The Talent Development Fund is an annual scheme to recognize and nurture the non-academic talents in Club Rainbow (Singapore)’s children and youths. The Talent Development Fund is in line with one of the important psychosocial aims of Club Rainbow (Singapore), which is to build the Rainbow beneficiaries self-esteem and confidence.
Since its inception in 2005, Club Rainbow (Singapore) has awarded the grant to more than 30 beneficiaries whose talents range from sport, music, dance, art and other forms of creative hobbies. This year marked the sixth time that Club Rainbow (Singapore) has held a TDF Award Ceremony for the largest group of recipients, inclusive of 11 repeat awardees.
Held at Hotel Fort Canning as part of Club Rainbow’s 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner, the aspiring dancers, musicians, sportsman, digital designer and artist were invited to perform or share their creative works. During the gala dinner, the audience was treated to a video introduction of each of the nineteen recipients showcasing them in their element. This video was a celebration of their talents featuring original designs by Amanda, an original song composed by Hong Huat and a classical rendition of “If We Hold On Together” by Samuel Lim Hong Xiang. The Rainbow children and youths who receive the grant prove to us that despite being medically challenged, they too have passions and dreams which they pursue.
1. Amanda Ler Li Yun, 21 – Aspiring Digital Designer
Amanda has an artistic flair for digital design and dreams of one day becoming a Creative Director for an advertising agency. A proud recipient of the Tay Chay Bing Entry Scholarship at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, she is highly praised by her lecturers as a bright, enthusiastic and responsible student. As testament to her creative talent, she single-handedly conceptualised and designed the Talent Development Fund logo and graphics for the award video screened tonight.
2. New Zi Ning, 10 – Aspiring Artist
Zi Ning’s creations are inspired by people and animals around her and her all-time favourite artistic muse is cats. She enjoys drawing and painting, especially using acrylic on canvas and her home is a charming art gallery space speckled with her colourful artwork. Zi Ning first started weekly art classes at a community centre two years ago and finds it effortless to pick up a paint brush to create something from scratch. It only takes her a mere half an hour to finish a painting when she sets her mind to it!
3. Apple Nur Azrina Bte Abdullah, 10 – Aspiring Flamenco Dancer
Despite her tender age, Apple is a dedicated and gifted dancer who has trained in different styles of dance before developing a keen interest in Flamenco. She enjoys the seriousness and musicality, in addition to the energetic and rhythmic style, of Flamenco. Apple is a natural performer on stage and she recently received tremendous reviews for her Tangos Flamenca performance alongside more experienced dancers at Club Rainbow’s ARTitude Concert 2012 in June.
4. Ashwini Anbualagan, 14 – Aspiring Bollywood Dancer
Ashwini started dance lessons at age six. However, she found her niche only two years ago when she enrolled in Bollywood Dance at Prabhudeva Dance Academy. She is inspired by their Chairman and Director who is hailed as “India’s Michael Jackson”. A second-time recipient of the TDF grant, Ashwini has grown as a dancer with improved stage presence. She is honoured to receive this grant again as it has given her a great sense of motivation.
5. Joanna Yee Zi Mun, 19 – Aspiring Ballerina
Receiving the TDF grant for the third time is an immense validation for the hard work Joanna has put in to pursue classical ballet as a career. Joanna started dancing at the tender age of six and is currently enrolled in a sub-elementary course at the Commonwealth Society for Teachers of Dance. Joanna’s love for ballet is embodied in the elegance of the dance and it is her personal goal to share her passion for ballet with others. She hopes to inspire other Rainbow friends to pursue their passions and never give up on their dreams.
6. S. Hema Viganeshwari, 14 – Aspiring Bharatanatyam Dancer
Hema started learning Classical Indian Dance at age seven when she was inspired by her aunt, a well-known Bharatanatyam dancer. To Hema, dance equals freedom – the freedom to move her body when she puts all her energy into something she loves deeply. A third-time TDF recipient, Hema is now pursuing an eight-year Diploma at the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. An engaging performer who has persevered to master this art form, Hema recently showcased her talent during her Arangetram (the debut on-stage performance of a Bharatanatyam student) where she received exceptional feedback from the panel.
7. Christabelle Ng, 15 – Aspiring Pianist
Christabelle is honoured to be a third-time TDF recipient as it has given her an added confidence boost, motivating her to pursue her passion for piano. Christabelle enjoys playing melodious classical and pop piano tunes whenever she is stressed out. Music never fails to cheer her up. Christabelle dreams of having the opportunity to travel and perform overseas and hopes to become a piano teacher in the future so she can share her love of music with underprivileged children.
8. Edna Tan Hui Shan, 16 – Aspiring K-Pop Singer
Two years ago, Edna developed a keen interest in Korean Pop music after watching music videos on television and has been intrigued ever since. A shy girl by nature, Edna stepped out of her comfort zone to pursue vocal classes at Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts last year and has enjoyed every minute of it. Singing has instilled confidence in Edna and she is determined to further hone her vocal ability and performance skills. Receiving the TDF award for the first time has greatly encouraged her to pursue her interest in the hope of becoming a K-Pop singer one day.
