My Skiing Experience

Have you ever seen snow before? Well, as for me, I have never experienced snow until I came to the United States. I was exceptionally excited when my father announced that he was going to drive us to Lake Tahoe. It is winter, and the mountains are capped with snow. Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for snow activities.

Before we left for the ski resort, I planned to take the two hour beginners ski lesson that my mother signed up for us and spend most of the day playing with snow. My mother told us that snow was soft and powdery, unlike ice.

Just at that moment, I remembered the skiing advertisements I saw on television- those skiers sped down high mountains amongst rocks. I shivered. I asked my father if the slopes that we were going to were as steep. He reassured me that the beginner slopes were gentle and easy to ski down.

After three hours of driving, we reached Boreal skiing resort. The weather was extremely cold, so I put on five layers of clothing before leaving for the registration counter. We rented ski boots, skis and ski poles. The boots have to be tight enough to not allow any movement, and the skis and ski poles have to be adjusted according to my weight and height. The boots were especially heavy, so trying to walk in them was difficult and made me feel like a robot.

The ski fields outside wasn’t quite what I had expected. It was as compact as ice, not soft and fluffy like what my mother said. Our ski instructor introduced herself as Darcy and she led us to one end of the ski resort. She said that the snow was 50% man-made and 50% natural, so it’s more like ice than snow. She started with safety rules and then the way to put on a ski. She brought us to a short and gentle slope and showed us how to climb up the slope sideways like a crab. This is easier said than done. Before I reached the top, I slid down again, going backwards. It was a really scary experience, as I scarcely managed to keep my balance. Luckily, at the second try, I succeeded. Next, she taught us how to brake by pushing the back of your feet out We then tried to go down the slope. I felt thrilled! I could control the ski to where I wanted to go! My brother and I learnt quickly, but my father kept on falling down.

Soon, one hour and forty-five minutes flew by. Darcy took us to the ski lift station that brought us up to top of the first level slope. I was stunned. This slope was five stories tall! My brother and I let my father go first, as we edged forward slowly. Just then, both of us slipped and suddenly started skiing down. My brother started going down at a tremendous speed. I cautiously braked a little, and went down the slope slowly. At one point, I lost control and went down extremely fast. Everything was like a blur and I felt the rush of wind against my face. As my speed picked up, I felt adrenaline racing through my heart. I braked as much as I could, and came to a stop at the end. I felt a sense of achievement-I skied down a five storey slope without falling down! I turned around, only to see my brother and father sprawled in the snow, after they fell down. I immediately wanted to try again, and went up a second time with my brother. This time, I felt better control with my skis. My brother got the hang of skiing on his third try and we went up multiple times. Meanwhile, my father kept falling down on the slope.

After lunch, we all continued skiing. My brother and I continued skiing while my father continued practicing. After my brother and I skied five more times ourselves, my father joined us after practicing. This time, he didn’t even fall down! We discovered another face of the beginners slope. After another two hours of practice, I could finally ski down one of them without braking at all!

Sadly, at four thirty, the station for the beginner slope closed for the day, forcing us to either stop or ski down the intermediate slope. The intermediate slope was much more intimidating-there were obstacles on the way, the slope was almost two and a half times longer, and the slopes looked much steeper. My father decided to stop, but my brother and I decided to try the intermediate slope. We got on the ski ride, and I thought to myself, “What if I’m too scared to go down?” I thought for a while, and decided to give it a try. If it is too scary or difficult, I’ll stop skiing. I got off the ride together with my brother, and decided to follow a boy who also had been from the beginner slope. I braked a quite a lot, but ended up zooming down very fast. In the blink of an eye, I was about to go over a hump that was short on the side facing me, but went down very steep. I tried braking as much as I could, but it was too late. I went over it, and felt my stomach lurching. Oh no! There was a few more coming up! My stomach lurched when I went over each one. Although this experience was frightening, I felt a great sense of happiness overcoming me- in just one day, I managed to ski down the intermediate slope without falling down at all! We tried many more times, until it was five thirty. Then, my parents said that we could go a last time. This time, we went faster than usual, since it was going to be my last time going skiing in a long time.

The Aquarium

the Dumbo Octopus

This Monday, my family and I went to the Aquarium in U.S.A. At the aquarium, I saw many interesting fishes and aquatic animals. Besides looking at the sea otters, seahorses, jellyfishes, hammerhead sharks, tuna fishes, starfishes, penguins, octopuses and many other fishes, we also went to the touch pool and listen to a talk in the auditorium.

Among all the things I did at the Aquarium, my favourite three is listening to the talk, looking at the seahorses and the jellyfishes.

At eleven thirty, we went to the auditorium for the talk. First, the speaker told us that there was a research centre near the Aquarium, showed us what was going on in the ocean at that moment. There was a machine that was used to test the percentage of gases in the water, but since there was nothing much going on in the ocean at that moment, the speaker continued the presentation. She told us that the Earth is 90% water and so far scientists have explored only 1% of it! In fact, we know even more about Moon than we know about the deep sea.The speaker then showed us videos, pictures of different fishes, like the Tripod fish that has three long fins, which pierce into the sand to keep it from getting washed away by the waves. This makes it look like a tripod stand; therefore it is called the Tripod fish. There was also a long jellyfish that had long tentacles whish hang down to shock small fishes. The tentacles would then bring up the food to the jellyfish. My favourite fish the speaker showed us is the Dumbo Octopus. It is small, cute, and beige in colour. Unlike other octopuses, the Dumbo Octopus has no tentacles.

At the Aquarium, there was a separate section for looking at seahorses. We walked through it, looking at the different kinds of seahorses. They had small fins on their backs to help them to swim, and the fins moved so fast they were vibrating in the water. I also found out that seahorses twine together during mating. My favourite seahorse that I saw is the leafy seahorse. To camouflage with their surrounding habitat, the weeds, they grow “leaves”, even on their mouths!

