The 13th edition of annual charity concert ChildAid organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times raised more than $2.1 million.
The proceeds go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, both of which help underprivileged children, bringing the collective amount raised over the years to more than $16 million.
Gracing the concert’s opening night on 24 November 2017 at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa was Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, and the Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development.
Also in attendance were representatives from ChildAid corporate sponsors: Citi Singapore, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and Suntory Beverage & Food Asia. Main sponsors Citi Singapore, HSBC and UOB each donated $500,000 and above, while Platinum sponsor Suntory Beverage & Food Asia donated $100,000. Resorts World Sentosa was the official venue partner.
Mr Lee and Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English / Malay / Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times, mingled with representatives from corporate sponsors and young performers at a reception before the opening night concert.
The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund pays for socially disadvantaged school-going children’s meals and transport fees whereas The Business Times Budding Artists Fund pays for financially disadvantaged children’s lessons in the performing arts.
Mr Helmi Yusof, co-organising chairman of ChildAid and also an arts correspondent of The Business Times, said: “ChildAid has, by now, become one of the longest-running charity concerts in Singapore, a testament to the organisers’ belief in lending a helping hand to children from socially-disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s interesting to note that, at 13 years of age, ChildAid is like a teenager eager to shed the last traces of childhood and come into his or her own. ChildAid 2017 has successfully made the transition from a pure concert to a narrative musical format, and will hopefully continue to find new ways of expression from here on.”
This year’s show, themed An Amazing Awesome Asian Adventure, also marked the first time since ChildAid started in 2005 that the concert featured a narrative linking the different acts.
The 90-minute show follows the journey of four children whose dream masks are stolen by a witch. Following the clues given by an imp, they go on a whirlwind adventure through Asia to get back their masks. On their way, they encounter performing groups from different cultures.
The four lead roles were played by Gisele Chiam and Emiliano Cyrus, both nine, and Neo Le Yang and Lilo Baier, both 11. Both Emiliano and Le Yang had parts in the 2017 edition of Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress. They played the 9-year-old version of Emperor Kuang Hsu in different performances.
Singapore-born, Melbourne-based teenage singer Natalie Ong, 16, who was one of the finalists on The X Factor Australia last year, guest-starred in the show as the witch.
They were backed by a cast of about 190 performers, aged five to 18, who collectively showcased different genres of performing arts, including martial arts. A nine-piece band accompanied some of the segments in the show.
The youngest performer, Megan Phuan, aged five, played a piano duet in the show with Jair Chan, aged six, on a piece known as the Rice Rice Baby Medley. The oldest performers Xindan Fu and Nigel Tan, both 18 years old, appeared in a Korean dance item to the K-pop song Not Today.
Among the performers were groups from Martial House, Kids Performing Academy of the Arts, Jitterbugs Swingapore, The DanceSport Academy, STEP Youth Crew and Dance Inspiration.
Helming the show as creative director for the first time was acclaimed singer-songwriter and Cultural Medallion recipient Dick Lee. The show was produced by Dick Lee Asia.
Mr Dick Lee said, of this year’s ChildAid: “We want to ignite the flame among the kids to head out and achieve their dreams. ‘Get out of bed, get out of your house, chase your dreams all around the world and not just in your head.’ No dreams are too small, no dreams are too big; it’s only how much you are willing to do to achieve them.”
Corporate sponsors said the show’s cause resonated with them.
Said Mr Amol Gupte, Head of ASEAN and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Citi Singapore: “Citi Singapore has been a supporter of ChildAid since its inception in 2005. We believe in the cause because it makes a difference to disadvantaged young people in our community. It also signals our commitment to serve as a catalyst to enable progress in every country where we do business.”
Said Mr Tony Cripps, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited’s Group General Manager and CEO, Singapore: “HSBC’s aspiration is to be a leading partner to support sustainable growth throughout the communities in which we operate. Education, including the developing of future skills, is one of our three priorities, which is why we are pleased to partner with The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BTBAF) in the development of creativity amongst Singapore’s youth.”
Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and CEO of United Overseas Bank Limited, said: “ChildAid nurtures budding artists, while making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children. We are heartened to be able to play a part in cultivating the dreams of our young through supporting ChildAid, which is aligned with UOB’s long-term commitment towards supporting art, children and education.”
