Friday 29 November 2013

by Nur Habibah Ishak, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Urbanscapes — one of the most highly anticipated arts festivals in Malaysia. This November, I had the chance to attend my first one yet and I had the most enjoyable weekend hanging out with friends, discovering new food vendors, and enjoying the truly amazing music and art scene. Most notably, I was able to witness a fashion show of sorts.

We were given carte blanche with the dress code and simply wore whatever we wanted. Taking advantage of said freedom, there were some pretty crazy outfits out there. On the first day, I made the mistake of not wearing long socks with boots which I regretted later that night after arriving home to find blisters just above my ankles.

Given the furnace-like temperatures that Malaysia constantly attacks us with, the weather on the day wasn’t all too bad, if a little humid. The sun that day was thankfully more forgiving than usual and by the time night came, the air was nice and cool. That being the case, many of us took advantage of the cooler weather, not confining our fashion choices to the simple loose top and shorts.

Size is everything when it comes to bags. During festivals, the smaller the better. Unless you're trying to keep an unwanted pair of hands off you, you surely wouldn't want to hit someone on the head with a large sack in the middle of a concert. It being a concert, jumping around and energetic waving is inevitable. Most people were seen with cross-body straps (ideal for dancing), a mini backpack or a drawstring bag. Having said that, zippers are your best friend for keeping your belongings safe. My purse and bottle fell out of my bag as I was jumping along to Franz Ferdinand. I was very grateful when the person behind helped me notice that.

For festival-goers, rather than going in sandals or slippers, a trusty pair of boots, wellingtons or closed-toe shoes will do a better job of protecting your toes from being crushed. If not, you'd better come prepared with some plasters. Concert goers can get rough and when lost in the music, no one really pays attention to their surroundings.

Between the bags and the boots, all other apparel is basically ruled under ‘Anything goes’. There was a parade of denim shorts, bold accessories, patterns, sequin items and bright colours. Every person was savvy in their own way and it was certainly something unique to catch during events like these. 

Photo credits: Urbanscapes / The Spacemen

by Anonymous 22:12 26 comments | in , , , , ,
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Thursday 28 November 2013

by Akhilan Manivannan, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

The English Premier League is arguably the most competitive and compelling league in the footballing world, and teams will be looking to shake things up in the upcoming January Transfer Window; some more than others of course (nobody wants to see another gifted footballer warm the Manchester City bench). With that being said, here are 5 teams in my opinion that desperately need some quality signings.

1. Sunderland

Not many expected to see Sunderland at rock bottom in the table, with an abysmal tally of 7 points in 12 games. While they may not have a star studded squad, Sunderland players have showed us over the years that they are more than capable of grinding out results and out-manoeuvring opponents, especially in midfield. Midfield has undeniably been Sunderland’s forte, with talented central midfielders such as Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson doing a decisive job in previous seasons. 

That has definitely not been the case this season however, as Sunderland have been overrun in midfield, demolished in defence, given the ball away like candy in Halloween and have had utterly ghastly forwards. Sunderland need changes and they need them fast. A striker, a traditional number 10 and a centre back would go miles in getting Sunderland out of the danger zone and that is what they shall strive for in the upcoming transfer window.

2. Arsenal

It’s debatable to say that the league leaders at the moment need transfers, but please do hear me out. Like Sunderland, Arsenal have been gifted with brilliant midfield prowess, boasting a plethora of technically sound players in every position. Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, and not to mention the spark of their season, star signing Mesut Ozil. 

However while being blessed with so many midfield options, Arsenal have had some dismal games up-front to say the least. While Olivier Giroud has already netted 7 goals this season, he has been largely inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, he can be brilliant on his best day, but the next week he can be completely non-existent on the pitch. 

Lukas Podolski is admittedly another option for Arsenal, but he unfortunately has been out injured and even before the injury, looked more like an attacking midfielder than an all out striker. Arsenal have even had to rely on in-form midfielder Aaron Ramsey to win them games at times. Arsenal need someone who can take advantage of the truckload of chances created by their midfielders; a prolific striker whose sole purpose is to put the ball at the back of the net. Havier Hernandez perhaps?

3. Crystal Palace

After losing star winger Wilfred Zaha, Crystal Palace have been in complete shambles all over the pitch. They have lacked conviction in midfield, strength in defense, and are not to mention completely outclassed up front. Crystal Palace have no choice I’m afraid but to loosen their purse strings in January, because whoever they can add to their dismal squad will be a huge boost to their hopes of remaining in the Premier League.

4. Norwich City

While Norwich City’s home grown talent surprised many a team last season, they have truly been out of their league in the past few months. With one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League, Norwich City have had absolutely no confidence in their back-line and penetrating their defence has been no more complicated than slicing through butter with a knife. There is no doubt that Norwich City can score goals however. On the contrary, they have some rather admirable flair in the team going forward but with that bad a defence, no team can survive in the Premier League. Expect Norwich City to completely reconstruct their back-line with a hardy centre back, a right back, and a left back.

5. Manchester United

Perhaps it is the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson but Manchester United have had completely lacklustre displays and have not looked like the side other clubs have come to fear. Shocking defeats have clearly highlighted the major flaw in United’s squad, and that is central midfield. While Sir Alex Ferguson had managed to conceal the lack of midfield depth in United’s side, new manager David Moyes has been unable to do so and should not be expected to do so either. 

