FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 125
Welcome to edition 125 of Epsom’s Friday Flyer!
We hope that you have enjoyed a great week and that you are looking forward to the weekend.
This week opened with an assembly delivered by Ms Macleod, our Head of Modern Foreign Languages. Ms Maclead delivered a fascinating assembly where we learned the impact of learning another language on the development of grey matter, the power of language learning in combating dementia as well as some lesser known facts relating to language…Did you know that there are over 300 versions of sign language in existence today?!
The Languages Society (AKA the Lang Gang!) collaborated with some other of the Academic Societies this week and with great results. On Tuesday Teja in Year 12 alongside the Humanities Society presented on ‘So you want to Gatal Gatal is it?’ (- see Message from the Lang Gang later in this edition of the Flyer for more information!) Wednesday saw the Lang Gang collaborate with the BSE Society selling European Snacks and on Thursday we enjoyed an International Open Mic night arranged with the assistance of the International Prefects where students performed songs from all over the world.
We hosted the Senior Diplomat, Mr Vanu Gopala Menon for an Epsom Live talk and this presented a wonderful opportunity for our students to find out more about what diplomacy involves and what a diplomat actually does day to day!
As you read on you will see that it has been another busy week, packed with stimulating and engaging activities designed to inspire our students and challenge them to be the very best version of themselves.
Happy reading and Happy Friday!
Epsom Live Talk with Tan Sri Tommy Thomas
Last Thursday, we were immensely honoured to be granted the opportunity to interview Tan Sri Tommy Thomas – the former Attorney General of Malaysia. Both of us have learned much from the experience, whether that be talking to Tan Sri or the journey of being a moderator.
Our talk with Mr Thomas covered a wide range of subjects – From his experience studying in the UK to his opinions on financial institutions and his involvement in the legal industry. For us, not only was it interesting to hear about his views on such issues, but it also triggered more thinking. Tan Sri Thomas, a veteran in Malaysia’s political and economic sphere, provided a different perspective on issues we may have never known or thought about. What impressed me the most was his ideas on Financial Institutions. I would have never thought that saving financial institutions was what gave them the confidence to act recklessly. It was even surprising that he answered without disguises. Knowing his view on the prospect of combating corruption, we are further motivated to outlook future improvements, for some of us, may or may not, take a more active role.
Even though we thought our questions were critical, the crowd was sharper than both of us combined. Regardless, we’re glad to have had such an engaging audience for our talk. We’ve had questions ranging from the appropriateness of capital punishment in Malaysia to discussions about current affairs that may shape Malaysia’s future.
Both of us are proud to say that we’ve both had members of the audience come to us, saying that the talk was inspiring for them. Once again, we are incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and we look forward to attending more Epsom Live Talks lined up this term.
Cebelle and Lynn
A messsage from Mrs Avis Parker
Key Stage 3/4 Assemblies: Why are they important?
Effective learning is paramount to succeeding in education and life. We never stop learning from the time we are born to the day we die. However, what is ‘effective learning’? How do we become effective learners? Over the last 4 weeks Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 assemblies have started to unpick what it is that makes up effective learning and how we can start to develop the skills to become effective learners.
Our first assembly discussed ‘What makes an effective learner’? I talked about the renowned psychologist, Carol Dweck, who has shown in her studies that it is the effort an individual puts into achieving something rather than their innate ability. Effort is the most important reason why people succeed. It is not how smart you are or the genres you were born with, but the determination and motivation to be successful. She calls this having a ‘Growth Mindset’, being open to learning, believing you can learn and being resolute to achieve a desired outcome.
In another assembly I talked about the ECiM (Epsom College in Malaysia) CORE AIMS: Good Manners, Selflessness, Hard Work, Care for the Environment, and Humility. The focus was understanding what these aims mean and how they apply to us as part of the Epsom College community. One particular aim that stood out was Hard Work. Again, this fits in with the theme of developing a Growth Mindset. This is what ECiM instils in its learners; we all face challenges and barriers but it is your mind set that determines whether you succeed or not. In Week 3, The Key Aims of ECiM also encompass the importance to NURTURE and to EDUCATE. It may be easy to assume that it is the teacher who nurtures and educates, but it is important to realise that the students at ECiM cannot be passive learners, but rather we work as a team and community to enhance and enrich the experiences we have in school; students/ learners need to develop a proactive approach to learning to become effective learners. It is not something they just have, it is something they can develop over time.
