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Saturday, 28 May 2016 00:00

First Cooking Class at Tzu Chi Muar

Written by  Kang Miew Tiang, Muar / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

On May 28, 2016, Tzu Chi Muar held a cooking class on Korean cuisine for the first time. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]

In the first cooking class held by Tzu Chi Muar, instructor Tracy Lau taught according to the students’ aptitude and encouraged all to eat healthily. Student Yaw Yean Ching was delighted with the learning opportunity and hopes for more classes in the future.


With a targeted completion of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in 2018, it is hoped that the continuing education centre would offer the community a gateway to lifelong learning. It is also hoped that seeds of kindness will be inculcated in the students’ mind, as well as, promote a fun learning and spiritual well-being.

To ensure a smooth operation of the centre later, Tzu Chi Melaka had encouraged and supported Muar Liaison Office to hold its first course. Their efforts had culminated in a cooking class on Korean cuisine, which was held on May 28, 2016, with 23 participants.

Foundation for future classes

Volunteers from Muar had previously helped out at Melaka continuing education centre besides joining some of the classes. Some were even trained as facilitators so that they have a better understanding of the operation and administration in running a continuing education centre.

Volunteer Wong Mui Lan was key in arranging with the Melaka Branch for the instructor to go over to Muar. In the process, everyone has learnt how to overcome various difficulties to make the class possible.

The successful organization of the course was largely due to the cooperation by the instructor in making adjustments to her schedule. “I am pleased with the enthusiasm of the students. They have learnt in earnest and were thrilled to bits. I am sure everyone has benefitted a lot from this course,” Mui Lan remarked.

She hopes the course would mark the beginning of more classes in future so that Tzu Chi could be promoted to more people and inspire them to join the ranks.

Happy vegetarian meal

There is a common misconception that vegetarian meal is of plain vegetables or unhealthy processed ingredients. Instructor Tracy Lau helped clear up the issue by sharing her secret recipe. As it is of vital importance that students are aware of the source of the ingredients, they were required to clean, cut and cook themselves. Not only was food safety ensured, it also promoted a healthy diet.

Vegetarian can actually be diversified, delicate, natural and healthy. The fusion style, coupled with simple ingredients and creative presentation, will help attract people’s attention.

Tracy is an instructor with a great sense of humour besides having the ability to teach according to students’ aptitude. To her, using the appropriate knife and holding the knife in the right way is essential as it would ensure the ingredients are cut in a quick and presentable manner. She even shared with the students on how to select suitable kitchenware and tableware.

“Oh no, should it be ginger powder or ginger slice?” “Please cut the carrots into two inches long and slice them.” When the students were confused with the jargons used, facilitators would assist them immediately. It was a class full of laughter and joy.

Step by step guidance

Khoo May Fong made it at the last minute. She was interested with the class as she heard a lot about vermicelli cooking in the past. She learnt more about it after the sharing by the instructor, and found it was simpler than what she had thought. “I am keen in cooking and hope to learn more,” expressed May Fong.

Her friend, Yaw Yean Ching was happy with the instructor’s attentiveness. They even had a hand in the cooking. She said, “I am an amateur. I am glad to have learnt what I wish.” She also felt the class had been very useful.

As it is rare to have such a class in Muar, members often had to travel to Melaka or KL for such an opportunity. Yean Ching is looking forward to more classes in future.

Kuah Zhi Wei had signed up as a learner this time. He used to volunteer as an assistant for classes held at Tzu Chi Melaka. Through different roles, he hopes to gain novel experience and new knowledge.

Immediately after the class, he took leave to join the kitchen volunteers in making rice dumplings. The project was a noble act to raise funds for the building of Muar Jing Si Hall.



At the end of the class, the students felt reluctant to part with their instructor. They even discussed future classes while volunteers quickly cleaned up the utensils, rearranged the furniture and swept the floor to restore the place. Be it the students or volunteers, everyone has gained a lot from this inaugural class.

 

The instructor demonstrated the steps in making kimchi spice mixture. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]   The cooking class was made possible thanks to arrangements made by volunteer Wong Mui Lan. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]

The instructor demonstrated the steps in making kimchi spice mixture. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
 
The cooking class was made possible thanks to arrangements made by volunteer Wong Mui Lan. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
 
Khoo May Fong (left) and Yaw Yean Ching seized the opportunity to sign up for the class. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]   Students were seen putting finishing touches to the dish. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]

Khoo May Fong (left) and Yaw Yean Ching seized the opportunity to sign up for the class. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
 
Students were seen putting finishing touches to the dish. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]