It is completely unacceptable for a club that once boasted Roy Keane and Paul Scholes in the middle of the pitch to now have to so heavily depend on one Michael Carrick. I mean Tom Cleverley is simply not good enough, Anderson has been inconsistent and unfit. New signing Marouane Fellaini has yet to fit into the side and Ryan Giggs will be 40 years old in two days. Manchester United are in dire need of a central midfielder; preferably a box to box type midfielder like Kevin Strootman, or a creative spark like Ilkay Gundongan. Whoever it is, David Moyes needs to act fast in the transfer window or his side could very well find themselves outside the top 4 when the season comes to a close.

The January Transfer Window of 2014 will definitely be one to remember, not just for these 5 clubs, but also for the entire Premier League roster. To all the excited fans out there who want that specific, amazing player at your club, cross your fingers and fret no longer, because it just might happen. 
by Anonymous 20:05 21 comments | in , , ,
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by Dave Ryan Aguirre Buaron, Special Projects Officer-Community Manager, Cempaka International Schools

Dear fellow Cempakans,

Most of you are probably wondering who I am. I am your Special Projects Officer-Community Manager, in-charge of our school’s Social Media. Today however, I will not be lecturing you about digital media but something more personal, something more intimate.

At half past midnight on the 8th of November 2013, I received a call from my mother. A call that I knew I would be getting sooner or later. After suffering more than six months due to cancer of the urinary bladder, my father passed away. I was devastated. But I really did not have the time to mourn. I was alone in my apartment with my two cats, and my father’s passing made every moment even lonelier. It wasn’t over however. 

At this time, I knew from news all over Twitter and Facebook that a very powerful typhoon was roaring towards my country. And my hometown and surviving family looked like they were right in its direct path. I frantically contacted my mother and sister to make sure that our house was secured, and that they and my father's body were safe. In 2008, our house was flooded during the onslaught of Typhoon Fengshen. I did not want to relive the memories of not being able to contact my entire family for two whole days again.

You see, typhoons and earthquakes are common in the Philippines. Not only do we sit on the Ring of Fire, but we are also right on the path of typhoons forming in the Western Pacific. In one year, we average 20-30 typhoons strikes. However, Haiyan (or what we call Yolanda, as we have a different naming convention for storms entering the Philippines) was different. The ferocity of which, was unmatched in recent memory. With winds gusting around 380kph and sustained winds at 315kph, it’s equivalent would be standing at the back of a jumbo jet taking off. 

I had already booked tickets prior to my father’s passing. I meant to go home on the 13th of November - a day before my father’s birthday, and mine. Due to debris on the runway, the airport was shut down for three days, and I had to move my flight to the 11th when commercial flights were allowed to land. When I landed in Manila, I went to the Philippine Airlines office to have my tickets coming back to be moved as well. One of the people queueing was a man who worked for the immigration. 

When I asked him where he was going, he replied that he was looking for flights to Tacloban or anywhere nearby. When I asked how his family was, he replied that they were still looking for them as there was hardly any communication coming out from the city of over 200,000. I tried to reassure him that perhaps his family was fine after all. To which he said that their house was right in the hardest hit area of the city. From the sound of his pained voice, he seemed resigned to the fact that he had very possibly lost ten members of his family. He then recounted to me how corpses were floating out in the bay and under the scenic San Juanico Bridge. There were too many bodies laying about with nobody giving them a proper burial. The grisly stories coming out definitely gave me a different perspective about my own personal loss.

I finally got on an earlier flight to Kalibo, my hometown, over 450 kilometers south of Manila, and there were only 14 passengers on that plane. I did not even know we were about to land because the entire city and province was pitch black - only a few buildings with their own generators had any light in them. The darkness was oppressive. On my way from the Kalibo International Airport to the funeral home where the wake was being held, I could see the outlines of fallen trees, electricity posts and damaged houses in the dark. When I got to the funeral home, I met my mother, sister and my father. We were using our own family’s generator which my father bought in 2008 after Typhoon Fengshen to ensure there was some light in case of emergencies. 

I looked out onto the balcony where I was confronted by darkness. Usually around this time of the year, the entire country is filled with twinkling Christmas lights. The Philippines celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world starting from the 1st of September until the first week of January. But there was none of that this year. At daybreak, I saw visible damage in some parts of the town centre, more noticeably along the outskirts and the river where houses made of light materials were partially to totally damaged. Thankfully, ours was fine. I visited the coastal village where I was born and majority of the houses sustained a significant amount of damage, including my late grandfather’s house which was pretty much destroyed. I haven’t been there since 1998. I visited the school which my father helped build and saw their school canteen damaged and the oldest room had lost parts of its roof. 

The next evening, relatives told me that the Congressman’s men went to the village to distribute relief goods, but only to their political supporters. I was furious. How can they politicise aid? We are talking about the lives of people here. For the most part when I was in my province, I did not see any visible nor even rushed relief efforts to help the victims. In fact the local Commission of Audit denied a request by a local council to release relief funds before the typhoon. The stories coming out from the government’s inefficiency and lack of human decency were absolutely horrendous.

Immediately after my father’s funeral, my family decided to do our own relief work, from our own pockets, in our living room, we bought and repacked rice and tinned goods, and had at least 100 food packs, together with donations from employees of the British Council Malaysia (flashlights, first aid kits) we handed out half of it to the coastal village while inside our van and the other half we endorsed to the local Catholic Church for distribution to another town hit even worse. Throughout this time, there was no power and hardly any internet connection but I couldn’t really complain. Thousands of lives had been lost and millions more are suffering so we have to think of things bigger than ourselves. 

