Sunday 30 March 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

by Khandhan Nadarajan, Junior 1 Higgs, Class of 2015

Why do people like Captain America? Can he spin webs from his hands like Spiderman, or call forth the wrath of lightning and thunder like Thor? Does he have exceptional intelligence like Iron Man? Well, he has strength but he is definitely not as strong as the Incredible Hulk. No, Captain America does not specialise in any of these areas, but he has something even stronger, and that is an overwhelming sense of duty, honour and virtue. He also has something else that sets him apart which is his somewhat indestructible shield. That is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Captain America. 

Chris Evans returns as Captain America in The Winter Soldier and played the role to perfection, proving that he is ideal for the part and portraying the essence of the character. Scarlett Johansson also stars in this movie and returns as the SHIELD agent Natasha Romanoff, or as we all know her, the Black Widow. When you think of the Black Widow in contrast to Captain America, you think of her signature black leather suit, her flawless scarlet hair, unparalleled combat abilities, agile movements and wit. 

Furthermore, she is seductive and sexy yet deadly. What is really captivating about her is that she is the polar opposite of Captain America. The Black Widow lies and deceives whereas Captain America is honest and ethical. Moreover, she is modern and present in comparison to the Captain who is old-fashioned. In this movie, the Black Widow was seen more as a partner to Captain America than just a sidekick. 

Accompanied with Scarlett Johansson, we get to see some familiar faces such as Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Sebastian Stan as Jamestown Buchanan Barnes. New faces were also introduced such as Anthony Mackie as the Falcon(Sam Wilson) and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter. 

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" starts with the Captain living in Washington D.C, still working with SHIELD trying to cope with modern day society. Even with Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson by his side, Steve’s (Captain America's civillian self) intuitions about SHIELD's misconduct still continue to loiter after the ill-fated turn of events in the Avengers. After leaving SHIELD, Steve and Natasha take off from the officials in charge and Steve wrestles with himself to settle with his morals and ideals. They then form a team and device a plan to stop the darkness that lies in SHIELD, with their false way of protecting America’s freedom. Alongside this operation, our heroes are also forced to go against a new and improved threat - The Winter Soldier.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has received approving reviews, commending the cast, storyline, production, special effects and has been voiced as Marvel’s best movie yet. The movie also received an 8.5 out of 10 rating on IMDb, 93% from critics on the review website Rotten Tomatoes and 71 out of 100 from Metacritic. It is predicted to open at somewhere around $90 million and is on track to beating its prequel which opened at $65 million. However the film will not beat “The Avengers” or “Ironman 3” that came in at $207 million and $174 million respectively as the Marvel’s two highest debuts. "The Winter Soldier" will most likely surpass Marvels last opening, “Thor: The Dark World” that debuted at $86 million. 

Overall, I think directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo did an astounding job in portraying Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s story and the cast also did an amazing job as expected of them. The movie’s running time is 136 minutes — Marvel’s second longest movie after “The Avengers” — but is filled with action packed fight scenes, shield- throwing and adrenaline pumping explosions, because what action has no explosions. I really hope to see The Black Widow and the Falcon working with Captain America again and I highly recommend watching this movie because it truly is one of Marvel's best.

Rating: 4.7/5

Saturday 29 March 2014

Prelude: Who Run The World?

by Amanda Lee, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

As March draws to a close, an article on this month’s theme has yet to surface from the depths of writer’s block. And so, because articles don’t write themselves, (and as we’ve discovered neither are they written by writers without much persuasion) here I am at five in the morning, typing this out while hoping that the e-mail reminding me of my quickly-approaching deadline won’t appear in my inbox anytime soon. 

It’s not hard to find inspiration for Women’s History Month. We women are a rather inspirational lot, really. One Google search away, you’ll find lists of top 100 women, women that created history, women that changed the world.

"We're equals, aren't we 007? Yet it is 2011 and a man is still likely to earn more money than a woman, even one doing the same job," to quote Dame Judi Dench, reprising her role as M along with Daniel Craig (dressed up as a woman) in an interesting video commemorating International Women’s Day.

