Thursday 22 September 2016

by Eunice Tan Yuen Chee, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2019

When the British raised their white flag,
“Malaya was born!” we bragged.
31st of August, 1957, our Malayan flag was raised,
We stood proud for what we have achieved after so many days. 
We tilled this land of glory,
as we celebrate our victory.
Our honourable founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, pushed us further, 
Just to get back what was ours,
The British no longer in power. 
On the 16th of September, 1963, Malaya was united, With Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo: we are delighted! We locked hands as we proudly stood,
Sang “Negaraku” as passionately as we could. 
9th of August 1965, our fellow friend,
Got separated from our family, but it wasn’t the end. We still continued to move on at any cost, Despite what we have lost. 
Malaysia continued to advance, Booming in economy, technology and finance. MRT, KLCC, National Zoo,
That is just to list a few,
Beautiful islands and great landmarks “Wow!” the foreigners would remark. 
Malaysia, oh Malaysia,
We promise to be respectful,
We promise to make you special, We promise to continue,
What has been started by you. But most importantly,
We promise to bear your name proudly, No matter where we are,
Or who we are. 
One nation, one country,
We continue to strive humbly,
As we hope to serve our very best for our nation, With full determination. 
Now all Malaysians are telling you, We are proud of you Malaysia! Thank you Malaysia!
You have done a lot for us! 

by Nicholas Tan 21:29 5296 comments
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Monday 25 April 2016

by Imran bin Idham Sabki, Sophomore 1 Terra, Class of 2019

  Despite my age, I’ve experienced more than most other people, and my most valuable experiences have been in the eyes of an outsider. I feel it as a necessity to share my life with everyone to open up the dormant viewpoints of society. By the end of my story, you will understand outsiders, ergo, you will feel what they feel.

   It started on the day I was born. I was an outsider to the world as I had not trodden on the ground before. The first few years of my life were days of adjustment to the new world, where I used trial and error to deduce what is edible and what is not, among other things. At the age of five years old, I was cast away by my parents to a graven institution called school. For the second time in my life, I was a foreigner to the concept.

   Then, my life made a drastic turn when my father was offered a job in the Middle-East. We packed our things, left, and never looked back until we arrived. Everything I had grown to admire and adjust to was stripped. My family received a shock as my parents had never had the money to experience the world outside Malaysia. The way people walked, dressed and spoke was alien. I went to school there and tolerated the culture before I decided to adopt it. It came to me that the world won’t  change for just another redundant child. The planet doesn’t rotate around you, nor can you change the rotation of the planet, but you can choose to adapt to and accept the situation. So, I learnt a little bit of Arabic and started to love the culture, and just when things were going perfectly for me, disaster struck. 

   On one Valentine’s day, a man walked outside. Another man did this too, and another, until a congregation was standing on the streets of the capital city, chanting about freedom in the country. The government responded immediately, but not in a good way. Shots were fired, innocent men, women and children killed. This is what civil unrest looks like. Obviously, it was a memorable experience. The nights terrified me. We weren’t allowed to leave the house as it was unsafe, and school was cancelled. Every night there were gunshots, chants from rooftops, and helicopters. On the safer days, I followed my mother to the grocery store and bought trolleys of pasta as it lasts long and does not require many ingredients to make.

   Another problem arose when we found out that my mother was pregnant. The hospitals were closed, so we had to fly home. So we did that, and there was an episode on the plane where the flight attendant thought my mother was too many weeks pregnant, and said we couldn’t fly. The issue was resolved, so we said our goodbyes to the Middle-East and went back home to Malaysia.

   The story doesn’t end here. My brother was born when my father was offered another job. This time, in Africa. We left for another place to call home. When we landed, what I saw astounded me. We found a house and I realised that the country we were in was quite developed, although it only had four “McDonalds” branches and one of which didn’t offer beef. I saw then that humans are gullible and fall for the trickery of stereotypes, and we are ignorant too. Anyway, I went to another school, learnt another language, and adapted to another local culture. Nothing exciting happened, but it was peaceful. In the end, my father’s working contract finished and we were to return to Malaysia. We left with heavy hearts and came back to our family.