When I returned to Cempaka this Monday, I was shocked to see the boxes upon boxes of aid inside the office at the Sick Bay. I nearly cried. When Dr. Rizal said Cempaka will send aid, I did not realise it would be this much. 
Photo Credit : En. Syariz
It was truly a humbling experience. It was heartening to see Cempakan students, parents, teachers, and staff help wrap and move goods into the Malaysian Red Crescent Society truck. Truly, it’s a privilege to give and in the spirit of Christmas, what is more appropriate but lend a hand to those in need?
Photo Credit : En. Syariz
Special thanks to the Soo family, Damansara parents who donated 440 boxes of bottled water. Thank you to Dato’ Freida, Dr. Rizal, the rest of management, staff, teachers, parents and students for making this possible.

While millions of my people are roofless, hungry, in the dark, they are not hopeless. On behalf of my countrymen, thank you very much, Cempakans. Maraming Salamat at Maligayang Pasko. Merry Christmas.

Sincerely yours,
Dave Ryan Aguirre Buaron
by Anonymous 11:31 15 comments | in , , , ,
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Wednesday 27 November 2013

by Extarm1n1ous, Cookies, [A]dmiral Puppy, and moonfish8 (Gavin See, Loh Zhun Yew,  Ng Zu Ming and Lee Ting An), Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

If you wonder why the guys in your class haven’t been responding to your Skype messages recently, we can assure that it’s nothing to worry about. In just a few more days, they will emerge from their burrows, cross eyed and pale, shrinking from the sun’s rays. But for now, we can safely say that they remain cut off from the outside world and permanently glued to their computers screens. Because now, dear readers, is the season of the Dire.

For those already considering whether they should just close the tab because you have no idea what’s going on, Diretide is the yearly event for the internationally known game Defence of the Ancients 2, or as it’s better known, DotA 2. And while DotA 2 is already addicting enough to keep our grades to an all time low, the Diretide halloween event has taken it to a whole new level of gaming.

Assuming some of you guys and all of you girls out there also have no idea what DotA is, here's a crash course for Defence of the Ancients 2 - really all you need to know.

Dota 2 is a 3D game of action and strategy, teamwork and tactics. Much like the somewhat more famous computer game ‘Starcraft’, each match is a test of skill and speed as well as strategic thinking. Comparable to a game of chess, each game involves two teams of 5 people each, who choose a side (either Sentinel or Dire) and then a hero from a pool of over a hundred heroes. They then fight to destroy either the other team’s Tree of Life (for the Sentinel) or Frozen Throne (for the Dire), which are located at the very heart of the bases. 

Frozen Throne and the Tree of Life
And while at first glance it may not seem all that thought-demanding, it is hardly as simple as that.  Each hero usually has three normal skills which differ from one hero to the other, as well as one ‘ultimate’ skill that can often be game-changing. This makes every hero special in his or her own way. No two heroes share the same skill set and each provides a unique gaming experience, which may explain why we’re content to play this game forever. Surprisingly, although there are so many of these heroes and each has at least four or in some cases, fourteen (invoker, anybody?) skills, naming all of them and explaining what each can do is no sweat for any true DotA player, for a deep understanding of all of them is critical for proper gameplay. Which may explain why there’s simply no time, no time at all to study for tomorrow’s math test.

Aside from the humungous variety of heroes for us to learn and master, the game takes place in a ‘map’ which consists of the two bases, separated from each other by a river and guarded by three tiers of towers, as well as jungles for each team. Each base is filled with barracks, which produce creeps, towers, and other buildings whose purpose we’ve still yet to figure out, while jungles are labyrinths of trees which provide both danger and sanctuary. Starting to get more complicated, isn’t it?

To cap it all off, there are exactly one hundred and sixteen items that your hero can buy with the gold he/she (yes, there are heroines) accumulates by killing creeps, towers, and especially the other team’s heroes. While the cheaper, common items are nothing to be excited about, enough gold can buy you items that can change the tide of battle- or aggravate your team mates off to no end. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, DotA is positively brimming with more advanced tactics and many other aspects we prefer not to bore you with. Last hitting and denying, creep pulling and stacking, warding and counter warding, the secret shop, side lane shop, Roshan, juking, ganking, raxing, jungling, really there’s no end to what the average DotA player has to learn. The new DotA player is more often that not very taken aback by the sheer volume of thought required to be put in one game, or the extremely steep learning curve involved. Thankfully, we have a very ‘understanding’ community; after all, if they’re saying it in Russian or Chinese, we can’t tell if it’s insult or praise. (The word noob, however, as we’ve discovered, is universally understood. Nice to know we’re such a united bunch.)

Basically, your main role in the game is to choose and play a hero. There are three main types of heroes : Strength, Intelligence, and Agility. They are split according to their primary attribute, which is to say which attribute of the three increases the most per level (generally). As a result, in very general terms most heroes in the same type have rather similar abilities. Strength heroes have the delightful job of running into team fights shouting ‘YOLO’ while enemies focus on them so that their own team can go on a killing spree, and are able to do so because strength provides additional health and health regeneration (to put it in laymen terms, it makes them ‘tanky’.) 

