Discursive/Argumentative: What are some of the values one can learn from the Values in Action Programme (VIA)? – Sec 2 Model Essay

In Singapore, it is compulsory for students of all levels to participate in the Values in Action Programme (VIA). The programme, which requires students to fulfil at least six hours of community work a year, was implemented with the aim of introducing youths to the notion of volunteerism and encouraging them to contribute back to society. As a student who has taken part in several VIA projects, I personally find the programme an educational one that cultivates many good values.

Firstly, VIA inculcates a sense of altruism in students. These days, many parents and educators use the carrot and stick approach to motivate the young to behave well or study hard. While the method has its merits, it also inevitably gives the wrong impression that a good deed should always be rewarded. Such self-serving mindset is unacceptable and can be corrected through VIA. As the programme requires students to volunteer their service for a good cause without expecting remuneration or other forms of reward, they learn to put the needs and happiness of others before their own. This fosters a sense of community spirit and teaches them to be selfless givers, not just takers.

Secondly, VIA nurtures students into caring and compassionate individuals. As Singapore is an affluent country, the majority of youths here lead a comfortable and somewhat sheltered life. Consequently, many are blissfully ignorant of the plight of the less fortunate. VIA awakes their social conscience and allow them to become aware of the problems that affect some people in society such as being poor or suffering from terrible illnesses. Through helping these less fortunate brethren, students will not only learn to show compassion, but also count their blessings and appreciate what they have in life. 

In addition, VIA instils the value of hard work into students. For instance, students participating in a flag day are given the responsibility to collect money in public places for charity. The task is a real test of their diligence and perseverance as they have to be on their feet for hours and overcome all kinds of weather conditions. To raise as much funds as possible, they also have to be bold and conquer their fear of rejection by actively approaching people for donation. Sometimes, they even have to explain what the charity is about and convince people to give generously. It is by no means an easy task but students can look back with great satisfaction that they have worked hard and carried out their duties to the best of their ability.

Apart from that, VIA teaches students the importance of good teamwork. Besides donation drives, the programme also involves students in other volunteer work such as visiting the homes of the underprivileged where they help to clean, paint and repair. These homes are usually in a state of dilapidation and a lot of work is required to improve their condition. Thankfully, many hands make light work and students will learn that with cooperative teamwork, they can get the job done swiftly and successfully. Through the experience, they will also learn to deal with different types of personalities and enhance their interpersonal and communication skills.

In a nutshell, VIA is an educational programme that develops students into caring and socially responsible individuals. Even though students are not financially rewarded, they will benefit from the programme in more ways than one and learn important values that money cannot buy through volunteering their time, effort and skills.

Adapted from: https://www.sponge-me.com/tag/model-essays/

Burglary – Sec 2 Model Essay

There was a methodical and habitual movement in each person’s routine. I was of no exception. My ‘movement’ would be ‘observation’. The close proximity of flats cultivated the temptation to peer into others’ rooms. These were excellent pockets of voyeurism, where if one examined them carefully, all contained a tale or two.

My wife had always complained about the way I interfered with others’ business. “You shouldn’t keep spying on others like this. They don’t like their privacy to be intruded on,” she would often say, resignation in her tone. She already knew I was going to proceed with my ‘observation session’ anyway, so she could not care less but to go to work.

Usually, my ‘observation session’ would involve surveying the morning crowd, where the cacophony of uses unloading the schoolchildren added to the neighbourhood atmosphere. The screams of the children playing football in the void deck and the maids scurrying after their charges all added to what would otherwise have been a dull monochrome neighbourhood. Soon after when the morning crowd has dissipated as the merciless heat of the sun settles in, I would then continue my ‘observation session’, I prefer to call it, peeping into others’ privacy with my handy little binoculars.

It was one of the mornings when I conducted my ‘observation’ session which left its mark on me, when I discovered that something was amiss in Mr. Soh’s house. It was routine for Mr. Soh to be home to watch some movies, since his jobbed at the press required him to produce movie reviews, but apparently, he was not at home. I took a look at the usual car park slot he occupied- his car was there. Having been in this estate for some ten years, my knowledge of Pasir Ris Estate 12 was boundless and infinite. I knew every single nook and
cranny, the names of all the children of block 341, and I even took the liberty to name the stray cats which roamed the blocks. But the presence of Mr. Soh’s car was beyond my comprehension. He would never travel without his car, and he has never had an MRT card.

Perhaps my wife was right. This whole ‘observation’ session was making my
imagination run wild. I stole a last glance at Mr. Soh’s room with my binoculars, my expectation to see Mr. Soh waking up was invalidated when I saw a Spiderman rummaging through Mr. Soh’s closet.

A grown man with a Spiderman mask on the streets would have been hilarious, but to see one in someone else’s house was definitely nothing funny at all. The first thought that assailed me was the very word: “Burglary”. As though the sight of a masked intruder set off the smoke alarm in my body, I began to perspire instantly. Heart pounding in my chest, I took deep breaths to regain my composure.

