2018 Winners and Honourable Mentions

CATEGORY C : 18 - 24 YEARS
Day 5: Future
16 November 2018

WINNER


Jasmine Regina Fong Chui Hsia


“Are you sure he’ll bring a bright future?” asked Mother Earth.

“Of course. Don’t you worry, he will be made in my image,” replied God in an assuring tone. It was the Sixth Day of Creation, and God had plans to create a being called ‘man’. He would be intelligent for he would govern all the other creations – the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and the livestock on land. His race would bring legacies, but also a lot of harm, especially to Mother Earth. God knew what would happen in the future, but He could not tell Mother Earth. She would protest his creation.

“Alright, I trust You,” said Mother Earth. God nodded and started creating the man. He twirled his fingers and the dust from the ground moved with Him. Mother Earth felt a tingling sensation as the dust from her skin started accumulating and taking the form of a man. God breathed life into the man and named him Adam. Adam needed a suitable helper, but he felt all the other creatures on Earth were unfit and so God created a woman and she was named Eve. Mother Earth saw that these two seemed harmless. What can these two do to her? She felt silly for worrying. She started doting on them. She bore fruit and provided animals for them to eat, and wept for them when they sinned.

God asked them to be fruitful and multiply. And they did. The human race was extremely good at developing themselves and at the same time, developing their land. They built roads, buildings, civilisations. They started with tiny settlements which then expanded to cover most of the land. They replaced forests with skyscrapers. Mother Earth was in agony as they cut down more trees to make way for their constructions. Industrial revolution after industrial revolution brought on more damage to Mother Earth. They warred to conquer land, mercilessly bombing and killing fellow humans – and Mother Earth too. They were bringing legacies, but at the expense of the environment. Then, they started being irresponsible – littering everywhere!

“God, they are hurting me,” wept Mother Earth.

“You shall not worry about it, dearest one.”

“They’re rampantly cutting down too many trees. They’re building so many factories and vehicles that are emitting toxic gases. They are having too many wars! They are going to kill me.”

“That shan't happen,” assured God. Mother Earth still had her doubts. Did God love these sinful humans more than her, whom He created before them? It was unfair. He had the jurisdiction to stop them but He was giving them full autonomy.

Eventually, the humans realised that they were destroying Mother Earth. They made efforts to improve environmental conditions. They made movements to stop having wars. They started going greener, reducing waste, banning pollutants.

Mother Earth started healing little by little and started falling in love with man once more. She smiled. God was right. Man did bring a bright future.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Inheritance
Rowena anak Ringkai


Marie could only stare at the ashes of what she used to call home. Her two-month old baby she cradled in her arms mewled and she covered the baby's nose and mouth with the cloth enveloping her. Tears rolled down Marie's cheeks as she mourned for all she had lost in the fire- all her belongings and her baby's necessities.

It had been two months ago when two men arriving in a sleek black car with heavily-tinted windows paid a visit to her humble home in the outskirts of the city. Marie was nobody special so she questioned their intentions. She lived in a small house with a simple job as a seamstress and a daughter born out of wedlock. 

They soon revealed their identities as agents sent to negotiate a compensation price for the demolishing of her house in order to clear the land and build a new stadium. Marie was apalled at this predicament. How could anyone put a price on her childhood home? Her memories were all contained under that very roof. She declined all numbers they offered her and politely asked them to leave her premises.

She never heard from them again.

Marie was sound asleep when she awoke to the sound of her baby crying but as she slipped out of bed, her attention quickly shifted to the distinct warmth in the room. It should be so cold Marie could not sleep without her thick blanket at this hour. It was then the smell of smoke coming in through the cracks of her door that alerted her to the sudden danger.

Marie frantically grabbed her baby out of her squeaking cot, throwing a thin cloth over her little head before exiting the bedroom. By then, her kitchen was already engulfed by the blazing flame and her curtains entirely scorched. Her baby was wailing at the top of her tiny lungs as Marie made her way out.

The smoke that had risen awakened the nearby residents as well and they contacted the fire brigade as thick smoke began filling the area. However, by the time the firemen finally arrived the house was already burnt down to its understructure. It had, after all been a wooden house.

Following an inspection, the cause of the fire was deemed undetermined.

Marie did not have the will to argue for she had lost everything by speaking up. She knew that they had set her house on fire because she had become an obstacle in their operation. She knew. To make matters worse, a large portion of the surrounding forest had also caught fire- the forest that sheltered a plethora of flora and fauna.

The remains of the foundation of her house billowed dark grey smoke, filling the sky with its mean disposition and serving as a reminder of what humans were willing to sacrifice for progress. Man no longer cared about natural consequences, just material gain.

Marie gazed down sadly at her child.

"This future is yours to inherit now."


Coming Home
Govind Anil Nair


“Please fasten your seatbelts as we are ready for lift off”,a voice announced through the intercom.

 

As he peeked out the window, he could see the crimson skies of his adopted planet fade away. The city soon became a speck as Reid laid back in his seat. He was part of the last living survivors of The Great Migration. And today, after forty long years, he was making the trip back home. Reid recalled the blue skies and the fresh air of his home planet. He longed for the seas and the lush green jungles.  He felt his eyes squinting as he imagined the dunes in the desert and the snow covered mountain caps. He could still hear the chirping of the birds after forty long years had passed, but the sounds and scents remained fresh inside his head.


“We are now approaching our destination,” same voice informed. Reid looked around and counted about fifteen other veterans like him. They were all survivors, the first group of migrants. Nobody spoke a word as everyone peeked out their window to catch a glimpse of their destination.

The migration process lasted a year and two million people were ferried to their new planet, forced to leave everything and everyone else behind. At its healthiest, his home planet was home to eight billion people. And just two million survived. Forty years later, the fifteen that were on this ship was all that remained of the original group. Reid, like many others from the first world, had never before experienced the physical and emotional toll of being a migrant. He felt immune to the migration process. “Migration is for the animals when we encroach their land. Or for the lesser people when we invade their country. We are the most powerful nation in this world and nothing will ever make us migrate”, his friend once said. Oh how wrong he was. Nature is the most powerful and no man or nation can compete with the might of nature. Reid, like others, realised it too late. After centuries of exploitation, the planet took matters into her own hands and decided to reboot, for a clean new beginning. And that meant the most inferior of the planet inhabitants had to run:the humans.

Reid felt a nudge on his arm and turned to see a woman. She wore a tired old smile. All of them did, including Reid. “Remember when they said the future will be about flying cars, hyper loops and inter planet travel? Boy, how wrong were they,”she chuckled. Reid himself believed in the future that was painted as something from a science fiction movie. But in reality, only a one way trip to another planet was made, and it was by the human race fleeing the only planet it knew as home.

Reid quivered, as his eyes teared to the sight of home, forty years later. “Earth”,he mouthed as he saw the blue planet, an aura around, in her reclaimed majesty. He was home.