Did You Hear That?


Podcast Episode

Ambi: Chattering children. 

JAIDEN: Sorry, what did you say? 

RUIYANG: Eh, you ah… How are you going to do the listening comprehension if you can’t even listen to me? (giggles

SINYEE: Make sure to try not to zone out, okay? If you need me to shake you a bit so you feel more awake before the exam, just tell me. 

RUIYANG: Sinyee, you can just say you’re looking for an excuse to shake him. And also, if you shake him too much, his thoughts might also get scrambled during the exam. 

RUIYANG, JAIDEN and SINYEE try to stifle their laughter. 

SINYEE: You’re not making any sense either, Ruiyang. 

JAIDEN: Guys, I think I should be fine. I mean, it’s just a listening comprehension! It’s not like I can prepare for it.

SINYEE: That’s true, but you also say that for like… all the exams. 

RUIYANG: Haiyah… What’s next, you’re going to tell Jaiden that he was supposed to predict the texts and memorise them by heart? 

SINYEE sighs.

RUIYANG: Well actually if you managed to do that, it would be pretty useful. You could tell me the answers, right? 

JAIDEN: (sarcastic laughter) Ha. Ha. Very funny. (groans) I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning… 

The three try to stifle their laughter.

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Students, please put your bags in two neat rows outside the class. You can only bring in your pencil cases. Ruiyang, please stop talking to your friends, we are getting ready to go into the exam room already. 

RUIYANG: Hey! Why she call me out sia, I wasn’t the only one talking.

The class groans collectively and mutters complaints. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Oh yeah, uh… (paper flips) Jaiden, right? You aren’t supposed to be in this class. You… have to go to the special room. 

JAIDEN: Sorry, I… I didn’t know where it was–

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Ah, okay er… Come, you follow me.

SINYEE: Oh, Ruiyang, Jaiden’s leaving already!

RUIYANG: Jaiden! See you during recess ah! 

Confused complaints from the class draw further away. Two footsteps; hurried clacks of high heels and the shuffling of sneakers. A door creaks open, and the air conditioning unit whirs in the background. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Okay, put your bag outside the room first. Bring in your pencil case only. No water bottle. 

JAIDEN: Sorry, will I be the only one taking the exam here? 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Yes, but I can’t stay in this room with you until the end of the exam because I need to take care of another class. Wait ah, let me go find another invigilator. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR rushes out of the room and shortly after, he hears the MALE INVIGILATOR and FEMALE INVIGILATOR talking briefly outside, their voices muffled. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Sorry, I know this is really sudden but I need you to invigilate this kid for me. I think there was a mix-up – he’s supposed to have some kind of special arrangement, but someone forgot to put it on the schedule.

MALE INVIGILATOR: Do you know why he needs special arrangements? 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: What I heard is he sometimes distracts other people and accidentally talks out loud…

JAIDEN talks to himself, his voice clear. 

JAIDEN: So boring in here… When’s the exam starting again? 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: …or fidgeting with his stationery loudly.

A pen clatters loudly on the table. A pause. JAIDEN sighs.

JAIDEN: (clearly) Thank god the teacher wasn’t in the room. She might have scolded me or something. I should ask Ruiyang later to teach me how to spin a pen. That’d be cool.

Pen clicks. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: (muffled) So the school thought it was best if he just takes exams in another room, I guess. Sorry ah, I have to go to the other class now. 

High heels’ clacking fade out. MALE INVIGILATOR enters. MALE INVIGILATOR walks to the other side of the room, setting his laptop on the table. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: Okay, I’ll start the audio, but I’ll be back soon. I need to go and sort out something. (sigh

CD cover opens. Computer whirrs as the CD is inserted and the computer trackpad clicks twice. MALE INVIGILATOR is on his way out. JAIDEN clicks his pen impatiently, then taps his foot rapidly. 

JAIDEN: (mumbling) I guess I should write my name now… 

The dry pen nib scratches against the paper. JAIDEN shakes his pen. He grumbles. Listening comprehension music (Marche Militiare by Franz Schubert) abruptly starts. His stationery falls on the floor and the clattering echoes in the empty room. 

JAIDEN scrambles to the floor but heavy footsteps walk toward him. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: What are you doing? The exam started already, why are you on the floor? 

JAIDEN: I– uhm… 

Stationery clatters on the floor and JAIDEN’S desk. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: Here, don’t drop it again. I’ll restart the recording for you.

Heavy footsteps, trackpad clicks again, and the music starts immediately. The door shuts behind MALE INVIGILATOR as he leaves. Music fades. 

