It was unlike any other day, when the concourse would be dotted with lifeless students. The place was buzzing with excitement as if a year-end sale was held there.
Last week was Victoria Junior College’s Mother Tongue Language (MTL) fortnight and the highlight of it would certainly be on Wednesday when all Victorians had the opportunity to participate in the activities of the various cultures at the concourse. From the massive gathering of people there, it would certainly be evident to all those present that Victorians are very interested and intrigued to find out more about cultures.
There were a wide range of activities from each of the different cultures such as Chinese riddles, Chinese tea appreciation, seal carving, traditional games and also henna painting, Not forgetting there was also food sampling of Chinese pastries, mooncakes and Putu Piring.
There was also a feast for our Victorians’ eyes where there was a colourful exhibition of saris which made Victorians feel as though there was a rainbow in the concourse. Besides that, there was the opportunity for Victorians to don traditional costumes and pose for pictures. From the smiling faces of Victorians as they donned the costumes and posed for pictures, it was evident that they enjoyed it a lot.
There was also the the energising performance by Chinese orchestra. They performed “Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower)” with Chinese flute. The crisp and clear sound of the flutes echoed through the concourse, as if calling out to the whole school to join in the event.
Additionally, there was an amazing performance of shadow puppetry which captivated many Victorians to watch. Through the use of lighting and puppets, shadows were created on a pale white screen and as the performer recited the plot, he moved about the puppets. His skill at storytelling, and the beauty of the puppets as he maneuvered it, attracted many Victorians to go and watch and made them feel as though the story was not simply being told by someone but rather, unfolding before their very eyes.
There was also an opportunity for Victorians to learn seal carving. It is made by carving out small pieces of wood for a stamp which would eventually culminate in a seal. As much as this reporter wanted to try doing so, he was sadly informed by the vendor that there were no more seals left. This goes to show how enthusiastic our Victorians are at learning and practicing seal carving and their excitement at having the opportunity to bring back home their artwork.
At the Chinese riddles, Victorians who managed to solve the Chinese riddles would win a dumpling. This no doubt attracted countless of students who wanted to fill their stomachs and also test their knowledge of Chinese idioms. With such attractive prizes, they flew off the shelves and soon there were no prizes left. Despite this, there were many enthusiastic Victorians trying to solve the riddles.
Victorians also got to learn how to make rice dumplings and mooncakes. At the rice dumpling stall, the students got to learn how to wrap a rice dumpling neatly by folding the bamboo leaf in the correct shape, such that the glutinous rice would not fall out. At the mooncake stall that was run by Hue Kee, a Chinese confectionery in Singapore, the vendor shared enthusiastically that the shop uses special mooncake moulds with their company name to make the mooncakes. With the mould, the vendor was able to ‘pop’ out a mooncake within seconds, surprising many students huddling around the stall. Claire Ho from 17S31 said that “There’s a lot of food and you can experience different cultures. Learning how mooncakes are made was a good experience for me.”
Moreover there was the opportunity for Victorians to sample putu piring, kue bingka telur and many more Malay traditional desserts. From trying these scrumptious desserts, students get to broaden their knowledge on the various types of desserts. It is certainly a way to make students of all ethnic groups to be more interested in the Malay culture.
We interviewed Teo Hong Ray of 17S41 to give his thoughts “I was quite immersed in the varied cultures as I tried out the riddles and watched the cool wushu performances. But most importantly, I absolutely loved the food that they let us try!”
Victorians could also try out henna painting from its stall near the HOD room. From the start of the event, one can see several students rushing up to queue for a delicate henna painting on their hands or arms. It serves as a lasting reminder of the Mother Tongue Fortnight week, as many students can still be seen sporting different intricate henna designs on their body in the following weeks.
The event has certainly served as a reminder for all the Victorians to not forget about their mother tongue, the language and the culture.
Fang Chih Yuan, 17A13
Tan Suan Kai, 17S49