Sunday 31 May 2015

by Cheryl Loh Qian Wen, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2016.
Photos by Lai Li Chan, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015.

They say that you're never fully dressed without a smile, and we were reminded of that through this year's Cempaka Box Office Production - Annie the Musical!

Cempaka Schools promotes the importance of mind, body and soul. All year round, we participate in a variety of events such as Interhouse Sporting competitions and Academic examinations competitions which represent the mind and body. As for the soul, one of the major events Cempaka offers is the Cempaka Box Office Production which has been an annual tradition and a part of Cempakan culture for as long as I can remember. In the past, it has even been compared to professional productions on broadway and television!

Cempaka Productions are musicals put on by talented students who go through an audition process before experiencing a two month long period of vigorous training and rehearsals, while at the same time attempting to keep up with their school work as they rehearse out of class. It may be tough to handle, and often the performers find themselves struggling to get used to spending their days not on the stage, but you can't deny that it is one of the best experiences you’ll have in school. We began with the Wizard of Oz, made our way through an array of Broadway musicals such as West Side Story, Lion King and of course, Annie The Musical.

Annie the Musical tells the story of a young girl abandoned in an orphanage home in New York City by her parents as a baby, left with nothing but a locket and a note. Choosing to believe her parents are still alive, Annie longs for her parents to come back for her as they had claimed they would. After 11 years under the care of the terrible Ms Hannigan, her luck changes as she finds herself living with none other than billionaire Mr. Warbucks himself. Determined to find her parents, she asks for the help of Mr Warbucks to assist her in her search.

Personally I’d have to say that though Annie is undoubtedly the star of the show, Miss Hannigan is probably my favorite character. Her addiction to alcohol and hilarious hatred towards the children she 'looks after' for a living truly represents the average American during the Great Depression, the era in which the story is set. Altogether Miss Hannigan is a brilliant character with a great sense of humour and a viciously sarcastic demeanor which only adds to her stage presence. It is a joy to witness her cruelly joke her way through a life where she generally seems to get nothing she wants. Also, I honestly wish we had been able to witness more Warbucks-Grace Farrell moments because of how perfect they are as a couple with Annie as their kid. In the Twitter-verse, the three of them would definitely be our family 'goals' - A billionaire married to his secretary (who may possibly be the nicest person in the world), with their adopted 10 year old girl who sings like there’s no tomorrow - despite the fact that about half her lines in the musical claim otherwise.

While Cempaka productions in the past have only been open to secondary and a few select primary students (not more than five or six), this year's Annie the Musical has extended auditions to the upper primary school as well due to the theme of the production. Understandingly, some may begin to question the professionalism and quality of this year’s musical - However, Cempakans have proven that age is no barrier stopping them from putting on an excellent comical production in the short span of a little more than a month.

Tonight is the last chance to catch this year's Cempakan Box Office Production - but even if you may have missed it, we're certain that Cempakans will continue to produce breathtaking productions that will blow your mind. Who knows - it could be you next year, rehearsing day after day, performing on that stage and having the time of your life; representing the soul of Cempaka.

by Anonymous 17:04 36 comments
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Thursday 28 May 2015

by Timothy Chew Teo Meng, Class of 2020

On the 19th of April 2015, the Aveda Walk For Water raised funds for the Orang Seletar, also called the Malaysian “Sea Gypsies”. They are people who spend their entire lives at sea. However due to water pollution they are forced back to land. They live in Kampung Pasir Putih, Pasir Gudang. Many villagers earn around 500 ringgit a month and their main economic activity is fishing. Even though the Orang Seletar are now living on land they have a natural instinct to go to sea and catch fish. 

We are now trying to build a water filtration system to give them safe drinking water. Aveda and Eco-knights have worked together to create this. The walk was 3km long at the 1Utama Park. There were many stalls set up throughout the walk with activities such as painting and water charades. There was even a zumba stall! 

We were not alone on the walk; there were joggers and people walking their dogs too! The Year 6 students of Cempaka gave tips about saving water to the crowd and quizzed them about their knowledge after the walk. Finally, there was a traditional flute performance featuring soothing Peruvian music.

We had a very enjoyable time and were very happy to contribute to making the lives of the Orang Seletar a little better.

by Anonymous 22:13 48 comments
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Saturday 23 May 2015

by Evelyn Loh and Natasha Tan, Sophomore 2 Terra, Class of 2017. 

This is the month of gratitude - and on one particularly special day each year, we thank the people who ask us to memorize the first twenty elements of the Periodic Table, assign us frighteningly high piles of homework, give us those dreaded topical tests and most importantly: inspire learning. We celebrate Teachers' Day in honour of our beloved mentors: the unsung heroes of Cempaka who put up with us frustrating students on a (close to) daily basis. 

 Our teachers cast away their own tiredness to finish keying in our marks or coming up with those dreaded exam questions, working until the late hours of the night to finish marking our homework and papers - the very same endless piles of homework and tests that we were so hesitant to do and study for. You would think that by now, they’d much rather give us up and storm off into the Hawaiian paradise and relax, very much like they deserve to!

Ms Luna, the teacher known for changing hairstyles more times than we could keep track - and successfully rocking each and every one of her new looks!
Sometimes, we just have to know our teachers a little bit better to understand and appreciate the amount of work they put in for us. I'm sure we all know that Mr Sheat is quite possibly the most obsessively detailed teacher to have ever graced our school - His mantra "Memorize OR DIE" “Put an asterisk before Must Memorize!”, “double underline this, single underline that” is renowned around the school, even to those who have not personally been taught by him. You probably even know that Mr Ghafur has a lot (like, a lot) of Louis Vuitton collections, and have seen Puan Nurra carry around a cute little handbag-shaped money box for the sale of the 'Annie' Production merchandise. However, we aren't just talking about the figure we see in the classrooms - we mean to scratch below the surface, read between the lines and go a little deeper

  For example, did you know that Encik Dzamir completely adores Nasi Ayam - and that he spent a year living in the jungle doing research, because of his passion for wildlife? Have you ever come across the Facebook photos that Puan Jamaliah posted of her garden, and wondered about the care and effort she put into maintaining it? 

Our Head Prefect, Ruhaani Mahadeva with the beloved Maths Teacher (Spot the calculator!)
The Sports Department also has their share of paradoxes; We recently found out that Encik Salleh is scared of balloons - which is quite ironic, considering the bundle of balloons each year for Sports Day. And who would have thought that Encik Fairuz of all people would be afraid of cockroaches?

Ms Jasmine is in fact the shortest member of her family - We can only imagine how tall the rest of her relatives must be....
Admittedly, we students are so busy and caught up with the thought that our teachers only want to bury us under more homework - which is quite simply part of their job - that we tend to forget that they are ordinary people like us, with their own share of quirks and passions. It goes without saying that there is no other better way for us to be able to repay our teachers besides putting in effort into our schoolwork and exams. However, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to give them the respect they most certainly deserve outside of the classroom!

Who said that a student's gratitude and affection towards their teachers should be limited to just one day of a year? 

by Anonymous 18:23 35 comments
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