Attending BEST Talent Time and Awards Day 2016

Dear Phoebe and Breakthru Team

As I was savouring BEST children’s tasty peanut butter, I was reminiscing about  the wonderful time I had at the 7th Annual Talent Time and Awards Day at TAR University College yesterday. Thanks for the opportunity to be part of your gala event, which I unfortunately missed last year.



But in this one-year gap, I noticed a lot of impressive improvements in the quality of your show and also in your diamonds – of course, the children. All of them were a notch up in showmanship, as well as in confidence and enthusiasm. And, I must commend you and your team of teachers and choreographers for putting up a professional show, which had simple props yet showcased a  bigger pool of very talented, energetic, sprightly and spirited children and teenagers.

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From the patriotic flag bearers to the kids ‘Reaching for the Stars’, the boy wooing the ‘Uptown Girl’, the tap dancing group,’Bridge over Troubled Waters’ crooners, mother-son music rendition and the soul-searching ‘Journey’ team, just to name a few, everyone exuded so much live and energy. True to the theme of Rainbow Diamond II, every child was brilliant.

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In your speech, you mentioned that BEST has polished some diamonds and were in the process of polishing others as it takes more time with some ‘stones’.  Indeed, the polished diamonds shone through the morning with such brilliance. Ler Wen Suen, Brayden Loo, Jeremy Chu and Eddison Leong were so inspiring in narrating their achievements  in BEST.


Wen Suen’s enthusiasm is infectious and I am sure she will not have any problems sailing through her  entry exams and settling down in school. Eddison says he has grown taller and that his voice is deeper, and I must add that he is very charming, too! His English is flawless, for which he credits Aunty Shanti. I could see he has a natural flair for public speaking. Jeremy claims that he is a tough diamond to polish but I believe the end-result would be a quality gem that will shine so vibrantly that others would want to follow in his footsteps, too. Brayden is the new kid on the BEST block as  he has been only a year with the centre but his potentials are shining through already.

Not to forget Rizal Arman, who  was very brave to go on stage and share his day’s activities at his training centre. Atta, young man.


No doubt, every diamond is being shaped perfectly by the BEST team. In fact, some diamonds are success stories that will go down in BEST history – Elaine Lee, Bremen Alegrissamy and Darren Max are some brilliant examples.

I am already a fan of Darren, who came all the way from Kota Kinabalu and belted two songs. He had the audience tapping their feet and clapping as he wowed the ‘Uptown Girl’! He will go far, this talented boy! It was touching to see his mum beaming in pride as the audience cheered him on.


And then, there is this lanky 16-year-old Bremen with his storytelling skills, inspired by Mickey. He is poised to be a master storyteller. I had a chat with his parents after the show and they were full of awe for their son, who has improved so much since joining BEST. And his mum says Bremen has a talent for writing, too. Well, Phoebe, here is one diamond for you to be shaped and nurtured into an Ernest Hemingway! I assured Bremen’s parents that their son is in the BEST hands of Phoebe! By the way, I did notice Bremen making headway with girls, too,  as he was busy taking selfies with them!


Elaine was captivating in her emcee role, alongside your lovely daughter. They both did a fine job.


The older children who expressed their dreams and wishes for the next 10 years in ‘The Journey’ stage performance were full of hope and aspiration. It is great that you went one step forward and made the children think about their future plans. They seem to understand that it is not impossible to be anything they want to be – be it a dancer, singer, pastor, robotics expert, musician or to have a lovely family  – if they continue to work hard and and to never give up. Brilliant!

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Heartiest congratulations to all the winners of BEST awards. I believe they won not because they beat others in the race to win the top medal but because they beat others in their personal race to be the  first to care, protect and nurture others, as well as to have the willpower and strength to change for the best. I believe those values are lasting and will be their guiding light for success. They are all truly Guardian Angels! I hope they will keep up the spirit of friendship, brotherhood and teamwork, and continue to do their best. I am sure the strong foundation that is being laid at BEST will shape them into the brightest diamonds ever in their life journey.

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In all, I enjoyed all the performances very much.  Apologies as I could not name all the performers but every one of them was professional and flawless. Most importantly, the children’s enthusiasm, sincerity and earnestness to do their best were reflected in every act. And, they certainly had a jolly good time!

Even  guest of honour Mr Victor Lee of Bandar Utama Rotary Club sat through the entire event and was seen thoroughly enjoying himself. Why, he even joined the children on stage for the ‘Reach for the Stars’ finale.We need more supportive community leaders like him.


And thanks, Yu Chiet, for filling the intervals with lucky draws although I was not one of the lucky ones!

Phoebe, I can see that you and your team have lots of dreams to take BEST to greater heights. I hope your wish to provide professional training will be realised and Aunty Lian Ai’s dream of starting a baking training centre will come true. All the very best. I hope your first outreach programme with Little Sun Kiddyland Care Centre will be a role model for such future ventures.


Kudos to all the BEST team for working so hard and enthusiastically to ‘cut, polish and shape’ your diamonds. Sometimes, like Phoebe says, you are hurt (literally!) in the process, but when you see the brilliant cuts after the painstaking effort, you know it is all worth it. And when you see the big smile on the parents and caregivers, I am sure you will come away feeling satisfied that you have done a wonderful job!


So, see all of you next year in yet another vibrant event. Meanwhile, those of you who won Yu Chiet’s essential oils in the lucky draw, please have a happy and aromatic family time together. You deserve it!


Best regards and love,
Poongkody Palany


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