WOU lent its support as the academic partner for Youth Speaks for the Nation 2015 , which was revived after six years by JCI Penang and held at the University’s main campus in Penang today.
The finals themed ‘Social Media, Use of Abuse?’ saw 13 participants from secondary schools and one college pitting their oral skills against one another.
Champion Denise Chin May Xin, a Fourth Former from SMJK Jit Sin, walked away with the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Challenge Trophy and RM800 cash prize. First runner-up Daniel Tan Wei Ian, a Form Five student at SMJK Chung Ling Butterworth, won RM500 while second runner-up Mariessa Ann Selvaraj, a Sixth Former at SMK Datuk Onn Butterworth, won RM200.
Guest-of-honour Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, WOU Pro-Chancellor and Patron of JCI Penang, presented the prizes. In his speech, he paid tribute to late WOU Chancellor and second Penang Chief Minister, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, founder of JCI Penang.
Acknowledging that it is always a challenge to give a good speech, he reflected his starting out as a teacher in the university. “In order to teach, I have to always think how best to communicate, how best to make my students understand what I want to say.
“It needs a lot of preparation to make sure the ideas are conveyed. The catchword is Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare! Prepare in terms of the content, and you have to prepare in terms of the pronunciation and enunciation. You have to check almost every word that you are not sure. And more importantly, you have to think about how best to convey it to the audience.
“Who are your audience? Are they school children, are they adults, what are their background? What would you say that will resonate, that will actually strike a chord in them?”
Dr Koh also singled out participant Chelsea Cindion Dominic of SMK Seri Balik Pulau for her remarkable faith in God and commitment that led her to survive bone cancer although given only three months by the doctor back in 2011. “You may be up against great odds, but as long as you have faith, commitment, and more importantly you are willing to learn, you are willing to survive and thrive, you will make a difference.”
Earlier, the participants expounded on the use and abuse of social media. Among the uses, as highlighted by Denise, were access to information that facilitates projects, readings, surveys, etc and online shopping/business, while the negatives included cheating by smooth-talkers, social media addiction, terrible spelling and horrific grammar. She concluded, “In all things, there is good and bad, use and abuse. Stay with the good, stay with the use, and stay vigilant!”
The panel of judges comprised Dr S Nagarajan, Dean of WOU’s School of Foundation & Liberal Studies (chief judge), British Council Penang director Peggy Lim, and a representative from Toastmasters International and the State Education Department.