My Greatest Fear

By SY (12 years old)

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I am one of the shyest kids at school.  I seldom talk in class but when Ms Olivia, my favourite teacher asked me to give a speech during the school assembly, I could hardly let her down.  I did not want to disappoint her so I agreed, very reluctantly.

My parents were astonished once they knew.  They were aware I was a timid girl but they were hopeful I would outgrow my diffidence gradually.

I had to rewrite my speech a dozen times before deeming it perfect.  The next stage was speech practice.  I practised every night before I slept.  I also spent hours in front of the mirror inside the bathroom.  My elder sister thought I was going insane.

On the day of my speech presentation, my family came to school to give me moral support.  When the emcee called my name, I strode to the stage, full of confidence.  I was positive I could do it but when I saw the large audience, I immediately froze.  Hundreds of butterflies were fighting to escape from my stomach.  My palms became clammy and my hands shook very badly while my heart was pounding away against my chest like it was asking to be let out.

The audience looked at me as if I had grown another head.  Someone started to murmur and others soon joined in.  Without thinking, I ran off the stage and out of the hall.  It was the most humiliating day of my entire life.  I was sure that I would be teased by my friends the next day but I simply didn’t care at that moment.  I was a glossophobic and life had become a nightmare!  Glossophobia, I hate you!


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Lily’s New Spectacles

By Anderson C. (11 years old)

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Lily could not see the words clearly on the whiteboard in class.  When she reached home in the afternoon, she immediately told her mother that she had difficulty in seeing the teacher’s writing on the whiteboard.

So, her mother brought her to the optical shop to have her eyesight tested.  After the test, the optician asked her to choose a spectacle frame.  Lily looked at many frames before she finally picked a pink frame with flowers.  She put it on and loved how she looked.

She now wears her new spectacles all the time.  She loves having a clear vision very much.


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My Greatest Fear

TC (12 years old)

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“What is your greatest fear?” the teacher asked in class.  “Clowns!”  I replied.  I have been afraid of clowns since I was a young child.  The loathing and fear has grown more intense over the years.

According to the dictionary, a clown is a comic performer who wears an outlandish costume and makeup.  He is good at making his audience laugh at his antics.  However, I beg to differ.  To me, they are buffoons who wear too much paint in order to scare me out of my wits.

Each time I saw a clown coming, I headed in another direction as fast as my legs could carry me.  To be honest, I have no idea why I hate clowns so much.  I think it could be due to the fact that I watched a murderous clown starring in a horror movie once.  Since then, I had often imagined myself tied to a chair with an evil clown pointing his dagger at me.

My family and friends do not agree with me and make light of my clown phobia.  They simply couldn’t figure out why I have coulrophobia.  Clowns are funny, they think but how could they be so sure that underneath all those thick layers of paint and disguise is not a hard-core convict?


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My Greatest Fear

By Samantha W. (12 years old)

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I fear public speaking, great heights and the dark, but my greatest fear has to be the fear of spiders which is known as arachnophobia.

Each time I look at these creepy crawlies, chills run down my spine.  Thus far, I have never touched nor killed a spider.  I prefer to keep a respectable distance from these eight-legged arachnids.  Nothing would induce me to touch one, not even a harmless daddy longlegs.

Everyone in my family knows I hate spiders, really, really hate them.  When my brother, Ethan, discovered that I was afraid of daddy longlegs, he laughed his head off.  He couldn’t fathom why someone would be scared witless by a harmless creature.

One day, Ethan thought it was amusing to give me a fright.  He dangled a spider he had caught in front of my face.  I bolted out of my chair and beat a hasty retreat, but the silly boy chased me all over the house, shrieking in holy glee while I screamed in terror.  Mom and Dad were out and I had no one to rescue me.

I began to plot my revenge for hell hath no fury like a wronged girl.  Now Ethan’s greatest fear is lizards which is perfect as they are aplenty in our home.  So, I set up to capture one and dropped it into his collar.  He squealed like a scalded pig of course!

Some say fear is a teacher.  If so, it must be a lousy teacher and should be fired.  What can arachnophobia teach me anyway?


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Running Away

By Esther L.  (13 years old)

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Fiona marched away from the house as quickly as she could.  Casting one last glance at the house, she started having second thoughts.  Where could she go?  She had nowhere to stay but she refused to continue living with that abusive monster of a father.  He had hit her painfully many times, without any cause.  She understood her mother had run away with another man, but it wasn’t fair for her father to take it out on her.

“I’m going to start a new life for myself,” she vowed.  She would just go wherever her feet brought her as she wasn’t capable of planning ahead considering that she was only nine.  In her bag were 90 crumpled dollar bills, a bottle of water, some cookies and clothing.

Vehicles zoomed past her and she watched them, wishing that she could drive.  She would then have complete freedom to travel to anywhere she wanted.  She smiled wistfully at the thought and continued wandering down the street.

Puzzled looks settled on Fiona.  Why would a little girl be roaming the streets with a backpack on her back?  She ignored the inquisitive stares and listened as the wind soughed through the trees.  The leaves rustled while birds circled in the air chirping merrily.  She wondered how it would like to have wings, to be able to fly.

The sun was making its descent, painting the sky in an array of brilliant colours of red, orange and yellow against a blue backdrop.  She paused for a moment and marvelled at the amazing sight.  Why couldn’t her life be as splendid?