   In a nutshell, having being an outsider once in my life, I decided that you don’t have to be the alien, but you can be the new guy, and that makes life more happier. People can accept you, and you have several places to call home. However, there are in fact some people who may not know that, so when they are new to a place, they try to make it adjust to their will, fail, and feel homesick and unaccepted. I’m writing this so you can understand these people, or if you are one of them, adapt to, adopt and love the local society.
by Nicholas Tan 22:09 1456 comments
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Tuesday 29 March 2016

by Manisha Mahadeva, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2017

On the 22nd of March, Cempaka Damansara Heights was extremely honoured to have yet another esteemed guest give a special talk during an assembly-Dato Elizabeth Soo. Dato Elizabeth has made a name for herself in the hospitality arena, with more than 26 years of experience as the Public Relations and Marketing Communication Director for various well known hotels such as the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, Pan-Pacific group in Malaysia and the Legend Hotel chain.

During the special assembly, Dato Elizabeth gave a memorable and interesting speech, titled “Language and Communication”. During this speech, she talked about the many ways of communication, including the importance of it and why we do so. In her talk, Dato Elizabeth had touched on the ‘3 vs’ which most people are judged on, when they communicate: verbal, vocal and visual. In explaining this system to us, she taught us how to use these methods to converse with others using her own experience as reference.
Over the course of an hour or so, Dato Elizabeth spoke about communication and demonstrated it using the help of a few students as actors. This was definitely a unique way of conveying the message of her talk as she managed to grasp everyone’s attention and kept her audience interested.
What I liked most about this enlightening talk was that, despite Dato Elizabeth’s topic being a very broad one, she managed to relate it to what we, as students, face in our everyday challenges. All in all, I believe that this was definitely a meaningful talk which was worth our time . We are grateful and thank Dato’ Elizabeth for gracing us with her presence and sharing her knowledge with us on Language and Communication.
by Nicholas Tan 15:31 428 comments | in , ,
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Wednesday 20 January 2016

By Kristen Phang, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2016

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
I don’t remember much about my hometown, nor my memories of living there. Justifiably, I was only six. Ironically, all I could remember was the day I left with with my father to Cambridge where he was due to teach. I didn’t mind much, it didn’t seem as if I had much to hold on to, in the sleepy town of Saint Ives. The only memory I had left, the one I would always treasure, was saying goodbye to Ronald, my best friend.

The soft flaky snow floated down like feathers onto the narrow asphalt. It cloaked the adjoined, goose-white cottages, the freezing, black-blue ocean, the frozen boats and the bare, brown branches like a soft blanket covering a sleeping infant in deep sleep. The scintillating, intricate lights that decorate the town were like stars in my eyes. In front of the large, pine tree with round ornaments and colourful ribbons, Ronald, whom I saw for the last time, pointed to it and said he would send me letters and a gift every Christmas until I returned.

The first gift came when I just came home from school. My father had not arrived home yet as he was busy with his work. It had been quite lonely at home, there was nothing to do except study. I felt more comfortable at school that home as I had company there. The gift was in a small parcel with Ronald’s letter. underneath the clumsy brown wrapping that was about to fall off was twelve soldiers. In his letter he told me about the soldiers came into town, escorting a very important guest who was planning to buy the area. Ronald thought the soldiers were amazing and when he saw the toys, he wanted to share his amazement with me. Though I didn’t like the idea he had to pilfer some of the soldiers. He ended his letter with ‘Only eleven more years Mary, till we can play again’. His letters always came and I always smile at them.

The second gift, next Christmas, came when I was coming home from school. Life in school was great! I have made so many new friends and all the girls are kind to me, I thought. The teachers also like me too. Well except for one girl, she just doesn’t seem to like me. I home we can be friends soon. This time, the gift, under the same kind of wrapping, was a collection of eleven cloth-pins that were painted in the figures of women. In his letter he told me of the celebration of their new landlord, organised by the landlord himself. Beautiful women danced in the town, with their skirts flying and arms swaying. It was a beautiful experience, he said.  When he saw this, he asked his sister to help him make the present for me. He did think of stealing dolls at the toyshop but seeing my last letter changed his mind. He mentioned once again, ‘Only ten more years Mary, till we can play again.’

This was how the years went by, and each Christmas had its own unique gift to me. I may not remember Ronald as well as I used to but his letters make me feel he’s right next to me. I really needed it as that girl who didn’t like me humiliated me. Everyone was bullying me. He was my comfort and only friend. Each Christmas, Ronald kept reminding me how close we were to meeting each other. Only nine more years, only seven more, six.

When I entered secondary school, I was struggling in school. My teacher liked to tease me and the girls kept telling me that I was not pretty enough, that no boy would love me. My father tried his best to take care of me but his own health was weakening. I felt insecure and useless. When I was 13, he sent me 6 goose eggs and reminded me of the story of the ugly duckling, about how the ugliest creature can become the most beautiful. I laughed and replied to him as soon as I finished the letter, reminding Ronald that the ugly duckling was not a goose but a swan.