Do you know whether jellyfish are a kind of fish? Well, before I went to see the jellyfishes, I considered them to be fishes. But, when I went there, I saw a sign that said that jellyfish are not fishes because they do not have fins and gills. There were different types of jellyfish there, like the egg yolk jellyfish and the moon jellyfish. An interesting one that I saw was a jellyfish that gave out lights, making it look like a toy run on batteries. The egg yolk jellyfish is a mess of tentacles, and is a slight shade of yellow, so it looks like an egg.

During this trip to the Aquarium, I have learnt many interesting facts, and I wish that I can come again!

My Cousin

I have spent a week in U.S.A.with my four and a half year old cousin, Louis, and during this period of time, I have got to know him better.

My cousin is about one metre tall, has rosy cheeks, a button nose, large round eyes and short punky hair. He is always cheerful and has a smile on his face. Since Chinese is his first language, I take this opportunity to speak Chinese to him to improve my spoken Chinese. He told me that his favourite cartoon character is Spiderman, and has two Spiderman piggy banks at home. I also found out that his favourite food is Chinese sausage. Whenever he sees one in the dish, he would want to eat it.

Louis is very clever and hardworking – I brought many books that I read when I was his age for him, and he always wants to read them whenever he has the time. I enjoy playing hide and seek with him in the house, playing LEGO with him and drawing the pictures in a book.

Louis is also very active. On one of the days in my trip, we went to climb a mountain. Once we reached there, he enthusiastically started running up the slopes, and then rushed down again. We used the benches they provided along the way as landmarks. By the time we reached the second bench, we were already quite tired. To our surprise, Louis still wanted to continue climbing! Louis really is so active and has a lot of energy! He ran a larger distance than I did, because he ran up, and then came down again. Furthermore, his legs are much shorter than mine, so for every step I take, he needs to take almost four steps!

One of Louis’s favourite activities is flying a kite. Today, we went to a field where grass was very green. We first went to feed ducks, and then went to set up the ladybug kite we brought along. After setting it up, Louis excitedly grabbed the roll of string and ran across the grass patch next to us, releasing the string as he ran. We explained him that that was not the way to fly a kite. My uncle went over to him and took the roll from him, and taught him how to fly the kite. After seeing how to fly the kite, Louis tried to fly it immediately, with my father helping to hold the kite. Unfortunately, the kite could not fly as there was no wind today.

I wish I can play with Louis often. Since I would be back to Singapore next week, I will try to keep in touch with him using Skype.

An Inspiring Event That Has Changed My Views About Scouting

From the 12th of November to the 15th of November, I went with ninety over scouts to Mawai Eco Camp, which is located in Malaysia. Some of them were from my unit, the Pelican Cub Scouts, and others were from Anglo Chinese School. We assembled at Henry Park Primary School, and I was selected to be the sixer of my group.

Where on earth is Mawai Eco Camp? Well, it’s situated by the Sedeli River, at Mawai Lama, north of Kota Tinggi town. It is built over a freshwater swamp and entirely of materials from the nearby forest. What is unique about the camp is that there are no walls to obstruct your view of the surrounding forest!

Throughout the camp, I participated in many fun activities, and I felt that the most memorable and interesting one was climbing Gunung Arong, which was just an hour’s drive from the campsite. Although Akela told us that Gunung Arong was 300 metres tall, I had no inkling how tall a 300 metre tall mountain really was, because I had never seen a mountain before. When I got off the excursion bus, I got a shock of my life - the summit seemed like it was touching the clouds! We got into single file and started climbing up the mountain.
The climb up Gunung Arong was dangerous, challenging and tiring. There were obstacles along the way, like enormous fallen tree trunks, mossy rocks and slippery mud. One could slip on the mud and roll off the side of the mountain without warning. My knees trembled as I grabbed onto tree branches to prevent myself from slipping down. Just then, I remembered Scout Law number five - “A Scout has courage in all difficulties.” I mustered up my courage, dispelled all my fear, and focus on climbing the mountain. Somehow, that tactic worked. I felt more confident, and helped Zachary, the smallest boy in my six, to climb up those higher steps. Finally, we reached the summit of Gunung Arong after an arduous trek. I enjoyed the magnificent sight of the coast, which was shaped like a “C”, and the incredibly blue sea. My six and I then sat in a circle to enjoy our lunch cooked by our camp chef.
After our lunch, it was time to head down. The climb down was equally dangerous, and at some points, we were assisted with ropes for safety. Although it was less tiring, the path had more obstacles, and irritating ants biting us along the way. At one part, we had to abseil down a giant rock. Although it was difficult, I felt that it was fun. An hour later, when we reached the ground, I felt a great sense of achievement.
Before I came to this camp, I thought that the activities would be easy to complete, as almost all the activities we normally did were well controlled and not very challenging, especially for cub scouts.

Why is this event inspiring? I managed to conquer Gunung Arong with my own pair of hands and legs! The climb was dangerous and challenging but through it, I learnt that I must have courage when I am faced with difficulties, and not forget to help other people along the way.

The Durian

It is shaped like an oblong-like rugby ball or a soccer ball. Its thick hide is green and its flesh is yellow. It is covered in menacing lumps of pointy iron meant to crush helmeted skulls in combat. What’s more, it has a distinct smell that people think is distinctively offensive. No, it’s not some evil monster coming to eat you in your dream; it’s the king of fruit, the spiky and smelly durian.
Although some people do not like the smell, the durian is my favourite fruit. The flesh is sometimes sweet and sometimes a little bitter and I always am craving for more, but if you eat too much durian at one time, you may suffer from heartburn.
I cannot recall how many pieces of durian I have eaten in the ten years of my life, but I have never ever regretted.

The Pulau Ubin Scout Hike

All the Cubs Scouts gathered at the school’s Koi Pond at 7:15a.m., eagerly anticipating the trip to Pulau Ubin. The Eagle Scouts also joined us for the hike as our supervisors for the event.
As this was just the 2nd time I am leading my group Kangaroo as the Sixer, I wondered if controlling my six on this excursion would be hard. Two people in my six did not come - Justin Thong and Mitchell.

We head counted the number of people before boarding the excursion bus to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. There, we recounted our scouts again, only to find an extra person. Eventually, the ‘mystery’ was solved. Justin arrived late and he was put on the bus after the count in school.
My group merged with the Emu six, and the Leaders of my group were Baloo and Ernest.