NARRATOR 1: Primary 6 English Language Listening Comprehension. You may open your booklet now– 

JAIDEN hurriedly flips open his booklet. 

NARRATOR 1: During this paper, 3 passages will be read out to you. Each passage will be repeated. The start and end of each passage reading will be signalled by one beep…


NARRATOR 1: …and the start and end of each section will be signalled by two consecutive beeps.



NARRATOR 1: Section A; Listen to each of the texts and choose which illustration best depicts the situation in the text in relation to the question. Text 1; John and his sister were at the zoo. John’s sister, June, approached the tiger enclosure but was disappointed by the sleeping animal and walked towards the lion enclosure while John wandered off to the elephant enclosure.


NARRATOR 1: Question one; which of the following shows the enclosure June visited after seeing the tigers?

 JAIDEN writes on his paper, distinctly crossing out a few options.

NARRATOR 1: Question two; which of the following shows the enclosure June visited after seeing the tigers?

JAIDEN: Wait, what? Did the recording make a mistake? Uh–


JAIDEN: Tsk. Whatever, I think I heard that wrongly. 

NARRATOR 1: Text 1. John and his sister were at the zoo. John’s sister, June, approached the tiger enclosure but was disappointed by–

Narrator is drowned out by post: JAIDEN clicking his pen and tapping his foot impatiently 

NARRATOR 1: –the student not paying attention to the listening comprehension text, repeat! 

Pen clicking suddenly stops.

NARRATOR 1: (clearing throat) –and walked towards the lion enclosure while John wandered off to the elephant enclosure.


JAIDEN: Oh… I didn’t manage to get the answer to question 2. Ugh… Focus, Jaiden, focus. 


NARRATOR 1: Text 2; Mary was jogging at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve with her friend Farah. While crossing a bridge, Mary decided to take a break. Farah, however, wanted to keep on jogging, so Mary told her that she would be waiting at the bridge.

JAIDEN crosses out one option on his paper. 

JAIDEN: (mumbling while writing) Not this one… Bukit Timah Reserve, on the bridge, Mary is alone.

NARRATOR 1: Mary got distracted by the leaves rustling behind her. 

Leaves rustle. The wind blows. 

NARRATOR 1: She turned her head to look, but it stopped abruptly until she looked away again. But the sound got closer.

Leaves rustle violently. The wind blows into a whistle. 

NARRATOR 1: Mary turned around again, to nothing. She peered closer, determined to find the source of the noises. Unfortunately, she got too close to the edge and (hesitates) her head hit the rock under the bridge… Hey, is this the right script? I don’t think this is fit for children–

The passage ends abruptly with a deafening BLEEP. 


JAIDEN stops writing. BLEEP is muffled by JAIDEN cupping his hands around his ears. Pen clatters on table. BLEEP stops. Pause. The passage doesn’t continue. JAIDEN gulps. 

JAIDEN: I don’t want to bother the invigilator but… (sigh

Chair drags on the floor. Hesitant footsteps. JAIDEN inhales before opening the door. Outside, MALE INVIGILATOR has a hushed conversation with someone else. 

JAIDEN: Oh, uhm… hi, I need–

MALE INVIGILATOR: Did you drop your pencil case again? 

JAIDEN: No, the recording. Uh, I mean it suddenly stopped. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: (to the other person) I’ll be right back. Alright, let me see. 

Heavy footsteps followed by soft timid footsteps. Mouse clicks. A different voice talks. 

NARRATOR 2: Text 2. Mary was jogging at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve with her friend Farah. While crossing a bridge, Mary decided to take a break, and Farah agreed… 

MALE INVIGILATOR: See, it’s working fine. 

MALE INVIGILATOR starts walking.

JAIDEN: Wait, but the text is different. And the narrator also sounds strange… The previous reading was weird. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: What do you mean it’s different? I need to get back to–

JAIDEN: No, I swear…

JAIDEN stumbles for words. Paper crumples in his hand. 

JAIDEN: See? I wrote down everything I heard so I wouldn’t forget. The passage said Mary was at Bukit Timah Reserve, and then the story got kind of strange, and then–

MALE INVIGILATOR: You must have heard the text wrongly. Listen properly next time. 

MALE INVIGILATOR’s footsteps. Door creaks open and closes. 

NARRATOR 2: (in the background) …After their break, they continued on jogging. 

Beep. Beep-beep. 

JAIDEN: But– hmm… (reluctantly) Okay. 

Chair drags along the floor. Jaiden slaps his face lightly and cracks his knuckles. Pen clicks. 

JAIDEN: Get it together, Jaiden. 


