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Wednesday 9 January 2013

11 July 2012 Incident

NOTE: This story has implied meaning. However, as of December 2013, it no longer has any significance for me.

Looking back at year 2012, I had a lot of memories, both good and bad, in that year. There were several important dates for me in 2012. One of them was 11 July 2012. Why was this date important for me? The simple answer is, my '7-11 Revolution' started on that day. '7-11 Revolution' was actually a significant change in my thinking, attitude and character. Note that '7-11 Revolution' was completely not related to the 7 Eleven store.

I had been thinking of the day 10 July 2012 for a long time before it came. Earlier, I heard the rumours from many of my friends that the list of students selected to take part in the PLKN (National Service) would be out on 10 July 2012. I did not want to be selected for PLKN, because the training is very tough and the program lasts for 3 months. Therefore, a few days before 10 July 2012, I began to feel worried. In fact, on 8 July 2012, one Chinese boy in my school lied to me that he had seen the PLKN name list and my name was in it. However, it turned out to be not true. The were no news about PLKN on 10 July 2012. The PLKN name list would later come out on 26 July 2012, and I was not selected for PLKN. However, there was an incident on 10 July 2012 which led to my '7-11 Revolution' on the next day. Here, I will explain in detail about the whole incident.

On 9 July 2012 (Monday), I went to school as usual. During the assembly, our teacher told us that there would be an aerobics exercise on the second day in school. All students of SMK Sultan Badlishah were involved. Therefore, all students were required to wear sports T-shirt and track bottom to school on the next day. Then, the teacher also asked all Form 5 students who got top-40 in the whole form for the previous exam to stay back after the assembly. I was one of them, since I got 2nd in form for the May exam. After the assembly, our teacher told all the top-40 form 5 students that we did not have to wear sports T-shirt on the next day, instead we could wear school uniform as usual. The reason was because there would be a special program for us on the second day. Meals would also be provided for us. I was happy because I did not have to attend the aerobics exercise which I disliked.

On the next day, 10 July 2012 (Tuesday), I went to school in my school uniform. Then, I knew that the 'special program' was actually the First Solar Environment Outreach Program organised by First Solar company. First Solar Company is a company located in High-tech Park, Kulim that sells solar panels. The company had cooperation with my school since 2 years ago. They had once organised a program at my school 2 years ago to introduce their company to students. All Form 5 top-40 students would be watching the program. I also heard that we would be given KFC for lunch. During the First Solar Environment Outreach Program, there would be 2 competitions. One of them was the poster designing competition for lower secondary students, and the other competition was the presentation titled 'Solar Energy Makes Our Environment Cleaner and Healthier' for upper secondary students. Then, I knew that a group of 4 Malay girls in my class were taking part in the competition. The aerobics exercise which was held on the same day started on 7:30AM, but the First Solar Environment Outreach Program started later at 8PM. The aerobics exercise was held at the school field, while that program was held at the Dewan Samsudin of my school.

Before the First Solar Environment Outreach Program started, I stayed in my class. Then, the 4 Malay girls in my class who were taking part in the competition asked me if I could help them. They said that during their presentation, they would choose one student from the audience and ask a question 'What do you know about solar energy?'. However, they were not sure how that student would answer and how they should reply to that. So, they planned to do something. They choose me to answer their question. Then, they wanted me to answer like this 'Maybe it is the energy from the sun'. Then, they would reply 'Well, the answer is not very accurate but it is still correct' and also give me a bag with a present in it. But, actually, the bag did not contain anything in it but only a laptop charger. They wanted to do that to show that their group had interaction with the audience, which might help them win the competition.  I agreed as I was willing to help them because they are my good friends and it was an easy task.