We took the bumboat to Pulau Ubin, surprised by how fast the boat was moving. On arrival, we gathered at the basketball court to discuss our route. The group was free to decide the route, and even if we go the wrong way, the adult leaders would not interfere. The entire hike consisted of 4 checkpoints in all - 2 on the way to the log point, where we would have our lunch, and another 2 on the way back.

As we hiked along, I saw lots of fruit trees, like coconut trees, rambutan trees, and banana trees. These attracted insects, like bees and ants. Along the way, we spotted three wild dogs roaming the area. Soon, they ran off into the woods.

When we reached the checkpoints, we had to complete some activities. At the first one, we took a group photo, and at the second, we sang two action songs, ‘Father Abraham’ and ‘Long Leg Sailor’. My group sang loudly and danced along with the hand actions. I felt the most fun at this checkpoint!

As we were about to reach the log point, Justin complained about having a stomachache. Baloo was concerned and examined him while he asked us to continue ahead.

Upon reaching the log point, I saw the wild dogs that we had spotted along the hike. They probably wanted some scraps from us. My group was the first to arrive at the destination, so we played Captain’s Ball while waiting. All the groups arrived after 10 minutes, and we excitedly went to our ‘corners’ to cook lunch. All of us used the two mess tins, two solid fuels and the portable stove to cook our delectable maggi mee and canned sausages. The Eagle Scouts helped my group to start the fire. I had some trouble opening the can so Baloo helped me.
Within 10 minutes, I have whipped up a mess tin filled with 5 sausages and a packet of noodles. In my hunger, I wolfed my meal down. I rarely have a chance to cook, much less outdoors, and I am pleased that I can make myself a delicious meal in no time.

Soon, it was time to head back to the basketball court. We trudged along, and entered a dirt road. The place was muddy and we careful where we stepped. We were squelching in the mud, when Jiong Hao, a cub from Emu, accidentally slipped into the mud. When he lifted up his foot, both his shoes remained stuck and he frantically tried to pull his shoes out. Luckily, he succeeded in rescuing his shoes. Poor Jiong Hao! We all assured him that we would be reaching the basketball court soon enough.

After clearing the dirt road, we realised that we had just travelled in one big loop! We had to skip the last checkpoint and use the route we had come by.

Upon reaching the basketball court, all the Cubs were rewarded to free ice cream for completing the hike. We did the last headcount, and boarded the bumboat.

In my opinion, this was an enjoyable experience and I am sure my whole six enjoyed it too!

My Friend Jazli

One of my best friends is Jazli Tan, a Malay boy in my class. When I was in the school’s badminton CCA, I met him. At that time, I did not talk to him much, but now that we are in the same class, I know him better.

Jazli understands basic Chinese as he goes for Chinese tuition. He is fun guy and has many friends. He is also the fastest runner in class, it is challenging to try to catch him. During recess, my other friends and I like to play catching with Jazli. I have yet to play a badminton match with him and I would love to do so one day.

Here is an acrostic poem I have written about Jazli:

Jazli runs very fast
And he is
Zealous about badminton.
In class during discussion.

NDP 2009!

The Practice National Day date was finally here! I reached school at about 1:45p.m, but everybody in the Kidzone had to wait for quite a while before we got our Fun Packs and KFC. At about 3:15, 5Initiative finally boarded the bus and we set off for the NDP stadium.

When we reached the stadium, I unpacked some of my heavy things from my bag and settled down. I was seated in the light blue zone, and beside my two good friends Samuel and Moses.

First, there were a few light activities and songs. The MC’s were actors from television. They taught us how to hit the miniature drum too. One of the activities was the Marina Wave. We were supposed to stand up and wave our Singapore flags like a wave washing over. The whole of Primary 5 raced against a motorcycle and a car, and guess what? We won! We also saw the Red Lions (a group of sky divers) skillfully skydive from a helicopter onto the Floating Platform.

When I opened my KFC dinner pack, I found spilled mashed potatoes smothered in the box and on my burger wrapper. And when I opened the mashed potatoes, there were only 20% of the mashed potatoes left! I unwrapped my burger and ate it together with the remaining mashed potatoes.

Next up was the history of Singapore in six chapters, a few other parts in between. The chapters were a combination of facts, jokes, and cool parts. The chapter I enjoyed the most was the one where some “terrorists” tried to plant a bomb, a sea mine and attack Singapore. Army tanks, navy ships, soldiers and bomb removers tried to catch the “terrorists”. At the last part, the navy chased and shot the “terrorists” which were on a jet ski with something like a silent, mini firework.

While we were standing up and singing the song ‘Stand Up For Singapore’, terror struck. It began as a light drizzle, but it worsened to become a heavy downpour in a matter of three minutes. My friends and I started to pack up after the song and we tried to cover our bags with ponchos, but it was too late. Water had gone into our bags. We slowly went down the steps, shivering from the cold. I was thoroughly soaked through. It was like wading through a mini-waterfall. At the last flight of steps, the water was frothing with bubbles.

In the end, we all managed to make it to the bus, all of us soaking wet. Just then, I remembered that my brother’s new handphone was in my bag. I fished it out, only to discover that it was already spoilt.

The next day, I was worried that my brother would scold me for spoiling his new handphone, but instead he just said that it almost could not be prevented, but he also told me that I should bring a ziplock bag and use it to keep the handphone.

It was the most fun excursion I have ever gone for and definitely the most memorable!

Latest Indiana Jones Movie!

Ancient Greece for me?

a Greek temple

Would I want to live in Ancient Greece? Well, there are some pros and cons living there. Let me start with the advantages. I feel interested to know about the lifestyle of the people living in Ancient Greece, so I want to live there to get some first- hand experience. Secondly, I want to try to learn their letters from teachers and how they write with the stylus. I also want to try the lyre there, as lyres are hard to find nowadays. Hearing that there are many temples and theatres in Greece, I want to visit their temples to see how people worship their gods. I would want to see their plays, too. Visiting the Greece capital, Athens, would also be fun.

