The following is an essay I did in English class. The teacher asked me to print it out and since I’ve already typed it, I thought it would be practical to post it here since I haven’t updated my blog in ages. Also, it is based on an exaggerated true story.

A Student strolled through the shops at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub, looking for a new mobile phone. He had in mind the latest mobile phone, with a touch screen and all the latest technologies embedded into it, and he was determined to get it today. After all, he had been without a phone for almost a week now as his old phone was beyond repair and he had worked hard at his job during the holidays to earn enough for it. “I deserve it,” he reasoned to himself.

He passed by each phone shop with glee, checking and comparing the prices to get the best deal. As he passed by a convenience stall, he noticed many bundles of cardboard stacked against each other at the corridor just outside the stall. “Strange,” he thought to himself. “They should have thrown these next to the rubbish container. Don’t they know that it’s obstructing the way?” He got closer to the numerous stacks of cardboard and noticed that an old and frail lady was sitting among them with her hands hugging her legs, as if it was snowing all around her. “What is she doing sitting among all the cardboards? And why does she look so sad?” the boy wondered. He then noticed a man, supposedly from the convenience stall, cutting cardboard into flat layers and bundling them up, placing them next to the other cardboards.

His heart sank as he finally realised what was going on. This woman was homeless, and had to collect cardboard in order to make a living. This convenience stall was donating some of its spare cardboard to her. Now the boy, who initially wanted to purchase the latest mobile phone, was struck with overwhelming guilt. How could he continue buying the phone he wanted so badly after observing the suffering of a homeless person? How could he, like the passers-by who walked past the old woman, be so blind as to pretend not to see her? He was struggling to make a decision as he stood next to the lady, staring blankly at her.

At last, his conscience got the better of him. He resorted to settle for a lower-end phone in order to give fifty-dollars to this old woman whom he had never met before. As he handed her the money, fresh from his wallet, the old lady looked up with tears in her eyes. She politely declined, but the boy, who had already made up his mind, smiled and insisted that she take it. He left almost immediately, overwhelmed with tears he could not hold back.

Kenneth Lin, 4N1


You go down New York, Broadway. You will see the beggars, people of the streets… Where are the beggars in Singapore? Show me. (2007)

Lee Kuan Yew,
Minister Mentor



Read More –