To celebrate the month of love, we asked 5 millennials to write an open letter to the person they loved the most. Some feelings are hard to express, let your written words do the talking.

You’re My Asteroid

It’s pretty undeniable that you’ve made a tremendous impact on my life. Like an ‘asteroid hitting earth’ kind of impact. I know that seems like a bad thing but I assure you it isn’t. We really should have asteroid showers more often; drastic change is good. Sometimes I wish I had met you sooner. It’s kind of a shame that we spent only one year in school together. Imagine the amount of damage that could have been done if we had four years. I hope you know that when I say ‘damage’, I mean it in the most affectionate manner possible. Kudos to us though, for making the most out of only a year. This is the part where you roll your eyes, if you have not already begun.

Anyway, as you can tell, this is obviously a heartfelt letter and those nostalgic tears should be filling your eyes to the brim. right. About. Now. Or at the very least I hope I’m still as entertaining as ever.

Jokes aside, I really mean it when I say that you’re one of the few people who helped drive my life in the right direction, and I’ve reserved a section of my heart just for you. Thank you for walking into my life nearly seven years ago, and for staying put. I need you to know that I appreciate every single time you’ve purposefully corrected my grammar and spelling, and for kicking me (and other people) out of class multiple times because bailing on english homework was trending.

It takes way more effort to call people out on their shortcomings and pinpoint mistakes, especially if they don’t directly impact you, letting things slip is always easier. So what I’m trying to say is that I sincerely love you for everything you’ve done for me and my lovely classmates. You know we all love you, from the bottom of our hearts. – Sadhana

Love Is Unconditional

When I was young, I kept hearing the saying “A parents’ love is unconditional” but I never understood the meaning behind it. Growing up with three other siblings, I used to think that it’s your duty to provide me with what I need, in terms of education and basic necessities. It’s mummy’s duty to wake me up and make me breakfast, papa’s duty to ensure my family is well-fed and buy me the newest gadgets.

It wasn’t until I went abroad for my studies in Australia that I realised how much I’ve taken my parents for granted. There, I had no one to turn to and rely on. Nobody was around to wake me up in the morning, prepare dinner for me after a long day, or to change my bedsheets when I’m tired.

Now that I’m in my twenties and back in my homeland, I’ve begun to see mummy and papa in a new light. I learned to appreciate the little things that you did for me. It was never mummy’s duty to wake me up every morning and ensure I get to school on time, nor was it papa’s duty to buy me a new phone. But you did it anyway – to make sure I get the best education, and to make me look ‘cool’ in front of my friends with the latest tech toys. I finally understood the sacrifices you’ve made for the family. You put aside your own hobbies or buying a fancy new phone for yourself, so you can save up for our university fees or to bring us on a holiday. Life is unpredictable and they can’t be there forever. So I just want to say:

I love you mummy and papa. Thank you for your unconditional love for us, putting a roof over our head and food on our table. I’m grateful and fortunate to have you. – Hayden

Memories Left Behind

One of my earliest memories of you, is standing by your bed, anxiously sucking on my pacifier as you packed your stuff and patiently explained to me that you would be away for some time, far away where I cannot follow, and that I should be a good girl and eat my meals properly. I remember feeling confused and wondering why I wouldn’t be allowed to follow when I could tag along even when you went to the wet market where there were always a lot of people and I so easily got swallowed up by the crowd. You left me and it was possibly the saddest period of my short life then, and I remember crying at the airport when you left with a big group of people all wearing white.

That was the only time we have been apart for such a long period of time. I slept in your bed till I was in my teens when mum decided we could turn the study room into a bedroom for me. Life has been difficult on you, but you always ensured we had good food to eat at home every day, even when your legs hurt too much when you stand for long periods in the kitchen. I love how much perseverance you have, a particular brand that belong to people of your generation, totally absent in mine. You always swallow your anger and sadness and kept them in your heart even when you were being unfairly treated, all because you want to avoid conflict, as much as it frustrates me that you don’t want to stand up for yourself. And that is my biggest failure as a granddaughter – that I allow you to be treated as such when you deserve to have someone stand up for you and speak on your behalf.

