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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