by Kayson Fong (P6 2021)


          Boom! Crash! Pow! The speakers blared. My thumbs jammed the gaming controller, with my eyes glued intently on the screen. “Bam!” the final attack destroyed my opponent in the virtual world. “Yes!” I leapt up and danced in victory.
         “Kayson! Stop playing and go revise for PSLE!” my mother barged into the room and yelled.
         “Come on Mom, PSLE is five weeks away! If you could just let me…” My mother then shot down my reasoning without hesitation. “Just go and revise now!”
         My mother had won and if I continued arguing, I would be fighting a losing battle. I trudged to the study and started writing down answers on my paper reluctantly. With a satisfied smile on her face, my mother left the room. As soon as she shut her room door, I knew that was the cue for me to continue playing. I turned on the monitor, navigating another level of the game. I knew I was being defiant, but that game was too addictive! I continued jamming the buttons of the controller until midnight, and I hopped into my bed with a grin on my face as I had finally reached the unattainable level 100.
         “You reached level 100 in Fighting Domination?” Elvis, my best friend, gasped in awe. My chest swelled with pride, making me more determined to continue gaming. “But Kayden,” Elvis interrupted my thoughts, “my mom cut down my screen time, and I agreed. Everyone’s screen time is cut down too because PSLE is round the corner. Control yourself, that is some wise best friend advice, alright?”
         Five weeks shortened to two weeks, and my class was fully focused on studying for the Primary School Leaving Examinations. However, I was still gaming. “Stop gaming, Kayden! Control yourself! If you flunk PSLE, it will be a disaster!” I ignored Elvis. He cast a steely gaze at me. “Kayden. Listen to me. It is the final run, just hold back and study for PSLE. Trust me.” I rolled my eyes. So what? PSLE is just like any exam. I just needed luck and I would pass with flying colours.
         Unfortunately, I was wrong.
         Two weeks shortened to a day. A day before PSLE, and my thumbs were still jamming on the buttons of the controller. It was way too addictive! I just could not exercise self-control. There was always an opponent to beat and more rewards to win! Suddenly, my mother barged into the room again. In a split second, I threw my controller onto the bed, assumed my study posture and pretended to write answers.
         “What were you doing at the computer table?” she asked suspiciously. “Nothing.” I immediately replied while grabbing a pencil. She eyed me suspiciously before leaving.
         I sighed in relief. ‘Maybe I will do some revision…’ I thought to myself in resignation. I opened my Mathematics textbook. As soon as I started revising, the fatigue that I had accumulated over countless sleepless nights washed over me and I went out like a light.
         “Kayson! Wake up! You have exams!” Early in the morning, my mother shook me awake vigorously. I immediately woke up, dressed up, and ran to school. I ran into the hall, got to my seat and the examination began. I examined the paper. It was all Greek to me! Everyone else was scribbling furiously on their papers with their heads bowed. I buried my face into my hands. Why did I not exercise self-control? Knowing that I should not give up, I attempted the paper.
         When I returned home, I came clean to my mother. Unexpectedly, she did not scold me. “I already know you were secretly gaming. I wanted to teach you a painful lesson. Seeing that you are remorseful, I hope you will change your attitude.”
         As the saying goes, “Once bitten, twice shy.” From then on, I ensured that I exercised self-control when gaming, lest I should become a slave to my gaming addiction.
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