Tuesday 29 April 2014

by Clarissa Teh, Class of 2019

Birds are beautiful creatures,
some with aquiline features.
They are amazing in flight,
to attract mates whenever they’re in sight.

The Great Hornbill’s ‘crown’,
or the legs of the graceful milky stork,
are no match for an ostrich’s fluffy down,
which can be as brown as a cork.

Photo Credit : En Syariz

If you have watched a Roseate Tern
do its acrobatic flips in the sky,
you’ll reach for the clouds and yearn.
But if you try to fly you’ll surely die!

In the water, the black and white penguins are the speediest,
but if they spot some fish they’ll instantly be the greediest.
If you’re lucky, you’ve seen the tiny, twittering hummingbird.
There’s no bird smaller than it, please don’t be absurd!
by Anonymous 21:29 13 comments
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Monday 28 April 2014

by Jayden Lum Jun Yi, Class of 2019

This year on 7th March 2014, the Year 6 pupils from Cempaka Damansara were taken to visit Taman Burung Kuala Lumpur. We were given group assignments which covered Maths, Science, English, Bahasa, and ICT, by our teachers and were divided into groups of five for the assignment.

Photo Credit : En Syariz
We took a bus to the bird park in the morning and all of us were very excited on the way there - the atmosphere in the bus was nothing short of electric. Before the bus even stopped we could see a peacock on a tall fence with beautiful blue and purple feathers and a blue crown. The sight of the peacock got us even more excited and we could not wait to alight the bus and get into the park.

The inside of the bird park had a lot of lush greenery and looked like a tropical wonderland. The whole area was fenced up as high as a 3-storey building to prevent birds of prey and others from escaping from the bird park. It was extremely large, as big as 5 football fields. The attractions inside included many bird exhibitions such as owl cages, mandarin duck ponds, pelican and milky stork ponds, birds of prey cages, Hornbill Park, Flamingo Pond, Bird Gallery, Bird Education Centre, Ostrich Sanctuary, Southern Cassowary Sanctuary, Love Aviary, Bul Bul Land and many more. Besides the extensive bird exhibitions, there were also marvellous, manmade waterfalls, a bird show area, Egg Incubation Room and Nursery and a building filled with the history of birds building. 

There was a guide who showed us around the bird park and he told us all about the birds that we've never heard of or seen before. Some birds were as colourful as a rainbow, (especially in the World of Parrots exhibition!) some were bigger then my entire arm and others were hardly the size of my palm. The few birds that we recognised were barn owls, the emus, pheasants, an ostrich and many more. 

Photo Credit : En Syariz
Personally the birds that interested me the most were the ostriches and the parrots. The parrots could mimic us and we had fun making up funny noises for them to mimic. We also fed them small cups of milk. They were very beautiful and colourful and had crowns on their heads.

The ostriches were magnificent because they were the largest birds at the bird park. Their feathers looked like hair and they had long, scrawny necks that were not proportional to their bodies. They are flightless birds and despite their size are the fastest running birds on the planet, as a result of the need to run very fast to escape from predators and danger. We were given a chance to feed them vegetable leaves. Then we went to the Hornbill Restaurant to eat lunch.

After lunch, we started focusing on our assignments. Though working in a group was a new concept to us and initially it was like herding cats, we took the bull by the horns. My group observed the behaviour of two birds for Science. We surveyed 206 people for Maths. Each of us also gathered information about birds of our choice and used them to fill up the worksheet for English. We were also tasked to write an autobiography of a bird of our choice for Bahasa Malaysia once we got home. Finally, we were required to combine a part of everything to create a keynote summary presentation for ICT at school two weeks after. It was hard work but we relished the challenge thrown to us.

Photo Credit : En Syariz
Once we were satisfied and had acquired the data needed, we went to the bird amphitheatre to watch a bird show. We were really impressed by the tricks that the well-trained birds could do.

