In a series of essays, Eunoians reflect on life, love, and loss. The essays were written in Mandarin, and translated into English.


As the saying goes, “Life isn’t a bed of roses.” Despite having heard this quote many times over, I still cannot help but grumble about my misfortunes in times of adversity. When I’d first started learning English, for instance, I struggled to learn all 26 letters of the alphabet. I often had to burn the midnight oil, writing till I was physically and mentally exhausted to finish writing a full essay. I had to constantly refer to the dictionary when writing, lamenting about my exasperating and difficult circumstances as I went. But in spite of the pain and suffering, I also realised that these were necessary challenges I had to endure on the road to success; if I couldn’t tackle them head-on, I would never be able to overcome those challenges. Smooth-sailing events will only stagnate me in my progress; rough times are the moments that keep me trudging forward.

     Mankind has faced all sorts of trials and tribulations since the dawn of time. Some choose not to face these challenges head-on, hence failing to learn and improve in the process. Others choose to be tested by these hardships in order to become a formidable power. Mengzi once said: “Thou who is plagued with worry and hesitation is blessed with prosperity and growth; thou who is blissful in content will inevitably perish.Thou who is blessed with Heaven’s mandate is first made to suffer, tested by enduring hardships to strengthen thy resolve, and gifting upon thee unforeseen gifts.” A person who wishes to accomplish a huge task would first have to encounter obstacles, strengthen their resolve and renew their passion in order to reinforce their abilities. Conversely, a smooth-sailing life without ever facing challenges would lead one to grow content and fail to make progress.

     Helen Keller’s incredible life story seems to prove such an understanding. She was born with numerous sensory defects but never gave up on life. Through her own hard work and some help from her tutor Ms Sullivan, she managed to overcome numerous odds to attain a Diploma in Literature. Despite being both visually impaired and hearing impaired, she held on tight to her strong sense of determination, allowing her to accomplish feats that others said were ‘impossible’; in doing so, she left a legacy behind her. After reading about her awe-inspiring story, I could not help but think: If Helen had been born without any disabilities, encountering none of the challenges she’d faced, perhaps her story would not have gone down in the books as it had. It is precisely the challenges and obstacles in her life and her determined character that made Helen Keller as inspiring she is.

     However, the hardships we face in life aren’t only determined by our fate; a dysfunctional society can also manifest huge problems in one’s life. The Harry Potter series may be widely renowned now, but its author J.K. Rowling had been poverty stricken prior to becoming a famous author. She was also unable to find a job and had to raise her children independently. Rowling could only afford to write on tiny pieces of scrap paper, but never once did she bow down to her misfortunes. Instead, she persisted through writing and publishing her work, and was finally able to present the fascinating world of her imagination to millions of readers. This allowed her to not only become a famous writer, but also break out of the poverty cycle. 

     Similarly, Benjamin Franklin was also born into a poor family and had to drop out of school at the tender age of 10. However, that did not stop him from continuing to learn; the self-accomplished Franklin then went on to become an inventor, a politician, as well as one of America’s ‘3 Founding Fathers’. As Franklin once said, “Obstacles create opportunity.” The hardships that we endure don’t merely serve as a low point in our lives; they can also be a turning point for success.

     Adversities aren’t something that only humans face; animals, too, have to fight for their own territory, escape from predators and hunt for food. They often have to face obstacles that their natural environment provides. This is explained in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as the widely-known concept of ‘Survival of the Fittest’. In the ever-changing world of nature, competition abound; if animals are unable to overcome their evolutionary challenges and adapt to their surroundings, their species would be decimated. The species that survive are those who evolve in the face of hardships, and grow stronger. If these evolutionary challenges never presented themselves, these species would have never experienced the test of survival and evolved; apes would have never walked erect as Man. Evidently, adversities are the factor that inspires change.

     Hardships are an inevitable part of life; everyone is bound to experience them on some level. However, what truly separates the victors from those who are defeated by their hardships is the crucial choice between submitting to your hardships, or achieving spiritual growth in the process.

Translated by Celest So Yee Suan 苏倚萱 (20-I4)









作者:徐宝鎏 (19-A2)

我为何选择翻译本作品:这篇文章所描述的逆境,不禁让我想起好不容易才渡过的2020年。每个人在生活中难免都会面临逆境,而每个人在这种情况下都会有不同的处理方法。文章利用不少的名言和名人的生活经验,让读者了解任何人都会在人生中面临难关。我非常喜欢文章的最后一句:“人人都会在某种程度上面对[逆境],只是要被它打败还是从中精进自我,是区分失败与成功的重要选择。” 这句话告诉读者,逆境多的是,但是我们选择拥有的态度将会影响我们在人生中的胜败。

Those Unforgettable Days   

In secondary one, I lived far from my school, so I had a full hour to immerse in my thoughts while travelling back.The afternoon after my first mid-year assessment, I counted in my head the number of semesters I had in secondary school. Watching the blossoming flowers through the bus window on the way home, my heart bloomed at the thought that I had just completed one-eighths of my secondary journey. 

