23 Malaysian teens off to Japan

Atty (seated,second from left),Education Ministry fully residential school management division head Aidie Jantan (seated,fourth from left) and Orikasa (on Aidie’s left) with participants of the Asia Kakehashi Project 2019 at the reception held at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: P. NATHAN/The Star

TEENAGER Luqman Hakim is excited to be one of 23 Malaysians selected for the Asia Kakehashi Project 2019 – a student exchange programme to Japan.

Luqman said he planned to share the beauty of the Malay pantun with his hosts.

“This is a vessel to exit my comfort zone. This scholarship will enable me and my fellow recipients to spread Malaysian culture to other countries while learning about their cultures,” he said in his speech to thank the organisers for the opportunity to study in Japan.

The Japanese word “kakehasi” means building bridges in line with the programme’s aim of developing a meaningful encounter between cultures and building bridges between countries.

“The objective of this youth exchange project is to promote deeper mutual understanding among the people of Japan and other countries,including Malaysia.

“It will also enable future leaders of Japan and Malaysia to form networks and help young people develop wider perspectives as global citizens,” said Yayasan AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia national director Atty Sulaiman during a reception at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Kuala Lumpur.

Luqman and Yap Keyin thanking the organisers on behalf of the other Asia Kakehashi Project 2019 recipients.Luqman and Yap Keyin thanking the organisers on behalf of the other Asia Kakehashi Project 2019 recipients.

Japan Embassy deputy head of mission Hiroyuki Orikasa said the programme would provide participants a golden opportunity to learn more about Japan and its people.

“At the same time,it is a good occasion to introduce Malaysia’s beautiful,unique and diverse culture to the Japanese people as young ambassadors,” he said.

Last year,14 Malaysian secondary school students were chosen to study in Japan under the project.

The Malaysians,together with students from 18 other countries,will be placed in different high schools across Japan while staying in dormitories or homestays during the eight-month programme.

In a video message to the 23 Malaysian students which was screened at the event,Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wished them well on their journey and said the aim of the programme was to expose them to the culture and way of life of the Japanese.

He said the bigger goal was to build relationships between students from different countries,with the hope of lasting cooperation in adulthood and avoiding tensions that often exist between countries.

“The programme aims to send students from various countries,including Malaysia,to Japan,where they will stay with host families and go to Japanese schools to experience and learn the Japanese lifestyle.”

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