Malay Special Programme Immersion, Malaysia
On 25th June 2014, our school once again made our way to Kuala Lumpur to visit our twinning school, Sekolah Seri Puteri. Mdm Nora Supaat and Mdm Ilyana accompanied 9 students on the trip. The following excerpts are the students’ reflections on their trip.
Day 1 Reflections
“We went to a village and visited the paddy fields where we learned about the different types of paddy grains and the machines which they used to plough the land. Then we had an authentic Malay lunch of vegetables, chicken curry and egg. The most memorable incident was eating the rice meal with our hands. As we were used to using cutlery to eat our food, having to scoop the rice up with our fingers seemed like an impossible task to us. All of us had difficulty trying to scoop up the rice as it was very loose. It was our first time experiencing this and to me, I personally found it quite fun. Although it felt weird to put my fingers into my mouth, we had to eat, so eventually we finished our meal.”
By Jasmine Ng
At Kampung Parit Penghulu, we learnt how to weave the ketupat using coconut leaves and also weaved a little basket. We also learnt how to make Ondeh-Ondeh from a Makcik there. We put in the pieces of palm sugar or gula melaka into small rolled up pieces of the green coloured dough and rolled them into balls. We could not roll it too much because the sugar would start to melt. I learnt that when the ondeh-ondeh rise up to the surface of the water, it indicates that they are cooked, and we would then be able to take it out of the water. After that dough is boiled, we rolled it in grated coconut. I thought mine looked like the ones that were sold in shops so I think it was a great achievement for me. Also, we learnt how to eat with our hands. It was my first time trying to use my hands to eat as we usually use utensils. We were supposed to use our right hands to pick up the rice and food from our plates, and the left hand to take the food from the dishes by using the serving spoons provided. It was difficult for me since it was my first attempt but even after getting used to using my hands, I still could not successfully get the food in my mouth and felt like I was actually eating my hand. It was fun and a good experience to learn and try even though I did not really pick up the skill of eating with my hands. We also learnt more about Malay traditions and cultures. The kampong houses we saw were built on stilts, with square shaped pillars instead of round pillars for stilts. We found out that the function of the square stilts was to avoid having snakes slither up the pillars. The space below the house could also be used as a storage space. Hence, I learnt a lot of things about Malay traditions that I did not know of before this trip. I think this trip was very enriching as I learnt and picked up a lot of new skills. I got to try things that I was not able to do in Singapore, and learnt more about the Malay culture and traditions in the trip since we were introduced to a lot of traditional Malay houses, cultures and customs.
By Tan Li Hui
Being one who is not very familiar to other cultures and traditions due to the lack of exposure, I was grateful that I was able to spend time in Kampung Parit Penghulu, Malacca, learning more about Malay traditions. I was able to see the different lives that the people there led as compared to us, when I saw where they worked, lived, and how they spent their time most of the days. Although the things that they taught us to do seemed very easy, they were not so for me. For example, when we were trying to weave the coconut leaves into the shape of a ketupat, I had difficulties doing it and was unsure even when the makcik guided me step-by-step, It had to take a few tries for me to get something that the Malays could do so easily. I would just normally eat the rice out of the ketupat without thinking much about it in Singapore. I also had difficulties making the ondeh-ondeh as I often could not seal the dough properly, causing the gula melaka to be slightly exposed when it is cooked. I became a little bit impatient then as I needed a few more tries to get it right. This taught me that I had to first be patient with what I was learning and also, I had to understand the origins of all things, no matter it being just something I eat, as that would then allow me to savour the food with a better understanding of how it was made. Also, the places that we saw in Malacca also showed me that we should be thankful for the rice that is served at our table as those rice grains are planted and harvested painstakingly by others for us and the houses that we live in are also more modernised as compared to those in Malacca that we saw. It was a real fruitful day spent as we indulged in the culture of the Malaysians.
Thank you very much!
By Sammy Chua
Day 2 Reflections
On Day 2, the most memorable incident that happened today was the visit to the Petronas Towers. We went in the afternoon, and as we went up, we thought it would just be another building that we would be seeing. We were all shocked when we were greeted with the scenery in front of us. From the top floors, we could see the whole city beneath us and it was exhilarating to say the least. We took many photos while we were up there, because it was really beautiful from where we were. It felt as if we were on top of the world. The view would have been breathtaking if there was no haze when we were in Kuala Lumpur, we would have been able to see the scenic hills apart from the busy city.
Other than visiting Petronas Towers, we also went to the National Mosque on that day. We learnt that we had to cover up ourselves well before we went into the mosque to show a sign of respect to the religion. We also learnt more about the religion while we were there. For example, Muslims have to perform ablution before performing their prayers and also it was advisable for all Muslims to go to Mecca at least once in their life.
With all these newfound knowledge that we gained throughout the day, we certainly would not forget our trip to Kuala Lumpur.
By Wei Bi Qiong
Day 3 Reflections
On the third day, we visited Sekolah Seri Puteri, which is one of the top girl’s school in Malaysia. When we arrived, we were welcomed by a few of the prefects from the school. We began the day with a school tour where we were shown the various facilities in their school. We also attended a Malay lesson with the students from that school and participated in a mini skit about a malay tale. We got the chance to be introduced to their style of learning and methods of teaching. It was definitely enriching to be able to participate in a Malay lesson with our new Malay friends. Lunch was a meal of traditional malay dishes and after which we enjoyed games such as Malay scrabble called Sahibba and a traditional Malay game “congkak”. Even though language barrier was present between us, we overcame it with our sincere hearts and genuine attitudes. That was the last activity we participated in the school but before the day’s activities ended, we visited Putrajaya, a city in Malaysia located 25km south of Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia and most of the government buildings are located there.
All in all, looking back at the students in Sekolah Seri Puteri, their enthusiasm in their studies is something we ought to follow. This trip was indeed a meaningful and enriching one and we will sure to remember it for a long time…
By Koh Ming Zhe