Liam’s Gold Award Essay: My Week On Planet Junior

Back in June, motivated by his desire to see his grandmother, Liam entered his first international essay competition that is Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2023, which offered the grand prize of a trip to London.

The topic he chose under the Junior Category: You have been stranded on a planet where everyone is 18 or under. Journal your experience.

He spent about 2 weeks crafting his essay; writing blocks of text everyday, organising and arranging them in a coherent manner. On the day of submission, he was so excited and hopeful.

Truth be told, I didn’t think he was going to win anything. We’re talking about competing with easily over 20,000 entries from all around the word. He asked me almost every other day if I had heard from the organiser and finally, almost 4 months later, I received a plain email stating that Liam had won the Gold Award.

I honestly thought it’s a fancy name for their certificate of participation, but a little more digging later revealed that it wasn’t a mere certificate that everybody got. It’s well and truly a Gold Award to recognise his excellence in writing. Sure, he didn’t win the trip to London but we are still super proud of him!

I printed out his certificate and laminated it and it’s now proudly displayed in our home.

Here’s his winning essay:

My Week On Planet Junior


My name is Liam and I am a billionaire scientist. Getting ready to blast off into space onto a planet that is exactly like Earth. Its name is Planet Junior. According to research, everybody on this planet is 18 or under so, I got to go to the planet because I want to do some research on the planet.

Day 2

So, I am on Planet Junior and my rocket…. well, it crash-landed and has unfixable damage so I cannot fly back to Earth, but I found a city! Everybody was very, very young?! And also, the air smelt mucky and dirty when I first landed on the planet but as I got closer to the city the air got fresher and fresher. When I got to the city, the air was as fresh as the Earth’s air now. I have got to get some rest see you tomorrow.


Now about the food. So, I was so hungry that I went straight into the first restaurant I saw and there was the fresh smell of meat and vegetables. I took a seat and a waiter (who looks 12 years old) came to my table and passed me a tablet. It was the menu and I ordered the cheesy pizza and a meaty burger (with extra meat) and did I order a burger or a piece of rotten meat slapped between some maggoty bread???!!! Did I order a pizza or a piece of bread with some stilton cheese on it???!!! So, I gave the restaurant a one-star rating and left. I was having a stroll when someone said, “You look very old!”. And then I continued walking when I saw somebody that looks 16 years old pushing a baby stroller down the pavement. I asked, “Where is the baby’s mom?” and the girl replied, “I am the mom you idiot!!!!”.


Welcome to day 4 on Planet Junior. I have seen about 18 car crashes since day 1 because here, if you asked for a driver’s licence you will probably get one but you DON’T NEED TO GO THROUGH THE TEST! There is one catch, it costs a lot, like a lot, like £900 pounds a lot yeah. It costs £900 pounds!! But a car is very cheap. Let’s say a Lamborghini costs £100 pounds, a Mercedes costs £97 pounds, but a car like a Honda costs £20 pounds and a Proton (a Malaysian car) costs £10 pounds. I am feeling sleepy now, I’m going to bed. See you tomorrow.


Now I am going to tell you the backstory of this planet. Apparently about a 100 years ago an asteroid hit this planet and everyone over the age of 18 died instantly due to some weird chemical reactions. Unfortunately, the weird chemicals still get passed down into their new bloodlines, so everybody dies when they reach the age of 18. Hence, everyone from this planet is now 18 years old or younger (except me, of course). 

Why do they use English pound for money? They use it because some random astronaut dude showed up and was all like ta-da-da, the English pound! And then he idiotically dumped like £12309909098909 pounds onto the planet.

And why is the food horrid? Because the chefs are young of course.


I have been trying to build spaceship parts and putting them together. I might get a spaceship or some stupid junk, who knows? I shall name my ship the Astro18 and then hopefully, I could fly back to Earth and live happily ever after. Or, I would die in the impact of landing or my spaceship could burn up in the atmosphere. I don’t know what else could happen but I’m probably going to die but only probably, it’s not like I’m definitely going to die… like on a scale of 1 to 100, I would say 50?

I’m hungry so I went to a restaurant named ‘Big Yums and No Yucks’. This restaurant has more experienced chefs. I ordered the ‘Super Monsterzilla Burger’, ‘Cheezy Pizza’ and ‘Motherclucker Nuggets’ that are filled with cheese. They were delish!!


At long last, I have finished the Astro18 and I am ready to fly back to Earth. So, farewell Planet Junior and farewell space, and hello Earth. Home sweet home. I am on my spaceship and earth is in sight. Goodbye.

I think of nothing.

Talked to the kids about the century plus old Israeli Palestinian conflict. They listened to me as if I were just retelling a fairy tale really.

How the oppressed had became the oppressor, eventually becoming the catalyst of terrorism. We also covered how western superpowers are partial to one side and how the whole unfairness of it builds pressure over time. How indoctrination on both sides have led to nothing but bloodshed of the innocent, on both sides.

At the end, I asked the kids if they had thought of anything while listening to me.

Liam said, “I think this is going to cause a chain reaction that leads to World War 3!”.

Lily said, “I think of nothing”.

My little girl might be on to something. If everyone had not given much thought to some abstract concepts, perhaps there wouldn’t be so much misunderstanding and hatred over the differences of opinions. It is what it is and there’s nothing you and I can do about it.

4 Years.

Dear Levi and Lola,

You would have been 4 this year. How time flies. The nightmare of losing you both is now a distant memory. I don’t get much affected anymore, in fact when people tell me they have or are having twins (which seems quite the norm these days) I can even keep a straight face and wish them sincere congratulations.

Now and then, mummy still receive requests from parenting medias to share my story of loss and grieve but I always say no. It’s not because I don’t want to keep your memories alive. Afterall, you two took a bit of my heart away when you left, and that will always, always hurt. I guess I just don’t really want to be defined by this loss anymore. Girl gotta move on, you know.

Your brother has just entered Year 1 and thriving, while your little sister has become the most articulate 2.5 year old in the world. Yes, thank you kids, for her.

Just yesterday I asked her what happened to her pee (we are in the midst of potty training), she exasperatedly exclaimed, “In my diaper lah!”. She’s a total riot.

Daddy is doing well. Working from home a lot due to the pandemic, which is great for us as we can see him often. Oh yes, there is a pandemic going on now and most international borders are closed. You have to wear a surgical face mask everywhere. And you have to sanitise your hands all the time.

You know what, the other day, I realised that if it weren’t for your departure, daddy would still be working at his previous job which I’m certain would have been affected in the current climate. Imagine, furloughed with 3 kids and a sloth for a wife? It’d be bad. But thanks to you, he decided a change of scene was required and found a stable, rewarding job that is recession-proof not long after what happened. Is this a hard reach? Perhaps. Well, mummy is always looking for silver linings!

Also thanks to you, I am the owner of a small crystal business that I absolutely love. I named it after you two. Weird? Absolutely. I don’t care, I love it, I love you.

Thank you for being in our lives, even for such a brief moment. Your positive impact more than made up for the broken hearts you gave us. We love you darlings, always and forever.