I will do better.

I love you. – Rin

The Woman Of My Life

She is a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife, and a grandmother.

She is strong, smart and crafty. She worked her way up and made many wise decisions for the family. She started from cents to notes of money that could be found tucked away in the pockets of her blouses. She believed that destiny lies in your own hands and that it was important not to depend on someone else. She chose true love over having rich kids. She knew that money and beauty doesn’t last forever.

She fell sick. She lied on the hospital bed and was put under morphine. She was motionless, save for the tears pooling in her eyes. She persevered and wanted to stay on longer. She wanted to attend the graduation ceremonies and wedding dinners of her grandchildren. She wanted to fall asleep beside her partner every night. She just wanted to have a little more time.

She eventually left.

She left us a legacy of love and respect for being a beautiful woman, a loving mother, a filial daughter, a wonderful wife and a caring grandmother. – Emmerline

Home Is Where My Family Is

To my parents:

I’d like to thank you so much for raising me well and giving me so many things that i can learn up till now… I feel so lucky because I’m your daughter. I know that I make you sad and upset at times, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I just wanted you to understand that I’m not a kid anymore (sorry for my selfish self). I do actually know how I should behave, and I understand that everything you tell me is for my own good and to help me be able to have the best future I could hope for. My prayers are for mum, dad and my sister; everyday I pray for all of you to be healthy and happy in every moment, live a long and enjoyable life and for only the best things to be graced upon you guys.

This year, I’m turning 20. I’m already an adult – I can’t believe how time flies. With age comes responsibility and it means that I have to be a better person than before. I promised myself that I would not have disagreements with mum or dad anymore. I’ve decided to always be down-to-earth, and to always be grateful for every little thing. I have mum, dad and my little sister who love me just the way I am, and it’s amazing how they never get tired of me, and how they can forgive my mistakes time and again. Now what I have to do is to study hard and be diligent in finding a suitable job for me after graduation – for I’m the master of my own happiness. I hope for my family to always be happy, to love and cherish one another without discord. I will work hard to make this happen. – Aprilia

If you penned a letter to the person you loved the most, what would it say? This Valentine’s Day, send love to the special people in your life. They deserve to be celebrated. ♥

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Disability is no hurdle for para-athlete Adelia Naomi Yokoyama, as she overcame all odds to emerge victorious at the 2017 Deaflympics.

To say that Adelia Naomi Yokoyama is an inspiration would be an understatement. Despite being born deaf, she never lets her hearing impairment deter her from achieving her dreams. Her hard work paid off – at the recent Deaflympics, the 18-year-old trailblazer made history by bagging Singapore’s first ever gold medal in the bowling women’s masters event. Fresh off her record-breaking win, we caught up with the young bowling champ to learn how she overcomes adversity, what drives her and more.

Congratulations on clinching the gold medal at the Deaflympics! How does it feel to set a new record for Singapore?
I am truly overjoyed! It’s hard to describe the feeling in words as I never expected to return with a gold medal, much less set a new record. Winning gold for Singapore has always been my dream from the moment I was selected to represent our country for the Deaflympics. I don’t have much experience competing internationally, but I trained intensively to build my stamina and mental toughness with the support of the Deaf Sports Association.

Deaflympics

When did you first discover your passion for bowling?
I first discovered it around the age of eight when I joined my sister and her friends for a game of bowling. It was then that I decided to take it up as a CCA in school and chose to pursue the sport further as I was selected to be on the school team and started participating in competitions.

With sisters Natasha and Yukie being athletes in their own right, do you feel ever feel pressured to live up to expectations?
I do feel pressured to perform well, especially since both of them have represented Singapore in prestigious events and have a good track record in their respective disciplines. Natasha finished 5th at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, while Yukie has won multiple medals and is a world champion! For me, I never won any major competitions prior to the Deaflympics thus I do feel pressured to an extent, but it’s a healthy amount which serves as a driving force for me.

