Category Archives: CHERISH

The Return of the “Olympic Torch”

12th June 2014- In one of my earlier articles I wrote about the “Olympic Torch” or “ The Amorphophallus Bufo, an endemic flower in Cameron Highlands which was teetering on the brink of extinction, as the last known habitat of this elusive flower fell to chain saws and excavators. Today, as I watched one of our CHERISH committee members proudly holding up a real “Olympic Torch” for our TORCH run in conjunction with the Special Olympics, I felt goose pimples down my back. This real Torch bears an uncanny resemblance to our Amorphophallus flower (……. oh okay, with a slight tweak of the imagination perhaps!)

Below Cherish very own  Special Olympics Torch with its engraved Logo.


Below the Amorphallus Bufo



Most of the Olympic torches have inverted cones or cylindrical shapes with the bottom section for hand grips while the upper section is for the flame and fuel receptacle. Ours is a silver chalice torch with gray resin handle and fibre glass wick. It is approximately 16 inches tall and weighs 3lbs when full of fuel.


This is the story of how CHERISH acquired the Olympic Torch, written by Roy Margaret ,who  was instrumental in getting it and in double quick time too.

The organizing committee for the Special Olympics were working on a tight budget and had no means of acquiring, nor fabricating one . There was much debate on using a handheld gas canister and also to acquire one from the local sports council.

The sports council had one in their possession that was being rented out for RM2000 a day! That was just too much for a small organization like C.H.E.R.I.S.H. We then decided to write to Miss Karyn Tan, the Special Olyimpics Asia Communications Manager. She directed us to a company by the name of MTM Recognition. They were apparently the sole manufacturer and distributor of a torch, designed specifically for these special people.

After weeks of communication with Mr Kim Mcgowen,  the Accounts manager of MTM Recognition, their company finalized that they would give us a colossal discount . We had a sponsor who could bear the cost of the torch but the additional postage was hefty. By word of mouth, a generous pilot friend with Eithad Airways voluntarily sponsored the freight and we had to rush MTM Recognition to engrave our torch with the C.H.E.R.I.S.H. logo and to ship it out of Oklahoma, USA using the fastest method possible.

A towering appreciation goes out to Miss Karyn Tan of Special Olympics Asia and Mr Kim Mcgowen of MTM Recognition. Our heartfelt gratitude for helping us in such a tight schedule and furthermore assisting us with a discounted price. Our immense gratefulness to Pilot, Mr Gerard Jeyalingam of Eithad Airways for the freight advocacy as it would not have been achievable without his kind gesture.


Come 14th June 2014 the Torch Run will commence from Bethany Home Teluk Intan.

Below is the programme:



Date                           : Saturday 14th June 2014

Time                          : 8.00am

Venue                       : Bethany Home, Simpang Empat, 

                                      Hutan Melintang, Perak.      


Programme             :


7.45am            : Torch Runners and Escorts Assembly.

8.00am            : Arrival of Guest of Honour.

8.05am            : Welcoming Speech by : REV. KARTHIK SIBANYANAM     Director of Bethany Home

: Lighting of torch and handing over ceremony

:Run Starts.       


The route will pass through Teluk Intan town but with a major political event planned on that day part of the route might be changed at the eleventh hour. Each runner ( a special child) will run between 100 metre to 500 metres and will be escorted by other runners and vehicles. There will be a lunch break at the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan around 1.40 pm and the run will recommence after an hour . It will end for the day around 7.30 pm at the playground at Tapah.

  Torch Run Training with volunteersLai Hooi Bor and Teacher Jayanthy during a Torch Run Training

The run will continue the next day and the route will be through Tapah town. Afterwards vehicles will bring the team to Ringlet and from then onwards it will be uphill through Habu, Bharat Tea Plantation and finally to Cherish ,Tanah Rata. The total running distance will be 61 km and total convoy distance 57 km.

Then around 7pm on the 15th June 2014 will be the closing ceremony.



Date                           : Sunday 15th June 2014

Time                          : 7.00pm

Venue                       : CHERISH HOME, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands.

Guest of Honour    : Dato’ Sri S.K. Devamany, SSAP.,DIMP.,SMP.,PPT.

                                      Yang Dipertua Dewan Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan.


PROGRAMME        :


7.00pm            : Arrival of Torch

: Receiving Torch by Guest of Honour and lighting of Hurricane Lamp.

: Comomorative Medals Presentation to Torch runners and Escorts

: Souvineer Presentation to Guest Of Honour.

: Dinner in Honour of Personel involved in Torch Run by

Yg. Bahagia Datin Aseema Singhal in her residence.


So in a sense the Olympic Torch has returned to Cameron Highlands and in 2 forms, both of which epitomise the triumph of the human spirit.

In the first form , it has returned as a real Torch complete with the flame. Who would have imagined that non sports persons can actually get to hold a real Olympic Torch in their life time. certainly not I.

Against all odds ,we are about to pull it off. The first Torch Run by Special children in Malaysia and that through uphill gradients. It shows that normal citizens working together can do wonderful things and help fellow citizens in need .

In the 2nd form, the Torch has returned as the rare plant which was believed to be almost extinct. It  has been salvaged due to conservation efforts by stubborn people who do not want to believe in defeat.  Tubers recovered from destroyed habitats have  regrown and hopefully in a couple of years will start to flower.