Joy of paper folding

Gurjit: My origami journey has taught me that the starting point of every stage of life can be very difficult, especially when it requires us to leave our comfort zones.

ORIGAMI, which is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures, is fascinating to me. I began learning more about it during the enforcement of the movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in 2020.

It did not disappoint as I have benefited in several ways from spending my time making origami models.

1. Avenue for relaxation

Most students can relate to this: you’re preparing for a test and suddenly a wave of tension and anxiety washes over you.

When I feel overwhelmed, I turn to paper folding. It allows me to take my mind off any stress I may be feeling at the time.

I feel rejuvenated after making a paper model, and am better able to learn and understand a topic I was struggling with.

Aside from that, the process of making an origami model allows me to reflect on myself. This is where I think about my mistakes and how I can fix them with each fold.

Stunning: (Clockwise from top) Gurjit’s paper crafts in the form of a butterfly, a kusudama flower and a rose.Stunning: (Clockwise from top) Gurjit’s paper crafts in the form of a butterfly, a kusudama flower and a rose.

2. Bonding tool

My sister and I have enjoyed making origami crafts together. We watch tutorial videos online and make our paper models according to the instructions.

When she faces difficulty in a step, I am there to assist her. Hence, origami has become a bonding tool between us. Having my sister as a “rival” also motivates me to create more models.

In addition, my interest in origami has led me to making new friends who enjoy it as much as I do. We often showcase our paper models and even compete with one another to see who can complete the origami crane the fastest.

I also use origami as an icebreaker when I meet new people. It makes for a good conversation starter.

3. Window into another culture

Picking up origami has allowed me to take a dive into Japanese culture, hence broadening my general knowledge at the same time.

According to a Japanese legend, those who fold a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish in the form of a long life or recovery from an illness or injury.

As I was trying to learn more about origami, I came across a poignant story about a girl named Sadako Sasaki, who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

After she was diagnosed with leukaemia, she started folding paper cranes and completed over 1,000 before dying at the age of 12.

The paper crane has become an international symbol of peace through Sadako’s story.

4. Life lesson

When I was paper folding, I realised that we all began our lives like an unfolded paper. Every fold then represents a choice that we make – a neat and perfect fold, for example, signifies a good decision.

Since we are not perfect, we make mistakes just like how making a wrong fold leaves creases on paper. This has taught me to not repeat the same mistakes

My origami journey has also taught me that the starting point of every stage of life can be very difficult, especially when it requires us to leave our comfort zones.

Along the way, we may feel like giving up but as long as we continue to discover new ways to enhance ourselves – like how we learn new origami techniques – we will have a chance of succeeding at what we do.

Always remember that patience is the key to success and that life’s a journey, not a race. Gurjit, 16, a student in Pahang, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. For more information, go to

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