Women's history is a history of gender inequality. For such a vast discussion, a writer can merely breach the surface. Women have changed the world and continue to do so. Because the numbers run high, (and continue to run higher), I've only written of a handful who have inspired me and who I hope will inspire you. 

So cue Beyonce’s Who Run The World (girls!), sit back, and continue reading about the empowering half of humanity who changed our world.

Do check out the Nothing Is Impossible series by our head designer and the other rad work by our design team as well.

To Boldly Go

by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Design by: Amanda Lee

If you haven't read the Prelude: Who Run The World?, read it first here!

Our world is shaped by those who dare to be courageous — moulded by their ideas, innovations and inspirations. As women take the spotlight for this month, read on and be inspired by these women who transcend the ages, and who possess all types of courage. 

Thereʼs the courage to explore.
Like Amelia Earhart, a young woman who wanted to fly. It was unconventional for women back then to have big ambitions, many thought that men made better pilots. Amelia proved them all wrong. She grasped at the chance to be the first woman across the Atlantic, though three others had already failed before her. She broke the records and soared to new heights, setting no limits on her dreams as she once said:

ʻDecide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved, if it is, stop worrying.'

Her dreams held no bounds, her courage knew no limits, not even the sky. This is a woman who boldly went forth; into the unknown with hopes and dreams which surpassed the heights (literally) of any individual of her time. 

Thereʼs the courage to stand up for what is right.
Like Rosa Parks, an African American seamstress who lived under the Apartheid Law. It was a time when people were judged by the colour of their skin, when there were ʻwhites onlyʼ toilets and ʻcoloured onlyʼ seats. On the bus home, Rosa was ordered by the bus driver to give up her seat to a white man. She was not tired of always having to stand up, she was just tired of having to always give in. 

ʻArrest me for sitting on the bus? You may do that.ʼ

Her simple reply sparked a boycott from a thousand others. On Monday, the day of her trial, no black person in Montgomery, Alabama was found riding a bus. Sidewalks were crowded, the buses on the other hand, empty. Business was so bad that bus operations shut down for a while. Black churches even collected shoes to replace the worn out footwear of Montgomeryʼs black citizens. 381 days later when the boycott ended, buses got back into operation. This time? Black people could sit anywhere they chose.

One woman's courage gave others the courage they needed to speak up for their freedom. This is a woman who boldly went forth with what she believed was right for her people, and made a difference in their lives forever. 

There’s the courage to help others.
Like Irena Sendler, a Polish nurse during the war. She knew not of who she was saving, only the fact that they needed help and that she was willing to risk it. As a nurse, she was one of the few who was allowed a special permit to enter Warsaw Ghetto — an enclosed area for Jews established by the Germans. A place where random killings could occur any moment, where families would be separated, and escapees killed on sight. Both Irena and the people in the Ghetto knew that living conditions were harsh with chances of survival, slim. Under the pretense of carrying out health inspections, Irena and a team of nurses infiltrated the Ghetto and smuggled children out, carrying parcels and boxes out under the close scrutiny of the guards, which in reality contained small children. Irina managed to smuggle out at least 2500 children. Though she was caught and tortured, this brave woman managed to escape, and even lived to meet the children she had saved. War brings out the worst in some people, but for others, it brings out the best. Her courage ensured the survival of a race and fair treatment of fellow mankind. 

She risked her life to save others, regardless of whether she knew them. This is a woman who boldly went forth; putting her own life at risk to save thousands of others with high hopes of them living to see another day.

Thereʼs the courage to dream big.
Like Malala Yousafzai. Born in 1997 — my age — and living in Pakistan, the second country with the highest number of unschooled children. Her mission was to change the future of her country, one education at the time. Living in times where the Taliban had periodically banned girls from schooling, she wrote anonymously on a blog for BBC. It detailed her life under Taliban rule, their attempts of control over the valley but mostly, her views on promoting education for girls. Over the years, she rose in prominence, starring in a documentary which only led to more interviews and articles on this wide-eyed girl. It was then Malala and her father began to receive death threats for their outspoken views, causing them to fear for their safety. However, she refused when her father suggested they stop their campaign for human rights.