9. James Lau Sijie, 15 – Aspiring Drummer
A second-time TDF recipient, James has been fond of music since young and is captivated by the beat of the drums in every song he listens to. He enjoys drumming as it gives him the flexibility to freestyle and create drumming grooves. The usually soft-spoken James takes on a rock star persona when he is drumming to his favourite Japanese Pop/Rock tunes. Since he started drumming at age twelve, James, a self-motivated and quick learner has improved by leaps and bounds and is now gearing up to sit for a Grade 5 Drumming Exam.
10. Jasmine Loh Poh Mun, 15 – Aspiring Double Bassist
Jasmine first received a TDF award for Piano in 2009. However, she developed a love for the double bass when she joined her school’s String Ensemble. Jasmine loves the low tone of the double bass and feels that it is an extremely interesting instrument to play, despite the challenges of it being such a large instrument. During the holiday season, Jasmine enjoys basking and entertaining crowds with her friends around Orchard Road. She hopes to audition and play in the Singapore Youth Orchestra and wishes to inspire other Rainbow friends to learn to play an instrument.
11. June Ong Xu Hui, 16 – Aspiring Pianist
Inspired by her mum’s love for classical music, June started learning to play the piano when she was in lower Primary. A second-time TDF recipient, June enjoys playing mellow, emotive classical tunes and her favourite composers are Chopin and Beethoven. Playing the piano helps her to relieve stress and wind down after a long day at school. An all-rounder in school, June excels not only in her academic work but also in music and art. She is currently working hard to prepare for her Grade Three piano exam.
12. Keven Chua Ming Jun, 13 – Aspiring Keyboardist
When he is not dancing on stage with fellow Rainbow Boom Boom Kids, the outgoing Keven enjoys playing the keyboard at home. He loves the versatility of the keyboard because he can create music using various instrument sounds such as the guitar, drums and saxophone. The keyboard allows Keven to gain exposure to many different genres of music – pop, rock and dance. He was inspired to pick up the keyboard a year ago after seeing a Rainbow friend and fellow TDF recipient, Hong Huat, perform. Playing the keyboard is also therapeutic and Keven enjoys playing music that suits his mood.
13. Low Ying Han, 16 – Aspiring Guitarist
Ying Han started playing the guitar last year after a friend introduced the instrument to him. He enjoys being in the company of his cell group and plays the guitar during their weekly meetings. Ying Han was also a part of the Rainbow Ukulele group, Uke’Ohana, which performed at the Club Rainbow ARTitude Concert in June this year. He hopes to continue improving his instrumental skills and learn more chords so he can play all his favourite songs.
14. Peh Hong Huat, 16 – Aspiring Keyboardist
Forth-time TDF recipient, Hong Huat first received the grant for his singing talent. However, three years ago, he was encouraged to learn to play the keyboard to accompany his singing and has not looked back since. Hong Huat has already obtained a Diploma in Keyboard from Lee Wei Song School of Music and is now also taking piano classes at Yamaha. He enjoys performing live and entertaining others whenever given the opportunity. Hong Huat loves listening to both English and Mandarin songs and he even recently composed an original song which will be featured tonight.
15. Samuel Lim Ghee Hong, 14 – Aspiring Pianist
Fond of music at a young age, Samuel started learning to play the piano when he was nine, as he was drawn to the classical instrument. Over the years, Samuel has persevered amid adversity to play the piano which requires tremendous fingering work. Playing the piano is a stress reliever for him after a hard day at school, and he finds immense satisfaction in mastering a piece of music. Samuel is grateful to receive the TDF grant for the second time and is currently working hard to prepare for the Grade Five piano practical exam.
16. Samuel Lim Hong Xiang, 13 – Aspiring Pianist
Samuel has a mighty passion for music and has been playing the piano for seven years now. The forth-time recipient has a penchant for sentimental songs and one of his favourite pieces is featured in tonight’s TDF award video. Apart from piano, this budding musician also plays the guzhen in school. Samuel often searches for new music scores online and inspires his two younger siblings to learn new songs on the piano as well. The TDF award is a huge motivation to him and he looks forward to performing a new song every time he is on stage.
17. Er Wen Hao, 17 – Aspiring Swimmer
Wen Hao first learnt swimming at age four when his mum engaged a private coach who helped to build his confidence in water. A natural swimmer in deep water, Wen Hao enjoys every moment in the pool. Since receiving the TDF grant for the first time last year, Wen Hao has made vast improvement in his techniques and average lap time by 30 seconds! His parents’ hope for him is to be fit and toned so that he can one day represent the special needs community and raise awareness for disability swimmers through swimming competitions and eventually the Special Olympics.
18. Jonathan Tan Shao Em, 13 – Aspiring Rugby Player
Jonathan was first introduced to rugby by his uncle and he now plays for the Singapore Cricket Club. In addition to being a good form of exercise, Jonathan enjoys getting the opportunity to play in competitions and travel overseas. He loves the immense camaraderie of playing in a team and the adrenaline that comes when his team scores a goal. Jonathan is a strong supporter of the Irish Rugby team and hopes to play professionally like them one day.
19. Xavier Tan Jun Hui, 11 – Aspiring Swimmer
Swimming has been Xavier’s passion since he first took a plunge into the Speediswim programme at the Singapore Sports School two years ago. He has mastered three different techniques, namely breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke, but his all-time favourite is freestyle. Xavier enjoys swimming because it is fun and hopes that in the future, he can participate in swimming competitions and enroll in water polo training. Cheeky Xavier is glad to receive the TDF award as it has given him an extra boost of confidence!