Wednesday 21 January 2015

A Note from the Head Designers:

It's the start of a new school year once more and we would like say welcome to Cempaka to the new students and welcome back to the current student body. Our designers have made some creations of their own to welcome both old and new Cempakans and to kickstart the new academic year. We'll see you soon with more ideas and monthly designs!

Source: 1
Submitted by Aaron Lim, Junior 2 Venter, Class of 2015

Submitted by Gillian Phua, Junior 2 Venter, Class of 2015
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Monday 12 January 2015

Written by Yap Jia Xin, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2015

Brace yourselves for impact, students. We'll be launching into semester one in T minus 10 seconds.

 Well, not exactly 10 seconds, but you get the picture.

And we have lift off! - An adventure in a flight simulator
Photo by Alysha Kyra
Once again, that dreaded time of year has crept upon us, where we are forced to douse the holiday joy that is ablaze within us and jump back into the hustle and bustle of a new academic year. However, we Cempakans have it slightly easier because of Launchpad - an event designed to ease everyone into the new schooling year. Its main objective to help students fall into pace with schooling life in a fun yet productive way.

Launchpad is carried out on the first three days of school, which comprises of, Preparation Day (Day 1), Visiting Day (Day 2) and Presentation Day (Day 3). The breakdown of this project is simple - Day 1 is the day where students get to know one another and map out the itinerary for the next. On Day 2, all groups are to visit their chosen “Place of Interest” to learn and collect information on their selected area of investigation and inevitably, have fun on the job.

Finally, to wrap it all up, comes Day 3 where all groups are to present their findings in front of the entire school community including the Freshman year whom are excluded from Launchpad. With a sizable total of 35 groups, with 35 different “Places of Interest” to witness within the span of three hours or so, the last leg of Launchpad commenced in full swing.

First to take the stage - and first to feel the eyes of the entire student body bore into their skin - was the Sophomore year. Considering the fact that they had no previous Launchpad experience, most of the groups were able to put up fairly commendable presentations. For all three hours of sitting in the hall, watching presentations after presentations, followed by 2 hour long trips hastily compressed into 2-minute videos, it is safe to say that everyone definitely learnt a thing or two from every group.

While most groups focused on the business and economic areas of their “Places of Interest”, some groups were able to bring more contrasting aspects to the table such as the daily routine of a radio announcer or the air-conditioning system in their particular “Place of Interest”.

In comparison with the video presentations from last year (which were often showcased in a humorous way), I must say that the videos presented this year lacked what made a video memorable. However, a definite noteworthy thing about Launchpad this year was that all groups had chosen very unique and distinctive “Places of Interest”. In fact, only two groups had chosen the same location! That being said, a special mention to the group who visited 'Dialogue in The Dark', where they got to experience what it was like in a blind man's shoes, as their chosen location stood out most amongst the others with clarity. Also, a notable mention to the group who visited Bubble Sports MY for their humourous video which met a gratifying audience response.

Sitting a hall for three hours may be a little tedious - I'm pretty sure everyone can attest to that fact. Having to watch 35 videos (90% of which is not the slightest bit humourous) can wear a person out, but at the end of the day, you’ll find that it’s not half as bad as it sounds. 

I mean, think about it - how many people get to say that they got to spend the second day of school at a go-kart track or

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Monday 5 January 2015

by Akhilan Manivannan, Junior 1 Higgs, Class of 2015

From the 10th of November to the 15th of November 2014, Cempaka Schools had its first MUN(Model United Nations) Conference. The MUN is a mock imitation so to speak of an actual United Nations Conference where there are “Chairs” to moderate the assembly and “Delegates” representing the various nations in attendance. In the conference(particularly in the Security Council) delegates address a wide range of world issues in an ordered and formal fashion in order to come up with joint action plans and resolutions. 

To do this however is no easy feat.

Participants had to learn and utilise many terms and orders used in actual UN conferences, an absolutely tedious and arduous process to get anything done really. This basically is done through debating, moderated caucuses, unmoderated caucuses, introducing plans, voting to recognise plans, more debating, voting to apply the plan and all that just to have it veto-d ultimately by one unhappy delegate. Completely frustrating and time consuming, participants truly learned to appreciate the work done by the UN and it’s delegates as it truly isn’t as simple as it seems.

Through the MUN, participants really got to learn the importance of debating and speaking skills, not to mention critical thinking ability as we were put to the test to solve unbelievably troublesome crises. We were also learned to set aside differences and egos as we struggled to make productive discussions, a very common hurdle in the real world. Because of this delegates got to realise first hand how tricky it is to navigate through different peoples opinions in order to get to your point. Every single word you say is taken into account both on a personal and ideological level. Certain nations may even be utterly unreasonable and hell bent on denting the ultimate UN goal of peace, and no i’m not just talking about you “North Korea”.

Another important lesson the MUN teaches you is a very difficult skill to learn but one of the most useful abilities in the world today. Negotiating and forming alliances. Be it the workplace, the family home or even the schoolyard, circumventing obstacles is key and humans are typically tasked with sweet talking their way our of problems, negotiating and ultimately being charismatic and compelling. Without forming alliances and convincing people of your ideas the world would not be half as far as it is now, and this is clearly presented with the UN, and taught to us in turn with the MUN. Being the delegate of ASEAN, with no nuclear weapons or military strength whatsoever and facing issues from juggernauts like China, India and North Korea, I experienced the necessity first hand with whom I needed to compel and whom I needed to keep at bay, an ability I certainly will remember for the rest of my life.

All in all the Cempaka MUN was a brilliant and engrossing event that all of us participants are extremely grateful for. We will never forget the incredible memories of Amalina(one of the best chairs) repeatedly telling the Australian delegate to stop speaking in first person, and Vivek embracing the role of North Korea oh so well, declaring war on the world and disbanding from the UN in one swift, awesome motion. Long live MUN!

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