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Literary & Debating Society

The mission of LDS is to nurture every member to be an eloquent speaker and a creative writer. Students are carefully selected through an interview and aptitude test. We welcome students who show the potential for skilful communication and a love for literary arts.

Within LDS, you can choose to join our team of enthusiastic debaters or develop your flair for writing. Debaters take part in various debating competitions. In 2013, The TKGS Debaters brought glory to the school by emerging as champions in the Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championship (Division 3). The school was promoted to Division 2, where they met with stiffer competition, but rose to the challenge by qualifying for the quarter-finals in 2014 and the semi-finals in 2015. Debaters also have the opportunity to attend debate camps run by the Debate Association of Singapore.

LDS writers will also have the chance to attend external programmes such as the Creative Arts Programme, jointly organized by the Gifted Education Department of the Ministry of Education and NUS, and the Junior Broadcasters’ Course which is organized by the Centre of Excellence for English (East Zone). 

We also send teams to participate in oratorical or writing competitions throughout the year. Other activities that keep us engaged are: going on learning journeys, participating in poetry slams, literary recitals, producing our own publications.

LDS is a CCA that allows you to discover your literary talent and share it with others. It is an enriching journey as we are guided by our passion for words. The skills you learn in LDS are definitely helpful if you wish to have a career in Law, Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, among others.

What do you expect from LDS? 

    *Exciting learning journeys

    *Challenging competitions

    *The chance to mesmerize the crowd with the gift of the gab

    *The chance to meet writers, and be a writer!

Talk by Kuo Jian Hong


Kuo Jian Hong, Artistic Director, Theatre Practice Company


During the Arts Fiesta on 9 April this year, we were privileged to have Ms Kuo Jian Hong share with us her life story as a theatre practitioner.

Daughter of the late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun and Singapore dance pioneer and arts activist, Goh Lay Kuan, Jian Hong followed her parents’ footsteps in pursuing  the arts as a career.

She shared her early struggles of studying in Singapore, and in coping with a foreign culture, especially her perseverance  to make herself understood, when she went to pursue her studies in America.

With candor, she talked about the conflict between choosing to pursue drama and directing, as opposed to pursuing an Economics degree and shouldering the high expectations of her family, who ‘emptied the family piggy-bank’ for her.

Jian Hong eventually returned to Singapore with master’s degrees in stage design and directing.

Jian Hong noted that the arts is about another way of perceiving the world, of living in the world by being creative. She shared helpfully with the girls her wisdom that life is not about what people give you, but about what you can find for yourself. She also shared a lesson that her father taught her, that it was worthwhile spending time “doing what we do not like so that we could do the things that we like”. The girls in the audience also learnt about the importance of having passion for whatever they wish to pursue. 

TKGS Shines in Debate Championship


Pictured from left to right: Brinda Veerappan (Sec 2E6), Priya Lakshmi (Sec 3E6), Nur Afiqah Ashefjah (Sec 4E5), and Pooja Bhagwan (Sec 3E5). Curling Amal (Sec 3E5) was absent.

TKGS was among the 8 schools that qualified for the quarter-finals out of 27 secondary schools participating in Division 2 of the 2014 National Secondary Schools Debating Championship. With 3 consecutive wins in the preliminary rounds, our scores also put us ahead of all Div 2 schools.

Although we were eventually beaten in the quarter-finals, we are, nonetheless, immensely proud of our debaters as they were participating in a higher division than last year.

Individually, our debaters also made their mark. Priya Lakshmi (Sec 3E6) was named 5th Best Speaker and Nur Afiqah Ashefjah (Sec 4E5) was named 8th Best Speaker in the whole tournament.

The photograph shows our debaters receiving their trophies and certificates from Ms Fiona Walker, Principal of Julia Gabriel Centre and sponsor of the competition, at the finals of the Competition on 25 April.

Poetry Palette

The Literary & Debating Society contributed a performance called ‘Poetry Palette” to the school’s Arts Fiesta held from 7 to 11 April 2014. In various groups, members chose their favourite piece of poetry and performed it in creative ways, using vocal diversity and movement. Through their personal and group interpretations, the performers brought poetry alive for  the audience.

