Intro to language and literature

English Portfolio #1 2019

Relating to the literature aspect of this course, I aim to become better at structuring and organising my thoughts and evidence in essays with focus regarding topic sentences and themes. Additionally, I want to increase my reading level and frequency. For example, the topics of the books that relate to my interests outside my school academic subjects in order for my to expand my overall general knowledge. 

Being an international student and living in a cultured society with the added privilege of being able to travel to new places such as Greece and Japan, which are both places I have visited recently and are a common destination for me and my family. I want to allow myself to get a glimpse of new communities, how they function and how I might temporarily fit into their routine. Achieving this requires me to understand their history, religion(s), and language. Even though, I attempt to learn basic language before visiting a certain place and usually go to historical events during the trip, literature texts we study in class help me make a clear connection between certain unfamiliar cultures and my own personal and academic studies. For example, touring the Greek Acropolis and analysing the values and beliefs of the Greek mythology foundational story, Jason and the argonauts is one time where I was able to display knowledge about both factual history, as well as a culture’s literature and religious beliefs and myths. 


service reflection

Throughout the past years at UWCSEA, east campus I have had many different experiences with different services. I have switched between many to find what I enjoy most and I feel like I can make the biggest impact in.

The five stages of service are investigation, preparation, action, reflection, demonstration. These stages are a guide for what service means and how to get the most out of it. Other aspects include direct, indirect, advocacy and research.

I have participated in many services, for example, blue dragon, cancer awareness, circus club and many more. So far, the most enjoyable one would be the circus club, mainly because as I get to help others learn and develop new skills I get to do the same for myself.

Personal Statement


A goal that I want to achieve throughout the year is mainly to avoid procrastinating. This way I can manage my time well to get all my work done on time and effectively. I also want to achieve some physical activity goals. I want to improve in touch rugby and cross country. I want to improve, as in my fitness and strength in all of these activities. For my first goal, I can make lists and schedules to organise my time by knowing what I need to do each day. This way, I can know what I’ve done and what I need to do. For my physical activity goals, to improve I can work and train outside of lessons so I can be ahead of the lessons and I can make the most out of the classes. I will know if I have achieved the first goal if I have a clear change of the stress level from my school work. I can also know if I am improving and achieving this is by completing my homework for each day and also getting higher marks and scores on my work.

I will know if I am achieving my second goal, by always giving 100% in my trainings and also just noticing a change in my fitness and skills when I am participating in these sports.


So far throughout this year, I believe I have made effort to improve these drawbacks to my learning by following my goals and strategies in order to achieve them. Relating to the exams, I think it gave me a good look at what is coming in the future and more importantly, how I can prepare for them and other things like this. Recently, I have also been more aware of the things I need to do in order to achieve the things I want. I have also given myself motivation to work harder even on the things I don’t like. Overall, I think recently I have improved with my goals relating to procrastination and working hard, however, I still need to keep improving.


Relating to my physical goals. This year, i have participated in many activities, even ones that were new to me. For example, i tried out swimming, volleyball, softball, boxing and track and field. Then I would continue with my favourites, touch and cross country. Through these activities, I encountered many learning obstacles, which in the long-term gave me knowledge regarding my strengths and weaknesses.


My goals I will strive for throughout next year, include mainly around academics. As for this year, I have made progress and next year I want to keep it going. This year, I made a big achievement in Enterprise. At the start of the year, I wasn’t very good at it and wasn’t very confident. However, not long after I made more effort in my task 1, I then got a good score. From then on, I have gained so much confidence in the subject from that one good mark and I have kept it going. This gives me motivation to do the same with other subject which I struggle with. This is another goal I want to achieve throughout next year.


Living in Singapore has also given me different experience from my family and especially family back in my home country. Living with international people has also allowed me to learn about new cultures and nationalities, this has also came from going to UWC. I enjoy living in Singapore because of the safety and the people. I have met many friends but living in Singapore most of the times leds people out and back to their home country. Despite that, making news friends has also developed as a skill.


Deborah Emmanuel

Prison to poetry

How a passion transformed her lifestyle into something more and a sight into her journey.

Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet, performer and four-time TEDx speaker, her accomplishments consist of poetry slam winnings and for her, changing her lifestyle from a prison included and underage drug and alcohol user to a famous and inspiring poet. She believes the conditions of one’s childhood and experiences impact their behaviour in different ways. Deborah’s childhood included her father having an abusive behaviour towards her and her mother, the fighting and stressful times of her family put her in a bad position. When she was 19, she went to prison for drug abuse. However, after all of her horrific, yet life-changing experiences her attitude towards life isn’t any different to others, as she uses her emotions for good.

