“Yuh Dong, go write yours on the board.” Sir asked, I was utterly unsatisfied with that request. When he finished writing on the board, I analysed his work and mine. Why was my writing not qualified? Was it erroneous? How could I surpass him?
“Yuh Dong, go write…” Second time in a row. My work was disqualified, I compared his work with mine again, learned some of the vocabularies in his writing, desiring to empower my writing skills. I had a hunch that he would go on being the model sample of the class, I might never outperform him, he had the talent in writing which I envied.
His writing was matured, filled with cogent, clear, and crisp points from various perspectives. Every time, without fail, he used new vocabularies in most of his sentences, and the most absurd part was he managed to fit them in immaculately, bringing out the proportion of strength with concision in each and every sentence. I was awestruck when he was qualified for the first time, I looked at my work, and saw his, only then I realised there was a bottomless chasm between our skills.
I got qualified, but it was meager, I did not have the abundance of words bank as his, instead I went on defense, meticulously using words that I had confirmation, snagging the chance to write on the board. When he was qualified, but I was not, I groused to Sir about where I had went wrong.
“Yuh Dong…” What the… Three consecutive times… My envy was brimming my thoughts, I was angry and inferior at the same time. “Yang, go write yours also.” my heart sprang with joy, it had been a while since I was qualified, this time I could compare his work side to side. When both of us finished writing on the board, I went back to my seat, scrutinised his work and mine. It was a total let down, our skills were akin to heaven and earth, I was no where near his, and he earned his throne far above me.
“Yang. Can you lend me your paper?” Yu Dong asked me.
“Sure.” I handed him my paper. It was the first time he inquired to look at my work, it felt outlandish.
He returned my paper, “Thanks.” I nodded, it was an acknowledgement between us both, signifying the dusk of a rivalry.
I had never met someone who had urged me to take the gauntlet to keep improving myself to reach the sky in my entire life. Two years or so, we kept ourselves at our best, sharpening our skills everyday, battling on the field laid out during the class on a sheet of white paper, letting the tips of our pens waver across it, racing to prove who was better.
He was advancing, so was I. His writing had improved by leaps and bounds in terms of felicity, clarity and accuracy of use of words. My writing slowly developed into a style which was more exquisite from his, I emphasized on the flow of the essay instead of sprinkling too much words which would lead my work to lose the control. However, I felt he was always in front of me. I was ceaseless to surpass him.
When I was in class, I put in full concentration to write my best in order to show my prowess in front of him, regardless of the dire times of my life or when I was physically drained. As he was writing on the board, he acted as the catalyst for me to prompt myself to get stronger, to elevate my writing to new heights.
It was the last class, we took a group photo of the class, I stood beside him, he was taller, more athletic than me, more muscular than me, and his writing was one of my favourites that inspired me to achieve greater skills. Ultimately, I stood beside my ‘rival’.
We greeted each other goodbye, he said he had learnt a lot from me, he also told me about my writing, he liked it.
It is an honour meeting you, Yuh Dong. Throughout these two years, I had garnered a multitude of things from you, especially your spirit, your devotion for words, your writing skills.
This is not the end.
May destiny place us to have a grand face-off of our writing in the near future.
I would be armed to the teeth, I would show no mercy, you had brewed a shitstorm, be prepared.
P.S. 26 SEPT 2016
A rivalry, a bond formed.