She plodded on and caught a whiff of food.  Food!  She sniffed greedily and licked her lips in anticipation of a meal for she hadn’t eaten since morning.  As she turned round the corner, she saw a hot dog stand.  She headed straight for it, never taking her eyes off the hot dogs sizzling on the grill pan.  Handing over a wrinkly dollar, she grabbed the hot dog eagerly.  She took a bite and closed her eyes in ecstasy; hot dogs were now her favourite food.

Sighing contentedly, she made her way through the park.  Night had fallen like a black curtain.  The dark streets were illuminated by bright street lamps, casting long shadows on the ground.  There were less cars now and Fiona felt afraid for the first time since running away from home.  What if a kidnapper abducted her? Someone might hurt or murder her!

Fiona shook her head to push the negative thoughts away.  She looked for a place to spend the night and stumbled upon a bus-stop.  She decided to lay claim to it for the night.  Pulling out a sweater, she donned it and lay down with her backpack for a pillow.  The events today had been taxing and her little body was totally spent.  “Tomorrow will take care of itself,” she supposed, drifting off to dreamland.


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What would you like to invent?

By Kay (17 years old)

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In 1899, Mr. Charles H. Duell, the Commissioner of the United States patent office stated, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  Looking back, Mr. Duell’s statement couldn’t possibly have been more wrong.  Whether it is through the clever recombination of existing ideas or utilising the latest technologies to explore concepts once thought impossible, modern society continues to create and innovate.

When one thinks about different technological possibilities, one merely has to pick up a science fiction novel to see the fascination society has with technology.  Our flights of fancy quite frequently manifest themselves in some form of technological devices and gadgetry that simplify or improve our lives.  What’s more, inventors are sometimes motivated by the need to bring forth the unique vision they imagined while reading about futuristic innovations.

One such example from recent history would be the Saturn V rocket developed in the 1960s for reaching out to the moon. If one examines the works of Jules Verne, similarities can be found between what was written and what became reality in the space programme. For that matter, several engineers involved with the development of the Saturn V booster implied they had been deeply influenced and motivated by science fiction writings such as those of Jules Verne.

As one can see, the ability to travel not only further, but faster is something many inventors focus upon.  I, for one, have thought about inventing a machine that could transport people from place to place at incredible speeds compared to today’s transportation vehicles.  To give it a name, let’s call this hypothetical machine the “Instant Transfer Machine” (ITM).  Imagine if you will, a machine that could travel around the world in no less than 24 hours, yet still be manageable within a cosmopolitan area for rapid movement.

Its usefulness for the elderly, businesspeople and even the daily commuter would be invaluable.  Large enough to seat six people, it is still small enough to be used by individuals making it quite versatile.  And talk about easy on fuel costs.  Powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the ITM is not only ecologically friendly in byproducts produced, but it uses one of the most abundant and accessible elements available throughout the universe.

Simplicity of operational controls is another aspect the ITM would excel at.  There is no need for numerous complex gauges and adjustment controls.  Instead, a touch keypad would be used to enter GPS coordinates of the desired destination.  Once entered, the on-board computer would calculate the safest and quickest route to arrive at the destination with no other intervention required by the passengers.

The usefulness of such a machine would be quite handy.  At times, I have a strong desire to taste the delectable dishes my grandmother lovingly cooks, but living far away makes it difficult for me to travel to her as she lives in South Korea.  With the ITM, it would become a simple matter to find my way to her kitchen and smell those delicious meals simmering away on the stove.

All in all, this novel transportation device would be a dream come true.  Tedious commutes would become a thing of the past, allowing more free time to enjoy life to its fullest.  Soon, everyone will know the greatness of the Instant Transfer Machine.


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What would you like to invent?

By HS (16 years old)

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Countless devices for myriads of uses had been invented either accidentally or intentionally throughout history by mankind because our human nature craves for a life filled with comfort and convenience brought about by such innovations.  As such, technological advances have indeed added tremendous value and ease to our life and budding innovators across the globe continue to contrive new ideas each day.  I, for one, dream constantly of creating a shrinking torchlight.

This shrinking torchlight of mine will shrink any object that comes under its light. To return the same object to its previous size, one simply flashes the light on it twice.  For instance, a 4-door cupboard can easily be reduced to 10 percent of its original form to become portable. Since the last twenty odd years, parents have been complaining that their kids are carrying heavy schoolbags and it is turning them into hunchbacks.  Dear parents and fellow students, cease your moaning and groaning!  Help in the form of the shrinking torchlight is at hand!

The shrinking torchlight not only alleviates burdens for a household, it also has numerous commercial uses.  Manufacturers need no longer hire container trucks on land and container ships or bulk carriers at sea to transport their goods, hence saving billions in freight charges. Builders too, will applaud this handy tool. Shrunken bricks and other building materials can be easily hefted up to different levels of a building in no time at all, thus accelerating the delivery of finished structures over to owners and buyers.

This wonderful innovation has no limitation to its usefulness. It is going to be a life-saver to Mother Earth which is dying slowly but surely to mass pollution. As the society becomes moneyed, the purchasing power of individuals has also escalated and so has their dumping tendency. Unlike his forefathers, the affluent man tends to procure unnecessary items and tosses them away without much ado. The Environmental Protection Agency reports the United States produces approximately 220 million tons of trash each year. This is equivalent to burying more than 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage. A beam from the shrinking torchlight will effortlessly condense that amount of waste to just 8,200 football fields in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

As it brings forth an entirely new meaning to the modern era of technology, the shrinking torchlight will be without question, a modern implement in great demand. It is a must-have gadget for every individual, young or old at home, at school and at the workplace. In short, it is going to be a lifestyle of this century!

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