My Own Kind


One-act play

Character List

Ma – Mother of Sierra and Alyssa.

Alyssa – Doesn’t do well in Science. Throughout the beginning of the play she is 14.

Sierra – Younger than Alyssa by 3 years. 

Scene 1

A run-down HDB flat. MA is on the couch, in the living room. MA hears the rattle of the front gate, ALYSSA having just arrived home from school. MA sits up. The couch downstage left. ALYSSA enters center-stage right.

Alyssa   Ma, I got back my Science paper! (excitedly) I passed this time! (ALYSSA walks to downstage center)

Ma   Okay, wait. (MA walks to downstage-center in front of ALYSSA) Good job! What did you get wrong? Hand me your paper let me see. 

Alyssa   Okay. (ALYSSA hands her paper over to MA. MA takes the paper and scrutinizes it, lowering her glasses) I mean… it isn’t the best but I improved! (pause)

Ma   (smiles) I agree lah, not the best but you passed! I should tell the tuition teacher about your results. (MA takes her phone and dials a string of numbers, then the sound of a phone dialling can be heard) Ya hello? Mr Tan? Ya you know Alyssa passed her Science paper (whispering can be heard, an exchange of conversation) Ya talk to you later. Huh, come down later and give you the paper? Why? Let you see? Orh, you want to see her problems, is it? Aiya got a lot of problem you cannot fix so quickly one. Not say she bad just Science, not her … aiya we both know. Aiya okay fine fine I’ll bring her down later.

Alyssa   So what he say? Bring me down for consultation is it? No happiness, (pause) nothing? No excitement? Isn’t he supposed to be happy or something?

Ma   Sadly no congrats or anything. Just say bring you down for consult. It’s okay lah we both happy you improved. Aiya you know him one no EQ all the IQ in the world but then also nothing one. 

Alyssa   If he no EQ why he feel happy? Salary bonus is it? 

Ma   Touch wood. (MA then rushes over to the dining table, located downstage-right, and touches the surface of it) Cannot say like that. Later true then you die liao.

Alyssa   Why? All adult also like that. Doesn’t even seem like he care for me passing. So what if he only care for his salary. Like that also means he will put effort, what. More effort, more money.

Ma   Also true lah. But imagine he only doing for money… no IQ liao. He take job as tuition teacher for money so stupid. Cannot say he got IQ anymore. 

Alyssa   Why leh? 

Ma   You dumb is it? You think tuition teacher can make so much money one meh? They no money one. Salary bonus also so hard get.

Alyssa   Aiya, that one also depends.


Ma   Aiya, stop joking. You go get ready.

ALYSSA exits stage. Blackout.

Scene 2

MA and SIERRA enter the house from the front gate. MA is carrying SIERRA’s school bag. They walk to center-stage.

Sierra   Oh yeah, I got back my Science paper today!

Ma   (in a bored tone) What percent?

Sierra   (excitedly) 70 percent! Good right?

Ma   Good? (MA flings back and stares at SIERRA) What do you mean good? Not even an “A”? You think that’s good? You only primary five, so easy get higher than 70 percent just flip through textbook, read answer key can liao.

Sierra   (mutters under her breath) But you said a pass for Alyssa was good…

Ma   What did you say? 

Sierra   Nothing. (mumbles)

Ma   Aiya, need to complain liao. Why Mr Tan can help your sister improve cannot help you. 

MA takes her phone from her purse and dials a string of numbers. A phone dial sound can be heard.

Ma   (into the phone) Ya hello, Mr Tan? Sorry to bother you two days in a row but this Sierra did very badly for science. How many percent ah? She only get 70 percent. Very bad right? (pause) What you mean still okay? I want you to cover the entire syllabus for P5 by the end of next month. Then after do P6 one. Can? (a tone of frustration can be heard) Mr Tan, I don’t care if you cannot, it’s not my problem, I want it done! (pause and sighs) Okay fine, at least a consult. Okay bye. (hangs up)

Ma  (to  SIERRA) Okay, Mr Tan will see you for consultation tomorrow, on top of tuition.

Sierra   (whines) But, Ma, I did well. Didn’t I? I’m happy with my results. Teacher said the paper was difficult this time. I also was the top scorer of my class. (pause) Cher said I did very well, why can’t you just believe me. (whines and crosses her arms)

Ma   (massages her temples) No you didn’t, stop with this behaviour. You didn’t even get an AL “3” you got “5” You know how bad this will affect your PSLE? Even you everything else an AL “1” you cannot get into Nanyang. 

Sierra   But Ma, you said “good job” to jie jie2 when she pass only. Double standards are so unfair!

Ma   Wah, so you want to compare? Then I compare the amount of things you all request for. You want? 

SIERRA sighs and shakes her head, in fear of embarrassment. 

