BANDAR BAHARU: For 14 undergraduates of Japan's Kyoto University, it was a memorable experience participating in a 'gotong royong' (mass cleaning) to understudy the traditional Malay lifestyle in Kampung Lubuk Buntar here yesterday.
The students, comprising eight males and 10 females, are on a five-week stint at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s School of Humanities to learn English.
USM Japanese Cultural Centre director Soeda Masatoshi said the undergraduates joined over 100 villagers to clean up and paint a surau, as well as participate with the 'kampung' folks in a mass lunch.
"One of their assignments is to understudy the lifestyle of the villagers here, who still practice a traditional way of life, (including the) practice of 'gotong royong' and respecting one another.
"Prior to this, there were five groups of students from several Japanese universities at the Kampung Relau Homestay here (who were observing) the lifestyle of villagers in this country," he said.
Also present was Bandar Baharu assemblyman, Datuk Norsabrina Mohd Noor.
Meanwhile, Soeda said the “village culture” in Japan had disappeared over 30 years ago and the young people in the 'Land of the Rising Sun' seem to lack old, traditional values.
Kampung Relau Homestay chairman Abdul Razak Abdul Hamid said the foreign students were given hands-on experience on rubber tapping, batik-making and other handicraft works. -- Bernama