Monthly Archives: February 2011

Setting Assignment

Bus Stop

I was walking all alone in the along the bus stop. A gust of cold air brushed past and sent shivers down my spine. I was not sure where I was. It was midnight. There were no cars in sight, not even a soul. I felt like an abandoned adolescent. The only clue I had was that I was walking along some “Choa Chu Kang Rd” depicted on the signs. The road-lights were flickering and every second there was increasing fear rising within me. Then, I felt someone tailing behind me. However, there was no one behind me. I began to walk faster, and the footsteps started to get louder. I quickened my pace, hoping to get to the main road where there would be many people. But…

What kind of story do you think would turn out from the setting? 😀


Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


LA Story Draft 2

Nick and Mike were waiting for their bus. It seemed like eternity. Many impatient commuters were tapping their feet in annoyance in addition to the unbearable afternoon heat. Perspiration was clinging onto their forehead and nonetheless, they had no other choice but to wait. At last, the sight of an approaching bus could be seen. Some commuters were depressed at the sight while some were delighted as the bus slowed to a halt. Anxious commuters began to move to the front of the bus-stop getting ready to board the already packed like sardines bus.

“When’s our bus coming?” Mike said impatiently.
“I’m not sure but I hope it would come soon,” Nick replied calmly

At this time, a physically-challenged elderly man was struggling to wheel himself forward. With his mouth curled in annoyance, he hollered in a string of dialect, “Excuse me… please give way!” However, everyone seemed to put on blank-television look, having their attention locked on the oncoming vehicle. The disabled sexagenarian was quite persistent in his pleas, and choked in a dry, coarse voice, “Let me move first; be considerate people…” as he manoeuvred his seemingly heavy weight with difficulty.

“Look at the inconsiderate people…” Nick commented.
“They look as if they were rushing for the last bus available,” Mike replied.

The duo shook their heads disapprovingly at the “kiasu” people who feign ignorance to the presence of the helpless old man. Before they knew, their bus had already arrived. They were fortunate to occupy the last two seats available.

A few bus stops later, an old lady with several bags of groceries boarded the bus. At this sight, some passengers were casted with a sleeping spell with set them into deep slumber; others were more engrossed in their reading materials than before. The old lady searched in vain for an empty seat but to no avail. Both Nick and Mike felt a momentary twinge of quilt pricking them uneasily. They felt the need to show compassion and humanitarian to the old lady. Then, both of them stood up unanimously and brought the old lady to their seat. The old lady in turn thanked them profusely.

With no seat left for them, they went up to the upper deck to find other seats but they were taken aback.

“Oh my! Why are there people standing on the upper deck of the bus?” Nick questioned.
“What got into people these days? I’ve never knew that Singaporeans were that “kiasu” just for one seat,” Mike added.

They had no other choice but to stay at the bottom while they reach their destination. They reached a food court where they were greeted by many food enthusiasts. Queues were lengthening at some popular stalls. Nick and Mike were greeted by several packets of tissues too. “They used tissues to reserve seats? How inconsiderate!” Both of them exclaimed. They, too, awkwardly placed a packet of tissue and went to purchase some food.

When they met up to get back to their seats, they realised that their seat had been taken by someone else beforehand. What’s more, their tissue was lying motionlessly on the floor. Nick and Mike then went to search for another empty seat and soon were on their way home.

As it was not during the peak hours, the trains and stations were not very full. While they chatted about what homework they had the next day and about some subject tests, Nick spotted a suspicious man. Although the air conditioning was quite cool, the man was sweating all over for more than ten minutes. Also, he kept looking in every direction desperately.

“The guy in blue stripes T-shirt seems suspicious,” Nick commented.
“In what ways?” Mike questioned dubiously.
“He seems to be nervous of something. Observe his demeanour,” Nick added on.
“Good point there,” Mike nodded and replied.

Later, the man was seen stealthily pushing a bulky bag under his seat surreptitiously and alighted instantaneously. An alert lady witnessed and shouted, “Hey young man! You forgot your bag!”

“No! That’s not mine!” The suspicious man disavowed and went off even faster.

A man sitting in the opposite direction went forward to check the nag as curiosity got the better of him. “No! Don’t touch! There may be a bomb inside!” The lady previously exclaimed.