Ma   Don’t want to compare liao, right? (rolls eyes)

Sierra   Okay fine. I go to my room. (turns and walks toward the door) 

Ma   Wait, before you go, let me see your paper.

SIERRA turns and unwillingly hands MA the paper, and quickly runs off-stage. Lights fade.

Scene 3

Lights up. It is later that day at night, both sisters in their bedroom. SIERRA lying down stomach to the ceiling. ALYSSA is looking at her phone.

Sierra   Jiejie, why Ma say my result very bad?

Alyssa   (ALYSSA puts down her phone and sits up from her relaxed position) Why don’t you ask her? I also don’t know your results right?

Sierra   No cause like when you said you passed she say very good, but then when I get 70 percent she very unhappy.

Alyssa   Don’t tell Ma, I told you but the summary is that I am not good with Science. That’s why, normally I can’t even pass.

Sierra   Huh really? (pauses)  But I also not good.

Alyssa   But you P3 do so well, Ma will confirm still have standards one.

Sierra   But like why? I not good.

Alyssa   Yeah so? (pause) Ma don’t care, it’s cause your p4 end of year get a 90 percent-

Sierra   So what? I’m not good at Science.

Alyssa   No, a 90 percent is very good… I couldn’t even get a 70 percent.

Sierra   Well then I don’t know sis. She always says that it’s not okay for me, I also don’t know why she so strict only to me.

Alyssa   I mean, I have an idea… (mumbles)

Sierra   What?

Alyssa   I mean we both know what I’m going to bring up (pause) think about it. What is a reason a mother would set different standards for her kids when they’re both of a similar ability… 

Sierra   You don’t mean, she favours you?

Alyssa   That’s exactly what I’m putting on the table-

Sierra   No no but why would she (pause) she has no reason to. (SIERRA looks down and then slowly looks back up to ALYSSA)

Alyssa   Let’s be honest neither of us know, let’s put this away for now, You should go sleep, it’s getting late.

Sierra   And I just starting to think I only had to deal with one “Ma” (makes air quotes with her hands) 

Alyssa   Okay, okay I get it but I’m still forcing you to get to bed. Go.


Alyssa   Before I count to three.

Sierra   (lifts her hands up as if surrendering to officials) Fine, I’m not going to resist.

SIERRA runs off stage playfully while ALYSSA soon follows suit.

Scene 4

A year later, ALYSSA and SIERRA are in their room, both on their bed, both beds at center-stage. SIERRA seems distraught lying down. ALYSSA is reading a book. 

Sierra  Why Ma makes it so obvious. Wah Lau you want to favour, favour properly lah. Don’t anyhow do lah.

Alyssa   Aiya I also don’t know. You ask me for what. Also not I do one.

Sierra   I know lah. Just need to vent a little.

Alyssa   I also know, how many years liao ah? I don’t keep track anymore, so tiring.

Sierra   (SIERRA sits up) I think like it’s been a few years.

Alyssa   Aiya you so drama, cannot be lah. 

Sierra   Ok, ok it’s been a year.

Alyssa   You want me to try?

Sierra   Try what?

Alyssa   You know, like try and confront her, at least she’ll try and listen to me.

Sierra   You think you god try then can liao meh?

Alyssa   Aiya, that’s not what I meant.

Sierra   I know lah joke only.

Alyssa   But you know I can since I’m the favourite.

Sierra   Oh my god! Stop mentioning it! Wo de tian ah! Ni hen da dan woh. At this point I don’t know if you’re an older sister or younger one.

Alyssa   I’m just suggesting that I can try! You think I got choice meh? I’m the favourite that’s it that’s why-


Alyssa   Ok, Ok we should stop. But again bringing up the point of this matter. It’s just that I have the upperhand to “control” her (makes air quotes with her hands) Ya’know?

Sierra   I know it’s just so irritating. Imagine getting scolded just because you’re not good in Science but your jie jie gets away with doing worse than you.

Alyssa   I also know, you should really just confront her.

Sierra   Oh so now you want to confront?

Alyssa   With me there also awkward so I guess.

Sierra   Can just be by the side?

Alyssa   You have to confront her.

Sierra   No you should-

Alyssa   What? Why me-

Sierra   Hear me out, she’ll actually listen to you unlike me.


Sierra  If you don’t want to, it is your decision, I have no control over you like you do Ma. (tilts head and tries to act cute to convince ALYSSA)

Alyssa   I think I’ll wait a while.

Sierra   I mean I can’t change your choice… but can you-

Alyssa   Still try?

Sierra  Yea like you know, I still want a chance to be able to confront her.

Alyssa   Ok, ok fine.

Lights fade.

Scene 5

It is the day right after SIERRA and ALYSSA’s talk. SIERRA and ALYSSA are in the living room and MA is in the study at downstage right. 

