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Su Lin lay on her bed, turning and tossing. "I must sleep. I have an exam tomorrow," she told herself. But sleep evaded her.

Just as she was dozing off, she heard a clang from the backyard. The sound of cautious footsteps on dried mango leaves jolted her awake. She crawled quietly to the window and was just in time to see a dark shadow moving towards the kitchen. Heart pumping wildly, she shook her two room-mates awake.

"Robber downstairs," she whispered. Maria opened her mouth. Quickly Su Lin cupped her hand over Maria's mouth to stop the scream that was coming forth. By this time, Ah Chew had already barricaded their door with a study table. They sat in the middle of the room, praying and listening for noises outside.

"Knock, knock, knock, Susan! Susan!"

"Jimmy, what's the matter? It's already very late. I've exams tomorrow," Susan's sleepy voice could be heard distinctively in the quietness of the night.

"Please open the door. There's something urgent."

"I'm sleepy. Please don't disturb me."

"Knock, knock, knock." The three girls jumped. "Ah Chew!" came Jimmy's voice, low and uncertain. "Ah Chew! Ah Chew!", came another voice, slightly louder.

The girls looked at one another, paralyzed by fear. The door knob turned quietly. Then there was silence.

Barely a minute later, the knocking started again. This time, it was on Siva's door. "Siva, Siva!" Jimmy began, to be echoed by the alien voice.

"Robber! Robber! Help!" The stillness of the night was broken by a girl's shrill voice. The neighbor's dogs began barking. There was a metallic clang, followed by footsteps of someone dashing down the stairs. Su Lin caught a glimpse of a dark-skinned man wearing a striped T-shirt sprinting away in the moonlight.

"Ah Chew! Ah Chew!" came Jimmy's voice again. The girls looked at one another, bewildered. Ah Chew got up to open the door but Maria pulled her back. "Don't!" So they sat and waited. The knocking continued. No one responded.

Then suddenly everyone was talking. The girls couldn't contain their curiosity any longer. They moved the table aside and opened the door. There stood Jimmy. The kitchen knife lay at his feet.

He looked visibly shaken. "Why didn't you open the door? Do you know how it feels to have the knife pointed at your neck?" Siva stumbled out of his room, rubbing his eyes. Wong came up the stairs, looking confused. Obviously both of them had slept through the whole incident.

"Where's Ah Boh? He's been kidnapped." Maria's eyes became as round as saucers.

"No. Come and see, " Jimmy said. By now, he was enjoying himself being the hero of the night. Ah Boh lay on his mattress, mouth gagged, hands and legs tied securely with his blanket which had been torn into shreds.

"Who gave the alarm?" Su Lin wanted to know.

"I did," Susan beamed. I was on my way downstairs to get a drink when I saw a dark shape near our knife cabinet. Quickly I retraced my steps but I didn't have time to warn any of you."

"So you knew what was happening when I called you."

"Yes. I've never heard of a robber who goes about waking people up. It must be his first attempt."

"He chose the wrong time to strike. Susan, you call the police. I'll bolt the door downstairs. The robber might come back. I may not be as lucky this time."

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why was Su Lin's heart pumping wildly ?
  2. Why did Ah Chew move the study table towards the door ?
  3. How many doors did Jimmy and the robber knock on ?
  4. Why didn't Susan open the door when Jimmy knocked on her door ?
  5. Give two instances whereby the robber was seen before he caught hold of Jimmy.
  6. Why was Jimmy lucky ?
  7. According to the passage, why was the robber unlucky ? Give two reasons to support your answer.
  Fill in the blanks with one correct word from the passage.
  8. Our ______ is shortest at noontime when the sun is overhead.
  9. People who are ______ cannot move their hands and legs and depend of their family to feed them.
  10. Some people need two or three ______ clocks to wake them up in the morning.
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She was afraid of the robber


She wanted to stop the robber from breaking into their room.


Jimmy and the robber knocked on three doors.


She knew the robber was outside with Jimmy.


The two instances are when : (i) Su Lin saw him from the window as he was coming in from the backyard. (ii) Susan saw him in the kitchen while he was searching for a knife.
  6. The robber did not stab him with the knife.
  7. He did not manage to rob the students of anything. (i) he used the wrong tactic in robbing people. (ii) Many people in the house knew that he was in their house.
  8. shadow
  9. paralyzed
  10. alarm

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Comprehension 1


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