2018 Winners and Honourable Mentions

CATEGORY B : 16 - 17 YEARS
Day 4: Bloom
15 November 2018

WINNER


Nurul Hazzwanie Bt Mohammad Muzzani


Year 2100. A sudden catastrophes bring this earth into a state of virtual obliteration.
Tsunami. Typhoon. Earthquakes. Drought. Volcanic eruptions.
It was an absolute mayhem that bring human kind down to their knees, begging for God to stop all the calamity. Almost all living beings were swallowed into demise as the circumstances beyond one’s control pursue for six months.
Now, 5 years later everything is slowly coming back even though the existence of plants and animals are in a grave danger. Humans get back on their feet with strong will to rebuild everything that they had lost. As time flies by, barren lands are inhabit by gray, concrete jungles, replacing the green forest. Ships once again are sailing across the sea in search for any remaining survivors, as well as seeking new lands to live in.
Although it is no longer the same, human continue their lives as it was before the chaos took place. Yet here I am, in this half-destroyed, abandoned laboratory trying by all means to keep the green life that I rescued right in the nick of time before that ‘dark moment’, alive. At first it was hard as there are almost nothing left but it gradually become easier. But once again the plant is now dying because it is getting harder to provide it with basic element, the sun.
“Professor! I brought the thing you ask yesterday.” Jeffery, my assistant said while giving me a lightbulb. Murmuring a ‘thank you’, I replaced the dimmed light for the plant. Ever since that day, the sun was blocked by thick haze, making it impossible for the green to rise from the ground and to prevent a complete extinction of those, I am willing to sacrifice everything.
I remember a quote that always humoured me, a botanist.
“Imagine if trees gave off wifi signals, we would be planting so many trees and we’ll probably save the planet too. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.”

What a pleasant feeling. I feel like I’m being cared gently by a mother’s touch. It has been years since last I slept peacefully. Opening my eyes, I was back in the laboratory, sleeping on the makeshift bed that I have. I rubbed my face rather harshly, scolding myself for sleeping too long. That was when something caught my eyes.
I blink once, twice.
Unbelievable!
Incredible!
For the first time in 5 years, I shed a tear of joy. All my effort, all my hard work finally blossom into a beautiful flower.
Daffodil, the flower of a new beginning. As it is blooming into an alluring beauty, I rejoice in my tears and gratitude.
 


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Recollections of Petals
Alyssa Yap Xin Yi


He ran out of marigolds that day.

 

Soft zephyrs brushed the willow leaves around him, disrupting the tranquil natural chamber he visited every day. His knees held close to his chest, he rested his chin between the gaps. The wind couldn't seep through his jacket, but a different kind of cold had chilled him to the bone for months now.

 

The flowers he brought this morning rustled, the violet petals touching her name on the gravestone. Purple pansies. Occupied thoughts. Citron. Sadness. Cypress and willows. Mourning. Dark geraniums. Melancholy.

 

He didn't realize he had used up all his marigolds until he went to pick them that morning. He would have to find another replacement for grief then.

 

“You like aloes, right, Lily?”

 

Named after a flower as perfect as herself. Beauty. Elegance. Sweetness. Return of happiness. But willows were her favourite - peace, bravery and humanity; everything she stood for.

 

“They don't understand how this affects the animals there. They need to be protected!”

 

“That law would only encourage more poachers!”

 

“Sorry, can't make it, there's a clean-up project at the river south of town. Still love you! Bye!”

 

Oh, Lily. His beautiful Lily. She loved nature more than she loved herself, and he loved her more than anything. Her smiles illuminated every room, her laughter fixed the worst of days, her eyes sparkled brighter than the clearest stars. He didn’t mind the endless projects she joined, or the ones she dragged him into. She taught him the language of flowers, the difference between impossibly similar leaves, the true value of life through a different lens. An initially grey world, now layered with a million iridescent hues and a million more shades of ecstasy. If he had to traverse the harshest oceans, conquer the cruelest mountains, he would have. Without hesitation.

 

But he failed.

 

He hated how the memory was still stained with vivid detail: the sight of the gun barrel through the bushes, the way she ran towards the oblivious orangutan, the silence that choked the forest after the shot. He could still feel the blood run warm through his fingers, oozing out from her chest and lips. The final breath escaping her lips after her final words.

 

“I love you.”

 

He rested his head on her gravestone - a beautiful sculpture of marble and stone, emblazoned with lilies intertwining her name. “How do I live without you?” he murmured.

 

No.

 

Lily wouldn't stand for this. Twelve months mourning the past instead of reminiscing the future. He could see her now, akimbo-style, face scrunched up in disappointment. Why was he only realizing this now? Mild embarrassment flushed his cheeks.

 

She dreamt of a world where nature and man lived in harmony - one where her children could run through forests and follow streams; speak to flowers and touch the clouds, just as she did.

 

He would bring violets tomorrow. Eternal love.

 

“Don’t worry,” he whispered, tracing over her name. “I'll make sure your vision blooms.”


 


A Sorrowful Hymn to Pan
Fiona Anak Ringkai


The God of the Wild was loved so dearly by humans.

Upon a rock he sat, his reedpipes weaving melodies, telling tales of the sweet summer sun; the sparkling Aegean Sea; the flowers that bloomed so magnificently in the wilderness he proudly called his. He sang, in his voice as clear as the river of the naiads, inspiring humans to love the wilderness as he did. Mortals wept; wherever Pan went, trees sprung fresh green leaves and flowers blossomed in every bewitching shade imaginable.

Though they praised and worshipped Pan, their hubris consumed them, and they no longer danced to Pan’s tunes.

Like a rising crescendo, the world Pan had once known gradually fell into ruin.  

Pan flinched as he watched the fire spread rampantly through the forest, belching orange sparks. Smoke rose above the trees. Hornbills and deer fled the carnage. As he was a spirit of the Earth, what the earth felt, so did Pan.

Little did he know, that was the start of something disastrous.

As the sun rose and fell, the agony his soul felt terrorized him every waking hour. What were those selfish humans thinking? Pan watched helplessly as forests morphed into concrete jungles. Animals fled to the only parts of the wilderness they had left. Humans pointed rifles at exotic animals, and pulled out their handsaw whenever they met his dearest elephants and prized rhinoceroses. Pan cried—he couldn’t stand seeing his beloved wildlife in so much pain. His heart twisted, and one by one, the majestic beasts that once roamed the earth slowly disappeared. No toucans flew in the open skies. Turtles came to him, the plastic in their throats choking them. Even memories of the stinky titan arum and rafflesias made his heart ache.

As nature disappeared, so did Pan’s powers.

The world had changed drastically. Humans massacred Pan’s creatures, and Earth became a dull monochrome. Gone were the lush greeneries, gone were the many-hued blooms that once decorated the Wild. Seas turned black, and plastic islands formed.

Pan begged for the humans to stop; to realise their own wrongdoings-- but they belittled him.

“Aren’t you a god? Why can’t you protect the wilderness on your own?”

Pan was forced to retreat into the depths of a damp, lonely cave, desperate for a place where any last bits of nature still grew. Wrinkles scarred his once youthful, handsome features. Pan’s heart sank, and he knew, the flower that was his last anchor to the world had been plucked by humans. He envisaged that his time as the God of the Wild was coming to an end.

Humans got what they wanted, but at what cost? In the years to come, their offspring would curse them for ruining something irreplaceable, mourning what could’ve been.

With the last bits of energy he had, Pan brought his reedpipes to his lips, and sang, damning the humans for their foolishness and naiveté.

On the day the wilderness succumbed to nothingness, so did the God of The Wild.