We returned to Cempaka Damansara in the afternoon and went home, exhausted but happy. We had a whale of a time. Looking back, the educational trip taught us to build bridges among our group members in order to get our assignments done. It also taught us to go with the flow when needed and that all things are difficult before they are easy, and finally showed us the beauty of nature in all its magnificence. Despite the hard work, all of us are already eager at the next educational trip.
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Sunday 27 April 2014

by Ryan Lien Kar Sheng, Freshman Terra, Class of 2017

As of 26 April 2014, President Barack Obama became the second U.S. President to visit Malaysia. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited back in 1966. Obama arrives hoping to strengthen bilateral relations with Malaysia after decades of less than easy ties.

After the landing of U.S. Air Force One at the Royal Malaysian Air Base, President Obama was brought to Kuala Lumpur’s Parliament Square. Upon arriving, a 21-gun salute rang out as Malaysia’s king, Abdul Halim of Kedah and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak greeted the president. The national military band played the U.S. and Malaysia national anthems twice in honour of the 2 countries.

After the ceremony had come to an end, Obama’s next stop was Istana Negara (National Palace), for an audience with the royal family before he took his seat at a 600-people state dinner as the honoured guest. The state dinner was held at a banquet hall inside the king's residence.

President Obama was interviewed by The Star, a local Malaysian English newspaper.

“I see my visit as an opportunity to formalize a comprehensive partnership and lay the foundation for even closer ties for years to come," he said.

Trade, defence and maritime security are also issues President Obama and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak are expected to discuss about during talks scheduled for this Sunday.

Currently trending on twitter: Obama & Naijb selfie! 

The disappearance of MH370 carrying 239 people in March placed Malaysia in the international spotlight just as President Obama was preparing to head to the region. The U.S. is also assisting in the massive international search effort.

Absent from President Obama's journey to Malaysia: a meeting with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who now represents the strongest political threat to Prime Minister Najib amid a decline in the prime minister’s popular support over the past two elections.

The U.S. had rejected calls from human rights groups for the Obama to meet with the 66-year-old former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, but instead sent Susan Rice, his national security adviser and a former U.N. ambassador, to meet with him.

President Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters traveling with President Obama that the president will not meet with opposition leaders during foreign visits, but felt the issue was important enough to send Susan Rice instead.

Before completing his tour of Asia and returning to Washington, the president will spend Monday and Tuesday in the Philippines. 
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Saturday 26 April 2014

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

“Soylent Green is people!”

In the 1973 cult sci-fi film, Soylent Green, the world is steeped in overpopulation, poverty, social inequality, pollution, an overheated climate and depleted sources — pretty typical conditions in a 21st century dystopian world. The subsistence of most of the population relies on a foodstuff advertised as a type of algae, but as police detective Robert Thorn screams, it’s actually processed corpses.

That scene encapsulates what a majority of the civilized world thinks of the consumption of humans by humans — it’s horrific. As Youtuber Michael Stevens a.k.a. Vsauce says in his video What Does Human Taste Like?, cannibalism is not only unpleasant on a visceral level, it also sees humans as slabs of meat to be put on plates. People react the same way when humans are treated akin to pigs to the slaughter as they do when exposed to animal abuse videos.

To the exasperation of the public, criminal cannibalism often debilitates the justice system. Those who participate in the act are usually charged with related crimes like murder, desecration of a grave, or necrophilia. In 1981, Issei Sagawa cannibalized a fellow student in France but he currently lives unconfined in Japan. The French had declared him insane and refused to submit the court documents to Japan to charge him for murder. In another famous case in Germany, the victim gave consent in a response to an online forum created by the killer, Armin Miewes which said: “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” Meiwes was given a life sentence.

However, socially permissible behaviour, like beauty, is often objective to a culture. Anthropologist Beth Conklin wrote in her book, Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society, "Cannibalism is a difficult topic for an anthropologist to write about, for it pushes the limits of cultural relativism, challenging one to define what is or is not beyond the pale of acceptable human behavior." Conklin had observed the Wari tribe of the Amazon rainforest, who consumed deceased tribe members to absorb the spirit of the dead. They considered it to be one of the most respectful ways to treat a deceased member.

Not all are as righteous. Interrogations of persecuted criminal cannibals reveal that cannibalism is sometimes a result of curiosity. What does human meat taste like? What type of human meat is the best meat? How nutritional is it in comparison to chicken, beef, or pork?