Mr Tan Hee Teck, CEO of Resorts World Sentosa, which is the official venue partner for ChildAid, said: “We believe every child has potential within them for greater accomplishments and deserves equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations regardless of their financial challenges. This is aligned to our corporate social responsibility philosophy which is why we are giving full support to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.”
The show will go on for one more night, Saturday, 25 November at 7.30pm at Resorts World Theatre.
Ms Ang Yiying
The Straits Times
Ms Serene Luo
The Straits Times
Ms Rebecca Chee
Corporate Communications & CSR Division
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
DID: 6319 1124
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms, ranging from print, digital, radio and out-of-home media.
SPH owns award-winning newspapers, magazines and best-selling books in both print and digital editions, as well as online classifieds businesses in the region. In addition, SPH has two English radio stations and one Chinese radio station, an out-of-home digital advertising unit, a regional events and conferences arm, and runs a chain of modern retail convenience stores.
SPH REIT comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road and The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall. SPH’s latest retail development is The Seletar Mall located in Sengkang.
SPH is in the healthcare sector, operating private nursing homes under Orange Valley.
For more information, please visit www.sph.com.sg
About The Straits Times
The Straits Times, the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is the most-read newspaper in Singapore and is followed widely in the region for its comprehensive coverage of local, regional and world news, provided by its correspondents in 20 bureaus in major cities worldwide.
Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times underwent a major redesign across all platforms in July 2015, when it celebrated its 170th anniversary. This revamp is part of its continuing efforts to refresh its products, maintain quality and stay relevant to the changing needs of its readers. Its integrated newsroom operates round-the-clock, providing readers with news as it happens on all platforms, from its website at www.straitstimes.com, Apple and Android apps to social media.
The Straits Times is a member of two media networks – the Asia News Network and the Impact Journalism Day alliance of newspapers – and it has won multiple international media awards, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association (Panpa), Society of News Design and Wan-Ifra. In 2017, it was conferred the silver award for best news mobile service and the bronze award for best use of online video by the World Association of Newspaper at the Digital Media Asia Awards.
About The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund
The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) started in 2000 as a community project initiated by The Straits Times that provides pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school. STSPMF was established as a Trust on 20 October 2010 and received charity status on 14 November 2011 with Institution of A Public Character (IPC) status effective from 1 January 2012. It is governed by a Board of Trustees. Since the project inception in 2000, STSPMF has helped more than 150,000 cases of children and youth from low-income families, between the ages of 7 to 21 years. Funds raised go towards school pocket money disbursements and support of the social and educational development of the children and youth. For more information, please visit http://spmf.org.sg.
About The Business Times
The Business Times, a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, is South-east Asia’s leading financial daily. BT brings to its readers daily corporate, financial, economic and political news, analysis and commentary on print and digital platforms. It provides readers with in-depth coverage of Singapore and Asian business and economic developments, as well as global trends that impact Singapore business. BT’s lifestyle journalists bring busy executives the latest in recreation, entertainment, the arts, design, food and shopping.
For more information, please visit businesstimes.com.sg.
About The Business Times Budding Artists Fund
Initiated in 2004 and adopted by The Business Times in 2005, The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF) originated from a conviction that no child with the strong interest and potential in the arts should be denied the opportunity to develop his or her talents due to a lack of financial resources. Since 2005, BT BAF has reached out to 16,000 financially-disadvantaged children and youth, between the ages of 6 to19 years old, through a variety of programmes including a structured arts training programme, arts camps, workshops and signature events. BT BAF supports two arts training centres, The Little Arts Academy and 10 Square @ Orchard Central, and is managed by The RICE Company Limited.
About Dick Lee Asia
Dick Lee Asia is a multi-faceted event agency that develops innovative and creative solutions to meet our clients’ needs and objectives. The company is the physical manifestation of founder, musician and entertainer Dick Lee’s multidisciplinary background in the creative arts, which brings unique experiences and events that are unrestrained in their form and format. With an enterprising spirit and an instinct for novelty, DLA creates and delivers innovative and entertaining projects that strive to set new benchmarks in the industry.