Saturday, 31 August 2013

Independence Day Is Here!

About 56 years back, there was war and rage in our country. But now, we, Malaysians live happily among each other. We have united and brought peace to our nation. Independence Day or most likely known as Hari Merdeka is celebrated every year on the 31 of August.

Each year, there will be a different theme for the Merdeka celebration. For 2011, the theme will be “1 Malaysia, Transformasi Berjaya, Rakyat Sejahtera” (1 Malaysia, Transformation Success, People Peace). This theme is in conjunction with the concept of 1Malaysia, touted by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak. All Malaysians are urged to embrace the concept of transformation which brings about a meaningful process of innovation that can benefit the people. It will also help continue the process of producing a vibrant young generation.

Leading up to Independence Day, we would put up flags and decorate our homes. At school we would have competitions and decorated our classes. This is the way we raise our patriotic spirits and get ready for Hari Merdeka. It is not only a way to celebrate our freedom but as an appreciation to the brave and mighty soldiers that fought for Malaysia.

Independence Day only comes once every year. We have to make sure this is the best one yet! So start raising the flags, learning our catchy patriotic songs and prepare to CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY LOUD AND PROUD!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Student Highlights: Musical Mathematician

Ever thought that mathematics was a tad difficult in school; or shrugged off music lessons as a waste of time? Well, think again, as this outstanding individual would prove you wrong, receiving accolades in both arts. His determination was so compelling that he insisted on writing about himself, instead of the plain old interview! With that, let us hear what he has got to say about himself:

My name is Chun Hao Zhe. I happen to be 15 years old this year, and I am the eldest among the two of us siblings in my family. My 16th birthday is coming up on the 3rd of April next year, and I was born in Subang Jaya Medical Centre. I love reading storybooks related to science fiction and magic, and I occasionally play the piano and flute, excluding my holiday “homework” – the computer.

In the past 15 years of my life, I have quite some achievements in both academic and co-curricular aspects. Unfortunately, as I am a person who dislikes sweating, I tend to avoid sports. When I was in primary school, my achievements were somewhat less than spectacular. As a minor member of the school Olympiad Mathematics team, I rarely shone in the lime light. The next part of my life however was littered in achievements. I first managed to get a High Distinction in the Junior Division of the Australian Mathematics Competition twice, something I have never gotten before. Recently, I also managed to score a Distinction in my Australian Mathematics Competition in the Intermediate Division. Meanwhile, as a musician, I have studied up to Grade 7 in ABRSM and passed with a merit, and also aced my Yamaha Fundamentals Grade 5, equivalent a diploma nowadays, although not an official one. In KUMON, I have also achieved Advanced Student Honor Roll. Technically, I am now studying Form 6 Mathematics.

How did I do this? I can only say I have a strong passion for both music and mathematics. I believe not only in hard work and determination, but passion. If I like it, it doesn’t matter if it is hard, I will work to the bitter end. I don’t like using study or memorizing methods, but for certain subjects, such as History and Malay, I prefer to use such methods to improve myself, and so that I do not waste precious time trying to complicate myself with something simple. My motto in life is ‘Just do it!’, which is also Nike’s catch-phrase. Even if I hate it, I feel that I should just do it, otherwise it will be a stain on my achievements, and it’s a shocking thing to see a failure among distinctions, as if it bears testament to my giving up.

In academics, I often compare myself with people who are smarter than me. This makes me want to go stronger and work harder to surpass their achievements. Nowadays, it is perceived that girls are better academically than boys. I intend to break that stereotype, and prove it wrong.

When I was 12 years old, I entered a Mathematics Camp in Langkawi alongside four others, with the aim of being selected to be the few Malaysian representatives in a competition in Hong Kong. Of course, there is also the Australian Mathematics Competition, in which I emerged twice with a High Distinction and once with a Distinction. I also participate in marching band competitions, representing the Petaling Utama district.

Currently, I am the Assistant Treasurer of the school prefect board. Also, since last year, I hold the position of Rank Leader for the Flute section and cleanliness committee representative in the school marching band. I am also the committee form representative for the school badminton club.