In an interview from the jail cell of Armin Miewes, he said, "the flesh tastes like pork, a little bit more bitter, stronger. It tastes quite good.” Issei Sagawa, the Japanese celebrity cannibal, would love to dine on a Japanese woman. "I think either sukiyaki or shabu shabu is the best way to go in order to really savor the natural flavor of the meat."

Based on numbers published in his book, Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel, a biologist at Duke University theorizes that one human body can provide approximately 45 pounds of edible material, supplying 60,000-70,000 kilocalories worth of nutritional energy. We need 2,000-3,000 kilocalories per day, so said cannibal could sustain for 200 days on a diet consisting solely of that one person’s meat.

So in the offhand chance that the future brings famine due to a new strain of virus, or a prolonged drought and we are subjected to Soylent Green levels of food scarcity, is cannibalism an option?

According to World Health Organization statistics, approximately 55 million people died worldwide in 2011, with the number showing a decreasing trend since 1990. Considering the fact that a cannibalistic diet demands at least one human a year — given other types of food like vegetables and grain are still available and other animal meats are substituted for human meat — that’s barely enough to feed 1% of the current population.

Our last resort would be to go for senior citizens. The United Nations estimates that by the year 2050, the estimated global population of people 60 and up will be around 2 billion. Not to mention we’ll be able to plug the hundred billion dollar drain on the worldwide economy caused by the cost of taking care of senior patients, social protection plans, etc. People 50 and over also control 77% of all financial assets in the United States, a fraction of them billionaires, CEOs, heirs, the like, so a purge of the members of this top 1 percent would rid our newly dystopian world of its model oppressors. 

Alas, 2 billion is still only a fifth of the estimated human population of 2050, so not a viable option either. Social inequality prevails, and you shall never be what you eat.

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti.” - Dr. Hannibal Lecter

For more information on how to cook a human, click here.
by Anonymous 14:09 15 comments | in , , , ,
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Wednesday 23 April 2014

by Anishaa Jeyakumar and NurHabibah Ishak, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

For all the newbies out there, the answer is no. Clean-eating is not a form of torture. Think of it instead as a complimentary factor; working towards your health goals while still eating well.

Photo Credit : Anishaa Jeyakumar
The idea behind clean-eating is not always about losing weight. It is about achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle by excising chemicals and eliminating as much processed food from your diet as possible.

There are 5 parts to the basic method of clean eating. Here are the tips for a much smoother transition from those naughty eating habits :

1. Go brown or go home: This means depending on brown rice and other whole grains as opposed to the Asian favourites. White rice is refined and so, does not retain its nutritional value. It is stripped of almost half of its essential fatty acids, Vitamin E, zinc and magnesium.

2. Plenty of greens and lean meat, but don't forget to fatty up: Think about the whole variety for this choice. You and I both know it is huge. Eating clean does not mean starving yourself, so you should never feel hungry or deprived. You will know you’re doing it correctly when you’re satisfied. Consume nature. The more unprocessed, the better. Constantly try to incorporate greens into your meal. Fun fact: darker vegetables are usually more rich in nutrients. Moving on, fat is good; The right kind of fat, we mean. Eat food which contains more unsaturated fat as opposed to saturated fat. For example in olive oil, coconut oil and foods such as avocados, salmon and nuts (almonds, especially).

Photo Credit : Anishaa Jeyakumar
3. Snack often: There is a misconception that eating less will help you lose weight. In fact, it slows 
 your metabolism so when you do eat something your body immediately stores it as fat. Snacking 
 will do the reverse, but only if you snack right. Try carrots with avocado dip as opposed to potato 
chips, fruit juice instead of Starbucks, etcetera.

Photo Credit : Anishaa Jeyakumar

4. The Occasional Treat: Who says you can’t enjoy the little things in life anymore? The clean 
 eating lifestyle isn’t a penitentiary. Every once in a while, go have a slice of red velvet cake, a
 box of pizza or whatever you desire. Keep in mind, a treat does not mean a week of binge eating. 
Some reserve a day in a week, and some prefer a devil’s meal once a month.

