Friday 28 March 2014

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. 


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