12-year-old S’pore boy reflects on ‘great responsibility’ he had as head prefect, strives to help others regardless of future path

Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.

Mothership | May 11, 05:48 pm


Mothership and The Birthday Collective are in collaboration to share a selection of essays from the 2018 edition of The Birthday Book Jr.

The Birthday Book Jr is a collection of essays about Singapore by 54 children, aged mostly between five and 13, from various walks of life.

By showcasing the diversity of young voices in Singapore, these essays also discuss our collective future as a nation.

12-year-old Ilyas contributed an essay, “Head prefect”, sharing his views and experiences that came with his leadership role in school.


By Ilyas Haafizuddin ibn Meeranudeen

Today, as I pin my head prefect badge on my school uniform, I cannot help but recall the road I have taken to have this honour.

It has been a pleasure to serve as a prefect for the past few years.

Never had I once thought that I would eventually lead the prefectorial board and be the head prefect for Chua Chu Kang Primary School in 2018.

What was the road that I had taken that had landed me with such a great responsibility?

Responsibilities as a prefect

When I was in Primary 4, I was chosen to be one of the prefects in my level. My teacher said that I possess good leadership qualities.

Feeling ecstatic, I took my role seriously.

With enthusiasm, I served the school in every aspect that I was asked to. I had led a group of students to put up the Teacher’s Day Concert together with my level prefects in 2017.

I had taught the lower primary students who had difficulty reading to read.

Over the years, I had raised the National flag.

Praised for an incident in a cave

During my school camp, we had a prefects caving. I went with some prefects to go through a cave.

However, my friend who was partnering me became claustrophobic and left me behind.

I was stuck in the dark cave alone for about fifteen minutes. I was nervous and fearful. I started shouting for my friends but I knew that if I were to try to come out of the cave, I might get lost.

When my friends left the cave, the claustrophobic boy said that I was left behind. My two friends went back for me. I was relieved when I heard my friends’ voices. It was like music to my ears. They told me the directions to get out of the cave.

When I made it out of the cave, my teachers praised me for my patience and resilience. My claustrophobic friend apologised but I assured him that I did not take anything to heart.

I did not know that teachers were observing me.

Learning from a trip to Penang

There was a time I was chosen to represent the school for a cultural trip to Penang.

During the trip, I helped my friends while learning other cultural etiquettes. I rallied my friends during the trip in every activity.

Again, this cultural trip was a platform for me to hone my leadership skills.

Striving to serve people no matter what

As I started Primary six, I was thrilled to hear that I was one of the three nominees for Head Prefect position.

I had to give a speech in front of my school mates and teachers. I decided to come up with a motto that I truly believed in.

I have always been impressed with Spiderman’s punch line, With great power comes great responsibility. I used that to promote my stand that if I became the Head Prefect, I would accept the responsibility and will do my best.

As a head prefect, I have led the school students in morning assembly and in other activities. I have also continued to reach out to students who needed help.

I have come to realise that the road I take will determine my future. I will strive to serve people with a heart in whichever road I take.

If you happen to be in the education space and think this essay may be suitable as a resource (e.g. for English Language, General Paper or Social Studies lessons), The Birthday Collective has an initiative, “The Birthday Workbook”, that includes discussion questions and learning activities based on The Birthday Book essays. You can sign up for its newsletter at bit.ly/TBBeduresource.

Top photo via Google Streetview.

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