5. Stock a clean eating pantry: Ahh, our favourite part. Why? Simply because of the joy we get from grocery shopping. Stocking up on lots of healthy ingredients is the first step to preparing a good meal. Add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean meats such as chicken breast and fish to your fridge. If you’re going to get frozen fruits and vegetables because they’ll last longer, don’t forget to read the label! Some frozen produce have added sugar. This tip is ideal for your newfound habit because preparation is key. Get label savvy and read the ingredients! Clean foods contain just a few a small list of ingredients. Any product with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered clean.

Food is the golden ticket to health. You know what they say; you are what you eat. Sure, you could exercise from dawn to dusk but if your post-workout meal is a Big Mac, what’s the point? In conclusion, the whole process of clean eating may feel a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you have a lot of changes to make. Our advice is to take baby steps. Make little changes every day and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes. We all do. Just realize that it’s what you do the majority of them time that counts.

by Anonymous 20:59 19 comments | in , , , ,
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Tuesday 22 April 2014

by Akhilan Manivannan, Junior 1 Higgs, Class of 2015

We all love eating meat don’t we? Approximately 90% of the worlds population currently consume meat, be it chicken, pork, beef or so on. Today’s lifestyle is so hectic that the thought of considering where our meat comes from and the treatment of the animals we consume often escapes us. Most simply don’t care as long as our bellies are full and our taste buds are satisfied. 

What truly goes on in these slaughterhouses needs to be brought to light, and this exactly was done in the video released by PETA, 'If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls', narrated by the great Paul Mccartney. I advise every single person to watch this, particularly people who eat meat in every meal of the day. However, the contents of the video are shocking and viewer discretion should be observed

While the video is a couple of years old, it still has not found the worldwide attention it demands. 'If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls' shows us what happens inside most slaughterhouses around the world through the eyes of hidden cameras. The gross truth that members of our own human race could commit such revolting acts is utterly disgraceful to say the least. But when people do come to terms with what is happening, they generally do one of two things: complain about the industry, or stick it in the back of their minds and move on in their ignorance. What society needs to realise, is that they are the ones fuelling this incredible demand for meat.

The world population growth rate has been accelerating in the past few years, and this has caused the consumption of meat to shoot up as well. With such a high demand for meat, producers cannot slaughter the animals the old fashioned way, which is considerably more humane, but instead consent to faster, more efficient and feasible methods which include technology and some incredibly brutal consequences.

Due to the high demand, more and more animals need to be mass-bred. To conserve resources they are simply locked up in cages where all they can do is breathe, eat and drink until they are inevitably butchered.

When did it become okay to breed millions of animals just to have them massacred for our consumption? Wouldn’t this be considered 'playing god' since we are in fact altering these animals natural purpose for our benefits? How can this be condoned by any religious believer since approximately 84% of the world population follows a religious faith?

As much as we attempt to lie to ourselves, this problem will only worsen unless action is taken. Consumers need to understand that meat does not need to be consumed as much as it is right now. Yes we need protein, but a diet of meat in excess has been proven to result in high cholesterol and heart diseases. There are healthier options available in vegetables and perhaps vegetarianism needs to be more seriously considered worldwide. I urge readers to consider vegetarianism, opt for organic meat or even simply cut down on meat and meat products, for we are humans not barbarians and what we are doing at the moment is inhumane.

by Anonymous 22:01 7 comments | in , , ,
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With so many other annual Earth-saving related events such as Earth Hour, we tend to neglect an important day: Earth Day. Earth Day is an international event and movement, implemented to protect our planet and creating a sustainable future. As part of Earth Day, A Billion Acts of Green, a campaign launched by the Earth Day Network in 2010, citizens of the Earth are able to pledge for any acts of Green ranging from "Eat Less Meat" to "Reduce Energy Consumption". These pledges were created to help save the environment and to protect our home. To find out more about A Billion Acts of Green, visit: http://www.earthday.org/takeaction/

Submitted by Lim Jade, Class of 2014, Junior 2 Cempaka

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

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Monday 21 April 2014

Golf, for the most part, has historically been considered a men’s sport. In the ASEAN region, this is especially true with barely an opportunity for women to break into this exclusive men’s club. With this in mind, the Queen Sirikit cup — officially known as the Amateur Ladies Asia-Pacific Invitational Golf Team Championship — was founded.

