a sledge so that they could ride together over the mountain. They
never got around to using it though, because the whole mountain was thickly
covered with rocks and trees. He had never found a safe way down, not even once.

"Well," he thought, "looks like I'm going to have to try it anyhow," as he dug out the
sledge from the storeroom. "Jan may die unless I get her to the doctor, and life
means nothing to me without her." With this thought in mind, Bob gently tucked Jan
into the sledge, got in the front, and with a short prayer for safety, pushed off.

How they got through that ride alive, Bob has never figured out. As trees loomed up
in front of him and just as quickly whizzed by his side, close enough to touch, he felt
relieved that Jan was not awake to experience the ride. It was all he could do not to
scream as collision seemed imminent, time and again, with only inches to spare.

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At last, bursting from the mountainside, the town came into view. Barely slowing
down, they sped through the icy streets, only losing speed as they neared the
doctor's house. The sledge, battered through the journey, collapsed in the left ski as
it came to a halt, spilling out its occupants. Bob picked up his Jan and made his way
into the doctor's house.

After what seemed to be a long winter, Jan recovered fully from her illness but Bob
never recovered from his fright. They moved into the little town so as to be near help
in times of crisis, and have lived there ever since.

idyllic simple and carefree

rack one's brains strain to find a solution

batter to damage as by heavy wear

Write a story using this sentence as your first line : "It seemed like it was
going to be another one of those days when nothing much happens."

It seemed like it was going to be another one of those days when nothing much
happens. Ken and his friends were playing their regular football game along the
banks of the river near their small village. In the midst of the game, Ken's attention
was drawn to a tourist boat passing by.

Actually, tourist boats were quite common in their area. It was also common for some
of the tourists to take potshots at the birds and squirrels along the way. This is why
Ken's friends were not really surprised to hear a few small explosions from the boat.
They ignored the sounds and went on with their game.

However, they were startled when they suddenly heard loud cries for help coming
from the boat. They could see that the crew were running about, panic-stricken.
Some people were shouting to them.

"Their engine must have blown up! Look, there's smoke and the boat's out of control.
It's going towards the rapids," Ken pointed out to his friends.

Ken's village was located at the point at which the tourist boats turned around and
headed back upstream. Three kilometers downstream were the rapids, which spelt

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trouble for the boats.

"It's heading straight for the rapids! They're in trouble! The boat will be smashed
against the rocks!" Ken exclaimed. "Let's get help!"

The boys sprinted back to the village for help. Along the way, they met the village
headman. Stumbling over his words in his haste, Ken explained the emergency to
the headman.

The headman was a man of quick action. Without wasting any time, he yelled out to
some men to help him carry his powerful outboard motor to the jetty. With the motor
tied firmly onto bamboo poles, they rushed hurriedly down to the jetty.

Their haste was indeed necessary for, by the time the men had reached the jetty,
they saw that the boat was dangerously close to the rapids. There was not a moment
to lose! With quick hands, the headman attached the outboard motor to his sampan
and then sped off to the rescue.

Upon reaching the tourist boat with bare minutes to spare, the headman realized his
mistake. How could so many tourists be packed into this small sampan? The
headman was filled with despair. Then he saw the rope that had been used to tie
down the outboard motor to the bamboo poles. It had been flung into the sampan in
his haste. Quickly, he grabbed the rope and flung it to the boatmen on the tourist
boat.

"I'll tow you back!" he shouted.

After the boatmen had tied the rope firmly to their boat, the headman made a swift U-
turn and then, putting the engine on full power, he steered his sampan upstream.
The rope gave a jerk and then, to everyone's relief and joy, the tourist boat moved
forward, obediently following the small sampan.

Loud cheers burst out from the tourist boat and the observers on the shore. Thanks
to the headman's courage, the cooperation from the villagers, and the quick action of
the boys, the tourists were saved from certain death in the rapids.

take potshot a shot which is fired carelessly or with little preparation

sprint to run as fast as you can over a short distance

stumble to act or speak falteringly

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Describe an incident when a moment of forgetfulness got you into trouble.

The morning sun shone persistently on my still-shut eyelids. Annoyed, I rolled on to


the right side of my mattress. Wondering about the time, I stretched out my arm to
grasp the little, round alarm clock on my bedside table. I forced open my eyes,
focused them on the numbers ... and screeched!

Leaping out of my bed, I swung open the wardrobe door. Throwing my school
uniform on the bed, I dashed to the bathroom. Halfway, I spun around and grabbed
my school bag, deciding not to brush my teeth. Soon, I had shoved my feet into my
shoes and pounced onto my bicycle. My parents stood motionless, staring at me
as I whizzed past.

As my bicycle raced on, I noticed a group of schoolgirls looking my way with great
interest. Well, well! Obviously, I was still attractive even with uncombed hair. My
heart was pounding furiously in my chest as I whirred past a few cars on the road.
The drivers seemed to stare with disbelief that one could pedal so swiftly. In no
time, I reached the school gate, which was just about to be closed.

Without bothering to explain myself to the priggish duo on guard duty, I hopped off
my bike and dashed off. After locking my precious iron steed at the shed, I sprinted
to the school hall. As I burst into the hall, I braked to change direction and made a
beeline for the back of my class. Screeching to a halt, I took my place behind my
classmates.

In the whole gathering of students, I seemed to be the centre of attraction. It did not
matter much to me at the moment for I was used to being looked at. However, to
say the least, I was a little surprised when everyone stopped staring blankly at me
and started to giggle.

Suddenly, the whole hall was filled with roars and bellows of laughter. Smiling at my
audience, I decided to take a bow.

Then, I noticed that the bottom half of my trousers were the wrong color. My line of
vision moved upwards, revealing that the rest of my pants were also the wrong
color, and so was my shirt. At first, even my powerful brain could not figure it out.

"Daniel! Why on earth are you in pajamas?" my friend blurted out amidst the

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hollers of laughter.

The feeling of sheer horror swept through my entire frame. My mouth was stuck
open in an "0" shape for a few long seconds. My mind was filled only with shock as
darkness mercifully started to engulf me.

