Thursday 31 October 2013

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

Bring out the spiders, welcome the witches and summon the skeletons. It’s that time of the year again where little kids are running around as superheroes and adults are groaning at having to buy buckets of candy for hordes of charming princesses and ghoulish fiends. I think this is probably the one day in a year where cobwebs are gladly accepted with hospitality rather than being chased away.

Halloween is a celebration right down my alley. Costumes, candy, creepy stories, and did I mention, candy? I’m a sucker for horror movies and scary stories. It’s not like I have a strong heart, on the contrary, I’m much more of a scaredy-cat. Even just searching for the pictures for this article makes me scared. Nonetheless, I do enjoy my share of spooky tales and scream-inducing films. 

Speaking of which, some are indeed legendary. Of course, there’s the movie actually titled Halloween which first came out in 1978. The movie is the birth of Michael Myers, whose mask has become a popular Halloween accessory. The plot follows the story of a slasher who murders his sister, gets institutionalized and gets out again to continue his killing spree. The only horror movie I know that’s out now is Insidious Chapter 2. I find the scarcity of horror movies at this time weird ; shouldn’t there be an abundance of them right now? Maybe horror movies are getting harder and harder to produce, which is understandable. There’s almost a formula to scary movies nowadays and it makes everything unfortunately predictable. 

There are few types of scary movies : psychologically, gorily, ghostly, paranormally scary movies and etcetera. The most mind-blowing are of course the psychologically scary ones. I mean, psychology has to do with the mind so naturally it’s as such. In my personal opinion, the most spine-chilling, blood-curdling and hair-raising ones though are the ghostly type. The gory movies come second and paranormal ones come third for me. 

I’m not a strong believer in ghosts and spirits but I think these stories make great movies. Not just apparitions and flying cutlery but those with outstanding characters like Ju-On, The Ring and Shutter. I think these were great horror movies. After watching The Grudge (or Ju-On), I couldn’t sleep properly for months and that’s no exaggeration. I was always paranoid that there was a demon child stuck to my ceiling and another one under my blanket. I’d stare at my toy cat the whole night and wouldn’t blink an eye because if I closed my eyes, the terrifying image of the ghost would be the first thing there, engraved and unmoving, fixated on taking over my mind and possessing my body. 

Ghosts are just so much easier to imagine. They’re simple. They’re dead people. They’re ghostly and pale and the girls wear white dresses and seem suspiciously pure and innocent and have mysteriously long, untidy hair. 

Killers on the other hand are (weirdly enough) more far out than ghosts for me. The murderers in scary movies are always really crazy. I just can’t imagine a guy with a mask bursting into my room with a chainsaw, coming to chop up my body into disgusting, indistinguishable, minuscule pieces. 

The gory ones are absolutely revolting ; they document the case of the terribly sick-minded and twisted criminals. Good examples of movies with simple gore galore are Saw and apparently Begotten, Aftermath and Ichi the Killer are some good ones to check out too. To sum up such movies, it’s all blood, body parts and demented lunatics. Don’t watch if you have a low tolerance for blood, obviously. It may leave you puking and mentally scarred for life. 

The next subdivision in the genre of scary movies are movies about paranormal activity, such as the so-aptly named, Paranormal Activity. I personally hate these movies, which is why I’ve never watched one of them. But watching the trailer is enough for me to dislike it. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t judge because I haven’t even watched one but from what I’ve seen, it’s just magic tricks and sound effects. I hate the shooting style of Paranormal Activity that’s like the night vision camera because it gives me a headache and the set is so restricted. Often times, the awkward movements in paranormal movies evoke more of a laugh then a scream from the audience. Trust me, I know this from the scenes in exorcism movies where the victims just start flying up and down. 

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m finding the variety of horror movies nowadays just not up to what it was before. The plots are too predictable, you can tell who’s going to die from the first five minutes and the characters always make the most stupid decisions. Why on earth would you want to spend a night out in the middle of the woods alone? “Oh, I need to rest and seclude myself from the rest of the world, in the middle of nowhere.” Not just that, but the characters are always extremely inquisitive. If it were me, I wouldn’t be getting out of my car to check for ghosts or killers, I’d speed my way out of there. 

Anyway, Halloween is the perfect time for just staying in and scaring the wits out of yourself. Have a Halloween Horror Movie Marathon! Chill out, sit back, relax and enjoy yourself some Scream, The Exorcist or Silence of the Lambs. Horror movies are really great, even though I spend half of them shielding my eyes with a pillow, looking away or just running away with the excuse of getting food or going to the toilet. Or you could just opt to dress up and go trick-or-treating. A much safer (and tastier) bet indeed. 
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Submitted by Sarah Crompton, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Lim Jade, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

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Monday 28 October 2013

by Wong Sher Lynn, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2013

A good evening to Dato’ Hamzah, Encik Hisham, Principals, teachers, proud parents, ladies and gentlemen and above all, prefects. 

Let me start off by enlightening you on what brought me here onto this stage today. A wise man once said “The greatest journeys in life begin with the smallest steps.” My journey of a lifetime began with a small step through the gates of Cempaka Damansara back in 2009. On my very first day in school, I told myself “I’m not joining any society, not playing any sport and I’m going to enjoy myself in secondary school.” And yes, I did exactly that. Did I really enjoy myself though? I’m not so sure.

Then I moved on to Form 2 and that was when I met the most competitive, intelligent and active bunch of students. Every one of them were involved in almost every school activity and event you can name. Be it the one they hate the most or the one they love the most, they would do it anyway. I realized that if I didn't do something about myself, I would be the loneliest person in class. So, I followed them. I joined everything I could and believe it or not, I even submitted my prefectship application two and a half years ago because of them. They changed my school life and made a positive change in me.

