Today was Berjaya Founder’s Day! The day started at 7am for Connie and me where we left my house with a whole carload of merchandise and free books and headed downtown to Berjaya Times Square. Chun Eng was there already at our booth. All beneficiaries were invited to attend the opening ceremony which started like clockwork at 9.15am sharp.
Seated next to me was Venerable Saranankara, Chief Monk of Sentul Temple and spiritual advisor of the Maha Karuna Foundation. The Maha Karuna Foundation is also a beneficiary in today’s function. Coincidentally, Ven Saranankara was the person I first consulted for blessings to start AnimalCare. I am truly very thankful to him and particularly honoured that we would meet up today. He was the one who told me to start a fund to help the animals when all I actually wanted to do was just to go round giving talks about CNRM. I remember just 3 1/2 years ago, I was sitting in the Venerable’s office and saying, “But Bhante, I don’t know how to raise money…” and he said to me, “If you do something with good intentions, people will support you.” And that was the only piece of advice I had to start AnimalCare.
Tan Sri Vincent Tan soon arrived and was greeted with cheers of jubilation from the audience.
This year, the organisers had invited a very special superstar guest…
Here he is….(can you recognise him?).
It’s Andy Lau!!
The ceremony started with a presentation and rendition of “The Circle of Life”.
It was mesmerizing, to say the least. I was enthralled.
This year, Berjaya Founder’s Day is paying tribute to animal welfare as well, hence, this song kicks off the ceremony for the day, where the performers were all dressed in animal costumes.
Berjaya Group Corporate Communications senior general manager Judy Tan said yesterday this year’s theme is meant to “reach out to all those who are less fortunate and neglected within our communities”.
Tan also said this year, more emphasis has been given to animal causes because animal welfare lacks public awareness in Malaysia.
“Animal and conservation-related non-governmental organisations are in need of funds but sadly their causes often do not get the limelight,” she said.
According to Tan, it is rare for big companies and corporations to pay attention to animal causes.
“By dedicating ourselves to this initiative, we hope to set an example for other companies to follow. Hopefully through this, every worthy cause will get the support it deserves,” she said.
An absolutely impressive performance, I must say.
The various NGOs were invited in batches according to categories to take a group photograph with Tan Sri Vincent and Dato Robin Tan.
Soon, it was our turn…we were the last group to go up. But this year, animal welfare is featured very prominently in the event.
We, the animal people!
The emcee quoted Gandhi and spoke a bit about animal welfare before inviting us on stage. For me, this is perhaps the first time animal welfare is given a spotlight in an event of this magnitude. Thank you, Berjaya. We are deeply touched and humbly honoured.
It was in alphabetical order…and there were eight of us altogether.
Here we are… MNS, Turtle Conservation Society, SPCA Selangor, Dato Robin, Tan Sri Vincent, Seatru, PAWS, MDDB, FFF, AnimalCare.
The eight of us formed the smallest group of organisations. The human organisations in their various categories were all far bigger than us.
But small is beautiful, isn’t it?
On behalf of all the animals who will benefit from Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Berjaya Cares Foundation’s generosity, we thank you very, very much!
Mercy Malaysia received the Better Malaysia Foundation Person of the Year Award.
Andy Lau on stage to say a few words.
He had the crowd in stitches, but jokes aside, Andy Lau is also a philanthropist in his own right, running his Andy Lau Charity Foundation in his homeland.
A local performing arts group, Asia Musical Productions, famed for its recent highly acclaimed musical, Princess Wen Cheng, is supported by Berjaya.
Then, came my favourite performance of the day…
It was a video recording of the many subsidiaries of Berjaya Group’s employees singing a medley of popular songs, with lyrics re-written specially to celebrate Tan Sri’s birthday and his generosity. The employees performed in their uniforms and in their respective workplaces and the lyrics were so apt too. Seeing the smiling and happy faces of the employees of the many, many businesses run by Berjaya Group, one cannot help but be instantly appreciative of the number of jobs created by this conglomerate, the number of lives enriched and supported because of what it does.
So touching, to see Berjaya employees singing, dancing and performing to honour their founder.
I was absolutely spellbound by the music, the lyrics, the choreography and most of all, by the spirit of the presentation.
The birthday song, led by Andy Lau. On stage were the very important guests which included DYMM the Sultan of Selangor, the Sultan of Johor’s consort, the Sultanah of Pahang and Tan Sri’s mother.
Tan Sri Vincent Tan finally spoke.
What captivated me most in Tan Sri’s speech was when he said his various businesses had been supported by the public so it was only right that he gives something back to the public, especially to the less fortunate. This is truly philanthropy in action. This year, 74 charities received donations from Berjaya Cares and a total of about RM20.2 million was given out.
And it ended with the another spectacular rendition of The Circle of Life by the very talented staff of Berjaya Group.
By the time the event ended, it was already past 1.00pm, and I quickly went back to our booth…
Connie and Chun Eng had been manning the booth earlier, but the crowd had not come in yet as everyone was at the opening ceremony.
The crowd soon came in…
Thinly at first…
In the photo above is Sumitra Siew, dedicated cat-rescuer, who brought her aunt, also a cat-feeder. Agnes Cheong also came to lend her support at the ceremony. Thank you, friends!
It’s always nice to see young children interested.
See our new bunting? It’s all about One-Street CNRM, featuring Rosie and her family!
We thank Angel Inc for sponsoring this brand new bunting.
There was a cat-owner who noticed the V-notch on Rosie’s ear and she came specially to ask why it was done. I explained and she was relieved to know there was no pain involved in ear-notching. That was her main concern and worry. She owns many Persian cats but none are neutered. She was afraid that the operation would cause pain and she didn’t know anything about the period of recovery, etc. I hope our explanation convinced her that neutering has far greater benefits than not doing it, for her cats as well as the community.
Starting ‘em young!
E-books and ipads are fast catching up, but hardcopy books still have a role to play and will most probably always have.
Indy’s books were the first to finish! There is always something mysterious (magical?) about Indy and his things…LOL!
Education – one of the most important components to promote better treatment and care of animals, especially street animals. That is why education will always be on our mission statement, ie. Medical, Food, Education. Medical and Food for the animals; Education for the humans (to be kinder to the animals).
The crowd soon came in droves.
They were mostly Berjaya staff.
This is a whole new crowd, one that we had not reached out to before. So it was really good that we are reaching out further and spreading the awareness.
There was the reaching out, spreading the awareness and letting visitors know what services we offer, and there was the sales of our merchandise. And soon, it turned into the busiest and craziest (AND most successful) sale we’ve EVER had!
The keychains were completely wiped out! Followed by all the free books, the soap, even the toothpaste…then came the tshirts! It went like hotcakes, hotter than ever. Soon, we ran out of many sizes and designs and in hardly 3 hours…
…we had completely sold out!
Even the whole display set was sold!
And we had to turn away many, many visitors because we didn’t have anymore stock! So sorry! (I should have brought my whole cupboard of tshirts – judging from today’s crowd, we could have sold out everything!)
This is the first time we experienced a complete sellout!
We thank the Berjaya staff and all visitors for their tremendous support.
Closed shop at 4.30pm, but we stayed on until 5.30pm.
We came with two trolleys of merchandise and went back with empty carton boxes!
This is by far the happiest and biggest sale EVER!
Thank you once again, Berjaya Cares Foundation, for a most wonderful event.
And thank you, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Berjaya Cares and Better Malaysia, for the RM50,000 donation and support for our ongoing work in helping the many street animals and their rescuers.
It was truly a spectacular and glorious event.