2018 Winners and Honourable Mentions

CATEGORY A : 13 - 15 YEARS
Day 4: Bloom
15 November 2018

WINNER


Evelyn Anak Ringkai


Ever since I was a kid, I was always told not to go to the forest. Of course, you might think that this piece of advice is completely reasonable. Why? Well, the forest is a big place. For someone who does not know the forest very well, getting lost in a matter of minutes seems like the easiest thing to do.

However, that was not the case. We were told that the forest was off limits for an entirely different reason. It was to isolate someone. 

There is this famous legend about a girl named Ayana who lived in said forest. Many people from all over the world would come to our hometown in search of Ayana. Our house is the closest to the forest. Hence, there will always be someone knocking on our door asking the same thing:

"Excuse me, do you know about the legend of Ayana?"

And everyday we will give the same reply:

"Ayana? She is not a legend. She is very much real. It would be wise to turn back around. That girl is mad. She lost her mind ages ago".

I always wondered what made her so different. Why we isolated her in the first place. So now, as an adult, I will be looking for this girl who lost her mind ages ago whose name is Ayana. 

As I was walking into the forest, I could hear whispers.

"The Queen Of The Night will be pleased at the sight of a visitor".
"The Queen Of The Night will bloom at midnight".

Queen Of The Night? Ayana? I can't tell if walking into this forest was a good choice or not but it's too late to turn back now. I walked until I reached the centre of the forest. It was surprisingly barren. But in the middle of it all was this beautiful white flower. The flower was quite a sight, but, it was rather underwhelming. I was about to turn around and head home when a voice said:

“It’s time”.

A bright, white light emerged from the flower and a woman appeared in front of me. The woman’s beauty reminded me of the white flower which has mysteriously vanished. 
“Hello. I am known as the Queen Of The Night by the forest. I am known as Ayana by you mortals. I bloom only at midnight”.

I was speechless. This is Ayana? 

“I’ve waited for so long for a person to come by here. Whoever crosses my path shall become my messenger. I shall bestow upon you this responsibility. My species is dying and it’s thanks to you mortals. You keep chopping away trees, leaving no place for my kind. Turn back now and spread the word. Or I will tell Mother Nature to release her wrath. And remember: Nature also has a voice”.

That was when it hit me. They created stories about her not to save people’s lives, but to hide away from the truth. That humans are monsters overwhelmed with greed. 


 


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The Assassination
Joel Pang Kai Chen


Here comes the slayers, the most vicious and ruthless creatures on the planet. Petrified villagers scurried, ducking and diving in the waters, looking for cover. Their mahogany doors were nailed shut, windows were barred as the rest grasped the helves of their double-edged swords, ready for battle. They knew that this was their lifeline, either do or die. Corsairs embellished the waters, claiming the spoils in the unrelenting terrain, brutally slaughtering the countrymen with their blade. Only when the Sturm und Drag had been drowned out by the blood-curdling screams of their men, did the rest unearthed the truth. That night, crimson bloomed throughout the river and all present knew why.

Industry overran all in the end with factories disemboguing and disgorging billowing smoke into the atmosphere. Lead percolated through their lungs and dissolved acids cauterized their skin. The countrymen toiled for what the assassins called revolution. Steamships traversed the tributaries, crude oil that blanketed the surface stifled the villagers. The workshops and the mills were by far the worst, belching toxic byproducts into the river. Algal blooms and what assassins dubbed as eutrophication soon amplified multitudinously, giving the waters a pallor of uncertainty and dread. Abhorrent and atrocious chemicals that branched into thinner veins choked and strangulated the hunched villagers. That year, silver bloomed throughout the river and all present knew why.

But the assassination still blossomed and burgeoned. Now came the assassins’ rain. Plastic debris pummeled on the zinc roofs of the villagers, an incessant cacophony that enshrouded the radiance of the pale sunlight. They suffocated in a realm of bleak darkness, weaving through a maze of suspended plastics, laden with a myriad of traps. Asphyxiation enveloped the countrymen as their dorsal fins flailed erratically, combing for a plastic-free environment, only to be trapped in gossamers of martyrdom, entangled, flickering, trying to break free from the grasp of the assassins. Veiled by hallucinations of relish, the frail ravenous and debilitated villagers sunk their teeth into the tainted, vitiated weapons of the assassins. This time, a myriad of hues bloomed throughout the river and all present knew why.

The assassins’ blades tormented and tortured the vast network of multitudinous rivulets that never ran dry. She was just like the countrymen, her disease is fatal too. Choked by pernicious fumes that strangulated her trachea, scourged by micro plastics when she tried to save her kindred from the plastic webs of assassination, poisoned with heavy metals, seared by hot oil. Man ignored her tirade of pleas, as she ululated with agony. The unrelenting and unremitting torture imploded nature.

The world only began to change when the rivers were gone. They were no longer a cradle of life but a bed of bones. What bloomed were only deserts and barren wastelands, tainted with desolation. No one knew, for no one was there. The sardonic smiles of the assassins and their sneers of derision they’ve been wearing faded away. Assassination, a blooming darkness that cloaks the blooming light that radiates hope and joy.


The Seed Of Life
Dylan Wong Yun Xian


The Earth, a gift that should truly be treasured by men, has provided us with an abundance of essentials for our survival. We still have a lot to learn from this world that we live in, even up to today. We tend to miss out the greatest lessons in life just because of how minute it may be to us. Our life here on Earth should be a reflection of doing something as minute as planting a flower. From planting the seed to witnessing it developing into a plant, there is always something that we could take away from that.

A seed is often neglected for how important it truly is in our life. A seed will eventually grow to produce timber, fruits, oxygen for men. It all derives from a single seed if we choose to plant it. In order for a the seed to grow, it would require fundamentals from Mother Nature herself like sunlight, water, nutrients and suitable temperature for it to germinate.

We humans are the same.

From the dawn of mankind, we had always heeded to Mother Nature for our own survival. We had been given everything we needed to survive.

We had been given trees that bear fruits and produce oxygen for us.

We had been given rivers that provide us a clean source of water.

We had been given animals as a primary source of food.

But yet again, we take advantage of those goods for our selfish intentions. Instead, we should appreciate the wonders given to us and not to chop down all the trees, pollute all the rivers and drive animals to the brink of extinction.

We should learn to be like a germinating seed that has grown leaves.

It doesn’t harm nature but instead, it gives back to it.

It produces oxygen for animals and mankind alike.

It rids the world of pollution and it allows for a stable ecosystem to coexist within its habitat.

Likewise, we should always give back to the environment as well. We need to mend the problems towards the health and condition of Mother Nature. Without it, we will not be able to sustain ourselves for much longer.

Only when we give back, we can truly progress to greater heights.

This is when the plant starts to bud.

Its flourishing condition can only be achieved by hardwork and proper environmental management.

This is when our hardwork can truly be realized and appreciated, which is one of the beauties of nature.

This is when we can finally progress together, when our problems concerning the environment and first world problems have been solved. This is only possible if we put in the work to achieve this. This is only possible when the environment is always properly managed. In doing this, we can finally tap into mankind’s endless possibilities in ensuring further development for the future.

Only then, can we truly bloom.