Intelligence heroes have a large reserve of mana and have in general either damaging spells in their arsenal, making them the main sources of damage in the early stages of the game, or stuns and slows, to support their fellow heroes. While they can barely scratch a Strength hero late into the game, usually a good intelligence hero can shut down an enemy team and score their team and early win. (Unless you picked Techies. Then just shut your computer, sit in a corner, and think of what you’ve done.) 

Agility heroes have agility as their primary attribute and therefore have more attack speed and armour than the other two. Typically, they are ‘carries’- they carry their team into late game, they are the main damage doers as the clock slips into the thirty and forty minute bracket. With such a responsibility, it’s no surprise they garner the most flak from their team when the opponents begin to fountain farm and get their 'Beyond Godlike' killing sprees. Team losing? Blame the carry. Tower fallen? Blame the carry. Top rax? Blame the carry. Courier died? Blame the carry. Fed so much until Keeper of the Light soloed Roshan? Well, you can blame the lag.

DotA 2 has a very sizeable fan base. Aside from the massive online community, who play in games known as ‘pubs’ and appears to be made entirely out of Russians and Chinese, it is also played by competitive professionals around the world. The International, which offers two million and a spot in the hall of fame (Aegis of Champions) for those who battle it to the top, is currently the largest worldwide DotA competition and is extremely well known. Just like comparing Olympians to school teams, the difference in the level of play for public and competitive players is beyond comprehension. Competitive DotA is fast paced, extremely coordinated, and impossibly complex- no strategy has been left untried, untested. 'Pub' DotA, on the other hand, is mostly just kids fooling around with the new computer game or adults with more than enough time on their hands. Though there are exceptions, it’s not all that hard to predict what you’ll hear during the game.

Strength: “zzzzz Huskar为什么你lifebreak蠕变”

Intelligence: “OMG CM GO BUY DESO FOR WHAT.”

Agility: “PA iявляется хакер!

And now that we’re done with DotA 101, it’s time for the Diretide.
’Tis the season of the Dire, Dark tide rising ever higher, Greevils hatching from Roshan, Radiant’s power is almost gone.
When the river does run, with the blood of the sun, gather candy in it’s spate, lest Roshan you aggravate!
Should you offer nothing sweet, he will feed on your hero’s meat, Dire or Radiant matters not, best be ready when you’re caught.
Once Roshan has has his fill,candy then afflicts his will, maddened into sugary fits, he will rage until you quit.
Dire and Radiant must unite, with a common end in sight, Roshan will not yield to five, ten must join if they’re to thrive.
If Roshan your team defeats, Dire tide offers up it’s treats; eggs and essences do abound…
After that, another round!”
It’s that time of the year again, where children are dressing up and walking from doorstep to doorstep for candies. Well, most children. A small fraction of them are getting their candy by brutally murdering Roshan’s newborns in cold blood and gathering their scattered remains that they fight over in a bloody battle to the death. I guess we are the new generation.

Diretide is an annual event for Halloween, which lands on the 31st of October. Unfortunately this year because of certain issues that Icefrog (the developers of DotA) chose to keep undisclosed, the event was cancelled. This then led to massive complaints and a "GIVE DIRETIDE" uprising by the community, where the forums was swarmed with complaints. Smartly, Icefrog decided to give them what they wanted instead of risk losing their entire fanbase. We say? Better late than never.

Diretide is divided into three phases: Candy Chaos, The Trickster Awakens and Sugar Rush. Similar to a normal game of DotA, the teams are divided into two teams of 5. The first two rounds (Candy Chaos and The Trickster Awakens) are similar; both focus on acquiring as much candy from 'roshlings' as possible and stashing it in your candy bucket, located conveniently in the jungle. Aside from that, some team members are tasked with defending their candy bucket and stealing from the opponents' to add to their own. With that said, the second round is different, as per the name, Roshan will leave his cave in search for candies from any random player. They can choose to either feed the candy to Roshan or die. Either ways results  in an increase of Roshan's already colossal strength, which is a crucial factor in the last phase. The team with more candy in their stash when the round ends is considered the winner of the first two phases and are awarded random rewards.

The final phase, known as Sugar Rush, is the phase where both teams co-operate in order to defeat Roshan. The aim is to kill Roshan as many times possible- after each death, he revives stronger. The more your team triumphs, the greater the reward. Initially, Sugar Rush lasts one and a half minutes. Each time you kill Roshan falls, he revives one level higher and an additional thirty seconds are granted to the two teams to take him down once more. If they fail to kill him within the allotted time, the ame is overand everyone receives random DotA goodies. The difficulty increases greatly every time he respawns and killing him even in the first few levels is not an easy task. Even with the combined efforts of ten heroes, Roshan can and does fight back, making everything much more challenging.

If you reach the highest level in Diretide, you will be awarded a Platinum Baby Roshan courier. This Platinum Roshan courier has been recently sold online for over thousands of dollars, yes, United States Dollars. Which proves just how hard it is to get to this elite level. Many innovative strategies are needed to survive and win the first 2 phases, some choose to lock Roshan during the Trickster Awakens phase in a corner by using a blink dagger (note: this no longer works.) Hero choices are vital, there are many complex strategies (so far all involve a Mortred with six Rapiers) that have to be used to get anywhere near close enough to the Hall of fame. So it should comes as no surprise, that those who enter the Hall of Fame sacrifice hours, and some even days, just to grab the glory. 

