Literature teaches analytical skills relevant for life

According to findings from the Ministry of Education (MOE), the number of students offering literature as an O-level subject is decreasing ("Fewer Lit students a worrying trend"; Aug 24).

Parents and students think literature is difficult to do well in, and has little practical value.

I used to feel the same way about literature, as I saw myself as a "pure science" student. That is, until I was encouraged by my parents and teachers to take literature more seriously in Secondary 2.

I now feel that literature is a subject that is not only beneficial to my development, but is also necessary for today's youth.

Literature teaches me more than just how to appreciate and exploit the subtle nuances in the English language.

It teaches me to critically analyse a given situation, to embrace ambiguity and to articulate my opinions more coherently and cogently.

Literature opens the eyes of my mind and exposes me to different eras, cultures, and ideals.

One reason why I used to "fear" literature was that, unlike my other science subjects, there was no "model answer" that I could memorise and regurgitate to achieve a good grade.

However, I now realise that therein lies the very beauty of literature - that there is no model answer.

Far from being a subject of little practical value, the wisdom and analytical skills gained while studying literature will be with me for life.

I hope that young people will not be deterred from taking literature as a subject, and will look beyond examination grades to see the intrinsic value of the written art.

Leong Tze Yong

Secondary 3 student