Standing together to show a little kindness


The StandTogether celebrity ambassadors (from left) Lisa Surihani, Arwind Kumar, Ann Osman, Jezzamine Lim, Harith and Daphne Iking. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

The StandTogether celebrity ambassadors (from left) Lisa Surihani, Arwind Kumar, Ann Osman, Jezzamine Lim, Harith and Daphne Iking. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

Over 6,000 people celebrated kindness at Malaysia’s inaugural #StandTogether Carnival on Sunday, which featured activities for adults and children alike.

Held at Setia City Convention Centre, the carnival’s indoor activities included children’s games, an all-star self-defence demo by ONE Championship fighters, a cyber­bullying prevention talk by DiGi and a science experiment demo by Petrosains.

Outdoors, the fun continued with bouncy castles, cotton candy and popcorn trucks, as well as a blind football demonstration by the Malaysian national blind football team.

Deputy Education Minister I Datuk P. Kamalanathan and #StandTogether celebrity ambassadors like Lisa Surihani, Harith Iskander and Arwind Kumar were also present, adding to the festivities.

“My experience being a #StandTogether ambassador has been a very hopeful one because the message has been so positive,” said Lisa.

Kamalanathan (third left) together with (from left) SP Setia deputy president and chief operating officer Datuk Wong Tuck Wai, SP Setia president and chief executive officer Datuk Khor Chap Jen, Lisa Surihani, SP Setia chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid and Star Media Group group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai posing at the photo wall during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star
Kamalanathan (third left) together with (from left) SP Setia deputy president and chief operating officer Datuk Wong Tuck Wai, SP Setia president and chief executive officer Datuk Khor Chap Jen, Lisa Surihani, SP Setia chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid and Star Media Group group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai posing at the photo wall during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star  

“This campaign seems like the light at the end of the tunnel, so I hope schools will keep the kindness coming all year round!”

The carnival culminated with the very first #StandTogether Kindness Concert, where Ismail Izzani, Rabbit Mac, Talitha Tan and Nik Qistina performed, and the top 10 student-led “kindness projects” from across the country were presented by the students themselves.

SMK Sanzac was crowned “Malaysia’s Kindest School” by the judges, beating 120 other entries with their project, which consisted of a week full of activities like mural-painting and “plogging”, a combination of jogging and picking up trash.

“Not only was it fun to participate in National Kindness Week, we’re already starting to see positive changes in our schoolmates,” said SMK Sanzac student Nursalwani Sabdani, 17.

Six-year-old Tai Yun Xin (left) with her father Tai Kuang Neng, 42, posing near the pledge wall during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star
Six-year-old Tai Yun Xin (left) with her father Tai Kuang Neng, 42, posing near the pledge wall during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star  

“Students are now more encouraging towards each other, and appreciating each other and the people around us more.”

The National Kindness Week was mooted by property developer SP Setia and R.AGE last year as part of its #StandTogether campaign, in response to a spate of horrific bullying cases in schools.

The campaign has made such a positive impact in its first year, the Education Ministry is serious about making it a fixture on the school calendar.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the ministry fully supports #StandTogether,” said Kamalanathan to thunderous applause.

“If all goes well, we will advocate for the first week of April to be designated National Kindness Week. I hope this will encourage more schools to participate, and keep the momentum of kindness going.”

Lost Animal Soul Shelter (LASS) committee member Carl Dunford (left) passing the puppies to Renbo Teh (second left), 13, as Renbo’s mother Candy Chung (centre), 42, looks on at the pet adoption booth during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre on Sunday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star
Lost Animal Soul Shelter (LASS) committee member Carl Dunford (left) passing the puppies to Renbo Teh (second left), 13, as Renbo’s mother Candy Chung (centre), 42, looks on at the pet adoption booth during the StandTogether Carnival at Setia Alam Convention Centre on Sunday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star  

SP Setia chief executive officer Datuk Khor Chap Jen was heartened by Kamalanathan’s support.

“We’re very happy because this campaign has been a huge success,” he said.

“We’re very encouraged by what the Minister said about making this a yearly event, and we hope this campaign will now take on a life of its own.”

(From left) Peter Davis, Ann Osman, Saiful Merican and Gianni Subba from One Championship held a self-defence workshop during the carnival. ’Martial arts teaches people to be more confident and to foster respect for each other – useful tools to help end bullying,’ said Davis. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star
(From left) Peter Davis, Ann Osman, Saiful Merican and Gianni Subba from One Championship held a self-defence workshop during the carnival. ’Martial arts teaches people to be more confident and to foster respect for each other – useful tools to help end bullying,’ said Davis. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star