DIGI ANNOUNCES ITS AMAZING MALAYSIANS 2006!
Months' long search ends in 5 more exciting heritage projects involving children
Kuala Lumpur, February 24, 2006 - When 17-year-old Hor Wei Vern found out that her "mentor" Janet Pillai had been chosen as one of DiGi's Amazing Malaysians 2006, she was beside herself with excitement. Wei Vern had nominated Janet when DiGi Telecommunications launched a public search for Amazing Malaysians last year. "Janet's such an amazing person. I'm so thrilled she's been selected," she said when informed of the news.
Equally excited were the other four nominators of this year's Amazing Malaysians: The Champion of Pahang's Lake Chini (Bishan Singh); The Shadow Player of Kelantan (Eddin Khoo); The Woodcraft Warrior of Selangor (Rashid Esa); and The Heritage Architect of Kedah (Laurence Loh). Pillai's "title" as an Amazing Malaysian, suggested by herself, is Madame "Heritage Heboh" of Penang. "I kick up such a noise about heritage, so I think the name's appropriate," she said.
All five nominators and the Amazing Malaysians were present at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre today, when DiGi introduced them to the media. The event marked the culmination of a four-month public search for individuals to take DiGi's Amazing Malaysians programme into its second year.
DiGi embarked on an intensive search campaign beginning September 2005 via newspapers and its website. The deadline for nominations was December 4, 2005, but nominations continued to trickle in well after the date.
DiGi shortlisted 17 of these nominations, from which a panel of judges chaired by YBHg Dato' Siti Azizah Abod, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Arts & Heritage decided on the final five. Other members of the judging panel were YBhg Puan Sri Datin Amar Elizabeth Moggie; Morten Lundal, Chief Executive Officer of DiGi; Jennifer Nelson, DiGi's Head of CSR; and Ayesha Harben, Managing Director of PR agency Ayesha Harben & Associates.
In commenting on the judging process, Dato' Azizah said: "In all honesty, it was very difficult for us to choose the winners. On the one hand, it was extremely uplifting for us to see that there are so many Malaysians doing wonderful heritage work all round the country. But on the other, we would have liked to have chosen them all. Fortunately, we had several criteria to go by, and this helped. Among the most important were: the individual's passion and commitment; his or her ability to work with children; the value or importance of the work they are doing; and the ability to inject an element of sustainability into the project."
When DiGi evolved its CSR programme from the one-day culture workshops it held under the DiGi Yellow Mobile banner to the three-month Amazing Malaysians project, one contributing reason was to be able to ensure the projects create lasting change in the participants and, hopefully, even in the communities they come from.
Last year, The Wetland Restorer of Perak project resulted in the creation of a wetlands garden and resource centre, which are being used by the Co-Curricular Department of the Ministry of Education. A kampung house built in The Traditional Architect of Terengganu project will be used as a craft centre in a cultural village. The students of The Lion Dancer of Johor project have become so skilled in drumming, they have started to perform at corporate and other events. In Mukah, the children who trained with The Knowledge Keeper of Sarawak are being encouraged to join the Badan Budaya Melanau Mukah. Finally, DiGi plans to build a pergola for The Storyteller of Perlis, Romli Mahmud, so that he can continue to perform the awang batil (traditional style of telling stories) the way it used to be performed - outdoors, to an audience made up of the whole village alongside visitors who come to listen to him.
The five Amazing Malaysians who led these projects last year were also at the announcement.
In thanking them, Lundal said: "We at DiGi launched our Amazing Malaysians programme because we want to play a significant role in preserving Malaysia's heritage. But we would have no hope of achieving this if not for the individual Malaysians we have found who, quietly but doggedly, carry out their own heritage projects. These individuals are none other than our Amazing Malaysians."
Each of the nominators of this year's Amazing Malaysians received a mobile phone and free talk time of up to RM200 per month for a year.
About DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd
DiGi is a leading mobile communications company providing a comprehensive range of affordable, convenient and easy-to-use wireless services to simplify and enrich the lives of its customers. The company creates value by selecting the most appropriate cutting-edge technology so that customers benefit from products and services that give them choice, convenience and control.
About DiGi's Amazing Malaysians
DiGi's Amazing Malaysians is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme which identifies passionate individuals who, quietly but with dedication, work towards preserving Malaysia's natural, social, art, cultural or built heritage. DiGi provides resources for these ordinary people doing extraordinary things to share their knowledge and skills with groups of 50-100 children or youth. Most of the projects are centred in rural locations, and the children involved come from the surrounding areas. This way, DiGi is able both to support commendable heritage work, and to introduce children to the rich tapestry of culture and tradition that makes up Malaysia's unique heritage.
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