There were many challenges that I faced in pursuit for excellence. My school examination results were less than satisfactory preceding PMR, especially in my weakest subjects: Mandarin and History. Also, by the time PMR came around, marching band practices were also somewhat distracting then. Afterwards, they became as fun as usual. And, of course, my parents placed restrictions on what I can and can’t do. Therefore, I missed this year’s prefect gathering thanks to PMR. No thanks there! My most memorable achievement … or achievements, to say, is to receive High Distinctions in the Australian Mathematics Competition. I was overjoyed to know that I actually reach such heights in mathematical excellence, as I first took the exams when I was 11 years old, and I only emerged with a Distinction twice then.

In music, I daresay I have a good ear. I can hear most songs’ notes, and if someone sings them, I usually can tell what key they are singing it in (if it’s a definite pitch, that is) and whether are they getting somewhat off-tune. However, it’s not prefect yet, so I’m still working on it. I can also read notes quickly and accurately, especially duing sight reading, but I tend to forget the key signature, which disabled me to achieve a distinction in Grade 7 of the ABRSM examinations.

While I love music and math and all, I would like to be a scientist. I wish to discover more about everything, but I have no intention of being a doctor. As I have not yet really divulged into Biology, Physics and Chemistry, I have yet to decide what scientific field I am to enter, and see what the future holds for me.

By Kiwan Richard, 16, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Student Highlights: Remarkable basketballer

Bosses: Aren’t they those unfriendly people who most subordinates would avoid? Apparently not for me in my school’s Library Board, as Yeoh Zi Qing proves to be.

This lanky lass was born on the 25th of January 1996 at Pantai Hospital, has a brother (my ex-boss). She used to go to SJK(C) Yuk Chai, and now goes to SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3). Her hobbies encompass ukulele strumming, gu zheng playing, baking, designing, playing basketball, singing, drawing and loads more (though she doesn’t do them all at once!). As I asked this aspiring baker more about herself, her bubbly self shows through with tonnes of almost-rolling-on-the-floor laughs.

Her achievements are endless, and astounding, and she holds various portfolios in school organisations. When I asked her how she manages to balance all these with her studies and leisure, she stresses on being well-rested before attempting to study at night. Strumming her ukulele helps her relax, and so does playing basketball. ‘Most of the time, I’ll try my best to finish as much homework during recess and also when I am in the library or in the class when there are free periods, so that there would not be so much of a burden when I’m at home,’ she says. 

When asked about her inspiration, her family crops up first. Apparently, her father and brother are as athletic as her, playing basketball and volleyball in various tournaments. Her house is so full of trophies that her father had to throw out his old broken trophies to avoid a clutter. On her mother, she says, ‘My mum will always tell me, it does not matter if you get grades like A, B C or even D, at least you know that you have done your best. Thus if you fail, she will tell you that it is okay, make sure to put more effort in your studies and improve in the other upcoming papers. Although my mum is very strict sometimes, she still allows me to go out with friends during the holidays to catch a movie or two.’ Besides that, American-Korean entertainer-extraordinaire Victor Kim solicits a ear-piercing scream from her. ‘Victor is a really nice person, beautiful in the inside and outside, down-to-earth, funny and has a smile that will have tonnes of girls chasing after him,’ she said, even recounting the time they met in person!

On preparing herself for competitions, she says: ‘Basically, I just attended all of the training sessions provided by the coaches, make sure I have enough rest, eat healthily and drink loads of water in order to stay healthy. Have a positive mind set and you are ready to tackle anything.’

However, the road to her achievements was not plain sailing. Recalling the time she first got chosen into her primary school’s elite team, she said, ‘The training was really exhausting. My hands and legs were sore and sunburnt when I got home. I was one of the weakest players in the team, both physically and mentally. I get tired really easily and sometimes throw up during or after training sessions; but after putting all of our effort and hard work in it, we manage and also won many tournaments and friendly matches and brought back pride to our school. As years passed, I learnt how to handle my own problems. I grew mentally and physically strong too and accept criticisms from my coach from time to time. Although it hurts and you might think that you just aren’t good enough, we will and must also learn from it and most importantly not to put it in your heart.’ On asking what her motto in striving, she answered: ‘Success in life requires enormous sacrifice and determination.’