For some, living in a privileged and enjoyable lifestyle, people tend to grow up with open opportunities and chances to develop one’s career and achievements. However, people question if Deborah would change her state of childhood and her experiences, however, she believes her experiences have shaped the person she is today and knows that without them, she wouldn’t have achieved her dream and passion of poetry. I believe that experiences build character and even though those memories probably weren’t pleasant, they motivated you to be who you are in the future. Experiences let you evolve and become better. Many of Deborah’s poems come from those experiences. For example, her poem, ‘I love you’ is her expressing her feelings and anger towards her abusive father and addresses how love can be complicated and fake. “So I thought that this was what love meant, a struggle to possess when we only possess ourselves. A need to have another person exactly as we want them.” The way she uses her experiences to tell her audience how her concept of love was shaped into something it’s not, gives the reader an insight into her thoughts and the reasons behind her poetry and where her character comes from. She achieves her poetry pieces by expressing her feelings through words. Poetry let her observed her thoughts which helped her better understand herself, instead of holding all her emotions bunched up in her head.

Emmanuel gives us her view on the court of justice system and how. She states, “You see, with the story and the way I tell the story, there are definitely some issues about the system that come up. I question the way that we rehabilitate most drug consumption offenders. We punish people who smoke marijuana or pop Ecstasy the same way as hard-drug abusers who, say, shoot up heroin — in the same way, or similar ways, at least at the time I was in there,” she conveys a message which lets others think about the perhaps wrong punishments given to people who shouldn’t be brought to levels of others who have done worse. I agree with her view and that prison doesn’t always complete the cleansing of one’s behaviour with this sort of punishment, but instead, it gives them more struggles and grief of their lives. However, in America, although the majority of the people feel that the criminal justice system isn’t tough enough, the percentage that agrees this way has dropped drastically over the past decade. In March 1992, more than 83% said the system isn’t tough enough. By August 2000, the percentage had dropped to 70%. Therefore, even though, not everyone might agree with her, people might be coming to a different opinion, potentially through experiences or from people like Deborah speaking out about it. Many other crimes address this same issue, a bias reaction can easily come out during trials and can result in an unfair and broken system. This possibly evokes her poetry and the story behind it. In her poem, ‘I was told’ she emphasises her struggles and how her punishment was brutal. “I was told to sit properly, I was told to stop moving, stop talking, stop smiling, stop laughing, stop singing, stop dancing, finish eating, walk in line now and be sorry, be very very sorry, because what you did was wrong and now you are suffering the consequences of your actions and you will be sorry for the rest of your life.” Her perspective impacts the views of others and the harsh outcomes of the slightly wrong act, as she expands on her beliefs about the character building through struggles.

Deborah Emmanuel gives a depth insight to her life, the struggles she fought through and how those experiences drove her passion. Not only does her writing benefit her, they inspire others to follow their passion and to fight through rough times. My perspectives are similar to Emmanuel’s. That many people go through awful times. Some of those people might take the wrong path and use those emotions for either revenge or self-pity. However, others will take those emotions and use them for good, as Emmanuel did, she used her childhood and time in prison to reflect on her strengths of poetry and how she can share her journey with others, even though she believes the justice system is broken all of her experiences have somehow impacted her, either in passion or regret.



TWC2 is an organisation which helps migrant/transient to find jobs and to get their lifestyle stable and on track. they help 70% of workers. 20-30% of workers need help with salary issues and many others struggle with their employer and their agreements. TWC2 helps these workers in the process by telling them their rights and ways to find a better situation for them.

most of these workers receive $1.70 an hour and $12 a day. To earn more and argue with their employer they have to get a lawyer, which requires money and resources. The employers and legal firms are normally not happy with this organisation because it goes against their ways and helps the employees.

What I learnt…

That transient workers are in need of the society’s help and that we as a society and a community also have a right to their lives and their wellbeings. Singapore needs these workers to build the community and area we live in. Their problems are deeper than just donations. The workers need these jobs for their family, to pay for children’s education and food and housing. This is why we need to help these workers not only for their benefit but also for our community.

