Wednesday 14 August 2013

by Chin Wye Mun, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Switching the striped green Cempaka blazer for a plain black one, Leong Khim took his steps into the school. However, this time, not for classes but for an internship. When he was first introduced during an assembly, I couldn’t quite place my finger on who he was. It was only later in the week when I pieced the puzzle together. Interested in making movies, last name Wong - oh, of course!

For those of us who knew Leong Khim, he certainly was a prime example of a talented Cempakan who left his mark behind in school. Leong Khim was valedictorian of his graduating Class of 2009, Helang iMovie captain (his team won every year), Special CCA Award recipient for Film and Design, YJC Chief Designer and he also designed the current school website, among other things.

His last day of internship being the Friday just before the holidays, I couldn’t miss the chance to interview him. In the following interview with the famed moviemaker, who is currently studying for a degree in Physics, he shares a little more on his work experience here and his studies in a top university like Oxford.

WYE MUN : What is student life like for you in a top university like Oxford?

LEONG KHIM : Absolutely wonderful. Oxford, of course, carries a reputation for being very intellectually-demanding, and so do other similar places like Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard, etc. There’s a lot of work to do and it’s rarely easy. But I enjoy doing it, and so do most people here. The happiest people at university are often the ones studying subjects they love. Also, doing things that are difficult means you’re pushing yourself to become better, which is sort of the point.

WYE MUN : I'm sure it isn't easy at all! Other than academics, what else can students get involved in?

LEONG KHIM : There are plenty of clubs and societies, charity organizations, sports, and so on. To give an example of the range of things Oxford has to offer, we have the ‘Underwater Shark Fighting Club.’ I don’t know what they actually do, though, because apparently no actual sharks are involved.

WYE MUN : [laughs] Are you involved in any of these clubs and societies? Other than that, what do you do with your spare time (if you're not busy studying)?

LEONG KHIM : As for me, up until recently, I was the Vice President of the Oxford University Malaysia Club, where we look after the welfare of the Malaysians in Oxford, especially helping the new first year students settle in, but my term has ended and I’ve since relinquished my duties. 

Apart from that, I mostly just enjoy lazing around watching movies or television series, trying out new cooking recipes, spending time with friends; occasionally go for a musical or whatever they’re putting on at the theatre. During the warmer months, punting on the river is the best way to spend a sunny evening.

WYE MUN : Life sounds amazing in Oxford! However, now that you are interning in Cempaka, what exactly have you been working on?

LEONG KHIM : I started out by assisting Mr Shipley design the scheme of practical work for the IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) course. We got to conduct one of the experiments with the ESS students, so that was very exciting. One of the girls seemed to have obtained marvelously good data, which made me very happy because I hadn’t tested the experiment beforehand and didn’t expect it to work out that well.

I’ve also been working with Malayandi, another old Cempakan who’s returned for the summer, on changes to the school curriculum and learning experience that is being planned. We’ve been really privileged to be entrusted with laying down the groundwork for something that, I think, is going to drastically change the Cempakan experience. It will be interesting to see how they take what we’ve done and turn it into the final, finished product.

WYE MUN : Wow! What made you come back to intern at Cempaka in the first place?

LEONG KHIM : I’m still figuring out what I want to do once I’m done with all the studying. One of the things I’m really interested in is education. I felt that spending some time in Cempaka would be a great learning experience for me, to see how things work in school from the teachers’ perspective. At the same time, I was quite excited at the opportunity to bring some of my experiences from Oxford and appropriating them here. I’ve always known that Dr Rizal is always open to new ideas, and I suspected, correctly, that Cempaka would gladly welcome me back.

WYE MUN : What is the thing you miss the most about Cempaka?

LEONG KHIM : My watermelon-esque jacket! [laughs] No, not really. I miss the people, mostly. I had a great bunch of friends whom I got to see everyday. And of course, I had wonderful teachers as well. We all had a good social dynamic going.

WYE MUN : 2nd August (Friday) was your last day of internship in Cempaka. Do you have any plans for the rest of the summer before returning to the UK?

LEONG KHIM : Nothing set in stone. My family has been planning to go on a holiday for weeks, but we still haven’t settled on a destination. Puan Siti recommended I go out dating, so I might just do that. [laughs]

WYE MUN : Well, I hope you had a marvelous time coming back to Cempaka and that you have an equally wonderful summer back in Malaysia and with your family. Do visit all of us soon, and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.

I think most of us can agree that having ex-Cempakans come back, even if they visit for a mere couple of hours, is always exciting. I look forward to seeing Leong Khim’s work being put into effect and the difference it is going to make to the Cempaka experience. 

YJC Archives: Click here to read an article from Lumen Studet way back in 2008 when Leong Khim was interviewed for being the most active designer in the YJC!
by Anonymous 18:19 15 comments | in , , , , ,


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