NARRATOR 2: Section B. Please listen to the text and tear the paper in half out of frustration because the paper isn’t matching the text! (sarcastic gasp) What if you burnt it– 


NARRATOR 2: Text 3. Sinyee and Aiden catch up after school. 

School bell rings. Ambi: noisy chatter of children fades in. 

JAIDEN: Huh, Aiden is kind of like my name but without the ‘j’. Even Sinyee’s in this text, that’s funny. 

NARRATOR 1: Aiden! (panting) Oi! Why didn’t you wait for me? 


NARRATOR 1: Come on, lah. Don’t be so clueless, weren’t you the one who suggested waiting for me? Hmph. I already told you I had an extra consultation with my teacher, so you can’t say you didn’t know. 


Bed suddenly stops. Narrator’s voices become crisp, as if in a recording booth. NARRATOR 2 laughs maniacally. 

NARRATOR 1: Oi. What the hell do you think you’re doing? Follow the script lah, I don’t want to do another take. 

JAIDEN: Wait, what? Is there even a script at this point? 

NARRATOR 2: (sniffles and sighs) Oh wow sorry… Haven’t laughed that hard in a while. The way you actually started sounding like a primary schooler–

JAIDEN: I’ll just fix it myself. Can’t be that hard, right? All he did was just click the thing a few times.

Chair drags. Footsteps. Mouse clicks thrice, rapid and impatient. JAIDEN grumbles. So does his stomach. 

NARRATOR 1: Tsk. You know what’s not funny? My grumbling stomach ruining the next few takes because our lunch is pushed back due to a certain someone… 

JAIDEN: Huh. Funny coincidence. I’m hungry too.

NARRATOR 2: Aiya, no need to be so dramatic. It’s not like we’re actual voice actors … (groaning) Fine. 

Computer mouse clicks a few times over speakers. Ambi starts again. 

JAIDEN: Oh, it’s starting again… 

Chair drags. Pen clicks. 

NARRATOR 1: Aiden! (panting) Oi! Why didn’t you wait for me? 


Faint beeping in the background. Heavy doors are swung open. A whoosh of air rushes out. The voices of chattering teachers fade in and out. 

NARRATOR 1: Come on, lah. Don’t be so clueless, weren’t you the one who suggested waiting for me? Hmph. I already told you I had to see my teacher, so you can’t say you didn’t know. 

NARRATOR 2: Oh… Sorry, it’s just that Ruiyang asked to hang out with me today so we’re going to McDonald’s. 

JAIDEN: (mumbling while writing) Ruiyang. McDonald’s. Wait… Ruiyang? 

NARRATOR 1: When did you make plans with him? I thought we’re studying together for the test… 

NARRATOR 2: But I feel bad about turning him down. 

JAIDEN: Huh… The narrators kind of sound like Ruiyang and Sinyee if they were older. 

NARRATOR 1: But what about the test? It’s 20% of our grade, you know? 

NARRATOR 2: Sinyee, there’s no point in trying! Even Ruiyang agrees. He said it’s no use doing something that doesn’t work.

NARRATOR 1: We’ve only been studying regularly for a week. It’s inevitable that your progress might be slow, because everyone learns at different paces.

NARRATOR 2: Even if that’s true, what am I supposed to tell the teacher? (mockingly) Hi ‘cher, can go slower during class? I can’t keep up because I’m stupid. So what if I’m slowing down the progress of the rest of the class and you won’t have enough time to go through all the content? I–

NARRATOR 1: Ugh… fine lah. I’m not stopping you, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

SINYEE walks away. NARRATOR 1 groans. Bed ends, audio becomes crisp again. 

NARRATOR 1: Done, right? Okay, I’m leaving.

Footsteps away. 

NARRATOR 2: Oi! Wait for me, lah. Tsk. 

NARRATOR 2 mumbles to themselves as their voice is abruptly cut off. 


NARRATOR 2: Question 5; What was Ruiyang’s advice to Aiden? 

Option A. Stop studying with Sinyee. 

Option B. Stop being friends with Sinyee. 

Option C. Stop study methods that don’t work. 

JAIDEN: Hm… they’re so similar. Uh… Eenie-meenie-miney…

Pen scribbles. 

NARRATOR 2: Question 6; Which part of Sinyee’s advice was most unhelpful? 

Option A. Studying for the exam. 

Option B. Asking the teacher for help. 

Option C. Doing homework. 

JAIDEN: Definitely B. I know it doesn’t work. 


NARRATOR 2: Text 3. Sinyee and Aiden– 


Paper crumples. 

NARRATOR 2: Tsk. What? 

NARRATOR 1: Why do you keep doing this? 