But then again, Mr. Soh had never been much of a friendly neighbour anyway. There is no reason whatsoever as to why I should help him and stop the burglar! Eyes narrowing with malicious intent, a vivid recollection of how Mr. Soh had been so disrespectful to me in the past as a succession of images flashing through my mind only served to spark an irrepressible fire within me. The flames of anger and hatred writhed and twisted, evolving and expanding as more and more of our sour encounters cascaded from my memory vault.
He never replied when I greeted him at the coffee shop. Neither did he help out at the annual Happy Neighbours Fair 2009. And particularly exasperating about him was the fact that he always parked his car irresponsibly, occupying not one, but two lots, just to get the residents to get to notice how wealthy he was.

But oh, the internal turmoil! It was never hard to make a decision, especially so if it involves a rude neighbour. A small insistent voice of reproach surfaced, determined to get its message across. If I could not even fulfill a duty and promise of a helpful neighbour, what use is it to help out at the Happy Neighbours Fair 2009? If I did not help Mr. Soh, my pledge to be a utilitarian would just be a pretence, a masquerade. If I sit and stare and do nothing, I am nothing different from who I detested most- Mr. Soh.

Gripping my binoculars tight, I continued observing the burglar. A deep sigh escaped through my lips as I picked up the phone and dialed the police hotline. After giving the particulars, I proceeded with my monitoring of the burglar’s activities. That poor burglar! He must have thought that Mr. Soh was a rich man, but alas, he never was! The big talk about his inheritance and the number of factories he own was all a façade! The paucity of the find obviously irked the burglar, as all he could find right now were perhaps some watches, but definitely not the real ones, I assumed. But resolute as he was, the burglar never gave up on his rummage, despite yielding disappointing results. Subconsciously I was wishing that the burglar would leave earlier, lest the police caught him. Mr. Soh would really need a lesson on neighbourly cooperation, soon after he learns the concept of neighbourly respect. But then again, I have already rang up the police, there was nothing I could do but to watch the drama unfold.

The familiar red and blue of the police car made their contributions and together conveyed an aura of intense drama. My eyes following closely to the movements of the police squad, a surge of exhilaration and adrenalin rushed through my veins. I was nearly jumping on my seat! An ambush was laid and the policemen waited in patience for the hapless burglar to emerge from the house and into their trap. As sure as fate, the burglar, disgruntled after a disappointing find, walked straight into the ambuscade.

Ten minutes later, one of the policemen knocked on my door and thanked me for my vigilance. At a corner, I could see Mr. Soh running towards me, sweat coursing down his face. Maybe he did have a conscious after all. However, instead of thanking me for assisting the police in their capture, he blatantly ignored me altogether.

“Thank you sir, for informing me! I am sure the burglar did not discover my safe’s code, did he?” Mr. Soh insincerely questioned.

“Well, he did open your safe, but he found nothing inside,” explained the policeman calmly.

Upon realising that his secret has been revealed, Mr. Soh decided to spare himself from further embarrassment, “That was impossible! You must search him, again! I have to go now! Got a billion-dollar deal meeting on! I trust that you would handle the situation appropriately.”

Typical.

Adapted from https://sites.google.com/site/essayclassroom/common-words/sample-essays

A Regret – P6 Model Essay

“Bang!” I woke up, startled at the sound.  Glancing around, I realised that it was my brother, playing with his toys.  “It is time to wake up anyway,” I thought to myself as I saw sunlight filtering through the windows and heard birds chirping somewhere outside.  I stood up and hobbled towards my wheelchair.  As I sat down, I recalled how I ended up in this state.  Memories of a regret came rushing back to my mind.

Three years ago…

“Mum, can I go to the nearby park to cycle with my friends?” I pleaded.  “Only after you have finished doing your homework,” my mother replied with  a stern look on her face.  “Fine!” I grumbled as I walked towards my huge pile of homework.  I sat down, took a deep breath and started scribbling through my homework.  After what seemed like an eternity, I finished my homework, ran to my mother and asked her excitedly, “Mum, can I go now? I have finished my homework!” My mother hesitated for a moment and said, “Okay, but you must promise not to do any dangerous acts.”

“I promise!” I replied as I punched the air in jubilation. I ran to get my bicycle and was soon cycling towards the park.  Not long after, I reached the park and looked around, only to find my friends sitting on a bench, chatting happily.  I walked towards them, beaming.  Upon seeing me, they smiled and said, “Finally, we have been waiting for you.”  “My mum said I could only go out when I have finished my homework. I had no choice but to listen to her.”  “So obedient,” one of my friends, John, said sarcastically. We all laughed at his statement and pushed our bicycles to the track.

“Let’s cycle slowly and admire the scenery,” James, another one of my friend suggested. Everyone agreed except for me.  I said “That is too boring! Let’s have a race instead. Whoever reaches the end of the park wins!”  My friends stared at each other and readily agreed.  “On your mark, get set, go!” Upon hearing the word, “Go”, we cycled as fast as our legs could go. John, the fastest among us, was in the lead.  “I have to catch up with him! I cannot lose!” I said with determination as I cycled faster.  Beads of perspiration was trickling down my face. Eventually, I caught up with John. I turned back and smirked at John.