I had forgotten whatever happened before or after this, but this was the only moment that I remember as clearly as if it was yesterday. In those four years, those eight portions of time, how much had been forgotten and how much remembered? Just like the first time stepping into the secret darkroom at the back of  the art room and soaking the film in the developer solution, what emerges from my memories is not the entire picture, but rather, fragments of it.

Towards the end of secondary school days, we were all very busy. I moved, and my new house was only 10 minutes away from the school.  My travelling time to and fro school was almost 2 hours less; however,  it also meant that I lost the time spent pondering in the bus like I previously did. I was so busy that I didn’t even realise that that had been the last of the eighths of blue pinafore days I had spent in my ‘second home, St. Nicholas’.

As I gathered the memories captured in the films, I realised that my bittersweet struggle with art had taken a huge part of the last eighth. Nonetheless, the days where art forcefully stayed by my side turned out to be my most unforgettable ones.

Thinking back about the art room, you could say that it was untouched by light under the spectator stand;  it would be in complete darkness before we switch the lights on. The windows that line the two walls are always open, but the air in the room always had a trace of paint, clay and some kind of chemicals. The art classroom is stubborn – it doesn’t let light in but doesn’t let smells out either. In that very classroom locked the days of my youth, and the only gift I had gotten out of the generosity of the art room were the memories which I could bring along with me.

My memories relating to art seemed to be gleaming with a tinge of  gold.  It’s not that those memories were precious, but that for every art class, we would have to stay back in school for additional three hours closer to the “golden hour”. So, as we neared the end of the lessons in the evenings, the last rays of the sun always crept past the door of the art room.

That golden light was just like the lamp in the corner of the room that illuminated still life. I am still baffled about why the sunlight  only illuminates a few tiles before the door,  just like I’m equally baffled about why the lamp only brightens the still life under it, leaving the rest of the room in darkness.

Back then, we often scrambled to keep our laptop and art brushes after our teacher urged us out and switched off the lights in the room. Just before walking out, I would glance up and observe the reflection of the indistinct orange rays on the ceiling. We rushed out of the classroom under the rays of the setting sun, which made us squint and rushed us home. Those orange rays gilded the days of our youthfulness,  imprinting the silhouette of our youth onto the ground  whilst we unknowingly hurried home with the falling rays in our eyes.

The days nearing the end of my secondary school days  might have been the longest time I had spent with my oil paintings, spreading the pungent and unwelcoming oil paints and turpentine onto the equally unwelcoming canvas.  As I  rushed the final project, time slowly crept on to the days of our last examination of secondary school. In the day, I would be  attempting what seemed like never-ending practice questions. After school, I would rush to paint in the art classroom. I visited the art classroom twice a day, up from once a week. Overwhelmed with art and my other schoolwork, I felt like I was drowning.

The smell of oil paint and turpentine can be dizzying after a while, so I moved my easel from indoors to the space outside the back door,  hoping that the fragrance of the plants in the backyard would overpower the pungence. Under my brush, the paint felt soft and slippery on the raw canvas. The blend of the paint, brush and the canvas seemed to make my stress from school briefly disappear.When the sky started to dim, I knew that the sunset would be waiting for me on the other end of the art classroom.

I finally submitted my final oil painting after months of struggling with it. At that time, my mind was preoccupied with starting my revisions as soon as possible, in order not to lag behind the rest. So, just like that, I bid farewell to the final eighth of my secondary school journey, not realising that this was my farewell to art as a subject, too.

To a photographer, dusk was a magical moment.  After my final exams had eventually concluded, I flew back home to my homeland, China.  I was strolling with my cousin under the golden rays of the setting sun one evening when I suddenly turned to her and said, “The lighting is nice. Let me take a picture of  you”. 

She squinted against the sun, looking at me in confusion. Through the camera, her face was gilded with a layer of gold, reminding me of the days when my artmates and I rushed to leave the art room. In that instant, the setting sun seemed to freeze in what seemed like an eternal moment.

Those were the unforgettable days.

