The year, that in the future would be known infamously as 2020, has finally come to an end. Regardless of your country of residence, your social status, or your life experiences; I think we can all come to the unanimous agreement that 2020 is one ride of a year, one in which we hope would remain in the realms of the past. Let’s not delve too much into the negatives, but since it’s too early in 2021 to be doing any sort of accurate prediction or wishful thinking, let’s turn our attention instead to our journey and stories throughout the year.
The largest takeaway this year for UEC Malaysia takes us far from our usual classroom setting into the realms of the Internet. Introducing our project – our very own Young Author Awards (YAA) Malaysia! They were two stages in YAA: one being a three – day workshop to help them write their own stories, and a competition where the best stories were given recognition. The main objective we had was to foster the interest and passion in writing through the use of storytelling among our Malaysian youths.
With the help of our founder and esteemed storyteller – Catherine Khoo (known as Auntie Cat to the kids), we managed to reach out to about 80 kids – all storytellers and writing enthusiasts in their own rights – through the story writing workshop via the online platform Zoom. Throughout the three-day long process, the aspiring authors were taught the science of effective storytelling techniques to communicate their ideas to the world.
The end goal, of course, was the competition of story masterpieces! Our budding storytellers and aspiring authors were to submit their meticulously crafted work to be tested in trials of fire. Don’t worry, the reality is nothing that dramatic; but their stories were given the chance to shine and impress the judges. Each one of them put in their best effort into their stories, and the qualities of the work we received were extraordinary!
Unfortunately, only three out of the creative gold-mine could be showcased, and after much deliberation from the judges’ end, the final winners were selected. One of their many prizes was a special one-to-one session with Auntie Cat that would prepare them in refining their work for the annual Young Author Awards in Singapore.
Although a tiring, and occasionally chaotic process, we think that YAA Malaysia was a promising success. A new frontier for us, sure, but one worth exploring especially with the reach and tools the internet provides. We have hope that our mission and vision can be given an even bigger platform! We may have started out as a classroom, but that doesn’t mean we have to be confined to one. Here’s to better and greater projects and stories to come! Maybe its wishful thinking, but we won’t even know unless we try; do stay tuned and be a part of our journey!
Now we travel back to reality… looking at UEC Malaysia as a whole for the year 2020, the main theme for us seems to be resilience and flexibility, as the challenges and obstacles presented to us were by no means easy to overcome. Moving to online classes was not well-played but necessary decision. And even so, even online classes were not the saviour we hoped it would be.
We are currently planning to – after a few months of tribulations of our kids and their parents getting overwhelmed by online classes – focus on providing value-added services instead of just the ‘norm’. We hope that by doing more for our kids, we can alleviate their fatigue of online learning, provide extra educational and entertaining content for them, and ultimately push UEC Malaysia forward as the leading education and creative classroom in Malaysia!