Warm welcome: Dr Mah (right) greeting the students at the camp.
IT WAS a Sunday morning and 71 secondary school students spared no time in enriching their extra-curricular experience by enrolling themselves into a Chinese cultural camp.
The Chinese Culture and Arts Youth Camp 2014 was an extension of the first phase, which was previously organised for primary schoolchildren.
Youths who were interested to learn more about Chinese cultural activities were given the chance to do so at the two-day camp.
State executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said this camp was part of the state’s efforts to further inculcate such activities among the youths.
“What made this camp different from the previous one is that we catered to the youths’ present needs by roping in experts to teach them more advanced techniques in various aspects.
“These included wushu, Chinese calligraphy, paper art, ink wash painting, Chinese knotting and many more,” he said during the opening of the camp at SMK Bercham recently.
He added that the current education system places too much emphasis on academic performance and there should be an equal focus on extra-curricular activities as well.
“The school-going age is the best time for learning more than what is found in textbooks.
“By engaging students in other forms of educational and recreational activities, we can take a holistic approach to educate them and develop their interests,” he said.
Dr Mah also said that the camp would not be a one-off effort to allow the young to learn more on Chinese culture, but the start of a series.
“We will definitely be looking to expanding our wings and reaching out to students throughout the state, and not just around Ipoh,” he said.
One of the participants was 16-year-old Wan Wei Lam, who volunteered to join the camp.
“I have always had an interest in Chinese culture since I started learning calligraphy in school.
“But there were no platforms for me to really immerse myself in cultural knowledge.
“I am really looking forward to the calligraphy session in the camp, because I want to improve on my skills and hopefully, win a prize in a school competition,” said the SMK Tronoh student.
Another participant Ong Yong Jian, 16, said he became immediately interested in the camp after hearing his teacher talk about it in class.
“There are many Chinese cultural activities that I have never tried before, so I decided to sign up to experience it.
“I can’t wait to learn more on the diabolo (Chinese yo-yo) because I have seen students from other schools performing them before and it seems very interesting,” he said.
The camp, jointly organised by the Perak Non-Islamic Affairs Department and state Education Department, was held on July 27 and 28.