WHAT better way for Star-NiE to celebrate its 20th anniversary than to have a percussions group, coincidentally marking its 20th year, make a special appearance at its annual contest grand finals?
Hands Percussion (Hands), that was set up in 1997 has nurtured many students and has its roots in a Chinese drumming school society before going professional. For the contest, 23-year-old group member Yujiro Ohmori, who is of Japanese-Malaysian parentage, will be coaching six student volunteers from the crowd on drumming basics.
The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) contest this year, dubbed Making A Difference (MAD), called for photojournalism entries from secondary school students nationwide.
Participants produced photographs capturing teenagers or young adults who inspire social change through their actions. Each photograph was complemented by a 150-word write-up on the featured youth and how his effort is creating an impact in society.
The grand finale, to be held on Wednesday at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, will see eight finalists trying to outperform each other in the photography task involving Hands and an impromptu speech in English.
Five of these students will walk away with the grand prize – an all-expenses-paid six-day, four-night trip – to South Korea, sponsored by Star Media Group.
The remaining three will join the 12 runners-up on a three-day, two-night trip to Genting Highlands, sponsored by Resorts World Genting. These three finalists will also walk away with a Coolpix W100 camera courtesy of Nikon Malaysia.
The finalists, will each be using a Nikon camera model D5100 for their photography task.
The founder and artistic director of Hands, Bernard Goh said: “Drumming is a good activity as it embodies our culture. Most Chinese schools have a drumming club. I’m very happy to see that some national schools have such clubs too. It is a culture that belongs to all of us.”
The group, showcases innovative theatrical drumming. It has incorporated percussive arts from other cultures like the Malay gamelan, the Indian tabla, and the African djembe. Hands also coaches students in drum clubs in schools. It has over the last two decades nurtured thousands of drummers.
Anticipating the showdown this Wednesday, one of the judges on the panel Star Media Group photo editor Ng Kok Leong said that finalists need to know how to take candid shots of people in motion.
“They need to know how to control shutter speed. A fast shutter speed will be safe as it ensures that details in the pictures taken are sharp. But sometimes, photographers use a slower shutter speed to capture motion blur for an artistic touch.
“Finalists are advised to take one photo with a fast shutter speed before experimenting with slower shutter speeds. The most important thing is to make sure your handheld camera is stable,” said Ng.
“Angles and orientation will also play a role. Students can opt to take the entire group from afar or zoom closer. If they zoom closer, details in the background should be included to tell the story. Students will also need to frame their photographs properly when taking the shot as they won’t have time to crop the file manually.”
Ng said: “Do brush up on controlling a camera’s ISO (International Standards Organisation) level, aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Although students will be able to use the automatic function, judges will be able to tell if a photo was taken skillfully or not.”
Other judges on the panel are from the Education Ministry, Resorts World Genting and Nikon Malaysia.