KDU Pre-University students takes life and culture lessons from the Mah Meri tribe

KDU students and lecturers being “crowned” by the villagers with hand woven craft upon their arrival to Perkampungan Orang Asli Sungai Bumbun. KDU students observing the way of a native villager performing “anyaman daun” (weaving leaves) which turn into beautiful hand crafts.

An integrated and holistic education always goes beyond academic approach. Learning can be anywhere, and as such, the School of Pre-University Studies (SPUS) at KDU College ensures that its students are involved in experiences, both in and out of the classroom, that helps form their intellectual and social skills.

Recently, with the aim of developing the students’ organisational skills, as well as inculcating their awareness of community welfare and self-confidence, the SPUS went on a field trip to the Perkampungan Orang Asli Sungai Bumbun, an indigenous village located on Carey Island in Kuala Langat, Selangor. The trip was organised and led by a student committee, who also oversaw a donation drive for the villagers prior to the trip.

The 37 students, who are from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Foundation Studies programme, together with lecturers Ms. Shirley Tiew Shuet Ling, Ms. Nur Shazlina Binti Mohamed Ismail and Ms. Farihah Binti Ahmad, were welcomed by the villagers, who are of the ethnic native Mah Meri tribe, with a hand-woven crown gently placed on each visitors’ head, and addressed by Encik Azman, President of The Village Development and Security Committee.

The village is relatively small, made up from a population of 500 from various ages, and seems relatively untouched by the modern world. Although rooted in agricultural and fishing activities, the Mah Meri tribe is most well-known for their wood-carving skills.

Through their visit, the pre-university students learnt it’s inherent that the Mah Meri culture and heritage are still strongly preserved and upheld by its people. The Mah Meri tribe is famous for its culture and arts, such as intricate wood carvings and woven crafts, as well as Tarian Jo’oh (jungle dance) and Tarian Topeng (mask dance), which the students experienced during their visit. The students actively joined in the fun by trying to dance along with the traditional music. The students
also had a great experiences in learning simple hand-woven and wood craft from the villagers, trying their hands at shooting with a blowpipe, and just simply having conversations with the locals, learning and understanding more of the Mah Meri’s culture, beliefs and way of life. The students also presented their sincere gesture of appreciation to the villagers, with their donations of cash and kind, consisting of clothing and food items.

According to the lecturers supervising the trip, the trip was an eye-opener for the students, who are mostly from urban and suburban towns. In taking this trip, the students were exposed to the life and culture of one of the indigenous tribe in Malaysia, and are able to understand and experience first-hand the different needs, wants and beliefs of different communities in our country.

Students of the SPUS are continuously encouraged to participate in activities beyond the classroom so as to sharpen their soft skills and build up their confidence.
Cayson Lai Wen Zen, who took up the role of event director for this project, commented, “The event has allowed me to build up my communication skills. Furthermore, it strengthen the bond between me and my friends who were also organising the event.”

As for Lee Sue Ann, another fellow student organiser or the project, she was tasked with ensuring the donation items are well-organised and packed during the preparation process. “Overall, it was a fun, well-organised and exciting event. I feel that events such as this are highly necessary to develop our soft skills and for us to gain more knowledge in a fun way,” she added.

Ms. Sathyavathy Rasanayagam, Head of School of Pre-University Studies explained, “It is the school’s aim to develop students who are not only capable in academic studies, but also extra curriculum activities. When accorded with opportunities to organise events and trips, it is clear that our students are able to pick up different skills such as research, liaison, planning and management.”

The School of Pre-University Studies at KDU College not only educates and prepares students for their undergraduate studies, but also provides the support, pastoral care and personalised attention that the students need to ensure that learning is optimised, they are on the right track and they gain entrance into the best universities. Additionally, through various co-curricular activities, the school ensures that the students develop healthy characteristics such as inter-personal skills, organisational ability and leadership quality.
Media enquiries : Jocelyn Loke Mei Foong Marketing Communications Manager KDU University College

Telephone : +603 5565 0506

Email : mf.loke@kdu.edu.my