The REAL stars of Tioman Island Fest 2006

By Serina Rahman
Photos by Leong Sze Wong, Saras Kumar and Serina Rahman

swleong_tif06_natureguidesMuch has been said in the media and in our own publicity material about the Academy Fantasia stars who were at Tioman Island Fest. But as Gary Phong put it, “the real stars of the programme were the volunteers.” This is a tribute to them.

It all began in February when Stewart Green spent a week in Kg Genting paving the way for Kyle Petrozza and Jenifer Jordie to run their English classes for local adults. Their incredible dedication and commitment in spite of food poisoning and illness endeared them to the locals who welcomed them warmly into their hearts and homes.

Then there was the trail guiding trio of Mew Im, Azzyati and Leong who survived a shattered windshield in the middle of plantation land on their way to Mersing and countless other stumbling blocks to successfully run a programme the locals enjoyed and learnt from.

The snorkeling crew of Hon Yuen, Siew Lyn, Saliyaty and Shahrul, with the help of Yeen and Saras put up an extremely professional workshop. Their team had their act together right from the start and were immensely reliable and organised. During the Pesta itself, we relied on the workshop’s top two guides, the very capable Don and Rosli.

skumar_tif06_snorkwkshopMany thanks also to the group who ran the first programme with the Kelab Pencinta Alam (KPA) this year; Yap, the speaker who had actually never dealt with children before, Bobby, Hui Min, Allison, Yeen and Saras.

Then there are those who never saw the limelight but worked quietly on the side. Yeen, Jarina and Saras liaised with the Tioman Development Authority and the Marine Parks Section and Anuar and Zawalan who jumped in at incredibly short notice to travel to Tioman and lend their weight to our publicity efforts. At MNS HQ, Andrew, Adele, Chitra and VJ were on hand to help every time we needed anything.

Maple Loo of Japa Mala Resort single-handedly helped us to make Impian Tioman a dream come true. She invited, transported, housed and fed the celebrities at her own cost and managed the judging of Impian Tioman on the night itself.

srahman_tif06_kpaThe Pesta itself would never have been as successful without the hard work of the children of SRK Tekek’s KPA and the unbridled support of their teachers, Cikgu Khairul and Cikgu Zamri and their guru besar, Tuan Hj Kamaluddin who gamely pitched in, picking up rubbish with the kids and ensuring that they were all fed and comfortable during the Pesta itself.

But the Pesta could not have happened without the 25 volunteers (who unfortunately cannot all be mentioned by name) who worked non-stop. From Julian, Paul and Kwang who tirelessly gave the kids an introduction to scuba diving, to Patricia our veteran volunteer who refused everyone’s attempts to help her, but instead insisted on hauling heavy tents and canopies with everyone else. Special mention has to go to our three Penang girls, Kit Yee, Siew Foong and Poh Thing who drove so far to work so hard and kudos also to the many new MNS volunteers who jumped into the fray feet first.

Then there was Mee Hong and Yeen who were not 100% well but still braved the sun and the crowd to do everything they could, and Doc, Gary and Zawalan who had to double up as bouncers as they ushered the celebrities to ‘safety’ from their excited fans. Last but not least, we must mention our youngest volunteer, 9-year-old Rohan who helped to facilitate the games and build great rapport with the children of Tioman.

And a very big thank you to Mr Ronald Teo who dropped by at the Pesta with lots of boxes of pizza and the many other MNS members who came by, said hello, donated money and sent e-mails of support. We are truly grateful for your kind words and presence!

Every single volunteer was vital to this event. You’ve all made a huge difference. THANK YOU!!