Write Around the World - The Commonwealth Essay Competition
2004 First Prize Winner - Class A
A 15-year-old Singaporean student, Amanda Chong, has won the 2004 Commonwealth Essay Competition. Amanda, a Raffles Girls Secondary School student, beat more than 5,000 other contestants to win the £500 prize in the Competition organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). She topped the 16-18-year-old category for the annual literary award, by submitting a short story in a higher age category as a personal challenge to compete with writers older than herself.
Amanda's winning entry, 'What the Modern Woman Wants', focuses on the generational conflict of values between an old lady and her independent-minded daughter.
In her story, Amanda describes the generational gap between the protagonist, Elaine, and her aged mother: "She will not be like me, the woman prayed as she watched her daughter grow up and drift away from her, speaking a language she scarcely understood. She watched her daughter transform from a quiet girl to one who openly defied her, calling her 'laotu' -- old-fashioned. She wanted her mother to be 'modern' -- a word so new there was no Chinese word for it. Her daughter had forgotten her mother's values. Her wants were so ephemeral; that of a modern woman."
What the Modern Woman Wants
Amanda Wei-Zhen Chong
Raffles Girls School (Secondary)
Click on link below to read the essay (you will need a PDF reader)