THE large parking lot outside PPR Pangsapuri Enggang’s Community Hall was transformed for the celebration of Ponggal recently.
The highlight of Ponggal is the cooking of sweet rice, which is boiled with milk in clay pots until it overflows, signifying wealth and a good harvest to come.
The event was sponsored by F&N Dairies Malaysia’s F&N Empowering Lives Through Education (Elite) programme and organised by Kassim Chin Humanity Foundation (KCHF) for children attending tuition classes at the PPR.
Getting the F&N Magnolia Milk in their pots to boil proved to be a challenge for many, as most of the ladies were used to cooking with gas.
KCHF teachers Yasotha Dhanapal and Umayavalli Nadarajah, who prepared sweetened rice complete with cashews, raisins and various spices in a larger clay pot, however, had no problems getting the fire started. Once the sweetened rice came to a boil, it was served to the guests.
Several traditional cultural dances were also performed.
“Festivals such as Ponggal are important in enhancing cross-cultural understanding between the various peoples in Malaysia,” said F&N Dairies Malaysia head of RTD Milk and Juices and corporate affairs Van Toh Peng.
The F&N Dairies Elite programme was established to assist underprivileged children. In 2011, F&N Dairies Malaysia partnered with the KCHF through its Elite programme, providing financial assistance for the foundation’s Pangsapuri Enggang tuition centre and food aid in the form of F&N milk products.
KCHF executive director Miliee Kassim said: “Our objective is to help the students develop a strong foundation and build a better life for themselves, to help get themselves and their families out of this situation.
The Pangsapuri Enggang tuition centre was the first of five KCHF centres to be established and currently has an enrolment of 165 students of all ages, from pre-school to secondary school students. The teaching staff are mostly residents themselves.