12 October was the first day of my boys schooling in Malaysia. They were excited about going back to school after being away from the education institute for nearly four months. Thrilled were they that they woke up as early as 5.30 in the morning.
At quarter to 8, we arrived at their new school. After getting them registered and sending them to their new classrooms, my partner and I drove home before we head back to their school during their recess period to ensure that they'd adjust well to the new environment. The condition of the place where the school children dine really shocked us. I thought to myself, how could the school management let the children dine is such condition. True, from afar the school looks rather brand new and quite clean but when one zooms in and carefully inspects the school especially the canteen, it was quite horrifying. The tables where they put their food were not thoroughly wiped and clean. You could easily spot traces of bird poos, dust and stains on the table top. I'm not surprised if someday one of these kids would come home sick of diarrhoea.
The nightmare was far from over. We then went to observe the food offered for the kids. I have to say I was appalled by the selection of menu. There is nothing nutritious for the kids to opt for. Carbohydrate was the only nutrient contained in all of the food; plain curry noodles with nothing but plain curry, no meat or any other protein source offered here; nasi lemak with a fraction of boiled egg and a slice of cucumber; laksa - well there might be little traces of fish in the gravy, but I doubt they'd cooked it with lots of fish. What about the refreshment? I couldn't find any fruits in the selection let alone hi-cal drinks. Clearly the drinks were just syrup with ice cubes. So, tell me this, what exactly did these kids gain from these selection of food?
I don't mean to gloat or diminish the not-so privileged primary school but shouldn't there be a guideline for food provider at the canteen to adhere to e.g the nutritional ingredients to be included? Back in England, I remember seeing the school dinner menu consisting of all the essential nutrients that children need. In fact, their menu changes on a daily basis. What was served yesterday, wouldn't be served today. That's the way to attract kids to eat good nutritious food, no?
May be it is time for the ministry of education to look into this matter. This is not a political topic but rather an important issue needing urgent solution. How long are we going to jeopardise the well-being of our children for the sake of some political agenda? After all kids are our future leaders. Call me crazy, but I believe that what we feed them today, will determine their future growth and in one way or another influence the fitness of their mind. As goes the saying by Ludwig Feuerbach; (A) Man is what he eats.