Education and the community:
Providing students with positive community service experience
A group consisting of UTAR students, lecturers and staff embarked on an outreach programme at Kampung Sang Lee in the Raub District of Pahang on 23 November 2019 to provide local communities with health check-ups and consultations based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In addition to promoting TCM, a Japanese cultural workshop was also held concurrently at SJK(C) Sang Lee, Raub with the purpose to enrich students’ life and promote learning of other cultures. It also aimed to bridge cultural gaps between foreign and local people, as well as between the young and old.
About 80 primary students and 30 residents, mostly aboriginals, from the village participated in the Japanese cultural workshop and the TCM consultation session. The TCM consultation session was held at the school’s classroom, and patients were given TCM treatments such as acupuncture (zhēn jiǔ) and cupping (bá guàn) after the consultation.
While the adults and elderly villagers attended the TCM consultation session, primary school students were engaged in a Japanese cultural workshop conducted by a Japanese intern from the Department of Soft Skills and Competency, Nonno Kawamoto along with UTAR students. The workshop kicked off with a short briefing for the students and an ice-breaking session where they played a Japanese game called Janken-train. Janken is the Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors. Participants of the game were required to make pairs and introduce themselves to each other in Japanese while playing the “rock-paper-scissors”. The loser will line-up behind the winner with their hands on the winner’s shoulders, while the winner finds another partner to play Janken again. As the game proceeds, the train gets longer and longer.
Moreover, the children were given a chance to learn some basic Japanese phrases during the Japanese lesson. After the lesson, the participants were divided into eight groups and each group consisted of 12 elementary students and one UTAR student. The first group activity was “Quiz about Japan”. The participants were required to stand up and answer the questions given. Through the quiz, the students were able to get some knowledge about Japan and enhance their understanding of the foreign culture.
The event also included activities such as “Origami flower-making”, “Kabuto with the newspaper” and “Fukuwarai”. The primary students were shown how to fold an origami flower and a newspaper Kabuto. They were very fascinated by how papers can be folded and transformed into interesting objects. The students wrote their dreams on the origami flower and pasted them on an A3 size paper to resemble a blooming tree. The blooming tree was later on presented to the school as a token of memory.
In order to promote the significance of reusing resources, the primary students were instructed to use the newspaper to make the Kabuto. Kabuto origami is actually a Samurai helmet where the Japanese normally displays it in their home on Children’s Day; while Fukuwarai is a traditional game usually played by children and even adults during the New Year’s holidays.
Furthermore, the activities also saw popular team building game called “Three-legged race”, where the participants were required to work together towards their goal while lighting up their competitive spirit. The workshop then wrapped up with traditional folk dance from the most northern part of Japan “Soran-bushi”.