When she recalled her most memorable achievement, her account struck me as so compelling that I might as well give it word for word here:
In 2008, I represented the Petaling Utama district in he Under-12 Girl’s Basketball Tournament. My team lost to the state champions. However, I was among the lucky ones chosen to represent the state at national level. My team-mates cried really as it was our first defeat, always thinking we were invincible. When we trained for a week, we squeezed ourselves in three rooms, made friends with the other teammates, stayed up late at night, walked to the basketball court together, laughed crazily whenever one of us does something silly and had meals together. I can even remember that we will always rush back to the apartment after our afternoon training session, grab our dinner and sit in the living room and watch a Chinese movie series that was on every evening. While we had our competition in Kuantan, we stayed in a hotel, three to a room. I still remembered who my roommates were: Brenda Lee from Petaling Perdana and Euphrasia Pang from Petaling Utama. I’m really glad that we stayed in the same room. During the competition, I had never felt so proud and happy before for I was one of the players that help the team scored the most points in almost every match. There were also quite a number of times where I manage to do the things/skills that I never thought I will be able to do such as able to score from a three-point line, a block shot and many others. It was funny that I didn’t really feel exhausted while in the match. Although we were rather relaxed, we still managed to beat the other states. We battled till the end and were once again known as the champions for the MSSM Under-12 girl’s category. VICTORY! We deserved it, after all the hard work, effort and the teamwork, we totally paid it off. Along the way, we actually became really close friends. We were like a one big happy family. However, it was sad as well that we had to leave but we had so much fun and unforgettable memories at the end of the day.

Who would ever know that my boss is an epic basketball player? I was awestruck as I arranged the books in the Library, with Zi Qing helping me. Well, you’ll never know who your boss may be

By Kiwan Richard, 16, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Student Highlights: Not bound by limits

Ever since a young age, Jules Kinua Richard has always been gifted in both sports and studies. From his roots at Sarawak, he is currently studying in SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3). He has entered in numerous running competitions, mostly in the sprinting category, and has won may awards.

The 14-year-old class monitor balances his studies and his talent very well. One of his favourite sayings is: "Everything has poison, nothing is without poison. Only the dosage determines whether it is poisonous or not." His priorities, come first followed by everything else. When asked about his routine, "... I feel that routines are like borders. They limit what I see and do. However I choose to do at least one procedure that benefits me both physically and mentally." He also claims that the only challenge he faces daily is overcoming his limits.

He goes for training once a week at school as he joined the athletics club. Other than that, he trains on his own every other day. He is inspired by many people but "other than sports figures, those who never really achieved their full potential, their spirit fuels the rocket that is going to transport me to my dreams."

When asked about any weird experiences while taking part in competitions, "there is one time when they brought me to a special room to do a drug test on me. That was a real eye-opener." Before every competition, he ensures that he gets a good night's sleep and right before the competition "I calm myself down and then try my best to perform well."

On the other hand when asked for who is his idol, "I do not idolize people for what they are. But it is what they do which encourages me to push on in the race of my life. Such as a historical figure - Rentap and his famous motto: "Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban".

His vision is " day, people would see sports not just as a form of entertainment, but as a way to unite all humanity and also as a platform to showcase the full potential of human beings both physically and mentally at their best."

His advise to the younger generation who wants to follow the same path as him is to "...always have the competitive spirit and a winning attitude, but also remember: the will to win means nothing without the will to train."

By William Ng Hao Syuen, 14, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Student Highlights: A Class Above The Rest

Tan Jia Cheng: that was the student with the most outstanding PMR examination results in SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3). Besides achieveing a glorious string of eight straight A’s, with the portfolio of being the best in Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics, and Geography, it little wonder that she had received a standing ovation when she was bestowed such an honour. How is it that this unsuspecting girl could achieve so much? The honourable individual spills the beans on  her secret recipe to success: 

What is the secret behind your success?
The inner calm within yourself when you’ve worked hard before the exams. During examinations,  I told myself that I might not get a satisfactory grade for a subject, the what’s important is the sense of accomplishemnt and joy when revising for the coming examinations. 