At the time, no international ladies’ event existed in the region. Knowing that there were many female golfers with great potential but insufficient resources, one of the founders of the Malaysian Ladies Golf Association, Rae-Vadee T. Suwan came up with the idea to launch a national team championship to give these women a chance to further their game. They would be able to compete at higher levels and accomplish more for themselves and their countries.

Hence, the first Queen Sirikit Cup was approved and held in Bangkok, Thailand with 9 countries taking part. Today, 13 countries take part in this tournament — Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. 

The 36th Queen Sirikit Cup Championship was hosted by Malaysia in April at the Saujana Golf & Country Club. It was the 3rd time the Malaysian Ladies Golf Association had hosted the event since 1985.

It is a great honour to say that Cempaka Schools was asked to coordinate the opening and closing ceremony of this international event and that I was to be a part of it. Alongside Nadia Marissa, Auriel Yeap, Chua Zi, Samantha Lee, Anishaa Jeyakumar, Mithali Mittra, Edryna Zarif and Jia Xin, we were asked to perform a cultural dance piece for the opening ceremony. Choreographed by our dance teacher, Gloria Patie, it incorporated traditional Malay and Indian elements, while accompanied by Chinese drum players and percussionists.

One of the highlights of our performance for me was having to dance in the rain. Remember that one scene in Step Up 3 where Moose was dancing in the battle against the Chinese crew and the water was splashing everywhere and you thought it was the coolest thing ever? (you probably still do, because I know I do). That was how I felt. Despite having to face the fear of slipping and falling while dancing on top of the Chinese drums, it was our best performance of the choreography and one of my favourite dance experiences.

Students from all 3 campuses were also picked to sing the national anthems of all the countries. Kudos to all the performers for being able to learn a national anthem in a different language. I think we can all agree, the theme song ‘Women’s Spirit’ as sung by Savira Putri, Ashlyn Chin and Adeira Ariez was by far the most catchy song we have heard in a while.

Calypso Jam. If you do not know what that is, youtube it. Now after listening to it, picture Mr Gerald grooving to it while playing the violin. Best image ever. All performers should learn to perform like him. The amount of passion he has for the instrument is astounding. Next up was a percussion item. Percussioning is a skill I will never be able to master.

I had so much fun performing and I am glad I agreed to take part in this. On the bus ride back, all I could think about was the nostalgia I was going to get from this. Enjoy the short clip below taken during one of our rehearsals! 

PC: Sharizah Shihab, Class of 2014

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Sunday 20 April 2014

No, Easter Bunnies don't lay eggs just like their normal bunny cousins. Much less colourful, patterned eggs like the commercialised ones we see often today. So where did these eggs originate from? 

Well, the Easter Bunny is actually a rabbit spirit. Called the Easter Hare a long time ago, it was known as a symbol of fertility due to a hare's frequent births. The Romans believe that all life comes from an egg, whereas Christians consider eggs to be the seed of life, thus symbolic to the the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Anyhow, regardless of how you spend your Easter holidays, make the best out of your extra-long weekend! Wishing all of you a Happy Easter from all of us here at YJC. 

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

Submitted by Ashley Yap, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

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Friday 18 April 2014

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

Credit: Reuters
"Mom, I'm sending you this now because I'm afraid I might not be able to say it later. I love you."

On Wednesday, a ferry carrying more than 400 passengers sank off South Korea’s southern coast. This young man was on it.

Rescue workers were dispatched on Thursday, rushing to save the hundreds still trapped inside the sunken ferry. Of those on board, most were second year high school students and teachers from Seoul embarking on a four-day field trip to Jeju — a popular resort island destination. 179 were rescued, while nearly 300 people remain missing. So far, 14 have been found dead. 

The ferry was three hours to the island when it sent a distress signal at 8.58 a.m. local time on Wednesday. Several survivors claimed to have heard a loud noise before the ship started tilting.

The CNN reports that the ferry, named Sewol took two hours to capsize and sink completely, leaving ample time for the passengers to jump off. However, they received a puzzling announcement instructing them to remain in their seats. Help was supposed to arrive in 10 minutes. As the ship sank, they faced a terrifying dilemma: to jump into the 10 degree Celsius water, or to obey the crew’s orders. “We were wearing life jackets, we had time,” said a survivor, who criticized the evacuation effort.

