The Story of the Storytellers

Rushdy stood at the back surveying the audience, feeling a bit restless to take his seat. In part, this was because of the morning coffee he had in his hand, but mostly because he was too excited.

The TPTV alumnus and Year 3 Communications & Media Management Student (CMM) is currently on internship with Channel News Asia, but had been granted the morning off to come to the Jurong Regional Library for the launch of READ! Singapore 2013. READ! Singapore started in 2005 to encourage more Singaporeans to read and share the joy of reading.

Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, arrived and was greeted by the White Rabbit from Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland. The ceremony opened with a skit, talking of the journey we all take to find our own story.

While Rushdy is an avid reader, that wasn’t the reason he was here. Rushdy, his course-mate Alvin Lim and lecturer Hazlina Abdul Halim were all involved in Read! Singapore in a unique way – they were narrators for the audio version of the anthology, Under One Sky, one of the launch titles of Read! Singapore. Rushdy narrated Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie, Alvin recited the poem chope by Joshua Ip and Hazlina narrated a video by renowned local playwright Alfian Sa’at.

Hazlina (right) speaks to Dr Yaacob

Hazlina, herself a TV presenter, was definitely a veteran in this area, but for Rushdy and Alvin this was certainly an opportunity to get involved in the industry. Rushdy recalled the experience fondly. “I’ve always loved to read and I full-heartedly believe that reading is a wonderful way for kids (and even adults!) to develop their sense of imagination.”

During the recording, Rushdy had to take on the mindset of the character he narrated. The story was so touching at times, he said, that there were even some points he teared. “It made the story more personal and relatable! Jamilah Yusop, who was recording the story was very patient with whatever questions I had, and was more than happy to let me redo a take if I felt it wasn’t the best I could do. I’ve done a lot of voice-overs before, but this was by far the most pleasant experience I’ve had.”

This isn’t the only involvement CMM has with the National Library Board. “We’ve partnered with them for a series of projects in this academic year to promote the READ! Singapore Campaign including, producing a talk show discussing NLB’s titles & Public Service Announcements for radio,” says Hazlina. These projects will be part of the CMM Year 2′s curriculum.

Needless to say, being involved in a national project like this has made Rushdy quite happy. “It’s an AMAZING feeling. I’m proud of the work I did and I love the story I was a part of.”

Rushdy reminded me that even as we as seek our own stories in life, we sometimes forget about the storytellers. So – thank you, storytellers, for writing, reciting and narrating all these stories we hold dear to our hearts. You keep our imagination alive, our hearts racing and our sides-splitting from laughter.

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