What was your reaction when you got your outstanding results? 
I was very grateful to my family members that has always prayed for my sucess and has supported me at all times. I was also very grateful to my friends and teachers who have helped me solve any problems that I face when I study. 

What is your opinion on the PMR examinations? 
In my opinion, PMR is actually not a very important examination in the life of a student. It is only important in making oneself worthy of entering a desired stream. 

What are the preparations that you’ve done a day before the PMR examinations? 
When I’ve finished revising for Bahasa Melayu [the first paper], I had slept early to ensure that I can face the examination on the next day with gusto. 

What are your plans for the future? 
I plan to take medicine when I enter college in the future. The medical profession has interested me. At the same time, I am also interested in writing and I might write my own novel in the future. 

How have you divided your time between academics, co-curricular activities and other social activities? 
As a person inclined towards academics, I prioritise it above co-curricular activities and other social activities. However, I like playing badminton as to playing other sports. Every weekend, I would do recreational activities such as jogging and playing badminton with my family members. 

Who has supported you in striving to succeed? 
My family members. They always reassured me that I am a useful and good individual. My friends also are willing to share their problems with me and have always motivated me to keep working hard. They have made it possible for me to enjoy every second of my life. 

What is your advice to soon-to-be PMR candidates out there? 
Don’t assume that the PMR examination is the only important thing in one’s lifetime. There are other things that we should give importance to in life, such as your family members, you friends, etc. They will still care for us and be proud of us even though we’ve failed in our examinations. Therefore, don’t get too stressed when the PMR examinations come by. 

By Kiwan Richard, 16, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor 

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Student Highlights: Determined to succeed

A student like Crystal Lee Pooi Yee makes everyone proud. From her mother, teachers, coaches to friends, she is loved by all. This 16-year-old student of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) does lots of things and manages her time wisely. She's active in sports (basketball and athletics), holds the positions of assistant secretary for both Yellow House and Athletics Club: treasurer for both the Basketball Club and Chinese Society: and Publicist for St John's Ambulance.

Crystal excels in her studies and aspires to be a doctor one day. The amount of effort she puts in speaks for itself. She always tries to finish all homework in school and spends her time at home studying. Usually, she balances her time between studies and sports. She makes sure that she strictly follows her timetable. She also has time set aside for TV or to surf the Internet but only after finishing her tasks. Besides that, she loves dancing and reading books.

Most important for a sports girl, like Crystal, is being healthy and also eating the right food. She stays healthy by eating less salty and oily foods and consuming lots of vegetables- She also makes sure that she takes three meals every day. 'Lots of exercise is a must': she said.

As a sportsperson she has participated in many basketball tournaments, even playing with Singapore's and China's basketball teams. She's also been very active in athletics, winning many trophies and medals in the process. And she is still on her feet, winning more trophies and medals.

Crystal's success secret is to believe in herself in everything she does and be determined. She never gives up that easily and never gets badly influenced by others. She is always thankful for the support she gets from her family, teachers who taught her dedicatedly, and friends who are always by her side to back her up.

Crystal's achievements
PMR: 8As
Basketball MSSM 2008: Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Basketball MSSS U14 2010: MVP
Basketball KLBA Tournament U14 2010: MVP
Sports Day 2011: Best Sports Girl

By Wong Ying Ying, Chelsea, 15, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Student Highlights: Inventing Solutions

Amelia Tan sure looks like an ordinary 16-year-old, but most people do not know that she invented a Heater Swimsuit at the age of nine years and won the bronze medal at the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS) Young Inventor competition in 2003. The invention also gave her the title of the Youngest Inventor in the Malaysia Book of Record together with 10 other young children who got their names in that book.