Fast forward to two years later. When I first took the stage to accept this post around this time last year, many thoughts flashed through my head. A part of me felt excited and just could not wait for the challenge of the long obstacle course lying ahead of me. But the other part of me had so many doubts and was terrified and paranoid of so many things. 

The illustrious list of people who held this post made me question my ability again and again. I thought, what if I fail to be a good head prefect? Will I be able to hold up my reputation? If I go on listing my insecurities, this speech would probably never end. But, out of the many things I was worried about, delivering this speech was definitely one of them. Despite the fact that the due date for this speech was in a year’s time, I was extremely terrified of making a fool out of myself. It came as no surprise to those who know me personally that I was always the last in line when it came to speaking in public and being in the centre of attention. 

Oddly enough but undoubtedly proud, I became the head prefect of Cempaka Damansara. And tonight will be the last time I will introduce myself with this title. 

As time passed by, not only did I manage to conquer both my phobias, but I also became more comfortable in my own skin. Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering why I am telling you the most embarrassing stories about myself. They say, "Leaders who are honest about their weaknesses often survive, and not only survive, but they win loyalty at an even deeper level." So rather than hide flaws, shine a light on them. We’re all human. Nobody is perfect. Thus, I would like to prove to you that the flaws in leaders are not barriers to leadership but rather enablers of it. I am not ashamed of what I was back then but I am proud of what I’ve learnt and what I’ve become from being the person I was. 

As my term came to an end, I started to question myself what I would say in my speech. It was then when I realized that this will be the highest hurdle that I will ever have to leap across because it is almost impossible. It wasn't due to my glossophobia, but it was the task itself, which requires me to express the inexpressible. It’s because no sum of words, speech or presentation can truly convey what I ought to say today and what lies in the chambers of my heart. Nonetheless, I will try my best and I hope all of you will bear with me for just a few minutes. 

Tonight, I would like to channel the focus of my speech to the Prefects’ Board, a group of selfless leaders who have stood by me through thick and thin, a group I have led with pleasure and pride. Many students regard prefects as the police in school or annoying robots programmed to stand still at the top of the stairs or to patrol the canteen. These police robots with their sternest faces, constantly nag students to tie their shoelaces, pull up their socks or put their smart card in place. But no matter how these students view us, they will never ever come close to understanding the true meaning of being a prefect, which is unfortunate. It is not enough to merely experience prefectship, it would not do justice to our title. Rather, it should be cherishing every opportunity to lead, even it means being police robots for seven hours every school day. 

As J. Donald Walters once said, "Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance." These prefects wholeheartedly embraced their leadership regardless of the way they are being perceived, which prompts me to take this opportunity to recognize the leaders in my prefects. What most people don't realize are the sacrifices that every prefect continuously make. It could be something as small as an argument with their siblings to make sure their feet land on the hall's parquet floor before the clock strikes 7.15 a.m. every Monday or as dreadful as coming back to school in the middle of the school holidays to prepare for a performance for a special assembly or even worst, bearing the resentment from students or friends because of the immense amount of duties that take precedence over them. 

No matter how small a sacrifice or how big a sacrifice, they are sacrifices nonetheless. Perhaps the biggest sacrifice of all was their decision to give up the option of rebellion and undertake the responsibilities of upholding the principles of this school. These prefects put their responsibilities above themselves every single time and the fact that they do proves how dedicated and committed they are. They did not succumb to temptations and stayed true to the oath they took.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Without these prefects, I would not be standing here and I would not be the person I am today. With that, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all prefects especially the outgoing prefects of 2013, who I call my special bunch of friends. I have to admit, becoming the head prefect is no walk in the park but the promise I made to lead this board was the best decision I have ever made. 

Thank you all so much for selflessly giving your all, never complaining, the new lessons I learn from you everyday, for our friendships and most importantly, for always reminding me that I can always trust you. Your loyalty, courage and undying energy will never be forgotten. And without you, this year could not and would not have been as successful as it was. 

To my ever-so-loyal deputy, Azmin Massoumi as well as our DC Head, Wong Shi Jinn, thank you for keeping the board together and assisting me whenever I needed help. 

To the existing prefects, I know you may not be the ones under the spotlight tonight but thank you for being here today to lend a helping hand and supporting your juniors and seniors. There will be many more challenges ahead of you and I know you will continue to strive and leave a legacy alongside your new heads, Kai Xin, Amanda and Wye Mun. 

To the incoming prefects, your journey as a prefect officially begins. The ties you have around your neck is what you have earned with your blood, sweat and tears. Every morning when you put on this tie, remember the long arduous journey of probation you went through and the challenges and responsibility you entail.

To all teachers, thank you for being patient with me and understanding what my duties entail. Apart from that, to our advisor Encik Hisham, and our chairman, Dr. Rizal, thank you for your endless support and for believing in me. 

I have always been a firm believer of the notion that “great leaders are those who take a little more share of the blame and a little less share of the credit”. Our principals, Puan Farah, Puan Sapura, and Puan Rajini, are the epitome of great leaders and I would like to express my gratitude to them for their patience throughout my learning process. Your influence and great leadership will forever be engrained in me.

Although Dato’ Freida can’t be with us today in this occasion, her charisma can be deeply felt as though she was here sitting in front of me tonight. I would like to pay tribute to her dedication and inspiration and thank her for making our stories here possible.

