Young Malaysian Poets SNaPS Up Grand Prizes With Big Voices
Sunway International Schools (SIS) made a resonating return with its annual Sunway National Poetry Slam™ (SNaPS™), marking its 9th edition this year – while also resuming its face-to-face nature of the nationwide competition after having transitioned online during the pandemic.
Supported by the Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE), SNaPS™ is one of SIS’s signature initiatives aiming to encourage spoken word performances among youths from both government and international schools in Malaysia. The grand final took place on 17 November, witnessing an impressive display of talent in the room by young local talents.
“Poetry can be seen as the essence of good writing. It requires a critical and observant mind to form concrete images and express abstract ideas through words. This, coupled with the ability to convey these images and ideas using voice and emotions in a way that resonates with the audience, are highly valued regardless of area of expertise. Through initiatives like SNaPS™, students are given a platform to pick up and enhance these skills.” said Dr. Nicholas Lee, Chief Judge of the esteemed panel of judges and Head of Centre English Language Studies (CELS) at Sunway University.
Aiden Ting Fu Yu from Sunway City International School – part of Sunway International Schools (SIS) took home the title for the Junior Category as the first-place winner with Tee Ning Marn from HELP International School and Tan Hui Yin from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) as the second and third place winners respectively with their equally captivating performances. In the Senior Category, Muhammad Haikal Hariz Bin Mohd Azhan from SMK Taman Seri Rampai scored a triumphant win while Nithilaa Devi A/P Suresh Naidu from SMK Assunta liven up the atmosphere, earning her the second place and Wong Wen Fong from Inspiros International School achieving third place with a powerful and moving piece.
Securing the first place for the Group Category was the dynamic team The Bare Minimum from SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) with a high-spirited piece. HIS Wordsmiths from HELP International School fired up their game and came in second, while ISPoetry from International School @Parkcity’s invigorating performance won them the third place. The Spirit Award was presented to SK Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (1) for accumulating the most votes during the grand finals. Sunway City International School – part of Sunway International Schools (SIS) – on the other hand, successfully bagged the Helios Award as the overall champion with the highest total combined scores.
Mr. Jamal Raslan, a talented fellow judge and also this year’s Featured Poet, remarked, “SIS has been at the forefront of contemporary English poetry at high school level in the Malaysian private education sector over the last 10 years, helping nurture their young talents to become thoughtful, expressive, and confident young adults.” He emphasised that spoken word can help students develop into more grounded, self-aware, and empathetic adults by helping spur their creativity, improve their communication, and discover their voice.
Homegrown writer and poet, who is on the panel of judges and also a Sacrificial Poet for this year’s edition of SNaPS™, Ms. Hazelynn Rimbar, shared, “Unlike adults, children may find it challenging to fully recognise, let alone understand and process the myriad of emotions they experience, particularly during the tumultuous years of growing up. Poetry serves as a powerful tool, providing them with a means of heightened emotional awareness and a unique outlet for self-expression.”
Going by the theme of “Culture”, the competition kicked off in July where students from a total of 35 schools across the country – including schools from the Klang Valley area, Ipoh, Kedah, Johor and Sarawak – submitted their written poems as well as poem recitation videos online, followed by an online poetry workshop in September.