Amelia currently studies at SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) in Petaling Jaya. She started inventing things at the age of seven years. Her first invention was a Car Toilet Seat — a potty inserted into a hole in the car seat. She got the idea when she felt a repeated need to use the washroom when travelling in a car. This would be particularly inconvenient during traffic jams and long journeys. So she decided that a car toilet seat would help solve the problem.

Her famous invention, the Heater Swimsuit, which won her an award, was created when she could not stand the cold temperature of the water while she was swimming. From that experience came the idea for her invention. What she did next was list all the advantages of having a heater in the swimsuit as well as how it would work. She also drew a sketch of what it would look like. She then shared the idea with her father, who identified the right materials for the project, before she turned the plan into a real object. The problems she had and turned into solutions not only won her an award but also a chance to shake hands with Tun Mahathir Mohamed, the Prime Minister, during the award ceremony.

Amelia said she doesn’t need to go anywhere special to get inspired. All she needs is a problem to set her magic thinking in action and find a way to get the problem solved. This problem solver said, “I saw a lot of problems around me and felt the need to solve them.”

Among her other inventions are a Pet Finder, a Combo Spoon and a Singing Donation Box. However, all her inventions are just prototypes, which are not for sale. The Pet Finder is a GPS for a pet, which she invented when her pet hamster got lost while she was in school.

She put a special GPS chip on her pets to keep track of them. The Combo Spoon is her way of solving the problem of dirty cutlery at the hawker stalls. She invented the Singing Donation Box for the Buddhist Society when she was about 9 or 10 years old. The box, placed next to the donation booth, ‘sings’ a song of gratitude when a donation is made.

Nowadays, she has stopped inventing, because she wants to focus on her studies. Her approach towards Going Green is to join a club in her school called Trees. The club activities include holding inter-class competitions. For instance, the class that collects the largest number of old newspapers is awarded movie tickets. She has also stopped using polystyrene containers and has replaced them with a tiffin carrier instead. She said, “I think it is very irresponsible of people to throw their rubbish everywhere. I do reproach my peers at school when they do this.”

Indeed, Malaysia has so many great minds who selflessly contribute to society even at a young age. Amelia is certainly one of them. With her creativity and down-to-earth personality, Amelia will be able to reach great heights in her life.

Source: Inventing Solutions - Niexter - New Straits Times

By Teo Pei Ching, 17, Kuala Lumpur and Syed Umar Syed Mustafa Kamal, 17,Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: Celebrating academic success

Saturday... isn't that the day when most schools are supposed to be closed? Not my school, as April 27th marked Prize-Giving Day, where academic excellence is lauded and hardwork during examinations finally paid off.

Present at the ceremony were our beloved principal Puan Azizah Yusoff, and the head of our parent-teacher association, Encik Abdull Aziz Ismail.

After the national anthem, Puan Azizah gave the opening speech congratulating the students for their high achievements in academics. She also thanked last year's PMR and SPM candidates for performing extremely well, making the school one of the best in the district. She noted that much of this was due to the intensive revision classes, mock examinations and the like. She also credited the school's achievement to it being a cluster school.

Encik Abdull Aziz next gave a short congratulatory speech before opening the day's ceremony.

The students received their prizes with smiles, happy in the knowledge that all the studying had finally paid off. The top five students from each Form were given certificates of recognition and a dictionary to bolster their vocabulary.

Then, it was time for a performance. Talent time winner, Ng Jun Shawn graced the event with a beautiful acoustic rendition of Bruno Mars's 'When I Was Your Man'.

What followed was the apex of the whole event. The coveted Exemplary Student Award. This award is given to the student who served as a role model in his or her achievements and participation in various fields.

A fifth Former was granted this award, whereas students from other forms were selected as hopeful candidates for the award in the future. Each student was given a certificate and a sash. The Exemplary Student received a challenge trophy and a plaque as well as had his biodata read out to the crowd.

With that, the Prize Giving ceremony ended and the crowd went for some light refreshments. One couldn't help but have the zeal to continue to strive for academic excellence in the hope of a bright and successful future. 

