About 20 high school students from China and Penang received a valuable lesson on education, culture and community, during their visit to the WOU main campus today.
On hand to greet the delegation was Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Pro-Chancellor of the University, along with local coordinator of the visit and representative from the Sun Yat Sen Museum in Penang, Goh Mai Loon, and WOU Penang Regional Centre Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Teoh Soo Ling.
The delegation led by Zhang Kun, a teacher, comprised of students from Beijing Sanfan Middle School and Penang Chinese Girls’ Private High School, who were accompanied by teachers and representatives from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF). The students from Beijing were visiting Malaysia as part of the annual student exchange programme started in 2011 between the Sun Yat Sen Museum and CSCLF. The purpose of this programme is to promote friendly relations between Malaysia and China.
Dr Koh briefed the visitors about WOU’s delivery of higher education and the various programmes offered. During the Q&A session, he was quizzed on his experiences as a former leader in Penang and in Malaysia; the differences between traditional society and education and the Western model, since he was educated in Chung Ling, and the US; and his views on the relationship between Malaysia and China.
Dr Koh spoke on the importance of culture to a community, and about his first trip to China in 1988 with the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, as his political secretary. He also mentioned his three subsequent visits to China as Penang Chief Minister, as part of the delegation led by the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, in the 1990s, before leading a Penang delegation there. He highlighted the tremendous changes and improvements in China during this 10-year period.
Dr Koh took the opportunity to encourage the young people “to be open-minded, to learn as much as possible, to be aware of the presence and the role of other cultures and communities, and constantly to interact with them to promote mutual understanding”.
The visit to Malaysia was arranged through the CSCLF, set up by then Chinese Premiere Deng Xiao Ping in 1982 to commemorate Madam Soong and to undertake charitable, educational activities. Madam Soong was the Honorary President of the People’s Republic of China and the wife of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the Father of Modern China.
The Penang school students in the delegation to WOU had visited Beijing last year, where they were received by CSCLF Vice Chairperson, Tang Wensheng, who had acted as interpreter during the late Tun Abdul Razak’s visit to China in 1974 when he met up with Chairman Mao Tse Tung and Premier Chou En Lai.