Once again. I awoke with lights playing on my eyelids. At first I had little memory of
what had happened, but one look at the group of people peering down at me
brought the whole incident back to mind. The young boys were all clad in white
uniforms and grinning quite lunatically at me. In. the high corner of the room, I saw
a red crescent. Then the horrible little squirts started to call out for their seniors.
Outside, I heard fresh gales of laughter. The brats were chortling. I was still clad
in pajamas. Not knowing what else to do, I feigned unconsciousness again ...

in no time in a relatively short time

make a beeline for to straight to

gales of laughter a forceful outburst

Imagine a world where nobody gets sick or old. Write a story based in this
fictitious world

It's my birthday today. I have lost count of how many birthdays have passed, but I
still keep my tradition. I climb to the top of the nearby hill, bringing a handful of dirt
with me. I press it into the ground. Then, I sit down to prepare my mind for my next
annual rite: reminding myself of who I am and why I am living.

I made this hill, actually, and I'm still building it up. I started on my tenth birthday.
Now, the hill is large enough for me to ski down each winter. In a world where people
stay young forever, persistence pays.

Persistence was what led Dr Syue Cano to discover the secret of eternal youth. At
the age of eighty-four, he identified the gene that causes humans to age and the
specific radiation that destroys it. No one will know whether he detonated his "Youth"
bomb for the sake of his own immortality or for the sake of the other human beings in
the world. However, his defective heart could not withstand the impact of the blast.
He died the instant the bomb exploded.

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Mankind will always be grateful for the discovery to which Dr Cano dedicated his life.
However, he left the world with one problem: the earth's limited natural resources.
Even with plant growth accelerated by scientific wizardry, food and oxygen were
becoming inadequate for the world population, which only kept booming.

Some subtractions were necessary for the survival of the human species. The only
solution was to remove some of the people by unnatural means, that is, to execute
them. Thus, this was why all crimes were made punishable by execution: murder,
theft, adultery, slander, hoarding of food... the list is very long. This was the only way
to maintain the balance of nature.

That's where I come in. I am an Executioner. I work alone, never considering the risk.
People say I have a death wish. Perhaps I do. Certainly, yesterday's job was no
waltz in the park.

Rob Tao was suspected of stealing and hoarding food. My job was to check this out.
As always, I was to be detective, judge, jury and executioner.

I had enough stealth technology to break into Tao's compound undetected. To get
into the house was also a cinch. My vibra-blade cut through the wall like it was
butter. In the house, my Arometer detected food, lots of it. I went down corridor after
corridor, following the bleeps of light on my Arometer.

The signals went wild outside one closed door. There was a lot of human activity
inside, judging by my HUO sensors. I primed a grenade and opened the door just a
crack -- enough to see whom I would be executing.

Then I deprimed the grenade. Sitting there were thousands of children. Rob Tao
stood amongst them, holding a huge pot of steaming mush. He smiled at me,
seemingly unperturbed.

"You're feeding all these children?" I asked, flabbergasted.

"Yes," he replied quietly.

"How do you get so much food? I'm sure you steal it," I said.

"Yes, I do. Going to execute me?" Still that gentle smile. Sitting here now, on my hill,
I don't understand why I just walked out. I had no excuse for letting him get away
with his crime. It was not my decision to make. Yet... I can't remember what I'm
killing for; can't remember what I'm living for.

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cinch something easy to accomplish

unperturbed free from emotional agitation or nervous tension

flabbergasted to shock someone, usually by telling them something they


were not expecting

Describe your relationship with your father

Every evening, as I am doing my schoolwork in my room, the familiar sound of my


father's car reaches my ears. I imagine his Fort Cortina coming up the driveway, the
engine purring to a stop. I know that in a few moments, my father will be pausing
outside my door, looking in quietly, so as not to stir me from my concentration. I know
he will feel pleased as he watches me studying.

My father, at 53 years, has thinning hair swept back from his forehead. He has a slim
and athletic body. His broad shoulders and rather serious demeanor give him an air
of authority. Yet, behind his steel-rimmed glasses are soft, kind eyes.

My father has always been my source of encouragement. When I was very young,
he would take a book from our small home library and read aloud to me every night.
Secure and loved, on his lap, I was introduced to the fascinating realm of books. He
would read stories and parables from the Bible. Thus, he instilled in me a sense of
God's presence in this world.

I remember how, as he was reading, my father would point out the spelling of words.
Then one day, he instructed me to read the words for myself. To our shared delight, I
found that I was able to do so. From that day onwards, I was the one who would
read aloud, with his gentle correction every now and then. Soon after that, I was
picking up the hooks and reading them on my own. I became quite a bookworm.

As I grew into boyhood, my bookish ways and disinterest in outdoor games made me
overweight, clumsy and rather unfit. One day, my father stood observing me as I was
running to a field, just 50 yards away. I arrived there, huffing and puffing. Worriedly,
he told me that he would not like to see his son grow up into an unhealthy man.

From that day onwards, he started to take me on jogs. At first, I was a most reluctant
jogger. However, these days, as I stand perched on the peak of Mount Kina,
breathing deeply after a good run, I remember his words, "A healthy body breeds a

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healthy mind."

My father has a store of wise sayings which may seem common to some but always
strike the correct note with me. Once, when I was really depressed, he put an arm
around my shoulders and gently asked me what was troubling me. Lifting my bowed
head, I poured out my heart's discontent. After listening, he consoled me. Then he
said, "Smile, and the world around you will smile." Somehow, I was able to smile in
spite of my problems.

At another time, when I was about to give up on a task, he advised me, "If a job
deserves to be done, it deserves to be done well." Somehow, his words gave me the
strength to try again, and I was able to succeed. Since then, whenever I feel
daunted by a task, his advice always comes to mind and this spurs me on to
persevere.

Looking back, I realize that every step of the way, through my childhood and
adolescence, my father has been there for me whenever I needed him. When I was
sick, he would rush me to the doctor. When I was sick at heart, he would know just
the right things to say. In any kind of trouble, I would just have to give him a call. He
would surely be there.

I am only a few years away from adulthood and know that many more challenges lie
ahead of me. However, I can be sure that my father will be there, looking out for me
all the way. Why? Because he loves me.

demeanor The way in which a person behaves

daunt to make someone feel slightly frightened or worried about


their ability to achieve something

spur on to encourage an activity

Describe some of the minor accidents that you have experienced

Accidents are part and parcel of life itself and to say that you have never had a silly
accident in your life would be like saying, "I'm a green-faced alien from Pluto." Well, I
have certainly had my share of ridiculous accidents. Not all of them have changed
my life, but they have certainly made me more aware of my limitations. Yet,
sometimes, remembering those times, I think, "I can't believe I actually did that!"