As a current student at PSB Academy, how do you balance your time between school and training?
It was manageable as I only had a few hours of school to attend each day, coupled with training three times a week. The real challenge came when the Deaflympics drew closer, marking a spike in my training sessions. At the same time, I also enrolled for three new modules before I flew off to Turkey for the competition. Catching up was tough as I missed three weeks of school, but thankfully, the journey was made less exhausting through PSB Academy’s generosity in accommodating to my schedule.

Since embarking on this journey, what has been the most memorable moment thus far?
The opportunity of participating in the Deaflympics! Beyond the competition and the win, the bonds that I’ve forged with my team is a reward in itself. We even became more well-versed in sign language while training together. In particular, this experience has helped me realise the importance of working closely with a coach, as Coach Francis made a huge impact on my progress as an athlete by encouraging and believing in me. When a coach and an athlete have great faith in each other, their ability to communicate with one another becomes unrivalled. Thus, I am so thankful for Coach Francis.

We can’t begin to imagine the challenges you deal with everyday with your hearing impairment, especially as a sportswoman. What keeps you motivated?
The journey definitely had its bumps, but I’ve learnt to cope with stress thanks to my loved ones. My family has given me the best support in everything, and they truly inspire me to become a better person and succeed in life. Growing up, I was also given speech therapy and specialised help for my hearing impairment, such that I’m able to communicate well with the people I meet. Today, I have no difficulties interacting with others and in fact, I would say that I’m a social butterfly!

Deaflympics

What’s a misconception people have about para-athletes that you would like to set straight?
They tend to think that we are different from ‘normal people’ or that we are unable to live life to the fullest. This cannot be further from the truth as every individual is different, special and unique. If a hearing impaired person like me can succeed, so can everyone else. I want to encourage and motivate people to chase their dreams instead of erring on the side of caution. Nothing is impossible!

Moving forward, what are your goals for 2018?
Since I haven’t had much experience participating in international bowling competitions, I plan to take part in as many as possible to gain more exposure. I hope to earn a new personal best score for the upcoming competitions, particularly for the ASEAN Deaf Games which will be held in December. I also aim to get into the National Youth Squad in 2018.

This article was adapted from Vol.30 Issue 1 issue of Teenage.

Read the stories of other inspiring millennials:
Behind The Lens Of A 22-Year-Old Filmmaker With A Cause
Meet The 23-Year-Old Fashion Designer Who Debuted Her Graduate Showcase At Singapore Fashion Week!
How These 21-Year-Old SMU Students Built A Successful Business

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Trying to fit in as the new kid in school? Making friends can be nerve-wrecking, but you never know who comes along unless you put yourself out there and socialise. Here are some tips on how to foster long-lasting, meaningful relationships on campus.

THE SMARTIES

the smarties

How to spot them: For starters, they can always be seen with a book in hand – whether it’s between classes, at the library, or even during meal times.

Why they make good buddies: Hanging around smart people will boost your knowledge and motivate you to learn more yourself.

How to be their friend: Ask them questions about what they’re reading or currently into, and they’ll be more than happy to share. Friendship is a two-way street, so be sure to tell them about interesting news you’ve come across as well! Smart people are always open to knowing more people, especially if their new friends seem keen to engage in elevated, well-informed conversations.

THE FREE SPIRITS

the free spirits

How to spot them: They’re the ones on Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram living life to the fullest. You can usually find the whole gang at the hottest gigs, the newest eateries or the coolest hangouts.

Why they make good buddies: Fun and easygoing, you can always count on them to know the latest hip spots and where to go for good food, shopping and more.

How to be their friend: Seek recommendations and share your own, but be mindful not to come across as overly clingy. They want to know that you’re fun to hang out with, so socialise widely with everyone and never gossip so they know they can trust you.

THE QUIET

the quiet

How to spot them: Although they may seem shy and soft-spoken, this group has very good thoughts and ideas – they just may not be comfortable sharing them before they feel ready.