NARRATOR 2: You’re gonna have to be more specific– 

NARRATOR 1: Stop pretending to be clueless! Why do you enjoy messing with him? You know it’s cruel, right? 

NARRATOR 2: Why are you acting like I’m in control of this? We’re just narrators. 

NARRATOR 1: Then who the hell is writing this damn script?! I’m sick of this. I want out. 

NARRATOR 2: Why are you telling me, then? Talk to him directly. He’s listening, you know? 

Deafening silence. 

JAIDEN: Huh? I’m not making any of this up… 

NARRATOR 1’s voice glitches between hers and SINYEE’s, and NARRATOR 2’s glitches between his and Ruiyang’s. Bed: low, dissonant, and slow violin. 

NARRATOR 1/SINYEE: Oh please. We all know you’re making it up. 

SINYEE: We hang around you everyday. Do you think we don’t notice? Your so-called “symptoms” are so inconsistent. 

NARRATOR 2/RUIYANG: I mean, even you don’t know what sets you off. How do you expect everyone to know? 

Bed builds. Tempo increases slightly. 

RUIYANG: Being around you is like walking on eggshells. Always having to be mindful of your feelings. 

SINYEE: Thank god the teachers have enough sense to– 

Sinyee’s voice glitches between her own and FEMALE INVIGILATOR’s. 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: –put you in your own room. 

Bed grows more chaotic. Multiple violins overlap. 

MALE INVIGILATOR/RUIYANG: The arrangement isn’t just for you. It benefits everyone else. They deserve a conducive environment to do their tests in. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: We would honestly rather you not come to school at all. All the arrangements are such a hassle. None of the teachers want to invigilate your exam! 

INVIGILATORS: You are such a hassle. 

JAIDEN’s heartbeat is erratic. He hyperventilates. Bed grows louder. 

SINYEE: Ruiyang, don’t you think it’s much nicer when it’s just the two of us? No one to randomly interrupt and interject their unwanted opinions in the middle of our conversations?

RUIYANG: It’s true. It’s not like he listens to the advice you give him anyway. We try to help him, but he doesn’t want to be helped. Does he just like being pitied? 

SINYEE: Sometimes I wish you didn’t come to school. 

NARRATOR 2: (louder) Doesn’t the window look enticing right now? 

FEMALE INVIGILATOR: Why can’t you just focus– 

Beep. Beep. Bed ends abruptly. 

JAIDEN taps his foot and clicks his pen rapidly. Loud breathing. Ringing pans from his left to his right ear. Fan whirrs louder and sharper. 

Door opens. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: Sorry, that took longer than… Jaiden? 

Bed ends. JAIDEN inhales sharply. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: What are you doing at the window? Come back to your seat. Did the listening comprehension finish already? 

Pause. MALE INVIGILATOR sighs. Chair drags. JAIDEN sits, his breath shaky.

MALE INVIGILATOR shuts the laptop. Heavy footsteps walk toward JAIDEN. Exam paper lifts from the table. 

MALE INVIGILATOR: You can go now– 

Chair dragging interrupts MALE INVIGILATOR. Hurried and small footsteps walk to the other side of the room, the door creaking loudly. 

Hurried footsteps quicken into a run. Ambi: chattering 12-year-olds. JAIDEN’s breathing is laboured. 

RUIYANG: Oh, hey Jaiden! 

SFX: Oscillating rumbling sound fades in and glitches. Voices of people around him become muffled. 

RUIYANG: Hey, Jaiden? Are you… okay? 

SINYEE: Sorry, I just came back from the toilet… Jaiden? (whispering to Ruiyang) What happened to him?

RUIYANG: (whispering to SINYEE) Uh… No idea. 

JAIDEN’s breathing gets more ragged. SFX gets louder. 

SINYEE: If you’re worried about the test, I’m sure you did fine! You did your best, and it’s not like you can do anything now. It’s over, so let’s just go relax together. 

NARRATOR 2: (echoey) But is it over? 


SINYEE: Hey, are you listening to us? (in a hushed tone to Ruiyang) Should we go and call a teacher? 

RUIYANG: Yeah, I’ll see if I can find the invigilator… You stay with him.

NARRATOR 2: You should get up and run– 

JAIDEN mumbles inaudibly and runs off. SINYEE’s concerned shouts fade into the background. Rumbling intensifies, then abruptly cuts into Marche Militiaire on the violin, the last note dragged out for a few seconds. Computer trackpad clicks.

​​Zara Estrella Parveen (Class of 2025) enjoys reading and watching rom-coms (a little too much) but can’t write one for the life of her. Instead, she primarily writes fantastical stories relating to her and her identity.