Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chock-full of activities


Chock-full of activities

Korean students helping to grade cocoa beans at the Cocoa Village

KOREA'S Dongguk University Food Science and Technology undergraduates have in-depth knowledge of chocolate-making but have never seen a cocoa tree in real life.

So their visit to Asia's Cocoa Kingdom Tawau, which is home to the Malaysian Cocoa Board, Teck Guan Cocoa Village and Teck Guan Cocoa Museum, proved to be an enlightening experience.

The second batch of undergraduates and university vice-president Lee Hwang (also I'll Kwang Trading Co Ltd president) made a visit within two months in late December.

After a brief introduction to cocoa development in Malaysia by the Malaysian Cocoa Board, the team visited Teck Guan Cocoa Museum at the Tanjung Batu Majulah Koko factory.

Lunch consisted of cocoa delicacies such as cocoa fried fish, pure cocoa drinks, rich home-made chocolate and choice kim chi at the museum.

The museum's founding father Datuk Seri Panglima Hong Teck Guan cut a striking figure during the audio visual excursion into the history of cocoa in Tawau. His legendary contribution to the development of the cocoa industry made an indelible impression on the Koreans.

Later, factory manager Chan Kwai Meng led a tour of the factory, taking the visitors through the various processes involved in chocolate-making.

The plantation and factory located at the foot of Quion Hill, rich in natural beauty, delighted the foreign visitors.

The presence of hornbills flying and perching on tall trees during their visit to Village Cocoa House at Teck Guan Cocoa Village was an unforgettable experience.

"Korean students will go to Tawau monthly to gain knowledge of cocoa processing activities," says I'll Kwang Trading Co overseas manager Kim Chang Yong.

The methods used in cocoa planting, harvesting and fermentation, and as well as drying processes in Tawau are considered unique and advanced.

Educational tours organised by Dongguk University not only study cocoa but also coffee and tea abundant in Balung Eco Resort.

The Koreans admire Malaysia's plural society as opposed to their single ethnic group. The spirit governing multiracial unity is also a focus of their study tour to Sabah. -- By YAQIN CHING ABDULLAH

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