Categorised | Columns

Youths speak up

YES screenshot
Screenshot of

IF you’re between 15 and 35 years old and have been complaining that nobody ever listens to young people, the Youth Engagement Summit (YES) 2009 is all ears.

It plans to present the Southeast Asia for Change (Seachange) Youth Report at the regional summit, to be held from 17 to 18 Nov 2009 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. In order to compile the report, it’s hoping to get one million youths across the region to answer these three questions through an online survey.

What change do you want in your community and country?

What change do you want to see in your personal life? Describe three things.

What sort of change initiatives or campaigns are you willing to support? What are your ideas?

Those who participate in the survey stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the summit, which promises a line-up of renowned speakers. They include Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and Facebook director of market development Randi Zuckerberg, two names that youths hooked on social media would likely recognise.

Those a tad older — but still young enough — would recognise names like LiveAid founder Sir Bob Geldof, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, World Bank’s former managing director Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Nando Parrado. Parrado survived a plane crash in the Andes and his story was made into the film Alive. Then there’s AirAsia founder Datuk Tony Fernandes, whom everyone — young and old — knows.

These speakers are expected to be motivational icons for the younger generation. They would share ideas and views to help young people face the challenges of the 21st century, said a press statement on 10 Sept to announce the summit, themed “South East Asia Youth for CHANGE.”

Inspired by Obama

If the words “yes” and “change” sound terribly familiar, it’s because they were inspired by US President Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” and “Obama for Change” campaign slogans.

Harmandar Singh (pic courtesy of YES 2009)

YES 2009 organising chairperson, Harmandar Singh, said in his statement that the idea of the summit was inspired by Obama’s “Yes, We Can” outlook. “Everybody needs a hero, and President Obama’s charismatic approach has undeniably influenced a dynamic shift in long-held perceptions, particularly where Southeast Asia’s multi-ethnic youths are concerned,” said Harmandar, who is also chief executive officer of Sledgehammer Communications (M) Sdn Bhd, which publishes the advertising industry magazine Adoi.

“We must give our youths — bonded through their idealism and increasingly dedicated to sharing and eliciting opinions amongst their peers regardless of appearance, location or vocation — the right tools to define a direction for change only fresh eyes can instigate,” he said. 

What say you?

YES 2009 is expected to bring together some 6,000 youths from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Brunei. While the summit is a two-day affair, the survey report is expected to have a more lasting impact. There are some 200 million youths in the region and the organiser hopes to get at least one million to participate in the online poll.

“Participants can now take a proactive role in sharing their needs, motivations, expectations and ideas to the world at large, while guiding political and thought leaders in policy-making decisions plus [inspiring] businesses to engage more effectively with the youth market,” the statement said.

The survey findings will be documented in the SEACHANGE report, which will be presented to leaders in business, government and the media in the region. “This is a big step in helping them engage better with every unique segment of Southeast Asian youth,” says the blog YouthSays, which is managed by YouthAsia, an online youth network. YouthAsia is one of the supporters of YES 2009.

What next after the report is presented to the relevant parties who are trying hard to win young people’s votes and brand loyalty? Those who participated in the survey and summit will be connected on an online Personal Change platform to keep the movement going.

YouthAsia executive director Khailee Ng was among the first few to answer the survey. The participants’ answers and comments can be viewed on the Seachange website.

Khailee (pic courtesy of YES 2009)

Here’s a glimpse of what our youths have to say:

By khailee

The change I want in my community and country:

1. “Positive thinking” to be a compulsory subject since kindergarten!
2. Faster, reliable internet for everyone.
3. Dedicated community work hours for everyone in the workforce.

Change campaigns I would support:

1. Children entrepreneurship/getting kids super involved with community work. Like child labour, but more productive!
2. More action platforms for housewives [and] moms — our country’s untapped natural resource.
3. Costume party national runs! From Penang to (Johor Baru) JB, Malaysians dress up for long walks and laughs! Absurdity helps break conventional thought.

My pledge for personal change:

1. Daily exercise.
2. Destroy certain habits [and] create new ones.
3. Wake up at 5AM every day to wake up to peace and planning!

By [email protected][email protected]

The change I want in my community and country:

1. Say NO to war!
2. NO more [fighting] among the races [and] parties just due to small [matters] or [misunderstandings].
3. Pious leader of community (Muslim), free from social problems, bribery, [has] calibre.
4. NO more illegal drug sales, no alcohol for Muslims.
5. Reinforcement of [hudud] should not be mixed with [personal] opinions.

My pledge for personal change:

1. Better ways of social interaction with society.
2. Improvements in [studies].
3. Mushrooming of money.

Change campaigns I would support:

1. Humanity.
2. [Environment.]
3. Religion.
4. Social matters.

By yangzter

The change I want in my community and country:

I want us to not pretend that there is nothing wrong in Malaysia. I want to end corruption and cronyism in my country. I want to empower the Malay [Malaysian] population. I want equal rights for [all the rakyat], without any concern for age, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, religion, nationality and disability. I want to end poverty in Malaysia. I want a safer Malaysia, where you can walk on a street and not look back with dread when you hear a motorbike. I want to raise my country’s education standards and opportunities. I want an honest and unbiased media. I want less cars and more efficient public transport. I want Malaysia to go green. I want Malaysians to be more aware of not only current local issues but global ones as well. I want to end human trafficking in Malaysia. I want to reduce piracy in Malaysia. I want my fellow Malaysians who have migrated overseas or have intentions of migrating overseas, to give Malaysia a second chance. I want Malaysians to work together, and collaborate with other nationalities. I want to bring the best out of all Malaysians. I want us to want to change Malaysia for the better.

My pledge for personal change:

I want to see myself doing my best every day. I want to see myself [being] more courageous. I want to see myself becoming the best I can become.

Change campaigns I would support:

I have no concrete ideas so far, but I’m willing to support anything that has Manga or Anime involved.

By Medusa

The change I want in my community and country:


My pledge for personal change:

Blog link and screenshoot, songs and pictures.

Change campaigns I would support:


By SBBrian

The change I want in my community and country:

I want quality education to be affordable to the people in Malaysia.

My pledge for personal change:

1. I want to see a greener and healthier community, I want quality air.
2. I want to live in a friendly and safe environment. 0% crime rate.
3. I want to be able to pursue my dream.

Change campaigns I would support:

1. Planting trees to make the world greener.
2. Youth education programme.
3. Student exchange or cultural convention.
4. Career [guidance].
5. Technology introduction [programme]. Favicon

Cindy Tham grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan films.

Post to Twitter Post to Google Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Most Read (Past 3 Months)

Most Comments (Past 3 Months)

  • None found




  • The Nut Graph


Switch to our mobile site