Why they make good buddies: A humble and unpretentious bunch, they make it a point to give others a chance to voice their opinions and value what you say.

How to be their friend: Be patient and not pushy. Give them lots of space, and make sure conversations aren’t one-way by offering them plenty of opportunities to speak up. If they seem uncomfortable, don’t prod them too much for answers. It will take them some time to warm up to you, but if they sense that you are genuine and trustworthy, they will eventually confide in you.

THE ACTIVE

the active

How to spot them: They are the ones who willingly sign up for fitness classes and make use of lunch hours to happily chat away about last night’s soccer match or rugby game.

Why they make good buddies: Besides making good exercise partners and motivating you to work out, they can teach you a lot about how to use your body correctly and efficiently too.

How to be their friend: Even if you’re not a super fitness fanatic, making friends with them is easy, especially if they are involved in a team sport. It’s hard to find people to play with, so if you’re keen to join, you’ll be warmly welcomed into the ranks. Show genuine interests in things they like, and ask them to coach you as well if you feel inclined.

THE EMPOWERED

the-empowered

How to spot them: These people have a passionate cause and aren’t afraid to speak out about it, whether it’s advocating for gender equality, animal rights or even a vegan lifestyle.

Why they make good buddies: They raise your awareness about issues of discussion and encourage you to make a stand about the things you care about.

How to be their friend: You don’t have to be passionate about the same things to be their friend, neither do you have to agree with all their views. Just be supportive and not antagonistic. In the case where they might be wrong, disagree without a hint of self-righteousness and offer to look things up together.

THE ARTISTS

the-artists

How to spot them: When they’re not occupied with classes, they can be found practising for an upcoming dance performance, theatre piece or music gig. Either that, or they’ll be busy getting crafty – doodling, painting or creating forms of art.

Why they make good buddies: They encourage you to develop an artistic streak, even if you think you’re not creative to begin with.

How to be their friend: Show interest in their works and ask about their inspirations. If their after- hours activities are causing them to struggle in class, offer to help them out with school work. Because everyone works hard at their craft, don’t diss their rivals even if your friends do. Instead, help them improve their own skills and encourage them to help others who may be interested in the same things too.

THE CARING

the-caring

How to spot them: With their amiable and kind-hearted personality, they’re often the ones people turn to for advice and offer you a listening ear when you’re down.

Why they make good buddies: They will always be there for you throughout the highs and lows in life. These are the people whom you should keep close to you.

How to be their friend: Be appreciative of their support and loving friendship through words and deeds. They’re human just like you, so they’ll definitely have their fair share of rough patches in life to go through. Don’t be a fair-weather friend who’s only around for the good times – learn from them and be there for them for a change.

This article was adapted from Teenage Passport To Your Future 2018.

More related stories: 9 Tertiary Graduates Share Their Biggest Regrets From School6 Life Lessons We Learned From High School Movies7 Easy Steps To Create The Perfect Back-To-School Makeup Look

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If you recently saw a short film screened before your usual blockbuster at a Golden Village cinema that very likely brought you to the verge of tears, it might be Chiak. The eight-minute story tells of a son’s struggle with his father’s dementia, as they take steps towards emotional recovery.

First-time filmmaker Joshuah Lim decided to participate in the GV25 Film Shorts Competition alongside two other teammates on a whim, despite their lack of experience or funding – but their end product has clearly captivated hearts. Chiak not only clinched the winning title, but also serves as a reminder for everyone that there’s hope even in the darkest of times. A cancer survivor himself, Joshuah’s personal journey motivated him and his team to depict an accurate portrayal of battling illnesses.

Ahead, the 22-year-old delves further on how he turned his pain into positivity.

Congratulations on winning the GV25 Film Shorts Competition! How was the entire experience like for you?
Thank you! I think it was an amazing experience with lots of ups and downs, but a great opportunity that Golden Village presented all of us aspiring filmmakers with. This experience really allowed me to discover more about myself, especially in the medium of filmmaking.