This is the end of out rather lengthy DotA article. While we would have put in more easter eggs and strategies to appeal to the veterans who just happened to stumble across this, we think you'd understand when we say we've written enough and we've got to go play a game or two. Instead, here's a video which we feel displays perhaps the finest strategic skill we've ever seen. Watch in awe.
by Anonymous 10:52 16 comments | in , , , ,
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Sunday 24 November 2013

by Ryan Yoong Ka Jun, Form 4 Science 1, Class of 2014

A wise person once said, “All good things must come to an end”. For the Damansara Games Carnival, this was it. A day to give it your all and put it out there one last time. For some of us, myself included, it was starting to sink in that this would be the last time we would have such an event. As the days passed, we could strike off the various sports that we have been participating in throughout our years in Cempaka. We’d strike off quite a number, some of which were sports completely new to us, hoping one day in the near future that we will be given this opportunity once again. The opportunity to relive the games, relive the laughter and relive the moment. But until then, we had to live in the present and make the most of our last day. 

The final Games Carnival Day in 2013 saw high-flying frisbees, intense basketball matches and the ever-so-muddy kicks from the football pitch. Given the unforgiving weather the day before, (which was similarly observed the year before; a trend maybe?) it was no surprise that everyone was prepared to lose a pair of socks or shoes to the menacing mud that had settled right in the middle of the football pitch also known as the mud pit. 

Woon Tyen Yee, Seladang soccer-5-aside player shares her experience treading the murky waters that day.

"If you noticed a girl on the field with brown splatters on her face and her clothes drenched in mud, you would know that she played soccer 5-aside for Games Carnival. Due to heavy rain in the early morning, the chocolate-coloured field made passing the ball even harder. Our first match was against Helang, who came prepared with great strikers, midfielders, defenders and a great goalkeeper in their team. At first, I thought we wouldn’t make it to the finals; knowing that they have the whole package. But after that game, I realized that even with the best players, you can’t win without a good strategy, which is what allowed us to advance to the finals with match ending in 3-0 in our favour."

Photo Credit : Lai Li Chan
"Our second and final match was against Beruang, the team famous for their committed captain, Fiona See who is a dedicated football fanatic and clearly great at football as well. She obviously was the one we were afraid of - she never gave up until the end and I really admire that about her. The game was much more intense than our first one. There were so many opportunities for both teams that there wasn’t any clear winner. With both Beruang and Seladang supporters cheering loudly and giving special guidance from the sidelines, the scoreboard was still nil-nil. I really thought we were about to move on to extra time, and then to penalty shootouts, but I was wrong. A minor mistake by the goalie who passed the ball to Tania, and she fired in the ball which flew straight past the keeper’s arms, into the top corner of the goal post. Two minutes after that, the whistle blew and history was made. Kudos to the Beruang players who played wonderfully, and to the rest of the team- we did it. :)"

Right next to the mud pit was another key attraction; the swimming pool also known as the field. Action here revolved around a frisbee being thrown back and forth with the splashing of water here and there and the occasional slip from the players. I was drafted to play ultimate and had high expectations on my shoulders, freshly coming out of a 1st place victory earlier this year. However, with key players gone from all houses, it was still a very, very close fight. 

First up, we went against the formidable Helangs who were looking to be in the best shape possible. True enough, the high-flying eagles prevailed in the match and were catapulted into the upper bracket while the bulls were left to fight for 3rd placing. The next match featured the tigers who had also just recovered from their 4-1 loss to the doves. With a good catch here and a bad throw there from both houses it was a close match. Somehow (very much to my relief), we managed a victory there. Turning to the left, we were greeted by smiles from the Seladang girls who had also won their match against Helang. Well played everyone, well played. 

Photo Credit : Lai Li Chan
Besides the two water-soaked venues, the outdoor basketball also experienced its fair share of rain and had to be put on hold for the first few hours of the day. By the time I had mustered enough strength (frisbee is a very tiring sport) and spirit (after falling in the mud all day) to make my way over there, it was already the final match between Helang and Seladang. 

Photo Credit : Lai Li Chan
With both teams having their fair share of good throws and bad, it was neck to neck. Tensions rose as the points increased in denominations of ones, twos and the rare threes which got everyone anxious to know the final outcome. Then the whistle. Followed by the roar from the crowd. Some players rejoiced in happiness while others looked rather dejected. Who had won? It was very close, but Seladang managed to edge the Helangs by a mere 3 points. Kudos to players from both houses for making what will be to me, and many others, one the most exciting moments of Games Carnival 2014. 

Alas we have come to the end of the Games Carnival Day-by-Day Overview (minus rugby which we covered on Twitter). With the final results tallied and penalties included, Games Carnival has become a thing of the past. No longer something we look forward to; but something we look back at with a smile and fond memories. Regardless of where the houses currently stand on the scoreboard, it goes without saying that everyone will be back next year; recharged, re-energised and most certainly ready to rumble. #seladangsHTG #merpatiRTH #RHGP #tigersYSF:) 
by Anonymous 22:40 13 comments | in , , , ,
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Friday 22 November 2013

Happy November everyone! This month, YJC designers were assigned the theme "11", which represents the month November. November does indeed signify the beginning of the beautiful (or boring) holidays but November also stands for many other things. No Shave November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and even Sweet Potato Awareness Month. So whether you're vacationing overseas or growing out a beard, hopefully you're spending this month wisely. YJC: Design wishes everybody happy holidays! 

