Archive for September, 2017



Open Essay

Topic general    *One word title   *Write any aspect of the topic

  • Define the topic *Clearly state the aspects that you are focusing on

How to narrow down an open topic

  1. Write a story.

  2. Write a description.

  3. Expressing personal opinion.

  4. Stating advantages and disadvantages.

  5. Persuading the readers to concede to your stand.

  6. Writing your personal experience.

  7. Focusing on different types or kinds.

  8. Focusing on one meaning or definition.


  • Current happenings *Advantages   *Disadvantages

  • Illustrations and examples *Impacts and effects


  • Organize your paragraphs into the introduction, body and conclusion.

  • Present your points clearly and logically.

  • Every new paragraph should express a different point.

Examples of open essay questions:

  1. Water

  2. Clothes

  3. Fire

  4. Memories

  5. Friends

  6. Keeping pets

  7. Money

  8. Examinations

  9. Fashion

  10. Travelling

  11. Stamp collecting

  12. High education


Sample answer 1


One of my favourite destinations is the island of Penang in Malaysia. It is situated off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang is popularly known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’. One can see local and foreign tourists flocking to the island during every holiday season. The interesting features that attract tourists include the residents, the variety of food, the beaches and the hills.

The residents are, of course, responsible for the various unique lifestyles that are apparent in Penang. Other than the usual Chinese, Malay and Indian communities, there are minority communities that live in Penang.

The mamak community hails from South India. They are of Indian-Muslim origin. Their ancestors were regular traders to the Far East. They sold Indian spices and bought goods from the Peninsula, then returned to India. Some of these traders eventually settled down in Penang, which was one of the main ports of call for traders from all over the world. There are several intricately designed mosques in Penang that are patronised by today’s mamak community. There are also many mamak food stalls in Penang. The food prepared and sold in these mamak stalls has a unique taste, which is different from traditional Indian food.

The Peranakan community is unique in that they are the assimilation of the Chinese and Malay communities from intermarriages during the time when China and Malaya traded with each other. Large Peranakan communities are mostly found in Penang and Melaka. Their lifestyle is a unique blend of Chinese and Malay traditions. The walls of the Peranakan houses are decorated with mosaic tiles of colourful designs. Most of the furniture is made of old wood. They speak a mixture of a Chinese dialect and the Malay language. And of course, their food is exotic and delightful.

My favourite hangouts in Penang are the food stalls at Gurney drive and the Esplanade. One can see miles of stalls offering foodstuff of all kinds. Such a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian food can only be seen in Penang. Here, you will see dishes like rojak, Penang laksa, Penang fried noodles, nasi kandar and cendol.

The beaches in Penang are usually busy with scores of tourists, both local and foreign. One such stretch of seaside that requires particular mention is Ferringhi Beach. There are numerous activities that one can engage in at the beach. Apart from swimming, there are aquatic activities such as water scooter riding, water skiing, balloon gliding, riding the banana float, canoeing and of course, sunbathing, which is a favourite pastime among western tourists.

By the end of an exhausting day, you may find yourself in the mood for a nice and quiet evening in the cool atmosphere of Penang Hill. The train transports passengers up the steep hill where there are a number of restaurants. A hot Chinese meal is just the right end to a hectic day, before returning to your hotel room for a good night’s rest.

Sample answer 2

Environmental Disasters

Floods, earthquakes, drought, typhoons and hurricanes are among the natural disasters we face. Every part of the world experiences a disaster some time or the other. Some countries are fortunate that the natural phenomena they experience are only low-scale affairs. Other countries, however, must battle natural disasters more frequently. India and Pakistan, for example, experience massive floods every year. Thousands of people are made homeless and property is destroyed. In the United States, the east coast experiences hurricanes and tornadoes every year, causing massive loss of property.

One phenomenon that had everyone baffled was the El Nino weather phenomenon. Malaysia was not spared its effects. We suffered high temperatures and low rainfall. Indonesia experienced forest fires so widespread that even Peninsular Malaysia was badly affected.

Thousands of acres of crops dried up. Even the rivers were not spared. In Sarawak, the tribes in the interior suffered badly. This was the first time Malaysia experienced such a weather phenomenon. I remember the heat. The field in front of my house was brown. Plants looked ‘tired’ and ‘miserable’. Many days, we could not see the blue sky and white clouds. I realised how important the sky was to me.

La Nina, the opposite effect of El Nino, brought massive rainfall to Taiwan, resulting in landslides and mudslides. Many people were killed. In Texas, a large amount of rainfall resulted in floods. A lot of property was damaged. Germany and Mexico also experienced bad flooding. Strong winds across the oceans caused tornadoes and hurricanes. The United States was badly hit.

Sometimes, I wonder what the world has done to receive such disasters. To me, it seems like Mother Nature is angry and has lost her temper. When I saw a movie called Twister, I was envious of the strength and magnitude of the wind. Huge objects looked more like pebbles and were blown from place to place. Heavy trucks seemed like toys. In the movie Volcano, I realised how transient life can be and how majestic a mountain can be. In the movie Earthquake, I realised how dangerous earthquakes could be. Los Angeles sits on a fault line and an earthquake can occur any time. Fault lines crisscross the entire country of Japan. How will these people escape if an earthquake occurs?

We in Malaysia are extremely lucky. We do not experience hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. We do experience floods, but they are relatively minor. They are nothing compared to the floods of India and Pakistan. Perhaps these natural disasters as we call them are just messages or reminders from Mother Nature that we should look after the world. If not, she will release nature’s titans to instil in humans an awareness of the need for a well-balanced universe.


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