Lastly, with all my heart, I would like to thank my parents for paving the right pathway for me to walk on, to lead me to an extraordinary school where my great journey of self-discovery and self-development began. 

And to the proud parents sitting on the floor, thank you for understanding, compromising and sacrificing your time and energy for your children. They would not be where they are today without all of you making everything possible for them. Tonight isn't just a celebration of your children's achievements but most importantly, it is a testament to the continuous support you give and the unwavering faith you have in your children.

Humbly, I have a kind request for you. Please stand up and put your hands together for the incoming prefects, the current prefects, the outgoing prefects, our teachers, our principals, our chairman, our founder and our parents for without each and every single one of you, we could not have possibly endured this journey and would not have anyone to celebrate with at the end of it. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

To Kai Xin, Amanda and Wye Mun, I trust that the Prefects’ Board of Cempaka Damansara will continue grow under your leadership. 

Thank you.

Photo credit: Encik Khairul 

Side-note: A very special thanks to Aisya Abu Bakar for giving me her support and helping me tremendously with this speech.
by Anonymous 21:31 1336 comments | in , , ,
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Saturday 26 October 2013

by Amanda Lee, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Photo Credit: Encik Salleh

Becoming a prefect is a drastic change, and not just in the colour of your blazer. It's not just about becoming the "police" of the school, issuing demerits or keeping students quiet during assembly. As Jamie Kok wrote in her article, Prefectship, it is a decision that affects your entire school life. 

And it's no easy decision to see through. The tough perbarisans, the tougher seniors, the days of going without a free break or lunch ; all these things only a prefect can truly understand.

'Tonight is our night.' Words that never rang truer, spoken by our Deputy Head Prefect, Azmin right before we stepped out to usher parents into the hall. 

‘I, mindful of the duties and responsibilities of a prefect’

Tonight is the night the ‘profects’, looking like penguins and waiters without their ties, take their oaths. It is when they are sworn into the board, and when they officially become a part of the driving force of Cempaka. 

'And always conscious, that upon the bearing of a prefect, rests the tone of the school'

Tonight is the night they step up to continue the legacy, in the absence of the outgoing board. It is then that they receive their new ties, bright red, yellow, blue and green gleaming as they step forward in the spotlight and face an audience of supportive parents, teachers, principals, friends and family. It is one of the pinnacles of their journey ; the unforgettable moment when they receive a single golden collar pin that symbolizes all their hard work, dedication and sacrifices.

'I hereby accept, the office of prefectship. I solemnly resolve to carry out my duties, and bear my responsibilities, to the best of my ability.'

Tonight is the night all the waterworks start up early ; some of which were terribly unexpected and some of which were no surprise. For the first time, you see the seniors facing a different path ahead, while our path continues straight on. You see even the toughest seniors betray a hint of a tear, especially as Sher Lynn takes the stage for her last speech as Head Prefect of Cempaka Damansara.

Tonight is the night when the words 'Thank you' are probably used a hundred times, each one holding a person in gratitude, each one heartfelt and sincere.

Tonight is the night we witness leaders in action, some moving on to conquer new challenges, some just only stepping up to the plate.
Designed by: Wong Sher Lynn
To the newly installed prefects, congratulations. May you wear your tie with an equal amount of pride and honour as was given to you. Expect numerous memories and inevitably good times. Expect a lot of hard work, skipped classes, not-so-pleased teachers, hard decisions, problems and challenges. But face them as Encik Hisham puts it, ‘with a smile on your face’, as you won’t face the problems standing alone. You’ll face it with the entire board standing alongside you. 

To the outgoing prefects, thank you. It'll be a bit weird, not seeing your faces on duty or during assembly. Not weird, heart wrenching probably. You will be sorely missed, but as you said, you are only a call or a text away. We shall strive to maintain your pride in knowing that you were a part of the Cempaka Damansara Prefectorial Board.

To all prefects; incoming, outgoing, the seniors to-be — tonight is our night.

Click here to read Wong Sher Lynn's speech as outgoing Head Prefect of Cempaka Damansara 2013
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Tuesday 22 October 2013

Submitted by Sarah Crompton, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

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Monday 21 October 2013

by Law Veng Yee, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

If you’ve seen me around school with my puny eyes and if you know my frugal ways, you’d think that I’m just another 'stereotypical Chinese'. And the truth is, I am. Growing up in a traditional home, my education was centered on the Chinese language, mainly the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects, ever since I was born up until the age 13. I can’t get more 'Cina' than that right? Wrong. 

At the ripe age of eight, my mother called me down to the study room and sat me down in front of some mysterious tools and a sheet of red paper. I looked at her, puzzled by the weird smelling ink, the brush that seemed like the conventional paintbrush but wasn’t quite so, and the dusty and crumpled red paper. 

My mother nodded at me, then nodded towards the table, indicating for me to do something with those tools but I simply opened my mouth and said: “Meh ye?” (“What?” in Cantonese). Three years later, I sat in my Standard 5 classroom, and at the count of my supervising teacher, using those mysterious tools now known to me as the Wen Fang Si Bao (文房四宝) I brought home the trophy for Chinese Calligrapher Champion of my year.

From there, my love for Chinese calligraphy, or Shu Fa (书法), sparked. Even though I lost the same competition the following year, I made the decision to take up calligraphy as a hobby. Now, every Saturday I wake up at 7:30am, get in my mother’s car and make my way to calligraphy class.

