Love at first bite of roti canai

GEORGE TOWN: For 12-year-old South Korean student Jia Park, it was love at first bite – with roti canai.

Jia, who is from Chuncheon ranks the Malaysian flatbread as her favourite among all local dishes and she can eat it “even without any curry”.

In Penang under a student exchange programme, Jia said she cannot wait to return for more roti canai.

This is her first visit to Malaysia, and she plans on asking her parents to bring her to Penang on a family holiday when she gets back home.

She also liked Penang because it was “very clean” and the people were “very kind”.

Jia was among 15 South Korean students, aged between 11 and 13, who were at SJK (C) Poay Wah here yesterday under a one-week exchange programme at the school.

Six teachers accompanied the children during the trip.

Jia’s friend Han Chu-ju, 12, said she also loves roti canai.

“I like the food here, especially the roti canai and wan tan mee,” she said gleefully.

She said she has since visited Penang Hill, the inner city of George Town, a night market and gone on the Penang Bridge.

During their one-week stay in Penang, the children also visited other schools here.

Yesterday, in conjunction with the exchange programme, SJK(C) Poay Wah held an early Chinese New Year programme to fete the foreign students with a variety of performances and activities.

Chu-ju, who was also here for the first time, said she was happy to meet and connect with the students and enjoyed herself at the programme as she could experience how Chinese New Year is celebrated in Malaysia.

Teacher Sejin An, 35, from the Chuncheon Elementary School, said this was his second trip to Malaysia, and he liked the coutnry because it is multi-cultural with a “very friendly” society.

“Despite the diversity, Malaysians are united and work together. This exchange programme is good exposure for the children as they are able to see how Malaysians have a culture of unity in diversity,” he added.

A total of 167 pupils and 17 teachers of the school also participated in programmes which included lion dance, K-dance, singing of Chinese New Year songs, lou sang tossing as well as wushu and taekwondo demonstrations.

There were also other activities such as taking photos while wearing a hanbok, making bags, and learning Chinese calligraphy.

The foreign students are expected to leave for their country today.

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