This week’s assembly focussed on the Learning Powered Approach which has been pioneered by Guy Claxton. Like Dweck, he is a believer that outcomes and success are founded in a person’s beliefs, attitudes and effort. He believes that learning behaviours are pivotal to success. The main focus of the assembly was DETERMINATION, one of the key behaviours to develop which enhances the opportunities of success. Other assemblies this term will focus on other important behaviours students should develop to become effective learners. Some of these assemblies will be led by the students themselves.
It is my great pleasure and privilege to lead Key Stage 3 and 4 and I look forward to sharing with you their future successes.
Mrs Avis Parker, Assistant Headteacher.
Modern Foreign Languages & Mandarin
Happy new school year 2022! We have spent the initial weeks of term welcoming students into their Basaha Malay, French, Mandarin and Spanish classrooms, and supporting them in deciding which language(s) to pursue this academic year. With those choices finalised, we look forward to helping our students become confident, competent communicators in their selected foreign languages.
This year, our foreign language provision continues to run all the way from EMIP (English Mandarin Immersion Programme) to Sixth Form. The table below shows the language uptake by pupils in each of our current Key Stage cohorts.
|36 + 14 CCA attendees
|22 + 18 CCA attendees
The numbers above indicate that most language classes are relatively small compared to the number of pupils in the cohort. This allows our pupils to benefit from frequent, direct interaction with their teachers, and allows our teachers to offer our students more detailed, personal feedback on performance in lessons.
In view of this, we are pleased to report that our iGCSE results for 2022 were as follows:
Bahasa Malay (Foreign Language) 77% A/A* (100% pass)
Bahasa Malay (First Language) 40% A/A* (100% pass)
French 100% A/A*
Mandarin 100% A*
Spanish 66% A/A* (100% pass)
Our focus for the upcoming academic year is to achieve at least 80% A/A* iGCSE grades in all languages. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Ms Suhada Seti is offering resources and tuition – within the school day – to Malaysian students in Y12 and Y13 who wish to obtain an official qualification in Malay language (iGCSE Foreign Language/iGCSE First Language/SPM) before leaving Epsom.
Outside of the classroom, we have a number of exciting events already lined up for the upcoming school year. As a truly international school, we celebrate the diverse nature of our student body while remaining proud of our Malaysian context. The first such event took place on Monday, 12 September. Ms Seti, along with Hitesh (Y12), Teja (Y12) and Maya (Y11) organized and directed our whole-school assembly on Monday morning. The aim of this assembly was to enlighten the college community on the significance of Malaysia Day (16 September) and Independence Day (31 August). Supported by a number of Malaysian staff, pupils and the entire Y7 Bahasa Melayu class, they shared the historical and social context of Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia, transporting us back to 1957. We also enjoyed performances of Jalur Gemilang and Dato’ Sudirman Arshad’s Warisan before performers and audience came together to sing Negaraku.
In Week 5 of the term (26-30 September) we will hold Languages Week, consisting of another school assembly, and a range of fun activities throughout the week, including international food tasting, language-related challenges designed to encourage the sharing of knowledge and experience between staff and students, and an open mic night where performances in languages other than English are very much encouraged! Following this, Chinese Debate Week will take place in Week 7 (10-15 October), inter school competitions will be happening in CCA time to give Chinese students chances to enhance their debate skills, culminating in Epsom hosting Garden International School on Saturday morning. Look out for updates on these events in subsequent issues of the Friday Flyer!
CCA’s at Epsom
Creative Writing by Shasha Yr 7 Rosebery
The Beauty of Literature🎉
I have always enjoyed writing stories and poems. So when I saw the CCA entitled Creative Writing for Key Stage 3, I was so happy I nearly jumped to Mars- even though gravity would have held me down. And I don’t regret it! There weren’t many students in this CCA, which indicates that students may not have much interest in writing. And that encouraged me to write this article. I want you all to know how much fun writing is. It could be a short poem, or a short sentence on how you feel, but it is always pleasurable to do so.
During the first Creative Writing CCA, we introduced ourselves by writing short stories on laptops and on paper. After that, our first topic was about creating something and was inspired by the 225th Birthday of Mary Shelly. Eunice and Gabriella wrote a poem. I, on the other hand, wrote a story about creation.
