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Spices is a topic that children usually do not get to see or discuss.

However, well into Namita Moolani Mehra’s session, it was apparent that it was an eye opening subject for the children of Lumba Kuda. Spices can be used in so many ways to whip up so many delicious dishes.

Spices are inherently lazy, said Namita. They have to be pounded to wake them up in order to enhance the flavour of food. Can you imagine this? Chilli powder can be added to chocolate mousse, a dessert to make it taste even more exotic. Going by the response of the children, Namita’s session has in all probability kindled an interest in cooking for many of the students gathered there today. All of them had that look about going home and thinking of something to cook up.

By Melinda Siew


There is a little apprehension when one visits a school that teaches in a language that one is not familiar with. SKJ Chung Hua is a Chinese school and Ummi Sham is Malay but she managed it beautifully.

Fifty students sat and patiently listened to the story of Jack and his journeys. They breathlessly followed Jack as he travelled across rivers, up and down hills, through forests in search of wealth and happiness. Who will he meet? What will he find? These were the unasked questions that were on the minds of the children as the story raced on.

While narrating the story, Ummi asked the children to try and imitate the sounds that different animals make. It made the session that much more interesting.

By Yitping Tay

Deep inside a Malay village, hidden away from the public is SK Stapok, a school that has 100 students. Today was their appointment with Ummi Sham, the story teller. Ummi doesn’t just tell stories. She sings, dances, uses puppets and brings in origami too to keep her audience in thrall.

The session started as Ummi began with Sup Bati or Stone Soup. Ummi, whose visit was made possible thanks to the support of MBBY (the Malaysian Board on Books for Young People), stirred the pot with an unusual story about animals.

Even before the cheers for the first story could die down, Ummi started another one but this time accompanied by origami. When the story ended, each child had made a box using A4 paper. Not only were the children excited, they were amazed with what they had done.

All good things come to an end. So did Ummi’s session. Reluctantly they bid her goodbye and each one respectfully kissed her hand on the way out. A visibly touched Ummi too came away with some reluctance.

By Yitping Tay

When you get a rousing welcome from 150 children, you know that it is going to be a great day. And so it was.

We spent one delightful hour with Grace Wong, the storyteller, and the children of SK Sungai Stutong. What made it more fun was that along with the children (ages 6-9), the teachers were extremely friendly and helpful. Every one of them enjoyed the stories.

Grace started the session with ‘A Ram Sam Sam’ rhyme and followed it up with a story about the lion who could not write. Grace used two stories about tea and milk to highlight the nutritional benefits or lack of it. The principal of the school, Ismail, took us on a visit around the school and while wishing us a warm goodbye, expressed the hope that we would return – very soon.



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