​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​


Home > PESA ​​

​YMCA Plain English Speaking Awards was started in 1986 by Metropolitan YMCA of Singapore. The primary aim of the Plain English Speaking Award (PESA) is to promote the effective and articulate use of plain yet attractive spoken English among secondary and pre-university students in Singapore.​  The decision by the Ministry of Education to initiate a national public speaking competition leading to the Plain English Speaking Award along the lines similar to the Australian Plain English Speaking Award was prompted by an invitation in 1986 from Dr G. R. Maddocks, National Director of the Australian PESA to send a Singapore student representative to participate as a guest speaker in the Victorian State final in Jul 1987.   Three professional bodies, namely, the Y’s Men’s Club of Singapore (Orchid Chapter), the Metropolitan YMCA and the English language Teachers’ Association (ELTAS) were approached to conduct the PESA competition in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.  A working committee comprising representatives from the Y's Men's Club (Orchid Chapter), the Metropolitan YMCA, ELTAS and the Ministry of Education was then set up in October 1986 to launch the first national PESA competition under the banner of ​The Metropolitan YMCA Public Speaking Competition for the "Plain English Speaking Award."  The first national PESA competition was held on 23 May 1987 and was generously sponsored by ESSO Singapore.


Participation Rate:

33rd (2019) : 629
32nd (2018) : 585
31st (2017) : 493
30th (2016) : 414​
29th (2015) : 415 ​
28th (2014) : 420
27th (2013) : 278
26th (2012) : 196​

Click here for the list of past winners Click Here
The following guidelines do not give a specific, prescriptive guide to plain English speaking. 
There are many ways of speaking plainly and effectively. Participants should not feel obliged to speak in one particular way. These guidelines give participants an understanding of the qualities of plain speaking. Each participant should find his or her own voice.

General Qualities

Speakers should exploit the richness and variety of everyday conversational English and focus on the message - not on the messenger.  In other words, speakers should convey a convincing message to the audience rather than give a performance.

​Specific Qualities

Sincerity: Mean what you say and say what you mean. This applies to both the content and the emotional quality of what you say.

Personal Voice: Find your own voice – your way of speaking.

Aptness: Choose words and phrases which most fully and appropriately convey your meaning. Otherwise, always favour the simpler expression over the more complex and brevity over length.

Clarity: Communicate clearly to your audience.

Engagement: Hold the attention and interest of your audience.

Always remember, you have the SPACE to speak in your own way.

Organised ​By​
In Partn​​ership with