Poem on Malaysia’s diversity wins hearts

(Back row, from second left) Nizam and Kannaghe with the SK Convent (2) Bukit Nanas pupils as they celebrate their win in the primary school category at the inaugural Bank Rakyat Choral Speaking Competition at Esplanade, Suria KLCC. — Photos: SHAARI CHE MAT/The Star

A TEAM of 21 pupils from SK Convent (2) Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur, emerged champions in the primary school category of the inaugural Bank Rakyat Choral Speaking Competition at Esplanade, Suria KLCC.

Using creative facial expressions and body movements to support their melodious voices as they paid tribute to the rich diversity of Malaysian culture, the children won the hearts of the judges and audience.

The pupils, between the ages of 10 and 11, delivered an energetic performance based on the theme “Young and Proud Malaysians”.

The team walked away with a Bank Rakyat Savings-i Account voucher worth RM5,000.

Their teacher, Kannaghe Kalimuthu, said the pupils had practised four hours every day for two weeks prior to the competition.

“They were excited although they found it to be challenging and wanted to win in the competition,” she said, adding that the school wanted to convey a strong message about Malaysia’s unique culture and values through its recital.

The team’s conductor, Tia Mathews Kolath, 10, said she was very happy and proud of her team’s achievement.

“It is teamwork and they have always co-operated with me as their conductor. We practised whenever we had a break at school,” said Tia, whose team participated in the competition for the first time.

She said the victory would motivate them to participate in similar competitions in the future. The competition, an initiative by Bank Rakyat’s Nuri Club in conjunction with Malaysia Day, was aimed at instilling patriotism and love for the nation in the younger generation as well as improving English proficiency among schoolchildren and encouraging teamwork.

The final round for each category was judged by three professional jurists from Petrosains, Education Ministry and a teacher from Taylor’s International School.

Taking second place in the primary school category was SK Subang Jaya while SJK(C) St Joseph, Papar, won third place. The teams received Bank Rakyat Savings-i Account vouchers worth RM3,000 and RM2,000, respectively.

Teacher Julie Soo Set Yee, from SJK(C) St Joseph, Papar, said her team also won in the category of Most Popular Video, with 1,151 votes. For this, they received RM1,000 cash.

Soo said they prepared the video, titled We are the Kids of Malaysia, under the same theme.

She said her pupils, aged between nine and 11, had practised hard for two weeks.

“They are happy with the results and are determined to put in more effort in future challenges of this kind,” Soo added.

Meanwhile, in the secondary school category, SMK Aminuddin Baki, Kuala Lumpur, was chosen as the winner and took home a Bank Rakyat Savings-i Account voucher worth RM5,000.

Teacher and trainer Ashwin Kaur said 21 participants, comprising Form 1, 2 and 4 students, were picked to represent the school in the choral speaking competition.

“We had an audition to choose the participants. I gave a script of four lines consisting of two characters and asked them to perform a split personality character,” she said.

She said the students took two weeks to practise for a video submission for the contest and they had only four days to practise after being selected as the top five finalists in the competition held at Concourse, Suria KLCC.

For the secondary school category, the theme give was “Innovation and Sustainable Malaysia”.

“Our script is about how Malaysians can become innovators, but they should not destroy their own creations later,” Ashwin said.

The eight-minute performance drew loud cheers from the audience.

SMK Aminuddin Baki conductor Aina Aaliyah Kamarulzaman, 16, said she had mixed feelings when the team was announced as winner.

“We never expected to win as the contest attracted many good teams,” she said.

SMK Aminuddin Baki principal Siti Sarimah Sheikh Abdul Rahman said she was proud of her students’ achievement.

In second place was SM Sains Seri Puteri from Kuala Lumpur, which won a Saving-i Account voucher worth RM3,000 while SMK Permatang Bonglai, Jitra, Kedah, took home a voucher for RM2,000 as third place winner.

A video sent by students of SMK Dato Abd Rahman Yassin earned the top spot in the Video Most Shared category, with 18,438 shares on social media. They won RM1,000 cash.

Bank Rakyat marketing and communications head Nizam Sani said the choral speaking competition was organised in support of the Government’s national agenda to promote the English language.

The response, he said, had been encouraging with 1,848 students from 88 primary and secondary schools nationwide participating in the contest.

Selection to the final round of the contest was based on five-minute videos received from schools.

“Five primary and secondary schools were chosen to compete in the final,” he said, adding that the bank organised the competition in co-operation with Petrosains.

Nizam said the bank hoped to organise the contest next year too, thanks to the overwhelming response this year.

“The students put in a lot of effort and this was reflected in their good storylines and content,” he added.

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