Lim Wei Xin, Class of 2014, Junior 1 Cempaka

Chua Zi, Class of 2014, Form 4 Science 1

Aw Kah Yan, Class of 2014, Form 4 Science 1

by Anonymous 18:58 20 comments | in , , , ,
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Thursday 21 November 2013

by Ashleigh Teng, Year 6 Aqua, Class of 2018

I woke up to a beautiful day filled with bright skies and not a cloud in sight -thank goodness! For on the 25th of October 2013, Cempaka held their Annual Campori for the Upper Primary students - where we were expected to "rough it out" for three days. Where we'd be away from the slightest usage of technology and instead, be one with nature. Giving us the chance to bond and work together with our friends, it was a very comfortable and fun atmosphere indeed.

After nearly three long hours of strenuous travelling, we arrived at the grand Cempaka International Ladies College (CILC) located at Enstek Technology Park, Sepang. The view was breathtaking. It looked more like a resort than a school campus, really! We were divided into groups for our team projects as soon as we arrived. Our first task as a team was of course designing out team flag and creating our war cry. Then, we were introduced to our facilitators who had spent weeks before devising many fun and challenging games to keep us occupied during our three-day stay at CILC.

Once the briefing was over, we were told to set up our tents in the scorching hot afternoon sun. Learning how to pitch a tent was a great first-time experience for most, if not all of us. The first night was immensely hot even without the sun's rays sizzling our skin. Due to the unbearable heat of the night, I spent the night tossing and turning in the tent. As a result, I woke up feeling rather like a zombie in the morning. Speaking of the morning, it was no different from the night - in fact, it was almost twice as hot. Just standing still for five minutes outside made me sweat buckets!

In the evening, was survival cooking, where we made our own quite delicious satay! After that, we completed our craft project and group presentations before going for supper. The last day of Campori was the amazing race, where teams had to pass through various checkpoints designed to build teamwork and cooperation. We had quite a hard time locating the checkpoints to complete our tasks! Even though my team did not win, we still had a blast trying. After the race ended, everyone was pretty exhausted, but Campori was not over yet. There was a final briefing, where points throughout Campori were evaluated and the winning teams were announced. 

Eating our homemade Satay!
Photo credit: Encik Iqbal

Throughout Campori, I learnt many invaluable lessons. Be it not to waste electricity, food, or water, to the importance of teamwork and cooperation. For me, Campori has been one of the greatest and certainly most enjoyable experience in Primary, and I am truly grateful to be able to experience it.
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by Alisraa Aldin, Form 3 Cempaka, Class of 2015

If you haven’t figured out already, it is probably never a good idea to wear anything in between shorts and full track pants during Games Carnival week. The drastic tan-line on both my legs from the first day alone serves as a constant reminder to that fact. It also turns out that wearing shorts on Day 3 does not in fact undo the damage - it just leaves your legs with something reminiscent to fifty shades of sunburn.

They say that things get easier past the halfway mark and while that may be true for many things (such as weight loss, or writing articles), Games Carnival Day 3 would have to be an exception. We’re all worn out after the previous two days, and while the thought of going through another with aching limbs and harsh sunburns should make us cringe, the spirit in the air was higher than ever. The difference between the four houses’ scores were too close for comfort, leaving the players desperate to turn things around for their respective houses.

Apart from the significant lack of time and house members, one of the biggest changes that come with Games Carnival being held at the end of the year would have to be the change in several sport venues. With the seniors having examinations in the South Hall, the badminton players had no choice but to take a bus to the nearby Community Centre - isolated from their cheers of the dedicated fancells and the rest of the student body.

As the Merpati badminton captain, Lee Jien Tzen experienced this first-hand and shared his thoughts on his experience.

“I’ve never felt so out of place before, being temporarily separated from my house as we awaited our transport outside school. Not having the rest of your house to back you up was an added challenge, but despite that, everyone was pumped up and eager to demonstrate their abilities in the court.

Our first match, much like previous years, was against Harimau. I’d have say that the most memorable match against them was our 2nd singles. It was a close match, a single point determining our opponents as the final winner. We didn’t let that break our stride however, and decided to put more effort into winning the two doubles, putting us in the finals against Helang. 

The fight for first place was even more tight, lasting almost two hours in total! We had to go through all five matches, with each house having an equal number of wins and losses. The outcome of who would get the gold medal came down to one last deciding match. Our heart beats rose as we watched the players play but in the end, it was us Beruangs who came out victorious.

I suppose in all honesty that badminton isn’t a team sport. At the end of the day, we go on the court alone or at very most, with your doubles partner. But to say that we are not a team would be a complete lie - every single one of us put their all in leading us to victory. We became our own fancells, cheering each other on from the benches. So I’m really thankful for my fellow Beruang badminton players, for putting their all in leading us to victory. We may have been playing individually, but this gold medal was a team effort.”

Back in school, handball was played at the far side of the field, The competition was tight, with each house having their fair share of school team players in both boys and girls teams. Here are the thoughts from Chew Qq Hanh, a member of the beruang handball team, as well as quite a number of epic-faced, kung-fu worthy handball pictures due to the lack of badminton and wiffleball photos. 

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

“To say that the finals between Beruang and Helang was intense would be an understatement. Things weren’t looking good at first - Helang had a good two points ahead of us while we had yet to score a goal. But Ezzamel told us not to think so much about it. It was just the start of the game, were we really going to give up so easily?