At about 7:45AM, I entered the hall. At first, I sat at the back with one of my friend. At 8:15AM, we were given breakfast. I was disappointed because nothing was tasty except the bread with butter. Luckily I have taken my breakfast at home before I went to school. After that, I moved to the front seat. The program still had not yet started and we had to wait for a long time. At 9:00AM, the aerobics exercise had ended, but the First Solar Environment Outreach Program had not yet started. Finally, at 9:30AM, the program started officially. Some workers from First Solar company came to my school. One of them gave a speech. He said that the purpose of the program is to raise awareness among students on the importance of environmental protection. After that, the 'Solar Energy Makes Our Environment Cleaner and Healthier' presentation started. A total of 9 groups took part in the competition. The groups were named Solar 1, Solar 2 and so on until Solar 9. Each group were given a maximum of 15 minutes to present on the stage. There were 4 judges, 2 were my school teachers and the other 2 were workers from First Solar company.

I watched the presentation by the first three groups. There were 4 members in each group. They all used PowerPoint in their presentation and they added some drama in their presentation. In my opinion, their presentation were average only. Their explanation was detailed but their presentation were not very interesting. Then, the 4th group, Solar 4 presented. Unlike other groups, that group only had 2 members. This group's presentation was more creative. They made a scene at a science laboratory where a university student entered and talked to the professor about environmental pollution and solar energy. They did not use PowerPoint but instead they used a small handheld device to present the information. However, their presentation was a bit boring and their explanation was not very detailed so I did not like it.

Next, it was the 5th group, Solar 5 presenting. This group's presentation was the most interesting. There were 3 members. The presented a drama. In the drama, 2 persons were given a task by their boss to obtain some information about solar energy in order to help save the environment. They then flew in an aeroplane to the headquarters of First Solar company. They made drama was so real that even the sounds of the aeroplane taking off and landing could be heard clearly. After they arrived at the headquarters of First Solar company, they entered the building secretly and hacked the company's computer system. The managed to steal and open a PowerPoint file containing information on solar energy. They reported to their boss about information on solar energy they found in the PowerPoint file. They contents of the PowerPoint file was shown on the screen. Suddenly, the security alarm sounded. Immediately, they run out of the company's building and escaped using their aeroplane. However, First Solar company chased them using several aeroplanes. The 2 persons reacted by shooting down the aeroplanes chasing them. The shooting sounds could be heard too. Finally, they returned safety and their boss was very satisfied with what they have done. Then, the drama ended. The drama was very interesting but it lasted for almost 15 minutes until the members of Solar 5 were given the 'last minute remaining' warning.

After that, I watched the presentation of the groups Solar 6 and Solar 7. Again, their presentation were average. I waited for the 4 Malay girls to perform but none of the groups were theirs. At last, the 8th group, Solar 8 presented. Solar 8 was the group of the 4 Malay girls in my class. I was ready to do what they had told me to do. In their presentation, they first showed a video they had taken near a polluted river. After that, they asked the audience a question. As they planned, they asked me to answer. I just stood up and did exactly as what they wanted me to do. Then, they gave be a bag as a present. Actually, the bag contained nothing other than a charger for their laptop. Next, they explained about solar energy in detail. They also showed a model of a city that used solar energy entirely. Finally, they asked all the audience to stand up and sing a song on environmental protection together. Their presentation was interesting, and they also had interaction with the audience. I hoped that they could win the competition. Next, it was the last group, Solar 9 presenting. Their presentation was also quite interesting. They made a drama where a girl went to the future and told the people in the future about the importance of protecting the environment.

Then, the presentation on 'Solar Energy Makes Our Environment Cleaner and Healthier' ended. We were asked to wait 30 minutes before the results of the competition were announced. Our teacher told us to wait patiently because the judges needed some time to determine the winners as all the groups performed quite well. All students in the hall were also given a coupon in order to get the KFC later. The posters designed by the lower secondary students who took part in the poster designing competition were displayed on the notice boards behind the hall. After 30 minutes, the results of the competition were announced. They announced the results of the poster designing competition first. A few winners were selected and they were given some money as a reward. After that, they announced the results of the 'Solar Energy Makes Our Environment Cleaner and Healthier' presentation. Among the 9 groups, they would choose 5 of them to be the winner. They would announce the 5th place first, followed by place and so on and finally the first place. I hoped that Solar 8 would be the first.