What was your reaction upon knowing that you had won?
As we had no prior experience in filmmaking, we did make some elementary mistakes as a result. I was really shocked as I honestly didn’t expect to win – this was the first short film I’ve ever directed, and also considering that the works of the other finalists were really good as well. Overall, I feel really honoured to have won the competition, and it’s a dream to have my very own film screened in the theatres!

How did you first come to discover your passion for filmmaking?
From the moment I started watching movies! I’ve always enjoyed the idea of purposeful storytelling, and personally, film is a great medium to tell a story.

What inspired you to participate in the competition?
When I was undergoing treatment for leukaemia last year, I had a new perspective of life and felt so inspired to live to the fullest. Shortly after my bone marrow transplant, my teammate Alvin approached me regarding this fantastic opportunity, and we just decided to go for it!

Moonmen (L to R- Joshuah, Wesley, Alvin)

How did your team come up with the idea behind your short film Chiak?
We really wanted to do something that would touch the hearts of the audience and drive home a meaningful message. Alvin and I both have relatives who suffer from dementia – we could see the struggle they go through on a day-to-day basis, and how time to them seems fluid. With that, we decided to go with the idea and the rest is history.

Having experienced your own battles with a disease yourself, how did that influence the story behind Chiak?
I could definitely relate to it on a more personal level as I was able to see the similarities of the struggles between the family, and myself faced in a situation like this. I guess you could say I was able to catch a heartbeat for this film too.

What do you hope people will take away with them after watching Chiak?
I hope people will be encouraged to separate the disease from the person, and to remember that our love for the patient should be the foundation of all the care we give when things get difficult.

What motivated you to fight through your health battles and pursue this passion project?
I went through a spiritual revival whilst battling cancer. I came to terms with who I am, and I realised the need to live a purpose-driven life. I am very thankful to God, my family and friends for the support and love they have provided me with. That was what kept me going, and gave me the strength to strive on and take delight in my work.

What is your ultimate dream goal you hope to achieve in the future?
I want to change lives. I hope to leave a legacy that inspires people to be contented with themselves in this fast-paced world.

What’s a piece of advice you would like to share with readers who are also struggling with their personal health battles?
Take your time to process what is happening. Allow yourself to feel everything, but at the same time never lose hope. Find joy in the little things, because laughter goes a long way. Most importantly, do not let a disease or a bad health situation define you, or take charge of your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Continue pursuing your dreams and live fearlessly.

This article was adapted from Vol.30 Issue 1 issue of Teenage.

More related stories: 10 Brilliant Short Films Every Movie Buff Needs To WatchMeet The 23-Year-Old Fashion Designer Who Debuted Her Graduate Showcase At Singapore Fashion Week!How These 21-Year-Old SMU Students Built A Successful Business

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Your tertiary years pass by in a flash, so it’s important to make the most of your experience. Ahead, we asked graduates to share their biggest regrets and personal advice for the class of 2018. Take notes, freshies!

Get out of your comfort zone

comfort zone

“In junior college, I decided to join choir for my CCA. However, it was the exact same thing that I did back in secondary school. However, I wish I had the courage to act outside of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to try something new, like rock climbing!” – Cass, 20

You might have been stuck in the same club for years, but you’re entering a new chapter of your life – take it as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Don’t box yourself within the walls of familiarity and try dabbling in something new for a change. Who knows, you might just discover a newfound interest you didn’t know existed!

Seize the opportunities

Seize the opportunities

“Apart from CCAs, there are also a ton of opportunities to help you expand your leadership skills outside of the classroom… which I didn’t take up. I regret not being more immersed in school life.” – Khairul, 21

There’s more to school than just academics – there are plenty of extracurricular clubs and after-school activities to keep you engaged! Not only are they platforms for you to widen your social circle outside of class, it’s also a chance for you to pick up extra skills and even prepare you for the workforce.

Be confident

Be confident

“I regret being so self-conscious back in school. I always felt like someone was constantly watching me so my actions ended up being very stiff all the time. But in reality, no one really cares. I was just overly suspicious!” – Janisha, 19

“Why are they staring at me? Do I look weird today?” – such thoughts would inevitably run through your head when you’re in a new environment with people you don’t know. But at the end of the day, no one really takes notice of these little quirks as much as you think. In fact, they might just love you more for it!

Live for yourself

Live for yourself

“Although English was the second language in my international school, I’ve always enjoyed reading English books and took pride in speaking it fluently since young. But when the other students made fun of me and accused me of being pretentious, I ended up hiding the books and using English only with people who spoke it first. I wish I wasn’t so quick to conform to what my schoolmates thought of me.” – Wei Lun, 20

Never let anyone’s opinion sway your beliefs, whether it’s giving in to parental pressures or trying to fit in with others. If you’re truly passionate about something, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to pursue what your heart desires.

It’s okay to be alone

It's-okay-to-be-alone

“I didn’t show up for a lot of the events and classes that I signed up for because none of my friends would go with me. I always felt that I won’t be comfortable alone so I’d choose not to socialise or participate in the activity, which defeated the purpose so there wasn’t a point in going. Looking back, I realised I missed out on a lot just because I was afraid of being alone.” – Joey, 20

It’s nice to have companionship when going for camps or trying out for a new CCA, but chances are you won’t always find someone with similar interests as you. Don’t shy away from signing up for activities on your own – new friends will come along naturally. Hey, being independent is a good thing!

Don’t slack off

don't slack off

“Although I had good grades in my first year, it ended up making me complacent. I didn’t put in as much effort into my studies from the second year onwards and I was spending way too much time with my girlfriend.” – Marcus, 23

You may think that only scoring well during the first year is enough and the remaining two years of your education won’t affect your GPA as much, but keep in mind that the cumulative grading system is based on your overall performance throughout the years. Keep up the good work and you’ll be duly rewarded!

Friends forever?

friends forever

“My clique got along well until we had to do our projects together. It wasn’t anybody’s fault; some of us just worked on different wavelengths – but it reached a point where there were tears and yelling before I left. I’m sure my old clique is as happy as I am now after the ‘break up’, but if we had the courage to stop forcing our friendship, we might still be on cordial terms now.” – Ke Xin, 22

While school is a place where you make lifelong friends, there are instances where friends can get rather competitive on the academic front. Just because you are grouped together for projects doesn’t mean you are obliged to stick with the same clique – you might be better off finding a new group of friends whom you can better connect with.

Love can wait

Love can wait

“I wish I didn’t have so many of those so-called relationships. Looking back, we were all too young and I feel like they weren’t even real boyfriends. I wasted time crying, fighting and healing when I could’ve spent it with friends or being more involved in school.” – Rebecca, 23

We’ve all been there – unrequited crushes, first loves and heartbreaks. When the hormones start to kick in, you may be at the stage where the idea of getting into a relationship is intriguing – but it can also result in unnecessary drama and heartache, so tread cautiously with matters of the heart.

No time for crime

No time for crime

“I wish I’d have just worn a skirt that wasn’t too short and proper socks. Once, I literally ran away from the disciplinary mistress because I didn’t want to buy a new pair of school socks, but she caught me anyway. Being the school’s resident troublemaker was an exhausting streak to keep up, I felt like I had just wasted my time!” – Daphne, 19

From skipping lectures to altering your uniform in every way imaginable, some of you are probably guilty of these. You might think that breaking the rules is cool now, but you’ll soon realise that it’s just a phase. Treat it as a learning lesson and move on!

This article was adapted from Teenage Passport To Your Future 2018.

Here’s a question for you guys: what’s something that you regret from your days back in school? Let us know in the comments below.

More related stories: How These Local Polytechnic Graduates Got Into The Top Universities In The WorldWhat Are The Study Options After Your ‘O’ Levels?4 Easy Ways To Make Your Study Space Look Pinterest AF

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