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There was this incident about five years back. I was at a piano recital. Actually, it was
my debut, and I was shaking with nerves. Finally, the dreaded moment arrived. I sat
at the piano and started playing. Halfway through the first movement, I felt a tickle in
my nose. My fingers were needed on the piano keys so I could not reach tip to rub
my nose. I tried holding my breath... to no avail. I exploded in a huge, sloppy
sneeze that blasted my music sheets right off the piano. Absolutely humiliated, I
dashed off the stage. Nothing could get me out there to face the amused audience.

Then, there was this skating incident which occurred only a year ago. My father had
bought me my first pair of in-line skates. Actually, they were my first pair of skates. I
had never skated before. Well, I confidently put them on and fastened them, not
knowing what was ahead. Standing up, I shoved off. Then, for the first time in years,
I lost all control of my bodily movements. I was waving my arms around, like a
drowning chicken trying to fly out of the water. My legs had no sense of direction,
with my left leg heading north and my right heading south-east. Finally managing to
get upright, I found myself staring the gate right in its metal grille. There was a loud
Crash! Boom! and Bang! Fortunately, all that was injured was my self-confidence,
thanks to my protective pads.

Another accident occurred right in the safety of my home, in the kitchen, actually. My
mother had just bought a microwave oven. On that fateful day, my mother had left
me a plate of fried rice to be reheated for my lunch. On the plate were the usual
accompaniments to the coconut-flavored rice: vegetables, groundnuts, chillied
prawns and a whole hard-boiled egg. I was, of course, still considered a user with "L"
(Learner) plates as far as this oven was concerned. However, warming up food was
not complicated ... or so I thought. Carefully, I placed the plate of food in the
microwave oven, turned the dial to "high" and pressed the lever to start the oven. It
started smoothly. Gleefully, I watched my dish of food turn graceful circles in the
oven. After a few rounds, I opened the oven to take out my warmed-up food. At that
very second, the egg exploded. Boom! It was "Egg yolk keeps falling on my head".
My clothes, my hair, the whole kitchen was covered with egg-yolk and rice that the
force of the explosion threw. There was no lunch for me that day either.

Well, there you have them, some of the grimace-inspiring details of my life. So, am I
clumsy or just low in luck? A little of both, I think.

part and parcel to be a necessary feature of a particular experience

to no avail of no use

grimace A sharp contortion of the face expressive of pain, contempt,


or disgust

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Describe an occasion when you were caught in a rainstorm.

"Argh!" screamed my friend as the water balloon hit her full in the face. She stood in
shock for a moment before charging after me, laughing and yelling out threats.

We were at our annual class party and having the time of our lives. This year, we had
decided on the picnic at the beach. After eating, we had all sorts of games and
competitions. I could not remember when I had last enjoyed myself so much.

However, all good things must come to an end, and as it neared evening, we started
preparing to leave. I was supposed to walk the short distance to my aunt's house
after the party. About halfway there, I remembered that I had left a T-shirt on the
beach. I debated whether or not to return for it as I could see dark clouds heading
my way. However, the shirt was an old favorite of mine and I was so wet from the
water balloons that a little more water would not make a difference.

The beach was now deserted. I looked around for my T-shirt but it was nowhere to
be found. Finally, after minutes of fruitless search, I gave up. The sky was dark, with
thick thunderclouds and it had begun to drizzle. I started heading back.

Then, suddenly, with a loud crash of thunder, the heavens burst and torrents of rain
came pouring down. Holding my backpack over my head in an effort to ward off the
relentless blows of the rain, I scanned the area for a place of refuge.

Finally spotting a tiny shack at a distance, I dashed for it. I reached it at last and
darted in, drenched to the bone and shivering from head to toe. As I shook out my
hair, I mentally kicked myself for getting into this situation.

Wondering when the rain would stop, I stared out at it, dejectedly. As I gazed,
however, my feelings of dejection turned into awe. The black clouds hung low. The
sea was turbulent, with powerful waves crashing onto the shore. On the left, where
jagged boulders stood in the sea, the waves threw themselves on them, sending up
sprays of sea water high into the air. Gust after gust of howling wind blew through
the trees. Lightning streaked across the sky, time and again, lighting up the whole
scene for a split second each time.

I stood transfixed, captivated by the power and violence of the storm. It was
beautiful, scary and magnificent at the same time. I felt I had to be part of it, to be at
one with nature.

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I ran out and stood in the middle of the storm, reveling in the stinging rain and chilling
wind, thrilling to the sounds of the thunder and the crashing waves, and relishing the
magnificence of nature.

drizzle rain in very small light drops

ward off try to prevent

transfix to render motionless, as with a fixed stare or by arousing


terror or awe

Describe the sights and sounds at the end of a long day.

"Cuckoo! Cuckoo!..." the cuckoo clock on the wall of my office called five times.

"Yes!" I shouted in my head. "Time to pack up!".

I straightened my stiff back and neck, the result of hours of hunching over
documents and surveyed the whole noise-polluted room. Andrew was yelling at Mac
for throwing a paper plane at him; Mandy and Lily were chatting animatedly,
undoubtedly about clothes or make-up; Jay and Rayne were chatting up Sarah, the
new clerk, probably trying to get her to go for a drink; and Cynthia was doing the
waltz in her three-inch heels, heading out the door.

With a grunt, I pushed my chair back, heaved myself up, started stuffing things into
my briefcase and my huge handbag. I couldn't wait to get home.

As I stepped out through the glass doors of the air-conditioned building, a blast of
hot, humid air slammed me full in the face, stunning me for a few seconds. Then I
continued towards the bus stop. I groaned
aloud when I saw the hordes of people gathered there and regretted leaving my car
at home. Sigh! I had no choice but to join the crowd.

Buses came and left. Every time it was the same anxious craning to read the bus
number above the heads of the crowd. Then, there was the rushing and jostling as I
tried to force my puny frame through the

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masses of burly men and women. I was ready to perish amidst the petrol fumes and
the stink of stale sweat when I finally managed to squeeze my right foot onto a bus
step. Then, up I went, forced by the
pushing crowd into the packed bus.

Feeling woozy and yet hyped up, I searched for a seat. No way! They were all
definitely occupied. I grabbed hold of a strap and tried to stand firmly Every time the
bus lurched forward, we would all sway
backwards. The bus hurtled on, careening madly round corners, only to stop with a
sudden jolt. I was crushed on all sides, and had my toes trod on several times.

Then, we got caught in a massive traffic jam. Cars, buses and motorcycles around
us kept up a constant honking. The burning rays of the sun stoked up the oven which
our bus had now become. I became nauseous and thought many times about getting
off. Yet, I was too tired to walk home. Inch by inch we moved and one and a half
hours later, I finally arrived at my stop, which, thankfully, was just in front of
my flat. I shoved my way out, my strict upbringing forcing me to mutter a few
insincere "Excuse-me's".

