“FEE-fi-fo-fum” roared Ong Yan Han, six, as he went on stage to tell his rendition of the classic fairytale, Jack and The Beanstalk.
Dressed in full costume and equipped with props, Yan Han’s compelling delivery of the story won the judges and audience over, earning him the top place at McDonald’s Storytelling Contest grand finals in Petaling Jaya.
His father, Ong Chin Hooi, said his son’s performance was a result of training at home and in school.
“He has been honing his story-telling skills since the age of three; this is his fourth competition.
“His mum put in a lot of effort too, constantly working with his pronunciations and actions,” Chin Hooi spoke of his wife, who is a teacher.
Yan Han’s performance won the family of four a trip to Warner Bros. Movie World Australia, RM5,000 worth of supplies for his school as well as McDonald’s and book vouchers.
The contest also awarded second-prize winner Kaisah Amnani Mohd Khairuddin a trip for four to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan while third-prize winner Farisya Ain Mohd Zaidie walked away with a family trip to Universal Studios Singapore.
The two also received RM3,000 and RM2,000 worth of supplies for their schools respectively, as well as vouchers for books and McDonald’s meals.
On top of that, consolation prizes were awarded to 12 other finalists who walked away with RM1,000 each.
The contest gave away a total of RM70,000 worth of prizes.
Enthralled by all the finalists at the contest, chief judge and celebrity Datuk Aznil Nawawi decided to add four extra awards of his own on the spot, calling them “Promising Storyteller”.
“To me, all of them have performed wonderfully.
“While we have the three top winners, there are also promising ones coming up,” he said.
He gave away cash prizes of RM500 each to Aiden Pu Chern Wei, Vanessa Yap, Eva Chung Jie and Aiden Panchalingam.
“For all the winners, their next stage is the world,” said Aznil.
McDonald’s Malaysia corporate communication director Rozita Ahmad commended the children for being able to express themselves well.
“We started with 330 submissions and over 90 were shortlisted before finally narrowing it down to 15.
“Having made it through all the rounds, the children have already become winners,” she said.
“They poured their heart and soul into their performance on stage while their parents did the same offstage; there was just so much encouragement and that is the spirit we want,” she added.
Rozita shared that the story-telling contest was being held on a grander scale for the first time because of a larger number of entries.
“Our spirits are just so uplifted with the overwhelming support and enthusiasm from parents and children,” she said.
The contest, opened to children aged six to nine, was part of McDonald’s Happy Meal Book Programme, an initiative that seeks to bring families together over a shared love for reading and story- telling.
During the month of November, the programme gave away one different book a week with every Happy Meal sold.