Thursday, 14 November 2013

by Akhilan Manivannan, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

November 11th 2013 was no ordinary Monday - not the kind of Monday we usually hate and loathe waking up to. On this particular Monday, it was not only the first day of the Annual Games Carnival, but a special and noteworthy assembly was also held for three very different yet very commemorative occasions. Needless to say, spirits were quite dampened after a long hard day of sports, and the sight of annoying prefects herding worn out students up to the hall was not a pretty one to behold. However we would all be hard pressed to say that it was not worth it at the end, for students were treated to some esteemed guests, wonderful performances and overall, a thorough learning experience.

After every student had filed into the hall, the much anticipated special guests finally arrived, clad in noble uniforms with dutiful smiles on their faces, our very own Malaysian fire fighters! They were led by the Pengarah JBPM Kuala Lumpur (Chief Director for the Kuala Lumpur Department of Fire Fighters), Encik Khirudin Bin Drahman. Esteemed guests indeed! 

The assembly began as always with the school song, and the emcees then introduced themselves to be Vanisha Ann of Cempaka Damansara and Tan Kian Leong of Cempaka Cheras; two very familiar faces of the Cempaka community. The emcees proceeded to kickstart the first of the three main events, the prize- giving session for some very well deserving Cempakans from both campuses.

First up was the award for a special video competition - Liga Remaja, held for secondary schools all over Malaysia. A group from our very own Cempaka Cheras had clinched a spot in the top 10 and it’s members proudly went up on stage to receive their award. Next, was the presentation of certificates to a few members who had done exceptionally well in a book review event - one out of the many post PMR activities held the week before. Next up was the certificate presentation to the winning groups of the annual Cempaka Connect New Product Convention for both campuses. The list of winners was full of creative names from Zikry's Secret to Chicken Rice to Pixies Inc. Finally, we had the much anticipated prize giving for the winners of the joint Amazing Race 2013! It was an exciting event held by Cempaka Inc, drawing in teams from both Damansara and Cheras. The team that won first place was Space Monkeys from Cempaka Damansara! A big congratulations to all prize winners and high achievers of the day.

Moving on to the second and most important event of all, the honoring of our admirable special guests who had worked with supreme efficiency and diligence to put out the recent tragic fire in the Damansara campus. The courageous men put out the fire in just 20 minutes and who knew what would have happened if they had not acted as quickly as they did. The fire fighters then proceeded to stay for hours at the school, checking for any remnants or potential sparks that could have reignited the fire. These heroes had risked their lives to save our school and they deserve nothing but our highest respect and admiration, as illustrated perfectly by Dato' Freida's emotional and heartfelt speech. A short iMovie was then screened about the shocking and disastrous fire.

After the iMovie, Pengarah JBPM Kuala Lumpur, Encik Khirudin Bin Drahman was invited up on stage to deliver his address and some irreplaceable, valuable information on fire safety. In the speech, Encik Khirudin stressed on the importance of taking fire safety seriously and how to prepare for such an incident. These preparations include keeping a fire extinguisher handy at home and in the car, checking electrical appliances before leaving the house and finding out more about fire safety in our own time. He also gave listeners some insight into a firefighter’s job, and some heart wrenching experiences of fire related deaths that left us thankful to have escaped such fates. Before Encik Khirudin concluded his prestigious address, he once again reminded everyone listening that fighting fires cannot be done by just the firefighters alone. All citizens should contribute equally to fighting fires by being aware, as well as prepared. In his very own unforgettable words, “A fire never chooses it’s victims.”

The fire fighters then went on stage to receive tokens of appreciation presented by Dato’ Hamzah himself, afterwards staying for some memorable group pictures. Not enough “thank you”s can be said to these heroes, who will remain engraved in Cempaka’s rich history for all eternity. 

The assembly then concluded with the last event of the day, a stunning array of Deepavali performances, executed by Cempakans from both campuses. Dancers leapt onto the stage, dressed in vari-coloured saris and other such traditional costumes. The hall was filled with the sound of upbeat Indian music and the jingle of the dancers' bangles as they shimmied their way to an outstanding showcase of talent. A dance to remember would definitely be the last performance by Form 4s of Cempaka Damansara, where the dancers moved in such sync that it was a delight to watch. It was indeed a beautiful way to commemorate the Festival of Lights, and a joyous end to a truly special assembly.


Photo credit: Amanda Lee

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