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(File pix) Students of TAR College during a lesson. Pix courtesy of TAR College
(File pix) Students of TAR College during a lesson. Pix courtesy of TAR College

BEFORE the Communist party came to power in China in 1949, there were many community projects initiated by wealthy overseas Chinese in their communities in China.

Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College in Fujian province in China was established by Singaporean Tan Kah Kee in 1921 to provide tertiary education for his countrymen in Fujian.

When the Communist came to power in 1949, many things related to capitalism were destroyed.

However, Tan Kah Kee University was left untouched. The Chinese government continued to provide support to the university until today. It also allowed the words, Tan Kah Kee, to be used in the name of the university.

As such, all political differences must be set aside when it comes to education.

Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TAR) was initiated by MCA in 1969 as there was shortage of tertiary education institutions for poor and middle-class families for the Chinese community.

The college was set up not only with the efforts of MCA but with support of Chinese community leaders.

Without monetary contributions from the Chinese community, TAR College would not have been established.

All the years, there were contributions from the Chinese community to ensure TAR College progressed.

Government grants also helped TAR. The college made great strides and achieved university status in 2013.

Utar was established to provide more tertiary education opportunities for the Chinese and other communities.

I have come across many hawkers, small traders and working class families whose children studied at TAR College and are now professionals.

Therefore, we hope that the government will continue to provide grants to these higher education institutions to ensure tuition fees are kept low.

I hope political parties can set aside their differences when the issues involve education, health and projects that benefit the people.

On the issue of separate canteens in schools, it is certainly not healthy. Eating together should be encouraged because it promotes understanding among children.

Instead, a special area should be set up for children who bring food to school, especially those who bring non-halal food to school.

Many years ago, when I was in school, my Malay, Indian and Chinese classmates of used to go camping together.

The teachers who took us camping would allow only halal canned food to be taken along. We took only canned sardines and chicken curry to be shared among ourselves.

It is important to teach children to respect another’s religion and culture.

Many years ago, I attended a Malay friend’s wedding in a kampung and was looking forward to eat his mother’s beef rendang.

However, the dish was not served.

He told me that they had invited Hindu guests, so beef was not on the menu.

Therefore, there is no need for schools to set up separate canteens, but there must be guidelines so that there will be respect for another’s belief, culture and religion .

When school children eat together, they will learn to socialise and respect one another and have a better understanding of the different religions, beliefs and culture.

THOMAS FOO

Subang Jaya, Selangor

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