I dragged my body up the flights of stairs to my second-floor flat. I did not even
bother to try the elevator as I knew I would be competing with a crowd of thirty or
more residents. Finally, I reached my door
and, after a little fumbling for my keys, I entered my apartment. With a sigh of
utmost relief, I dropped my briefcase and handbag on the floor, turned on the
television and collapsed on the couch. "All in
a day's work, my girl!" I told myself, and gazed with unseeing eyes at the television.

perish to die

hyped up artificially stimulated or high excited

fumble search blindly and uncertainly

The problem of deforestation.

Thousands and thousands of acres of lush rain forests are cleared each year to
make way for development. The once beautiful and spectacular forests are reduced
to barren landscapes. This is for the sake of development, for the advancement of

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man.

Yet, what happens when trees are felled? Firstly, the earth is left vulnerable to soil
erosion. The heavy tropical rains will carry away the rich topsoil, and the land without
its topsoil will no longer be fertile. Slowly but steadily, the lush vegetation will give
way to wasteland.

Secondly, the flowing water will not only wash away the topsoil but will deposit it in
the rivers. As a result, the rivers will become shallower. Consequently, floods will
become frequent in the area. Thousands of people will suffer in these floods.

Another point to note is that forests are home to hundreds of species of flora and
fauna. Animals and plants live in symbiotic relationships in the balance of nature.
Man destroys this balance when he flattens the forests to the ground. Where do they
go then, the great and tiny inhabitants of these forests? Nowhere. They die. If this
goes on, the food chain will be disrupted. As creatures dependent on the food chain,
man is ultimately destroying his own sources of food through the destruction of rain
forests.

When forests are a distant memory, a shocking fact will hit us full force. Mankind will
be thrown into a state of unimaginable suffering and agony. What I am talking about
is the lack of oxygen. While cutting down a tree to add yet another piece of luxurious
furniture to Man's already opulent lifestyle, people forget that they are also cutting
down our supply of oxygen.

Trees absorb the carbon dioxide breathed out by living creatures, reprocess it and, in
the end, produce the life-sustaining oxygen. Without trees, where will this oxygen
come from? Will we process it in factories? Will a time come when man will be
fighting for the very air he breathes?

Furthermore, the excessive carbon dioxide will also effect a change in the micro-
climate and raise the region's temperature. There will be a greenhouse effect on
earth; warm air and radiation will be trapped under the earth's atmosphere. Then, as
the earth's temperature rises, the ice in the polar caps will melt, raising the sea level.
Great floods will hit the lower-lying areas.

As you can see, it is a vicious cycle. A change in our environment will trigger
offanother change which will trigger off yet another. This is why we. should keep the
balance of nature. This is why we ought to preserve our forests. This is why
environmentalist groups are pressurizing governments to reduce the felling of trees
and the clearing of forests and to be serious about replanting forests.

With the support of ordinary citizens like you and me, they will get the attention of the
people in power. We can also help by planting trees. Members of this beautiful planet
must be united. By preserving our forests, we are preserving ourselves.

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lush abundant

opulent rich, luxurious, affluent

trigger off put in motion

What changes would you like to see in your school ?

If you were to see the number of suggestion slips stuffed into my school's
Suggestion Box, you would be shocked. Granted, some of the suggestions are
rubbish but I do agree with many of them. There are many ways in which my school
could be improved, many weaknesses that need seeing to.

Firstly, and most importantly, teachers in all schools should realize that they are
responsible for their students' future. This is especially true for children from
lessaffluent homes who cannot afford to supplement the school's teaching with extra
tuition. Teachers should not shirk their responsibilities towards their students.

I am emphasizing this point because some teachers do not seem to feel the slightest
obligation to do their job well nor the slightest feeling of guilt when their students fail
in the examinations. In fact, in my school, teachers are sometimes found sipping
coffee or even having a snack in the school canteen when they are supposed to be
in class teaching.

Of course, there are teachers who are truly committed to their job and do deliver the
goods. They stay up late into the night to finish correcting their students' work and to
prepare effective lessons for their students. Some teachers will even devote
Saturday mornings to conducting extra-curricular activities, such as the Scouts
movement. Now, if only all teachers were like this!

Furthermore, wouldn't the school be a much better place to spend our adolescence if
we did not have to cope with teachers who vent their foul moods on us? We should
not have to walk on eggshells because our teacher has had a bad day.

Another aspect of the school that needs changing is the set of school rules. Some
are so irrational or petty! Take, for example, the rule on short hair for boys. What is
the rationale behind this? Do the people in authority believe that everyone with long
hair will turn out to be a thug or a villain? Well, look at Hitler: he had very short hair
and he almost caused the extinction of the entire Jewish race!

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On the other hand, punishments for serious acts of indiscipline should be made more
effective, even if they have to be harsher. These days, students may get away with
only a warning or a "booking" for offences such as breaking the school's tables,
chairs and even doors. I strongly feel that these vandals should be made to pay for
what they have destroyed.

Furthermore, I feel that criminal action should be taken against students who beat
people up, or threaten to do so, to extort money from them. If you behave like a
criminal, you should be treated like one.

Another area that needs reform is the school curriculum. One major problem is the
subject called "Moral Education". You just cannot learn good morals the way you
learn any other academic subject, memorizing facts for examinations. Good morals
have to be internalized. So, "Moral Education" should either be taken off the school
curriculum after primary school or changed to emphasize practical application rather
than "head knowledge".

Our school hours take up a large portion of our day. Let us spend these hours
usefully, in a secure, caring, fun-filled atmosphere. Our school years take up a large
proportion of our lives. This is the time that we are molded, intellectually and morally.
Help us to grow into worthy citizens of our nation.

affluent having a lot of money

walk on eggshells being careful not to offend someone or do anything wrong

extort to obtain something by force or threat

What occupation do you see yourself in after you have completed your
schooling ? What are you going to do to achieve this ambition ?

I climb into the cockpit and sit myself down on the metal seat of the F-16 "Falcon",
one of the best supersonic planes ever invented. I run a routine check on all the
aircraft's dials and gauges as well as the weapon systems through the heads-up
display.

The sergeant gives me the thumbs-up sign from the far run way, indicating that all
the external parts of the plane are in order and functioning well. I return the gesture

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to indicate that all internal systems are working well and that I will be taking off.