Shu Fa is a calligraphic skill involving tools known as Wen Fang Si Bao. These tools, which directly translate into the four treasures of the literary world, consist of the brush (笔), ink (墨), paper (纸) and the palette (砚). To us, it holds the same importance as it does to a knight with his sword and shield. But in calligraphy, the pen or should I say brush, is definitely mightier than the sword! Every Saturday, I take my swords and shields out, sit straight on my seat, end of the brush pointing at my nose, left hand under the right, take a deep breath and xia bi (下笔, write). 

Contrary to popular belief, Shu Fa is nothing like painting. Although a subdivision of Shu Fa includes drawing, Shu Fa usually implies writing and not drawing or painting. There are many techniques when it comes to calligraphy. Just to name a few, the calligrapher must sit straight when writing, and the pinky finger should always be against the brush when holding it. The written characters should generally have a thin figure (sometimes when my written characters are slightly on the chubbier side, my teacher would exclaim “Keep fit! Keep fit!”). When writing, the brush has to be slightly raised, or ti 提. Other than that, each stroke taken cannot be straight, otherwise the character would not have any rhythm or flow. When ending a stroke or shou bi 收笔, we have to give the character an elegant finish.

After learning 8 years worth of calligraphy, I’m confident in saying that this hobby or rather this skill, has brought me much more benefits than I had initially anticipated. Calligraphy will train your hands to be ding 定, meaning that your hands become more stable, as suitable for anyone who aspires to become a surgeon. Calligraphy can also calm you down. It is a known rule that when a person is moody, angry or frustrated they should not pick up the bi, especially if one is impatient. And if you ask me, calligraphy is a pretty good skill to wow people with. 
by Anonymous 20:58 378 comments | in , , ,
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Saturday 19 October 2013

by Alisraa Aldin and Austin Ng, Class of 2015, Form 3 Cempaka

Buckle up your seat belts ladies and gentlemen! Cempaka Airlines proudly presents two trips down south; the Great State of Texas and the Southeast region of South America, Brazil!
IU Day Brochure designed by Valarie Law & Aliah Mastura
As you near the North Hall, the first thing that will catch your eye is the students walking around in black pumps and green scarves wrapped around their neck. Those would be your stewards and stewardesses, ready to assist you and always ensuring that no one enters without a ticket; or a smile on their face. If you made your way down to the field however, you’d see sweaty football players running around in hopes of making their way to the finals of the glorious football tournament. That's just a brief glimpse of the environment of this year’s IU Day (short for International Understanding Day) which was a fresh change from its formers. For the first time in Cempaka history, the Interact Clubs of both campuses worked together to hold a joint IU Day. As the Damansarans transitioned to our new home, the idea of a joint IU Day hatched in the minds of our Interact Club heads (pun not intended) and thus the deal was sealed. Both Interact Clubs made the decision to combine the two originally separate events into one day, taking us on a journey to experience the culture and history of not one country, but two! 

At seven in the morning we ascended on the bus to Cheras with our half-wake faces and zombie-like walks. Endless preparation began, with a hundred and one things to do before IU Day started. It was time to see if the venture would take flight. 

Simultaneous to all these preparations, a football tournament was held in the spirit of 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Students from other schools also flocked to the field, hoping to get their hands on the big prizes that were up for grabs. 

‘Passengers for Flight 1987 to Brazil, the gates are now open for boarding. Do make your way to Gate D immediately, thank you’. Following that announcement, the Damansara IU Day began, Cheras having kicked it off to a wonderful start. Stewards led passengers back to the North Hall; now transformed into the vessel that was Cempaka Airlines, drawing them in with free Kit Kat at the doors, and the less enticing black and white, one-page ‘magazine’ - we are a low-budget airlines! Before we ‘took off’,  there was a short safety demonstration by the stewards, led by Chief Flight Attendant, Tiffany Tan. Ryan Yoong then started his presentation ‘Keep Calm and Samba On’ as he talked about the various wonders of Brazil - Victoria Secret models being one of them (well, someone has to keep the audience awake). 

Keep Calm & Samba On Presentation! Slide done by Amanda Lee

Next up on the line up of special ‘inflight’ performances was the Interact dance ensemble, dancing to the upbeat track of Danza Kudoro. Passengers were then serenaded, Brazil style by Caramel the band, namely Kaye Leong, Lim Pei Yie, Eunice Ng and Tania Ashlyn singing Copacabana. Last on the line up was another dance number by Nisa and Hana Hurst, aptly titled Amazon.

Then, the plane finally touched down, with nary a bump - we have the best pilots in the world. The doors were flung open and everyone swarmed out to experience the Brazilian Carnival leaving the hall in a mess of Kit Kat wrappers despite the kind reminder. Oh well, I guess they stopped listening once they heard that pizza (the most consumed food in Brazil) would be served. At the carnival, various booths set up around the poolside so people would have the chance to experience a taste of Brazilian culture. There were a vast variety of games lined up, the most popular being the balloon pop quiz and a traditional game known as Luta De Galo - a thrilling match between two participants as they hopped on one leg, aiming to steal their opponent’s handkerchief.It was particularly heartwarming to see a student from SMK Convent Bukit Nanas repeatedly participating in the vigorous Luta de Galo game, despite being in a floor-sweeping black dress.

Brownies, pizza, coconut cookies and lemonade were also up for grabs. Pizza being the first to go (no surprise there), followed by the Jing twins fabulous brownies. The clock struck three as the IU Day came to an end, save for the still ongoing football match which lasted till 6 in the evening. Dream Team 2.0 emerged as champions in the end, winning the big RM1100 prize!

