by Shawn Yeo (P5 2021)
“Tom! Clean your room!” Tom’s mother exclaimed and let out an exasperated sigh. It was the fifth reminder she had given in the past three hours. It was the school holidays and cleaning his room was the last thing Tom wanted to do. He scurried to his room and started cleaning the mess he had created the previous week. While cleaning, Tom found a game buried beneath a pile of paper, files and homework. He instantly recognised it. Upon seeing it, he was overcome with sentimental feelings. This made Tom remember the incident that had occurred two years ago.
“The teacher says that there will be an examination in a week’s time,” Tom sighed glumly to himself as he entered the house. His parents looked at him worriedly and wondered how they could support his revision. Tom came from a poor family and had little money. He was a short and scrawny boy who was often bullied in school. He was struggling with his examinations and homework. Tom lived in a one-room flat with his parents. Unfortunately, his father had lost his job and his mother was not earning much as a cleaner. His parents were already stressed about financial problems and Tom knew that if he failed the upcoming examinations, his parents would be even more stressed. Hence, he started studying hard.
Every day, the moment he got home, Tom would start studying. Every moment of his free time was dedicated to studying. Seeing Tom work so hard, his parents promised him that if he improved, they would buy the game he really wanted. Tom had a game console which his friend had bought for him on his birthday. He already had a few games, but there was a game which everyone in his class had, and he wanted it. Tom was glad the parents made the offer but he did not want them to feel obliged to get him the game.
Finally, the day of the examination arrived. Tom felt nervous. There were some really hard questions which Tom did not know how to do, but he still tried his best. When he was done, he thoroughly checked every question for any mistakes. A wave of relief washed over Tom when he corrected some careless mistakes.
A few days later, Tom’s class received their score. When he heard his name being called, Tom stood up and went to collect his results. With bated breath, Tom looked at his score, only to find out he had gotten the lowest in the class. Although he had worked hard, he still did not do well.
After school, Tom trudged home sadly. When he arrived home, he reluctantly showed his parents his results.
“At least you tried your best,” his mother consoled him while signing the papers. She told Tom to keep at it. At night, Tom’s parents were deciding whether to buy the game. Tom had done badly, yet he had shown great improvement. After careful consideration, they decided to buy the game for him. The next day, Tom’s parents wanted to surprise Tom.
“We bought you the game as you have improved in your results!” his parents exclaimed and they pulled out a box with a ribbon on it. However, Tom seemed neither happy nor excited. His reaction made his parents very confused. Tom revealed that he had sold the game console.
“I realised games were distracting me. So, I sold my console to buy more assessment books,” Tom replied. He took out a few textbooks and showed it to his parents.
From that day onwards, Tom learned a valuable lesson. In order to succeed, he had to have more focus. That was truly an unexpected experience.
“Tom, why are you taking such a long to clean your room?” Tom’s mother shouted. Just then, Tom snapped back to reality and continued cleaning. Despite it happening two years ago, Tom would never forget the incident.