I flick the start button and feel the soft vibration begin. I hear the hum of pure power.
Pushing the throttle to three quarters, I feel the acceleration of the plane taxiing off
the runway and into the air ... .

I have always aspired to be a fighter pilot. My dream began when I was about seven
years old. One day, my uncle took me for a ride in his private plane. It was a
momentous experience for me! Soaring freely in the sky, high above the rest of
civilization, I knew that I would never want to do anything as much as I wanted to fly.

As I grew older, I began to read books on aviation and air adventures. I was
especially fascinated with accounts of air battles. Biggles was my hero above all
other heroes. Thus, my ambition narrowed from just wanting to fly a plane to
becoming a fighter pilot. The thought of scudding through the sky with the ability to
defy gravity with a multi-million dollar piece of machinery and patriotic fervor excited
my soul.

The requirements for fighter pilot candidates are many and difficult to fulfill. Among
them are academic excellence, perfect eyesight, a fit body, quick reflexes and the
ability to stay cool under pressure. Well, I have never been the kind of person to
leave things to chance: I am constantly aware of the need to work towards my goals.

Thus, throughout my childhood years, into adolescence and up till now, I have
always made time for exercise. I play games regularly, run ten kilometers a day and
work out in the gym at least three times a week. It is crucial for a fighter pilot to be
fighting fit. He must be able to withstand the high and low g's when piloting a jet at
high speed.

I have always been conscious of the need to preserve the perfect eyesight that God
has blessed me with. So, I have always curtailed my hours of television-viewing.
When I do watch television, I make sure I sit a good four meters away from the
screen. I have always been careful to read only in well-lit areas. In addition, I watch
my diet, eating food rich in vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes.

In school, I never stint on my study times. I made sure I qualified for the science
stream in High School, as a pilot must have a good understanding of physics and
mathematics. My hard work has paid off and I have been topping the class in these
subjects. I have just sat for the O levels. The results will not be out for months but I
feel confident that I have done well. Next year, I plan to do my A levels. And after
that, I shall enlist in the US Air Force.

There is not much longer to wait. My dream is almost within my grasp. I pray with
all my heart that it will become a reality and not remain just another of my boyish
fantasies.

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taxi to move slowly on the ground

scud to move quickly and without stopping in a straight line

within one's grasp the ability to achieve

It is better to be the eldest child than the youngest one in the family. "Write
a debate speech, proposing or opposing this motion.

"Mr. Chairman, honorable judges, misguided members of the opposition, and


members of the floor: Good day to all.

"Standing here today on this breezy morning as the third speaker for the proposition,
I wish to continue where my team-mates left off to correct the misleading information
presented by the opposition.

"For instance, the second member of the opposition claimed that the youngest child
will be treated more leniently than the others. Now, is this an advantage? By being
treated too leniently, the child might think that his misbehavior is perfectly
acceptable. Ever heard of the expression "Spare the rod and spoil the child"? It is
true. Without strict and loving discipline, a beloved child might end up being the
black sheep of the family. Now, the opposition contends that it is an advantage to be
spoilt in this way. How can this be?

"The opposition has also pointed out that the youngest child is usually more
pampered. I agree. But, again, is this good? It is indeed enjoyable to be fussed over,
pampered and mollycoddled but what will this pampered child grow into? It is a
maxim that too much or too little is no good: Once a pampered child grows up, he
will be overly dependent on others, in other words, spineless. Would you like to be
this spineless adult? I leave you to decide.

"Ladies and gentlemen, having straightened out a few delusions of the opposition, I
shall present my own points. One of the advantages of being an eldest child is that
he is used to being respected and obeyed by his siblings. This is because they know
he is wiser and more experienced. This is a good feeling and it creates high self-
esteem. This self-esteem will motivate him to succeed in every aspect of life.

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"Undeniably, the eldest child will shoulder more responsibilities. He will often be left
in charge of the younger ones. The eldest child is also cast as a role model for the
younger ones. Thus, he has to try harder to maintain discipline and a high standard
of behavior.

"The eldest child, having to cope with his siblings' antics, will also develop patience.
He may have to give in to his siblings because `they are too young to understand'.
Thus, he develops tolerance and understanding of other people's weaknesses.

"All these points were described as 'disadvantages' by the opposition. They are only
disadvantageous if you are unable to see the long-term benefits. You see, these
momentarily trying circumstances will shape the child and prepare him for the
challenges that lie ahead.

According to a survey conducted by the Home Ministry, an average of 3 out of 5


successful people -- corporate leaders, lawyers, politicians -- were the eldest
children in their families.

"On to my next point, which centers on the word 'privileges'. In most cases, the
eldest child will inherit the greater share of the wealth. According to Chinese custom,
the eldest son carries on the family name, therefore he deserves a larger share of
the property. In monarchies, the eldest child is the heir to the throne, as in the case
of Prince Charles. If you think that the eldest child is only privileged if he belongs to
a wealthy family, you are wrong. The distinction is even sharper in poor families
where the eldest child may be the only one whom the family can afford to educate or
feed properly.

"So, there you have it. Clear arguments to demolish the opposition to this motion.
And now I hand over to my opponents, to give the sensible ones amongst them a
chance to start defecting over to our side. Thank you."

mollycoddle to give too much care or protection

antics amusing, silly or strange behavior

sensible having an awareness or understanding of a situation

Should our school examination system be abolished ? Give reasons for


your stand.

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From primary school to the end of their tertiary education, students face the daunting
task of preparing for examinations every single year. So much time and emotion is
poured into preparing for examinations.

Advocates of the system contend that annual examinations are a good way of
training children for the stress of life after school - where deadlines and sales quotas
need to be met, and work completed methodically and with minimum fuss.

Government examinations are also said to be the necessary yardstick for measuring
the capability of each person for further education or employment.

Yet, are examinations an accurate yardstick? A person's true abilities may not be
shown by written examinations. Take Winston Churchill, for example. He was a
school dropout and yet he became one of England's greatest statesmen, a national
savior in World War II. Clearly, some talents and forms of ingenuity go undetected in
examinations.

Another problem related to our system of examinations is that teachers become too
"exam-orientated". They race through the syllabus so that they can cover everything
in it in time for the examinations regardless of whether their students have
understood the material. The weaker students often end up the victims in this race --
they are left far behind the rest of the class. They become more and more
discouraged as they understand less and less of the lessons, to the point that they
hardly care if they pass or fail. Sadly, this attitude will be carried with them into adult
life.

What about the "swots"? Well, speaking as one, I confess that I often wonder
whether it is worth it. We rush from one tuition class to another and we spend most
of our time studying for tests and examinations, or doing our homework. All through
the school semester, we only have one thought in mind: to excel in the examinations.
Is this really living?

