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  • Writer's pictureJohan Ooi

Apec 2020 Launch - Kids Emcee by Johan Speaking Academy

When we first got the call, we cannot believe it either. Why ?

- first, it was so near to the event, could we pull it off ?

- it was a call on a weekend, is this real ?

- APEC, such a huge formal government launch, you want a kid to be an emcee ?

Guess, when things fall into place, we have to trust the process.

Indeed, things were moving so fast, and it was already 3 Dec, 2019 ( Tuesday ). At 12.00pm, when we arrived at Cyberview Resort, there were many activities going on. People are setting up the main entrance, the ballroom, the secretariat room, the press conference room, preparing the signboards along the road, the pathway signboards leading to the ballroom, decorating the hotel with LCD screens, plants, backdrops and many more.

We headed straight to the secretariat room, together with our student E-Zen and her dad, Wilson. We waited for further instructions, as the event is tomorrow. Guest includes,

- the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

- Chief Ministers

- Cabinet Ministers

- delegates from the 21 International Economics

What is APEC ?

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC ) is an inter-governmental forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region

Just after awhile, things got blazing fast, and we went to the ballroom to see the speaking area. We were brief about the run-down of the event. It was totally new to E-Zen as this was such a big event. Even for us as teachers, it was also our first time in such a formal official event, having our students speaking here. Then we met E-Zen's partner Terrance Das, a familiar figure in the emcee arena of Malaysia.

Both wasted no time to rehearse their scripts. At the start, they were both not familiar - with each other. Then, you can see things started to flow smoothly. The rhythm, the timing and the inflection of important words. Training started from noon, till ........almost 10.00pm ! Of course the rehearsal involves the whole team together with the lighting crew, the sound guys, the usherers, the opening launch gambit, everything has to fall into place. There were breaks in between, it was a long but fulfilling day.

I asked the team,"Why did you all have the idea of having a kid as an emcee ?"

Well, "APEC is talking about the future, and our future is our kids. We would like to add a new dimension to the whole setting, that is why we wanted a kid to be the co-emcee with an experienced emcee."

We headed home and it was almost midnight.

6.30am, 4 Dec 2019 - the day everyone is waiting and working hard for. APEC 2020 Launch.

The call time was 6.30am, and the hall is already FULL with the working committee making sure everything is alright. No time to waste as both the emcees started to practice their scripts again.

By 7.30am, crowd was filling up the ballroom, from member of the media channels, corporate staff, government staff and invited guest.

8.00am, our honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad arrived with the APEC economic leaders. A group picture was taken at the garden of Cyberview Resort. The iconic part of this event was, 22 years ago, Malaysia was the host and it was Tun Mahathir who was then, the Prime Minister Malaysia. Same venue, same spot, same prime minister. Wow !

After the photo taking session, the leaders walked into the ballroom with applause from the floor. Everyone stood in position as the national anthem of Malaysia, Negaraku was played. We, Malaysians, sang along. Terrance, E-Zen's co-emcee then welcome the delegates with his opening remarks. Terrance added that, E-Zen, being 11 years old, was the youngest person in the room. Not only that, she is also the co-emcee for today. Everyone cheered ! E-Zen then exhange witty remarks with Terrance, much to the surprise and astonishment of the crowd.

E-Zen then invited MITI minister Datuk Daryl up on the stage for the opening remarks. Terrance then invited the honorable Prime Minister for his speech. Followed by the launch.

Everything was over in just over an hour. It was sweet, simple and yet impactful. After the event, national delegates came and shook E-Zen's hand and congratulate her for a job well done. Even the media was impressed and came to interview her.

This was a remarkable day for Malaysia as the host for APEC 2020, yet another milestone for E-Zen as a kid emcee and also Johan Speaking Academy, for taking up this role.

We would really want to thank E-Zen, her mom Elain who was with her the whole of 2nd day, her dad Wilson who was with her the first day rehearsal, my co-founder Cherry Ho for practicing with E-Zen the past 2 days, MITI, MARii and all the working committee for making this event a success.

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