SJK (T) Desa Cempaka Fire

by Chandru

Believe it or not, this is the condition of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Desa Cempaka after the fire episode that happened wee hours in the morning of 28 December 2015. So if you’re looking at our pictures, the entire school is merely a single stretch of a building encompassing the teachers’ room, the office, the meeting room, 6 classrooms, a mini library, a mini canteen, a tiny stage, and toilets within this small building. Out of which 3 classrooms caught fire and remain in an awfully hazardous state. (Notice the melted fan. Yes, that’s how bad)

And so, considering the fact the incident happened a week prior to the opening of the 2016 term, neighbouring SK Desa Cempaka has opened their doors for our children to relocate and use the schools’ classes and its facilities, during which the Tamil school is sorted. Plus, the Headmaster of SK Desa Cempaka, En Hariffin has been a gem in accommodating the Tamil school’s needs.

In the meantime, a number of media reported arson was suspected in the fire episode at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Desa Cempaka. Now, how about that! At this point of time and while investigations happen, we summed up that the children’s welfare was of upmost importance. Deputy Minister of Education, YB Kamalanathan also made a visit to the school as soon as he found out. He has long term plans for the school and has highlighted that the Ministry of Education will look into the matter with utmost diligence. YB met parents and teachers, lifting their confidence to bring the school back to its everyday routine on a better magnitude soon.

As Vinaya arrived at the school, we noticed teachers transporting necessary materials and equipment to the neighbouring school, teachers were incredibly dedicated for a Saturday early morning. We then had the opportunity to speak to the Principal of SJKT Desa Cempaka, Ms Agnes Chelvi Perumal and her Senior Administrative Assistant, Ms Sunthari Ariyakavandan.  We came to know that it was a parent who first noticed the fire and immediately notified the firemen, with their arrival within minutes. Parents through the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) have been very understanding and supportive.

However, the Principal’s major concern now lies on the number of student enrolment and there is a high possibility of drop in numbers. You see, in order to sustain, Tamil schools require a good number of student enrolment. And with this incident combined with the drop in students, there’s a good chance of the school being demolished and we do not want this.

Previously known as SJK (Tamil) Jindaram, today this school has a total of about 120 students (Year 1-6) and it has been a tough ride maintaining these numbers, given the very basic facility this school has. Classrooms have been having termites and even the occasional visit of bats! (Yes, we were surprised as well). This is the time the school really needs all the help they can get from everybody.

Ms Agnes and Ms Sunthari also highlighted that over the years, significant contributions from Dato’ Saravanan, a key person in the development of the school, has helped ease burdens. He has been of great assistance and brought about many initiatives to the school from his first sponsor of food for a field trip, landscaping the school for a conducive environment, backing up the school sports and prize giving ceremonies, providing photostat machines and air-conditioners, all up till taking the children and teachers to Langkawi, so that they also gained the experience of traveling by flight.

We only hope for one thing, for the school to be repaired soon OR rebuilt as part of a long term plan. We noticed a good population of Indian locals it the vicinity of the school and it would be good to see more parents sending their children to Tamil schools with confidence and assurance of providing their children with the very best. Vinaya shall continue to bring you latest updates on SJKT Desa Cempaka and we welcome any assistance or contributions from the public for the school. Please contact us and we will get you connected to the school.