"How can we do that? You were the one who said that if we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply even if we are dead."

On the journey to school one day, a masked gunman entered the school bus. 

“Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all.”

Shot three times, once in the head, neck and shoulder,it took multiple intensive surgeries and nothing short of a miracle to save her. She not only had the courage to pursue her dreams but she had the courage to stand up for it. 

"I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child.”

She dreamt big, and she achieved big. This is a woman who boldly went forth; knowing that her efforts would someday change the future of those who had to suffer the same fate as she.

Be inspired by Marie Curie, Ruth Handler (the Barbie Doll) and Coco Chanel — women who empowered their mind, the inventors of the world.
Stay hungry to new things and opportunities. Stay foolish enough to risk things and take chances. “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one youʼre capable of living”.

Be inspired by Amelia Earhart and Eileen Collins (first female space shuttle pilot) — women who empowered their body, the explorers of the world.
Sail away from the safe harbour, go out there and explore, dream and discover. Have the courage to take the road less travelled, and maybe even make new tracks of your own.

Be inspired by Rosa Parks, Irena Sandler, Malala — women who empowered their soul, the liberators of the world.
Strive to make a difference, be the change you wish to see in the world. One day, history will judge us on our actions. So help those in need, stand up for yourself and for others. The time is always right to do what is right.

Be inspired by these women, as they are the ones who shape the world. Be inspired by them, then strive to become inspirations yourselves. “Weʼll all die eventually. But the goal isnʼt to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”. Go as far as where you dreams take you, and beyond.

So future generation of women, where will you boldly go?

Friday 28 March 2014

Borders: KEVA Planks Work Experience

by Chin Wye Mun, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

How many of you have spent your childhood playing with colourful blocks of LEGO? A big yellow bucket of bricks opens up a world of cars, towers and robots. Gradually, the cars and creations from your mind started forming into more complicated X-Wings and Batmobiles from instruction manuals. In the past decade or so, you would have realized that LEGO blocks have evolved from a simple bucket of bricks to complicated constructions set in stone. When I say set in stone, I mean that blocks meant for an X-Wing will always become an X-Wing and blocks for a pirate ship will always become a pirate ship. And when you're done with it, it will always remain that way too. 

In response to this decline in creativity, KEVA planks were created. You may have never heard of it since it was just introduced into Malaysia last weekend at BORDERS. I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the first people to demonstrate KEVA planks at BORDERS on Saturday.

What are KEVA planks? KEVA planks are just that, planks. The basic ones are made of pine wood and are all precision-cut. Each and every plank is the same - 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long and extremely light. What's amazing about these simple wooden planks is the fact that people can come up with thousands of different structures and designs from the exact same 200 pieces of wood. 

The Contraptions set on sale comes with two balls and this differs because contraptions are meant to have a track for the ball to travel through and eventually end up in a catchment. This makes it really great for honing problem-solving skills because you have to observe every single bounce, every angle and every swift movement of the ball as it makes its way through the track. The slightest change in the angle of the plank or the drop of the ball could make the biggest difference to how it lands, how it rolls and where it eventually ends up. 

The Structures set is exactly the same except without the two balls and it's just for constructing buildings and well, structures. People come up with ships and trains and towers high enough that you need to use a crane just to top it off. 

KEVA planks are really awesome because the fact that all the blocks are so precisely cut out makes it easy to balance and fit things together - of course you need steady hands and a good sense of centre too but the blocks make it easy for anyone to build. I didn't really know what to expect when I got to Borders on Saturday but I guess all you really need is your imagination. Here's a few of the structures and contraptions that I built while demonstrating. 