Translated by Lim Ying Xin 林映馨 (20-O2)












我转头对表妹说:“我给你拍张照吧,现在的光线很好。” 她被太阳照得眯起眼睛,有些不解地看着我。镜头里她的脸庞被镀上了一层金色,就像那时候美术室外脚步匆匆的我们。夕阳仿佛凝结在一瞬间,又仿佛是生命里的永恒。


作者:门甜甜 (20-A1)

我为何选择翻译本作品:我之所以选择这篇文章是因为它打动了我。第一次读这篇文章后不禁回忆起中学时的那些点点滴滴,也让我想起那时的美 好时光。作者通过细节描写使自己的回忆更加的生动细致,能让读者想象当时的环境和气氛。再加上,我能够彻底理解作者写这篇文章时的心情,因此,我想翻译这篇文章,通过译文让更多人也能够欣赏作者想要表达的苦涩,希望从中也能打动更多人。

You are my Youth 

Just like the splendour of rainbows and the beauty of shooting stars, my youth was fleeting yet so beautiful. It was marked by your amazing hands, unwavering care, constant encouragement and so much more. Grandma, did you know? You are my Youth. 

Grandma, your hands were neither extraordinary nor exceptional. As they aged with time, they gradually got rougher too. But these hands were always filled with warmth. In kindergarten, the innocent me always wanted to hold your hand. I wanted you to accompany me to school, and only agreed to go home if you fetched me. And this was because I liked how you held my hands so tightly while you told me the story of the Big Grey Wolf and the Small White Rabbit as you walked me to and fro school. Even though it was always the same animals, always the same story 365 days a year, I never, ever got tired of it; it remained my favorite story for a long time despite the many more stories I heard later on in my kindergarten days.  “My grandma’s stories are way more interesting than our teacher’s!” was something that I often proclaimed to other kids at school. Grandma, did you know? Your stories and the touch of your hands became such precious memories of my childhood. I also came to understand that good begets good and evil begets evil. (And I know that the evil big grey wolf would definitely get his just desserts). 

Grandma, your hands were neither extraordinary nor exceptional. As they aged with time, they gradually got rougher too. But these hands were extremely skillful. Since young, I loved changing outfits for my Barbie dolls, and you were their exclusive fashion designer. You always sewed dresses for my dolls, one prettier than the previous. To this day, I still vividly remember that white princess dress that you sewed ever so beautifully. The rim of the skirt was edged with purple cloth, the shoulders decorated with a handmade ribbon and the dress flourished with purple flowers that had gold rims. Somehow, the doll dresses that you made always turned out to be exactly what  I wanted. No matter how complicated the design was, it never seemed like a big deal to you. 

After the 2008 WenChuan Earthquake, I donated all my dolls and their beautiful dresses to the kids who were hit by the disaster. I can still clearly remember what you told me, “Many kids lost their fathers and mothers because of the earthquake. They don’t have a home of their own and need the company of these dolls way more than you do.” Grandma, did you know? I really loved every single doll dress that you made. However, I still chose to give them away because of your words. Thank you for teaching me what kindness and empathy was when I was still an ignorant young child. 

Grandma, your hands were neither extraordinary nor exceptional. As they aged with time, they gradually got rougher too. But these hands were magical. To me, you were basically a magician,making sumptuous dishes appear on the dining table ever so quickly. Whenever you cooked, the aroma of the dishes never failed to waft up my nose, making me drool. Whenever it was meal time, my younger brother and I always fought to hurry to the kitchen. And when we got there, we would be greeted by the vast variety of dishes, leaving us completely clueless about where to begin. My favourite dish was your braised ribs, poached pork slices, hot and sour potatoes, salted vegetable fish and many, many more… Whenever you cooked, I would always have a huge appetite and a huge smile. You would always remind me, “Don’t hurry! There’s still half a pot of rice left for you.” Grandma, did you know? Your dishes were the best in this world,peppering my youth with mouth-watering aroma; my baby fats stayed on me way past childhood.

When I was 10, because of my parents’ jobs, our entire family had to migrate to Singapore, a beautiful country. I had to say goodbye to my hometown, my friends and you — the one who loved me the most. At the airport, I couldn’t bear to part with everything I had here, especially you. But with a big smile, you told me, “Singapore has everything. Study hard when you get there and remember to call me often.”  Whatever you said afterwards was completely a blur, but I nodded non-stop, all the while struggling hard to hold back my tears;  Grandma, did you know? Singapore has everything except you, whom I loved the most. 

I could not have felt more alienated when I started schooling in Singapore. Every student and teacher spoke in a language I did not understand. Communicating with them was impossible. I was completely lost during lessons, and had no idea how to do any homework. I felt like giving up. Whenever I called you to complain about my plight, you always encouraged me with your gentle voice. “A tree can only thrive  after it has experienced harsh weathers; one can only achieve success after they have gone through tumultuous times.” Your words left a deep impression on me. Whenever I was on the verge of giving up, these words never failed to dry my tears, giving me the strength to carry on. 

Over time, I started to adapt to life in Singapore. I made a bunch of interesting friends, started to answer questions in class enthusiastically and actively participated in various school activities. Gradually, my life in Singapore was getting better, but you were not …… Your health started deteriorating and you started to sound weaker,  slurring over the phone. Over time, we called less frequently. I started to look forward to and treasure the holidays when I could return home. I’d treasure being reunited with you, holding your hand and walking through the mall with you, lying next to you at night as you told me your story slowly but steadily. 

