Monday, November 1, 2010

Future problem solving - sec 1 lang arts

One of the major language arts assignments Lesley-Anne had to do this year is what the school calls Future Problem Solving.

The task was to create a fictitious story based on a projected future problem. The students had a choice of three broad themes: sensory overload, orphaned children or green living. Based on one of these themes, they had to do research and write a story of up to 1,500 words to illustrate the problem which should cover future aspects. Scoring was on creativity, inclusion of future aspects, development of plot and characterisation, among others.

Lesley-Anne chose orphaned children. I'm not sure China would appreciate the light she cast them in but hey, it's fiction and kids generally don't care too much about being politically correct, heh. She scored 63/80 for this assignment.

Dr. Maleve's hatred for orphans was well-expressed and well-known. What the orphan boy did was in self-defense, not an assault and Dr Maleve knows this himself. As the poor orphan’s lawyer, I was not going to let an insincere and untrustworthy man like Dr Maleve stand in my way of winning this major case.

I won and headed home. I always made it a point to take half a day’s leave after every case, just so I could avoid the media. It helped that I did not even need to waste time trying to settle the money the orphan had to pay for my services. I had understood his financial restraints and offered my services for free.

I reached the door to my apartment and I pressed my hand to the scanner so that I could be granted access. Not a very high-tech security system but it did its job. I entered my house which smelled of hand sanitizer and soap, which meant that the house’s cleaning apparatus had done its job while I was out. I flopped onto my sofa and pressed the side-key on the arm rest, which would switch on my widescreen television. As if trying to test my patience, Dr Maleve’s twisted face appeared on the screen. He was currently being interviewed about his new scheme to improve China’s already flourishing economy.

Now, something you must know about China, is that because of their past one-child policy, many children were abandoned by their parents. However, the government rewrote that policy because of their aging population and so the number of orphans decreased to a minute amount just living on the streets. Now orphanages have become a thing of the past.

Also, about the newly elected government, let’s just say they are not exactly too concerned about the people. They say they are focusing on the already thriving economy to help China reach her full potential. They also slammed orphan children for contributing to the economy. I attribute this to the fact that China’s ties with the USA are strengthening, with Dr Maleve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Anyway, back to the scheme, which would be implemented in a month. Basically, Dr Maleve had suggested that the Chinese government “eliminate” the orphan children since they do not contribute to the economy in any way. Did I mention that the Chinese government was obsessed with the economy? Well, no prizes for guessing whether of not they accepted the proposal.

I may have looked calm on the outside, but inside, I was shattered. All those orphans, my own kin in a way, gone. Imagine your own family being tossed to the side, thrown out like trash, a scary thought. My eyes felt like a leaky faucet. You can try to turn it off, but it just won’t stop dripping.

All those feelings that I had bottled up for years came rushing out of me like a fountain. The fear I had felt when I was bullied, burning pain when I was abused and also the pain of saying goodbye to the others, knowing I would have a much better life while their chances of even surviving to adulthood were few.

Suddenly, small voice in the corner of my mind spoke up. “Get a grip, Angela”, I told myself. “The orphans did not name you Jue Xin for nothing; you need to be determined. You can change this if only you would try.” You know how they say hope is that little thing which resides in a corner? I can tell you first hand that it is true.

Before I knew it, I had just landed at the Beijing Airport and was hailing a hover-cab which took me to the nearest hotel. After night fall, I slipped out, feeling like a thief. The, I found it. It was the old bunker near the sewage system where my other orphan friends and I used to live. The small bunker had many Chinese orphans seeking refuge in here and the whole bunker seemed to be transformed into a little home from fifty years ago. There were actual battery-powered lamps instead of solar powered ones and a television that screened things in 2-D instead of 3-D, probably all junk that people had dumped.

Then, I saw Xing Yun standing in front of me and gasped. Xing Yun was so surprised that her jaw could have reached the ground. Reunited with my old friend, we embraced each other after being separated for ten years.

That night, Xing Yun and I had a quiet talk. When I asked about where the others were, she answered “After a while, they all started to leave. Most found jobs, Bu Kang died of pneumonia last winter and Da Jia was whisked away by Jun Wei’s gang”.