“Unless you were part of the committee, you’d never know that IU Day was just one huge jumble of frantic phone calls, bad shoes, plasters, countless of googledocs, and maddening, endless questions like ‘do you think 100 brownies will be enough’ or ‘how many balloons/prizes/magazines should we buy?!' Needless to say though, it all came together in the end, thank goodness. Besides all the random (and now probably pointless) Brazilian facts I learned, I also learned a very important thing; Free Kit Kat is a much better idea than boring old peanuts.” 
- Amanda Lee, President Elect 2012/2013 of Interact Club

A big thank you to Encik Hisham, the infallible referee of our football tournament and also the sports department teachers. And kudos to the teacher advisors, Puan Siti and Mr. Shaik, the IU Day Director, Tan Yu the president, Tai Kai Xin as well as the entire IU Day Committee for running the whole show, bad weather, forgotten props and all.

Another 365 days before we embark on another IU Day Journey. 

“Thank you for choosing Cempaka Airlines, we hope you had a pleasant flight.”
by Anonymous 23:53 34 comments
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Friday 18 October 2013

We've all been there and done that; felt our head ache, our tummies churn and our eyes burn. It's the time of the year again everyone, it's exam week. This month, designers of YJC: Design worked hard to bring about the elements of "Exam Stress" to provide some comfort, some tips and nostalgia (for those who no longer have to face the horror of exams). 

YJC's design team hopes that you will be able to relate to the designs, get some tips and also do well for the upcoming exams. 

Good luck everyone! 

Submitted by Koh Ji Chuen, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Chua Zi, Form 4 Science 1, Class of 2014

Submitted by Law Veng Yee, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Lim Jade, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014
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Wednesday 16 October 2013

by Akhilan, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

Musicians sing about it, artists paint it, authors write about it, and leaders preach it. A goal that could draw mankind together. That, is world peace. It is a concept that has been around for centuries. Who could resist a world without conflict, without war? And yet, we are no closer to reaching it.

The fact that world peace is still unobtainable is absolutely sickening. As I say this, there is a family hiding in a shack somewhere in the Middle East, suffering from starvation, pain, depression and a fear of the gunshots being fired in close proximity. Then, there is a soldier telling himself that he is doing what is right for his country, knowing deep down that he is just one of thousands of pawns sent to commit meaningless slaughter. The death tolls: 

World War 2 - 60,669,20084,589,300 casualties. 
Mongol Conquests - 30,000,00060,000,000 casualties. 
World War 1 - 16,563,86830,000,000 casualties.

As former US president John F. Kennedy so aptly stated,“Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” We do know how devastating war is. If that is the case, why is war going on all over the globe? What are these wars over and why are they so incredibly destructive?

War has always formed over two relatively simple yet chaotic factors—wealth and power. Throughout man's history every major empire has desired control over the world. The Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Persian Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the United States of America, the list goes on. In that manner, wealth has become such a huge measure of power that the 'dollar signs' have indeed become power. As sad as it is, money dictates our world more than anything. The wealthier you are the more powerful you are, undeniably.

In our modern world, war has adopted an entirely different meaning than it had a few decades ago. With the development of nuclear weapons came an array of new, modern warfare. Now, with the simple push of a button, cities can be reduced to nothing but rubble and blood. It’s disgraceful that instead of using our technology and knowledge for development and science, we have used it to create weapons of massacre. 

Some of us may be waiting for that 'happily ever after' ending that will solve all our problems and leave us to skip delightfully through sunlit poppy fields. But we're never going to get that, because we will never attain complete world peace. This is simply because of our nature. While we are born with an affinity for love and kindness, we are also born with jealousy, anger, pride and yes, a thirst for power. Ironically, that is what drives the human spirit. Without these characteristics, our species would not have been able to survive this long.

Imagine all our leaders coming together to form one glorious nation, one based on trust and mutual respect. A world where all wealth on Earth is pooled in this one nation and is spread throughout based on population and necessities. A world where money is irrelevant. A world without poverty and unfairness. A world in which we search for the answers together, competing as one nation instead of against each other. That is the world we shall strive toward. And while it will probably never become a reality, it is indeed a beautiful portrait.
by Anonymous 21:11 19 comments | in , , , ,
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Monday 14 October 2013

by Aisya Abu Bakar, Megan Ong Yin-Li, Yap Xin Wen, Class of 2013, Junior 2 Cempaka

It all starts with babies. Being on the very beginning of the growth timeline, it's crucial to ensure that babies are being nurtured the right way, and one of the best ways to nurture a newborn is through breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding brings substantial health and social benefits to mothers and babies alike. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that 90 percent of mothers that breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months are able to prevent 1,000 infant deaths! Relying on breast milk also allows families to reduce expenditure on formula milk and healthcare, as formula milk is expensive and is unable to provide adequate protection from illness. 

Apart from the social benefits, breastfeeding can also bring important health benefits. Breastfeeding mothers are able to provide nutrients and antibodies that cannot be found or replicated in formula milk. These nutrients and antibodies reduce the likelihood of diarrhea, pneumonia, type-1 diabetes, leukemia and atopic dermatitis. Other than that, mothers are also able to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and post-pregnancy depression towards themselves. Breastfeeding creates an emotional bond between the baby and the mother due to the precious time they spend together. This ultimately nurtures the babies’ mental health. 

However, according to the Borneo Post, as of August 2012, the percentage of Malaysian babies that are exclusively breastfed up to six months is only a measly 23.7 percent. France Begin, a UNICEF nutrition advisor for East Asia and the Pacific, states that the falling rates of breastfeeding across East Asia are alarming. Alongside Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China join the group of East Asian countries that have relatively low rates of breastfeeding, with five percent, 20 percent and 28 percent respectively.