One that was actually taller than me (thanks to the table and my short height ; but a RadioShack employee did one taller than himself and he was pretty tall)

I had a great experience there too because I got to meet people of different ages and occupations since the planks are really for anyone. There were fun and some pretty amazing buildings coming from extremely brilliant, intelligent 6-year-olds, impressive engineering students and even your everyday security guard and RadioShack worker. 

It also wasn't as tiring because it wasn't a repetitive thing. Each person had a different idea as to what to build and it was a pleasure to grant the wishes of some rather demanding children who wanted me to build things like keyboards to dollhouses. Helping them solve problems with their balance or the contraptions was also a blast and helped keep my brain working.

The planks would be great for engineering, architecture or design students and young children too but I do have to admit it's a little pricey so make sure it's something you're really into before you buy it. However, if you are planning to buy a box of Legos, I do suggest just taking a look at the KEVA planks. I myself didn't expect to have as much fun with it as I did. And it left me rather bittersweet to leave the store on that day. 

Special thanks to Mr. Edwin for the opportunity to have some "work experience" over there and to try out the product!

(All photo credit : Chin Wye Mun)

THROWBACK: Youth Encounter Expedition 2013

by NurHabibah Ishak, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

This year, for the first time, Cempaka had the pleasure of hosting the Youth Encounter Expedition. It was held partly in Malacca and partly in CILC. Although the decision to participate in the expedition was very much at the last minute (to be exact, it was made on the day itself), it was indeed a fairly great one that I would not regret. 

The first day of the five-day program commenced on the 15th of November, the last day of Games Carnival. One could imagine the tiredness that I felt after a week long of sports but I was definitely pumped up to meet new people and find out what was in store. I reached CILC at around 8pm. As I settled into my room, I had the chance to get to know my roommate and the 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. Then came the introductions from all 17 of us; myself from Cempaka, four from Labuan International School, one from Brazil (my roommate, Sofia!) and 11 from Westfield International School. 

We were divided four groups: Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi and Hang Lekir. From there we were given a team building activity - think of a warcry! However, when the time came to showcase our talent, the Marshals had decided to showcase theirs first, and did a short skit on the four famous brothers in Malaysian history. 

Day two started at 8am when we gathered for breakfast, a tour of CILC, then 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 then kicked off! We set across Malacca, racing the three other groups through history ridden museums and 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 exhaustion; 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 the 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 attempted to wiggle it down 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 and the pacifiers for the losing team and then the 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 up wasn’t the best experience. Among others various checkpoints, we were also required at one to sell souvenirs to strangers - oh, how grateful I was to be able to speak Malay. Running around the streets in traditional clothing and trying to play ‘Sepak Takraw’ were all a part of this 'amazing' day. In short, it was all about public interaction. After a hugely eventful day, Encik Rafael 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, 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 visited 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 from 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, war games! We also spent some time playing soccer with the local kids, working up enough appetite for the festive food that we had cooked earlier in the day that served as our 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, experiencing a mini Hari Raya  of sorts 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.” Cloie said after 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, and 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; duly deserved for an excellent expedition! 

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 exceptionally memorable. 

Thursday 27 March 2014

Meeting Lauren Oliver

by Kaye Leong, Junior 1 Higgs, Class of 2015

Friday, the 21st of March 2014 has officially made it into my personal list of “Favourite Days in the Year 2014”. It was the day I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet my New York Times Bestselling Author, the one and only Laura Suzanne Schechter, otherwise known as Lauren Oliver. A proud owner of 5 out of 6 of her young adult books - namely Before I Fall, Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem and Panic - I think it’s needless to say that she’s my all-time favourite author. 

Around 20 of us exhilaratingly boarded the bus to Mid Valley after Puan Farah bid us goodbye and told us to have fun. After about half an hour or less I descended the bus with a big smile on my face - that shows how thrilled I was to meet Lauren Oliver.

