Aimed at promoting sustainable rural development through preserving the values and belief, creating employment opportunities and increasing the earnings of local residents, UTAR Department of Soft Skills Competency (DSSC) in collaboration with the SJK (C) New Kopisan Board of Management successfully organised a fun-filled carnival titled “Extracoffeenery Carnival 2018” at SJK (C) New Kopisan from 24 to 25 November 2018.

Held for two days, the carnival was filled with a myriad of activities, namely karaoke competition, fun fair and food fair, coffee workshop, and arts and cultural performance. The carnival attracted more than 500 visitors throughout.

Present to officiate the ceremony were UTAR Vice President for Student Development and Alumni Relations Prof Dr Choong Chee Keong, SJK (C) New Kopisan Board of Management Chairman Chen Kong Hoy, The Alley of Ipoh Soho, Kampar and Sitiawan Branch Director Seng Lau, UTAR DSSC Kampar Campus Head Hee Chwen Yee, “Extracoffeenery Carnival 2018” Organising Chairperson Chuah Chun Sheng, villagers, sponsors, school students, visitors, UTAR staff and students.

From left: Prof Choong, Chen and Seng at the carnival

When asked what inspired the committee to organise the Carnival, the Organising Chairperson Chuah explained, “Many young people are fleeing the village due to the shortage of job and business opportunities. Majority of the residents in the village are elderly and thus the village becomes unproductive and lifeless. Therefore, aimed at encouraging young people to come back and stay in their hometown as well as tapping on the tourism resources that lies in the village, UTAR DSSC jointly with the SJK (C) New Kopisan organised the engaging carnival. The carnival aims to upgrade the village as a tourist spot with their distinct culture and the plantation of coffee in the village.”

The “Extracoffeenery Carnival 2018” was a part of an initiative in transforming Kopisan new village into a tourism village. UTAR has been working closely with the SJK (C) New Kopisan Board of Management Chairman Chen in transforming the village since a few years ago.

Chuah added, “In the effort of fulfilling the vision in rebranding the village to be a tourist spot, a lot of efforts have been put in by multiple parties. For example, in order for the village to live up to its name as Kopisan which translates as “coffee hill”, over 3,000 coffee trees have been planted around the village where almost each household will have a coffee plant planted in front of their house.”

Prof Choong in his speech, said, “I am very much glad to be part of this carnival. It is great having an idea of promoting coffee tourism and being able to make it come to life. With that, I would like to thank the Organising Committee for your hardwork and commitment in making this carnival a success and reality. Through the carnival, I hope the name of Kopisan New Village and its coffee plantation will get positive publicity from the local residents as well as from the outsiders.”

Food stalls and vendors around the school area.

Among the highlights of the carnival was the coffee workshop organised by UTAR students to the local primary school children accompanied by their parents. The coffee workshop aimed to increase the public’s exposure towards coffee and coffee planting and to educate children about the process of making coffee. During the workshop, the school children were brought to see a coffee tree and get exposed to the parts of the tree. The children were also shown the entire process of making coffee, from seed to cup. The children also got to participate in roasting coffee beans and blending them into powder. 

Coffee workshop in progress for school children and visitors

Apart from the educational coffee workshop, the carnival also attracted the crowd to activities such as fun fair and food fair. Throughout the carnival, vendors were selling their distinctive products. Some vendors were sourced from outside, some were operated by UTAR students and some were the effort of students’ community service. UTAR students operated some stalls selling handmade craft and food made by community partners. Outsourced vendors were selling mainly special food and beverages. Apart from food stalls and souvenir stalls, the carnival also carried out some mini games as part of the fun fair activities for children and teenagers who visited the carnival.

UTAR students selling their handcrafts to the visitors

Singing competition was also part of the “Extracoffeenery Carnival 2018”. The singing competition aimed to promote an active lifestyle, discover singing talents and foster harmony among the community members. The competition was divided into two categories, namely Young Talent category and Veteran category and attracted a total of 25 contestants for both categories.

The champion of Youth Talent category singing competition
Some dance performances by UTAR students

The carnival went on with an arts and cultural performance. Around 200 people made up the audience of the performance night which was held on 25 November 2018. A myriad of performances such as Chinese Traditional Dance, Indian Bollywood Dance, Hawaiian Dance and many more cultural performances took place on the performance night. The event was graced by Prof Choong and SJK (C) New Kopisan Board of Management Chairman Chen.