Deborah Emmanuel

Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet who has always felt far from any one culture. She was influenced by western culture but then later found ownership in Singapore and a place of belonging.

Deborah experienced a violent/unstable father and struggled with poverty and then struggled with her own life after her mother died. However, she started meditating and going to poetry slams which helped her.

Poetry let her observed her thoughts which helped her better understand herself, instead of holding all her emotions bunched up in her head.

Her younger self needed to experience those things so she could evolve and become who she is today.

What I learnt…

Power is something we take for granted and those opportunities we ignore.

Experiences build character and even though those memories probably weren’t pleasant, they motivated you to be who you are in the future. Experiences let you evolve and become better.

“every plastic bag counts”

Robyne Hayes

Robyne Hayes is a photographer and researcher. Her recent priority within her work is with women, girls and child marriages.

The main driver for child marriages is poverty and lack of education. Women and girls who are forced into child marriages usually drop out of school and have no childhood. Most women and girls are looked upon as being nothing more than a potential mother.

130million girls are not in school and should be. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for young girls and they usually end up in domestic violence.

What I learnt…

That the issue of child marriages is an increasing number and it is in need of help.

we take opportunities for granted and we need to give the girls a voice, by doing that we need to not only talk to the girls but talk to the mothers and community to give them space to explore and to spread their voice.

Giving the girls a voice can let them become something more than they were meant to be within that culture. However, we actually don’t ask what they want, since they have never experienced anything other than early marriages and poverty. That’s why we need to give them that experience and that opportunity.

Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a writer and the author of Purple Hibiscus.

Chimamanda talked about her early life and how she got into reading and writing at a young age. Her passion got her writing about the stories she had previously read, which were all British and American. She would write about their stories. However, finally, she found books that told stories which she recognized and then starting writing about them.

Single stories are a fixed mindset which you recognize a certain place or race. For her, poverty was her single story of poor families. She then gives examples of her experiences when people show these single stories. How a great number of people see Africa with a single story. They are seen to be starving, in poverty and not having a developed lifestyle. People also have a single story of immigrants and Mexicans. that they are dangerous and are seen as less than American citizens. Single stories are formed once a story is told over and over again and soon becomes a stereotype, they are incomplete.

What I learnt…

labelling someone with short stories can have many consequences. It robs people of their dignity and their individuality.

When you realise that there is no single story about any place, any person.

When you reject that single story, you create a kind of paradise.


Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat is an authorpreneur and a best selling author (however, not the best author)

Chetan Bhagat’s goal is to connect with people through entertainment and to change and influence people for the better. His strategy to achieve this is to reinvent by changing the game. to change and adapt to the game. He believes that winners are people who can change the game and people who can adapt to the game.

What is success? Success is different things to different people. Is it happiness? feeling accomplished? reaching goals? to achieve success you need to achieve short effort as well as long effort.

success tips:

  • under promise and over deliver
  • reinvent
  • passion internet shows
  • patience
  • partnerships
  • humility

How has Chetan Bhagat impacted me?

  • That success is different to everybody. It isn’t just about your future and career. That to become ‘successful’, instead of being the best, you can change the game, make it your own. That short effort and long effort goals and accomplishes are both important to your future.

I used to think… now I think…

  • I used to think that success is basically about money and having a place to go and a bed to sleep in. Now I think that success is about happiness and feeling accomplished and yes that can be about money and career, but it’s about reaching goals and being where you want to be and that can be anything.

Achieving big things.

  • settings goals
  • reasons behind that goal
  • finding the group
  • a detailed action plan
  • a set-back detailed mechanism
  • faith

“Be so busy improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others”


Steve Dawson

Steve Dawson started in the sports industry and also as a news reporter.

interview tips.

  1. ask open-ended questions. (provide a challenge)
  2. set the answer free. (no unnecessary parameters)
  3. don’t interrupt. (listen)
  4. be a single shooter. (no double-barreled questions)
  5. listen to the answer. (all the time)
  6. be respectful (be professional)
  7. whats your angle?

How he impacted me.

  • He told me how to properly interview someone and the importance of listening and how you shoot your questions. He also showed me that the questions aren’ t everything that matters. While interviewing it is key to listen and to add to questions when necessary. He also showed me that your career in mind is achievable, no matter the place you are in now.

I used to think…

  • I used to think that interviews were all about the questions and how you present them and after asking the question you move onto the next.
  • I now think that the more you listen the more information you will get out.