Penang International Kids Storytelling Festival


In the year 2005, a project to cultivate reading habits among young children started with the message “Nurturing the Love for Reading”. The Preschool Education Committee, which comes under the purview of Penang Education Council (then known as Penang Educational Consultative Committee) organised “Reading Day” at the Children’s Library in Scotland Road, Penang. The idea was to bring the pleasure of reading and also storytelling to children whose parents do not have the time to spare, inclination or knowledge to tell stories to their children and particularly to the underprivileged children from the rural kindergartens and the orphanages.

The hope of the Committee was to motivate preschools to cultivate the reading habit among children and to inspire parents to nurture the love of reading from young as reading enriches their mind and knowledge. The programme is a fun and stress-free event for children as they learn best through ‘play’.

The programme was organised consecutively since 2005 by the Preschool Education Committee at the Children’s library, Jalan Scotland and had attracted about 700 children to take part in the various activities such as storytelling by children, parents and teachers, sketches/plays, recitation of rhymes and songs, colouring contest, jigsaw puzzle contest and also book donation.

In the year 2009, Penang Education Council decided to review the projects implemented under its various committees including Preschool Education Committee. Taking into consideration the importance of the reading habit among children and the positive impact or magic of stories on the emotional and intellectual development process of a child, the Preschool Education Committee proposed to organise the Penang International Kids Storytelling Festival (in short known as PINKS Fest) that took place for the first time in 2010 at the Municipal Park. The idea was to bring in professional storytellers be it local, regional or international to animate and mesmerise children as well as adults with stories.

The very first PINKS Fest was organised in collaboration with Penang Island Municipal Council, Penang Public Library Corporation, Penang Preschool Association, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Pulau Pinang. The Penang State Government through Penang Education Council and Visit Penang provided the seed fund to start off the initial preparation while funding was sourced from various organisation/institutions. Due to overwhelming response and the educational importance of the festival, Penang Education Council chairperson YB Dr P. Ramasamy proposed that the Committee make the festival into an annual event. The Second PINKS Fest took place in 2011 at Straits Quay, Tanjung Tokong, meanwhile the third PINKS Fest took place in 2012 at Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Negeri Pulau Pinang, Seberang Jaya, and the fourth fest took place at Seameo-Recsam, Gelugor. The fifth Fest was held at SM Han Chiang and the sixth fest took place at Sentral College Penang. This year, the seventh fest will be held at GEMS International School of Pearl City, Bukit Mertajam.

The Professional Storytellers…

To date, the following renowned storytellers have taken part in the festival: Mamasham, Ng Kok Keong, Mamatok, Mark De Silva and Kimmy Kiew, Kumpulan Wayang Kulit Seri Asun and Yusof Gajah from Malaysia, Dr Margaret Read Macdonald (USA), Yoko Kami (Japan), Dr Wajuppa Tossa (Thailand), Sheila Wee (Singapore), Jeeva Raghunath (India), Roger Jenkins (UK), Cassandra Wye (UK), Jasmine Wirawan, Mochamad Ariyo (Indonesia), Emma Talbot (Canada), Kiran Shah (Australia), Jen and Nat Whitman (USA), Clarisse Le Tourneau (France), Chalee Rengma and Sukkasem Charong (Thailand), Mark Thompson (UK), Emi Yamazaki (Japan), Judith Anne Shaik (Australia/Malaysia), Dina Tuasuun (Indonesia), Danissa Awang, Abdullah Chek-Useng and Ahmad Ismail Waesohoh (Thailand), Suraya Ariffin (Malaysia), Dr Shamsul Rahman Kutty aka Dr Shark (Malaysia), Chen Ming Hsiang aka Uncle Fat (Taiwan), Hikari Izumi (Japan), Emma Stockle (UK), Rilla Melati Bahari (Singapore) and Agus Rakhman (Indonesia), Ratee Yasaree (Thailand), Hong Jie Jie (Malaysia) and Norila Munamae (Thailand), Tan Leong Kim (Malaysia), Abby L. Kahei (Singapore), Gemia Foo (Singapore), Dr Murti Bunanta (Indonesia), Beatriz Montero (Spain), Matthew Friday (China/UK), Alicia Dongjoo Bang (Korea), Robyn Stewart (USA), Punniavan (Malaysia), Visvarnathan (Malaysia), Dr Saravanan Velu (India), Andrew Wright (New Zealand), Ooi Kee How (Malaysia), Mandy Chuang (Taiwan), Dr A.S Hardy Shafii (Malaysia) and Michael Lee (Malaysia).


The idea of the storytelling is to animate the human spirit, enhance the imagination, strengthen education, preserve and renew the world’s fading cultures, inspire leadership and build peace. Storytelling is used as a tool to enrich people’s lives, workplaces and communities. The uniqueness of the festival is that children have the opportunity to listen to various stories and its historical and cultural settings. They are also introduced to a new language used in the narration of the story such as Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Tamil, French, English and others.

The objectives of PINKS Fest are:

  1. To promote literacy, creativity and intellectual development
  2. To promote better understanding among people of different cultures through sharing of their stories
  3. To provide an opportunity for families to participate in a wholesome educational and fun activity
  4. To raise the standard of storytelling in Malaysia


The festival is open to all people from all walks of life, especially children and is FREE (NO FEES CHARGED). The festival is not a competitive event. The fun filled event hopes to entertain children (including adults) through a creative and imaginative storytelling experience and expose parents as well as teachers to the various forms of storytelling techniques and formats.

Penang Education Council in collaboration with Perbadanan Perpustakaan Pulau Pinang and Universiti Sains Malaysia (School of Educational Studies) are the main coordinator of the PINKS Fest. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang’s consort Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Utama Hajah Majimor binti Shariff has been officiating the festival since 2010 and is the Patron of the PINKS since 2013.

The festival comprise of the following segment:

  1. Pre-Festival: A storytelling competition among primary school children will be organized by SK Minden Heights. The theme of the competition is “Enriching Lives with Beautiful Stories”. There will be five language categories namely, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Inggeris, Tamil, Mandarin and Arabic. The Best of the Best Storytellers of each category will be invited to perform their stories during the Festival’s opening ceremony.
  2. Festival: Storytellers (local and international) will take turns performing their stories concurrently at five or six story rooms on first day. (Free of Charge)
  3. Post-Festival: PINKS Storytelling Technique Workshop will be held on second day for Children (7 -12 years old) and Adults (individuals, parents and teachers). ( A workshop fee is imposed).

You may view happenings and details (photographs and information) about the festival at For a video snippet of PINKS Fest 2010 (inaugural):