Jun Wei and his gang were a group of rich kids who would raid the bunker often and steal our food. These gangs were popularly known as “pit raiders”.

“Do you know where they are working or where they live?” I asked.

Xing Yun then took out a small plastic bag which contained all their various name cards and handed them to me.

“They gave these to me before they left”.

“Thank you. I will start my search tomorrow”.

The next morning, my search began. Luckily for me, it produced fruitful results. I met Kai Xin in the morning and it turns out that she is a waiter. By afternoon, I had already managed to meet up with Luo Suo and Chun Tian who turned out to be a philosopher and a florist respectively. Others that I met had a myriad of occupations including a cashier at McDonalds, a sculptor and a craftsman.

That evening, we all sat outside the bunker to discuss our plan to ‘override’ Dr Maleve’s scheme. After a lengthy discussion, we managed to come to a compromise. We decided to write our own newspaper to feature us at our jobs and show how successful we have become.

Yue Du and I would write the newspaper reports and Pai Pai the photographer would take photographs to display in the newspaper. For the next few days, we worked throughout the long nights to get the newspaper ready. After a long week, The Orphan Times was published.

After about a week, even the government noticed the Orphan Time’s success. And so, I had a little surprise visit form the Chinese government officials and Dr Maleve while I was in the bunker.

After a slight introduction, one official said “Miss Angela, I know you may disagree with Dr Maleve here, but that does not mean you can make lofty claims about him.” You see, he must have been referring to the little article that I had written with a headline that said “Dr Maleve’s head start in life was a job as a pit-raider!”

“Sir, I can assure you that I have enough evidence to back this claim,” I calmly replied.

He rechecked the article, only to see the references and citations from all the reliable sources. Realizing his folly, he glared at Maleve and continued. “I also know that you want to help the orphan children, but you have to look at his from our perspective. These children are a burden to society”

“But they have potential.”

“We cannot wait for that to show.”

“Let me put it this way. Implement this scheme, and you will make enem...”

“Don’t listen to her. She’s just trying to hinder China’s growth!” Dr Maleve cut in.

“Now Maleve, I want to hear what she has to say,” the official warned.

“If you do this, countries like Russia, the ‘orphan havens’ of the world, will protest against this violation of human rights and your ties with them will be weakened further. You know that with Russia’s economy picking up, ties with them would be important to help China’s economy too. But you had to listen to a malevolent pit-raider’s advice and implement the scheme. Can’t you see that it’s unfair and unjust? Moreover, if these orphans are gone, they would not help China now or in the future. But let them live and they can serve China when they grow up.”

I could tell that whatever I had said was effective in some way because the officials all came to an agreement that they would rethink their decision. In the end, they still decided to implement the scheme, those fools. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Instead of “eliminating” the orphan children, the children will be flown to Russia, the world’s largest “orphan haven”. When they have become of working age, they would be flown back to work in China. This scheme would be killing two birds with one stone. The ties with Russia and China would strengthen and the orphans would contribute to China’s economy in the future.

I returned to America feeling victorious. Maybe I would take a holiday in Moscow this year as a reward for myself.


ada said...

Thanks for sharing, Mon - really interesting stuff. I'm just amazed at how she managed to roll courtroom drama, sci-fiction, Law & Order melodrama, political intrigue, into a coherent whole, complete with a solution to top it off! Very impressive, Lesley-Anne!

monlim said...

Thanks Ada! She clearly loves lang arts much more than the harder core subjects like maths/science so likely she'll choose the humanities path down the road.

Anonymous said...

lesley-anne writes really well. well done! i am impressed!

monlim said...


Anonymous said...

I think she should get better than 63/80. Just imagine the masterpiece created by those kids getting higher marks! It is really a big wow to me. LA indeed has a flair for it. Good job!

~ my

monlim said...

MY: Thanks for the compliment! Those parents who are used to primary school marking would probably get a rude shock in sec school - teachers are much stingier. L-A's happy with the 63/80 cos it's an A1, I guess it's a matter of adjusting expectations :)

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