By Kiwan Richard, 17, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: Teacher Oh Teacher!

As a fifth-former, there never seems to be an end to examinations. As we got our examination schedules, everyone shook with fear. Day in, day out, it seemed like the subjects were hungrily waiting to eat us up! However, on May 16, we smiled as we knew we could escape from the monotonous examination routine, for it was Teacher's Day!

As the day commenced, teachers entered to glorious applause from the students at the multi-purpose court. Everyone rose, as they sang the national and state anthems with gusto. Puan Azizah Yusoff our beloved principal opened the celebration and she thanked all the teachers in her speech for their dedication and hard work which was especially manifest in the recently-acquired cluster school of excellence status, and also being featured on the morning talk show 'Malaysia Hari Ini' on TV3.

After that, all teachers sang the song, 'Karni Guru Malaysia', and took an oath as the pledge of sincere and excellent service to the vocation.

Next, it was time for the gifts to be given to the teachers. As they received the gifts, the teachers simply smiled, thankful for that little gesture of gratitude. Even the parent-teacher association gave a little something to each and every teacher.

Games and tele-matches soon followed, and what a field day photographers got, taking every shot in the sun for that perfect candid moment. One of the highlights was when the teachers had to memorise a list of words and pass it down the line to their captain. Their faces creased up as they tried to cram the list into their memories.

The apex of the whole celebration was the performances. It was not just one, or two; but eleven acts back-to-back! To kick off, winner of the school's talent time, Shawn Ng, sang a beautiful rendition of 'Little Things' and 'You Raised Me Up'. Then, choral speaking, both in Malay and English got to the idiosyncrasies and impact of our teachers on the nation. Past the wind band's potpourri, beautiful songs, and the catchy dance numbers; the prefects and librarians staged a dance-off, pleasant contemporary versus artificial popping. However, it was the Japanese club which got everyone's attention, with 10 minutes of Korean overload! Even the teachers didn't fail to put up a show, with the Technics and Vocational Department staging a little show that revolved around a Malay song from the 1950's that got everyone laughing.

As the entire fete drew to a close (and the fear creeping in again), it seemed like a pleasant day for all the teachers. Being a fifth-former, I realised that it would be my last year in secondary school, and my last year with my beloved teachers. Hence, I would like to wish all the teachers throughout Malaysia a (very belated) Happy Teacher's Day! 

By Kiwan Richard, 17, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: Quiz Masters

On the 11th of April, the School of Pre-University Studies of KDU University College recently held its annual Math & Science quiz. Approximately 870 participants from 29 schools participated in the quiz, fighting for the title of Champion, with my school being one of them.

It all started during our Chemistry class, when Datin Tan Kok Suan, our beloved Chemistry teacher, asked my class, 5 Orkid, to participate in the quiz. We readily agreed, and pretty soon, we found ourselves on the morning of the quiz, all primed up and ready to go.

After a short trip, we reached the Damansara Jaya campus, where we were ushered into the hall. All the schools arrived at the same place at the same time, hence the scene somewhat resembled a human traffic jam. Hopefuls flood the air with nerves and scientific notions alike, making everything pretty much charged up.

As we entered the hall, perhaps some legs turned to jelly at the examination-like arrangement of the hall. As we were affected by this prospect, my fellow classmates ventured around the campus to calm our nerves. My friends and I managed to venture so far, that my usher panicked when she found us on the ever-elusive hall balcony. So much for calming nerves…

Anyways, we then returned to our places for the briefing. After long pauses to ensure that everyone received their answer scripts and question papers, we then started. Chemistry, biology, and physics litter the question paper alongside mathematics; but little did we expect being asked general knowledge questions, especially Obama’s home state!  Nevertheless, the 40 minutes allotted for the quiz simply whooshed by, and before we knew it, it was time to hand in that paper.

As the papers were whisked away to be marked, our ushers took us on a tour of the campus (which we already ventured around). The computer labs, resource centre, science labs: these were where we stopped by as we braved the sea of students touring the campus with us. After that, we went for lunch.

