2018 DSE English Writing Question 9 (Sample)

9. Learning English through Short Stories

Imagine you are a pet bird in a cage. One day your owner left your bird cage open.

Write a story from the bird’s point of view.

Brave New World

As far as I could remember, I had always been in a cage since my birth. When I was two years old, Mr. and Mrs. Jones adopted me as their pet bird because they thought I could sing well. The Joneses were a good old couple who did not have children. Every morning, they would go to the Chinese restaurant in the neighbourhood, tasting their favourite Jasmine tea and eating dim sum. They would bring me along and show me off to their friends who applauded my charming songs. The couple would be very delighted and I would be very proud of myself. I was then fed with delicious food as a compliment. I was living a comfortable and happy life.

One day, Mr. Jones passed away. Mrs. Jones was full of sorrow and sadness. I couldn’t sing either. “My dear songbird, one day not far from now, I will be gone too and no one is going to look after you. It is time for you to learn to stand on your own feet and fend for yourself,” sighed Mrs. Jones. Then she left the cage wide open. I was too afraid of the outside world to leave the cage which had been my home ever since my birth! I didn’t even know how to fly, not to mention how to live on my own. But on second thought, I came to my senses, “Mrs. Jones is right. One day, I will have to leave this comfort zone and will be all by myself.” Plucking up my courage, I flipped my wings, ready to brave the storm in the whole new world. After several failed attempts, I finally took off and began a flight. I flew against the strong wind in search of a natural habitat where I could feed and rest myself. However, along the way, there were so many high-rise buildings ahead of me that I was flying in a precarious position and almost lost my balance. Suddenly, a large eagle swooped past me and knocked me down. I fell 50 metres down, nearly hit the ground and got injured. Luckily, a sparrow came to my rescue and I survived the fall. “What are you doing here? Don’t you know that it is the territory of the big brother eagle? You would have died! Where is your home?” The sparrow asked me. “I am homeless now. My owner has just abandoned me. I have nowhere to go.” Hearing what I said, the sparrow led me away from all the skyscrapers, up into the wide-open sky and towards the North. “This was the farthest distance I had ever flown!” I thought. “Now, here we are! Mai Po Nature Reserve. This is the homeland and haven for many different kinds of birds and species. We live together in harmony and happiness. Don’t worry. You will have sufficient food to eat here. We all live off the wetland, the grasses and the trees around. Let me introduce you to all my friends.” said the sparrow. 

“Hello, everyone, I am songbird. I was born to be a pet bird living in a cage. My owner has just abandoned me and I have to find a new home. Would you please allow me to stay here?” I pleaded. All the species shook their head and were shocked to hear that I was a pet bird and spent almost all my life in a cage. “Poor you! You must have been much deprived. We will teach you how to be a real bird. Welcome to our family!” said a seabird. 

Each passing day, I was taught how to fly without crashing against the others, how to use my beak to catch small insects for food and most of all, how to enjoy the natural environment. I still sang. But I no longer sang for those who took me for a toy. I now sang for all the spectators who came to appreciate bird-flying and the nature. I had never felt this bliss of freedom and happiness. I was terribly mistaken that a comfortable life in a bird cage was what I wanted. Life with freedom was much more satisfying indeed.

2016 DSE English Writing Question 6 (Sample)

Learning English through Short Stories

One of the planned activities for the Creative Writing Week at your school is a short story writing competition. The theme for this year’s competition is ‘revenge is sweet’. 

Write your story.

Revenge is sweet

Bill, Jim, Beatrice and Jill were a group of big bullies in high school. No one dared to oppose them when they chose to pick on somebody. This time, their target was Sally, a newcomer to the class. Sally was an immigrant, coming from a poor family background. As Sally was not very well-versed in their language, she was quiet and shy. Having no friend in the class, she was always alone. 

Seeing that Sally was defenseless, they were fond of gossiping about her every day. They made fun of her look, her appearance, her clothes, her shy and timid personality. They picked on her whenever there was a chance. 

“Look! She is reading a book! Such a nerd she is,” ridiculed Jim.

“She is living in her own world with lofty thoughts. She is so exceptionally unlike us,” said Beatrice and Jill, giggling with contemptuous eyes. 

“Look at her dirty dress! I wonder where she gets it from!” said Bill mockingly.

Sally overheard what they said and felt intimidated. She hid away at the corner of the class, still looking down on her book.

“Well, let us teach her a lesson, shall we?” Jim suggested.

As soon as Sally went to the washroom, the group took her books from her school bag, tore and ripped the books off and then threw them all into the rubbish bin. When Sally came back to her seat, she found that her books had gone missing. She was both very angry and scared. She went everywhere to look for her books. Finally, she ended up getting back all her shattered and broken pieces of books from the rubbish bin. The group burst into laughter and shouted loudly, “What a pity!”

When Sally got home, her father found out what happened to her daughter. “Maybe it is time I should teach you some martial arts to protect yourself,” said the veteran martial arts master. 

Hardly a month had passed without tricks being played by the group on Sally. This time, the group ran into Sally outside McDonald’s in the district when she was walking out eating an ice-cream. The group stared at her hard and directly challenged Sally to a fight. Jim extended his leg in order to trip her but Sally immediately jumped up and stamped on his feet. Jim was furious and the group was curious of and astonished at how quick Sally was. Then as Bill swiftly moved forward in an attempt to strike her down, Sally was fast enough to grab him and throw him on the ground. They were so scared that they immediately ran away. Smiling in triumph, Sally thought to herself, “The ice-cream couldn’t be sweeter.” After this day, the group no longer bullied Sally any more.