Common test situational writing question (March 2009)

Many of you wrote very well in answer to this question. The two that I attach here are by way of example for those of you who would like to know more about what the answer should look like- if you are not happy with your own. You will notice that the 2 are very different. I am not going to make any comment about them here. But I would like you to take note of the fact that smooth, almost error-free writing that makes use of rich, varied vocabulary and complex sentences are the distinguishing features of these essays.

boy-writing-11Young People Today Are Far From Selfish


Referring to last week’s article about young people being selfish and of no use to society, I have written this article to argue that young people are nothing like the stereotypes in last week’s article.


Firstly, it is unfair to generalize and stereotype teenagers just because the writer of last week’s article rarely sees the teenagers in his neighbourhood do good deeds. Not all teenagers are selfish, just as not all adults are totally selfless. I have seen many grown up people who completely ignore the frail old lady or the suffering pregnant lady. When someone actually does give up a seat, it is usually a youth. I am not trying to generalize, but being a person who takes the train on a regular basis and having seen many such incidents, I have made this claim with no small measure of confidence.


Secondly, when you help someone, it is not for the attention or the fame, but because it is the right thing to do. There may be young people who do not seem to contribute, but we have to consider that they may be looking after younger siblings or grandparents at home. Obviously, this will only be witnessed by family members, and so you do not see them receiving an “I help my family” award from the prime minister. Many schools have a buddy system where more able students can help their less able peers. Again, you will not find a “Best Buddy” medal in their trophy cabinet or their face in the front cover of the newspaper. Some teenagers do not want to be in the limelight, but this does not mean that they are the stereotypical teenagers who only hang out with their friends, listen to their new age rock music, have multi colour Mohawks and are a bane to society.


In conclusion, we are not going to make excuses by saying that we are studying too much to have any time for the society, but as the new generation and as people who go through rigorous moral education both at home and at school, I can confidently say that youths contribute to society and that we are not useless. You will almost never see a youth spit or litter, except for the occasional gangster. I would like to say again that we are not stereotypes and that youths are the future of any country. So I can once again say that youths contribute to society and that we are far from useless.


Avery Chong®


Student of Ubër awesome Swiss Cottage




The common view of teenagers and young people is that we are lazy, self-centered and a useless burden to society. I find that this view, which has been amplified by the article I am responding to, is rather contradictory to the real truth of the matter. I as a teenager myself, feel that I must enlighten society with the less shallow and more realistic view of teenagers from an insider’s point of view, which I am now going to present.


There are countless manners in which teenagers contribute to society. Co-Curricular activities do not just hone our skills and heighten our knowledge of the subject of our interest but also take the initiative to participate in community service. Uniformed groups are especially proactive in this aspect because not only do the community service that other Co-Curricular do, they also learn skills that are especially useful to the defending to our homeland. There are also Community Involvement projects which students participate in which harness the student’s skills and abilities and channel them towards them the aiding of the les fortunate. Both community service done by Co-Curricular Activity groups and Community Involvement programmes are varied in the nature of the service in the sense that it could range from collecting newspapers  for recycling to raising funds for the elderly or les fortunate. However, one thing is constant in all the activities: They are time-consuming. If teenagers really were selfish, why would they want to spend precious time in such services? Aside from this, it is crucial to note that almost all athletes who allow Singapore to walk with raised heads in the sporting world are teenagers. These teenagers spend hours practicing and training, all for the glory of Singapore. When teenagers devote so much time and energy to the development of Singapore’s society in such a holistic manner, how can it be said that they are selfish burdens to that very society?


Not all teenagers are so openly and publicly an aid to society as compared to teenage sportsmen. However, I would be lying if I said that these teenagers were self-centric wastrels. These teenagers are the ones who facilitate the looking after of the younger or older members of the family who may be disabled or not quite independent. It is impossible to say these teenagers are being selfish when it is known that the care of another human being is a very time-consuming and draining task. These teenagers and young people, like the ones who help out their less competent peers through he buddy system in schools, are not given fame or glory, although it cannot be said that they do not deserve it. These teenagers are the quiet leaders who oil the small cogs of family and friends so that the huge mechanism named society can function efficiently and effectively. They do not want publicity or fame and tis highlights their selfless nature.


Finally, I think it is worth mentioning that although some teenagers and young people may be inconsiderate or pests to society, these pests cannot be compared to or used as a scale to measure the usefulness and selflessness of al teenagers and young people of Singapore



Swiss Cottage Secondary School

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