Soon after lunch, we made our way to MPH Bookstores. The minute we reached there, we were greeted by Ms Julia, who was one of the organizers of this event. We settled down on the row of chairs which were orderly arranged close by the entrance of the bookstore. After a few minutes, Ms Luna – my English teacher and I – had a little trip to the toilet. While walking back to the bookstore, I did not realize that Lauren Oliver herself was behind us until I got into my seat in the bookstore. 

She made an entrance at the bookstore with a very loud and enthusiastic “Hello!”. The meet and greet session started as always, with an introduction by herself. It was quite interesting as she made me feel like she was one of us – a teenager. She started writing at a very young age of just nine years old. She also talked about how she grew up in a house that was filled with all kinds of books. Apparently, her parents are both literature lecturers – that explains why she used to live in a book-filled house. Other than being a literature lecturer, her father is also a renowned thriller and horror story writer who goes by the name Harold Schechter.

After telling us a little about her family, she talked about how her writing career started. When she was a teenager, she had a strong passion of reading. As everyone may know, most books end with cliff hangers which force you to keep imagining what would happen after the last chapter of the book closes. Having a creative little mind, young Lauren would write fan fictions of the book she has just read instead of keeping those lingering thoughts in her mind. As a teenager, she would write funny magazines for her best friend, Jackie which were made up of different columns such as horoscopes, embarrassing stories, and so on. 

While she was still pursuing her studies, she started working at the well known company, Penguin Books in the young adult division which was called Razorbill. That was when she started working on her first book, Before I Fall. Then she gave brief descriptions of what all her books were about. 

Having attended the meet and greet session. we were fortunate enough to have the chance to know what her upcoming books were about. One of the books is her first-ever adult book, known as Rooms, which will be released in Fall 2014 (around September 2014). It will be about an affluent man who had died which caused his house to be inhabited by ghosts. The other book is called Vanishing Girls, which is about two sisters who meet in a car accident and get separated. She may have only told us very small snippets of the two books but being one of the first to know - definitely a plus. 

After the whole book-introduction part of the day, the signing session started. I joined the queue to get all five of my books autographed by her. When it was my turn, I stood there timidly while gazing at her signing my books and writing sweet messages on each and everyone of them. She was benevolent enough to allow me to take a picture with her after signing my books. 

Photo Credit : Kaye Leong
Last but not least, I would like to thank Ms Julia for inviting us for this not-to-be-forgotten event, Ms Luna, Ms Lina and Ms Helen for being our teacher chaperones and most importantly Lauren Oliver for coming all the way to Malaysia for this event. 

Thursday 20 March 2014

Handball MSSKL 2014 (Qualifying Rounds)

written by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Last year proud handballers brought back the hard-earned Challenge Trophy, winning gold for both U-18 teams and U-15 girls team as well as bronze for U-15 boys team. This year, players walked onto the pitch with heavy expectations weighing on their shoulders, but also with camaraderie and team spirit - two things that never change about the Cempakan Handball Team. 

Photo Credit: Amanda Lee

The girls matches were held on the first day - a blessing due to the dry courts which you could actually bounce a ball off and not have it land with a splat. The first match started late as usual, right after a short briefing about rules and regulations. At which, we learned that all boys were strictly not allowed on the field that day - causing a bit of a commotion. Besides the fact that the boys then had to hang outside the fence and peer through like convicts, things set off to a pretty good start. Both teams won their consecutive matches with only minimal shouts of ‘EH MONGEK, BUTTERFINGERS AH?  from En Salleh. 

Photo Credit: Woon Tyen Yee

Once the first matches were over, the girls got into their game and proceeded to breeze through the rest of the competition. As for the boys? They were allowed back in around 1.00pm when school was out and the school authorities pretty much couldn’t be bothered anymore (probably cause they noticed that other boys had started coming in through the very large hole in the fence). 