There are several possible reasons that prevent some mothers from breastfeeding. A small percentage of mothers are not able to produce enough milk for their babies. This happens because mothers do not breastfeed within the first hour of birth and by forcing themselves to breastfeed, their breasts experience pain and discomfort. Other than that, breast milk may even be toxic for babies if mothers consume harmful substances during pregnancy such as alcohol and drugs.

Having said that, there is still a majority of mothers who choose not to breastfeed their babies. One of the reasons this happens is because of the aggressive advertising of formula milk. Formula milk companies partner with hospitals to distribute free samples of formula milk, making mothers more inclined to continue feeding their babies with formula milk as they were encouraged by the hospital. Another reason is because of the embarrassment and harassment mothers feel when breastfeeding in public. It is considered taboo to even subtly breastfeed due to the cultures and traditions mothers are brought up with. 

Along with that, mothers find it difficult to juggle and maintain the duties of being a breastfeeding mother and a working mother. On top of the lack of time to breastfeed their babies, working mothers may lack the support needed from their family members. This encourages mothers to use bottle-feeding as an alternative because feeding from the bottle is convenient, less painful, requires less effort and time, and offers a chance for fathers to bond with the baby. However, breastfeeding is less time consuming than mothers think it is. By breastfeeding, mothers do not have to sterilize the bottle and other equipments needed to prepare formula milk for the baby.

Although breastfeeding poses certain disadvantages, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks drastically. Among its great merits are its ability to reduce the risk of certain illnesses, save expenditure and nurture the emotional bond between a mother and her child. With all the evident advantages, it is still puzzling to know that mothers are still not breastfeeding their children. Therefore, it is important to instill good breastfeeding habits in mothers as it produces positive long-term effects on their children in the future through both mental and physical development.

by Anonymous 21:44 23 comments | in , , , ,
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by Nicole Lee Poh Sim, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

Phobia. Phobia. Phobia. Now try repeating that word a few more times slowly in your head. I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word ‘phobia’, it gives me a cramped feeling. Even if you’re unsure of what the word means, doesn’t it sound like a weird and melancholy word? 

Phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. In my opinion, every single human being has a phobia. Everyone is afraid of something. No matter how big or small or stupid your fear may sound, it’s a part of you. Yes, some may be lucky enough to be able to get over their fear, but for others, it’s not that easy. You want to get rid of your phobia so badly. You want it to be out of your life forever. Having a phobia is a big flaw but, having a flaw does not make one imperfect, but instead, it’s what builds the character and personality of an individual. And that, is what makes every single person unique in their own way. 

Now, I’m sure most of you know me for swimming and maybe some of you are expecting me to write about my swimming life. Well you are partially right, but, I’ll be talking about it in a more interesting way. The question is, what does a sport like this have anything to do with having a phobia? 

As a child, I’ve always had many fears, it may have been simple, everyday things, I can’t remember, but the two most outstanding ones were atychiphobia and dentophobia. Atychiphobia is the abnormal, unwarranted, and persistent fear of failure and dentophobia refers to the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care, in my case, receiving dental care. 

Most people do not know I’m afraid of failure, and that I hate losing. One thing I dread most, are competitions, especially swimming meets. Training is fine, it’s just competitions. I will not talk to anyone. I will snap. I will sulk. I hate the pressure. I will basically shut everyone out. Everyone expects me to do well. I’m always afraid of being looked down upon by others when I don’t perform well. Even I myself don’t know why I work myself up so much. If I don’t meet my expected time, everything will usually go down the drain.

I was probably five or six when I got my first medal. I was one of the slowest swimmers at that time. I also remember it was my first competition, and I barely knew anyone or anything. I remember feeling so lost, because almost everyone there was older than I was. I remember my parents telling me about how it didn’t matter if I lost. I was put in for a few events, and for the first few, I would always end up second-last or last. For my last event, which was the backstroke, I remember getting fourth. I was furious and devastated. Why fourth? I squatted down on my kicking board, and hot tears prickled out of my eyes. When the prize giving ceremony started, I walked over with a big sulk on my face to see the winners. When it came to the backstroke event for my age group, I held back my tears. I didn’t want to hear who got third. But, to everyone’s surprise, my name got called out to receive the bronze medal. You see, I actually wasn’t supposed to get anything, but the girl who got third got disqualified, and so I got the bronze by default. 

I’ll now be talking about another fear I’ve always had, dentophobia. I hate everything about teeth, especially when they’re shaky. As a child, I always dreaded going to the dentist, especially to pull out my teeth. You know how when you were younger, you always liked to play with your teeth when they were shaky. I was the total opposite. I would always leave the tooth alone. But the funny thing was I would always feel and shake my teeth which weren’t shaky. If they shook a bit, I would start freaking out. There was a point it was so bad that I would start crying to my mum when they shook even a bit. I don’t know why I was so scared. I would chew my food in one side of my mouth, hoping it wouldn’t affect the shaky tooth. And you know how some children like pulling out they’re teeth by themselves? I didn’t at all. Nearly all of my teeth have been pulled out by a dentist. I remember my first dentist. I hated her so much, maybe it was because she was always so impatient. Or maybe it was just because I was a difficult child to handle, I don’t know. I remember I gave her such a hard time once, she just walked out on me. My mum had to call her back in just to pull out my tooth. After that, I think she didn’t want me as her patient anymore, and so I had to go to another dentist, who was thankfully, so much nicer. 

