THERE is no doubt that the finals of the Children's Storytelling Suria KLCC competition weaved its very own special brand of magic.
Both judges and the audience listened, mesmerised, as 20 finalists from category one (children between the ages of seven and nine) and category two (children between the ages of 10 and 12) interweaved wit, charm and creativity into their expressive and colourful interpretation of Malaysian stories.
The 20 young participants camefully prepared to tell stories of Malaysian history, folklore and fables. The morning was sheer magic and creativity as the children mimicked the main characters from their favourite stories – from Daeng Parani to the fierce Bugis, the Sultan of Malacca to Sang Kelembai, Puteri Gunung Ledang to Mahsuri.
The contestants were given five minutes to deliver a story in their own words. Marks were given for proficiency in language, delivery, presentation, interpretation and costumes.
The choice of the story was left to the contestants – the only condition was that the stories must be centred on Malaysian history, folklore and fables as that was the theme for this year's storytelling contest.
Now in its fifth year, the Children's Storytelling Suria KLCC competition has become a popular annual event for children and an eagerly-anticipated, entertaining activity for families and friends.
It is open to Malaysian schoolchildren from Year One to Year Six. A total of 71 school children participated in the competition this year.
The semi-finals held at Souq Putrajaya on Sept18 and 19 saw the contestants put through a gruelling round before the final 10 contestants for each category were selected for the finals. This year's competition was held in collaboration with the National Library and the Education Ministry.
Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd's senior marketing manager Datin Rafidah Jalil said that the objectives of the competition are to develop listening and speaking skills, and to cultivate an interest in reading and writing in English amongst children.
“Stories are a powerful way to connect with kids. They constitute the first step towards developing good presentation skills.
“As the theme this year is Malaysian history, folklore and fables, the children also have the chance to develop an appreciation of our rich cultural heritage,” she added.
“The storytelling competition also serves as a platform to encourage our future leaders to express themselves well and to project themselves confidently in front of a crowd. We believe that this nurtures their creativity and exposes them to the fine art of public speaking.”
Selecting the winners was not easy, said the panel of five judges which comprised Badan Warisan Malaysia's executive director Elizabeth Cardosa, the Education Ministry's assistant director of the schools division Kamaruzzaman Hamzah, national library's assistant director Samsul Khamariah Hamzah, professional storyteller Vanaja Dhanan and McCann-Erickson Malaysia's client service director Michelle Ong.
The winners for each category were finally announced amidst an atmosphere of excitement and expectancy. First prize winners were Farah Amani and Ian Loo Han Rong who each took home a medal, a certificate and prizes worth RM800 respectively.
Second prize winners were Jes Ebrahim Zaidin Jes Izman and Tim Koh Jia Quan while third-prize winners were Jeffrey Johan Adlan Disney and Nik Adruce Nik Adelin, who walked away with certificates and prizes worth RM700 and RM600 respectively.
All participants were also presented with certificates of participation.
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