A related point is that some students are so occupied with their studies that they do
not develop their potential in other fields. It is true that there are many clubs and
societies in the school. However, many students just do not have the time to make
full use of these extracurricular activities. They have to study, study, study. So, our
emphasis on examinations is indirectly producing people who are only trained to
study and reproduce facts rather than well-rounded individuals.

In conclusion, while I realize that it will be impossible to do away with all


examinations, I feel that they should be given less importance within the school
system. For example, instead of basing entry qualifications on one examination,
students should also be evaluated through the cumulative marks of tests and
assignments. Furthermore educationists, employers, parents and the students
themselves should always be reminded that the results of examinations are not
equal to the sum of the net worth of the individual.

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advocate person supporting an idea or cause publicly

ingenuity someone's ability to think of clever new ways of doing


something

well-rounded involving or having experience in a wide range of ideas or


activities

"Cleaning toilets should be part of the school curriculum." Do you agree ?

About two months ago, our Education Minister brought up the subject of school
toilets. He suggested that cleaning these toilets should be part of the school
curriculum. The public reaction to this issue was so strong that people have been
flooding the mass media with opinions for and against his suggestion.

One of the reasons the Education Minister gave for his proposal was that cleaning
toilets will teach students humility and respect for others. Firstly, the students will be
able to understand the humility of the school workers when they have to clear up
other people's messes in the toilets. This job is looked down upon and considered
one of the lowest. "They will also be able to respect the cleaners because he is able
to do the necessary job, regardless of the low status it accords him. Another
advantage of this proposal is that the students will try to keep the toilets cleaner as
their friends will be the ones forced to clean up any mess they create.

On the other hand, there are countless reasons for me to be apprehensive about
this proposal for making toilet cleaning part of the school curriculum. Firstly, which
student in his right mind would be happy about having to clean a toilet? Most school
toilets are dark, dirty and smelly. Cleaning them will be most unpleasant.

Furthermore, a spell of cleaning toilets will certainly be a blow to their ego. Of


course, in a wholly girls' or boys' school it would not be so humiliating. However, if it
were a co-ed school, the male ego would certainly suffer a lot of pain. Imagine girls
laughing and teasing a guy who is forced to clean toilets. Some egoistic guy will
create havoc in retaliation!

Then, there is the consideration that most students are playful, anyway. Imagine
them expressing their playful nature in the toilets. Other than the fact that excessive
water is sure to be splashed all over the place, the students may slip and fall in

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theirmerriment. More ill-behaved ones may even purposely push each other into the
toilet bowls.

One other possibility that cannot be excluded is that students may be so turned off at
the thought of toilet cleaning that they may decide to skip school on the days that it is
their turn to learn this skill. Thus, the teachers of other subjects may find it hard to
complete the syllabus, due to the rise in absenteeism.

In conclusion, I feel that the Ministry of Education should really ponder on this issue
carefully. Frankly, I do not agree at all that cleaning toilets should be part of the
school curriculum. Actually, jobs like toilet cleaning make one think of prison camps,
where the inmates are forced to do humiliating chores. School is supposed to be a
place where young people can imbibe knowledge and good values in a pleasant,
enjoyable atmosphere. It is important that young people actually like to come to
school.

apprehensive feeling anxious about something that you are going to do

merriment having enjoyable time together

ponder to think carefully about something, especially for a


noticeable length of time

Write a debate speech in support of advertisements.

"Mr. Chairman, honorable judges, my most worthy opponents and everyone else
present here today. Good afternoon. Before I begin on my main points, I would like to
express my disagreement with one of the points expressed by the proposition team.

"The second speaker for the proposition said that advertisements cause people to
keep buying low-quality goods. Now, I feel that people generally are not so naive.
Even the members of the proposition team have been able to note the various tricks
and so-called brain washing maneuver. So, the tricks haven't worked, have they?
Actually, few of the usual purchases that we buy are heavily advertised on television
or anywhere else for that matter. For example, do you choose the most highly
advertised tissue paper or toilet paper? At most, we would try a much advertised
product only because it was something new. Take the Cherry Coke advertisements.
Its advertising mode probably fits all the descriptions made by the proposition team
member. However, how many of us were so influenced by these advertisements that
he or she has started to drink the beverage weekly, or even monthly?

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"Now for my first point, I would like to state the benefits of advertisements from the
economic side. Advertisements can help companies to introduce their latest products
to the market. If the companies are not able to inform the public about their new
products, they will not have the confidence to try to produce it. It is undeniable that
advertisements play a crucial role in increasing a company's sales. This may sound
capitalistic, but we must remember the importance of these factories to the nation.
With the increase in sales, the company can afford to give better pay to the workers
and offer more jobs.

"Now, another point is that it is only with proper circulation of the products made
possible by advertising that the companies are able to mass-produce their products.
Mass production is more economical and allows the producers to lower the price of
these goods! As a result, consumers can purchase these goods at reasonable
prices. As you can see, millions of consumers benefit because of advertisements.

"Thirdly, industries can also greatly contribute to the expansion of a company from
regional to international status. Let me give a real example. One man started a small
and humble cottage industry of jeans-making. Because of its increasing popularity
through advertising, this industry gradually weaved its way into the market until it
started to prosper. From a cottage industry, this industry grew into an international
company known by both the young and old. The name of this brand of jeans is none
other than Levi's. This company was able to grow due to advertisements, creating
job opportunities for millions of people, not only in America but also in Levi's factories
in Indonesia, the Philippines and other third world countries.

"Fourthly, advertisements of the latest technology and inventions are also beneficial
for the consumers, for it means they can find the right kind of product for themselves
easily and quickly. Here is another real-life case. My grandmother used to have too
many lizards crawling around her house and she is paranoid about them. Then, one
day, she saw the advertisement for a lizard spray that can paralyze lizards
temporarily. End of lizard problem. How could my dear grandma have found out
about such a strange but useful product without advertisements? Jokes aside,
through reading the advertisements in newspapers or magazines, many people find
just the product required to take care of their particular problem. Estate managers
can find out about the right fertilizer or pesticide; computer owners can find the best
software; doctors can find out about the latest medications. Imagine all the bother
one must go through to find out the product one needs amongst the rapidly
expanding array of products and inventions available, without advertisements. Why,
one would have to phone just about every shop in town! Nowadays, we can just flip
open a newspaper or even the Yellow Pages. See how advertisements have been
such a blessing!