Credit: Reuters
According to one survivor, those who moved were the ones who survived. Some made their way to the top of the ferry and were rescued while helicopter crews spotted those on the deck. Fishing boats and other vessels frantically rushed to the capsizing ship and pulled out others still in the water. The reason the ship sank, and so rapidly, has not been established.

Sailors, marines, private divers, police officers, helicopter crews and passing fishermen are all participating in the rescue effort. But considering the frigid waters, poor visibility and the deteriorating state of the ferry, the operation is further complicated and the death toll is expected to rise. The government of President Park Geun-hye is being tested by this incident, which has already been called one of the worst peacetime disasters of South Korea. “We must not give up,” she said on Wednesday.

“I am really sorry and deeply ashamed,” said the captain of the ferry on a South Korean television network.
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Sunday 13 April 2014

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

For the second time in our school's history, Cempakans have successfully contributed to the demanding effort to save our rain forests with one simple act — planting a tree. 

Students and teachers made their way to Hutan Simpan Sungai Besi to participate in the Save Our Rainforest Race 2014 (SORR) organized by PEKA (Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia).

Photo Credit : En Syariz
The race required us to complete checkpoints along the trail with the last checkpoint being to plant a tree sapling. This year, they kindly took pity on the participants and relieved us of the burden of carrying the tree sapling all the way to the top of the trail. Instead, the saplings were already in place and we just had to empty the soil and fertiliser and pat it tight (and have a christening ceremony if you wanted to have a little fun).

Upon arrival, we were given a race kit each, which contained a power bar, a water bottle, and wet wipes. After breakfast, we were woken up with an overly-enthusiastic warmup session teaching us some memorable moves like 'Swat the Mosquito' and 'Call Your Friend'. 

By the time the warm-up session had ended, we were ready to go save some rain forests!

Photo Credit : En Syariz
The checkpoints this year were fairly simple — answering geography questions, rearranging rocks to spell out words and collecting gloves. The most challenging parts of the trail itself were some steep sand hills and narrow ridges but nothing too taxing. That is, until we reached the ruthless ropes.

After planting Princess (our tree sapling) and giving it our blessings for a healthy growth into tree-hood, we thought that was it. We thought that was the end of the road, the biggest challenge, leaving us with a relaxing trip back down. Little did we know, there was a vicious route of ropes and hills ahead of us. It was steep and slippery such that we had to hold on to ropes to assist us up and down the route. And just when you think you were done with a set of ropes, you'd trek a little more through the trees and thorns and find yourself face-to-face with another dreadful set. It brought back fond memories of the climb up Mount Kinabalu and I'm glad for that experience so I wasn't too scared.

Thankfully, my partner, Ryan, was extremely motivating. If it weren't for his constant "All good?"s, we probably wouldn't have been the first team from Cempaka Damansara to cross the finishing line at 2 hours 10 minutes. I broke down at the peak of the trail, forcing Ryan to stop and wait for me to have my water break after climbing a tiresome flight of steps. But the thought of finishing it off, and the beautiful nasi lemak that awaited at the end of it, propelled me forward. 

Photo Credit : En Syariz
This race was much more challenging than last year's. Although we didn't have to carry the sapling the whole way up, the trail was a lot more taxing. At the same time, there was also a greater element of fun. This year, everyone was awarded a green medal of participation.

I hope everybody had as great a time as I did during the race, no matter what placing or time you made. For it was not a race for number one, but a race for humanity. I look forward to next year's SORR 2015. Although I won't be participating as a Cempakan, it is still my responsibility as it is every other person's responsibility to conserve our resources and contribute to their preservation.

Photo Credit : En Syariz
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Friday 11 April 2014

by Dhanya Kuladeva & Edryna Zarif, Form 4 Cempaka, Class of 2015

Your watch shows that it's 10:30 am, and though you should be focusing on cations and anions instead you're visualising how content and happy you would feel at 10:40 when you can finally go to the canteen for break and get to gulf down the fried noodles you've been fantasising about since the start of the period. Just as you reach the canteen, you look straight at the stalls to see a tremendously long line of students, all of them jostling, queuing up and looking tearfully at the aunty in charge of the fried rice stall hoping that she'll take their order first. The hunger is unbearable and you’re desperate for something, anything. Who cares if it's edible or not?