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

I think what he said really helped get us back on track. The never wavering screams and chants of the fancells sent adrenaline through our veins too. We started to fight back, evening up the score and finally managing to pull ahead. I wish I could say we had it in the bag from there, but Helang truly were formidable opponents. Every time we thought we finally had the upper-hand, they’d break through our defences and turn the tables around. In the end however, we narrowly managed to pull ahead of Helang with only a point or two.”

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

In addition to the already well-matched handball players, the girls teams had one more threat to worry about - CILC. They were the wildcards, leaving the other houses in a mess as they propelled themselves to the upper brackets of the competition. Seladang handball player, Woon Tyen Yee, shares her thoughts on playing against them in the finals.

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

"Here's a little fun fact: I didn't know CILC was playing handball as well, until that very day. That’s when the anxiety kicked in... I've got to admit that the match against CILC was one of the most tiring matches I've ever played (adding to the fact that my stamina is very poor). My favourite part was probably the moment before the game, where my teammates and I would huddle together while I give them a pep-talk to motivate them. Seeing their bright smiles, high fiving each other to distribute the glue on our hands and shouting the loudest 'Seladang!' after three, that was the moment when I overcame my anxiety. The game was filled with good fakes, fast breaks, brilliant saves by the keepers and not forgetting the thundering cheers from both Seladang and CILC supporters. As we were leading with two goals, it got more intense towards the end. Our opponents took advantage of our depleted energy levels, breaking through our defences easily and creating many chances. Fortunately, luck was on our side. When the whistle blew, I momentarily closed my eyes. I didn't know whether to feel happy that we finally clinched the gold, or to feel sad that it was my last time playing handball for Seladang with the greatest team of people.”

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

Now, moving on to my own house. Truth be told, GC Day 3 was more than just a dark day for Harimau. You could say it was a true test to our spirit and resolve. Failing to get a place in any of the day’s sports, most of us weren’t up to watching the other matches and simply chose to eat away our sorrows in the canteen. I would know - after all, I myself was one of those people.

In another part of the field, I was representing my house in wiffleball, which recently replaced softball in the previous FHC season. At first, the match against Helang was going pretty smoothly. We managed to strike out them out early, leaving them with only a few points head start in the first inning. Things took a turn for the worst though when they returned the favour and did the exact same to us - only without letting us get a single point. Our first few batters were struck out, leaving the rest of us unable to bat till the next inning and in a state of confusion.

I think the shock of not scoring a point must have threw us off our game for awhile. We didn’t do that well in defending during the second inning, allowing them to widen the gap. By the time we got ourselves back on track, the gap was a little too big to recover from.

I still remember my very first time batting, back when it was still softball. I was a last minute addition to the team on the day itself, joining simply because they didn’t have enough girl players and the captain was a good friend of mine. That year, we won the gold medal. So as you could imagine, it was frustrating initially. We all felt as though we were unsuccessful in following the footsteps of our seniors, failing our house in the process. But today, I look back with honestly no regrets. 

While I don’t have a clear recollection of the actual events throughout the whole game, I still remember the more important little moments prior and during the match: The drive-through worker’s hilarious “This is McDonalds lah” when Kong tried ordering Mountain Dew there after our last practice, the surge of hope that returned to all of us when Yan Hong made a clean catch and of course, Andrew’s ‘motivational’ High School Musical references when we were close to giving up. Those moments will continue to define my Games Carnival Day 3. Our team may not have succeeded in bringing back a medal for our house, but nevertheless, we were still a team.

I’ve come out with a lot of new experiences this Games Carnival. Some are as trivial as knowing that your fashion choices make a big difference in how awkward your tan is. Others include getting last place, but still feeling like winners simply because we didn’t go down without a fight, and had fun doing it too. Throughout the year, my house has always been the underdogs in Games Carnival. But being the underdogs doesn’t mean that we’re any different from the other houses. The bonding between members, the fight to get a placing, the spirit it’s all the same - it’s simply a placing that distinguishes from the rest.

There’s still a long FHC season ahead of us in 2014, and Games Carnival is merely the beginning. Anything could happen - it all depends on whether you choose to let your wins and losses define your spirit. 
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Wednesday 20 November 2013

by Lee Ting An, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

Juggling, worldwide online competitions, advanced scientific research. The numerous skills required of the current Cempakan has been growing and will continue to do so. Perhaps the reason we have such a variety of skills is because throughout one academic year, we have as many events in one month as other schools probably have in a year. I could list them all out, but one look at our colourful calendar can tell you everything.

Credit : Lai Li Chan
Considering how greatly they affect us later on in our lives, we put a lot of effort into these extra 'super-curricular' activities. True, we may slack off here and there, but otherwise there is a great deal of effort expended for all the projects, assignments, and workshops. Which is why the Annual Cempaka Exposition was introduced just this year to showcase to parents and other teachers the extensive learning journey undertaken by every Cempakan.

The exposition is much like a car showroom, filled with enthusiastic salesmen dedicated to showing off their product. Held in the expansive second floor of the Cheras library, the area housed stations displaying every imaginable skill. Parents generally walk around a small portion of a room trying to comprehend the sheer number of things we do outside the classroom.

The booths ranged from the classroom lab activities like the Form 4's 'Simple and Fun Experiments' (which although typical, were probably the most fun and gave everyone a white fist and a chance to spit on paper), to the Form 3‘s Post-PMR Activities booth where they flaunt the fact they had some well deserved fun while the rest of us slogged at finals, and even a cup stacking booth, where students tried to stack cups as fast as possible.

