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It was a delightful scene for many visitors, young and old, at Kampung Dek Permai, Selangor, on August 18, 2003. Armed with 20 000 young trees, these Malaysian volunteers were united by a task which was to plant trees on six hectares of land.

Kampung Dek Permai was chosen as its environment had been damaged as a result of indiscriminate logging. The aim of this activity was to protect the ecosystem and, at the same time, allow future generations to live in a healthy environment. As this activity involved teamwork, it became a symbol of friendship and helped to create awareness of the importance of protecting the environment. The organisers hoped that what the volunteers were going to do would set an example for others.

The happy participants, made up of 900 residents of Kampung Dek Permai and 600 school children and teachers, cheerfully rolled up their sleeves and worked together. Those who attended included the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and the headman of Kampung Dek Permai, who spoke briefly at the opening ceremony.

Before planting the trees, the participants were briefed by Ayub Musa from the Department of Agriculture, who had the crowd in stitches with his step-by-step guide to tree-planting. The talk was informative as Ayub related in detail how a tree is planted.

If you want to plant a tree, according to Ayub, you will need to gather all the things you require: a young tree in a plastic bag, a large water container, a trowel, garden scissors and some mulch, which is a mass of dead leaves and bark, spread around a plant for protection or to enrich the soil. Ayub mentioned that the next step is to handle the young tree with tender, loving care so that it can grow healthily. "Always hold the plant at the bottom, and never hold it by the stem. You would never dream of carrying a baby that way! Feel free to stroke the plant gently as you handle it - it is a living thing that needs affection too!" he added jokingly.

"Next, while holding the young tree in the plastic bag, soak the entire plastic bag in a large container of water. Keep it under water and check that all the air bubbles are gone. Then use a trowel to dig a hole where you want the young tree to grow. Ensure that the hole is at the right depth to match the height of the plastic bag. It must not be too deep or too shallow. This is very important. Carry the soaked young tree over to the hole. You are now at a very important stage of the process. Now cut through the plastic bag, making sure that the roots are not damaged. This may cause the plant to die."

The next step, according to Ayub, is to place the young tree into the hole that has been prepared. "Remove the plastic bag completely. If the soil surrounding the roots breaks off while you are removing the plastic bag, do not panic! Just collect it and place it in the hole as neatly as possible," he said. "Do not forget to cover the hole with the soil that you have removed earlier, using the trowel or your hands. Press the soil down firmly, but not too hard or too lightly, as that may cause the plant to have problems in growing." Ayub added that the last step is to place wet mulch around the young tree. The mulch will provide protection as well as nutrients for the roots. "It must be wet and hold enough water for the plant to grow healthily over the next few months," Ayub emphasised.

When the talk was over, the participants got down to work. After a tiring two hours, the whole area was covered with young plants. By the end of the tree-planting activity, it was clear from the smiles all around that something lasting had been sown in their hearts. It was the seed of a special friendship, very much like the young trees in the fertile ground of Kampung Dek Permai.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

a) From paragraph 1, what activity was carried out on that day ?

b) From paragraph 2, why was Kampung Dek Permai selected for the project ?

 

2.

Which phrase from paragraph 4 suggests that the briefing was amusing ?

 

3.

a) From paragraph 5, what did Ayub Musa mean when he said, "You would never dream of carrying a baby that way !"?

b) From paragraph 6, why is it important not to damage the roots ?

 

4.

From paragraph 7,

a) what must be done just before removing the plastic bag completely from the plants ?

b) how can we provide nutrients for the young tree ?

c) what does the word It refer to ?

 

5.

In your opinion, why were the participants pleased with the tree-planting activity ? Answer in your own words.
 

6.

Based on the passage, write a summary on:

* the steps that should be taken to plant a young tree

Begin your summary as follows:

If you want to plant a tree, you need to ...

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Answers
 

1.

a) Many Malaysian volunteers gathered to plant some 20,000 young trees on six hectares of land in Kampung Dek Permai.

b) This project will help to replenish the environment damaged due to indiscriminate logging.

 

2.

The phrase 'had the crowd in stitches'.

 

3.

a) Ayub Musa meant that one should never hold a plant by the stem but at the bottom.

b) The plant may die if the roots are damaged.

 

4.

a) The plant must be carefully placed into the prepared hole.

b) By placing a mass of dead leaves and bark (mulch) around the young tree.

c) "It' refers to the mulch.

 

5.

They were pleased because they have built meaningful friendships with the other participants through a meaningful and valuable activity and made the environment greener.

  6.

If you want to plant a tree, you need a young tree in a plastic bag, a large water container, a trowel, garden scissors and some mulch. Hold the young tree gently at the bottom and not by the stem. Soak the entire plastic bag that contains the tree in a large water container. Ensure that there are no air bubbles. Then, dig a hole with a depth that matches the plastic bag's height. Carry the tree over to the hole and cut through the plastic bag carefully so the roots will not be damaged. Put the young tree into the hole and remove the plastic bag completely. Fill the hole with soil and press the soil down firmly. Lastly, place some wet mulch around the young tree.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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