The long line is off-putting and you feel like making a detour to the drinks section, but your stomach protests loudly and you make a bee line for the fried noodles counter, ready to queue up behind what seems like 1983 people. To your surprise, and utmost relief of your growling stomach, a good friend of yours stops you before you can reach the line and offers you the most beautiful and irresistible-looking Oreo cookie. You snatch it from the Oreo packet and devour it. Within seconds it vanishes. You think to yourself, "Since when were Oreos minty?" 

You glance up at your friend who's cackling in delight and satisfaction. Confusion hits you until your 'good friend' holds an opened tube of toothpaste to your face and you realise that you've just scarfed down an Oreo cookie filled with 'Colgate's cavity protection' toothpaste. She then shouts, “Happy April Fool's Day!" and moves away like a predator stalking her next victim. Annoyed and ravenous, you make your way to the back of the line. Finally, you being to near the start of the line, and the mouth watering smell makes your stomach complain ever louder. But as soon as the aunty turns towards you to take your order, you hear the prefects starting to call students back to their classrooms. You sigh and begin the long trek back to your class while plotting on how to exact your revenge on your so-called friend and your stomach cries itself back into inactivity. Perhaps you should thank her. After all, you now have scientifically proven cavity free teeth.  

Not a single soul is actually 100% certain of how exactly April Fool's Day came about, although there are several theories regarding the origin of this amusing and fun-filled day. One popular belief is that the reason All Fools' Day now falls in April is related to the 1582 implementation of the Gregorian calendar reform in France, which changed the marking of the arrival of the new year from a week-long gift-giving celebration spanning March 25 to April 1 to a single-day observance on January 1. There were some who insisted on celebrating New Year's at the end of March, and were hence called fools.

Different countries have different traditions on how to fool people on April Fool's Day. In Ireland, its customary for people to entrust the victim with an "important letter" to be given to a specific person. The victim or "fool" would have to take it to someone else and the recipient would open the letter which contained the words, "send the fool further." The prank would go on until the "fool" finally decides to open the letter.

In France, the "fool" is called a poisson d'avril, an "April Fish." In conjunction with the celebration of this, French shop dwellers would sell chocolates shaped like fish. People also try their hand at trying to pin paper fish on each other's back as a joke. The perpetrator cries out triumphantly, "April Fish!” 

The award for 2014's biggest April Fool's prank goes to the Ryan Seacrest website for the post about High School Musical 4: The Wedding which got every High School Musical fanatic screaming for joy and trying to believe their eyes. But nothing can beat the classic, old, mint in an Oreo.

Happy belated April Fools! 
by Anonymous 23:59 8 comments
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Thursday 10 April 2014

by Natasha Wong & Cheryl Loh, Sophomore Cempaka, Class of 2016

While most students enjoyed their weekends relaxing with indoor plumbing, nice warm bed sheets, and the luxury of modern technology, a rare few of us (around 200 actually) volunteered to endure a 3-day 2-night expedition in the jungle. Our main objective - conquering the summit of Gunung Liang, Perak. Marooned with mosquitoes, bees, leeches and a plethora of other insects guaranteed to make even the toughest person squeal, it was certainly a wake up call to the few of us who took the wonderful appliances we have at home for granted (mosquito mats and repellant included). This was none other than the Silver Expedition of 2014.

The journey to the foot of Gunung Liang wasn’t too bad. It was only after the two hour bus ride that the expedition really started. Carrying our heavy bags, we endured a four-hour hike to the base camp through treacherous and dense terrain, which resulted in blood, tears and sweat. (The blood part not necessarily ours alone but also including the blood of the vicious, pesky mosquitoes) Reaching our campsite, we were exhausted, out of breath and dreaming of a warm, soothing shower. Fat chance of that happening as though, for there wasn't a shower head in sight. We “washed up” by splashing water on our hands, feet and face. And do not even get me started on the toilet arrangements.