Now, I will go on to the advantages of modern life. Modern teachers are probably more knowledgeable and would teach children better. We also have better technology than the people in Greece, for example, TVs, radios, computers, books and even electricity to power most items. We can now watch movies, know about things happening at the other side of the planet and have a good education. The people in Greece certainly did not have these luxuries. Furthermore, we have nicer clothes and buildings.

So, my conclusion is that I would still want to live in Ancient Greece. It would be fun to find out their history and lifestyle.

A Fun Day With Old Friends

Yesterday, a few old friends came to Singapore for a visit. My brother, my mother and I all had a lot of fun with them. We had not seen them for at least four years.

First, we brought them to the Singapore Flyer for the thirty minute ride. It was also my first time abroad the Flyer. They provided us with audio speakers but none of us bothered to listen much. We walked around the capsule, enjoying the scenic view. From the capsule, we could almost see the whole of Singapore few kilometers away. There was the Formula 1 race track, the currently still under construction Integrated Resort, the ocean, and other buildings. In the water, the older boy, whose name was also Alex, spotted a few racing canoes. They looked like giant crocodiles walking on water from high up. The ride ended quite quickly and we all went to an Italian restaurant for lunch.

After the enjoyable lunch, we brought them to play table tennis and billiards for two hours at the function room in the neighbourhood. Then, we went home to enjoy some homemade lemon cake and drink tea. Next, we initially wanted to go and swim, but it was raining, so we tried out card magic tricks on each other. After getting bored of each other’s tricks, we decided to play a marble game. It was very enjoyable and we could not stop playing. After four games, it was time for our guests to leave.

We said our goodbyes to each other and my mother drove them back to their hotel. I hope that I can visit them in the December holidays. It had been so fun to meet my old friends again.

The C's

Many of us spend our efforts chasing for a goal in life. For the typical Singaporean, most of us try to look for the 5C’s- cash, condominium, credit card, car and a country club membership. But, as for the Education Minister, the four C’s he thinks students need to excel are confidence, compassion, compartments and company.

In a newspaper article, a few older students from ages 16-24 commented on their own C’s and explained what they meant. Most of them agreed with the Minister's C’s. One of them was a person studying at the University of Huddersfield. He said that his own C’s were career, curriculum, character and company. He defines career as working in a company where he can learn and be happy in. He also said that curriculum referred to the aptitude for learning, no matter at work or in life. He says that character was his conduct in society; how people saw him and how others saw him. Lastly, he feels that company refers to his family and friends.

Another student commented that he felt that his classmates needed cheekiness. He noticed that his classmates were very tense during class. Everyone was afraid to speak during class and all eyes were on the professor, writing notes. Even the professor’s jokes only sent nervously scattered laughs around the class.

As for me, I feel that my C’s in life are care, company, consciousness and carefulness. We need to care for our friends, family, our health, and most importantly, the earth, our shared home. All of us also need to have some company, such as family members and friends, so that we would have someone to talk to, play with, laugh with and also sharing with your parents your troubles. During lessons in school, we need to be conscious of our surroundings. We should not daydream and think about other unimportant matters. Instead, we should be aware of our surroundings and listen to the teacher. Finally, I feel that in whatever we do, we must be careful. For example, when you are doing a test, we should be careful about what we write to prevent careless mistakes; when crossing the road, we must be careful about our safety and look out for oncoming cars.
What do you feel are the most important C's in your life? Please comment about them.

Slumdog Millionaire

Have you watched any movies in the holidays? As for me, I watched the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. This movie is about how a young boy from a slum in Mumbai, Jamal Malik, manages to win 20 million rupees in a game show.

Jamal’s life is very different from our life in modern Singapore. They do not have as many facilities as us and do not even have proper toilets. He seems to have a very happy childhood despite his poorness. Once, when the most famous man in India came to visit the villagers, Jamal got locked in the toilet by his mischievous brother, Salim, but he managed to get out. Can you guess what he did? Jamal stared hard at the toilet, held his nose, and jumped down into the toilet. And, when he came out, he was all brown but at that time, he did not care about what people would say to him. He started running towards his idol and asked him for his autograph. I was laughing like crazy at that scene, thinking that he must be very smelly.

Sadly, Jamal’s life took a turn after his mother was killed in a riot. Jamal and his brother, Salim, were left alone to wander in the streets of Mumbai. Jamal and Salim were later caught by some evil adults who forced little children to become beggars. These thugs hurt the children to make them appear to be pitiful. They planned to blind Jamal in one of the nights………

This is a very fast-paced movie and I held my breath while watching. Would Jamal’s answer allow him to win the prize money? Would he get caught by those thugs? I did not like the TV host as he was arrogant and looked down on Jamal. I also did not like the scene where the Mumbai police tortured Jamal. It was so gruesome. I recommend you to watch this movie with your parents. Happy watching!

My Father

As you all know, Father’s Day is just around the corner! In that day, all of us will remember the good things that your fathers have done to you, like play with you, teach you and so on. In this post, I will show my gratitude towards my father.

My father likes cars a lot and he knows many things about them. He knows all the car brands and sometimes I think that he would know even more than the car sellers. Sometimes, he shows me his car magazines and tells me all the new models. Occasionally, he would tell me some fun facts about cars, like how the race car drivers make so much noise when driving. He drives us around to school or to eat meals most of the time. He likes his one- year old black and shiny BMW the most. During my holiday in Melbourne last year, he even drove us around in his rented car.

My father has helped me a great deal of times in my life. But, the thing that he put in the most effort and time is to teach me. He is very serious and strict when teaching me. The good thing about this is that it is very effective. Sometimes, he will spend 2-3 hours just to teach me.

Until now, I still can remember one event that happened when I was three. My father had gone overseas to USA for a business trip, and when he came back late at night, he greeted my brother and I with open arms. Then, he opened his luggage and took out two toys, one for my brother and one for me. They were “Power Ranger” walkie talkies with a special stand! We both thanked my father and chose the colours that we wanted. My brother chose the red one and I chose the blue. I liked that toy a lot and I still have it now in my bedroom.
Once every year, my father specially spends money for my family and I to go for a holiday. He also spends money for my brother and I to have our very expensive tutions at “The Learning Lab”. He also plays with me during my free time and even took leave to go with me to the “Amazing Sculptures Trail” (as below). He also celebrates my birthday every year without any fail, buys a delicious cake for me, as well as sing birthday songs in both English and Chinese together with my family.
When I grow up, I will take care of my father if he falls sick and pay for his medical fees. I will celebrate his birthday every year including Father’s Day and also let him stay in my house with me. I will also drive him around when he needs too!
So, my final words to my father for now is, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Are you happy living in Singapore?

