PETALING JAYA: Nineteen-year-old Pavit Coran (pic), who brought joy and pride to the country for winning an international public speaking competition, wants to be a voice to champion mental health.
“Mental health is often sidelined and dismissed as a problem that’s not very necessary.
“But people fail to realise that good mental health is as crucial as maintaining good physical health, ” he said.
The student from Multimedia University (MMU) in Melaka was crowned champion of the English Speaking Union (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition, after his speech on the rising rate of mental depression worldwide.
Representing the English Speaking Union of Malaysia (ESUM), Pavit beat 35 other participants from 33 countries in the grand finals held virtually via London, United Kingdom, on May 10-14.
Now working on his foundation studies in law, Pavit said his final speech was a global platform that gave him a chance to speak about the importance of mental health.
In the speech, he urged the government and society to raise awareness through various means possible.
This year’s theme was “The Best Route to Change Engages All Voices”, he told The Star.
“When I did my research to decide what to speak about, I noticed and realised that not many people speak about mental health.
“My speech touched on the weight of this problem and it’s something that needs to be addressed moving forward, as it really affects our society.
“Brushing it aside will do more harm in the long run. So, for a progressive nation to be formed, necessary actions must be implemented, ” he said.
Pavit said he was on a semester break when he decided to search online for public speaking competitions to fill his time with.
It was 2am when the results were announced and in the chaos of his excitement upon hearing his name announced as the winner, the younger of two siblings woke his parents up.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard my name. It was one of those moments where no words will be able to describe how it felt, ” he said.
Pavit had just over two weeks to prepare for the biggest public speaking competition in the world, after being chosen to represent the country upon winning the ESUM-Taylor’s Public Speaking Competition Final on April 24.
“I didn’t feel pressured but I was nervous as I also had to juggle this with my studies.
“I feel privileged and grateful to have represented Malaysia on an international platform, ” he added.
News of his win took social media by storm and it was such viral news that even the King heard of it.
The teenager from Kelantan said he was grateful for the love and support shown.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah congratulated him for winning the competition.
The King also expressed his joy and pride over Pavit’s excellent achievement in helping Malaysia shine on the global stage.
“His Majesty expressed hope that Pavit’s success would inspire other Malaysians, especially students and youth, to work harder to create success stories in their respective fields, ” Istana Negara said on its official Instagram page.
The King also wished him all the best in his future undertakings and prayed that he would continue to make Malaysia proud.
When contacted, MMU president Datuk Dr Mazliham Mohd Su’ud said they sincerely hope Pavit’s win inspires other students to achieve global recognition for their endeavours.
“This achievement reflects how talented this young man is.
“While Pavit still has a long way to go, we are nevertheless very excited about his long-term prospects, ” he said.
This is only the second time a Malaysian won the Best Public Speaker award at the annual competition after Marina Tan in 2011.