TO COOK OR NOT TO COOK
Have you heard of cooking ban? Cooking ban means that the cooking is prohibited or simply not allowed.Recently, a cooking ban was introduced on our campus. You and I areno longer permitted to cook in UTP. In addition, cooking utensils arenot allowed in hostels . If any cooking appliances are found, owners will be fined possibly up to RM 50 per item and the items will be confiscated by the security authorities.Heart of Tronoh (HOT) has conducted an extensive research into thisissue to truly understand the reasons this new rule was implemented aswell as the possible outcomes that will follow to understand this matter more.
UTP Management’s Thoughts
Until today, the Management has explained, elaborated and stressed on theconsequences of those who fail to adhere to this rule; yet, it seems to havefallen on deaf ears. The Management ensures students that by 1 April2012, the four current vacant cafés will open; yet the Management stillreceives complaints from students.What exactly is the problem? Why are students not getting the point that itis more advisable to eat in the cafés than cooking in their hostels?
Based on the survey conducted by HOT, the results haverevealed 4 significant reasons why students opt to cook intheir hostels instead of to whet their appetites at the villagecafes.The prime reasons include
minimising food expenditure
health concerns and lack of variety of food
at the cafés.About 65% of students choose to go economical and cook on their own because of its cost saving advantage as cheap-er ingredients are used and they get to store their cookedfood to keep for several meals. A major fraction (60%) of students cook due to hygiene concerns. It is of utmostconvenience and pleasure that food is easily accessible incampus but when taking into account its quality whichconsist mostly of oily, artificially
flavored food withadditives and preservatives, presence of flies and stray cats,the notion of eating out at cafés can make their stomachflinch. On the other hand, cooking by students ensureconfidence that their safety and health measures are lookedinto.The survey also indicated that 49% of students say the typeof food sold at cafes are not to their liking. This, we presume, can represent a number of international studentswho understandably would miss and crave for their localfood and therefore would not be satisfied with the foodoffered in the cafés here. In total, 46% of students think thatcooking on their own is more convenient. This is due to thetime and effort saved without the need to go to cafes andwait in long queues for their meals. They would also havethe freedom to cook and eat at odd hours. Some simplylove to cook!
Misuse of electrical appliances, past fire incidents caused by students who left boiling water unattended and the worst of all, a pantry in V5 that caught fire are some of the reasons themanagement had concluded that cooking is dangerous for students, especially at residentialvillages. The safety of students should always be the priority. Nevertheless, for those who insist oncooking, a formal application can be sent to the management and the application will be taken intoconsideration.
Suggestion: A knack for safety is something to be cultivated. It will be beneficial if themanagement can organise talks, conduct campaigns or safety drives to serve as reminders tostudents to cook safely.
According to the Security Services Department, the offset of the alarm system involves a long ringof procedures whereby the first person who hears of an alarm is expected to report to the HSEDepartment, and then a maintenance officer is sent over to check on the situation. In reality, thesituations are hardly as ideal as described in the scenario and there are a lot of in
betweenconfusions that happen. Thus, the domino effect of in
house cooking would bring inconvenienceand unnecessary trouble to our already heavily burdened authorities.
Suggestion: Consider tutoring the residential wardens or even cleaners on how to turn off thealarm if it is triggered when no serious fire case is observed.
Here is the strongest point. The so
called „kitchens‟ in residential villages are in fact pantries,which means they are not designed for cooking. Albeit some light cooking such as boiling water and making coffee are considered acceptable, heavy cooking would defeat the purpose of a pantry.Heavy cooking is especially bad for the drainage system (and also causes inconvenience to thecleaners!) as wastes from cooking clogs the sinks and drains, and this eventually leads to highmaintenance cost.
Suggestion 1: Disciplinary actions may be imposed and fines can be charged to the entire houseoccupants so that they would hold each other responsible towards the proper use of the pantry atall times.
Suggestion 2: Spot checks can be conducted by the authorities from time to time to monitor therightful use of pantries. Hence, students would always be on their toes to ensure their cookingendeavours do not interfere with the drainage system.
Quite plainly, to allow one or two incidents of cooking mishaps to represent the cooking habits of thegeneral population of UTP students is rather an error of partialism. It will be akin to banning cars onroads just because of the rising level of car accidents! With that being said, university students areconsidered young adults and they should, by now, be independent and mature enough to know thesafety measures required when cooking.
For the occasional cooking mishaps that happened, 26% of the students in a survey conducted agreethat penalty should be imposed depending on the severity of the case or extent of misuse. But a loudnumber of 69% are against a complete ban of cooking and confiscation of cooking utensils.
Suggestion: Instead of punishing the entire population, why not take serious actions only on the 1 % blacklisted as irresponsible cooks?
The survey revealed that 39% of the students do not see the validity of banning cooking on the basis of the fire alarm system.
Suggestions 1: The management might want to consider tweaking the sensitivity of the fire alarm sothat it only rings in a real fire situation instead of it being triggered just by smoke from cooking.
Suggestion 2: Students employ some common sense and take into account the ventilation of the pantry.Keep windows open or use a ventilation fan to allow the smoke and smell to dispel during or after cooking.
With a majority vote of 61%, most students agree that heavy cooking is bad for the drainage system aswastes from cooking clogs the sinks and drains, and this eventually leads to high maintenance cost,hence, considering it as a rather valid reason for the cooking ban.
Suggestion 1: Students, grow up! With great power comes great responsibility, and this applies tocooking as much as to Spiderman. Make sure to filter solid waste from your cooking waste and throwthem in the bin before draining them down the sink.
Suggestion 2: Come up with a duty roster with your housemates to keep the pantry clean.By Low Zhen Teng, CV Yr. 1 Sem. 3
By Joyce Shamini A/P Rajendran, CV Foundation Sem. 3 & Yee Yun Huan, EE Yr. 3 Sem. 2
MANAGEMENT VERSUS STUDENTS
As shown in the anti
cooking ban argument, thereare many alternatives to deal with the problems brought about by cooking in residential villages.With much negotiation and understanding on bothsides, a win
win situation should be reached between the students, management and authoritiesso that the common good of everyone can beserved and that our university continues to shinenot just as a leading university but also as one thatis conscientious to its students‟ welfare.