Written by: Winnie Wong and Bryson
Edited by: Fajar
On Sunday 7th October 2018, Sunway Education Group along with the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation held the event ‘Join Hands and Make the Pledge’ in honor of the 3rd anniversary since the launch of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on September 25th 2015. United National Sustainable Development Goals is a plan to overcome global challenges and achieve certain targets in all countries, including protecting the environment, elimination of poverty inequality, sustainable economic growth and enhanced peace. The event started at 8am at Sunway University’s football pitch on a breezy, sunny morning, with the audience full of enthusiasm.
The band F.A.M.E. kicked off the event with a few songs and invited the crowd to sing along if they knew the lyrics. At that moment, volunteers and guests were attracted to the stage upfront. This started a movement from the crowd whereby everyone flocked to the front to take beautiful photos of the band and record the event. Sunway Student Volunteers took this opportunity to hand out posters and badges of the 17 goals as well as refreshments to guests and students while they enjoyed the live music.
Along the side of the field were booths and tents that provided entertainment, food, beverages, freebies and lastly huge background posters advertising the 17 goals to take selfies.
There were VIP tents close to the stage filled with famous celebrities and honoured speakers to ‘Join Hands and Make The Pledge’. Among the VIP’s were Tan Sri Dato’ Jeffrey Cheah, Dr Elizabeth Lee who is the senior executive director of Sunway Education, Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander, His Royal Highness Tengku Amir Shah lbni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, Crown Prince of Selangor, and many other notable and high ranking figures. There were many fans and reporters who started crowding around the tent to take photos and selfies. The auxiliary police and security were dispatched near the area to ensure that the VIP’s were safe and protected from the large crowd.
To really kick off the event, Sunway University’s very own cheerleading squad brightened up the day with some amazing acrobatics and a performance to truly stun and impress viewers.
The emcee Paul greeted to the audience and invited each speaker to the stage with a short statement about the goal of their pledge and why they support the goals. Tengku Amir Shah lbni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj came onstage first to pledge on Goal 1 which focuses on end to poverty. Tengku Amir declared “Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision- making.” according to The Sun Daily.
After each VIP shared their passionate understandings towards the goal they’d each pledged to, they signed their goals for the display that now resides in the college foyer.
Following that, an organisation called INLA (The International Nature Loving association) presented a few traditional dance performances with soothing music. Their dance performances opened a message to the audience that ‘love is nature’ and life is part of dignity in human society.
Shortly after that, the host of the event asked the flag-holders to carry the huge flags that represented each one of the 17 sustainable development goals onto stage. The VIP’s were invited back on stage, photographers and videographers were ready to capture the moments and to record the countdown of the goals from 17 to 1.
All 8165 people across Sunway joined their raised hands after the count of one and cheered in unison for the pledge they’d just made. The number 8165 was representative of the 8165 nautical miles between Sunway and New York, the birthplace of the goals. Drones captured the spectacle from above as the main purpose and pinnacle of the event took place.
Afterwards, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Jeffrey Cheah strolled casually on to the stage, sporting jeans and a pair of shades as he good naturedly expressed his gratitude to everyone who gave up their Sunday mornings to join him and Sunway in support of the goals.
Once his speech was over and the VIP’s had departed, the entertainers got to work giving us showstoppers despite the clammy midday heat. A beautiful opera performance, a magic show and finally a mini concert thrown by the Malaysian Army.
The magic show was absolutely magical, featuring Mahdi Moudini, a seven-time Merlin illusionist. He drew gasps and screams from the audience as he made real birds, flames and his lovely assistant appear from seemingly nowhere, somehow swapped drinks with his assistant from opposite ends of the stage and put on his jacket while bound from head to toe.
A hip-hop dance showcase opened with young and professional dancers, ranging from 8 to 12 years old. They danced to upbeat hip-hop songs, ranging from ‘Swalla’ sung by Drake and Nicki Minaj to ‘In my Feelings’ by Drake. The baby-faced dancers swung their whole bodies into action and into our hearts with their pure talent.
Finally, as the last hour of the event approached, the Royal Malaysia Army Band was invited on the stage to rock out with us. They started off with Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk as the crowd excitedly bounced around screaming “hot damn!” right on cue. The rest of their setlist included crowds pleasers like “Cheap Thrills” by Sia and “Fireworks” by Katy Perry. They even covered “Negaraku”- not the national anthem but the patriotic song from Faizal Tahir. The music was loud and clear with the bass managing to send vibrations up everyone’s spines.
Despite feeling tired, students stuck around to watch and enjoy the music coming from the passionate band. As the day came to an end, locals and foreign students were invited to join them on stage and sing as well as dance along
It was an amazing day to celebrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and being a big part of the worldwide community to help others and create a better sustainable future. Every pledge had a significant impact as it showed that there are people who are committed to help solve these issues. Everyone can help make the future better, it only takes one small action to create a big change & spread the awareness.