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ChildAid 2017 raises over S$2m for beneficiaries

Organised by BT and ST, the buoyant musical tells a story about young ones going in search of their dreams

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Some ChildAid performers with the guest of honour, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and his wife; creative director Dick Lee; ST editor Warren Fernandez; and BT editor Wong Wei Kong.

Singapore

ANNUAL children's charity event ChildAid raised more than S$2.1million for socially-disadvantaged children on Friday night. Now in its 13th year, the event, which previously featured a concert, changed its format to a narrative musical for children, replete with magical beings and a whirlwind tour of foreign lands.

Organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times, the event at Resorts World Theatre was graced by Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development. He was hosted by Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times, and Wong Wei Kong, editor of The Business Times.

Also in attendance were representatives from corporate sponsors Citi, HSBC and UOB and Suntory. Main sponsors Citi, HSBC and UOB each gave S$500,000 and above; Platinum sponsor Suntory Beverage and Food Asia donated S$100,000.

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Resorts World Sentosa was the official venue partner.

ChildAid is one of the longest-running charity events in Singapore.

Newly helmed by creative director Dick Lee, this year's edition told the story of four children who woke up one morning to find their dreams missing. Aided by an imp, they travel all over Asia in search of their dreams. And along the way, they sample the cultural and musical traditions of each country.

Lee said he hoped the musical would "ignite the flame among the kids to head out and achieve their dreams. 'Get out of bed, get out of your house, chase your dreams all around the world and not just in your head.' No dreams are too small, no dreams are too big, it's only how much you are willing to achieve them."

Many of the songs, such as Mustapha and Fried Rice Paradise, are catchy classic pop tunes taken from his most famous albums, including The Mad Chinaman and Asia Major.

The 192 child performers aged five to 18, were drawn from from various parts of Asia and delivered their numbers with gusto. Singapore-born, Melbourne-based singing sensation Natalie Ong, 16, made a guest appearance for the show's finale. She was one of the finalists on The X Factor Australia last year.

The exuberant production drew a rousing ovation from the 1,325-strong audience at curtain call.

Over the years, ChildAid has raised more than S$16 million for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The former provides arts training for financially disadvantaged children, and the latter helps such children pay for transport to school and meals during recess.

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