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Salute to Endon and Tunku

   
The cast of Tunku The Musical with Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh and Mel Gibson

Kuala Lumpur: September 8, 2007

Thousands came to watch Tunku The Musical as it was staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) in August. Many shows were sold out as people appreciative of the arts and culture joined with the cast to pay tribute to our nations founding leader Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Created and directed by Joe Hasham, Artistic Director of KLPac, the musical has received rave reviews and has played to numerous full houses and standing ovations.

KLPac held an exclusive gala performance of Tunku - The Musical on 5 September 2007 to culminate the end of its incredibly successful three-week run. The show was attended by YTL Corporation Bhd director, YB Tan Sri (Dr). Francis Yeoh, and also among the audience was actor Mel Gibson.

The excited cast dedicated their performance to the visiting star and prayed that he would stay and enjoy the show. After the spectacular performance, the Guests of Honour and Mel Gibson appeared on stage all in smiles to congratulate the cast.

YB Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh also gave away the inaugural Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood Award for Performing Arts Excellence to freelance artist-cum-dance choreographer Aris Kadir that night.

The award, a scholarship fund worth RM50, 000 sponsored by the YTL Corporation, enables the winner to further his education in his chosen discipline and it reflects our late patron’s fight for the development of the performing arts in Malaysia.

Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh

Selamat sejahtera

Yang Berhormat, Dato’ Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Timbalan Menteri Kewangan
Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Ketua Pengarah, Tourism Malaysia
Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Norliza Rofli, Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara
Yang Berusaha Puan Nori Abdullah, Pengerusi, Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia
Para Diplomat yang terhormat
Dif-dif Kehormat
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Puan Seri-Puan Seri ,
Dato’-Dato, Datin-Datin
Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan yang dihormati sekelian.

Terlebih dahulu izinkan saya merakamkan terima kasih kepada semua pihak yang sudi hadir ke majlis ini.

Hadirin yang dihormati, izinkan saya menyambung ucapan ini dalam Bahasa Inggeris.


   
Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh presenting the Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood Award to winner Aris Kadir as Joe Hasham looks on.

Almost exactly a year ago, on this very stage, at the Gala opening of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, I said that our lasting monument to our late Patron, Yang Amat Berbahagia Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood, will not be fashioned out of bricks and mortar. Instead, it will come from fulfilling her vision of creative excellence among Malaysians.

Through KLPac, we have already put in place the building blocks to achieve that vision. Two years after opening, KLPac is being increasingly used by the community as we see more productions being mounted, theatre and studio bookings significantly up and student intake at the Academy rise.

So when I was asked by KLPac if YTL would sponsor an award for performing arts named after Kak Endon, there was absolutely no hesitation. With this award, we not only honour Kak Endon’s rich contribution to the performing arts but we hope it will help spur our young, aspiring performers to greater heights of artistic excellence.

This award is certainly a fitting tribute to Kak Endon ~ a great friend of the Arts, a cultural icon and a truly great Malaysian. The very fact that we are here tonight can be attributed to her unwavering passion for the arts. She dedicated much of her life’s work to promoting and revitalising the sector so that Malaysians from all walks of life can reap the benefits of a thriving arts culture in the future.

It is all the more meaningful that this inaugural award coincides with Malaysia’s milestone 50th year of independence. As we come of age as a nation, and we take pride in our many achievements, we must ensure that development of the Arts keep pace with our progress in other areas. For the Arts help define us, reflecting our values, our history and our aspirations as a nation. It is also our hope that one day; Malaysian artists and performers can stand proud on the world stage.

Moreover, with this annual award, we not only celebrate the Performing Arts but we celebrate life ~ and the rich multicultural heritage that rightfully belongs to all Malaysians.

Tonight, we are extremely honoured that our beloved Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, has agreed to present the inaugural Datin Paduka Seri Endon Award for Performing Arts Excellence.

Lastly, I must also take this opportunity to thank our Prime Minister and Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah for hosting a charity concert last Saturday at Seri Perdana in support of the arts. Pusaka’s Wayang Kulit Documentation and Revitalisation Project was a beneficiary as was the National Children’s Theatre Programme to be organised by Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia and supported by KLPac.


Thank you and God bless.

Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr.) Francis Yeoh
Tunku The Musical Gala Night at KLPac
5 September 2007, 8.30pm




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