The second lesson’s topic remained the same, since we had not yet finished. And this time, Miss Kitchen introduced us to a story called, Frankenstien, because it was the book’s author, Mary Shelley’s 225th birthday on August 30th. Shelley’s novel is about a scientist that created a monster, and angered it by running away from its hideous, scary-looking features. Even though it hasn’t been long since I’ve been doing this CCA, I know this is my favourite one.
Dear readers, If any one of you got persuaded by my article, and want to join this CCA, just remember that you can always join us for a safe space to write- on paper, or in a note book, better on the laptop, I suggest. But anyway, if you have any time at all, considering everyone’s busy schedule, I hope you will consider this, and think more about literature. I’m sure some of you enjoy literature, like me, but if you don’t, please don’t think of it as boring, or laborious as this is not true. If you had any bad experience with literature, then give it a second chance. Because soon, you’ll be growing older, and less-free. You don’t and won’t have any time, unless you have a job related to writing. So… please don’t regret it, and start now.
Questions & Answers
An interview with Miss Kitchen
- How do you feel about writing?
I think that there is no greater force than the power of the imagination apart, perhaps, from love! The ability to write down one’s thoughts, and to express, or challenge an opinion, is of fundamental importance. It allows one to navigate the world around us. The ability to create, or transport yourself to a different world or reality is the greatest adventure that we can go on.
- Why did you choose to be a Creative Writing teacher?
I wanted to provide a club that allows students to have a safe place, to explore and develop their talents and ideas. I wanted students, who are perhaps quieter or shy, to feel welcomed and free to voice their thoughts and develop their talent. Being able to witness the fantastic creations of the students is a really rewarding experience, and shows just how powerful education and the imagination can be.
- What more do you want the students to learn?
Anything, and everything they want to. They’re free to suggest ideas, or special interests. We have recently been inspired to explore the theme of creation, following the 225th Birthday of Mary Shelley on August 30th. We hope to put together our very own anthology of creative writing to showcase our talents to the student body.
- What is your favorite piece of writing?
My favorite piece of writing ever, would have to be J.R.R Tolkien’s the Lord Of The Rings. I find great comfort and solace in the transformative powers of his words. (I agree).
An interview with Gabriella Rose
- Why did you join this CCA?
I like writing and over the summer holiday, I started writing a book. And then, it ended very brutally. And I realized then, that I actually like writing. I have proven my love of writing by developing writer’s calluses at the ripe old age of 12! (Poor young Gabriella!)
- What have you enjoyed about the Creative Writing club?
I enjoyed free writing. Because I could express myself, on a private top-secret document which I shared with the class, eventually… I liked it because everybody is nice and not judgmental. I felt free to express myself.
- What’s your favorite genre?
I like psychological non-fiction. I enjoy learning about the mind and what motivates people. I have always been interested in Psychology and recently read a book about it in the library during our library lesson with Miss Kitchin.
Message from the Service Prefects
A warm greeting from Sutri and Thaara – the Service Prefect duo! Our duty at Epsom is to champion positive change in the Epsom community through charity work and environmental concern.
Eager to make a positive difference, we have readily started work on several projects!
Firstly, with a mission to make Epsom a greener institution and cultivate an environment where students learn to be environmentally responsible, we run the student-led Eco Committee CCA every Thursday. Every week we hope to tackle a new topic outlined by the green-flag program. In our most recent session, we learned about how precious water is and even in the 21st century, such necessity is still a privilege. We believe the world needs better education to manage the growing concerns over a healthy planet. And we, as young people, are the leaders, voters, decision-makers, and consumers who will inherit the current generation’s human-made system and the world. Therefore, our education should encourage people to think, innovate, and propel greener actions for the world and humanity.
In addition to this, we plan to implement a proper recycling system and campaign for a permanent recycling culture. We hope to instill a good habit of recycling within Epsom so that it continues in the future – not only in school but in our homes and elsewhere. There is no better opportunity to educate a large community on green habits, so we want to make the most of it.
Eco-week, introduced last academic year, was a week dedicated to discussions and events related to the environment and its current issues. It was a successful event that raised awareness for the environment and we would like to continue it again for this academic year. This time, we would also like to have waste-free events, something that gets everyone to focus on matters such as light pollution, electricity usage, and more – possibly a stargazing social night!