As the years went by, I still thought about Ronald, how he looked like and what would happen when I met him again. I would get a rush of euphoria each time I received a letter from him, without realising it till the eighth gift that I had fallen in love with the amiable boy whose face I couldn’t remember. The eighth gift was a collection of five rings painted gold on a string. Ronald wrote that he saw many boys giving rings to the girls they fancied and admitted he had grown feelings towards me. He said that he could not wait to see me again, with only four more years to go. I couldn’t wait too.

When I was 16, my father fell very ill. The stress was too much for him. I spent many days caring for him and skipping school in the process. My father begged me to go but I did not budge as I thought school was torture anyway with my horrible teacher and classmates making my life a misery. On Christmas, Ronald sent me three plump chickens. ‘For chicken soup, to make your father feel better!’ he wrote. I was so grateful to him. But our efforts to help my father were all in vain as he died the next year, two weeks before Christmas.

Stricken with grief, I could not concentrate on my studies despite my major exams being around the corner. I skipped school altogether and did part time jobs to support myself. I could always go back to Saint Ives but I promised my father I would live in the dorms and finish my education. During that Christmas, Ronald sent me a pair of live turtledoves. He wrote that he wished he could be there in person and comfort me. He said the doves were a representation of love. He reminded me once more, ‘Only one year left Mary, till we meet again.’

The next year, when I was 18, I went back to Saint Ives. It felt very strange to me, although the town seemed familiar, I felt like I was there for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see Ronald after twelve years. He said he would give his final gift to me under the same Christmas tree where we said goodbye. When I arrived, I looked around but saw no one. All of a sudden, I heard a gruff voice call out my name and I turned around.

The boy who I had been sending letters to was not like how I imagined him. He was now a tall, lanky kid with a toothy grin, his brown hair flopped over his weary, tired blue eyes. His tattered military clothes barely warmed him in the cold. The two crunches supported him as he tried to maintain standing on his one right leg. Then he smiled and picked up a small cage next to him. Inside was a small bird, a partridge. “Welcome home Mary.”

I was shocked. At first I did not know how to react. He was nothing like I imagined. I should have expected it. He was going through things worse than I was, and the landlord had been giving high taxes which sent many of the villagers into poverty. He had mentioned about being bullied and becoming the main breadwinner of the family when his father died, and how he was drafted into the military. He mentioned how sorry he was for replying late  as he spent months on the battlefield. I ran to him and gave him a hug. I don’t care about how he looks, I’m just glad he’s alive and by my side. Even if all we had in those long twelve years are letters and twelve gifts of Christmas.
by Nicholas Tan 21:56 299 comments
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Tuesday 5 January 2016

by Tan Hao Yu, Nicholas, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2017

Photo Credit - Ms. Fahrulina
The Team to Mumbai
           Photo Credit : Ms. Fahrulina
Cempaka School students and teachers experienced a complete mindset change when they distributed food to Mumbai’s “rat-pickers” from the 6th to the 11th of December 2015.

When interviewed on her experience during this trip, Chong Mee Hun, main organiser of the Cempaka IBDP educational charity trip to Mumbai, she replied, “It was a heartbreaking experience for all of us as we witnessed hundreds of slum dwellers fight for whatever little they could get from the boxes that were brought.”

Their trip, titled “Opening Doors Within” aimed to expose Cempaka’s students to society under reality’s harsh glare and give them an insight on the true situation of how the slum dwellers lived in Mumbai.

“We got a first hand look into the true extent of the abysmal state of poverty amongst slum dwellers and I was emotionally moved when I saw the destitute conditions of the slums,” said Adrian Ang Yu Wei, co-organiser of the trip.

The purpose of their mission was to give back to society by helping the poor in Mumbai. Organised by the Cempaka IBDP(International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) students, a group of 23 students accompanied by 4 teacher chaperones went for the 5-day trip.

It was part of the IBDP’s Community, Action and Service (CAS) component of their course which requires students to engage in a minimum of 50 hours in community service work. In preparation for the trip, the IBDP students raised over RM 30,000 in total through selling food at their school canteen and  personal donations. The items brought included clothing, toiletries, stationeries, toys, food and drinks.

Due to the large amount of supplies, most of the food and items were air-flown to Mumbai. After everyday’s activities, the Cempakans spent much time packing food and clothing into the wee hours of the morning for distribution to schools, temples and slums the next day.