"I rest my case. Thank you."

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humble not proud

weave to go or make a path by moving quickly and changing


direction often, especially to avoid hitting things

paranoid feeling extremely anxious

Write a speech for an elocution contest entitled " Should men be


househusbands ?"

"I would like to share my thoughts with you on a subject that has always been close
to my heart, that is, whether men should be house-husbands. You see, as a member
of the male sex I feel guilty. I feel that man has always dominated, or should I say,
bullied, the fairer sex. Women have long been downtrodden and forced to mind the
house.

"There was a very good reason for this in ancient times. Eking out a living then
consisted mainly of running around with a club or spear, hunting deer, moose, or
dinosaurs. However, now that we're approaching the year 2000, there has been a
vast change. Bringing home the bacon in modern times needs intelligence and
sensible thinking. And, as we all know, women can and do think as sensibly and
intelligently as men.

"Thus, more and more women now qualify as doctors, lawyers and scientists. So,
then, who will stay at home to take care of the children? Usually in cases where the
mother works, the children are left in daycare centers. This is not healthy. Children
need parental care. So, what often happens is that the wife has to quit her job. Is this
fair? Not really. The men should be given the duty to mind the house occasionally,
especially when the wife has better qualifications.

"Some people doubt that a man can manage a household. You see, the women have
been doing it for centuries. People have thus come to the conclusion that it is the
woman's duty to mind the home and it shall be her role forever.

"Actually, men are perfectly capable of performing domestic chores and minding
children. And, as fathers, men can give the affection and care that the children need.
And that's what really counts.

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"Personally, if my wife insists on being the breadwinner, I will be relieved of the


stress of running in the rat race. I could even play golf every morning while the kids
are at school. What's so bad about that? So, let's give the women the chance to
work at those jobs that they've always wanted, while we men opt for more 'relaxed'
lifestyles. And, who knows, perhaps the country would be run better. After all, looking
at the current state of the world, what with wars, famines and nuclear weapons,
perhaps we men should just stay at home to mind the house and let the women run
the world!"

downtrodden badly and unfairly treated

bring home the


to earn money for a family to live on
bacon

the rat race a way of life in modern society, characterized by people


competing with each other for power and money

"Friends should never hide anything from each other." Do you agree ?

No man is an island. Everyone depends on his friends to a certain extent. Ever since
man formed a system of verbal communication, all people have been in constant
chatter with one another. Relationships are important to man, so much that people
may shape their entire lifestyles simply to find favor with their clique or circle of
friends. Therefore, much caution must be applied when dealing with our friends,
especially in our speech. So then, must we always tell our friends the whole truth
and nothing but the truth or is it sometimes simply none of their business?

One thing is clear: finding out that your friend has lied to you always hurts. In cases
where lies have been told to hurt you or other parties on purpose, the friendship will
never be the same. If the lie caused you great damage, the friendship will not be
salvageable. Who would want a treacherous person for a friend? Yet, even when
the matter is not of great importance, little lies can lead to the spoiling of
relationships. I have a friend who often tells little untruths. Sometimes, he
exaggerates circumstances a little, just to impress others, sometimes he tells half-
truths to get out of trouble, sometimes, he makes up stories just to entertain his
friends. Personally, I just do not feel comfortable with him. You see, I just never know

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whether he is telling the truth or one more of his little lies.

Apart from the question of maintaining credibility, sharing one's problems and joys
with a friend can also be helpful as we deal with the problems of daily living. As the
saying goes, shared joy is double the joy and shared sorrow is half the sorrow.
Sharing the good times can brighten up a friend's day if he feels down. Sharing one's
problems and despairs with a friend will bring forth the encouragement and advice
we need to hear. Sometimes simply having an ear to hear our heart's cries and
knowing that someone understands us will make us feel better. People have been
saved from suicide just by having a friend to listen to their troubles.

It is clear, then, that some things need to be said to our friends without any twisting
of the truth. However, there are times when telling a friend too much can also lead to
problems. An all-too-common example of such a time is when one hears rumors.
Gossip can start simply because someone thought a rumor was true and shared all
her thoughts on the rumor with a friend. The friend, who actually had no real
knowledge of the matter, passed all her thoughts and ideas to another friend and so
on and so forth. The final result can be a mangled product which could really hurt the
parties involved. The thing to do about rumors is not to spread them, even if you
have strong opinions, about them.

Another noteworthy fact is that sometimes, telling the truth may be worse than
saying nothing. If an ugly girl with an inferiority complex were to ask you if she was
unattractive, it would be a very bad idea to tell her just how unattractive she was.
One must use his discretion in such situations, stressing on her good qualities, of
course. Telling the whole truth in this case would destroy her remaining shreds of
confidence.

In conclusion, I feel that friends, even the closest of friends, need not tell each other
everything they know or feel. Some matters, of course, should be discussed with
friends, while some others should be hidden. We have to balance our love for truth
with the practicalities of the situation. Not being perfect, we are bound to make
mistakes, of course. So, one must then be prepared to make up with our friends,
apologizing for our verbal blunders and forgiving them for theirs. Well, that's what
friendship is really about -- accepting people for what they are, imperfections and all.

clique a small group of people who spend their time together

treacherous extremely dangerous

noteworthy deserving attention because important or interesting

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"The Golden Age of Youth". How true is this description of your life as a
youth ?

"The Golden Age of Youth"? Who coined up that expression? I am certainly not
experiencing "golden" days in my life as a youth. Furthermore, many of my friends'
complaints seem to attest that their experiences of youth roughly match up with
mine, that is, life as a youth is tough!

Firstly, being young automatically means that I have limited knowledge and no job
skills, which means that no one will employ me for any worthwhile job. This means,
clearly and simply, "No Independent Income". Now, it is undeniable that without
money, you become severely limited in your options. You cannot buy anything, go
anywhere or do anything. Obviously, this is a problem for me.

Unable to function without cash, I have to rely on my parents financially. Unable to


buy a car, I have to rely on them for transport. Unable to buy a house, I have to rely
on them for accommodation. This means, theoretically, that my parents are my
Supreme Commanders. When they tell me to jump, I have to jump. In such a
situation, I am deprived of the vital human right that caused the American Civil War -
Freedom.

Secondly, as long as you are not too old or too ill to walk, people will always be
measuring you by your achievements. This is especially true for people in their
youth. Parents, teachers, society and the government love to gauge us
scholastically, physically, socially, morally and in whatever means they can think of.
Thus, school examinations become so important that many of us will study hours on
end to perform well in them.

