I finally managed to read another of her compositions when she brought it home to do her corrections. Here it is (in blue), reproduced below after the instructions, errors are hers.
You were out on an excursion with your class. Your friend asked you to follow him without the teacher's permission.
Based on the above situation, write a composition of at least 150 words. In your composition, make use of the points below
- what your friend's intention was
- what happened next
- what happened in the end
I was brimming with excitement when I woke up. My class was about to go on an excursion to the zoo to learn about animals. At last! Something interesting in science! We were waiting for the bus to arrive in our classroom. Then, our science teacher came in and started briefing us about behaving well and the rules to abide by when in the zoo. I only saw moving lips, I did not hear a thing. After what seemed like ages, the excursion bus came and brought us to the zoo.
When we arrived, we headed straight for the tiger enclosure. Just then, James pulled me aside. "What?" I asked.
"Let's leave the class and go see the other animals!"
"Why? You mean we can't see them with the class?"
"Didn't you hear Mrs Lam? We do not have time to see all the animals. We are only seeing those animals adapted to exteme climates."
I debated following James. If we were found out, we will be doomed. On the other hand, I would be able to see my favourite animals like the giraffes and the crocodiles. I may even be able to write some poetry on them and I do love poetry. The choice was obvious.
Me and James started walking very slowly and soon fell behind the class. Then, when our chance came, we ran off. James said I can pick whichever animal I want to see first. As long as I create a poem about it. I accepted the challenge.
We ran to the crocodile enclosure. "Okay Mr Poet! What is the poem?" James asked.
"Crocodile, crocodile with your toothy grin. With your cunning smile and your scaly chin," I answered.
"Only two lines?"
"It's called a couplet".
"I think it's lame. But it's still a poem anyway, I guess".
Victory! I won the challenge! For the rest of the day, James and I saw many cool animals and Mrs Lam was not in sight. In the end, me and James headed back towards the exit. We planned to hide behind the vending machine and wait to rejoin the class. This way, we would be twenty minutes ahead of the class which would only arrive at one o'clock.
However, much to our surprise, the entire class was already there. So was Mrs Lam. She caught sight of us and stormed over. "Where were you two? You don't know how worried we were! When we did a headcount and found out you two were missing, we traced back our steps and even searched the gents! We came hear to see if you were at the fast-food restaurant!"
Amazingly, my ears could not work their magic this time so I got it at full blast about safety and causing inconvenience to others. With Mrs Lam shouting at the top of her lungs, I was surprised she did not get a sore throat. I wondered why. However, I guess there will never be a scientific explanation for that.
Lesley-Anne was especially pleased with this composition as she'd scored 35/40. Before you say "waaah", it's probably important to note that this was the highest mark she'd scored to date and she doesn't consistently do this well. I guess writing depends partly on whether the topic inspires you, especially within the alloted time.
I also realise that Lesley-Anne's writing style is very conversational which makes the story readable. However, it's drastically different from the typical 'Model Compositions' you'll find sold at Popular bookstore. Personally, I detest those compositions, they're so stilted and pompous you often feel like you're reading a comprehension passage. It's like someone trying to squeeze in as many bombastic phrases and words within each sentence as possible, for the sole reason of demonstrating sophisticated vocabulary. It makes for very dreary reading. More appallingly, I've heard that some creative writing centres teach the kids to memorise such compositions to be regurgitated during exams (and uphold this an a model of examination success). Only in Singapore can you take creativity out of creative writing!
Having said that, I have no idea how examiners in Singapore will mark the PSLE compositions. My worry is that they are looking for the 'Model Composition' type of writing because Lesley-Anne's language is very simple in comparison.
Lesley-Anne's English teacher is totally against using what she calls cliches in writing, ie memorising complete chunks of fancy descriptive paragraphs. She says examiners will mark DOWN the score for such usage. I don't know if that's true but I hope so! I do know that if I were an examiner and had to read 200 scripts on the 'cloudless, azure sky' with a 'crimson, scorching sun', I'd certainly be tempted to grade them all a bold, scarlet F.