To prospective Muslim students, do not fret. Although Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) is a Christian Methodist mission school, students of all races and religions are welcome into the school family. No doubt the Christian influence can be felt in many aspects of school life, such as the weekly morning chapel, daily devotions and prayers, but the school is supportive in ensuring that Muslims have the ability to meet their needs pertaining to their religious duties and beliefs. I will address some of the common concerns faced by Muslim students below, as I did during my time in this school.
- Availability of Halal food?
No need to worry here. Our school canteen, or the Student Activity Centre (SAC) as we call it, has two halal stalls. One serves Malay cuisine, such as Mee Soto and mixed rice, and the other serves Indian-Muslim food which includes prata and nasi goreng etc.
Just a note though. On the Window of the World (WOW) trip, as much as the school will try to cater Halal food for you, availability of Halal certified restaurants depends pretty much on your destination. For example, I went to Nanchang in China but there was no Halal certified restaurant for us. What I would advise is to confirm the situation with your teacher beforehand so that arrangements can be made. What I and my other Muslim friends did was to bring our own food in our luggage, such as instant rice packets which can be bought at Mustafa Centre and canned food (you’d be surprised at the selection available in supermarkets) and shared among ourselves.
- Friday Prayers?
School typically ends at 1pm on Fridays. So for the Muslim guys, depending on the Zuhur prayer time, you can make it in time for Friday prayers after school. Otherwise, your teachers will be able to excuse you 15-20min earlier or as much as necessary, but do try to tell your teachers beforehand at the start of the lesson.
There may be extra lessons/lectures/briefings which take place exactly at 1pm or slightly later. If they are not particularly urgent, you can always inform your teachers beforehand and have your friends collect the lesson materials on your behalf and catch you up with what you missed, or arrange with your teacher to go through the lesson with you at another time.
- Exemption from Chapel, Devotion, Religious Emphasis Week and other Christian related matters
Being a Christian Mission school, we have Chapel weekly and devotions daily. We are only excused from the Religious Emphasis Week, (which is when the school invites speakers over to teach about Christianity), but other than that, you won’t really get excused from other activities. Even though the devotions and Chapel typically emphasise Christian values, most of the time they’ll be about universal values and principles that we can relate to, such as loyalty and kindness.
Ariff Izzudin is from the graduating batch of 2014.