The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant loss of human life around the world, posing an unprecedented threat to public health, food systems, and the workplace. Many people lost their livelihoods and were unable to earn any income during the lockdowns and could not feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food, or, at best, less food and less nutritious food.
In our effort to show our concern, SEGi University and Colleges (SEGi) launched ‘Move It! Malaysia 2021’ in 2021, a challenge to burn calories, alongside the Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC). This challenge required participants to burn three thousand calories before 10 October 2021. When the total calorie burned by all participants reaches twenty thousand alories, SEGi University and Colleges will send packed food and other necessities to selected homes. SEGi College Penang chose to cook for three special-care groups, namely, Crystal Family Home, Penang Shan Children’s Home and Be Home. With this programme, PYDC has provided a platform for youths to get involved in such programmes that will allow them to be better individuals who can give back to society, especially those who desperately need help.
On 26 October 2021, ten students from the Diploma in Culinary Arts volunteered to take part in this programme to cook for the needy even though this was not part of their coursework. Led by Chef Muhammad Shaqir, they prepared Muhibbah rice from a menu proposed by Chef Faizul of Mamee. Muhibbah rice is an example of unique Malaysian cuisine. The word ‘muhibbah’ originated from Arabic and means ‘love’ and ‘goodwill’. In Malaysia, ‘muhibbah’ is about togetherness, understanding, caring, empathy and kindness. In their own special way, SEGi College Penang dedicated their love and kindness to the needy. Early in the morning, the students were already in the kitchen preparing their mise en place and successfully cooked and sent out these gifts of love to Crystal Family Home, Penang Shan Children’s Home and Be Home for specials cares. It was a very busy day for these students, but they felt happy and gratified that they could be part of this programme to help those in need.