Chia Sihan


ďGrowing UpĒ



This story is about a teenage girl (Su Yuan) in during the agonizing stages of puberty and going about searching for an identity so that she feels belonged. However, she is a simplistic person who does not think too deeply and does not understand people easily. Thus, this leads to her short temper, which she unfortunately, is unaware of and gets very defensive and worked up when her friends tried to tell her of this. 


She is an introvert, although she did used to be part of a popular crowd, now, she only hangouts with a very close best friend (Siew Leng). In spite of their closeness, there has been a huge amount of friction accumulated between them over the years because of several unnecessary misunderstandings and they keep a lot of things from each other, something which is unusual for two supposedly best friends. Siew Leng, of course, gets the brute of Su Yuanís rage the most; but being a rather short-tempered person herself, she finds it difficult to get along peacefully with her and attempts to make things better between them by bringing up the subject. 


Su Yuan initially flew into a temper and as usual, waged a cold war against Siew Leng. They eventually patched up and Siew Leng suggests that Su Yuan seeks the help of a counselor. The counselor offers her point of view in a general way, but points out that the cause of this unhappy incident is indeed Su Yuan herself. The counselor emphasizes that when someone makes a comment jarring to the ears, the key point is not to take it too personally, but instead think on ways to improve so that both parties will be satisfied in the end, without anyone getting hurt unnecessarily. Even though things did not magically change overnight, a lot of things became clearer in perspective to Su Yuan, and she found that many things could be achieved since her mindset has changed for the better. 





Characters: Classmates of Su Yuan- Grace, Willy, Class Monitor, Tim, Su Yuanís best friend, Siew Leng, Counselor


Grace: Are you people interested in making donations to help the poor folks in Turkey? They do need a lot of medical supplies and cash to help them tide over the earthquake recently and the latest news is that there might be worse to come.


Su Yuan: Thatís really kind of you to have thought of that. I think itís a good idea.


Siew Leng: Yes, that would really be a great help to them. How about we make this a class effort? (Signaling to the class monitor to inform him of their plans)

The class monitor walks up to the front of the classroom to address the class and passes the message. The class response was not encouraging.


Willy: Hey, in such bad times, we canít even save ourselves, now youíre telling us to waste money on other people? You must be joking!


Tim: Heís right. I mean, a lot of our parents are retrenched, you know.

(The rest of the class continues to make ridiculous excuses, while some people do not even know what was going on in the class.)


Su Yuan: Thatís enough! Since they are unwilling to help, donít beg them. Itís just as wellÖthis sort of thing has to be voluntary. I canít believe how stingy they are, and what stupid excuse they are making just because they donít want to part with their precious money!


Siew Leng: Su Yuan! Shut up.


Su Yuan: ( turns red in the face and mutters under her breath, ď Youíre being totally unreasonable!)



Later on, when  the fuss died down, Siew Leng turned towards Su Yuan.


Siew Leng: Iím sorry for just nowÖbut you should have seen yourself. You are not behaving like th Su Yuan I know. Why?


Su Yuan: I know I was too harsh just now, Iím sorry for it too. Bu t I just canít stand the way they treat this appeal for help like itís being forced on them. Didnít you see their poor attitude? Sometimes I canít believe they are all of sixteen years old! GeezÖ


Siew Leng: (in a quiet tone) Do you think you are behaving as a sixteen-year-old should? You ought toÖ


Su Yuan: (waving her hand through the air in a slicing motion, effectively cutting off Siew Leng) I donít need to tell me what I should do! Youíre not my mother so keep your opinions to yourself, if you donít mind. (turns away, staring into the distance with a gloomy expression)


Siew Leng: (hurt, but doggedly surged on) Please, Su Yuan, Iím just trying to help. Do you really want all your friends to drift away from you because of this problem which you refuse to face? I think that you donít want things to turn out this way too, right? So why canít you just listen to what I have to say for once? It might just change youÖ..are you happy with the way things are turning out?


Su Yuan: Of course not.


Siew Leng: It seems to me that you did not mean to be so angry but you just cannot control your temper. Do you want to seek a counsellor? Who knows, it might just take this step for things to get better.


Su Yuan: A counsellor? ButÖ.


Siew Leng: It might be good, you know. I can tell you are really troubled, but I canít seem to help in a better way other than for you to seek the help of other more experienced people. Please, do it for yourself. Do you need time to think things over? If you need me, Iím always here.


Su Yuan: (tears in her eyes) Thanks a lot buddy. Iíll do it.


The following afternoon, with the accompaniment of another friend who also needed to see the counsellor, Su Yuan had a private chat with the counsellor.


Counsellor: Hi. What is it that you wish to speak to me about, Su Yuan?


Su Yuan: Well, actually itís no big deal but I find that I seem to have some difficulties controlling my hot temper. Do you have any advice for me?


Counsellor: I must say, Su Yuan, you are indeed a sensible and brave girl. Not many short-tempered people has the courage to admit that they are having a problem, not to mention seeking help for it. The first thing I like to ask you is, why do you want to control your temper? Has something bad happened to make you want to change?


Su Yuan: I realised that the people around me have been putting up with me for a long time and I also feel very guilty about it. But I just canít seem to stop myself from saying all those horrible things..


Counsellor: Firstly, you ought to know that not many people, in fact, most people do not know how to speak in the correct way to other people. Often, we are put in a very defensive position by others unconsciously and it makes it difficult to think in a level-headed manner under those circumstances. What you can do is to excuse yourself for a minute to cool down alone and try to put yourself in the other partyís shoes. Why did she say those words to you? How can you make the situation better by not hurting the other personís feelings and making things even worse? It takes a lot of self-control and sensibility to do that. Can you do that?


Su Yuan: Iíve never realised that. It always seems that Iím in the wrong but I do have my reasons too.


Counsellor: You may have your reasons but do you think shouting out at the other person will get your point across? It would be better to talk things through when the two of you are calm enough donít you think?


Su Yuan: I guess you are right. I get so tensed up that I canít think properly during those scenesÖ


Counsellor: Drink some cool water. It helps to cool your internal body and you will be more relaxed to take control of the situation.


Su Yuan: (beginning to relax) One last thing, Miss Chng, I feel really uncomfortable when people criticized my work, especially after Iíve put in so much effort. However, I do think my work is not that great and that othersí suggestions do work. What can I do to make myself accept other peopleís comments graciously so that they would not be offended by my attitude? Iíve discovered that people prefered to talk behind my back regarding my work rather than telling me personally. I want them to be frank with me.


Counsellor: Why donít you try thinking that instead of feeling insulted or hurt whenever a criticism is given out, think that they are talking about this object, not you, and change whatever needs to be change so that it gets better. That way, you will improve and people will be more willing to share with you. The key word is not to take it personally. Youíll be able to gain more that way.


Su Yuan: Thanks, Miss Chng. I feel much better now. I know what to do, and Iíll take your advice. Iíll talk to you another time.




Some peopleís way of dealing with their problems is to ignore them and hope that they would go away in a day or two.They never grow up because of this reason and they can never truly succeed in whatever they do, because they donít care.


Some people are not afraid to face their weakness and try all ways to fight against it. In the end, they are the true winners, not the ones with all the wealth but no character to speak of.

By: Chia Sihan


Thanks for reading till here. Please kindly give your comments.


PS: This story is based on a personal experience. I feel that the ďmoralĒ of the story is: Donít be afraid to seek help when you need it.


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