Warned, the man took a few steps back and went to the side of the door and contacted the management. Nick and Mike felt that they could not be indifferent to the severity of the situation. Mike whipped out his mobile phone and dialled for the police hotline and conveyed about the situation and he was told that the bomb squad would be summoned. The officer wanted Mike to inform all commuters about it and evacuate from the station immediately at the next station.

As they reached the next station, several guards were standing there guiding everyone to safety. Their hearts were palpitating profusely and a yell of terror escaped their lips. Screams and cries could be heard but were covered away by the sirens which reverberated in the surroundings. “I hope it’s not a bomb,” Mike and Nick prayed fervently.

As they proceeded outside the station, many shuttle buses were already on standby to ferry the affected passengers home.

Mike and Nick were all scared stiff and could not help but felt butterflies in their stomach. Mike and Nick were home and finally regained composure. They watched the news in the evening and discovered that it was a hoax after all. The duo reflected that being “kiasu” was not generally a negative side.  It increases a person’s alertness towards anything which posed as a danger.

“That was a relief!” Both of them exclaimed

They chuckled and continued watching the news.

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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


LA story

Nicholas has been living in Singapore for fourteen years since the day he was born. He studies in a top prestigious secondary school in Singapore. On one fateful day, he found himself as a typical Singaporean – a Singaporean who is “kiasu”.

Nicholas was waiting for his bus in early morning. Then, he was about to witness a typical scene that happens at every bus stop. Shortly, the sight of an approaching bus could be seen from afar. Anxious commuters between to move a few inches towards the yellow line on the floor, getting ready to board the already packed like sardines bus.

At this time, a physically-challenged elderly man was struggling to wheel himself forward. With his mouth curled in annoyance, he hollered in a string of dialect, “Excuse me… please give way!” However, everyone seemed to put on blank-television look, having their attention locked on the oncoming vehicle. The disabled sexagenarian was quite persistent in his pleas, and choked in a dry, coarse voice, “Let me move first; be considerate people…” as he manoeuvred his seemingly heavy weight with difficulty.

Again, people near him appeared too busy to board the bus and feign ignorance and carried on. Nicholas then patiently waited for the driver to assist the physically-challenged elderly onto the bus and boarded the bus eventually. He felt fortunate enough to get the last seat on the lower deck of the bus. A few bus-stops later, an old lady was seen trying to board the bus with difficulty. At the sight of this, everyone was either casted with black magic which sent them into deep slumber or getting more engrossed in a attractive headline news.

The old lady searched in vain for an empty seat but to no avail. Nicholas felt a momentary twinge of guilt and his soul twisted uneasily. He felt the need to show compassion and humanitarian to the old lady. Before he knew it, his legs galvanized into movement and he brought the old lady to his seat. With his seat given up, Nicholas sought for another one at the upper deck of the bus. Nicholas’s eyes gleamed wide with horror, his mouth hung agape. He was shocked to see pupils standing on the upper deck of the bus. As much to his knowledge, Nicholas knew that the bus would topple if excessive people remain standing on the upper deck. Nicholas sighed, and hung his head low. He felt that having received education, they should be able to decipher the rules and regulations held above the ceiling and round the stairs. They must have “missed” it on their way up.

After school, Nicholas went to a hawker centre which was just a stone’s throw away from his school. Although it was a far cry from the downtown swanky restaurants, the food served is cheap yet delectable. He arrived at the hawker centre and realised that the place was bustling with food enthusiasts. Many early diners were hovering around the table like impatient houseflies. Snake-like queues were lengthening in front of more popular stalls. However, it was more than that. Nicholas was shocked to see tissue papers lying motionlessly on several tables. He thought that Singaporeans were so “kiasu” that they had to reserve their seats in a hawker centre. This was the first time he saw a scene like this.

After he had finished eating, he went for his afternoon lessons at a language centre. After which, he heads back home.

Nicholas, like many other commuters, was waiting impatiently for the next arriving train to come. The same scene happened again… People were moving a few inches across the yellow line when they spot an oncoming train on its way. Humans are wonderful creatures. They could see their target from a great distance but not things that were just around them. Nicholas was carrying his bulky and seemingly heavy bag with his back bent. He thrust out his feet, one at a time, rolling his ankles to loosen the aching muscles. Later, he too, was anxiously crowding over the platform door to board the train, praying fervently for a seat to be left for him.