Most of you know that last year, Singapore was ranked the 22th most liveable country, right? Well, the good news is, this year, in the Monocle’s list of the world’s most liveable cities, Singapore has been ranked number 18!

The top was Zurich, and only 2 other Asian countries, Tokyo and Fukuoka in Japan are rated in front of Singapore. Singapore has aimed to try to replicate the glamour of Monaco by adding the Formula One road race and the new casinos. The cities are selected based on such factors as shopping hours, access to green spaces, the number of Zara and Starbucks stores in the cities and the ease of setting up business in the cities.

In April, American human-resource consultancy Mercer ranked Singapore Number1 for the basic structure and system in its global survey of the top cities to live in. But, these surveys do not include what the people think of their hometowns. Another recent survey has found out that the citizens in Singapore and South Korea has voted their cities as the most stressful places to live in. I think that it is because of the competition in Singapore. But, it is found that these two countries have the highest per capita incomes in Asia and this is ironical.

Maybe one of the reasons is that Singaporeans are worried about their financial security and retirement. Quite a lot of people are concerned that they may not have enough money after they retire to grow old in the country.

GLA founder, Mr. Philip Merry, says that he wants to look out for Singaporeans who find joy in everything and learn from them how they approach life.

Eight Asian economies- China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, took part in another survey by life insurer AXA on the feelings of the citizens about the country’s future. The people in Singapore are the most pessimistic in Asia.

The survey polled residents between 25-50 on their views about life in the next 5 years. The survey covered four aspects in life-career, retirement, family and health. Sadly, Singaporeans had the lowest scores in all the four categories.

Angela Lau, the head of AXA, says that they are not very confident about their health and career, and how they are going to cope with the challenges in life. She also says that one in four people are worried about whether they can continue their jobs in the next five years. That was probably one of the reasons why they are not very optimistic about their futures. But, the ironical thing about this is that Singapore is the least affected countries by the turmoil.

On the current happiness index, the top five countries are:
1. Vanuatu
2. Colombia
3. Costa Rica
4. Dominica
5. Panama

A random survey also shows that UK is at the108th position, while USA is ranked at position 150. This shows you something, right? This shows that money cannot buy you happiness. Most of the countries that have a high country output (how much a country produces) rank lower in this happiness index. One reason is that life is very competitive in the progressive economies. Hence, people there may feel depressed and unhappy.

So next time you feel deprived of good things in life, think again. You may be the happiest of the lot in reality.

My Favourite Place

My favourite place is my house. It is a three-storey terrace house and has a gym, a function room, a swimming pool and an indoor Pool table that anyone in the neighbourhood can use. But, anyone who wants to use the function room and the Pool table would have to book them.

I have been living in this house since I was about 4 years old. I like my house because it is still very spacious even after both my brother’s and my books are placed in the house. We also have a built-in fish pond and a basement to keep all English and Chinese storybooks and magazines.

There is a nice view of the forest from both my brother's and my parent's bedrooms but there is therefore quite a lot of mosquitoes "visiting" my house sometimes.

I feel that my house is where the family eats, shares about things that has happened during school and work, plays and does work together as a family.

Amazing Trail EPISODE 2

During the day, we visited 14 places altogether and did many different tasks. For example, we went to the National Museum to find a sculpture. The clue was “We have a Big –sized brother who sits behind a museum. 7 of us there will be, clustered in an area. Guess what we are!”

The answer was a big red apple. The task we had to do was to find as many people in 3 minutes as possible to take a group photo at the red apple.

We rushed to the carpark and asked a few people there. Some of them did not want to take photos and others were taking their own time. We managed to get only three people in two minutes, but luckily, one adult spotted a family some of us rushed to ask them. Meanwhile, my friends and I continued to ask a few more people to come. To our delight, they agreed and they asked their friends to come along too.

In the end, we managed to find 12 people!

At this location, we were given a choice to take up an optional task. But, if we could not complete the task, we would minus 50 points. My group leader decided to take the task. We excitedly tore open the envelope and unfolded a small piece of paper. It read, “Find 5 members of the public who are willing to perform a duck-walk for 10 metres with your entire group. A picture of this must be taken.”

We started to walk around, trying to find some people. Just at this time, we saw a group of about 8 secondary school students walking on the pavement. We approach them and asked them if they could help us to perform the task. At first, only four of them agreed to help us, but after much persuasion, another boy agreed.

My group was the first to reach back in school. We handed up our assignment book to the judges at the Koi Pond for them to see. A few more groups arrived and they too handed up their books. We were then led into the Kidz Zone to relax our tired legs. When all the groups had arrived, we were then brought to the AVA room, where we collected some things from the teacher-in-charge.

After a delicious dinner, it was finally the prize–giving ceremony. We listened eagerly for our group name (G); the first-runner-up and second-runner-up were called but it was not us. I thought, “My group surely would not win again this year,” The teacher called out, “Is it A, B, C, D, E, or F? No, it is G! We ran up the stage to receive our award. I never thought that we would win! I had finally won a gold trophy!

The Amazing Sculptures Trail

I participated in the annual Scout event called “The Amazing Sculptures Trail” on the 23rd of May. The aim of this event was to try to go to as many locations with sculptures as possible. For each checkpoint that we went to, we were given a certain amount of points.

My group consisted of 10 scouts and 9 adults, and we were supposed to decode some clues written on a piece of paper. Two facilitators followed my group and they were the ones to give us our points.

Clue for location 4: “The 7 of us guard the stairwell by the park. People are confused because we seem to be guarding a tunnel expressway as well.”

