We are proud to feature one of our students’ writing that has won the Gold Medal in the Singapore Performing Arts Festival (2023) Creative Writing Category.


Her last breath. Her last words. A piece of my heart broke along with her. I lost someone, a precious someone closest to my heart. Here is my story.

Lost in thought, I was filled up with sorrows and deep regrets, seeing my mother laying stiffly on the hospital bed. I wished I could travel back through time to undo all my wrongdoings, to be a good boy and make my mother happy and proud of me.

I was a rebellious child, always looking for trouble and ignoring my mother’s advice when she asked me to be a good boy and behave well in school. That time, no one really cared about me as a troublemaker, as they knew I would pass that stage of being troublesome sooner or later. However, that did not happen. I became a bully. Well, a secretive bully who only bullied puny boys and girls to give me their pocket money. Every time I stared into those kids’ eyes filled with pure fear, it gave me the glory of having power over someone smaller, the pride that overwhelmed me.

That fateful day, I was eating my food during recess when someone tapped me on my shoulder. I whizzed around, only to find myself staring eye to eye with the school prefect Naomi.

“Hey Jake! Mrs. Jean wants to see you at the General Office.” Turning around and with a motion of her finger, she beckoned me to follow her.

My heart skipped a beat. “Am I in trouble?” I wondered. It was probably that Mr. Goodie-two shoes, Archie! Archie had been a boy whom I had been threatening for his pocket money every day. He was always cowering at me and gave me all his pocket money. “He is so going to get it!” I fumed silently as I clenched my fists. I then followed her to the General Office. There, stood Mrs. Jean, with her arms akimbo, her face solemn. She gestured for me to sit down on the leather chair in the office.

Once the door was closed and the footsteps of Naomi faded away, Mrs. Jean with unexpectedly gentle and sympathetic eyes, leaned toward me and said: “Jake, I have some bad news for you …regarding your mother…”

Next moment, it was me sitting beside Mother’s hospital bed, with tears rolling down like a river on my already tear-stained face, clutching my mother’s lifeless hand, desperate to awaken her back to life. I was told that my mother had been found unconscious on the sidewalk. When awake for a brief moment, she kept repeating my name and school. She was at her last stage of lung cancer. Mother hid it from me!

Jolting out of my trance a few moments later, the sound of intense urging beeping filled my ears. Doctors and nurses hurriedly rushed to Mother’s bed. My heart palpitated like those hopeless beeps of the life-saving machines surrounding Mother, fearing for the worst. Beep. Beep. Beeeep…… That was the last breath Mother took, the last time she opened her eyes, the last moment she ever moved. She would never wake up again. My whole world fell. What could only be seen was a little boy kneeling onto the floor, tears streaming down his cheeks in rivulets. Sadness engulfing my soul, I sniffed and pulled out the crumpled note with mother’s shaky and uneven handwriting of her last words to me.

It wrote:

“Dear my lovely son, Mama is so sorry… I can’t be there to take care of you anymore. Take a good care of yourself, okay? Be a good and kind person that everyone loves. Be nice to friends. Mama will not be there with you anymore, but your friends will be. They are the ones who will always be there with you through your highs and lows, cheer you up when you are down. Don’t bully friends but appreciate them while you still can. Mama will always be there like your guardian angel, watching over you.

Don’t be sad! Be strong!

Love you so, so much!


I crumpled that piece of paper back into my pocket, tears still dripping down my face, crying harder than I ever did. She wanted me to understand. Understand how important friends can be. How bullying will not achieve the true meaning of friendship.

That day, I lost my mother. I lost the very precious person who loved me more than her life and cared for me until her last breath, the very person whose words cover me like the warmest blanket deep in my soul, echoing through my mind forever and wherever I go, reminding me the true meaning of friendship, not the glory of overpowering someone.

Mother’s words. I lost Mother.

~ by Nicole Gan (Primary 6)