Entering the hall, we sat down as Dr Todd Nelson started his speech with the little Malay he knows, considering he has been in Malaysia for 4 years! Congratulating us for actually participating in the quiz, he went on to give out certificates of participations to our accompanying teachers.

Then, enter the nerves. Emotions ran high, and cheers resonated through the hall as the results were read out. The champion, Leong Chee Yean from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (4), walked home with a 100% tuition fee waiver in any KDU Pre-Unuversity programme. Runner-up was Grace Ng from Catholic High School and in third place Goon Zhu Wei from SMK SS17. These successes were met with crazy squeals from the ushers, who were strangely more excited about the results than the students.SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) managed to pull through at ninth place with the help of Tan Jia Cheng. Datin Tan must’ve been pretty delighted with this small victory, for she smiled throughout our journey back!

At the end of all it, even though most left with empty hands, they were certainly not leaving with nothing, for we all left with a great experience and an awesome day to be pasted in our scrapbook of memories…

By Kiwan Richard, 17, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor
This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: Language Week

April 15-19, 2013 was our school's annual Language Week. Two of the events held during that time were Choral Speaking and Talent Time. Only the Forms 1,2 and 4 students participated in the Choral Speaking. Talent Time was open to every student in our school. Both the events were held at the school's Co-curriculum Arena.

For the Forms 1 and 2, the Choral Speaking was held on April 16th. The Form 4 students had theirs on April 17th. The winning class was 1 Orkid. Their Choral Speaking was excellent. And they had to go up on stage to perform again so the other classes could learn from them. Form 1 Orkid deserved to win because they had very good pace, coordination and expression. As for the Form 2s, the winning class was 2 Mawar. They were really good as they had more experience than the Form 1 classes. As for the Form 4, 4 Mawar won because they had been doing this for years now. The winning classes went back with smiling faces.

Talent Time was also held on April 18th. Participation was on a voluntary basis, and many students were not eager to participate. Less than 30 teams/ individuals joined the event. Students who participated in this event were able to bring their instruments to school to show off their talent during their performances. The winner was Ng Jun Shawn from Form I Teratai. He mesmerized the audience with his rendition of 'If I was your man' by Bruno Mars. He played the guitar incredibly well too.

This yearly event was carried out very well by the school. Choral speaking was to help students improve their language so they can master better conversation in different languages in their daily life. Talent Time was to help students to build self-confidence.

By Celine Wong Shi Qi , 13, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: Thank You!

On February 28th, Bandar Utama Damansara (3)'s basketball players were thrilled to hear that Segi University was sponsoring them to MSSD this year and also taking them to MSSS. We would like to thank Encik Abu Omar Mos for finding BU3 a sponsor for its basketball team. Segi University is willing to sponsor RM12,945 for BU3's both boys' and girls' basketball teams. Penolong Pegawai Pelajaran Daerah Petaling Utama, Encik Sazali Baharuddin said it was a smart move to work with a school that has long been known to be the strongest basketball team in Selangor.

The manager of Segi university, Vera Tay, said basketball is a good and active sport where players have to coordinate speed, manage the ball and body movements. This skill was deemed to be important as it is not an easy task. These are the things we need in life. But without determination, skill and speed we can't achieve anything in life. When you have a healthy body, you'll have a healthy mind. They want students to understand that life is not just about studying and getting the best results. Her last words to our players were "... practice hard, don't give up so easily, always aim to be number one and go all the way till the end because practice makes perfect."

By Wong Ying Ying, Chelsea, 16, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor 

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Highlights of 2013: First day at secondary school

My orientation day at secondary school was very thrilling. There were many students there. I was late because I had to get a letter from my former primary school. But I was really delighted to get into this school after the second appeal. When I got there, I went straight to the multi-purpose hall. I listened to various speeches, one of them from our principal, Azizah binti Yusoff. She was introducing the school to the new students. Students and parents were listening attentively though some looked bored.

