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Lower Secondary English essays

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Reflect upon the time when you achieved the greatest success
 
Many people my age would think of their greatest success as having topped the class in an examination or even winning a national sporting title. This is probably due to the fact that we have very little opportunity to explore other challenges since we are in a competitive education system. I was lucky to have had the chance to help a classmate reform his ways. His success in overcoming his past is also my greatest success.

Since he became my classmate in Form One, Ah Seng was known to all as the "little terror of SMK Munshi Sulaiman". Even years later when his skinny frame filled out to make him an imposing 6-footer, he was still known in awed whispers as "little terror". Besides generating the fear in us, Ah Seng went on to bully and extort money from the rest of us. Soon, he became a member of the local street gang, which meant that his misdeeds simply became more audacious. His name alone struck terror into our hearts.

But where he was the "king" in all the areas outside of the classroom, in the classroom itself he was merely the dunce. Ah Seng's academic studies suffered from his frequent gang activities. It was not unusual to see him listless and yawning away in class after having spent the entire night and early morning at a discotheque or coffee shop with his gang. At times like this, everyone kept out of his way for he was bound to be really hot-tempered. But one day, the police rounded up Ah Seng's gang after they had taken part in a gang fight. A member of the rival gang was beaten to death and it was discovered that Ah Seng was one of those in the front line beating him. He was thrown into the lock-up for a few days while awaiting trial. Those were sobering days for him. For the first time, he felt real fear and regret. After the trial, he was released but was put on probation. This meant observing curfews and doing well in school, or he would be put into a boys' home. Ah Seng resolved to reform himself.

But it was easier said than done. His former gang came back to him to cajole and sometimes threaten him into joining them again. No one in school wanted to associate themselves with him due to his terrible reputation and past. But one day, I saw him in the toilet, tears brimming in his eyes as he stared at his test paper. He had failed the test again. I could hear him mumbling to himself that he had really tried to study hard, but to no avail. My heart went out to him then and I saw him for the vulnerable child that he was. That was the beginning of our friendship.

I literally took him under my wings. Initially, people thought that I was probably coerced into hanging out with him, but my tenacity in initiating him into my circles of friends soon put those rumors to rest. For the first time, Ah Seng could enjoy the simple pleasures of real friendship. He no longer needed to "act tough" with his friends; with us, he could be the normal sixteen-year-old that he was. He began to feel good about himself.

We also studied together after school, which resulted in a slow but steady improvement in his results. His former gang members would often come around to jeer at him for being a "useless bookworm", but Ah Seng withstood all their taunts. He was determined not to make a mess of his life again. When the year-end results were released, Ah Seng's joy was immeasurable as he realized that he had finally achieved decent results for once. Instead of always faithfully hovering at the bottom of the rankings, he was now a respectable 25th in class. When he reached for my hand in a firm handshake to say "thank-you", I was the proudest of all. I had set out to help him, and I did. It was really my greatest success.

     
dunce   dimwit
     
cajole   persuade
     
tenacity   firmness
 
 

 

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Lower secondary English essays 1

 
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