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Whatever it was that prompted me to go to Singapore is very trivial. The most important thing was that I learnt the meaning of loneliness and the fear of plunging into the unknown. I should say that it did me a world of good.


On the twenty-fifth of March this year, I was on my way across the causeway to another foreign country to "seek my fortune". With the passport in my hand, I glanced over the number of chops on the page. Suddenly, a feeling of fear overcame me. How in the world am I going to find my way in Singapore ? I knew I could not retreat because I had taken up the job of home-tutor ! And all my life, my interest had never been in teaching !


So with a brave heart, I ventured into the Lion City. I was first assigned a home in Tiong Bahru, a place I had never heard of before. I consoled myself that it was difficult to get lost here, especially with the efficient bus service. When I finally reached my destination, my expectations were ruined when I was confronted with the stereo-type buildings. The flats stood up like great giants looking down at me, perhaps laughing their heads off at my helplessness. As it was already seven o'clock in the evening. I groped aimlessly in the area. People, young and old, males and females came and went, but they seemed to be more in a hurry than I was. Where they were going, I had not the faintest idea. The careless attitude in them made me sick. There I stood, and forever there I would stand if I did not venture to take the initiative myself. I plucked up my courage and walked slowly to the next block.


Rather unwillingly, I asked a passing boy about the whereabouts of the assigned home. He pointed to a block nearby. Feeling relieved, I walked towards the block and realized that it was really the correct one. I hurriedly walked to wards the nearest lift. Before long, I was on my way to the seventh floor. At long last, I reached my destination. For me then, happiness was having found the place ! I looked at my watch. It showed just a few minutes after eight. Now only did I realize the truth of the law of relativity -- the one-hour of fruitless search in the dark had seemed like eternity then !


Now only do I know what loneliness really is. Now I know what fear is like. Fear and loneliness only exist when you are in the unknown. When the unknown is opened to you, automatically, fear and loneliness vanish.

1.   What does the phrase "seek my fortune" mean ?
    (A) look for a job.  

find a means of livelihood.

    (C) try to survive alone.  
    (D) gain more experience.  
2.   From this experience, the author
    (A) learnt how to live independently.  

learnt the true meaning of loneliness and fear.

    (C) learnt about the careless attitude of people.  
    (D) learnt that finding a job is not easy.  
3.   Choose the incorrect statement from the following :
    (A) The author learnt an invaluable experience in the Lion City.  
(B) On the way to Singapore, the author wanted to change his mind about going.

He went to Singapore because he fell in love with the job that he was going to take up.

    (D) The author managed to find the house he was assigned to with the help of his own initiative.  
4.   Why did the author find difficulty in reaching the house where he was supposed to go ?

The buildings looked the same to him in the dark.

(B) He did not ask for directions.
    (C) The people there did not tell him how to get there.  
    (D) He did not have the address of the home he was supposed to go to.  
5.   What does the author mean by the phrase "realize the truth of the law of relativity"?
    (A) He finally found the place he was supposed to go to after an hour search.  
    (B) He did not realize that he merely spent one hour searching for the house.
    (C) He was glad that he finally found the place after an hour of searching.  

He realized that he merely spent one hour searching in the dark, which at that time had seemed like eternity.


The author concludes that


loneliness and fear are only felt when you are in the unknown.

    (B) loneliness and fear are present in the dark.
    (C) loneliness and fear are not present in the dark.  
    (D) loneliness and fear are felt when the unknown is opened to you.  
7.   The most suitable title for the above passage is :
    (A) An Experience in the Lion City.  

The World of Fear.

    (C) The Journey to Singapore.  
    (D) A Lesson Learnt.  

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Comprehension 1


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