Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Happy 12th Birthday from Astro Kem Badminton

 Going into their into their 3rd year, Astro Kasih, a Corporate Social Responsibility “CSR” outreach programme from Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd has again invited Malaysian’s boys and girls of ages 10 to 12 to participate in the Kem Badminton Astro. The ultimate prize for the 30 selected participants is an all expense paid trip for a 2-weeks intensive advance training in Tokyo, Japan with the Nippon Badminton Association “NBA”  Juniors. Again Wong Choong Han and his team of ex-BAM players now turned coaches ie. Lee Wan Wah, Chew Choon Eng and Chan Chong Ming were tasked to provide the filtering and selection process.

Sounds like a promotional contest which we see every day in the papers whereby winners will win free holiday trips overseas right? Well, this is serious business by Astro’s CSR undertaken by the volunteers of Astro employees. There was even one qualified state players sacrificed her National Junior GP tournament for this try out. As I understand, more than 1,600 boys and girls from the all over Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak participated in these tryouts held in different states which is a massive undertaking by the Astro employees every year.

Last year, both brothers participated in the tryouts but they only made it to the second round. This year, only Aaron is eligible to participate. I registered him early to book a slot for the tryout on 22nd August held in Kompleks MSN, KL. Not only did he get a call for the second round trials, he was also among 8 boys hand-picked to participate in a 2 day joint-training session with the visiting NBA Juniors.
Joint Training with Nippon Badminton Association Juniors
Subsequently, the field was narrowed down to the last 60 participants. They  were called for a 5-day intensive training camp for the final round selection . Here the group were trimmed down to the final 30 boys and girls. We were hopeful because some top GP names were missing from tryout list and therefore theoretically, Aaron had a clear chance to be among the final 18 boys.

2 weeks passed and we began to hear from other parents some Penang players had already gotten calls from Astro.  We became anxious as were many parents and coaches at this late stage. I was already scouting for local tournaments in case Aaron was not called.
I remembered it was on Friday, 2nd Oct evening while I was in Bahau office rushing to finished up my work before a late night drive back to Puchong, I was interrupted by a phone call. The voice at the other end identified as Astro speaking to me in Mandarin. She asked if I was Aaron’s father. I knew this would be good news but there was more to come. Astro wanted to surprise Aaron by presenting him with the envelope as his birthday present which was on 7th Oct, only 5 days away. I diverted the caller to my wife to make this clandestine arrangements. 

Interview with Kak Dayang
The date was set on Monday evening 5th Oct to hold Aaron’s birthday in his paternal grand parent’s home only this time, the Astro crew with Dayang Zainatull Aqma, Astro Arena hostess was also with us to spring a surprise birthday gift to Aaron. When he arrived, he unsuspectingly opened the back room door to a full view of Astro crew and we can see it in his face that he was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected event. The rest of the episode has been captured in this video clip edited by Astro which was also aired in Astro Arena Kem Badminton channel 801.    

It was certainly the best birthday gift Aaron has ever received and a wonderful gesture from Astro to reach out to the young hopefuls that sometimes, dreams do come true. Although we will not be accompanying little Aaron to Japan, we hope he will enjoy his birthday present and most of all, gain valuable experience from it all. Congratulations Aaron, you’ve earned it! 

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