2nd Place 2015 YWA (Grade 9/10) – ManHin Wong from QSI


Don’t Take It For Granted

by ManHin Wong

The subtle feeling of the floor tilting downwards signaled the impending landing of the aeroplane. I peeked out of the window positioned next to me. Clear, sapphire sea met lush, bright land in a sort of natural harmony―the tropical landscape of Thailand, painted by Mother Nature herself. As we lowered in altitude, I could see the immaculate, obsidian buildings and houses of the city of Bangkok.

“Isn’t it beautiful, son?” my mother said, observing from the seat beside me.

“I guess so.” I muttered, disinterested. I could care less, really.

The very first place we went to was the aquarium, where I observed the many lifeless models of sea creatures; listening to the tour guide explaining much about the unknown blue.

“Sadly, the Earth’s oceans and its reefs are being destroyed and ruined by mankind’s waste and garbage.” she enunciated. The crowd gasped in response.

Meanwhile, I simply rolled my eyes in annoyance. Seriously? We could easily just have dirty water filtered. Why is the ocean’s ‘beauty’ so important anyway? Geez.

After a fun session at the beach, we rented a boat, and my father drove it out into the open sea while the rest of the family got ready to go diving.

“We’re here!” he announced with a booming voice that clearly showed his excitement.

“Great,” I responded, attempting to sound enthusiastic about it so that Mom wouldn’t endlessly berate me. “I’ll dive first.” With that, I leapt into the water, the azure blue waves catching and cradling me in its gentle yet firm grip. I kept my head underwater as instructed, and steadily breathed through my diving mask. I was amazed by the sight before me, which was shocking to say the least.

Rays of light rippled and swirled from above, casting gleaming lines on the pale sea floor. I drifted a little further, and glimpsed more of the coral reef. Beautiful stones of red, blue, green violet and orange formed the reef, their charm enhanced by the sun’s intricately positioned spotlight. The stage was set for the fish, dressed in brilliant scales of countless colors and patterns, to dance, dart and drift around on the incandescent platform. In a little corner a lone clown fish dived lazily into a welcoming sea anemone.

I swam forward, pushing through the invisible streams and currents. I could hear a faint tune, a chorus of blub’s and swoosh’s as the dozens of sea creatures dived and sped around, leaving tiny bubbles in their wake. The clicks and chirps of the corals as they danced rhythmically on their fixed positions on stage rang through the ocean waters; sound waves fluttering through my ears in a most amazing sensation. The song was awe-inspiring, like with the sirens of myth and folklore, I was enthralled; the fact that I could even hear it was so surprising I forgot to breathe. It’s like magic…I thought to myself, as I reached up to feel the corals, …is this a dream?.

The rocks felt smooth under the palm of my hand, and yet had a look of toughness that emphasized their long life throughout the years, from the beginning of ancient times, worn down by the merciless blue. I touched the corals as well, many shrinking away like timid animals; some even spreading outwards like flowers graced by gentle sunlight. I widened my eyes every time the coral reacted, fascinated with them as if I were a toddler playing with new toys.

Suddenly shadows crept over the shining stage, and a ponderous shape smashed into the reef, sending clouds of dust and debris spiraling into the water. The aftershock sent me tumbling away, the current’s ushering me away hurriedly like a parent scrambling to get its baby away from danger. I nearly coughed as it poured into my face, until I remembered that I was shielded by my diving mask and gear. The giant cloud had obscured most of the area, and once it had cleared, the beautiful corals were no longer shining brilliantly. From a colorful film of action and dazzle, it had degraded into a stale black and white show of death and oblivion. Corals lay broken and lifeless on the ashen earth, with jagged cracks etched into the reef itself. The blanket of rippling light flashed no longer, as moss-colored seaweed hung over the rocks like ghastly curtains.

Drifting weakly in the abyssal space, motionless in the wake of the overbearing wave of shock, I couldn’t even raise a limb to swim back up to the surface. The ocean was harsh and unkind, refusing to allow me to leave; forcing me to observe as the beauty I had appreciated for a moment of time had wilted away into nothing. I cursed inwardly, before kicking away as hard as possible, flailing my arms as hard as I could, struggling breathlessly to rise back up. A silent scream made its way through my lips as I broke through the surface, reaching out into the light like it was some sort of savior. I paddled pathetically towards the boat, and clambered onto it, panting heavily.

“Are you okay? Tired?” my mother asked me, concerned, as she passed me a towel.

“I’m fine, thank you.” I replied, taking the towel graciously. I went and dried off in the shade while everyone else went diving happily.

Vrooooom! The plane’s engines burst to life, as it moved steadily through the dark tracks, its wings spreading, ready for takeoff. As it glided through the air, I gazed upon the deep blue ocean, the lush green canopies, the gleaming sandy beaches, and the shimmering horizon encircling it all. Nature was still in perfect harmony, and yet, I realized that it could very easily be blown away, with only despair and destruction left in its wake, by our foolish mistakes.

Congratulations to ManHin Wong  who has won a PowerBeats 2 Wireless headset from SWIC (Shenzhen Women’s International Club).

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