At first, we thought that it was referring to Istana Park, but when we went there, we could not find any sculptures nearby. Some people guessed that the ‘7 sculptures’ was referring to the 7 tall palm trees, but others disagreed because the trees were not blocking the staircase.

One of the parents just remembered that there was another tunnel expressway near “Park Mall”, which was across the road. Could the park refer to "Park Mall" instead of "Istana Park"? We rushed there and saw 7 stone dragon heads around a semicircle. They had water sprouts in their mouths, but no water was coming out. We had succeeded in finding the location!

“Wow! This is so cool!” Dylan exclaimed aloud as he pointed at the dragons. We looked around carefully for a staircase nearby. Another friend spotted a staircase leading up. Our facilitator briefed us on tasks to be completed-firstly, every one of us was to pose as a dragon and have a group photo taken. Secondly, we were to count the number of steps there was on the staircase.

Very quickly, we accomplished our first task and started up the stairs. Each of us counted the steps as we walked up. 54? 55? 56? 57? ....... Oh no! We could not even count! Jinh Wanh went back down and counted one more time. Confident of his answer, he shouted “57!” MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Gaming Addiction

I am sure that many of us play computer games quite often, usually during weekends, school holidays, public holidays, and sometimes during weekdays (school days). But, have you ever heard of people playing computer games until they DIE? Many of us haven’t, so I will state three examples below:

Shawn Woolley was an avid gamer of the computer game “Everquest”, a game that was created by Sony. After playing for quite some time, he became hooked onto it. His mother started to realise that Shawn was becoming anti-social, withdrawn and depressed, and was totally different from the Shawn that she knew the previous year- the Shawn that had finally found a new job and bought his own apartment. But, after a few months after he was hooked onto ‘Everquest”, he quit his job in order to play continuously in his apartment with no one able to interrupt him from his virtual world. He was subsequently diagnosed with depression and schizoid personality disorder.

Then, on Thanksgiving Day in 2001, when his mother went to his house to visit him, she found the door locked. After a long time of ringing the doorbell, she knew something had gone wrong. She knocked down the door and was horrified to find that Shawn was sprawled on the computer table, with the computer showing the game going on. Blood stained the table and Shawn’s mother was shocked to find out that he had shot himself in the head! She knew that the reason of her son’s death was most likely over a virtual incident in the game.

Here’s is the second incident:

On the 3rd of august 2005, a South Korean man called Lee Seung Seop entered a cybercafé, where he played a computer game called “Starcraft” continuously for FIFTY HOURS! He also had been fired from his job after frequently skipping work just to play computer games.
And here is the last incident:

Ben Stein, a speechwriter turned comedian, has firsthand experiences with video gaming addiction. He says that video gaming almost destroyed his 15-year-old son, Timothy. Even Timothy agrees with his father.

Ben Stein said that his son stayed up late regularly just to play computer games. “It was as if there was a demon inside him,” he recalls.

Desperate, the Steins did the only possible method left- to send Timothy to a boarding school, where video gaming was strictly prohibited. Luckily, that strategy worked.

Scared already? Anyway, here are some facts about video gaming.

It has been demonstrated that game addiction has similar symptoms to that of gambling addiction, such as shaking and insomnia, which have been identified in people addicted to video gaming. But, the psychological symptoms of video gaming are the same as the symptoms of drug addiction.

If you are addicted to computer games or feel that you would soon be addicted, try to stop immediately. This is not impossible- if Timothy can stop, so can you! Surely you do not want to die of playing too much computer games, right?

Holiday Job Week

During the one week March holidays, besides resting and doing my homework, it was Job Week for the Scouts. We went from door to door and we ask for a job. We do this to raise funds to fund some of our Scout activities. Three jobs were quite interesting and I would like to share them with you.

Once, I was asked to play with a six-year old kid, whose name was Linus, for half an hour. I played with Linus’ toy cars and read a book to him. It was an Enid Blyton book about a soft toy cat that lost her eye. Even after I left the house, Linus followed me around the neighbourhood for quite a while.

Another time, an owner asked me to wash his dustbin for him. I thought, since it was not easy to get a job, I accepted the job. But once I discovered how smelly his dustbin was, I immediately regretted. It stank like rotten bananas! The owner first took out a few plastic bags, and then gave me a hose to wash the dustbin. I held my breath, and then started to wash the dustbin. After washing out the rubbish, I used a sponge to clean the insides. Yuck!

The funniest incident was when I was playing with a toddler. In his chubby hands was a strawberry that he never let go of. When I first played with him, we played with a few different toys, for example, a toy that gave out sounds when you pressed the buttons and a mouse and hammer game. I felt that the most interesting toy was a toy train that would give out music and go around on the floor. It also had a rotating belt that would make two big toy balls rotate in the train. Once, the toddler threw his strawberry inside the opening and nearly jammed up the whole system!

Job Week is very fun as we Scouts get to meet different people and discover what working is like.

Do You Know What You Are Eating?

I am going to share with you about an article which I read from Reader’s Digest. It is about trans fats and how bad trans fats are for our health. I have chosen to talk about this topic because many Singaporeans tend to eat too much fatty foods. Do you know that trans fats is even unhealthier than saturated fats? After reading this article, I have found out that the foods with the most amount of trans fats are doughnuts and chocolate biscuits.

Trans fats are a kind of unsaturated fat that is made either by heating up oil or bubbling hydrogen with liquid oils. Studies have also shown that people who eat too much trans fats are more vulnerable to heart diseases. Doctors also say that if we replace the amount of trans fats that we eat with good fats, the chances of you getting a heart disease will decrease by 53%!

In many countries, the government is trying to reduce the amount of trans fats in foods.

Excessive trans fats can result in coronary heart diseases, which happens when the arteries are blocked by fats. We should not only focus on limiting our trans fats intake---For example, palm oil contains very little trans fats, but is made up of 50% of saturated fats. Actually, if we try to cut down on our saturated fats intake, we tend to also cut down on our trans fats intake.

Another way to cut down on our trans fat intake is to trim off the fat meat. You must also remember to eat more vegetables and fruits. All in all, we must all try to cut down on our trans fats intake.

What Is Important In Life?

Family is more important than anything else. Although this is so, there are also other things which are important in life, such as integrity and money.