“We were fortunate that the group we got placed into in the qualifying rounds were teams that we were quite confident in dealing with.”
- Woon Tyen Yee, U-18 Girls Captain

Bereft of adept goalie Shi Jinn and star center Sher Lynn, it was questionable as to whether we would put up as formidable a fight as before. Thankfully though our defenses remained strong and though a little careless here and there on the attacking side, formations played out right and goals were scored. 

Photo Credit: Amanda Lee

The weather took a turn in the middle of the second day. The boys played on dry, brittle grass in the morning, then on wet puddles of mud in the afternoon. There were quite a few amazing ballet and skiing moves executed, as they flailed and skid in the pools of water. The boys teams had surprisingly clean sheets this year, with no two minutes given at all. More spectacularly, like the girls teams previously, they also conceded no goals to the opposing teams! It was a close call though, with one ball almost rolling through Seshan’s legs. Both the Under-18s and Under-15’s won all their matches, qualifying the entire Handball team into the quarter-finals tomorrow.  

Below are the scores for the two days: 

Under 18 Girls
1st Match: Cempaka vs SMK Taman Yarl ( 8 - 0 )
2nd Match: Cempaka vs SMK Bandar Baru Seri Petaling ( 2 - 0 )
3rd Match: Cempaka vs SMK Vivekananda ( 5 - 0 )

Under 15 Girls
1st Match: Cempaka vs SMK Bukit Bandaraya ( 3 - 0 )
2nd Match: Cempaka vs SMK Bandar Baru Petaling ( 2 - 0 )
3rd Match: Cempaka vs SMK TTDI ( 2 - 0 )

Under 15 Boys 
1st Match: Cempaka vs Saujana ( 5 - 0 )
2nd Match: Cempaka vs Taman Desa ( 3 - 0 )
3rd Match: Cempaka vs Hartamas ( 4 - 0 )

Under 18 Boys
1st Match: Cempaka vs SMK Petaling ( 5 - 0 )
2nd Match: Cempaka vs Desa Perdana ( 8 - 0 )
3rd Match: Cempaka vs Taman Yarl ( 9 - 0 )
4th Match: Cempaka vs Sentosa ( 4 - 0 ) 

And to the teams who shrugged and said ‘It’s only Cempaka lah’, we definitely showed them. Good luck to everyone tomorrow, play your best! #harderbetterfasterstronger

Women's History Month (March)

How time flies! In a blink of an eye, it's already March and April is quickly approaching. Between designing for the new theme of the Lumen Studet and training a new set of designers, monthly themed designs has unfortunately been neglected but it’s back this month with an important theme: “Women’s History Month.” This month, we commemorate the contributions of women and ladies worldwide, regardless of their profession and race. 

We're also extremely excited about the new Lumen Studet theme that has been upgraded from the previous template to a fresh and new design. It’s now easier to navigate around the Lumen and hopefully much more convenient for readers. We hope that the new improvements such as the sliders will provide a more visually pleasant experience for readers. 

Lastly, I hope that you will enjoy the designs and celebrate the women in your life and also those in the past (and present) who has made their mark in history. For more information about Women’s History Month, visit:

Law Veng Yee, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014.

(Note: To have a clearer view of designs, simply click on the picture and zoom in by pressing: for MAC users, command and +; for WINDOWS users, control and +. However, should your cursor change into a magnifying glass, you can just click on the design one more to zoom in.)  

Submitted by Lim Wei Xin, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Law Veng Yee, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Rachel Chua Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Aw Kah Yan, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2014

Submitted by Sarah Crompton, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

Submitted by Choo Li Ling, Junior 1 Venter, Class of 2015

Saturday 15 March 2014

No School!: Living Through The Haze

written by Chua Zi, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2014

Design by Valerie Law Yeng Yee, Class of 2014
In a country that houses one of the most diverse ecological systems of wet rain forests in the world, Malaysians have just lived through a dry spell. The haze is back, for the third time in the past 6 months, and despite the sporadic rainfall, temperatures have been observed to hike up to 42°C. It’s almost hot enough to wish we had a polar vortex affect Malaysia. Almost.

