Happy to tell the tale

NO making the long story short here as the final leg of McDonald’s storytelling contest presented a platform and event that made everyone present proud and completely happy to be there.

NO KIDDING

This year was the second year that McDonald’s Malaysia ran the contest. It attracted over 700 participants from all over the country. Auditions were held, tapering down the competition to 157 contestants, and finally, just 15. It was at the finals, held at Grand Dorsett Subang hotel, where all 15 child-contestants got to exhibit their prowess at storytelling.

From tales of old to new and composed ones, the energy within the atmosphere was simply profound. Anxious as well as calm looking parents, teachers who came to cheer their “students” on, even siblings, grandparents and relatives of the young story-tellers, not forgetting Ronald McDonald himself – the support, love and encouragement observed was amazing, somewhat uplifting. Even the panel of judges comprising Aishah Sinclair, Datuk Aznil Nawawi and Sazzy Falak, as well as emcee Yasmin Hani Richardson commented likewise, with Aznil “adding on” to the consolation prize.

NEVER THE SAME OLD STORY

The contestants aged between six and nine, seemed cool as cucumbers. Looking calm and collected, they simply shone on stage. All out to do their best, they were up in form and fettle, captivating their audience with their stories, facial expressions, body language, voice mechanics, vocabulary, props and costumes, and stage presence. Clearly, all the 15 children displayed talent. The beauty however, was the pure joy and enthusiasm behind their performances, especially seen with children, when they enjoy doing what they do. They told their stories with flair and gusto, which naturally won the hearts of the audience. Some added humour, some enchanted just being their cute and adorable tiny selves; but all displayed talent, focus and were out to do their best.

After all 15 “told their tales”, last year’s grand-prize winner Ong Yan Han got to tell his winning tale. The young lad and his family were thrilled, having just returned from their amazing holiday to Warner Bros Movie World in Australia, and to be guests at this year’s contest. “The competition this year is really tough,” said Ong’s mother who agreed that all the 15 contestants displayed great talent and performed excellently.

ALL WINNERS

Judges had a hard time picking out the winners. After all 11 consolation prizes were presented on stage, the top four spots were announced to a “nail-biting” crowd and four very anxiously-excited contestants.

▶ Grand-prize winner – Low Zi Xuan won a trip to Tokyo Disney land and Disney Sea for two adults and two children

▶ First-prize winner – Aiden Pu won a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland & Ocean Park for two adults and two children.

▶ Second-prize winner – Trisha Lai won a trip to Shanghai Disney Resort for two adults and two children

▶ Third-prize winner – Lenithraa Sai Kanagalingam won a trip to Thailand Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark for two adults and two children.

Zi Xuan was ecstatic, jumping for joy on the announcement. He smile was “wider” than that of Ronald’s, happy to have won. He was asked on stage to perform his winning story again, of “The Journey of the Seed”. Aiden was no less happy, totally excited on his win as he enjoys story-telling. “It allows me to express myself,” said the nine-year old who gave thanks to God, his parents and his school senior assistant for his victory.

OVER THE TOP

McDonald’s Malaysia senior director of marketing, communications and insights Melati Abdul Hai was very pleased with the response this year. “We had two and a half times more applications this year,” she said. She also shared her view on the contest and summarised it as a fabulous display of wonderful quality and talent in all the 15 finalists. “I feel so much love in the room today. The effort, the family support – McDonald’s is very proud to create this platform for families to come together in this event. This is what we are all about really - the child in you comes out when you enter a McDonald’s restaurant,” she depicted.

“The morals in the stories of the children – about the virtues of patience, love, kindness, that fear is the killer of dreams, etc. The teamwork behind each child’s performance, from the parents, to the teachers, and family members – these are all testament to the success of the storytelling competition,” added Melati before she acknowledged everyone present, judges and media as well, and thanked the mall for their support. She ended her speech by congratulating all 15 finalists, encouraging them on, recognising each one as winners.

For more, visit the McDonald’s Malaysia website.