GEORGE TOWN: A total of 30 students and six teachers from three Chinese schools joined their counterparts at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Jalan Sungai, here yesterday to experience the Ponggal celebration.

During the third edition of Goodwill Ponggal event, representatives from Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Sum Sun, SJKC Moh Ghee Pusat and SJKC Moh Ghee Cawangan had the opportunity to learn to cook sweet rice, paint clay pots, make flower garlands and ‘kolam’, as well as to ride on a bullock cart.

SJKT Jalan Sungai headmistress K. Anjalay Devi said the event was jointly organised by the Penang Hindu Association (PHA), School Board of Governors and Parent-Teacher Association under the Student Integration Plan for Unity (Rimup) programme to cultivate unity and educate the students through special activities.

Students of different races from several national-type schools wave their hands while riding in a bullock cart during the Ponggal celebration. The cows are cleaned and decorated with vermilion and sandalwood powder as well as flowers. Photo: Bernama

“All subjects that we teach such as music, arts, Bahasa Malaysia, English and so forth are all compiled and integrated into this event,” she said.

She also said that students, especially those who were unfamiliar with the Tamil traditions and cultures, are encouraged to not only have a better understanding but also to build connection and foster unity among other races.

Meanwhile, SJKT Jalan Sungai Standard 6 pupil, K. Lavanyaa, said that she would be looking forward to not only having non-Indian friends to enjoy the Tamil traditions, but also participating in different unique cultures and festivities as well.

“Today, I learnt to speak not only English, but also a little bit of Chinese just by being with them and celebrating together,” she said.

Koay Kai Jin, an 11-year-old pupil from SJKC Moh Ghee Cawangan, said he did not know what Ponggal was until he came for yesterday’s event.

“I feel better knowing that I have learnt more about cultures different from mine and I hope to learn much more different cultures in the future,” he said. – Bernama