Some teachers also showcased their creativity in poetry writing and participated in the programme. Mr Christopher Roy, Ms Kala and Mrs Lai Fun Smahon recited poems they wrote, and Mrs Rita Lopez explained why Wilfred Owen’s ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ was her choice.


Sherlynn Heng, Afrah Juhi and Rachel Loy performing “If” by Rudyard Kipling.


Manasvini, Lyza Koshiy Ngew Yan Ling, Deborah Tan and Jolene Pek performing “Lost Generation” by Jonathan Reed.


Megan Apostal of Sec 4E3 performing her poem, ‘B” by Sarah Kay.


Mr Christopher Roy performing his original poem, ‘Advice for a New Teacher at TKGS”.

Text in the City Workshop

In conjunction with Text in the City, a nationwide campaign that promotes local poetry and its appreciation, TKGS organized a workshop for our students at the TKGS Arts Café in October 2014, conducted by Cyril Wong, a local poet.

Students who attended the workshop learnt the basics of crafting a poem and how they could make their poetry relevant to their readers. They had the opportunity to let Cyril Wong give personalised feedback that catered to their writing styles, as well as ask the poet for advice regarding poetry-writing and pose questions regarding his craft.

Students who attended this workshop found that it was beneficial to helping them appreciate poetry and improve their writing. Annette Poh (2E3) who participated in the workshop said, “I really enjoyed this workshop conducted by Cyril Wong as I gained a deeper insight into how poems should be crafted and what sort of techniques we could apply in writing poems. I also realised how powerful poems are, because they allow us to connect to the world around us. This workshop has certainly made me gain more interest in creative writing, especially so regarding poems.”

At the end of the 2-hour workshop, the students submitted their poems through the ‘Text in the City’ mobile app. These poems are compiled with others submitted by members of the public in the ‘Text in the City’ website, textinthecity.sg.


Students listening with rapt attention as Cyril Wong conducts his sharing


Students working on their pieces 

2015 Achievements 

TKGS enters semi-finals of national debating championship

Our debater team created a record in the history of debating in TKGS by entering the semi-final round of the Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championship (Div 2).

After winning 4 consecutive preliminary rounds, our team were up against the Singapore American School, debating the motion: “This House would limit politicians’ term in office.” Although the battle of wits did not rule in our favour, we knew our debaters had done their best and were immensely proud of them!


Debate Team 2015.

(From left) Priya Lakshmi (4E6), Pooja Bhagwan (4E5), Brinda Veerappan (3E1) and reserves Charmaine Loh (3E5) and Rachel Loy (3E1).

TKGS hosts international debate championship

We hosted one of the preliminary rounds of the World Schools Debating Championship on 30 July 2015, and had the privilege of watching world-class teams from 8 countries – Denmark, England, Greece, Israel, Palestine, Sweden, Taiwan and United Arab Emirates - debate the motion, “This House supports academic tracking in primary and secondary education.” That day will go down as one of the most memorable events on our LDS calendar.


LDS wih our international visitors

TKGS finishes among top 5 in National Public Speaking Competition

Sudhiksha Krishna Kumar (1E5) and Brinda Veerappan (3E1) clinched the top 3rd and 5th positions respectively in the National Public Speaking Competition, in which 202 participants took part. The competition contained both prepared and impromptu segments. Both TKGians impressed with poise and confidence.



Power orators.

(From left) Brinda Veerappan (3E1) and Sudhiksha Krishna Kumar (1E5).

TKGian wins top prize in Flash Fiction of National Schools Lit Festival 

Tabassum Nazir (2E3) clinched first place in the Flash Fiction Competition of the National Schools Literature Festival. Her entry was exactly 200 word long, as required by the organisers.


Tabassum receiving her award.

TKGian emerges as first runner-up in national storytelling competition

Shwetha Naryanan (1E6) was first runner-up in the SG50 Mago National Olympiad Storytelling Competition.

Shwetha receiving her award.

On a learning journey of Toa Payoh heritage town

On 9 March, LDS went on a learning journey to Toa Payoh. At the end of the LJ, we penned our thoughts, reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence and how the country had evolved into an urban metropolis with a distinct identity.


At the Dragon Playground.