At the end of the day, everybody has a fear of their own. No matter how ridiculous or how trivial it may seem, a fear is still a fear. And it's okay to have one. Like having hobbies, favourite colours and habits, fear is just part and parcel of life but never let it hold you back from trying new things, achieving new heights and exploring new dreams. 
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Thursday 10 October 2013

Submitted by Sarah Crompton, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

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Wednesday 9 October 2013

by Pang Huey Lynn, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2013

How often have you heard someone say, “Oh man, I wish I had a twin. We'd be able to...”? There is a lot of mystery shrouding the idea of twins. It intrigues most people to no end. There has to be at least one point in your life where you have wished for a twin sister or brother, whether it was to help you with something (i.e. take a test for you) or just to have someone to talk to. There are many misconceptions regarding what I commonly refer to as the 'Twin Phenomena'. As one half of a twin group, I consider myself quite capable of being your personal guide to living life with a twin.

Firstly, what are twins? Twins are two offspring produced in the same pregnancy. Twins can be identical or fraternal. Identical twins are genetically the same. They are always of the same gender. Fraternal twins are twins which are genetically different. They can be of either the same or different genders. I am part of a pair of sororal twins. This is a term given to two female fraternal twins. Children produced from regular pregnancies are referred to as singletons.

The most common misconception about twins is that they have to look alike. Identical twins look very similar and very alike. However, there can be slight differences. One twin may seem taller or larger in size. One twin may have a birthmark the other does not. In the case of fraternal twins, they may still look similar, but they are genetically different just like any other pair of normal siblings. Fraternal twins can also look different like any other sibling group (e.g. me!) Fraternal twins may also be of different genders. Identical twins may exhibit similar preferences to things such as food and music, but fraternal twins, once again are like any other sibling group. They may take a shine to different things.

Take for instance, my sister and I. Growing up, we were constantly asked why we never liked the same things. We would shrug our shoulders and avoid the questions as best we could. We were constantly compared, and where we differed, people found it interesting. As a result we felt the need to pull away from one another to showcase our individuality. If one of us liked the colour blue, the other would like some other colour, like green. If one of us liked Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls, then Bubbles was off limits to the other.

Twins often get dressed up in the same clothes when they are younger. My sister and I dressed the same until we were about 9 years old. After that, we took care not to even buy the same clothes anymore. To this day, we do not have a single article of clothing in our closets that is exactly the same. Twins will try to pull away from one another in terms of dressing, especially if they look physically alike. This helps them set themselves apart. At least then people can tell that, say, the older sister dresses more casually while the younger one is more flamboyant. 

Another issue many twins have to face is how everyone views us as a pair and not a singular entity. We are commonly referred to as “the twins”. Albeit much easier than using our names (Lynn and Vern), do us a favour would you, and call us by our names? They were given to us for a reason. While we’re on the topic of Dos and Don’ts, please try your best to remember our names. Nothing irks twins more than being called by the wrong name. Especially if we don’t even look alike.

Twins suffer from the same thing every one of you faces with your siblings as well, just magnified. Sibling rivalry. The sibling rivalry between twins is one to go down in the books. The need to be better than the one you are constantly being compared to is amplified when she or he is the same age as you are. Both twins go through the same things such as exams, at the exact same time. There is no reason for one to outperform the other tremendously. At this point, my sister and I have figured out our own strengths and weaknesses so we no longer feel the same strong urge we felt as kids to outdo one another. 

While having a twin sibling should be no different than having a normal sibling, there is one huge difference. Having a twin means always having someone very close in age to you by your side. Twins mature at similar rates, so we don’t face the issue of having an older sibling who just doesn’t want to play games with you anymore or thinks he or she is too good for you. He or she understands your situation better than anyone else. A twin is someone you should be able to rely on in times of sorrow and celebrate with in times of joy. He or she will always be there for you in your times of need. I will always be ready to defend my sister whenever necessary, and she in return will be there for me when I need a person to turn to. 

For more information on twins check out One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular by Abigail Pogrebin.
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Sunday 6 October 2013

by Amanda Lee & Chin Wye Mun, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

"I remember when we took my granddaughter to the first exhibition we had, and she went around quite blank, keeping her emotions in. Then, all of a sudden she burst out crying. She couldn’t believe that children her age somewhere else were going through all this. And when you listen to the victims in the Commission, in the hearing, you tear up at their stories, at what happened to them, it's just unbelievable."

She was a regal lady, dressed in a pastel pink baju kurung and pearls resting demurely around her neck, with her white handbag in her lap as she sat in the chair. Her gentle demeanor and warm voice definitely relaxed us, as nervous and excited as we were at having the opportunity to interview such a respected figure in the Malaysian society. Though soft-spoken, her words rang with a deep passion that was undeniable. Sooner or later, we found ourselves loosening up and immensely enjoying the engrossing discussion.  

Just last friday, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah—one of the founders of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War (KLFCW), as well as a few other VIPs including Tun Dr Mahathir and Dato' Yaacob Merican (Secretary-General of the KLFCW) graced our school with their presence on behalf of the launch of the Criminalize War Club in Cempaka Cheras. It was a momentous occasion indeed, and it was with great honor and a dramatic flourish of drumroll (literally), that the Criminalize War Club was officially launched in Cempaka Cheras. Armed with the objective to create awareness among students on the criminality of war,  several CWCs are already sprouting up across Malaysia, ready to assist in the campaign against war; Cempaka being the first private international school to do so.