“Grandma, I’ll surely be back next year! Please look after yourself!” 

“Of course, I’ll be waiting.” 

Grandma, did you know? I loved every bit about you, except that promise that you never kept. 

When I was sixteen, you taught me one last lesson: we would never be able to avoid getting old and passing away… This time, however, you did not teach me this through your words, but through your actions. When I found out about your departure, my whole world shattered. I came to realise that no one can be by my side to protect me forever, not even you, the one who loved me the most and whom I loved the most. This realisation ushered me away from my youth and into adulthood. Grandma, your hands accompanied me throughout my childhood, bringing me so much joy; your words wiped away my tears, teaching me perseverance, kindness and how to treat this world gently. Finally, your actions led me to recognise that I have grown up. Although my youth was fleeting,  it was never boring or uninteresting because of you. Grandma, did you know? You are my youth and I really miss you!

Translated by Andrea Yap 叶惠宣 (20-O2)



奶奶,你的手既不特殊,也不出众。随着岁月的消逝,还略显粗糙,但这双手温暖。上幼儿园时,那时单纯天真的我总是要拉着你的那双手,祈求你陪我一起上幼儿园,放学也非你来接我才肯回家。因为我喜欢你在上下学路上一边紧紧牵着我,一边生动地跟我说大灰狼和小白兔的故事。即使一年三百六十五天都是同样的动物,同样的故事情节,我还是百听不厌。后来,我在幼儿园里又听到许许多多其他故事,但是我的最爱还是你的大灰狼和小白兔,甚至经常在幼儿园里骄傲地向其他小朋友炫耀:“我奶奶说的故事比老师更有趣呢!” 奶奶,你知道吗?那时候你的双手与你的一成不变的故事为幼小的我带来了多少美好的回忆,还让我明白了善有善报。恶有恶报,恶毒的大灰狼是不会有好下场的。

奶奶,你的手既不特殊,也不出众。随着岁月的消逝,还略显粗糙,但这双手灵巧。你还记得吗?我从小就喜欢收集芭比娃娃,我喜欢给芭比娃娃换上不同的裙子,而你便是这些娃娃的专属服装设计师。你总是能在短时间内缝制出一条比一条漂亮的裙子。令我至今都记忆犹新的还是那条白色公主裙。它的裙边镶着紫色的纱,吊带上还有你亲手绑了再缝的蝴蝶结,裙子上还有许多她一朵朵缝上去镶着金片的紫色花朵。你对我想要的裙子总是有求必应,即时多复杂的设计对你来说都是小菜一碟。08年汶川大地震时,在你的鼓励与劝说下,我将我所有娃娃和那些漂漂亮亮的裙子都捐给了灾区的小朋友们。你的话我至今都记得清清楚楚,她告诉我:“好多小朋友因为地震而失去了爸爸和妈妈,没有了自己的家,他们比你更需要这些娃娃的陪伴。” 奶奶,你知道吗?你所做的每条裙子我都好喜欢,也谢谢你在我懵懂的年纪里让我学会了善良与同情。

奶奶的手既不特殊,也不出众。随着岁月的消逝,还略显粗糙,但这双手神奇。你就犹如一个魔术师,总是能在短时间内“变”出色香味俱全的美食。每当你做菜时,香喷喷的气味能从厨房飘到客厅,进入我的五脏六腑,令我“口水直流三千尺”。每到吃饭时间,我和弟弟便会争先恐后冲到厨房,看着眼前五色俱全的菜肴,不知从哪下手。我最喜欢的菜肴便是你做的红烧排骨、水煮肉片、酸辣土豆丝、酸菜鱼还有好多好多…..只要你一做饭,我的胃口便会比平时打了不知多少倍,而你总是会在一旁一边开心得合不拢嘴,一边提醒我:“慢慢吃,饭还有半锅呢!” 奶奶,你知道吗?你所烧的饭菜是世界上最好吃的,是它们令我的青春回味无穷,让童年的我又白又胖。










我为何选择翻译本作品:我非常喜欢这篇文章。这篇文章的内容并不复杂,重点就是奶奶在作者成长过程扮演着多么重要的角色。一开始,作者描述奶奶在她生命中有多么的重要,我就被这又真诚,又单纯的描述给吸引住了。读到后面,我真的有被感动到。虽然故事的结局并没有出乎意料,但那详细的描写深深地打动了我。因此,我选择翻译这篇文章。再加上,这篇文章有许多细节描写,和我一般所翻译的文体不太一样。 我想挑战自己,翻译一篇我不熟悉的文体。