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Friday November 14, 2008
By PRIYA MENON
YOUTHS in Malaysia have done so many things to be proud of and the Asian Youth Ambassadors (AYA) have created a platform for these unsung heroes.
AYA held its Dream Malaysia Awards 2008 recently to honour the Most Outstanding Youth of the Year as well as the Youth Friendly Company of the Year.
Held for the fourth time, the awards are held to find inspiring stories of young people and spread them.
“It is a privilege to highlight these stories and at the same time help promote national unity to youths everywhere,” said the AYA director and founder Kenneth Chin.
“By highlighting the suffering, efforts and struggles one goes through regardless of age, gender, race or creed, will add value to the future of Malaysia by forging National Unity,” he said.
Out of 130 nominees that poured in through their website, the judges chose the nominees with the best stories to tell. Finally, seven youths and five companies were shortlisted after a stringent judging process by independent judges from the various sponsors.
“The stories that came in were good but we were looking for great stories to convey to the people,” added Chin.
The winner of the Most Outstanding Youth of the Year award went to Dhinu Dhanveer Singh while SMASH (School of Martial Arts, Skilled Dance and Health) was announced as the Youth Friendly Company of the Year.
Dhinu, 24, was never a studious young man in school, but today he is the co-founder of a youth-run non-profit organisation called SOLS24/7.
He has travelled extensively throughout South-East Asia and is now working in East Timor with his organisation that provides life-skills education to the poor youngsters in the area.
“The glow on the children’s face after they receive the knowledge they need continues to inspire me,” he said.
SMASH, a company set up by three dynamic people, aimed to influence the lives of the young people.
“Some excel in their studies and there are those who excel in physical arts like martial arts and we want to help these people,” said one of the founders, Soong Sai Mun.
Over 500 guests who attended the awards ceremony were spellbound by the interesting performances of various cultures.
The performances included Deafbeat (a group of deaf drummers), Kumpulan Tarian Mahkota Perpaduan from the National Unity Department, Ravi Shanker and team, AYA Choir Project debut with Mia Palencia and the last performance by Lightbulb Productions and Flava Fresh.
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