BY CAI HAOXIANG
A SECONDARY Three student from Raffles Girls’ School beat 10 older contestants to win the Workers’ Party (WP) Youth Wing inaugural essay competition on “What is Your Ideal Singapore?”.
In her essay, Crystal Ong Min Ning, 15, described her vision of Singapore through commentary on issues like multiracialism, education and national identity. “My ideal Singapore won’t be just a country or a city. It will be home. It doesn’t have to be the best yet. We will be humble enough to admit that we aren’t all there, yes, but we won’t rest on our laurels either,” she wrote.
On patriotism, she wrote: “Patriotism should grow by itself, watered by pride and nourished by a true sense of belonging. We can love an imperfect Singapore perfectly.”
The WP organised the essay contest to celebrate National Day and raise awareness among youths on the need to dream about Singapore’s future, said Mr Koh Choong Yong, vice-president of the party’s youth wing. A total of 77 secondary schools and tertiary institutions were invited to take part in the competition, which was also publicised via social networking site Facebook.
The winning entry was picked jointly by voters on Facebook and by WP’s panel of judges. The judges assessed the essays for their content, clarity and creativity, and unanimously picked Crystal’s essay as the best.
One of the judges, Mr Png Eng Huat, 48, a businessman who has been with the WP since 2006, said: “I was taken by the style. She did not write it as a complaint piece. We always talk about youths being apathetic, but she writes like an adult or a youth with awareness.”
Crystal told The Straits Times she decided to participate in the contest because the prizes, including a $150 book voucher for first place, were attractive.
“I want to buy Harry Potter books, but they are very expensive,” she said.
The teenager, together with two other contestants, will receive their prizes at a youth wing dialogue at IOI Plaza tomorrow.