Tuesday, 10 December 2013

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

For the first time this year, Cempaka has the pleasure of hosting the Youth Encounter Expedition which was held partly in Malacca and in Cempaka International Ladies College (CILC). Although the decision to participate in the expedition was very much last minute (to be exact, it was made on the day itself), it was a fairly great decision that I would not regret. 


The first day of the five day program commenced on the 15th of November, the last day of Damansara Games Carnival. One can only imagine the tiredness I felt after a week long of sports but I was definitely pumped to meet new people and find out what was in store. I reached CILC at around 8pm whereupon I settled into my room. I also had the chance to get to know my roommate and the other participants from Philippine’s Westfield International School before we left to the poolside area for an opening ceremony, ice breaking session as well as the first tribal meeting. There were numerous introductions, there being 17 of us in total; myself from Cempaka, four from Labuan International School, one from Brazil (my roommate, Sofia!) and 11 from Westfield International School. We were then divided into groups, appropriately named - Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi and Hang Lekir. From there, we were given a team building activity which was to think of a war cry. However, when the time came to showcase our talent, the Marshals had decided to showcase theirs with a short skit on the four famous brothers in Malaysian history. 

Day two started with breakfast, a tour of CILC, and a quick flag making session before boarding the bus to Malacca. We arrived at our hotel around noon, had some lunch and then we were briefed upon our afternoon activities. The Amazing Race Part 1 kicked off at 2pm. We set across Malacca, racing the three other groups through history ridden museums and numerous head-scratching brain teasers.  I was so glad to have some basic Malaysian history in mind. By the end of the race, we were all drenched in sweat and felt exhausted, both mentally and physically. 


After a well needed shower and a fulfilling dinner, we went on a relaxing river cruise and learnt more about the city. Afterwards, Encik Raphael surprised us with our first taste of Fear Factor. That night, we had such an enjoyable experience of  having a mudskipper - or five in Ryan’s case (nearly two for me but I caught Encik Salleh in the nick of time!) - go down our shirts as we attempt to wiggle it down and out of our pants to free them. What a way to end day two, don’t you think? Before we were dismissed, we had our tribal meeting where the marshals summed up our day, followed by the granting of Immunity for the winning team, pacifiers for the losing team and then elimination of the weakest survivors. 

Amazing Race Part 2 started at 9am the next day. A lot of us considered this day to be our favourite as it was exceptionally amusing and terribly fun. The challenges that day included trying out Malacca specialties - pulut and durian cendol anyone? Some of us (myself included) had some trouble chowing down the dish but it didn’t get any easier during lunch time where we had to finish a table full of spicy dishes; For a few of us, throwing it back out wasn’t the best experience. 


Among others, we were required to sell souvenirs to strangers (oh, how grateful I was to be able to speak Malay), run around in traditional clothing and also try to play Sepak Takraw. In short, it was all about public interaction. After a hugely eventful day, Encik Raphael took us to his favourite restaurant for a very delightful dinner. Little did we know, our dessert was coming right up. There were two challenges to our Fear Factor that night; transferring live worms from one table to another with our mouths was one - my teammate, Elyjah, was practically kissing the plate! The other one was purely psychological. The marshals brought us to an abandoned, story ridden building and fed us with spine-tingling stories before we were asked to go all the way up to find and retrieve an envelope. More people were eliminated that night during the tribal meeting. 


The fourth day was a rather nice day as we got to experience a Malaysian Village home stay. We were greeted with traditional dances and a walk through of the village. The next two hours were spent cooking festive dishes with four of the lovely elder women that cook for the village. It was quite a learning experience for everyone. 


A quick two hour nap saw us full of energy and ready for the traditional games that included coconut bowling and our favourite one, the war games! While a few of the girls went to clean up, the rest of us spent some time playing soccer with the local kids. The festive food we cooked earlier in the day was served for dinner. Afterwards, each of the teams were tasked with choreographing a traditional dance. Once all of us had our moment in the limelight, it was time for our tribal meeting where the results were announced and it was down to the last three survivors; Saiful, Ryan and I. In spirit of the occasion, we let off some sparklers. It was a lovely night for all of us, especially being able to experience a sort of mini Hari Raya before departing back to CILC.




The next day, we paid a visit to Cempaka Cheras to check out the rugby match during the Cheras Games Carnival and also to tour the school. We then left to Central Market, followed by KLCC. “It’s like the shopping version of amazing race,” as quoted by Cloie after an hour of a very speedy shopping spree. Later, we returned to CILC where it was time for each team to show of their skills on the rock climbing wall as well as cook up some mouth watering chicken rice for the Iron Chef challenge! CILC even produced two teams of their own to increase the pressure in the kitchen. 


That night was our final night together and it was rather sad saying goodbye to everyone. We said our farewells with a closing ceremony and an award presentation. Congratulations to Ryan for receiving the award for Top Survivor and Best Participant, which ended in a shocking tie with Sofia; both duly deserved!

On Wednesday, Sofia and the students of Labuan International School left early in the morning but the Westfield students had their flight in the evening. With the permission of Encik Raphael, I decided to bring them for another, proper round of shopping in the city. After breakfast, we headed for the busy streets of Bukit Bintang. It was definitely an afternoon well spent! 

That whole week was certainly an unforgettable experience which was thoroughly appreciated by every single person in attendance. Thank you a million to the organisers and marshals in making this expedition one to remember! They became our friends instead of simply the people in-charge. Even though I was the only representative from Cempaka, my doubts vanished instantly because I had the extreme pleasure of meeting some of the most amazing people. All of us connected so well with each other. The friendships and most importantly, the memories made during this expedition are and will definitely continue to be exceptionally memorable. 
by Wye Mun Chin 18:18 2 comments | in , , , ,

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