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Launch of Kampus Astro

Those who subscribe to Astro know that they have an option of subscribing to a valuable education package which includes the Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, TVIQ, and Discovery Science channels. I, for one, am now glued to the screen whenever the "Long Way Down" airs on Monday nights. I love the rough and tough big bike adventure escapades of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they travel from Scotland to Capetown. You feel like you're really there with them and there are no airs about the whole crew.
Besides the Education package, hubby and I relax in front of the TV at the end of the day (or night most of the time) and try to catch the latest movies (meaning something that was in the cinema perhaps half a year ago) and watch a variety of channels in the Variety package. I have to admit, Astro is much a part of our everyday lives despite its inefficient billing system which starts in the middle of the month and confuses their staff when we insist they shouldn't be disconnecting our services as we already paid in full. What annoys us most is that we find a reconnection fee in the next month's bill. This happens about 4-5 times a year. Sigh..

Talking about Astro, they recently launched Kampus Astro, an initiative to provide 10,000 primary and secondary schools with world class educational and informative content and experience to enrich the lives of these children. How? This 3-year programme will commence in schools in Sabah and Sarawak in early 2009 followed by the rest of the schools in the country by the provision of a Personal Video recorder, a TV set and access to its international and local learning content at these schools.

Dato' Shaziman Abu Mansor, Minister of Energy, Water and Communications officiated the launch of Kampus Astro on Nov 18 at Hilton Sentral. Also present at the launch were Datuk Halim Shafie, Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Datuk Haji Badri Haji Masri, Chairman of Astro All Asia Networks, Ralph Marshall, Executive Deputy Chairman of Astro All Asia Networks and Rohana Rozhan, CEO of Astro.

I was lucky enough to have had an opportunity to play photographer at the launch thanks to my friend, Khai. The launch started with the spotlight being on the emcee and a little girl on stage. The little girl playing the role of an intelligent girl who watches the Education channels all the time, posed various questions to the emcee who unfortunately doesn't watch the Education channels and knew none of the answers. After the cute acting, children in colourful outfits came onstage and took their places with their heads bowed. As the music started and they started singing, Manbai joined in much to the pleasure of the audience.

Speeches were then made by YB Dato' Shaziman Abu Mansor and YBhg Dato' Haji Basri followed by the officiating of the launch. The guests were then lead to the adjoining ballroom where various educational stalls were set up. Guests had fun experimenting with the science gadgets on hand. I tried to assemble a hand-held light powered by a kinetic battery and succeeded with much trembling of the fingers as I competed with the guy standing next to me.

There was also a booth in which you had to catch as many flying paper crabs as you could to walk away with the Discovery channel prizes. Khai was too shy to give it a shot so we proceeded to the buffet line where we were served oysters, roasted chicken and duck, fried rice, and stewed beef among things.

All in all, Kampus Astro sounds like a very good programme especially when it enables children in remote areas to experiences things they might not have the chance to experience on their own. It makes me think how lucky the new generation is especially when I think back to the days of growing up on Sesame Street, encyclopedias and boring text books. Now they get to see and hear new experiences thanks to the Internet and TV programmes at their fingertips.


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