07 September 2013

Singapore, 7 September 2013 — The worlds of professional wrestling and Singaporean childhood literacy found a common page this morning when 31 children from the StarHub-Central Singapore Nurture Programme were treated to an exclusive session with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) legend and literacy ambassador Booker T. Booker T was in Singapore to promote WWE, which airs on SuperSports (StarHub TV Channel 202).

Booker T, a World Heavyweight Champion who was recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on 6 April 2013, entered the SMU classroom to the excited cheers from the children, immediately filling the room with the same presence that made him a formidable opponent in the wrestling ring.

Booker T showed his gentler side when he shared some of his life experiences: being orphaned at 14, growing up as a gangster and struggling to improve his and his son’s lives as a single father. He then read excerpts from Jacqueline Wilson’s book “Buried Alive” on bullying and friendship, before engaging the children on the importance of reading.

Despite its fame for wrestling, WWE is actually a strong advocate of childhood literacy through their WrestleMania Reading Challenge and SummerSlam Reading Jam efforts.

The StarHub-Central Singapore Nurture Programme—an initiative by Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC)—provides children aged seven to 12 from low income families with opportunities to improve their English language skills and increase their self-confidence. Volunteers carry out interactive activities like story-telling, reading, and music and drama, to help the children build up their linguistic proficiency and confidence. To date, over 650 children have benefited from the Nurture Programme, of which StarHub is the title sponsor.

“Reading and education are such important building blocks in life,” shared Booker T, who was born in the same year that Singapore gained independence. “Without a good academic base or the natural curiosity inspired by reading, it can be easy to turn to violence to try and get what you want in life, or to give up and just let others take advantage of you.”

Booker T encouraged the StarHub-Central Singapore Nurture children to continue reading regularly and embrace their education.

"StarHub believes in the importance of education to help empower the less privileged, as evidenced by our title sponsorship of the StarHub Central Singapore Nurture Programme,” said Ms Jeannie Ong, Chief Marketing Officer, StarHub. “Given WWE’s literacy advocacy, we saw an exciting opportunity for an outstanding role model such as Booker T to address this issue with the children.

"It is our hope that through his sharing of “Buried Alive”, a book on bullying and friendship, the children’s love for literature will burn brighter than before and they will now have a better understanding on how to deal with any instances of bullying they may encounter in their lives.”

In the afternoon, Booker T, whose real name is Booker Tio Huffman, Jr., greeted roaring WWE fans at Bugis+. 60 lucky StarHub Sports Group subscribers managed to get up close and personal with Booker T for a photo and autographed poster while three trivia-savvy fans walked away with WWE chairs. One deliriously happy WWE fan snagged the prize of a WWE replica belt for having the best Booker T entrance and catchphrase impersonation.

 “I’ve always been a fan of Booker T,” enthused Rachel Jiang, 14. “He is an invincible fighter and has brought a lot of happiness to many people. Fans over here (at Bugis+) from level one to level five are just here to meet this WWE legend. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Thank you StarHub, for this chance to meet Booker T!”

Catch WWE action on StarHub’s SuperSports (StarHub TV Channel 202).

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