Actually the pressure on us to perform well at all times is great. The pressure from
our family gets stronger the older we grow. Since we started schooling, our parents
have been comparing our test results with those of the children of their friends', who
happen to be equally goal-orientated parents. In fact, since we were born, our
parents have been comparing the ages at which we first started talking or walking,
our kiddy IQ test results and such other traps for vainglory. If I were a piece of
chicken, I'd consider myself "Kentucky Fried", not because I was "spicy" or "original"
but because I have been chopped into pieces, tenderized, pressure-cooked and
well-fried.

Then, there is the question of romance. Practically speaking, youth is the worst time
to get romantically attached, because, as was earlier explained, we lack the time

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and money to maintain a special boy-girl relationship.

Yet, during our youth, we are at our peak; physically, we are at our most attractive.
Furthermore, our hormones are swinging about wildly as we mature sexually.
Unfortunately, this causes us to be more prone to getting involved in romantic
relationships, which leads to heartache and causes us to perform badly in our
examinations. I think that the government should have chosen a better time to set all
the major examinations than at this time, don't you?

So, youth is a traumatic time. It is definitely not "golden". In my opinion, the idea of
"The Golden Age of Youth" must have been an illusion dreamt up by fools. Perhaps
we should call it the "Iron Pyrite (Fool's Gold) Age of Youth".

on end Continuously, without interruption

vainglory Boastful, unwarranted pride in one's accomplishments or


qualities

traumatic An emotional wound or shock that creates substantial,


lasting damage to the psychological development of a
person

What qualities would you look for in a future wife or husband ?

Along the road from cradle to grave many of us get married. This in itself can cause
more emotional disturbance than all the other events of our lives combined. Many
factors make the difference between marital bliss and having "an old ball-and-chain"
but the most important factor is probably whom we choose to marry. That is why I
often meditate on the qualities I would seek in my future wife.

To be honest, the first thing I notice when I meet a girl is whether she is pretty or not.
Long lashes and sparkling eyes do not cause someone to "fall in love at first sight",
of course, but few people go round seeking ugly mates. I am no different.

Of course, I would also prefer to have a wife who is intelligent. Some men have the
stereotyped "dumb blonde" image of a perfect woman. However, I know my life will
be enriched by having an intellectually stimulating partner to share my thoughts with,
and to offer fresh insights to old situations. More importantly, a husband and wife
should be intellectually matched so that they can understand each other.

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Sports and games and other recreational activities are fun and foster closer ties.
Who better to enjoy sports with than my wife? This will draw us even closer together.
A wife should, after all, be a true friend whom I can have fun with and want to spend
my leisure activities with. So, my ideal mate will be someone who participates in the
games and sports I like or at least, be willing to learn them.

Often, quarrels between husband and wife concern other family members. Your wife
may be perfect but her parents may be irritating beyond comprehension. There was,
for example, an incident in City Center where one man's mother-in-law came to stay.
One day, she cooked and ate his pet dog for dinner! So, I always say that one's
future in-laws should always be checked carefully before one makes decisions about
marriage.

If you are dead tired after a long, frustrating day at work, a loving wife who comforts
you and listens to your problems can really make a difference. So I would say, a
sympathetic, caring kind of woman is the only one with whom I would make any
commitments for marriage.

Commitment is very important on her part, too. If a girl isn't prepared to be faithful to
you but she marries you anyway, chances are she's going to run away and leave you
one day, for your best friend, perhaps.

I realize that I have listed a whole string of qualifications for my future wife. Well, if I
can find all these qualities in one woman, I will really consider her The Ideal Wife.
However, chances are, with a girl like that, everyone else will be trying to win her
hand, too. So, I'll be in for a tough time! Furthermore, as the proverb goes, "The best
laid plans of mice and men can fail". More than likely, I will meet a girl one day, fall in
love and get married. And even though she might not be perfect, I'll love her, and,
through the years, that might just be enough.

bliss perfect happiness

meditate to think seriously about something for a long time

foster to encourage the development or growth of ideas or


feelings

Write a composition entitled: How I know my mother loves me.

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When I was very young, I was a sickly child. In fact, I had to spend most of my life
away from school and in bed. Not surprisingly, I was miserable. I fretted a lot and
constantly demanded my mother's attention. I was a spoiled brat.

During the day, I would demand that my favorite delicacies be served to me and that
my favorite stories be read to me. At odd hours of the night, I would ask for a hot
drink or a cookie, or just some company.

"Mummy, stay with me!" was my constant whine.

Not once was that demand refused. Not once did my mother groan or grumble. She
answered every unreasonable demand of mine with unfailing patience. My mother
would put everything aside to comfort me.

My world was very small then. There was just me and Mummy. My world consisted
of the feel of her cool palms soothing my brow and her floral scent as she leaned
over me to tuck in my blanket. I remember her low voice, hushing me as I fretted
about the pains in my joints. Most of all, I remember the look in her eyes, of deep
concern for her sick child. That was how I knew my mother loved me then.

Miraculously, I have outgrown my childhood ailments. Now that I am on the


threshold of adulthood, my world has grown to include many exciting friends. Set
free from the prison of the sickbed, I revel in the fun that the world has to offer.

My relationship with my mother has suffered from my wild pursuit of fun. She
criticizes my choice of friends and tries to enforce rules and regulations to curb my
activities.

Two nights ago, I stayed out way, way past my "curfew" hour, which is eleven
o'clock. It was almost 1 a.m. when I reached my house. To make matters worse, I
had been unable to call home to inform my mother that I would be delayed. There
were no phones where we were "hanging out". I knew that I was in for it!

My mother flung open the door the minute she heard my friend's car pull in. Her face
was red, sweat was pouring down her temples. My friends made a quick exit as she
ranted at me, her arms waving wildly. I didn't say a word, in case one of those hands
should find its mark on my face. I was ordered straight to bed.

As I got into bed, she stood in my room, still ranting at me for my disobedience and
"wild behavior". I was tired. I just wanted to sleep. I looked up at her face to try to
gauge if her scolding would be continuing much longer.

Then I saw something familiar about the look in her eyes. It was the same look of
concern that she had always had when I was so sick. I saw in her eyes all the fears
that she had suffered that night as she waited for her daughter to return safely.

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This is how I know my mother loves me now.

fret to be anxious or worried

spoiled brat A spoiled brat is a child whose parents or other educators


systematically fail to teach socially acceptable behavior
and discipline.

in for it certain to encounter trouble or punishment

Thank you
and good luck
for your
examinations.

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