Competition winners contribute to Chinese books for sec schools

Secondary 3 student Fu Xuan's story will be published as part of a collection of eight books.
Secondary 3 student Fu Xuan's story will be published as part of a collection of eight books.PHOTO: MOE

A young girl is transported to the worlds of the four great classical Chinese novels.

She meets the famed military strategists Zhang Fei, Liu Bei and Guan Yu from The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, the star-crossed lovers Lin Daiyu and Jia Baoyu from Dream Of The Red Chamber, the tiger-fighting hero Wu Song from Water Margin and the mischievous Monkey King Sun Wukong from Journey To The West.

That was the premise of a Mandarin short story by Fu Xuan, a Secondary 3 student from Nanyang Girls' High School.

She was one of 36 secondary school students whose winning entries in a national creative writing competition were selected for publication as part of a new set of supplementary reading materials for secondary school students.

Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling launched the collection of eight books during a virtual prize presentation ceremony for the competition yesterday.

The contest, held last August, was jointly organised by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning and the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language (SCCL).

Contestants were required to create a story based on prescribed topics.

Fu Xuan, who won an excellence award for her entry, said her parents would read the four classical novels to her as bedtime stories when she was young, a chapter at a time.

"Since I was young, writing has always been my passion and my dream is to publish a book in the future," she said.

"Having my story published really motivates me greatly and inspires me to continue writing to achieve my goals one day."

The books will be distributed free to all secondary schools in January next year.

The Ministry of Education said each school will receive 42 sets of the books to ensure they have sufficient copies for use during lessons.

The set will also be available for purchase from SCCL by the end of next January.

The SCCL has categorised the stories into four different grades according to the complexity of the language used, for students from Secondary 1 to 4, respectively.

Teachers can also recommend a different grade for their students depending on their language ability, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the National Library Board has brought back its "Molly" mobile library buses for the first time since such outreach operations were suspended in February due to Covid-19. A Molly bus was at Lot One shopping mall in Choa Chu Kang yesterday morning.

Molly buses will be resuming their services at selected pre-schools and special education schools on weekdays, with safe distancing and temperature taking measures in place.

On weekends, priority will be given to existing community partners who are serving low-income estates that do not have a public library within 2km of their location.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2020, with the headline 'Competition winners contribute to Chinese books for sec schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe