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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Illustrations for CNB (Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore) - Essay 8

Yew Kai Ning, Sophia
Rosyth School

A truck wheeled into the driveway, sputtering and sighing. It was an old Toyota model, riddled with various scratches and patches of rust. A pale adolescent stumbled out of it. His cheeks were sunken and premature lines spanned his thin face. His dark eye rings looked like bruises in contrast with his colourless face. However, he was giggling as he stumbled unsteadily out of the van. His companion, a burly man with the same sunken cheeks and dark eye rings, soon followed his footsteps out. They carried with them several small sacks that seemed to be foodstuff to be consumed. The burly man winked at the driver of the truck, who promptly drove away.

The men walked a little and soon arrived at a dilapidated old hut painted in an unhealthy tinge of green. It was deadly quiet, but they knew that there would be at least a dozen people in there, waiting silently for the imminent arrival of their sworn brothers. They walked up to the door. The effort of lugging the heavy sacks had left the gaunt adolescent drained of energy, but no colour had come to his cheeks. The burly man glared with heavy contempt at his accomplice, and knocked the secret code on the door. Two knocks soft, one loud. Knock, knock, KNOCK.

The door creaked open, and there stood an unsightly man in his early forties. His bare torso, with weak shoulders and a hairy chest, was intricately adorned with assorted tattoos. He had aged far beyond his years. A toothless grin cracked his face into a mass of wrinkles as he savoured the sight of his youthful helpers in drug abuse.

Rosyth School Yew Kai Ning - illustration 1 colour

A great hubbub filled the room as eager shouts welcomed them in. They walked into the room, opening their bags and handing out attractive-looking tablets that came in a wide variety of colours. It was the drug named Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, Playboy, Snow White, Pink or XTC. The boss slapped the teenager on the back and said, “You’ve done well again, Oreo!”

The others, ages ranging from early teens to twenty-odds, gathered around, praising the burly man and Oreo. Smiling, Oreo popped the pills, feeling the familiar effects of uncontrollable shaking and unmatched physical prowess overwhelm him. His heartbeat accelerated until it was nearly unbearable. Music blared as they switched on the radio to accompany their shivering, and they started showing off their strength to each other. Oreo’s face was stretched in a constant smile as his body swayed to the music. He did not turn his mind fully to the problems of where he was to go after this party. Home? Perhaps. Surely his elderly mother would not notice that he was on drugs. This all vanished as he lost himself in the party. He belonged here, and no where else…

The next morning dawned clear and bright. Oreo stumbled out of the hut, aching with thirst as well as feeling dazed and irritable. His house was not far, and once there he could indulge himself with water. He felt dizzy, but it was not be because he had not eaten in quite a few days. Oreo vomited on the ground before continuing on his desperate way. He hardly noticed as his surroundings changed, tall skyscrapers filling the skies, HDB buildings filling all the space.

Oreo lumbered into the lift. It lifted him into a narrow corridor; his home was one of those highly subsidised HDB rental flats meant for people with low incomes. It was all Oreo’s mother could afford, as his father had passed away, leaving her with a bad leg and an inability to get a job even as a cleaner. Oreo had no money to go to school, so he had fallen into bad company. He threw open the door, for it was never locked, and walked straight to the kitchen. He grabbed the water jug and poured all the water down his throat. His elderly mother limped into the kitchen and started gabbling away in a dialect. Oreo did not listen, merely grunting as he drowned himself in the two-litre jug of water. He drank unceasingly, feeling his stomach growl in protest. His body seemed to be warring, his brain telling him to drink, and his stomach grumbling and rumbling in hesitant protest. Finally, all his systems shut down and he tottered unsteadily before dropping heavily on the ground. His mother stood over him, shouting in a distraught voice, “Ah boy! Ah boy! Ah boy! …”

Rosyth School Yew Kai Ning - illustration 2 colour

She ran out, squawking like an upset chicken. The neighbours soon stepped out of their flats to survey the pandemonium. Oreo’s mother’s next-door neighbour, Ling Chee, was a great help, as she swiftly dialled the police hotline.

The men in blue soon arrived at the scene, as well as the ambulance. They conducted an investigation and figured out that Oreo had been on drugs. However, it was too late for him. His heart had stopped beating. As his mother was told the truth, she wept and said, “He never told me where he went every day. Now I’m all alone!”

The price for taking drugs is too high to pay…

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