TKGS Literary team were Champions of National Story Challenge Tournament

Our Literary team created history by emerging as Champions of the National Story Challenge.  With the short time given to plan an elaborate script, the improvisational competition requires our members to think creatively and quickly. Through this, they persevered through the stressful requirements of the competition and worked together to deliver a winning performance. We are proud to receive the Challenge Trophy and will work even harder next year to defend the title.


National Story Challenge Tournament Champions 2017

(From left): Serena Jacqueenlyn Kaur (Sec 2E6), Yasahasvini (Sec 2E6), Shwetha Narayanan (Sec 3E7), Tejpreet Kaur (Sec 3E4) and Mrs Mary Seah (Principal)

TKGian finishes top 5 in National Public Speaking Competition

Serena Jacqueenlyn Kaur (Sec 2E6) clinched the 5th positions in the National Public Speaking Competition 2017, in which more than 200 participants took part. Serena impressed the judges and the audience with her poise and confidence especially in the finals. 


Serena Jacqueenlyn Kaur (Sec 2E6) at National Public Speaking Competition

Workshop by Arianna Pozzuoli - Running With Poetry

In conjunction with Words Go Round, LDS organised a poetry workshop conducted by spoken word performer and storyteller, Ms Arianna Pozzuoli. At the end of the workshop, the LDS members gained more insights on poetry performance and helped them build their confidence with public speaking.


Ms Arianna Pozzouli in action

TKGS Shines in Debate Championship


Pictured Seated (left to right): B. Viveka (Sec 4E7), Hannah Zhou (Sec 4E3), and Aditi Rai Sia (Sec 4E5),

Standing: Vaishalika Jain (Sec 3E4) and Sanjana Ransilu Piyasanka (Sec 3E1).

TKGS debate team emerged as champions of the Speak Ventures! Debate Competition 2017 (Silver Division).  During the finals, the TKGS debaters were up against Fuhua Secondary School, and won with a unanimous adjudicator score of 5-0.  Individually, our debaters B Viveka and Aditi Rai Sia Mei Ann were ranked 11th and 4th best speakers respectively in the Gold Division, while Hannah Zhou Hai Jie ranked 4th best speaker in the Silver Division and emerged as the best speaker for the Finals’ debate.

Poetry Performance during 64th Speech and Prize-Giving Day 2017

The Literary & Debating Society contributed a performance during the 64th Speech and Prize-Giving Day 2017. The performance showcased selected poems from ‘Passion for Words’, which is a collection of poems written by our LDS members.


Performing the poem ‘Uncle Dollah’

From left: Ji Tianqi (Sec 3E7), Chua Ru Xuan, Benessa (Sec 2E1), Derasat Bte Reza (Sec 2E1), and

Claire Leong Yong Ting (Sec 2E1)

Our Achievements in 2018-2019: TKGS Shines in Debate Championship 2019

TKGS enters quarter-finals of Singapore Secondary Schools Debate competition

Our debate team repeated history by entering the quarter-final round of the Singapore Secondary Schools Debating Championship (Division 2).

After winning 3 consecutive preliminary rounds, our team will be advancing to the quarter-finals in April.  

 Debate Team 2019.

(From left) Mdm Haryati Hussin,  Alexandra Ci Hui Sing Scholefield (3E3), Zang Jean Young (3E3),  Coach Abigail Wong, Palagiri Darice Mahtab (4E3), Desai Diya Jigneshbhai (3E6), Fareeha Fareej Mohamed (3E7) and Mr Robin Leong.

TKGian finishes top 2 in National Public Speaking Competition 2018

The achievements of the Literary team has been nothing short of impressive with the highlight being at the National Public Speaking Competition 2018 where Tvisha Bandhu of 2E3 came in as 1st runner-up! She spoke with great passion, leaving majority of the audience with goosebumps. She did TKGS and herself extremely proud as she was the only girl in the top 5.  

National Story Challenge Tournament 1st runner-up

(From left): Ms Alyssa One, Tvisha Bandhu (Sec 2E3), and Mrs Malvina Lim

Our Activities 2018-2019

·        Debate Association Competition 2018 & 2019

·        S’pore Sec Sch Debate Competition 2018 & 2019

·        Hua Yi Debate Invitational Competition 2018

·        River Valley Under-16 Novice Debate Championships 2018

·        Youth Debate Open Competition 2018

·        Unity Writer’s Festival 2019

·        Workshop by Shelley Bryant 2019