Charitable work is equally important as caring for our environment. In collaboration with the social and academic prefects, we organised a Fundraising Spelling Bee on the 8th and 12th of September. This was a pay-to-win spelling bee, where teams and the audience could donate to aid or sabotage the player. Our first fundraiser event came to be a major success as we raised RM 841 for the MyKasih foundation – a non-profit organisation that works to help impoverished families and children! To be specific, the money will go towards the Education for Orang Asli Children Program, which supports 9 community learning centres within Orang Asli villages in Perak and Pahang. A special thanks to the BSE society for sponsoring the prize vouchers for our winners. The atmosphere was rich with excitement and it was very fulfilling to see everyone have fun.
We are excited to organise other fun charity events! With October and November just around the corner, we hope you look forward to fundraising events for Breast Cancer Awareness and Movember.
Sutri and Thaara
ScienZ Society: Chemotherapy
It’s Friday again–and yes, this means the long-awaited Flyer is fresh out here! In conjunction with the BSE Week, two of our official members—Chantelle and Jeng Xin—have extended their passion for Medicine and Chemistry by hosting an engaging presentation titled “Chemotherapy: How it affects the body?”. Beyond the intersection of science and business, this presentation also saw students being stretched to discuss chemotherapy’s cultural conventions and ethical beliefs.
Human body cells undergo a process of cell division called mitosis. At times during mitosis, mutations – either chemically, physically, or genetically – will potentially alter the gene sequence of cells (called an oncogene). Mitosis will thus occur at an uncontrollable rate before cells eventually transform into tumours. At this point, the integrity of the surrounding cells will be threatened as cancerous cells will compete against them for nutrients.
From curative chemotherapy to adjuvant chemotherapy, all the variations work on the same fundamental principle: they destroy cancerous cells by using drugs. Normally, there are a myriad of ways for patients to ingest the drugs, from swallowing a tablet to injecting them directly into a tumour. Some common drugs used: alkylating drugs and antimetabolites.
The catch of this clinical approach is that, alongside cancerous cells, healthy cells are also killed or harmed. These can comprise all kinds of cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and skin cells. Each is respectively held responsible for different biochemical functions, hence the wide range of side effects, e.g. hair loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting etc.
Statistics have shown us that those who can afford chemotherapy often hail from a higher income class, whereas their counterparts (accounting for only 3%) primarily cope through insurance or government funds. For instance, high-income breast cancer patients have a survival rate of > 90%, whereas low-income patients have a survival rate of less than 65%. This leads to a trend where higher social status generally correlates to a higher survival rate.
During our session we encountered two overarching questions asked during the Q&A session:
- “What do you think we could or should do to make healthcare more accessible in Malaysia?” During this exchange, one student mentioned that we should start with awareness. Consistently educating the population (especially the older generation) about the nuances of cancer and therefore the need for periodical medical checks is particularly important. As many treatments are much more feasible to be implemented during the early stage of cancer, the survival and recovery rate would therefore increase. One parallel drawn to this ideal is the UK healthcare system, where it is compulsory and free for all citizens to get screened for cancer.
- “Are the alternative therapies (acupuncture, yoga, etc.) equally effective as conventional therapy (chemotherapy)?” The consensus is that this varies according to the individual. Yes, while it is true that some have claimed that they are cured by doing yoga (but whether this is merely a placebo effect is another discussion), some patients won’t be cured by both chemotherapy and the alternatives, even with our most advanced technology and developments in the medical field. This could be a result of the resistance developed by the cancer cells towards chemotherapy over time.
This was indeed a fascinating session! Our next session will happen next Wednesday, October 5th. Stay tuned for further updates, and do join us in the GC for more sessions like these!
The ScienZ Society
A Message from the Lang Gang!
We will be kick-started Languages Week with a presentation on Malaysia’s new Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, or more commonly referred to by Malaysians as the “Anti-Gatal” Law.
Led by Teja from Year 12, this session aimed to introduce students to the Malaysian legal world through the passing of this landmark law. Teja also showed just how important it is that (prospecting) legal figures understand the voices of the people they are meant to protect.
And here are some articles that may be of interest regarding this event:
1) The Star MY: The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill means time’s up for offenders
2) Free Malaysia Today: “Anti-Sexual Harassment Law to be enforced in stages,” says minister
3) The Star MY: The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill has been in the making for more than two decades
This session represented the Humanities Society’s debut event for 2022/23 and it was great to see so many there!
Warmest congratulations to Aidan – Yr 13 – who competed in the 6th CMS Borneo Junior Open 2022 from 7-11 September in the under 19 category. Aidan came 4th out of 64 and now ranks number 1 for Selangor. All this while maintaining excellent grades!! Well done Aidan!