Solar 3 got the 5th place. I thought that it was reasonable because their presentation was average. The 4th place turned out to be Solar 8. I was a bit disappointed because I wanted them to get the 1st but I was still happy as they still managed to win. The 3rd place was Solar 4. I was unhappy because I disliked the group Solar 4 and I thought that Solar 8 performed better than Solar 4. Solar 7 got the 2nd place. I expected that the 1st place would be Solar 5. At last, I expectation turned out to be true. Solar 5 got the 1st place. Being the 1st place, Solar 5 group was given RM800. The 4th place and 5th place were given RM100 each. So, Solar 8 got RM100.

Then, the First Solar Environment Outreach Program ended. At that time, it was 1:15PM while the school ended at 1:45PM. They gave all of us a recycle bag, 2 pens and 2 pencils made of wood as a present. We were also given a box of KFC for lunch. We had to show our coupon given to us earlier in order to get it. The box of KFC contained 2 pieces of fried chicken and a whipped potato. Many students finished the KFC in school. But, I decided to bring the KFC home to eat. After that, I walked back to my class. The last period on that day was Additional Mathematics and it still had not ended yet. I told my other classmates about my experience during the program. Then, the 4 Malay girls came to the class to take their bags. I asked them if they were satisfied with what I had done. They said that I did it quite well. However, they did not say much and they went home. On my way home, I told my grandparents about the program. My grandmother said that she had cooked chicken rice for lunch. However, I was given a box of KFC so I wanted to eat KFC for lunch and eat the chicken rice at night for dinner and my grandmother agreed. My grandfather was interested in solar panels and wanted to install one at our house in the future.

At home, I thought of the things happened during the program. I was not sure if they Malay girls were satisfied with what I did, nor I was sure that what I did really helped them. On the second day, 11 July 2012 (Wednesday), I went to school as usual. I asked the Malay girls if they were really satisfied with what I did one day earlier. They said that they were very satisfied with me and that I indirectly helped them to win the competition. I was very happy to know that. Still, I realised that I only gave them a little help and the main reason they won the competition was because of their own efforts. On that afternoon, I had Additional Mathematics and Mathematics tuition. During the tuition, I told my friends at the tuition about the program.

After returning home from tuition and taking my bath, it was 7:45PM. Usually, I would sleep in the afternoon every day because I used to sleep late and wake up early every day. However, I could not sleep in the afternoon every Wednesday because I had tuition. As I normally had dinner at 8:30PM, I could still sleep for about 45 minutes after tuition. Because 45 minutes is not a long time, I could just lie down but not really sleep. But, since I was tired, I was in a drowsy state, and this caused my brain to think of strange things. On that day (11 July 2012), when I was lying down, I started thinking of the First Solar Environment Outreach Program that happened a day earlier on 10 July 2012, especially what I had done on that day.

I realised that it was the first time that I actually helped my friends to do something. I remembered that a few months earlier on February 2012, our school principal wanted to change the English teacher of our class because she wanted to let her teach the Form 3 classes. Because we liked our English teacher, we did not want our teacher to be changed. So, I and 2 friends decided to talk to the principal about it. However, I was so scared of the principal that I said nothing other than 'Good morning, teacher!' and 'Thank you, teacher!'. Our principal refused to retain our teacher, giving the reason that the Form 3 students need that English teacher more than us. At last, our mission failed, and I knew I was partly the cause of the failure. My friends were disappointed with me and I was disappointed with myself too. But, this time, during the First Solar Environment Outreach Program, I managed to do something that made my friends satisfied and impressed for the first time, even though it was only a very simple task. I was very happy thinking about that. So, I told myself that in the future I must try to do more for my friends.

