Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mount Kinabalu Expedition 2009

Primary 5A has shown the true essence of three of our five school values: Diligence, Perseverance and Compassion.

In the beginning of Term 2, in preparation for the impending Mt Kinabalu expedition, Primary 5A had come together as one to train diligently. Pupils who were not going for the expedition had also joined in the training sessions to encourage one another. Through motivation, they persevered with the arduous but progressive trainings conducted on every Thursday.

Happily resting!!

This time, at the summit of Bt Timah!

On 6th June 2009, 18 pupils and 3 staff departed for Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to begin the expedition. Excitement could be felt among the pupils as we boarded our flight to our destination. The first day ended in a flurry as we took time to settle down in our lodge.

One for the whole group!

Forming new buddies?

What were you saying, Jun Keat?

On 7th June 2009, we had the opportunity to visit an orphanage. We did our part to spread the awareness of AYG and YOG to the residents there. We also played some games with them as we got to know them a little better.
Ah! I see!

Er, why are they still skipping?

On 8th June 2009, we departed from our lodging to take on the challenge presented by Mt Kinabalu (4095.2m). We set off for our challenge from Timpohon Gate, at the height of 1866.4m, at around 8am. Along the trail, we saw many magnificent sights. Words could not describe the beauty of our surroundings while pictures just simply do not do justice to the real sights of nature.

I'm up here!

Resting among the clouds!

Can I touch the clouds, Mr Yaidi?

To take away the toll of the hike from the pupils, they were told to count the number of rest huts they saw along the way. Trying to keep count of these huts (7 in total) took their mind away from the exhaustion that they were feeling. By 5.45pm, all of the pupils managed to reach Pendant Hut (our lodging) safely, though some of them were more tired than others. We had our dinner which was followed by the safety briefing from the trainers. The briefing was for the final push to the summit and the descent by Via Ferrata. By 9pm, all of us were soundly asleep to prepare our body for the final push.

In the wee morning of 9th June, at about 1am, 9 pupils woke up to 'cross the last hurdle'. While many of you were sleeping soundly on your warm beds, we had to bundle up with many layers of warm clothing to keep ourselves warm. It was not enough! We had to use some heat packs before we were sufficiently warm.

At around 2am, we slowly made our way up to the summit. Along the way, the group was split up into 2 smaller groups. I and 5 other pupils, who were feeling much better than the rest, proceeded at a faster pace to the summit. The other 4 pupils took longer rests. They were left behind so that they were able to proceed at their own pace.

For the 6 of us, the challenge of completing the climb was constantly in our minds. Darkness descended around us, with lights from our headtorches to guide us. We had to bear in mind that every step we took brought us closer to the top of Mt Kinabalu. After about 4 hours of arduous climbing, 5 pupils and I, along with our guides, successfully conquered Mt Kinabalu and reached its summit.

Resting for awhile before moving again.

We made it! FINALLY!! Time: 5.40am

What a magnificent sight!!

As we stood at the peak, overlooking the mountain, we took photographs of our achievement. As I stood there, watching the sun rise over the horizon, words could not describe my pride for the pupils' successes. I was awed by the beauty that was presented before me. As someone who is passionate in nature and outdoor activities, the scene will be one that I will keep imprinted in my mind for a very long time.

After a while, we began our descent to Sayat-Sayat Hut. This was the pit stop before we went for Via Ferrata. What is Via Ferrata? I cannot find the words to describe what we went through this part of the journey. Just look at the photographs to see what I mean.

Be careful now!!

This is our 'summit'!!

We're up there!Look closely for orange spots.

Meanwhile, when we first reached Sayat-Sayat Hut, we saw the other group of 4 pupils and Mr Jahan making their descent back to Pendant Hut. Why?

Read on.

After safely descending Via Ferrata, we finally regrouped at Pendant Hut. We discovered that the other group with Mr Jahan had reached Sayat- Sayat Hut at about the same time that we reached the summit (at about 5.40am). They were then advised by the local guide not to proceed to the summit as they would not be able to reach Timpohon Gate (the starting point) before dark. As it was a concern for the safety of the pupils, Mr Jahan made the painful decision to abort their attempt.

