2019 Winners and Honourable Mentions

Day 3: Flora
12 June 2019


Ashley Jong Yi Ying


The world is quite astonishing. When you first claw your way out of the mire of dysfunction. When you first peek over the horizon and see nature without the haze of discontent. Without any filter but with your own naked eyes and you are opened to the beauty of this reality, amazement comes.

A bare footed girl was wandering in the forest of her dreams yet again, only hearing her feet trod, hearing the cracking twigs and leaves underfoot. She clutched her fist tightly as she trembled in fear. She kept her pace and kept moving forward without so much as a backward glance. The whispers were getting louder. She kept her eyes closed, covered her ears, trying to shut the voices in her head that had been going on for days, weeks, months even.

The sun was bright, radiating the warmth across the distance. Yet she was shivering with cold and she was indeed tired and needed a little rest. A dash of wind gushed by, the soft branches of the willow trees moved swiftly, choreographed by the wind, swaying in perfect timing with one another.  She sat down by a willow tree.

Silence engulfed her. The silence she needed. The silence she craved.



Help us, please.

Who are you?

We’re dying…

What happened?

Look around you. Look at all the flora and fauna. What do you see?

She slowly opened her eyes and turned around. She gasped in horror. What she saw was a sight no one could believe. Muddy landscapes, poison soils, landfills, thick choking smog, toxic chemicals in waterways and oceans, discarded trash, depleted forests... Floras decaying. Faunas dying. No place untouched. This is what we did?

I whisper in their ears.

I cry out in agony and pain.

I am hurting, inside and outside.

I need help.

I am ignored. 

Help us, please.

The naïve little girl did not know the doing of her kind. She finally recognised all those voices. All those persistent whispers.

“ A tiny little piece of plastic won’t kill.”

“ So what if we dump this in the ocean? It won’t hurt mankind.”

“ Chill, a little smoke won’t choke you to death.”

“Who cares? Just slash and burn.”

The earth, Mother Nature, the flora, the fauna…they were all connected to each other like a circle in a hoop that had no beginning and no end.

Silence ensued as reality sank in.

The girl had always wondered what her destiny was.

Well, now she knew.


Unsung Heroes
Joel Pang Kai Chen

They longed for the world to change.


For the better.


The dream that they sowed since they were saplings. Day by day, their arms burst into multitudinous veins, leaves adorning the myriad of branches. They lay there, on the forest floor, as there was only one way to go, up. That was the very thing on their minds.


How they wished for us to change, the leaves falling were telltale signs of death. Yet, it goes unbeknownst to us.


But they still cleaned up after us, willingly.


Things are different now.


Factories disemboguing clouds of soot into the atmosphere, plaguing the euphony that once embellished the sky. An initially jubilant world, now reeked of death and decay, etiolation and darkness veiling the Earth.


Yet they still didn’t complain.


They are the new past.


Shriveled in agony, they battled perpetual snow and eternal flames, ravaging floods their master sent, towering soldiers of strength.


Pillars that were no more.


Forests became arid desserts, peace and joy now evaporated into nothingness.


Flora was a thing of the past.


We only realized their utmost importance when our kitchens were bare, livestock were crippling, cracks crowning rivers and lakes. But it was too late now.


Oh, how tenaciously they fought.


Campaigns, rallies, and speeches. They put their heart and soul into it for the sake of reviving what they destroyed. An annihilation they caused. But they are the ones spearheading plastic pollution.


Lies turned into apostasies as each day passed by with withering suns.

They are the new future.


Blades of ferocity sawed through the great oaks, tabloid after tabloid headlined the news. But it was too late turning back to what had been and already done.


Sleeping giants turned into artistry, tapered meticulously, prized possessions. Sold in auctions, revered articles selling for millions of dollars. The pain that they had to go through was forever hidden.


The future is a sandcastle, fabricated by sand and water under high pressure. Blades of rain lashed the sculpture as torrents of wind battered the building tenaciously.


No wonder it shattered into millions of pieces.


They are the answer the world has been looking for.


Oaks became worthless once they were of use no longer. Modern times were the key to warrant disposal. Laid to waste in landfills and oceans, dotting the planet.


We can’t turn back now.


Plastic hail ravaged the greener that once filled our world with colour. Now, it is a masquerade, coated with ash, a pallor of uncertainty and dread overhanging. Crown of thorns adorned their heads, their souls mercilessly crucified. Films turned them yellow as they battled enervation to give us what we need, what we don’t deserve.


The only way we can study greenery now is via books.


Children, forced to memorize what they haven’t even seen or touched before for the sake of undoing the transgressions that their forefathers engineered.


They are the reason why we live.


The world is coming to an end.


Without them.


That day will finally dawn.