Winners 2015/16

Creative Nonfiction

Utopia
Yehezkiel Faoma

I wrote this piece to share a beauty that only few are able to see, the beauty I saw every time I looked on the left car window while cruising on the highway. The orange-brown glow of the so-called slums of Jakarta reminded me of a scene from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, where a lonely soul found himself treading the same rusty alleys of the Denver ghetto. Something about the dreamlike neighbourhood kept me staring back at it. Perhaps it was its humility, its mystery, or the simple fact that it was home to someone – something beautiful that I can’t really explain. So I wrote about it in hopes that you can see the slums from new eyes, that you can feel the charming melancholy of the other side. I wrote so that someone else may see the hidden beauty of my city.”

Essays

Leadership 101: Be A Volunteer
Lim Hui Ee

“What inspired me to write this topic was getting to know a few ‘true leaders’ who asked for nothing in return and worked with everything they have got for an idea they had. These people worked with the team behind the scenes and got little credit for their effort while there are others with the status of ‘leader’ bestowed upon them but don’t really lead. Some of the latter I’d met actually told me being a volunteer would be a waste of time if it doesn’t appear in their CV and that being a leader only meant ‘leading the team’-which I begged to differ. Through this essay, I hope that I will encourage more people to be more willing to lend a hand as volunteers for meaningful causes and that leaders in the future would really be leaders.”

Fiction

Vietnamese Bride
Zhang Yanting

“My inspiration and motivation for choosing such a heavy topic come from last year’s news of the human trafficking issues in China. As a feminist, it strikes me when I learn about the seriousness of these problems. Without having to go far, there are bride trades within China, and also between China and the neighboring countries. In most cases, these girls are kidnapped from large cities into remote, isolated villages, so that they can’t escape and have to surrender at last. I read more reports and watched documentaries, and surprisingly realized that the government is actually cooperative to these ugly businesses in order to get the local bachelors married. Being a girl, I’m grieved and also terrified by these facts, and therefore I decided to speak out for these victims. Although my writing skills are not sophisticated enough, I believe that literature is the most powerful weapon to awaken human conscience and sympathy. I intend to take this short story ‘Vietnamese Bride’ as my pilot writing, and will keep focusing on the problem to create more and better works for this neglected group.”

Poetry

at the end of a day
Jonathan Sim

“’at the end of a day’ was written for three parties. Myself, because at the time of writing it I was experiencing some turbulence. People who constantly feel disconsolate, I hope the piece can give them a sense of fellowship. And people who are our support system, I hope what it encapsulates becomes insightful.”

Reviews

On the Road: A Review
Yehezkiel Faoma

“I feel more comfortable writing pictures than stories and everyone around me was the opposite. I thought I was alone since nobody seem to see what I see in descriptive writing, until I found On the Road. Jack Kerouac’s plotless masterpiece took me on a wilder adventure than any other stories ever could. His picturesque ink revealed life in Beat America in ways pictures can’t – he showed me euphoria and melancholy through the honest thoughts of a man lost in paradise. On the Road was one of its kind, and I instantly fell in love with it. What I wrote was more of a love letter than a review, dedicated to Kerouac’s beautiful creation and everyone else who have never tasted it. I wrote this short piece in hopes that more readers would experience On the Road. The best I can do when I discovered this treasure is to share it.”