Merrier with six ‘dragon’ kids

(Seated, from left), Yancy, Heidi and Zi Qing making decorations out of ang pow while (standing, from left) Chun Feng, Aiden and Ren Siang showing completed ones at the centre in Medan Terengganu. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

SQUEALS of delight rang in the air as six ‘dragon’ kids made Chinese New Year decorations at an education centre in Penang.

The 12-year-olds – Tan Chun Feng, Aiden Toh Wei Ming, Koay Ren Siang, Chan Yancy, Heidi Lum Sze Yu and Chiam Zi Qing – are among 22 children at the centre born in the Year of the Dragon in 2012.

Prompted by the centre’s owner and founder Rachel Ng, the six made decorations using ang pow packets.

The children, who have been attending the centre since Year One, said they were taught the significance not only of Chinese New Year but also all the other major festivals in the country.

When asked what they liked best about Chinese New Year, the children said they liked exchanging gifts with their cousins and eating CNY cookies.

Zi Qing, who loves playing with fireworks, said her festive wish was to have better grades.

“I would also like to own an iPhone,” she said.

As for Aiden, he wants to be taller and to have no homework during the one-month school holidays.

Ng, who has been operating in Medan Terengganu for 22 years, said the centre focused on mental well-being.

“There is too much emphasis on academics. As a volunteer with Befrienders, I have heard children complain that they are overwhelmed by their studies.

“That is why I don’t want this place to be like any other education centre.

“I place importance on teaching them mindfulness and being curious about the world.”

“We encourage them to make the decorations so they can better understand why we clean and decorate our homes for CNY.

“We also give them activities to do with their parents like giving festive cookies to neighbours.

“They are supposed to note down their feelings about the activities,” she said, adding the aim was to ensure the young continue traditional practices.

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