Sierra   She inside?

Alyssa   Yeah she ready to talk to you at least that’s what she said. 

SIERRA and ALYSSA walk to the study.

Sierra   Okay, can you umm, leave unless you hear shouting?

Alyssa   On my way out. I’m going to stay here, outside the door.

Sierra   Okay, thanks.

SIERRA and ALYSSA hug then SIERRA enters the study room and sees MA. Then SIERRA sits down at the table where MA is already seated.

Sierra   Ma (pause) we both know what we’re going to talk about right?

Ma   Yes. 

Sierra   Why do you have to be so biased?

Ma   I’m not, I’m still appalled at the fact that your sister asked me here in the first place-

Sierra   Why isn’t it obvious why you’re here?

Ma   I don’t see anything wrong with what I’m doing. 

Sierra   What do you mean? You literally favour a child because their grades are better than another but yet that child isn’t better than the other child.

Ma   What do you mean? And if I do what’s wrong?

Sierra   You do it all the time! You literally scolded me when I got a 70 percent but when jiejie just said she passed you were over the moon!

Ma   That’s because she isn’t good in Science-

Sierra   Neither am I!

Ma   No you aren’t. You did well!

Sierra   That doesn’t matter, I’m struggling now aren’t I?

Ma   But it proves you can do well!

Sierra   But I can’t now! Can you just accept that!

Ma   But you can! So shut up with your little “ I can’t do it” !

Sierra   Can you just listen! Even if you won’t accept that fact, stop favouring jiejie! We aren’t doing anything different-

Ma    I don’t care! I’m not doing anything wrong!

Sierra   (stands up and slams the table) Just listen!

ALYSSA rushes in from the other side of the door.

Alyssa   Both of you enough! Stop it!

MA and SIERRA shuffle out the room.

Scene 6

Both sisters are in their bedroom again after SIERRA and MA’s fight. ALYSSA is looking up to the ceiling, distraught. SIERRA is writing in a journal, furiously.

Alyssa   I can’t take both of you.

Sierra   It’s her fault we got nothing done, she kept deflecting things-

Alyssa   That’s why y’all got nothing done right?


Alyssa   Am I wrong?


Alyssa   Okay, okay fine. Rant all you want.

SIERRA sits up from journaling.

Sierra   It’s just she doesn’t even listen to what I say. I try and bring across my point and she doesn’t care like at all. I wish she would just listen.

Alyssa   I mean I do get it but it’s not something I can understand truly from your perspective. Just try again sometime… 

Scene 7

It has been a few years and SIERRA finally returns home from Europe for her wedding. SIERRA walks in from the front gate while lugging 2 luggages, ALYSSA is not around. SIERRA trips on the chair in front of her on center-stage.

Sierra  Alyssa? You here? Why’s she not home, I thought she said to come at 5 cause she’ll be home. I guess travel takes time too.

Sierra checks her phone and sees “16:45” typed out.

Sierra   Oh I guess I’m just early. Finally back… (SIERRA goes up to the coffee table and sits on the sofa, then she sees a Science paper on the table, looks up to the audience, sighs) I remember the talks together, the fights with Ma. Always with you. You were there for me when Ma wasn’t. I wished she understood but she doesn’t, but hopefully she will.

SIERRA walks to downstage-center while looking down to the floor. 

Sierra   I remember when I was supposed to try and talk to Ma again after so long but did I ever try? No. I wouldn’t change my decision even now.After that fight, everything went down and I didn’t know how to change it. Hopefully this week will change it.

The sound of a door unlocking is heard. Enter ALYSSA.

Alyssa   Hey, (walks to downstage-center, then SIERRA looks up) congrats.

Sierra   Yeah, umm thanks.

Alyssa   Go get some rest, had to be a long trip.

Sierra   Yeah it was, I’ll go put my things away. 

SIERRA and ALYSSA exit stage. Lights fade.

Scene 8

It’s the day of SIERRA’s wedding. The ceremony is over and everyone is seated down. MA and ALYSSA are on downstage right. SIERRA is seated in the middle. It is time for SIERRA to make her wedding speech.

Sierra   Thank you everyone for coming to this special occasion. I would like to dedicate this to my mother. (looks to MA) We may not have the best relationship and till this day don’t, but we are still family. This sounds cliche but I do love you. I still count and will recognize you as my own. Definitely we weren’t the closest but I forgive you. You may not but that’s your decision to make. I hope you understand and still care. Cheers! (SIERRA lifts her champagne glass.) 

Lights fade out.

Lian Shao Tong (Class of 2026) is someone who writes for leisure and enjoys documenting her personal experiences of Singapore, especially its education system, and family despite her constant attempts to try something new.