ST Communities celebrates 1st-year anniversary and Asian award win with readers

ST Communities party, readers, 2013
(From left) ST Communities' editor Ernest Luis, journalists Sharon Lee, Gurveen Kaur and Shea Driscoll, website designer Michelle Chen, webmaster Surendran Rajendra, personality partner Justin Bratton, Communities' partnership coordinator Sara Ann K, volunteer videographer Hamid Osman and personality partner and singer-songwriter Jonathan Leong at the site's first anniversary party in 2013. PHOTO: SHARON LEE
ST Entertainment Community homepage
A screengrab of The Straits Times' Entertainment Community.FILE PHOTO

More than 100 contributors, contest winners, partners and journalists celebrated The Straits Times Communities' one-year anniversary at a party on Wednesday.

Singer (ex-Singapore Idol contestant in 2006) Jonathan Leong, Yue Jie - who contributes movie reviews to the website - and video movie reviewers Felicity and Alice Bertram were part of the eclectic bunch who made their way to the Third & Sixth Bistrobar in Seah Street for the informal bash, which was co-hosted by Personality Partner Justin Bratton (who did a stand-up comic act too) and ST Communities' partnership coordinator Sara-Ann K.

Leong also capped off a night of performances that saw singer-songwriter Sarah Cheng-De Winne, YouTube musician Sam Driscoll and an impromptu performance by Jean Sherilyn Ho and guitarist Jourdan, who had just met each other at the party.

The surprise crowd favourites though, were the Goreng Kings, a ragtag trio featuring ST Communities editor Ernest Luis on ukulele, Tan Beng Hoe on guitar, and their star 90-year-old ukulele master Reggie Lawther.

Adding to the joyous atmosphere was the news that ST Communities won gold in the Best in Social Media category at the 2013 Asian Digital Media Awards in Kuala Lumpur, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).

Mr Luis said: "The party was unscripted. Free food, free-flow drinks, freely mixing around, and readers even collaborating to sing with each other on stage after meeting for the first time.

"What warmed our hearts was when readers heard the news of our award win, and they whooped, realising they had played a part in the win. That was a nice moment, to see all the smiling faces."

There were plenty of winners at the party too, thanks to lucky draw prizes from sponsors like Melissa Shoes, Legoland Malaysia and Bibigo Korean Restaurant.

Besides honouring the readers, ST Online's Gurveen Kaur and Shea Driscoll and ST Life!'s Boon Chan and Yip Wai Yee, along with some key bloggers, were presented with X-mini speakers for their part in helping the website breach the one-million-a-month hit mark in a mere six months.

Life! & SundayLife! Editor Helen Chia said: "The party was our way to show our appreciation to our readers and contributors. Without them, ST Communities would not be where it is today. Winning the award is just the icing on the cake."