Photo credit : Lai Li Chan
Held in conjunction with report card day, the expo allowed parents to see what goes on behind the report card because anyone who's been here for a while knows our grades barely scratch the surface of what we accomplish on a daily basis. The expo was also a chance to flaunt the doings and achievements of the many clubs in school such as Young Journalists' Club (the best one), who write the lovely Lumen Studet you are currently viewing and will proceed to bookmark because you adore it so, the Interact Club, which aims to help communities or people in need, Cempaka Incorporated, a business club which teaches students on how to make the most of out your Ringgit, and the Save the World umbrella society, whose members dress in dark, black, bat-suits and drive around Gotham fighting crime (actually, they wear green).

Photo Credit : Lai Li Chan
The expo was a good way for Cempakans to display to parents and teachers just what goes on during our long, arduous, but fun days at school. Whether it’s a Cempaka Connect Presentation, a World Education Games ranking, or even a class project for French, Mandarin, or Global Perspectives, doubtless it’s something you’ve poured effort into and are immensely proud of.

Which is why the Annual Cempaka Exposition, filled with interactive and especially fun booths are the perfect opportunity for parents to see why we come back with our bodies exhausted and our minds stuffed everyday. And after all that work, who doesn’t want to show off a little?
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Tuesday 19 November 2013

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

"All systems are down. There is no power, no water, nothing. People are desperate."

More than a week has passed since the strongest storm to make landfall ever recorded hit the Philippines. Yet, there remains a smell of dead bodies and lawlessness in the air.

On November 8, Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, made its first landfall in Guiuan in Eastern Samar at winds of 195 mph. It barreled through Leyte and Samar Island, causing catastrophic damage, with Tacloban city being one of the worst affected areas. A death toll of at least 3,600 people has been agreed on. The UN estimates that about 11 million people have been affected, most left homeless. The Red Cross estimates 25,000 people are missing.

Much of Guiuan has been destroyed with many of the structures being flattened to debris. Schools, homes, churches and all the crops have been wiped out. 

The damage was mostly caused by storm surges of up to 5-6 meters. In Leyte, the Tacloban Airport, which was located on a low-lying peninsula was destroyed by storm surges up to two stories high. The Tacloban City Convention Center which was supposed to serve as an evacuation shelter was instead submerged, drowning many of its residents. Many other ‘safe’ buildings crippled under the unprecedented strength of Haiyan’s winds.

“Why have they not recovered the bodies here? It’s reeking badly.”

By a couple of days, starvation has set in and survivors are searching for food among the wreckage. They climb over debris while covering their noses with the fronts of their shirts to subdue the stench of the decomposing bodies that lie along the roads like “oversized dolls.” Tacloban Airport reopened but did not offer much hope to survivors looking to escape the apocalyptic landscape.

Looters are rampant, breaking into malls and pharmacies, leaving nothing. Some of them possess firearms and in acts of panicked desperation, attack the trucks that bring aid. “The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation,” says Tacloban city administrator Tecson John Lim. 

In some areas, local prisoners have either escaped or been allowed to save themselves while at the same time, the police force has dwindled. Violence ensues and rape cases have been reported. A state of anarchy could very well be induced in such circumstances.

In need of water, survivors have also resorted to digging up underground water pipes. In need of proper care and sanitation, they are at high risk of dying of typhoid, cholera, hepatitis or infection.

Aid is being sent to affected areas, mainly to Tacloban via the reopened airport, but survivors in more remote areas are worried that they are being neglected. Guiuan, despite being the first region to be hit by Haiyan’s record-breaking winds, was cut off for days and received no aid. Efforts are still being hampered in terms of logistics — roads are inaccessible due to mountains of debris, communication systems are down and there is limited or no electricity.

At first, action was frustratingly slow due to a widespread lack of supplies, a steep drop in security in affected areas and overall government inaction. Efforts only started moving more quickly starting last Friday after international ships, aircraft and more military provisions made their way into the islands, a whole week after the first landfall.

President Benigno Aquino has received criticism of Manila’s lack of preparation for the storm and the slow relief effort on his government's part. “Nobody imagined the magnitude [of the disaster] this super-typhoon brought on us,” he defends. 

Much of the Philippines is low-lying and the Filipinos are a community accustomed to all kinds of natural disasters. They were warned by meteorologists days beforehand that there was a storm brewing and moving towards them. The impact of Typhoon Haiyan raises the question of why they were so shorthanded this time round. “People didn’t know about the storm surge. The government should have said ‘You’re going to have big waves, tsunamis’,” says Richard Gordon of the Philippine Red Cross. 

About a million people were evacuated, but the typhoon’s winds battered down almost all preparations.

We will be collecting the following items from 18th to 29th November at the Sick Bay in the Cempaka Cheras Main Office to be donated via the Red Crescent Society of Malaysia to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

1. Blankets
2. Warm Clothes (jackets, sweaters, preferably waterproof/resistant)
3. Candles/Matches
4. Bottled Water
5. Canned Food (can be opened without a can opener)
6. Energy Bars/Dry Biscuits

Any food that requires cooking is not required as there is no water or electricity in the affected areas.

Monetary donations will not be accepted in school but if your parents would like to donate they can do so directly to the Red Crescent Society. This form of donation is highly encouraged.

Your contribution no matter how big or small will help save lives. 

Let's do our part Cempakans. #CempakaCares

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