Nicholas spotted one seat left by a little girl who had just alighted. His natural reaction was to fight for that seat. He dashed forward for the seat and unknowingly shoved a pregnant lady, inferred from the size of her tummy, away and she almost lost her balance. Luckily, a brawny man managed to hold her in the nick of the time to prevent her from reaching the floor with a thud. It was too late. Everyone on the train was glaring at him disapprovingly, snatching a seat with a helpless pregnant lady. Nicholas lowered his head, truly embarrassed. His face was fiery red and burning hot, how he wished that the floor would open up and swallow him as he dreaded being humiliated in the public. Nicholas stood up and walked to one side and offered the seat to the pregnant lady as an apology. He regretted for being “kiasu” just for one seat.

A typical characteristic of Singaporeans is being “kiasu”. However, being “kiasu” is not always bad. “Kiasuness” is a type of motivation that keeps us driving in order to strive for excellence. Although some people may be egocentric, but some otherwise. In cases like that, some people will just be gracious enough to give up their seat or share their seats with strangers during bustling hours. Singapore is a place where eating is not only a national passion but an incurable addiction. A cosmopolitan city like ours is a melting pot of different cuisine from all around the world. That makes Singapore win the title of “world of food” (my own makeup). Remember to treat “kiasuness” as a sense of motivation that drives you on the right path and be gracious to people every day no matter who they are or their status!

988 words 😀


Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka

Telephone Conversation

The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey—I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully.
“HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK?” Button B, Button A.* Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis–
“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?” Revelation came.
“You mean–like plain or milk chocolate?”
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted,
I chose. “West African sepia”–and as afterthought,
“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT’S THAT?” conceding
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.” “Like brunette.”
“THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether.
Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused–
Foolishly, madam–by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black–One moment, madam!”–sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears–“Madam,” I pleaded, “wouldn’t you rather
See for yourself?”


Poem Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka

Q1. This poem is full of colours not just that of skin, what do you think these colours signify?

Firstly,  repetition was used in the poem: “Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered Omnibus squelching tar.” I think the repetition of “Red” signifies the anger the persona was filling up within him. He feels upset being discriminated as the landlady was asking him for his skin colour which implies that she does not want to rent her flat to a person with dark-coloured skin.
Next, the description of skin colour was described with the metaphor ” plain or milk chocolate” tells us the skin colour of the persona. The colours dark or light was used to describe the skin colour of the persona and we can tell that the landlady was being a bit discriminating against dark-coloured skin people given her tone.
Lastly, the persona said that she has brown-coloured hair (brunette)  but she her palms, soles, are all peroxide blond which was caused by friction. The landlady decides not to rent the flat to the persona as the persona hears a thunderclap about his ears, which means that the landlady had already hung up the call.

Q2.What does the dialogue in this poem reveal about these two characters?

The dialogues in this poem reveals that the persona is a African with dark-coloured skin whereas the landlady was described as a white person who discriminates the dark people.


Q3. The poet dramatises a battle, who wins finally and why?

I think the persona wins finally as the landlady feels that she had no reasons to argue with the persona and so she hung up the call.


Posted by on February 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Civil War

The Southern States:

  1. Texas
  2. Arkansas
  3. Delaware
  4. Washington D.C.
  5. Maryland
  6. Florida
  7. Kentucky
  8. Georgia
  9. Virginia
  10. Mississippi
  11. West Virginia
  12. North Carolina
  13. South Carolina
  14. Tennessee
  15. Alabama
  16. Louisiana
  17. Oklahoma



Who was the US president who proclaimed war against the South?

Abraham Lincoln


Why was the Civil War fought?

I think it was fought because of racism and discrimination against the African-Americans.


When was this war fought?

Around 1861–1865


What was the outcome of the war?

Slavery had been abolished.


How does the Civil Rights Movement relate to the novel?

Both talk about people fighting for freedom and basic human rights.

