Tuesday, 9 June 2015

An Unforgettable Camp!

The Librarians of SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) have a camp every year, and this year - like every other year - we had another Librarian camp (no surprise). This camp may already sound boring to you BUT I can assure you that this year’s Librarian camp had a slight twist in it that makes it more refreshing for a change.

We have camps every year to build stronger friendships amongst Librarians and to encourage the younger ones to pick up some leadership skills - and of course, to let the probationary Librarians get a taste of what it’s like to be a Librarian.

As I said, there are twisted sides to this camp. For instance, this is the first time that the senior Librarians planned a camp that included team-building activities and also sightseeing. What we had was basically a camp-trip. We spent 2 nights in Kem Permata Resort and 1 day walking around the inspiring streets of Malacca.

On the 17th of April, we took off from school to the Brindley Training and Camp Centre at the Port Dickson beach. When we reached there, a trainer patiently taught us how to build a raft from a few large bamboo sticks, strings, and gigantic blue containers. Tired from the long ride, I could see that most of us were trying to understand what he was conveying to us - but discreetly gave up in the end. However, when we were to split into groups and built our very own raft, none could deny that teamwork could be seen in all of us. With some help from the scouts  amongst us and those who understood the steps, we successfully built our rafts and even had a raft race in the sea!

On the 18th of April, we went into 'trip mode'. The first place we visited was the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. We learned about the history of Zheng He in Malacca. After that, we went to Stadthuys, a historical building in the heart of the town of Malacca. Besides admiring the artifacts and traditional costumes, we had fun taking photos there.

Then, we had a simple lunch at Medan Samudera. We also went for a river cruise. Sitting back and enjoying the scenic view of Malacca was relaxing and enjoyable. Next, we went to the Upside Down House. It was very interesting because everything was stuck to the ceiling. Imagine a toilet bowl hanging above your head! When we took photos, it would appear as if we were on the ceiling instead. Go figure. Last but not least, we visited Jonker Street.  We had loads of fun from eating chicken rice balls, flower pot ice creams, ice lollies, fried potato slices and buying cheap keepsakes! The street was filled with busy lights and noise. After that, we even had a drama competition back at the campsite.

On the 19th of April, we went back into 'camp mode'. Early on the morning we all went through an obstacle course in the campsite. From climbing high walls and monkey bars to falling into murky green water and balancing oneself on a wire, I’d say we all had a truly different experience. The obstacle course required great team spirit and bravery from each and every member. It taught us to be considerate of others and help our team members.

After a bath, we packed up and said our goodbyes to Kem Permata Resort. Before we drove back to school, we visited one last place, the Malacca Planetarium. I think that we learnt a great deal more about galaxies, stars and the amazing universe out there.

We went home that day not with a heavy and tired heart, but with battle scars (from the obstacle course) and also new and exciting experiences. Most of all, this year’s batch of Librarians thoroughly enjoyed this camp-trip organised by the dedicated senior Librarians.
 By: Chloe Ho

Saturday, 9 May 2015

My Experience: Being Part Of a Musical!

It all started when our Senior Assistant for Co-curriculum, Puan Ngau wanted to make the retirement of Puan Azizah, our principal, in 2014 special - by coming up with the school's first ever musical!

This idea was announced to the whole school when she launched the auditions for it in June 2013. I didn’t know anything about it until I heard from others, so I went to sign up for the audition. If I were to get in, it will be so cool! When the audition list came out, there were tonnes of names there, I didn’t know so many people were interested in performing in the musical!

The audition was two weeks away, and I got more and more nervous as the day came closer. I practiced and practiced till I got it right. Finally it was the audition day! I still remember very clearly, I had to get out of science class for the audition, and my heart was beating fast. At this point, I just said to myself, 'Even if you get to be in the chorus, it's okay. Just give it your best shot.'

When it was my turn to audition, I calmed myself down before I went in. I told myself that I can do it and it will be over soon. I went in, and there were two guys - I’m guessing that they will be our coaches? Thus, when I began, I sang with all my might. After that, they told me that I needed more confidence and I shouldn't have been so nervous. Oh no! Will I get in?

After that was dancing. We had to go in as a group. When one of the judges came and showed us the dance routine, we had to learn it quickly and do it nicely. No offence, but some people danced funny! It was then over, though I was not sure why we didn’t audition for acting?

When I went out of the audition, I was just wishing I could get in. It was so long before the list was to come out! I kept wondering every day. When it came out at last, I looked from top to bottom. There were about 45 to 50 people that got in…. Guess what? I was one of them! However, I only got into the chorus. I didn’t mind - even though it was just a small part, it doesn’t mean that the rest were better than us. This was the beginning of a journey.

The first practice session was from Tuesday to Thursday that same week. I was so excited, but I had to give up a lot of my time to for musical practice. During the first practice, it was held in the music room, it was so congested because there were so many people. Just so you know, those practices were exhausting. After a few practices, a few people started pulling out because the practices took up a lot of time and it was really tiring.

At every practice, our choreographer Min always found flaws in our dancing, and we had to do it over and over again, until we got it right. Everyone was groaning. Dominic was the other guy coaching us. He was in charge of our singing, and the leads, as well as the acting of the supporting cast. Well, all that singing really trained my voice for the better!

As time passed, there were only 28 of us left. Sometimes, it was so hard that I felt like pulling out, but I got a lot of support from my family and friends. Hence, I managed to hold on. After so many practices, it was already the beginning of 2014. Progress on the whole musical was beginning to accelerate, because we didn’t have much time left. The performance was on the 1st and 2nd of March. Therefore, Min and Dom were training three to four times a week, and it was so tiring. I had to skip my other co-curricular activities. Gosh it was hard to skip Librarian meetings! I felt that I missed out a lot. So sorry everyone! Forgive me for skipping meetings and other stuff.

Anyways, January and February 2014 were the busiest months ever. We had to put everything together. Some of us were slow learners, so it was decided that the chorus didn’t need to dance. Though we already had learnt all the steps. but this saved us so much time. Soon, it was time to sell tickets, and the premier was getting closer and closer. All of us were sweating blood to get this musical up and running!

On the 28th of February, we had a full dressed rehearsal, and all the tickets were SOLD OUT! I had to give up school to go for rehearsal at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre. When we got there, it was like a dream come true! There was a green room, and our dressing room and the restrooms were so clean and tidy! We rehearsed, did a sound check and got ready for our very first performance the next day. I was freaking out and I was so excited! That day, we went back home tired, but excited.

That day finally came - our very first audience, and the premier of our school's very first musical! When we got on stage, my confidence came to me the choir began to sing with the rest of the cast. We also learnt how to change fast because we needed to get on stage in a short interval of time. It was a nice feeling - being in a musical. Soon, our first show was over. Min and Dom told us the show was good, but there was still room for improvement. Dom said that normally if the first show was good, the second show would not be better than the first.

The second show was the night show, and is the main extravaganza - when our principal Puan Azizah was going to come and watch us. I said to myself that we had to make it the best show. The second show was so breathtaking! Our beloved principal was right there, so we gave it our very best shot! Our audience that night was the best one so far - they reacted very well and cheered for us. Before we knew it, the last show ended as well and it was the end of a very long, tiring and fun journey.

Even though it only ran for three shows, this musical meant a lot to me. It was more than a musical - it was a really hardworking group of secondary school students letting their passion out. It was the most exciting and tiring journey of my life. I hope that an adventure will happen again someday, in the near future, but for now, this journey has been the most memorable one yet!

By: Celine Wong

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