“Burglary” by Madhulika

“A Burglary” , another lovely composition written by Madhulika, from the 2016 “Ace Your Writing” class. Stories about burglaries, theft and other petty crimes abound among our young writers. Madhulika is able to enliven her story with the apt use of vivid and colourful vocabulary. Please see my language notes and learning points at the end of this composition.

  old lady

A Burglary

The Lee family was an affluent one and they resided in a bungalow in a quiet, exclusive neighbourhood. They had deep pockets and did not mind splurging on luxury items that would cost an arm and a leg to some people. They were stinking rich. The Lee’s opulent lifestyle naturally drew unwanted attention. Unknown to the Lee family, a man had been loitering around their estate for the last few weeks, observing the movements of the family and plotting a burglary.


One day, Mr and Mrs Lee decided to go on another of their shopping sprees. Mrs Lee had sent the maid on some errands. Mr Lee’s elderly mother, Madam Loh was left all alone, napping at home.


That very day, the burglar was lurking a short distance away from the Lees’ house. He had earlier seen the maid scurrying out of the house. Now, he caught sight of Mr and Mrs Lee leaving. He noticed that the couple got into their Mercedes quickly and had forgotten to lock the front door. The man smirked in glee. This was the golden opportunity he had been waiting for. He slipped a mask over his face and put on a pair of gloves. He crept stealthily towards the house, not making a single sound.


As he had expected, the main door was not locked. He tiptoed into the house and stood gaping at the collection of rare antiques and paintings in the spacious living room. The man then crept to the rooms upstairs. He saw old Madam Loh sleeping soundly in her room. The man worked as fast as lightning, and ransacked the rooms for valuables and cash. Soon, his haversack was full of wads of cash and some jewellery that had been carelessly strewn around the rooms. The burglar chuckled softly. What a fruitful day!


In his hurry to leave, the burglar brushed against a sideboard clumsily and an antique vase crashed to the floor, shattering into smithereens. The loud sound startled Madam Loh and she woke up. She hastily put on her thick glasses and hobbled out of her room. She then spotted the burglar who was trying to make his escape with celerity. At the sight of the stranger in her house, poor Madam Loh was flummoxed and frightened. She yelled hysterically, “Help! Help! Help!”


The burglar dashed to the front door but his luck did not last for long. Peripeteia was awaiting him. The minute he opened the door, he came face to face with a group of grim-faced policemen. As it turned out, the Lees’ neighbour, Mrs Tan, had spotted the man making his sneaky entry into the house, and had quickly alerted the police. Mr and Mrs Lee was promptly informed about the burglary and they soon returned, anxious and pale-faced. They were relieved that old Madam Loh was unharmed and their valuables were returned to them. The Lees thanked Mrs Tan profusely for her civic-mindedness and quick-thinking.


The Lees learnt an important lesson that day to be more vigilant of suspicious-looking strangers in their neighbourhood and were careful not to leave their elderly mother alone at home in future.



peripeteia /ˌpɛrəpᵻˈtaɪ.ə/ (Greek origin) (noun)

= a reversal of circumstances, or turning point.

Also spelt as “peripety” in anglicised form.

peripety = a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or surprise – a sudden unexpected event.

Sample Sentence:

The crook chuckled at his “good fortune”, thinking he had escaped scot-free after scamming his victims, but unknown to him, peripeteia / peripety was to strike him soon, when he found himself surrounded by a posse of stern-looking policemen.


flummoxed /ˈflʌməkst/ (adjective)

= bewildered or perplexed.

Sample Sentence:

Knowing his fate was sealed, the crook stood rooted to the ground, flummoxed and speechless.


celerity /sɪˈlɛrɪti/ (noun)

= swiftness of movement.

Sample Sentence:

The officers closed in on the crook with celerity, quickly handcuffing him and leading him away.


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