Suddenly, I realised something that made me shocked. How much time do I still have? There were only 4 more months left before the SPM on November 2012. After the SPM, I would be leaving my school and furthering my studies in universities. In other words, I only have 4 more months to be together with my friends in SMK Sultan Badlishah. After that, I and all my friends would be separated, and Facebook would be our only means of communication. Realising this truth made me feel very sad. Earlier, one of my friends had told me that she only took most of her friends as 'passer-by', and after the SPM she would forget them all. I never agreed with her. For me, I can never take my friends as 'passer-by', because they mean much more than that for me. I got up from my bed and walked towards my table. I looked at the calendar. The SPM Trial examination would be in 5 weeks, and after that there were 6 weeks before the SPM. This meant that I only have about 11 weeks to be in my school with my friends.

Before that, I never thought of this. Ever since June 2011 when I set the target for myself to get 10A+ in SPM, I was only concerned about my studies. Every day when I went to school, I only thought of exams and studies and nothing else. I never cared much about my friends. Although I had many friends in my class, as well as other classes in school, I did not talk to and interact with them very often. I often talked to only a few of my friends who were closer to me. Sometimes, when my friend asked me on a particular topic of a subject, I would just give them the answers directly, without explaining anything or showing them the workings. As a result, they could not understand. Besides, I disliked some of the lessons in school, especially Bahasa Melayu and Sejarah because I thought that they were boring. So, I often tried to find chances to skip class. I also never treasured my school life. Every day I would be preparing for the next exam and just let the time past like this. Also, I always longed for an exam to end, because only that time that I could relax myself for a few days. I often relaxed by playing computer games and surfing the internet, and I used to take that as a luxury. Now, for the first time I knew that I was not right to be like that. School life is not just about exams. I knew that exams and studies are important, but other things such as friendship are also important. I realised that I need to make a change, as I did not want to regret for not treasuring my school life and friendship after graduating from secondary school. This started my '7-11 Revolution'.

The aim of the First Solar Environment Outreach Program was to raise students' awareness on the importance of environmental protection, but it did not have effect on me. The reason is since a long time ago, I have realised the importance of protecting the environment, so I will always try to protect the environment, even if I did not attend the program. Instead, that program indirectly 'raised my awareness' to treasure my school life and friendship.

Starting from that day onwards, I changed. I start to talk and interact more with my friends in my class, including those whom I was not very close to. I treasured every moment when studying in SMK Sultan Badlishah with my friends. I also would go to school every day and not skip even one day of school. And I would always try to so something.for my friends. Whenever my friends ask me on a particular topic for a subject, I would try to explain to them so that they understand. Consequently, more of my classmates would come and ask me when they did not understand something, especially after the SPM trial examination. Whenever I did my homework on Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, I would write down the complete workings on the test pad so that I could lend it to my friends. This later caused 2 girls in my class to compete with other to get my workings. I also treasured the lessons thought by all my teachers and would never skip class again. Besides, I now knew that my real luxury was to be with my friends in school, instead of surfing the internet. After the '7-11 Revolution', I felt that my school life became more interesting and I felt happier. At the same time, I treasured my every moment staying in Kulim with my grandparents. Still, I never neglected my studies, and I would always try my best to achieve my 10A+ target in SPM, because I knew that was important for my future. I would continue to study very hard, while at the same time treasure my school life and friends.

Unfortunately, despite treasuring every moment I had in school, time still passed very fast. Soon, I finished my SPM and had to separate with my friends in secondary school. Time would never go backwards and I felt so sad about that. I thought that the '7-11 Revolution' came a bit too late. How I wish that it had happened earlier. Still, I was glad that it happened. Without that, my remaining secondary school life would not be interesting and I would probably regret a lot for not treasuring my school life. Thanks to the First Solar Environment Outreach Program which led to my '7-11 Revolution'. So, in conclusion, 11 July 2012 was indeed an important day for me, isn't it?


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