The haze situation became hazardous on Friday, and Cempakans were given the option of not attending school. With readings of up to 350 API, schools in Port Klang and Kuala Langat were ordered to close by Selangor’s Education Department. 

Last week, the water supply tightened in Selangor, Malaysia’s most populous province, forcing water rationing. The Wall Street Journal blog reported that at the Sungai Selangor dam, which provides 60% of Putrajaya’s water supply, water levels had dropped below 50%. Two water treatment plants at Sungai Langat had also stopped operations due to a case of ammonia contamination. Meanwhile, our school toilets stank.

In another part of the world, Mainland China, the sunset starts being televised on giant TV screens because Beijing is so clouded in smog. Once again, human irresponsibility forces us to rely on a piece of technology to fulfil one of the prerequisites of life. The trend continues.

The smog is so severe that it has been declared a ‘health crisis’ by the World Heath Organization. The level of pollution in China’s capital, Beijing is due predominantly to small dangerous particles of pollution. The levels constantly reach more than 20 times the internationally recognized safety limit — thick enough to mask China’s tallest building.

There have been calls for a strategic transition to greener technology to alleviate the plight of the Chinese. However, calls for change often go unheard as China faces the challenge of balancing its economic growth and controlling pollution in its major cities. One leading environmental scientist, Professor Thang Shiqui of Peking University says,“if the government wanted to slow down the economy to get a greener environment, the public would not have agreed.”

Back home, we’re still pointing fingers trying to isolate some neighbouring Southeast Asian country whose open-burning or industrial activity caused the haze to come back. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says he may take over management of the hazardous open-burning situation which has caused periodic smog in the region for years. At least it’s not only us to blame this time.

It’s a recurring trend in human nature to disregard anthropogenic sources of climate phenomena. Along with our skewed sense of risk, it seems natural to treat the haze as a occasional thing and not a result of our collective contributions to the deterioration of our environment. As the BBC has stated about China, it will take “years or even decades to reduce [its] pollution problem.” That applies for everyone. For now, public action is imperative.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Conspiracy Theories That Will Change The Way We Think

written by Ryan Yoong, Class of 2014, Form 5 Science 1

Conspiracy theories have always fascinated me. The sheer thought that there could be another possibility to a story than what we are led to believe excites me and even more so when there is suspected “proof” supporting such claims. It is with this passion, that I chose such a topic for my Oral Examination Test this year. 

Every once in a while, a particular story comes along that has the world taken aback and in shock and awe. I am no exception. The following were events that had my eyes glued onto the television, computer screen and just about anywhere where news of the stories would pop up from time to time. Do note that the the theories presented in this three-part article are in no way intended as a form of defamation or misrepresentation; please proceed with an open mind. 
  1. Conspiracy Theory #1: The NASA Moon Landing
On the 20th of July 1969 a miraculous feat, previously thought to have been impossible, was achieved by the United States; the world’s first manned mission to land on the moon proved to be successful. Or was it? For years, it has been speculated that the event was a hoax, and just an effort by the U.S. to assert their victory in the space race against Russia at the time. The next question in your mind must be something along the lines of, “Where’s the proof?”. With that, I urge you to read on; and I guarantee, you will never look at the 1969 moon landing the same way ever again. 

Perhaps the most baffling occurrence that signals towards the hoax region is this very picture taken from NASA’s collection of pictures that were taken during Apollo 11’s mission to the moon. Let’s take a look. 

At first glance it appears that everything seems normal and that Neil Armstrong (above picture) is standing on the moon’s surface with a U.S. flag stuck into the ground. However, upon closer inspection you would notice something else. It has been made extremely clear, through the many science lessons I’ve had over the course of my life, that there is no air in space; hence the need for the special astronaut suits. In the picture above, we can clearly see that the flag appears to be “swaying”, almost indicating that a breeze was present at the time. Then we ponder, how is it possible that there was a breeze when there isn’t even air to begin with? With countless explanations being put forward for the phenomenon, it still remains a mystery as to how such a thing could happen. 