  1. Maryland
  2. Virginia
  3. Tennessee
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana
  6. Missouri
  7. North Carolina
  8. South Carolina
  9. Mississippi
  10. Alabama
  11. Georgia
  12. Florida
  13. Texas
  14. Oklahoma
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


Montgomery Bus Boycott and Scottsboro Trials

Montgomery Bus Boycott Trials

Under the system of segregation used on Montgomery buses, white people who boarded the bus took seats in the front rows, filling the bus toward the back. Black people who boarded the bus took seats in the back rows, filling the bus toward the front. Eventually, the two sections would meet, and the bus would be full. If other black people boarded the bus, they were required to stand. If another white person boarded the bus, then everyone in the black row nearest the front had to get up and stand, so that a new row for white people could be created. Often when boarding the buses, black people were required to pay at the front, get off, and reenter the bus through a separate door at the back. On some occasions bus drivers would drive away before black passengers were able to reboard. National City Lines owned the Montgomery Bus Line at the time of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Scottsboro Trials

The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident deal with racism and a basic American right: the Right to a fair trial. The case includes a frame up, all-white jury, rushed trials, an attempted lynching, angry mob, and miscarriage of justice.


The Scottsboro Trials

Took place in the 1930s

Took place in northern Alabama

Began with a charge of rape made by white women against African American men

The poor white status of the accusers was a critical issue.

A central figure was a heroic judge, a member of the Alabama Bar who overturned a guilty jury verdict against African American men.

This judge went against public sentiment in trying to protect the rights of the African American defendants.

The first juries failed to include any African Americans, a situation which causeed the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the guilty verdict.

The jury ignored evidence, for example, that the women suffered no injuries.

Attitudes about Southern women and poor whites complicated the trial.

Tom Robinson’s Trial

Occurs in the 1930s

Takes place in southern Alabama

Begins with a charge of rape made by a white woman against an African American man

The poor white status of Mayella is a critical issue.

A central figure is Atticus, lawyer, legislator and member of the Alabama Bar, who defends an African American man.

Atticus arouses anger in the communtiy in trying to defend Tom Robinson.

The verdict is rendered by a jury of poor white residents of Old Sarum.

The jury ignores evidence, for example, that Tom has a useless left arm.

Attitudes about Southern women and poor whites complicate the trial of Tom Robinson.

The Author and the Book

Nelle Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, had many childhood experiences which are similar to those of her narrator, Scout Finch.

Harper Lee’s Childhood

Grew up in 1930s – rural southern Alabama town

Father – Amasa Lee – attorney who served in state legislature in Alabama

Older brother and young neighbor (Truman Capote) are playmates

Harper Lee – an avid reader

Six years old when Scottsboro trials were meticulously covered in state and local newspapers

Scout Finch’s Childhood

Grew up in 1930s – rural southern Alabama town

Father – Atticus Finch – attorney who served in state legislature in Alabama

Older brother and young neighbor (Dill) are playmates

Scout reads before she enters school; reads Mobile Register newspaper in first grade

Six years old when the trial of Tom Robinson takes place



Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


Jim Crow’s Laws

What/Who is Jim Crow?

The name Jim Crow is often used to describe the segregation laws, rules, and customs which arose after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and continued until the mid-1960s.
In the United States, the so-called Jim Crow laws were made to enforce racial segregation, and included laws that would prevent African-Americans from doing things that a “white” person could do. For instance, Jim Crow laws regulated separate use of water fountains and separate seating sections on public transport.

What were Jim Crow Laws?

The Jim Crow Laws were basically the laws people had to live by, it was racial segregation towards any colored peoples. They separate African-Americans and the ‘whites’ in different aspects such as in schools, buses, bathrooms or work, etc.

Jim Crow Laws were carried out to discriminate against African-Americans:

Racial Segregation

1.     Separation based on race.

2.    Targeted against African-Americans who were isolated from the “whites”

Jim Crow Laws also made discrimination practices legal in many communities and states and were characterized by unequal opportunities in:

1. Housing
2. Work
3. Education
4. Government

What was the response of the slaves and the Blacks to these laws?

They could not agree with the law and responded with violence.

Do we see the Jim Crow Laws surface in the novel? If so then in which part of the novel? ( applies in To Kill A Mockingbird )

I do see the Jim Crow Laws surface in the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” as the character Tom Robinson, a African-American, was facing discrimination by the a “white” lady who claimed that Tom had molested her. However, Tom Robinson was innocent. During that time, the African-Americans were hardly given any chance to speak. Even if they do, the judges would not believe them as they were in a discriminating perspective.

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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized