Tuesday, August 12, 2008

AYA Dream Malaysia Awards

Thanks to my blog reader on this AYA Award. Another article on this.

Quoted from http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/Focus/2302841/Article/index_html

The Olympics has its gold, silver and bronze medals, the Oscars the
golden statues, and MTV the golden popcorn. But a durian-shaped pewter
award? That's Malaysia's Asian Youth Ambassadors' Dream Malaysia
Awards, writes DAVID YEOW

THE Dream Malaysia Awards is an annual project by the Asian Youth
Ambassadors (AYA), a youth development non-governmental organisation
that seeks to honour ordinary Malaysian youths who possess an
extraordinary spirit by rewarding them with the title of "Most
Outstanding Youth of the Year".

The fourth year into its running, the awards is the brainchild of AYA
director Kenneth Chin, the son of late show business impresario Mike
Bernie Chin.

"In a way, durians are a lot like our young unsung heroes," mused Chin
over the rationale behind the durian-shaped award. Life gives them a
thorny outer shell to struggle with. It may be hard to break it open
but when they do, the fragrance is impossible to ignore.

"We need to reward people who the world doesn't see. It's easy to
recognise the celebrities, but who honours youths who overcome great
odds and achieve great feats through sheer determination and
extraordinary character?"

However, just because it focuses on the spirit of young unsung heroes,
the AYA Dream Malaysia Awards is in no way a consolation prize as
previous recipients will tell you.

Last year's winner, Dr Kenny Lee, was awarded for his work as a
medical doctor with the indigenous people of Long Lama, Sarawak. This
he did by turning down opportunities to become a high-flying medical

The winner for 2006, Sia Ling Ling, is stricken with muscular
dystrophy, an incurable disease that causes her legs to collapse if
she stands for more than 10 minutes. The 28-year-old, whose fingers
are also bent to a perpetual claw, was honoured for her will to keep
fighting and her dedication towards helping other disabled people
despite her condition.

And in 2005, Yvonne Foong was recognised for her fight against a rare
genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis Type 2, which caused tumours
to grow randomly in her body -- including a brain tumour that affected
her hearing and several along her spine that weakened her limbs.

Despite the trials and tribulations, the former ballet dancer, figure
skater and soprano singer fought on and has to date written an
autobiography, designed her own T-shirt to raise funds for her
operations and become one of Malaysia's more prominent young bloggers.

The youths aren't the only ones the award seeks to honour.

The AYA Dream Malaysia Awards has a second category called
"Youth-Friendly Company", which acknowledges corporate entities that
have invested in the development of youths,"

Previous winners include Groove Syndicate which emphasises a "clean
clubbing concept" at its club "Glow" in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
and IDP Education, which provides free study counselling and
applications for tertiary programmes in Australia.

Last year's winner in this category was YouthMalaysia.com, an NGO
striving to inspire and empower young people.

One of YouthMalaysia.com's contributions is the "Empowering Youth
Entrepreneurs" project, which aims to help 100 potential young
entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality.

The Dream Malaysia Awards started off as Chin's dream to tell the
Malaysian story. Realising that there was something special about the
Malaysian spirit, he set out in search of stories of ordinary young
Malaysians who overcame great odds.

"I believe some of the most inspirational stories and lives can be
found in Malaysia. The awards are merely a means to highlight these
lives and tell the true Malaysian story.

"I merely want to inspire and transform the future of Malaysia through
the stories of these young people.

"And I pray that theses stories will one day touch the people of other nations."

Nominations for the awards open today until Aug 31.

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