Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Michaelian Makes Waves

Stand up and deliver
Iron-willed students gathered from all over Malaysia to join the The Star-ESU Malaysia Public Speaking Competition at Menara Star. The competition was a day-long affair and although it was just the preliminaries earlier in the day, students went all out to earn a spot in the semi-finals with the ultimate aim of representing Malaysia at ESU’s International Public Speaking Competition in London.
All smiles: The finalists posing for the camera after the semi-finals. 
With close to 100 students taking part and only 18 spots in the semi-finals, it was a tough fight. .
The students said they were not novices to public speaking, as they had all delivered speeches and talks at different platforms.The competition’s chief judge, Sheila Joseph said: “The students did well in the semi -finals, we’re hoping to see a lot of good speakers make it to the grand finals on April 9.”
Maharajshimithira Maniam, 18, was one of the 18 finalists. She gave a thought-provoking speech, titled ‘Changing History’ about overhauling Malaysia’s history syllabus.
“After five years of public education, what I’ve learnt about history compared to what some others have learnt across the globe is peanuts,”
“I feel cheated that I was not taught things like the Cold War, the Chernobyl disaster, the Rwanda massacre and the Holocaust,” she said in her speech.
The inspiration for her speech came from her travels.
“I took a semester off to travel and do some soul-searching, when I was in Ukraine a bunch of 12-year-olds taught me about the Chernobyl disaster,”
She said if the syllabus was changed to cover a wider scope, more children would benefit from it. Right now Malaysians seem content to not question what they are told, our youth are too shy and suffer from the inability to express themselves she added.
The issue of lifelong learning was tackled in the semi-finals by Kenneth Mano, 16, from SMK St. Michael, Ipoh in his speech titled ‘Wake up! Class is in Session’.
“We all make mistakes, We’re all human and we don’t know it till the consequences of our mistakes hit us in our faces,”
“But the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them, sadly, humans are so reluctant to learn, they think that learning stops after tertiary education, which is a wrong assumption,” said Kenneth as he began his speech.
In order to correct the current path of humanity and create a better future, people as a whole need to keep learning and developing themselves, so they can change the course of history said Kenneth.
The lucky 10 who made it to the finals apart from Maharajshimithira and Kenneth included, Marina Tan, 17, Nathaniel Zacharias, 19, Lim Jih-Shing, 19, Ong Kar Jin, 18, Ng Siew Sanz, 18, Sandhya Prem, 16, Daniel Arul Nesan, 17 and Muhammad Fareez Abdul Razak, 18.
Muhammad Fareez from Bangi who recently finished his studies at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Kota Baru, Kelantan said that he had learnt so much from the competition within a short spate of time. “It gives me a different perspective on how to give a good speech by looking at my peers.
“It is definitely a confidence booster competing with some great public speakers and the constructive comments from the judges were helpful too.”
The sheer mix of students here is a good sign that there are many enthusiastic and intelligent English-speaking youth who are outspoken enough to express themselves he added. International School of Kuala Lumpur student Lim Jih-Shing said: “I am truly honoured to be a part of the finals ... I’m very excited.” The speakers were judged on the substance of their speech, their styles and techniques, their general effectiveness which included expression, delivery, establishing credibility and their ability to answer questions.
All finalists received a certificate of merit and on April 9, will compete again at Menara Star’s Cyberhub. The national champions will earn an all-expenses paid trip to London from May 23 to 27 to compete at ESU’s international public speaking competition.
ESU Malaysia trainers will help them prepare for the international competition, where they will speak on the theme “Words are not enough”.
From the Editorial: Congratulations Kenneth! A feather in the cap for St  Michael's. Mano is standing infront wearing a green tie. You are invited to speak to the afternoon boys at the school assembly.
That will be a great honour. By the way, an old boy, Alexandar, alerted the blogger on this. Thanks Alex.

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