Many people treasure their families a lot but sometimes, people are so engrossed in their jobs that they forget about their families for a while. They also cannot spend a lot of time with their families and play with them.

Integrity is also very important. Integrity applies to everything you do, from school work to friends. If the whole world has no integrity, just think about it-we would not know who to trust, copying of answers during examinations would happen very frequently too and who knows, your friend might even tell you the wrong homework when you are absent from school!

Money is also essential for life necessities. We need money to purchase food, pay for school fees, and buy a house, furniture and many more reasons. We can also use money for luxurious reasons too, such as going for holidays, buying a car, a television and a computer.

OOPS…. Are computers luxuries or necessities?

I Have A Dream.....

“I have a dream…” Martin Luther King Junior had a dream about 45 years ago.

I also have a dream. I dream that one day, I would become a maths teacher. I would teach many students in all levels and give tution to those who are weaker in the subject.

I have a dream. I dream that one day, I would get a masters degree in maths from a top university. Then, I would spend my time finding easier ways of solving difficult problems. I would then give my easier solutions to the world and I would be FAMOUS!!!

I have a dream. I dream that I could go to Melbourne, Victoria, again. Recently, some destructive people lighted a fire somewhere in Victoria; causing 80% of Victoria to be burnt. I had enjoyed the beautiful scenery there last December and now it is burnt down. What a pity….

I have a dream. I dream that other children from poor families will be as fortunate as me; have the opportunity to go to a good school, eat scrumptious food three times a day, have books to read, toys to play, going on overseas holidays and most importantly, have loving parents and siblings.

I wish all our dreams will come true. These are my current thoughts in my mind.

P5 Camp

I have recently finished the action-packed P5 camp. I enjoyed the camp very much. The food there was very good, the activities were fun and my group leader was funny. Some of my friends did not like the food as they either did not like vegetables or did not like the way the food was cooked. As for me, I liked eating vegetables since I was very young and I did not expect the food to be as nice as expensive restaurants or even as nice as the normal foods that I ate in my home. That must be the reason why I enjoyed the food at the camp.

On the first day, we were given mostly briefings about the camp and how to behave in the camp. It was quite a boring day. (I also found out that the toilets were dirty.) However, on the second day, we did many activities. My favourite activity was abseiling. I had already abseiled before in New Zealand and I found out that abseiling was fun. (Refer to My First Time Abseiling). However, the wall that I was about to abseil down was higher than the one I did in New Zealand. I managed to abseil down safely.

Another fun activity was the CRC (Challenge Rope Course). Some tyres and logs were suspended and we were supposed to cross from one end to the other. Unfortunately, I did not manage to do it because there was not enough time.

The campfire was the best. All the groups took turns to sing their own cheers. I shouted very loudly and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Hike In MacRitchie

All the scouts, including me, were lining up in the Kidzone. We were just about to leave for a hike organized by the scouts. The hike was going to begin at Rifle Range and end at MacRitchie (Venus Road Carpark). The distance that we were going to hike for was about 5.5 kilometres.

At about 7:30 a.m., we got onto our respective buses and off we went!!!

At Rifle Range, we were given six assignments to do- write down 10 animals and 3 flowers that we saw, 3 sounds we heard, draw the Jelutong tower (a tower that we were going to see during our hike)and describe the Malayan Monitor Lizard, the biggest species of lizards ever found in the world.

The hike was quite a breeze for me but a newcomer in my group did not. (This was because he was not very fit.)He was therefore at the back most of the time. As we trod on, I looked at the ground and tried to observe how I could complete my assignments.

After hiking for one and a half hours, we reached a resting station- Rangers Station. That was where we sat down to eat our snacks and do our assignments.

After a while, we continued our hike for another 2.9 kilometres. At about 11:50 p.m., we finally reached our destination and took the bus back to school. Personally, I enjoyed the hike and wish to hike more.

A Proud Moment

My teeth chattered with excitement. I was just about to get back our math tests from my math teacher.

Being a person that enjoyed solving math questions, I aimed to get full marks when I was doing my paper. My math teacher called out our names and told the class our marks if we scored more than 35 marks (The total marks in the test was 40). My palms turned clammy as the teacher continued to read out the names.

“Alex Cheong, 40 marks!” I proudly stood up and took back my paper as the class cheered. My efforts had finally born “fruit”! At that point in time, I could remember how I checked my paper for careless mistakes…

I felt ecstatic and thought of how pleased my parents would be when they saw my paper.

I thought I shouldn’t be proud; if I want to do well in the future, I have to practise my math even more. Thinking about it, it also applied to other subjects. If I want to excel in something, I have to work hard.

I hope that I can do well in my studies this year and get into the best class next year.


My hobby is playing badminton. I started playing badminton when I was about 6 years old, just like my brother. Until now, I still enjoy playing badminton.

When I first started playing badminton, I could not play very well. My coach trained us on our servings and strokes. This, she said, was the most important things to remember when playing badminton.

I enjoy playing badminton matches the most during training. I try my best when I am playing a match. Winning makes me happy. Sometimes, my opponents are very strong, but I do not get angry even when I lose.

I am trying to improve my smash now. In my training session today, I won a few balls against the Assistant Coach. I felt very excited and I look forward to my next training next Saturday.

The New Year Holiday

The long New Year holidays passed in a flash. I enjoyed my holiday, especially on the New Year Day. My family and I woke up early as we had planned to cycle at the East Coast Park. My heart tingled with excitement. I had not cycled for many months already.

After eating a delicious breakfast, we set off for the East Coast Park. Much to our surprise, we saw many people camping in tents. Most of them were Malay families. They were sitting on groundsheets, enjoying the cool, beach breeze. Some of them were even eating picnic breakfasts.

We strolled over to the bicycle rental shop, which was quite a distance away from the carpark. We rented four bicycles and started to cycle. I was surprised that I could not start off. My bicycle kept wobbling. I tried to balance, but instead, I nearly crashed into a dark blue tent which was very near the cycling lane.

I did not give up and continued trying. I finally got my bicycle going and managed to catch up with my family!

