By Justin Koh, Class of 2010, Ex-CempakanIt has been two years since I’ve graduated from Sri Cempaka. Over the course of my stay in Cempaka, I have seen people with their entries and exits — new students coming in at every level, students migrating to other schools, seniors leaving after their SPM examinations. And then it was my turn to take my leave. In Cempaka, I learnt to grow up, to adapt, and to make friends. I truly treasure every experience I had there.
I visit Cempaka on occasions such as the Annual Swimming Gala and more recently, the Inter-house Games Carnival. Being there, and seeing everyone bustling about in their house colors brought back a sense of nostalgia. You could just stand at a side, watching everyone run, scream and cheer in support of their house. Yes indeed, it was such a beautiful sight
It reminded me of the years I spent as a Harimau, pushing forward in hopes of winning. Not only for personal satisfaction, but also for the glory of the house. When engaging in such competitions, we tend to think only for ourselves and nothing else. We completely miss the bigger picture. What are we really fighting for? Of course we will tend to strive for personal goals. And then what? It just ends there. I believe that there is always a bigger reason to do something on top of doing something for oneself. If we take a step back and look at the situation as a whole, we realize that there is a bigger goal in store for us, that is, to do your utmost best for the house. For everyone.
To the sportspeople, you see the mass of people standing at the side cheering. That is your motivation. Sometimes you get so lost in the moment until you don’t notice that they are there, but subconsciously, they matter a whole lot. Imagine playing basketball without an audience. You will definitely feel a enormous loss as if something is missing. Your drive to succeed and the feel of victory will diminish. This shows that not only will you strive for yourself, but for your team as well. So do work toward your goals, but never lose sight of the bigger picture. All it takes is just a change in mindset: “I want to win for myself,” compared to “I want to win for my house.” To know that everyone is counting on you to do your best, let that be your drive.
To the house members, together you are the backbone of the house. ‘United we stand’ will help you to form an unbreakable bond. You support the sportspeople throughout the whole course of the game. You are the reason they fight and that is why we cheer for the glory of the house and the satisfaction of being able to contribute to a greater goal. Imagine being able to hold the trophy in your hands, celebrating amongst your comrades over the win. Maybe you are at the sidelines, but you are still able to pat yourself on the back and proudly tell anyone, “Hey, I contributed to that.” However minute the contribution to the house is, when done wholeheartedly, should be something to be proud of.
As a house, as one, aim for the best and never give up on your hopes. Even in times of trouble, despite knowing there may be nothing much you can do, you should never throw in the towel. The excuse “Yeah... It wouldn’t have mattered anyway,” is a terrible one. It matters because you should have tried your best whatever happens. A pessimist would say it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. But what if it did? Shouldn’t that be enough a reason to keep you going? If you say that it would be too much effort to work for a small possibility of success, please change your defeatist attitude. Nothing great ever came from not trying. You won’t regret it.
Even if you don’t win, you tried your best, and that is all that matters. Be happy for the winners, congratulate them, and learn from them. The next time, try again. We must always strive to push our limits. If you win, celebrate your efforts, but remember to be gracious. Also, never forget to commend the efforts of your rivals as well. Everyone tried their best, after all. Celebrate the bonds you strengthened with your friends, the new ones you made, and the whole experience of being able to contest with them in a friendly manner.
Competition is different from selfishness. Just because you strive for something does not mean that you need to act condescendingly toward others and push everyone else aside. We strive to win, but if we don’t, it’s all part of life. Sometimes we are going to have our ups and downs. Yes, do your best at everything that you do, but win or lose, enjoy the whole experience altogether. You will never get it ever again. The moments with your friends from different backgrounds, different houses, cherish that. One day, you will look back at your high school experience, recalling all the things it encompassed; the laughs, the jokes, the memories and the fun times, and will never regret a single moment of it. So Cempakans, make every experience count!