We packed our things and proceeded on the last leg of our journey - the trail back to Timpohon Gate. At exactly 5pm, the last pupil exited Timpohon Gate. We proceeded back to our lodge for a much needed rest and not to mention, a hot bath. Rather than be overtaken with fatigue, we excitedly swapped stories and photographs at the dinner tables. However, we all succumbed to an early night for a good rest.

On 10th June, we made our way to Poring Hot Spring for some 'Rest & Relax'. Along the way, we saw signs put up by the roadside, stating that the world's biggest flower, the Rafflesia, was in bloom. Not wanting to miss a rare opportunity, we took the chance to witness the blooming Rafflesia flowers before proceeding to the hot spring. At the hot spring, we soaked our aching feet into the soothing warm waters.

Rafflesia in bloom!!

The next day, we set off to Singapore from Kota Kinabalu. If they were buzzing with excitement of the anticipated trip at the start of our trip, the pupils were still talking about their experiences at Mt Kinabalu during the flight home. Even Mr Jahan, Ms Lee and I, together with our guides from Singapore, were reminiscing about the trip too.

Time to go home.

The expedition had been a life- changing experience for everybody on the trip. They transformed from simply being an ordinary child to a 'celebrity'. Many trekkers were amazed to see the pupils during the hike. They kept asking the pupils their ages and some trekkers even took photographs with them to show their friends and children. I tried not to take the limelight away from them and stayed in a corner, observing them with pride. The trekkers who asked me about the summit, I directed them to one of the 5 pupils who was with me. You should be there to see their reactions of disbelief, respect and awe.

To those who reached the summit, congratulations to all of you! The experience of Mt Kinabalu is yours forever. Reflect on your performance on the expedition. It will help you in your daily lives for many years to come.

To those who were almost there, the experience is yours too. Congratulations to all of you for reaching Pendant Hut and even Sayat- Sayat Hut for some. Sometimes, things do not go as we want them to be. Get up and move on! You cannot take on new challenges if you keep looking back at the past. Mt Kinabalu is forever going to be there for you to take on at any time in your lives. Just like there will be new challenges for you in your lives. Prepare for the challenges and take them on.

To those who did not go but trained with us, we thank you for your support. Without you, our training sessions would not be fun and lively. Thank you very much!

To Mr Chia, we thank you for your faith and belief in us and also for your ever-continuing support.

To Mr Daniel, Mr Yap, our organiser (X-trekkers), Ms Shiau Wei, Ms Syuhaidah and others who had helped us in one way or another, we thank you for organising a smooth and successful expedition.

To teachers and parents who had sent us off and everybody else who had wished us well, we thank you for your support and wishes.

To my wife and Mr Jahan's wife, we thank you for enduring our absence. Your presence are never far away from us.

To Mr Jahan and Ms Lee , I thank you for a great job done.

To Mr Jahan, a pact is made and a promise to be kept. We shall return!

Next time, your turn!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1st Mini Road Race

Let me help you.
I'm going to 'overtake' you!

I will follow you!

Yippee! We won! (3A)

Smile for the camera! (4A)

Here! Your turn! Now!

Go Red! Er, Blue! Er, Green! Aaarrghhs...just go!

We had our first mini road race on the last day of Term 2 (29th May 2009). The route was the same as our Fitness Friday route except that it was a shorter distance. We had a class Challenge Trophy for the Primary 3 and 4. Which classes won the Challenge Trophy?

Read on.

The Primary 3 and 4 pupils were very excited about the road race. Not only they could win individual medal, but they could also help their class to win the Challenge Trophy. Just by looking at the pictures, you could imagine the atmosphere at the parade square on that morning.

The Primary 5 was not forgotten. They had a different version of the race. They had a relay race. Their race was shorter and definitely faster. The other pupils were rooting for them. There must be a connection, which was unknown to me, because the rest of the school were rooting for different groups.

So, the winner for the Challenge Trophy for 2009 were Class 3A and Class 4A. Well done! Time to defend your title next year. Till then, train hard during your PE lessons and also on Fitness Fridays.

For the Primary 1 and 2, your sports event is coming soon!