Highly Commended Story - Junior Category
“The Boy Who Dreamed of Stars” by Thu Xin Yin, Sekolah Sri KDU, Malaysia, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2018.
Thu Xin Yin is 11 years old and she currently attends Sri KDU Primary School. She loves reading novels, she finished reading the entire Harry Potter series at age 9 and was inspired to write short stories after that. Listening to music helps her relax and she aspires to be an author or businesswoman when she grows up. Her favourite subject in school is English and she harbours hopes of being able to learn Spanish and Japanese one day. This plucky lass also enjoys playing the piano.
The Boy Who Dreamed of Stars
There once was a boy who dreamed of going to the stars. From a very young age, he was fascinated with the idea of space travel. Every night, he would go to his house's balcony and count the stars that were in the night sky. He would trace the constellations he knew right before bed. Whenever he slept, he would dream of being with the stars. He would excitedly speak of his dream to other people and gush about what he would do once he achieved his dream to his parents and friends. On some days, he would even go to the public library and spend hours reading about space. His parents and their friends would always laugh and joke about "a child's silly ambitions", even when he was right in front of them. He was young, then, and didn't understand what they were talking about.
As he grew older, he started working hard and tried his best to get into a good university. He would often be found sitting at a corner reading about space while others played happily on the field. He got bullied a lot because he looked nerdy and always kept to himself, and to others, that was weird. Instead of succumbing to bullying, however, he ignored his bullies and continued on with his life. His bullies eventually left him alone when they realized he didn't seem to care about them. He managed to get a scholarship to a university that focused on astrology and science.
When he was 17 years old, however, an accident happened while he was walking to the store, and his vision became permanently dark. He was blind. His friends told him to give up on his dreams, because how could a blind person ever hope to go to space? But still he refused to give up, and continued to study to become an astronaut. No matter how people laughed and mocked him or put him down, he still got back up. He worked harder than anyone else because he wanted to prove that limitations do not stop ambitions.
At 24 years old, he applied for a job with NASA to work as an astronaut. He went to several interviews, wrote several CVs, and argued with the interviewer about his blindness, until one day, when the director of NASA came to him, and offered him a place in their special astronaut team – “The Human Limits”. He was put with a hard-of-hearing girl, a selectively mute boy and an autistic girl. The four of them became fast friends within minutes of meeting each other. On the 15thof August, they set off to explore one of Jupiter's moons. They came back bearing good news about the mission. And with that, each of them was given a Medal of Honour by the president of the United States and proved to the world that they accomplished their dreams despite their disabilities. The boy's family realised their mistakes, and apologised to him. And at last, the boy, along with his newfound friends, proved limitations do not stop ambitions.