This year the enrolment was bigger because of the students born in the year of dragon. After listening to the speeches students were directed to their respective classes to sort things out. As a student under the appeal case, I did not have a class. But a helpful prefect took me along, with a few others, to the office to get our classes sorted out. We had to wait for about an hour and a half. While waiting, I made two new friends. Their names are Junelle and Nicole. After we got our classes, we hurriedly went to them.

Our class teacher sorted things out and we were given a copy of the book list and school registration form to fill up. To my surprise, my class had a massive number of 65 students, although there were six Form 1 classes. After that, we were allowed to take our new text books home. And that was how my orientation day went, unlike the first day of my primary one where a lot of students were crying. Now that we have all grown up, orientation day was quite different. But something that has not changed is the parents accompanying their child during the orientation day.

By Celine Wong Shi Qi , 13, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor
This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Highlights of 2011: Canteen Day

White canopies were draped over the assembly point. Voices rang through the winding boulevards, hoping for some brisk dealings. Feet shuffle in utter randomness, eyes spoilt for choice. The overcast skies seem to be envious of the smiles below, frustrated that nothing seems to disrupt anything down there. Well, that’s the SMKBU(3) Canteen Day spirit for you, all thanks to our dedicated PIBG [parent-teacher association]!

Why have such a pompous fair at such a time? Parents are through with drizzles ruining every other assembly (sorry rain, we don’t hate you that much, it’s just your impracticality), so it’s high time that the school had a sheltered assembly point at the basketball court. With the proceeds of the carnival going to the roof, it is a wonderful way for all to give back to the school for its services to the surrounding residents.

A great deal of effort went to the preparations for Canteen Day. In the days leading up to the carnival, students, teachers and even one PIBG member came from class to class, persuading students to contribute their share towards the roof. Coupons were dispensed freely, a few even buying absurd amounts to sell to others in hope of winning one of the many attractive prizes donated by parents!

Sunday, 8.00 a.m.; it was then time to open Canteen Day to the public. Teachers, students and dedicated parents readied the stalls, bracing for a wave of eager carnival-goers. Two hours later, it was thronged with people in every direction. Puan Azizah, our beloved principal, thanked all who made the event a success, especially those who took the time to prepare the wonderful food and entertainments that was for all to enjoy; officiating the day with a loud blast of vivid confetti.

Under the canopies and at the canteen, connoisseurs were chanting their enticing patter, hoping to attract potential buyers to their delicious food. It was truly a gastronomical escapade, with morsels originating from practically every corner of the known world. Nasi lemak, chocolate fondue, bubble tea, nasi kerabu, chicken rice, hot dogs, fried mushrooms, satay, spaghetti, char kuey teow; everything under the sun. Even Puan Azizah herself whipped up some delectable Laksa Johor!

Meanwhile, adjacent to the school field, people had fun at the games stalls, even though a few did not win anything at all. A favourite with the crowds was the haunted house and a haunted maze. It is a gross understatement to say that there was a queue, because the human chain could have stretched all the way to the Moon! After some screams and a few beads of cold sweat, one would say that it was worth its weight in coupons. The dunking machine and the water balloon war, too, were extremely thrilling; no one could refuse such a good soak in the cool water.

At the teachers’ car park, a bazaar seemed to have sprung up overnight. Stall selling various trinkets and goods were swarmed with the masses, in fear of their desired wares being sold out. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, books, magazines, and much more was on offer to the public. Even a few corporate bodies went along with the selling frenzy; their presence electrifying the entire carnival.

From morning to evening, it was a sight to behold. A multitude of people swarming through the school gates, engulfing the entire school grounds with a sea of people. Business was brisk; every purchase a step closer to realising the goal of building the roof over the basketball court. It was a fun day out for the family, all peoples from many walks of life, local resident or member of SMKBU(3), all working together to raise funds to shelter the basketball court. With parents as pillars of strength, it is no wonder that roof may soon be erected and that the rain would be a menace no more to assemblies and basketball tournaments.

By Kiwan Richard, 15, SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3), Selangor

This post is part of the line-up ahead of the blog's second anniversary. All these posts will be taken from articles written by students featuring the school on School Times, the educational pull-out from the New Straits Times.

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