The McDonald’s 2016 Storytelling Contest grand finals was definitely a one-of-a-kind spectacle, with children aged between 6 to 9 years old from all over Malaysia converging in Kuala Lumpur for a showdown of talent and passion. Organised in conjunction with McDonald’s Happy Meal Book Programme, the contest is an initiative in line with McDonald’s mission to bring families closer together over a shared love for reading and telling stories.
Over the course of 9 weeks, McDonald’s shortlisted 15 entries from a total of 330 submissions; with shortlisted contestants performing their stories in live auditions at selected McDonald’s restaurants nationwide. In preparation for their big moment, selected contestants also received special coaching from popular celebrity – Datuk Aznil bin Haji Nawawi. Drawing from his years of experience as a seasoned performer and entertainment icon, Datuk Aznil shared tips and tricks on the finer points of telling a compelling story; with the coaching session being one of the highlights of the contest for the finalists.
At the grand finals, the children performed their stories before a star studded panel of judges that included not only Datuk Aznil but also Zain Saidin, children’s’ book author Brigitte Rozario, Thanabalasingam Balakrishnan, Head of Partnerships for the Make It Right Movement (MRIM) and Puan Irma Wahyuny Ibrahim, Lecturer from the Academy of Language Studies, UITM Shah Alam. Fired up by their coaching sessions with Datuk Aznil, the children’s performances were also judged on other criteria including stage presence, body language and the creative use of props to bring their stories to life.
“McDonald’s is a company that champions family togetherness. We have always been committed to serving simple, easy and enjoyable moments to our customers; not just through our food, but also the overall McDonald’s experience,” said Azmir Jaafar, Managing Director of McDonald’s Malaysia. “This contest has been an immense pleasure to organise and we are privileged to work with the icon for children in Malaysia through our partnership with the deeply adored and widely admired Datuk Aznil Hj Nawawi.”
“I am so proud of all the children that have worked so hard and poured their hearts and souls into their performances. It is very heartening to see the amount of raw talent and intense passion present in our children and I was fascinated to see their determination and confidence in performing their stories,” added Azmir.
Ong Yan Han, 6, from Penang was crowned the grand prize winner of McDonald’s Storytelling Contest 2016 with his spirited rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk. He wins a family trip for 4 to Warner Bros. Movie World, Australia and RM5,000 worth of prizes for his school. First runner up, Kaisah Amnani Mohd Khairuddin, 8, from Putrajaya walks away with a family trip of 4 to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Japan and RM3,000 worth of prizes for her school. Farisya Mohd Zaidie, 7, from Kota Kinabalu took home the second runner up spot by scoring a family trip of 4 to Universal Studio Singapore and RM2,000 worth of prizes for her school. The other 12 consolation prize winners received prize worth RM1,000, RM250 McDonald’s gift certificates and book vouchers and stationaries worth RM750.
During the prize giving ceremony, Datuk Aznil presented the Promising Storyteller Award to four consolation prize winners – Aiden Pu Chern Wei and Aiden Panchalingam from Petaling Jaya, Vanessa Yap from Seremban and Eva Chung Jie from Kuching. Each of them received RM500 in cash respectively courtesy of Datuk Aznil.
For more information on the story telling contest visit McDonald’s website at: https://www.mcdonalds.com.my/storytellingcontest/.