Throughout the entire trip, the group were assisted by their tour guide and liaison in Mumbai, Mr Jatin Ramesh Doshi, who helped them establish contact with the organisations that they visited during their time there.

During this trip, the students visited under-privileged areas in Mumbai, participated in charity events and donated food and basic necessities to various organisations within India. The “Opening Doors Within” group also visited a mentally challenged school, a rural school, the Acorn Foundation Mumbai and participated in an initiative with the Toy Foundation Centre Mumbai.

While in Mumbai, the Cempakans also interviewed an ex-convict at the Gandhi Book Centre who spoke of how Gandhi’s teachings allowed him to change the course of his life.

Click here for the Star Newspaper online article on this trip, written by Mr. Krishnamoorthy, a journalist of Star Newspaper, assisted by Adrian Ang Yu Wei & Chong Mee Hun of Cempaka IBDP and Tan Hao Yu, Nicholas of Junior 1 Cempaka :
by Nicholas Tan 14:36 445 comments
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Tuesday 29 December 2015

by Manisha Mahadeva, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2017
Courtesy of Google Images
HO HO HO! It’s finally that time of the year again. A time for joy and fun, because the first term is done! Christmas is one of the most festive holidays celebrated by people all around the world, no matter what religion or race they are. Besides honouring the birth of Jesus Christ, this lively festival manages to bring people together and strengthen the ties of friendship with one another. 
This year, Cempaka Damansara decided to do so by having their very first Christmas assembly which was definitely one worth remembering. Before the sequence of performances, a few Cempakans consisting of our primary students were awarded with certificates as well as scrolls for their outstanding achievements over the term and the recent World Education Games. Many of them managed to overcome their challenges and competitions with flying colours. Following that, was the gift giving or “Secret Santa” which were given by a few primary children, in colourful costumes such as Santa himself and Santa’s Little Helpers. 
The assembly started off with the schools orchestra consisting of mainly secondary students and a few teachers. They played a delightful tune of one of christmas carol called “Oh Holy Night” mixed together with another melodious song. Next was the Cempaka Voices, a group of talented secondary students who sang their hearts out in a medley of different songs which really portrayed the essence of Christmas, which altogether was called “The Gift of Christmas”. Following that enthusiastic performance was a cute Christmas themed dance performed by the Junior Dance Ensemble. They leaped and pranced all over the stage and definitely caught the audience’s attention. After that was the CPAC teacher’s performance, which was the most unique out of the array of shows prepared for the assembly. The CPAC teachers managed to astonish the audience with their simple yet complex harmonisation as well as returning to the christmas classic’s. The finale was once again the talented Cempaka Voices, which sang a few modern joyous christmas songs as well as took a twist on the song “Jingle Bells” and sang it in French! This certainly ended the first ever Christmas assembly for Cempaka Damansara with a bang! 

After the amazing performances, Puan Farah, the Senior Principal of Cempaka Damansara presented a speech regarding Cempaka Damansara moving back to their new home. Continuing that after singing the national anthem, Dato Freida gave her final speech of the term to close the Christmas Assembly. Overall, this assembly was a great way to end the first term and will most certainly be a memorable one, not only because of the joy it brought but also the message it gave. As a famous quote says, “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts”. 

by Nicholas Tan 23:59 271 comments
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Sunday 6 December 2015

by Tan Hao Yu, Nicholas, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2017

It is a dream to achieve our goals in life. Once we succeed, however, it is a must to give back to society. 

The fundraising campaign held by the IB students for the trip.

This year, 23 of our very own Cempakans, along with 4 teachers will be going to Mumbai, India as part of a voluntary service programme to give back to humanity. This 6-day trip is an event organised by our Cempaka International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) as a major part of their Community, Action and Service (CAS) component of the course which requires students to fulfil 30 hours of community service work. 

Packing boxes of necessities for the trip.

During this trip, the students will visit under-privileged areas in Mumbai, participate in charity events and donate food and basic necessities to various organisations within India. In preparation of this, the IBDP students have raised funds by selling food at their booth for the past 2 months, and from the money collected have proceeded to buy the items to be donated, which they have boxed to be given to the less fortunate on their visit.

Cempakans pose as they depart to Mumbai, India. 
This group comprises of Senior 1 and 2 students, as well as members of Cempaka Damansara’s own Young Journalists’ Club, who will be covering the India trip in their next installation of this article, so keep an eye out!

by Natasha Wong 16:54 589 comments
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