When I looked in front, my eyes almost popped out of my socket.  A rock thrice as big as my fist was on the path. I tried to swerve past it but to no avail. Then, everything happened in a flash. I hit the rock and the impact flung me several meters away, causing me to hit the ground with a loud thud. I groaned in excruciating pain as blood oozed out from various parts of my body and I thought I heard a loud “crack” from my right leg. Then, the next few moments was in a blur. I heard screams from somewhere near me and the next moment, everything turned black.

When I regained my consciousness, the smell of medicine lingered in the air and I saw my friends and family crowding around me, anxiety written all over their faces. When they realised that I had came to, they heaved a sigh of relief. Then, I realised there was a sharp pain coming from my right leg. Curious, I looked at my right leg and it dawned onto me that my right leg had some serious injury. I asked my parents what had happened to my right leg. They hesitated and answered “Billy, your leg is broken and you will be permanently handicapped.” Upon hearing that, tears trickled down my cheeks and at that moment, I realised how foolish I was to think of such a dangerous idea that landed me in this state.

“Billy! Come and have your breakfast!” My mother’s voice brought me back to the present. As I pushed my wheelchair towards the dining table, I told myself not to ever do foolish things again.

What is done cannot be undone. That fateful day, I regretted my actions and promised myself to listen to my parents and not to do such dangerous acts anymore.

Adapted from https://www.bigideaz.sg/primary-6-composition/

An Unforgettable Incident – P6 Model Essay

Panting furiously, with my feet pounding the
pavement, I raced to the bus stop – I could not afford to
miss the bus! It had been a long day in school, made worse
by the fact that I had to attend three dreary hours of
mathematics supplementary lessons. Joining a queue of
adults shuffling onto the bus that had arrived, I speedily dug
out my EZ-link card from my bag, praying fervently that
there would vacant seats left.

I was fortunate – I managed to find one, next to a
little boy who was dozing off. I guessed that he could be no
more than five years old. I began to wonder… hmmm…all
by himself on public transport at such a tender age? My
thoughts then whirled around recent reports of children
being abandoned… but on a bus? In law-abiding
Singapore? That would be a first! However ‘intrigued’ as I
was about the possible scenarios, my curiosity about the
matter waned as weariness soon took over. Just as I was
about to drift off to slumberland, a noise jolted me wide
awake! The noise had apparently come from the boy next to
me – he was bawling uncontrollably!

“Where is my brother?” he sobbed. Trying my best
to calm him down, I asked him what had happened.

“He… he was taking me to a movie with… with his
friends,” he replied, still sobbing. “I fell asleep and… and
now they… they are gone!”

A passenger sitting behind me had obviously
overheard the conversation and she promptly cut in, “I
believe he’s from Creeksville Primary, your school, and his
name is Thomas Chen,” she said. Taking a quick glance at
the water bottle the boy was firmly holding on to – I espied a
‘Terence Chen’ sticker on the cover. That should lend some
credibility to the lady passenger’s statement. Grudgingly
taking out my mobile phone from my bag, I scrolled down
my ‘Favourites’ list and lightly touched the screen above the
all too familiar contact.

“Creeksville Primary, how may I help you?” a staff
member, presumably Mrs Lim, our clerical assistant,
answered. After having identified myself and relating the
circumstances I was in, I asked if there was a boy in the
school by the name of Thomas Chen and whether I could
have his parents’ contacts, of which Mrs Tan duly provided.

I then called the boy’s mother. After informing her
about what had happened, her tone changed greatly – you
could just sense the anxiety and tension in her voice. I told
her not to worry and that I would arrange for her to pick her
child up at the next bus stop. Further calming the boy down
by tapping him on his shoulder, I gently explained to him
that I would alight with him at the next stop to wait for his
mother. As reluctant as he seemed to be initially, he nodded
in agreement.

I even had the presence of mind to take a book from
my bag to read a story to him while waiting for his mother to
arrive at the bus stop. At least he seemed oddly enthusiastic enough.

Finally, a black Honda pulled up in front of us and
out came a woman – dishevelled hair and all.

“Mummy!” the boy cried, sprinting towards her – I
had never known five-year-olds to be able to run that fast.
She had to be the boy’s mother. The scene that unfolded
before my eyes a short while later would forever remain a
poignant moment in my memory. Just as I was about to
leave, she thanked me profusely for having taken care of
Terence in her, or more aptly put, Thomas’ ‘absence’.

Later that night, I received a heart-warming text
message from the boy’s mother, Mrs Chen, thanking me
again, as well as, relating to me how Terence’s brother,
Thomas, had been too engrossed in chatting with his mates
on the bus that he totally forgot about his brother’s very
existence

My parents knew not of that afternoon’s
unforgettable proceedings – not that I had to tell them
anyway. In fact, basking in the quiet comfort of knowing
that I had actually helped someone sure feels great.

Adapted from https://chongfu.moe.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2018_P5-EL-Workshop-for-Parents_Sample-Model-Essay-1.pdf

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