by Zachary Lee (P6 2022)
The clock struck noon and I grew more irritated. I had been searching for my school notebook that I needed for my assignments for the past two hours, but my efforts were in vain. As I reached the back of my desk drawer in frustration, I pulled out a slightly tattered dusty book that contained the photographs that I had taken since I was young. As I was flipping the pages of the book I saw a picture that caught my attention – it was a photograph of myself with an old friend, Joe, whose advice for me to eat healthily had changed my life for the better.
“Oh, I have not seen this in a long time! What an unforgettable memory!” I exclaimed as I looked fondly at the photograph. At that moment, the events that led to that fateful day when he imparted the advice played vividly in my mind and I began reminiscing the time when I received timely advice from a kind friend.
The school day began like any other typical day especially since we were close to examination season. During class time, my teachers would guide my classmates and I through the multitude of subjects we had and we kept working hard on our projects. I was paired with a close friend of mine named Joe. Since I was more adept at academics, I would assist Joe in solving most questions and he would seek my advice on his ideas.
When recess time rolled along, Joe and I welcomed the well-deserved break. The canteen was bustling with activity and the students made a beeline for their favourite stalls. During recess, I devoured two large plates of chicken rice as I was ravenous and overwhelmed with stress. It had been the case for the past few months and I was letting food take over my life. Food had always been a source of comfort and I would ignore the looks of revulsion I got from other students in favour of my own gratification. Joe was the only one who could sit with me during recess. Unbeknownst to me, he was also horrified at the amount of food I ate.
Beep! Our teacher blew his whistle as we gathered at the field in our PE attire after recess was over. For the test, we had to run 1.8 kilometres in 15 minutes. During the test, I was huffing and puffing while sweating profusely. Unsurprisingly, I came in last for the test. Once I crossed the finish line, my classmates burst into obnoxious guffaws and mocked my poor fitness level. The taunts continued for the rest of the day. Although the class was preoccupied with many other assignments, I was constantly made fun of for two weeks following the fitness assignment. A cloud of depression loomed over me as I became worried about my worsening health and my podgy appearance. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and it affected my schoolwork. I became more reserved and mean to others, even to Joe.
Despite that, Joe took pity on me. After we completed our Mathematics work one day, Joe asked about my well-being and advised me to eat more healthily. With a sigh, I explained to him that I could not control myself from eating junk food.
“It is a grave problem,” I lamented with a frown on my face. He reassured me that it was never too late to be healthy. That sparked some hope. Back at home, I found that I was over seventy kilograms and I knew that I had to follow Joe’s advice to change my diet.
Ring! It was yet another normal day of school… or so I thought. During recess, I found Joe walking along the corridor and asked him if he had any advice on how to stay fit and healthy. He told me to eat more fruits and vegetables and go for jogs daily. During recess, he taught me about My Healthy Plate and how to sign up for free soccer sessions at the community club. I nodded my head and decided to follow his advice closely. That day, I turned over a new leaf.
After a few months, I had taken up running and soccer as my new hobbies! I lost 25 kilograms and I was no longer worries about my health issues. I was on cloud nine from the results and thanked Joe for his advice that changed my life.
From that fateful incident, I learnt that we should eat healthily because if we do not, we may suffer from health issues. The experience also taught me the true meaning behind this quote from Michael J. Fox, “Discipline is just doing the same thing the right way whether anyone’s watching or not.”
“Hey! It’s time for your tuition!” my mother walked into the room and stopped once she saw the photograph in my hand. “That’s a great find! I wonder how Joe is doing. We should invite his family for dinner someday!” She beamed with joy and gave me a hug for being brave enough to take control of my life and change my diet to be healthier. Then, I left for my tuition, leaving the photograph pinned on a noticeboard in my room. The memory of that fateful day would forever remain etched in my mind.