When night befell, at least a good night's sleep awaited us at the end of the challenging day - or so we thought. The night proved to have its own set of challenges. Including fighting for space to sleep on the uneven, poky ground, and worst of all, the rain. We woke up, damp, soaked and chilled to the bone.

Photo credit: Encik Khairul

In the morning, with our shirts still drying from the night's downpour on our backs, we set off to our first checkpoint deceivingly and puzzlingly enough named '7-Eleven'. And unless the convenience stores usually come swarming with mosquitoes, the checkpoint and the store has nothing in common. The journey resumed with another taxing hike that lasted three hours. The path this time was slight more treacherous, with thorns jutting from the branches all around, scratching you if your focus ever falters. After a short break at the resting place, we continued our quest to reach the peak. 

Photo credit: Encik Khairul

Once we bypassed a certain point, our guide decided to leave us to trek the mountain unsupervised. It wasn’t too bad for a while - besides the fact that every 100m or so, we’d have a moment where we’d think we had reached the peak, only to realize it was just another hill. Our hopes of having lunch definitely had to wait for quite a while. We made jokes at first, but after the third hill or so, we began to panic. Were we lost? Or was there simply more ground to cover. After that seed of doubt entered our minds, it spread, causing us to shout for our guide, blowing our whistles as hard as we could. But after all of the mental and physical torture, we finally saw it. The very sight of the peak managed to rejuvenate us, filling us with a renewed vigour to strive and persevere. The view took our breaths and even our fatigue away.

Photo credit: Encik Khairul

Unfortunate situations became sort of a recurring trend in this trip, and the joy sadly didn’t last for very long. Within minutes, rain started pouring again. Combined with the cool air of the altitude we were at, the cold was utterly unbearable. All of us were drenched and shivering as we navigated downwards through the path. Dealing both the extremely steep terrain, muddy ground and shivering limbs, it was a wonder if you didn't slip at least a billion times or so.

Photo credit: Encik Khairul

Although it had been hours, the rain had never let up, deciding to rain on our parade and happiness of reaching the peak. As it was a tough hike down, we didn’t have enough time to even go into the river to wash up. This resulted in us having to go to sleep, soaked for the second night in a row. I could definitely get used to this. Not. 

We woke awakened by a weird buzzing by our ears. It was the buzzing of an immense swarm of bees that surrounded the whole camp. Needless to say, we were definitely eager to get out of the place. Trying to ward the bees away however, many of us resulted in bandages and itchy welts. 

We were glad to leave the bee-riddled camp, but it was just leaping from one challenge to another, as we had to endure the four-hour hike again with our heavy bags back down to the foot of Gunung Liang. Well, what goes up has to come down eventually. Upon arrival, we were happy to see that food was prepared and ready for us to devour. Soon after, we boarded the bus and began the journey back home, where we were ecstatic to be reunited again with the wonderful luxuries that we had definitely taken advantage of all this time.

Photo credit: Encik Khairul

The entire experience in hindsight was truly one of survival and perseverance. Being thrown into the jungle, enduring the harsh weather conditions, and finding your way through the dense foliage was something that we wouldn’t have been able to fully experience without the opportunity of this expedition. The expedition proved to be an eventful one, pushing us to our very limits in mind, body and soul. In total, 30 or so of us had made it. A small achievement it may seem, reaching the peak of Gunung Liang in comparison to some other huge mountains like Mount Kinabalu, but the experience we had garnered from this hike (minus the bee stings) was truly priceless. 
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Wednesday 9 April 2014


Dry taps and hazy skies, coupled with an international tragedy that shook the world - March will be a month we'll never forget. 

April is International World Health Month. In conjunction with that, our theme this month is Clean Eats! In preparation for the crazy whirlwind that is May (mid years, sports day AND swimming gala!) your cupboards are sure to be stocked with examination snacks and stay-awake treats. We'll be here to tell you what's healthy, what's not, and that 'clean eating' could also very well mean a  licked-clean plate instead. Other than that, we hope to deliver to you articles on the latest MSSKL games, Silver Expeditions and other such related school events. 

March was a hot, dry and hazy wasteland. This month on the other hand brings along the promise of April showers, and hope for spring. 

Designed by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Class of 2014

Happy reading!
Amanda Lee & Chin Wye Mun 
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