Next on the list of weird sights in space is the following picture; also one from NASA’s extensive collection. 

At night, on earth, there are many wonders that light up the sky, giving us the infinite impression of the wide space above our heads. Yet, we see none in the picture above. A puzzling thing don’t you think? That in space, you see, what appears to be a star count of zero. There are no clouds on the moon, so stars are perpetually visible and significantly brighter than what we see through the filter of Earth’s atmosphere. The argument here is that NASA would have found it impossible to map out the exact locations of all stars for the hoax without being rumbled, and therefore left them out – intentionally falling back on an excuse that the quality of the photographs washes them out (an excuse they did actually give). Some photographs are high-quality, however, and yet still no stars are shown in such pictures. Certainly eerie, considering you can take pictures of stars from Earth in much lower quality and still see them.

The next shred of proof that conspiracy theorist put forward to support their claim has a connection to the following picture.

The most obvious feature about the above rock is what appears to be the letter “C” engraved into it. The letter appears to be almost perfectly symmetrical, meaning it is unlikely to be a natural occurrence. It has been suggested that the rock is simply a prop, with the “C” used as a marker by an alleged film crew. A set designer could have turned the rock the wrong way, accidentally exposing the marking to the camera. NASA has given conflicting excuses for the letter, on the one hand blaming a photographic developer for adding the letter as a practical joke, while on the other hand saying that it may simply have been a stray hair which got tangled up somewhere in the developing process. The final decision? It’s yours to make. 

Last but not least, is the following picture that was taken from the Apollo 15 mission, a few years later. 

The two photos from the Apollo 15 mission shown above clearly have identical backdrops, despite being officially listed by NASA as having been taken miles apart. One photo even shows the lunar module. When all photographs were taken the module had already landed, so how can it possibly be there for one photo and disappear in another?

NASA has suggested that since the moon is much smaller than Earth, horizons can appear significantly closer to the human eye. Despite this, to say that the two hills visible in the photographs are miles apart is incontrovertibly false.

Ultimately, it is you, the reader, who has the final say in what you want to believe is the truth. With all this “proof” that I have presented, I certainly it has opened your eyes to a different possibility of the moon landings. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the article was in no way intended to cause any harm to any party. My decision on what to believe has certainly been clouded by the statements and pictures above. Has yours? 

Side-note: All pictures are property of NASA and all credit goes to the organisation.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Hope for the Horizon, Pray For MH370

written by Chua Zi, Class of 2014, Form 5 Science 1

Photo Credit: Amanda Lee Yue Ping

It has been more than a day since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which has caused upheaval in many parts of the world. The plane was carrying 239 passengers of 14 nationalities.

According to a statement released by Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370 was scheduled to land in Beijing International Airport at 6.30am local Beijing time (22:30 GMT). Subang Air Traffic Control lost contact with the plane at 2.40am local Malaysia time on 8 March.

Air and sea rescue teams from Malaysia along with China, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore and the US have widened their search area in hopes of locating the missing plane. The teams have been searching the area of the South China Sea south of Vietnam where it went off the radar more than 24 hours ago. Malaysia Airlines has an extremely strong safety record and the Boeing-777 is one of the most popular long-distance planes today.

In a recent press conference, Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the defence minister, said that there are at least four names on the passenger list who are suspect. “All the four names are with me and I have also spoken to the international intelligence agencies.” These include the FBI and other "relevant countries".

"Our hope is that the people understand we are being as transparent as we can, we are giving information as quickly as we can, but we want to make sure information has been verified," he said.

Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer said that 80% of the families have been contacted. The BBC reports that relatives and friends awaiting to meet passengers from the missing flight have been brought to a hotel close to Beijing Airport’s Terminal Three. They are distressed and have expressed frustration at the lack of information from authorities.

While the case remains at an open end, do keep in mind that it is one that may have also affected the lives of many around the world, if not already. #PrayForMH370

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