First off, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah explained the justification behind criminalizing war and the main reason why the KLFCW was formed. To quote Albert Einstein, "Killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." How is one justified to wage war on terrorism, when war itself is an act of terrorism? How can one man kill another, just because of a mere uniform, because some higher power decreed them to do so? How can one man ask another, to kill

"If a person kills another person, it’s murder and the killer will be charged and punished for it. Why is it then, that when in wars, when there are thousands, hundred thousands, millions of people, regardless of age, the perpetrators are just killing and killing without being charged. In fact, they’re glorified, given medals, statues and become heroes. Isn’t it unfair?"

Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled “enemy?” - Sylvia Plath

The worst part is, the innocent undoubtedly suffer the most. People who had nothing to do with the war, the weapons, the money or greed. 

I was ordered to go in there and destroy the enemy... 
That was my job on that day. 
That was the mission I was given. 
I did not sit down and think in terms of men, women and children.
- Lieutenant William Calley, testifying before a court-martial in defense of his actions in My Lai, 1970

Killing becomes so automatic, deaths so inevitable that slowly the humanity drains out. We only hear the reports and spoken numbers—the death toll. A hundred dead, a thousand dead, a million dead. People forget that there are names and faces behind those numbers and statistics. We forget that each number is a life lost. Each number is a father, a mother, a child.

"The victims of this war are usually mostly the non-combatants, just ordinary people. The children, the women, they are the ones who suffer, paying the ultimate price of death just because someone who is so greedy or whatever motive or agenda they had decided to have them killed. We had a conference regarding the impact of war on children, and that's when we decided that we should begin to teach children to be aware of what war is. We started CWC for the children. We want peace but there will be no absolute peace if war is not stopped legally," clarified Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah. 

"We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace." - Jeane Kirkpatrick

Besides forming Criminalize War Clubs in schools, the KLFCW also aims to spread the notion of promoting peace through professional fields such as the medical, legal and scientific fields. When asked on how they planned to initiate this movement, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah explained that it was crucial to first give the people a clear view of what war is.

"First thing before we start any of these projects, you have to tell the people first about what the whole thing is about, that means like a campaign of awareness. Even in the medical field, we must first talk about what is war actually.”

Amanda Tiew, head of the YJC editorial in CILC also posed a question that we felt had much relevance in our situation. Our country being blessedly untainted by the ravages of war, the younger generation may find it hard to relate and empathize with war crimes as compared to people who have actually lived through wars and 'eaten the salt'. How can we bridge the gap?

"Because you’re not born during wartime, you’re born with peace around you, you have everything. To make the younger people aware, we must for example, encourage them to to attend conferences and to listen to the speakers who talk about war. That’s why the exhibition is very important, and there’s nothing like going to places where there are still relics of war like Vietnam and Cambodia. I’m very fortunate to have been to places where they have had conflicts—Hiroshima after the war and Nagasaki. Photographs related to people who have been victims of war in that time and place are particularly important. I remember when we took my granddaughter to the first exhibition we had, and she went around quite blank, keeping her emotions in. Eventually she just burst out crying. She couldn’t believe that children her age somewhere else were going through all this. And when you listen to the victims in the Commission, in the hearings, you tear up their stories—what happened to them, it’s just unbelievable."

KLFCW is trying to achieve what ordinary courts refuse to undertake. According to Dato Yaacob, “All this actually started when a British peer by the name of Lord Russel had this view that the war in Vietnam was an unjust war, but those who committed that unjust war are still left free. So what he wanted to do was to get a team of concerned people all over the world as jurors, and he called in people to give evidence about the Vietnam War. Some of the people who came as witness were people who ran away from drafting soldiery to places like Canada. It became a 'tribunal of conscience'. In our case, we wanted to do something better. We wanted to have a panel of judges who listen to cases like an ordinary international court. The only thing we don’t have is the power to punish them. We are hoping that countries who are brave enough, who care enough about criminalizing war will take it upon themselves to arrest these people based on our evidence if they were to go into their country.”

For example, there was one KLFWC tribunal two years ago, in which George Bush and Tony Blair were found guilty. Though people laughed because the KLFCW had no power to enforce anything, certain countries like Belgium, said that they would act on KLFWC’s behalf on their evidence, to arrest the perpetrators should they step into their country. 

“So we have done something,” says Dato Yaacob. “It will take a long time, but then again it took thousands of years to abolish slavery.” And as Dato Freida says, "It is people like us who will make the difference. It is the younger generation of today who will become leaders, the ones who will vote for leaders in the future." Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah also stressed on communication being the key to preventing wars:

“Young people of today have to think twice about the conflicts of war. A family is like a strong block, where everything fits in very well. But once there are any pieces that don’t fit, then the whole thing will crumble and if there are any conflicts within the family what do you do? You don’t kill each other, you sit down and talk and get the problems out. Its a matter of contact and communication. You have to communicate with each other."

With that, plus a reminder from Dato’,"Next time when you become leaders, remember this," the interview came to a close. The efforts and objectives of the KLFCW are admirable. Having the courage to do what some cower from, this organization stands firm, dedicated to their cause and devoted to doing the world justice, standing for those who can’t stand for themselves. They embrace that the movement will take some time, but doing something is better than nothing at all. As Dr. Yaacob has stated, it took thousands of years to abolish slavery (with traces still left behind). Similarly, the fight against war will undoubtedly take time, whether it be years, decades or centuries. But if armed with the same resilience and spirit that started this motion, it's possible. 

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime."
-Ernest Hemingway

To check out Limelight's (Cheras) part of the Interview, click here. CILC will also be covering this exclusive interview in their Sparks Magazine!
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