Acing the game with unity

  • Education
  • Sunday, 09 Oct 2016

Vasanthe believes that athletes have a magnetic hold that can bring communities together.

THE key message of Team Ace Breakers’ poster caught the attention of the people at Siemens Malaysia. The company’s senior vice-president and head of communications Vasanthe Narayanasamy said: “The slogan, ‘Thousands of Hearts Beating as One’, perfectly embodies the spirit of unity. And the students have also clearly articulated that, ‘unity brings victory’.”

“Sports and athletes have a magnetic hold on our imagination and fascination, and the opportunities for sports to move the needle on social issues are enormous. All the possible messages you’d like to drive into the public mind, you can do through sports. The value of sport to local government and communities extends beyond sports. It can play a role in bringing communities together, having a social and cultural impact, and developing social capital,” she said.

Vasanthe lauded the Star-NiE contest for being a good platform for students to express their opinions about the role sports play in fostering social change.

“PSAs often have goals of changing attitudes and behaviours. It is used to educate the public on a broader range of important issues. This contest has encouraged students to look at sports as a tool to promote unity, celebrate diversity, and develop skills such as teamwork, accountability and leadership,” she added.

At Siemens, bringing about positive social change has always been important. Vasanthe said that the company believes in making real what matters to the societies they operate in. “Our lasting contribution to society has not only been a moral and legal obligation for us for almost 170 years, but lies at the centre of our business activities, with societies being our ultimate customers.”

Having their poster published in The Star was simply beyond the expectations of the Form Five students of SMK Permas Jaya, Johor, in Team Ace Breakers. Team member Siti Syafinaz Kamaruzzaman expressed her gratitude to Siemens Malaysia for selecting their artwork. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity and reward. It is a great chance to express our thoughts and convey the message to others.”

Teammate Nurfatehah Andreana Luqman Haziq Pengarah said: “I was really surprised when the teacher-in-charge told us that we clinched the Outstanding Award for this contest. We felt very proud of ourselves and it was a big boost to our self-esteem.”

Puteri Nelly Zulaikha Hishamuddin explained that their poster aimed to depict unity in sports. “The people in our country live peacefully without war and disturbances even though we come from diverse backgrounds.

“But then, our country has still not achieved total unity, so we think it is a serious issue to talk about. “Therefore, we want to urge Malaysians to involve themselves in any sports and support each other to strengthen solidarity in our country.”

Another member Deventhiran Parthivan said that the contribution by Siemens Malaysia meant a lot to them and their school. “I am sure the money will be put to good use by the school. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to The Star newspaper team for organising such an extraordinary competition. Thank you so much!”

SMK Permas Jaya NiE Contest Coordinator Zarinah Ibrahim said that the NiE contest allowed students to explore language learning in a safe and fun environment. “Students engage as a group to find meaning in what they are doing. Through teamwork, they gain confidence and are able to translate their artwork into success.”

“They can express their ideas, opinions and feelings in a unique, creative and meaningful way to the public. It also reflects who they are and what is important to them.

Supervising teacher Nur Zafira Zulkefli liked the fact that learning takes place “outside” the classroom as well as their textbooks. The whole process of producing the artwork through the discussions and brainstorming activities is a fun and engaging learning experience. This has inspired other students as they could be next year’s grand finalists, who would be featured in a national newspaper!”

The school principal Borhanudin Mansor commended Siemens Malaysia for taking the CSR initiative. “It shows that they are committed in creating a positive impact in Malaysian education. It will also enrich the life of the students they touched through this corporate sponsorship, especially the less-fortunate ones.

“We hope that more corporations would give back to society through sponsorships to secure ‘holistic human capital’. By doing so, they can reach out to students with talents, who could turn out to be their employees in the future,” he added.

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