A Portrait of Daddy and Me Painting

(Image: hercampus.com)

THE holidays are upon us.

There is every reason to be excited. With a million things to do, I really don’t know where to start. Cycling, painting, playing cards and board games, scooting, swimming, hanging out with this crazy, chatty writing teacher who happens to cook and bake like mad. 

The one big thing I’d like to get cracking on is painting with my Daddy. We will sit by the balcony and paint the scenery. From where we are, we can see clouds, trees, and my kid brother playing with Natalie, his baby girlfriend, our neighbor.

We won’t be painting our own separate portraits. When we sit together, we paint one single portrait. This is how it works: Daddy paints the right side of the scenery, and I do the left side. We paint with water colors. He takes his time, and paints slowly. So do I, except that I paint even slower.

Now, why do I always paint the left side and never the right? Make a guess.

(169 words)


Kristen Chan, Primary Two
December 2017

For more essays by Kristen, visit Kristen Writes.

My First Time at the Circus

AMAZING acrobats, ultra-bendy girls, goofy clowns, super-scary acts, screams, lots of wows, heart-stopping feats, and thrills enough to remember forever. This was my first experience at the circusnot just any circus, but the Cirque du Soleil, who have given their most recent show in town a cool, cool name: Koozå.

It is hard to find a favorite among all the performances because each and every one of them was spectacular. But if you were to ask me what my absolute favorite was, it is this: the three golden bendy girls. When they move, it is as if their spine were made of rubber. The crown of their head could touch their bum. Oh, and their heels could touch their shoulders too!

They could squirm, wriggle, twist, and twine with each other in such fluid motions, you got a lovely, melting feeling. As a gymnast, I watched them with admiration, envy, and a wide-eyed wow.

My next favorite is the hoola hoop girl. She could spin not just three or four or five hoops simultaneously, but six. But wait, I think it was nine! Three around the waist, one around the neck, two on each arm and one on the leg.

This was the same girl who spun herself round and round the circus rink suspended from a hoop attached to a rope. No safety-net, no safety-wire. One could easily fear for her life, but I didn’t, not even when she was spinning with only one foot gripping on the hoop at the ankle joint, or just the back of her neck doing the same kind of magic. That’s because I was so confident she could do it, and she did.

If ever I were to be part of a circus troupe, I would go with the Cirque du Soleil and be one of those glamorous golden bendy girls.

(315 words)


Kristen Chan, Primary Two
September 2017

For more essays by Kristen, visit Kristen Writes.

Durians on the Road

Durians, durians, durians everywhere (Photo: The Global Gamine)

TRAFFIC jams are awful. They are particularly bad when your bladder is full, or when you are running late for a test in school. That was exactly what happened the morning Katy had to sit for her English test. The cars on the CTE were inching forward at a crawling pace.

Katy’s father was mildly agitated, but soon he would keep his cool. That’s because Katy had begun to cry. Poor Katy! It was already 7.15AM and they were still on the road. Surely, she wouldn’t be able to make it on time for her English test at 7.30AM.

“What’s going on?” her father said. “We’re typically in school by now. There’s got to be an accident somewhere.”

True enough, just as they were approaching Clemenceau Avenue, the cars on the CTE veered left away from a truck that had overturned, a truck filled with durians. No wonder the air was filled with durian smells! And look at all those durians that got strewn on the road!

“Oh my!” Katy gasped.

“That’s a lot of durians,” her father said, shaking his head in disbelief, trying to figure how much all that would cost. There must have been eighty, ninety, goodness knows how many.

“The driver’s not hurt, I hope?” Katy said.

They couldn’t quite tell from where they were. There was no ambulance, just two police officers directing traffic, and another two kicking stray durians so they would huddle as close to the truck as possible. As they cleared the bottleneck, all the cars began picking up speed. By the time they got to school, it was 7:50AM.

Mrs. Fong, the form teacher, smiled at Katy as she stood by the door of the classroom, hesitating to step in. Before Katy could say anything, Mrs. Fong said, “It’s OK. Traffic jams happen.”

For once, Katy forgot that lousy, nervous feeling that always comes creeping to her before a test. She eventually got a high score—she won’t say what it was—but she did have this thought: “Thank you, durians!”

(343 words)


Kristen Chan, Primary Two
June 2017

For more essays by Kristen, visit Kristen Writes.

This essay was written in response to four boxed pictures:

  • a father and daughter are stuck in traffic in their car, the girl is in tears
  • they drive past an overturned durian truck, there are durians strewn about on the road
  • the girl is walking towards to the school gate, her father looks on 
  • a kindly-faced teacher gestures for the girl to come in and sit for the “ENGLISH TEST”—the two words written large and bold on the blackboard