PETALING JAYA: The excitement in the air was palpable – from the incessant chatter and squeals of laughter to the broad grins plastered on the faces of some 55 orphans that online news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) hosted for a day out at the movies and lunch on Nov 24.
The kids were from Assunta Children Society and Pusat Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Taman Megah.
On hand to present cheques of RM7,000 each to the orphanages, a donation from FMT, was Klang MP Charles Santiago, who also spent time mingling with the kids before the movie started.
Santiago praised FMT for their CSR effort, and said other news portals should do the same.
He also said such efforts should not be a one-off affair but made a part of an organisation’s business plan so it could be executed throughout the year.
“The purpose should not be a photo op but about bringing change to people that we are reaching out to in a meaningful way.”
Although catching a movie and lunching is normal for ordinary folk, a day out at a shopping mall was indeed meaningful in more ways than one for these orphans.
Even waiting for the movie to start – Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” – was an adventure in itself as they spent the time snapping pictures with their friends, chatting with staff of FMT and standing in awe next to the dashing Captain America figurine at the waiting area of the MBO cineplex at Starling Mall.
For some of them, this special Saturday morning outing was historic as it marked the first time they had ever watched a movie on the silver screen.
14-year-old R Vikeneswaran, however, was a little luckier – the last movie he watched, “Pixels” starring Adam Sandler, was three years ago.
All smiles, Vikeneswaran said watching “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and sitting down later to a hearty meal also sponsored by FMT, was a great way to start the school holidays.
“I really enjoyed it, the day was really fun and I got to be around all my friends. The lunch after was great too,” he said, referring to the chicken chops and fish and chips meals at Dave’s Deli.
Vikeneswaran also said he looked forward to more movies in the future, a rather heavy hint that was endearing all the same.
Assunta Children Society director Sister Maria Chen said the children were very excited when they heard about the outing and woke up bright and early on Saturday, eager to start the day.
“The day went really well for them, the children really enjoyed the movie and the lunch, and it was a great outing overall.”
“Watching the children having the time of their lives at the movie was indeed priceless,” said FMT CEO Rajendran Menon.
“As we were all kids once, we felt that the best way to kick-start our first corporate social responsibility (CSR) project was to bring cheer to kids, the less fortunate and forgotten ones. And we’re glad we did.
“We plan to undertake many more CSR projects in the years ahead,” he said, thanking FMT staff for their hard work in planning the event.