Through my cycling experience, I realized the importance of practice (I could not start because I had not practiced cycling for a long period of time). I also learnt the importance of perseverance.

An Eclipse

“We are going to the Science Centre to watch a partial eclipse today,” my mother said. “It’s from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. You are definitely going to enjoy your time there!”

Cool, I was going to watch an eclipse for the very first time! I thought. That afternoon, before we left, I went on the internet to research on all kinds of eclipses. I found out that there were two different kinds of eclipses- annular eclipses and total eclipses.
In an annular eclipse, the moon cann
ot cover the whole sun whereas in a total eclipse, the whole sun is covered by the moon.

Soon enough, the time to go to the Science Centre arrived. My father drove my family and I there and we entered the Science Centre. My spine tingled with excitement as we queued up to enter the Observatory. The queue was so long that it nearly snaked to the entrance! Luckily, we brought a few books to read just in case we had to wait. We whipped out our books and started reading.

We were also given solar glasses to protect our eyes from the sun rays. If we looked directly at the sun, we would get serious eye injuries.
I later found out that the fullest part of the eclipse could be seen at 5:49p.m.

When I first wore the glasses, it seemed like wearing a blindfold. At first, I thought that my glasses were spoilt but later discovered that everyone’s solar glasses were like mine!

When I looked at the sun unintentionally, I saw a red dot the size of a 5-cent coin. No wonder! It will only work when the user looks at the sun!
My family and I sat down on a nice patch of grass and looked at the sun occasionally using our glasses. We could see the moon slowly covering the sun starting at the 7 o’ clock position.

Just as the eclipse was going to be at its fullest, at around 5:30 p.m., the clouds started blocking the eclipse. We hoped that the clouds would clear soon so we decided to wait for a while.

After we waited for approximately another 10 minutes, the clouds had not yet clear. We decided to leave as we were all feeling very tired.

I enjoyed watching my first eclipse even though the eclipse was blocked by the clouds. My father said that there was going to be an eclipse again during July this year, so my family and I decided to keep the glasses to use the next time we watched an eclipse. What my mother said was right – I had enjoyed my time watching the eclipse.

My First Time Abseiling

My heart felt both fearful and excited. I was on an adventure “holiday” to New Zealand which was organized by the scout leaders in my school. It was almost my turn to abseil down a seven storey structure. I felt excited to abseil for the first time, but I was afraid of the height of the structure that I was about to abseil down.

My turn to abseil came in a blink of an eye. The guide fastened my rope and taught me how to stop and how to release the rope in my hand. My heart pounded against my heart like a sledgehammer as I gathered all my courage and started my way down. The first part was the hardest part of the climb and I almost wanted to climb back up.

After I had passed the difficult part, I felt relieved and completed the rest of my climb easily. When I reached the bottom, I felt very proud of myself- I had overcome my fear!

The P5 camp is coming soon. I think that I can abseil then without any problems

My Favourite Food

Everyone in this world has something that they like to eat. As for me, I like to eat chicken rice. Whenever I go to a hawker centre to eat, I would always eat chicken rice unless I have already eaten chicken rice during that day.

Occasionally, my family and I would go to the chicken rice stall at the Maxwell Hawker Centre to eat. There is always a very long queue outside the stall, so my parents usually have to queue for about 15 minutes before they can order the meal. The good thing about that chicken rice stall is that they rarely increase the price of their food even when there is inflation! The quality of the food is also very good. Some chicken rice stalls sell very expensive chicken rice but the food quality is bad.

The chilli and ginger sauce there is also delicious. I recommend you to go and try out this stall’s food.

People in poor countries like Africa and China cannot afford to eat as scrumptious food as we Singaporeans do. There are also very few poor people in Singapore. I pity them and I try do my best to support charity organizations that help those children that do not have food to eat.

If you are commenting on this blog, please share with me your OWN favourite food Thank you!

My Melbourne Trip

My mother woke me up from my deep slumber. I still felt tired as I was not adjusted to Melbourne time yet. I rolled on my bed and yawned. My family and I were in Melbourne for a holiday and the first three days had been really fun.
Just then, my father announced,"We are going to Sovereign Hill to find gold today!" I excitedly jumped out of bed and ate a scrumptious breakfast before leaving the hotel.

We climbed into our rented light blue Camry and my father drove us to Sovereign Hill. The ride there was a long two hours. When we reached Sovereign Hill, we took two brochures and studied them carefully. As usual, we planned our itinerary.
Our first stop was the underground Red Hill Mine.It was a mock-up mine but it felt very real. Certain parts were dark and scary and others smelt like damp earth. The highlight of the tour was a show. It was about a man named Richard Jeffrey and his discovery of the "Welcome Nugget", the second largest gold nugget ever found.It weighed a massive 69 kilograms!

Life in the mine was harzardous- there was a lot of dust in the air and there was a danger of the mine collapsing.

We finally came to the surface and I gasped for fresh air. Next stop- the gold panning creek. We saw many little school children already at work. We grabbed some shovels and scooped dirt into our pans. We then mimicked the swirling action made by my father.

Much to our disappointment, we did not find any gold nuggets. We tried again but to no avail. Just then, we approached a park guide to ask for advice. The guide showed us the correct way to pan for gold. He dugged deep into the dirt and put it into a wooden box to sieve out the heavier gold. Next, he panned the leftover dirt expertly and found 3 specks of gold. Oh, so we were looking for the wrong thing - gold specks, not gold nuggets !

Since it looked easy enough, I decided to follow his method. With renewed energy, I picked up my shovel once again. This time, I managed to find 2 gold specks ! I jump up with utmost glee and carefully wrapped up my "treasures" in a piece of tissue paper.

So much for now. I will write again soon!

Newspaper article

I read a newspaper article which was written by a teenager. She scored excellent results during her O-levels---- 10 A1's! The teenager wrote that there were three main elements to sucess. The first is intelligence, the second is hard work and the last one is luck. Out of the three elements, I think that intelligence makes up 20%, hard work 60%, and luck makes up 20%.


I feel that the workload in school has increased by a bit but I can still handle it. Everyone in my class in school is so competitive. They all do vey well in thier studies.

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.