Amidst the discrimination against palm oil and calls for its boycott in Europe, a school in Taiping decided to join the fray by spreading the truths about palm oil instead.
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) King Edward VII ran its own month-long Love MY Palm Oil campaign in April to raise palm oil awareness among its students. Each day, representatives from its uniform units spoke about palm oil for 30 seconds during assembly.
On 10th April, the school ran a whole day of events themed "SayangiSawitku, di mana ada sawit, di situ cintaku". Its nine uniform units sent representatives to participate in a Cooking Competition, an Art Competition, a Chinese Essay Writing Competition, and a Short Quiz -- all centred on palm oil and its benefits.
King Edward wants its students to be knowledgeable in palm oil's myriad of benefits, given its wide availability in Malaysia, and to take pride in nation's oil crop. The events simply made the process so much more fun.
In the Short Quiz, participants were tested on their knowledge on palm oil such as its health benefits, uses and importance. In the Art Competition, participants got to run wild with their creativity and imagination to produce a painting/drawing on oil palm with #lovemypalmoil. The Essay Writing Competition was in Chinese, on "Love MY Palm Oil".
The Cooking Competition was on sandwiches and salads. Participants were provided carrots, cabbages, palm oil, salt, sugar, bread and eggs; and allowed to add other ingredients as well. A renowned chef from Hotel Perdana Taiping was invited to judge the students' culinary skills. Participants had to state how healthy their food was, the calories in the dish, and the reason they created the dish. The winner got to walk away with the Masterchef title and the school's maiden "Piala Pusingan Masterchef" trophy.
The students and teachers gave their all into realising these events, Suziyana Hassim, who is affectionately known as Cikgu Suzy, said with pride.
"Palm oil has the ability to lower cholesterol levels, reduce oxidative stress, boost brain health, slow the progression of heart disease, and improve skin and hair health. Plus now, our agencies are trying to make palm oil more sustainable... We as Malaysians should be promoting and spreading awareness to the world that our palm oil is good for mankind and is produced sustainably," she said.
So far, SMK King Edward VII has won one award riding the knowledge of palm oil's goodness.
In July, the school won the Innovation in Green Technology award in the Larut, Matang and Selama District Science & Green Technology Carnival (held on 17-18 July) with its Mangostana balm, which featured palm oil as a key ingredient.
With this win, the school will proceed to the Perak state level competition, to be held on 22 August 2019 in Ipoh. If it wins this round too, SMK King Edward VII will move on to the national level.
The Mangostana Balm was the result of three students' research and hands-on experiment under the guidance of three teachers from the school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Club which was launched only this year, Suzy said.