Online Lesson HBL Term 2 25th May 2011 Part 1


Children in the Darkness

There are children in the darkness
Who have not seen the light
There are children in the darkness
Who someone will teach to fight
Chalk and blackboards will not be
To this door there is no key
From this life they can not flee
And these children are not free
Could we simply light a candle
Could we give them half a chance
Could we teach them how to read
Could we teach them how to dance
Or will a war consume them
Their body and their soul
Will their life and blood be poured
Down some endless thirsty hole
Back into the darkness
From which there is no flight
Back into the darkness
Into which there shines no light

Background information

Henry M Bechtold, the poet, went to Vietnam during the period 1967-1968. During that time, the Vietnam Wars had started from 1955-1975. In 2009, Henry was at a Hotel in Saigon. He was inspired by a photo of a young boy carrying a automatic rifle in his hands going to war in the news. After that, he found his inspiration and began to jot down events he had remembered from the Vietnam Wars he had experienced. The poem talks about the children during the Vietnam War.

The poem is in the period of the Vietnam Wars. It was about children who were at young age would also have to go to war. The repetition of the word “darkness” signifies that the children were kept away in a corner when not needed, and when war comes, they would be sent to the battlefield or to enemies’ base to be spies regardless of their age. They would meet their doom and as the repetition of “darkness” suggests the darkness in their lives. The children had no rights to choose to fight or not. The main darkness is the death awaiting them. “From this life they cannot flee” suggests that every child in Vietnam had to go for war as there was probably a shortage of soldiers as many died and many were badly injured because the war had went on for more than 10 years. Thus, the children would have to replace the soldiers and they cannot flee from their destiny. “War consume their body and their soul” meant that the children will die of the war.

The persona wants to argue that the children should be taught with knowledge but not sent to war. This is another example of a anti-war poetry. The persona conveys this message differently from other poem in my opinion. Most anti-war poems were all about bloodshed and deaths of family and friends. However, this poem conveys the hardship the innocent children had to suffer due to the war. They had to replace soldiers to go up to the battlefield to fight for their lives which was quite difficult because they had never been trained to go to battlefields. Therefore, they would meet their doom. The persona evokes sympathy as the innocent children had to go to war at such a young age.

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Recipe for Banana Split

Step 1:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop strawberry ice cream
  • 1 scoop chocolate ice cream
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 whipped cream
  • some chocolate sauce
  • some strawberry sauce
  • some butterscotch/ caramel sauce
  • 1 tbsp chopped nuts
  • 3 glace cherries
  • 1 ice cream scoop
  • 1 knife
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 serving dish

Step 2: Split the banana

Peel away the skin and carefully slice down the length of the banana. Arrange the 2 pieces side by side with a gap in-between on the serving plate

Step 3: Ice cream

Take a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and place it in the centre, over the two banana pieces. Next, put a scoop of chocolate ice cream one side of the vanilla, and then strawberry on the other, running down the length of the banana

Dip the ice cream scoop into a cup of warm water before you dish out the ice cream. This cleans the utensil and also makes the ice cream easier to scoop

Step 4: Sauces

Squeeze a little butterscotch or caramel sauce over the top of the vanilla ice cream,… chocolate sauce over the chocolate ice cream… and lastly strawberry sauce over the strawberry ice cream.

Step 5: Cream

Give the squirty cream can a good shake and hold it upside down. Put a dollop onto each of the ice cream scoops. Be as indulgent as you like!

Step 6: Topping

Sprinkle on some chopped nuts. As a finishing touch place a glace cherry on the very top of each of the 3 scoops.



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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


Term2 Week2 LA Online Lesson

Hwa Chong Institution,
661, Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 269734.


RE: Encouraging Letter

Dear Nick,

I am writing this letter to you to comfort you for being one of the survivors of the terrible and violent earthquake. Do not feel so sad. Singapore and Taiwan are raising funds to help Japan in financial needs! You must go on! However, radiation in Japan is increasing, you should stay at home to avoid.

When the earthquake happened, many people thought it was a normal one. However, as it did not stop for a few minutes, and books in a bookstore start falling off the shelves; the lamps dangling on the ceiling, ready to drop any moment. Everyone start hiding under the tables; get out of the buildings to an open field for safety.

Death tolls have been increasing every day. Many people were killed in the disaster while many still remain unfound. I hope this would come to an end for good.

Although I have never experienced an earthquake before, I sympathise with you for the destruction of Mother Nature. As I watched from the news, the tsunamis and earthquake destroyed buildings and vehicles everywhere. In one day, the whole piece of land turned into a scrap yard. I cannot understand the feeling of losing your homes and many others with missing family members. The disaster had brought a lot of mishaps in family which I could not do anything to help but to donate as much money as I could.

I am happy for you that you manage to escape safely from the deadly earthquake and I hope your family were unharmed. There are many organisations set up to raise funds for Japan! Be it a few cents or a few thousand dollars, it came directly from their heart.

The days ahead for now may seem bleak, but hand in there! Things will get better! Hopefully the power and water would be restored to affected homes. Stay strong! I know Japan will pull through the ordeal!

Best Regards,
Chua Wen Feng



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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


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