The BRATs Are Recruiting

The Star Malaysia has opened up recruitment for its BRATs (Bright Roving Annoying Teenagers) Young Journalist Program.

Through this program, Malaysian youths 16-19 get to participate in a journalism workshop, learning the basics of newswriting and editing. Once the workshop has been completed, these youths officially become members of the BRATs, which allows them to write for the monthly Ole Brats supplement, participate in community service and youth projects, and gain exposure to a lot of issues and experiences. (While entrance to the initial workshops is limited to those aged 16-19, those in the BRATs program tend to be BRATs for life; they’re still open to participate in BRATs activities or write for BRATs if they want.)

Amongst well-known BRATs include Hitz.TV VJ Xandria Ooi, and SPM top scorer Alvin Choong. Other members of BRATs past and present have gone on to interesting projects – film directors, public relations people, professional journalists, even a magician!

I myself am also one of the BRATs (Lumut 2003) and I’ve had pretty good experiences with them so far. My very first article for Ole Brats, an interview with Asha Gill, made the front page of the October 2003 issue, and I was one of the 5 BRATs (together with Alvin, as well as Debbie Tan, Vilashini Somiah, and Nuraidilah Abdul Razak) selected to interview the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) and DAP leader Lim Kit Siang for The Star’s Merdeka 2004 issue. Besides writing, I’ve also participated in a few other projects, such as a performance for World AIDS Day 2004; marine conservation projects in Mabul, Sabah; and even being an extra for local film Gol & Gincu.

The workshops can be pretty intense – I was seeing words in my eyes by the second-last night! – but quite fruitful and a lot of fun. Our editors are fair (though sometimes strict) and they’re good with being open to new ideas. I’ve gained valuable real-world practical experience that I probably wouldn’t get much of elsewhere, and I’ve also made a lot of interesting friends from the various workshops and projects I was involved in. All in all, it’s definitely something I would recommend.

To join, write an essay in English (no longer than 1000 words) about yourself, your family, your inspirations, aspirations, likes, and dislikes. Include a short biodata with contact details as well as family & academic background. Send that in to:

Marketing Services Dept.
Menara Star
15, Jalan 16/11
46350 Petaling Jaya


before 25th February 2006.

If accepted, you will need to pay RM120 as participation fee – this includes accomodation, meals, and in-workshop travel. (as well as a spiffy BRATs Press tag; mine unfortunately has disintegrated.) You do need to get to the workshop venue on your own though. The workshops this year will be held in:

  • Pahang – 15-18 March
  • Penang – 28-21 May
  • Selangor – 23-26 August

Do indicate which workshop you’d like to attend on your application! You may be able to attend a later one if circumstances change (I actually got accepted for a different workshop than what I applied for) but do talk to the BRATs people about that.

f you have any questions, do feel free to email them at– they’ll be able to help you out. I could probably help answer some queries too.

Good luck and do enjoy the experience!

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21 Responses

  1. (and most BRATs are bloggers too. mmhmm.)

  2. That’s pretty true, actually. I know a lot of my workshop mates set up blogs right after our workshop (when it started only 2 of us actually had a blog) – wonder if we spread the bug πŸ˜‰

  3. i need “teman”!!!

  4. chloe – don’t worry, you’ll have lots of “teman”s when you’re there πŸ˜‰

  5. Hi, I am not yet a BRAT, but would like to join the workshop. ^-^
    I would appreciate it if you all could offer me some precious advices all about BRATs. I haven’t written the 1000 words essay yet, and fearing that I will not be able to be selected ..Anyway, I will try my best !

    Oh ya, my msn messenger account is . Profoundly welcome you to add me and talk about everything via the messenger.

    God Bless You

  6. hi, just a question. How do you know if you got accepted into a different workshop than the one you applied for?

  7. Hi Melissa,

    This was my very situation actually! They’ll send you a letter with details of the workshop you’re in, typically about a month or two before the workshop itself.

    Good luck!

  8. Thanks Tiara.

    I already figured out that I wasn’t accepted into the Langkawi workshop in March, which is the one I applied for. I suspect much more people would want to go to Langkawi, rather than Ipoh or Kuching.

    I have my fingers crossed for Kuching in August, since it’s where I live.

  9. hi….erm… is there recruitment for JUNIOR brats ?coz im interested but havent seen any advertisements yet……

  10. Hey! Can someone tell me how to join BRATs?
    Writing an essay is for last year…
    How about 2007’s intake?
    My msn is

  11. Hi Kah Yan,

    It generally is an essay every year. However, the essay topics differ. Keep an eye out for the advertisements πŸ™‚

  12. Hi, I would like to know what is expected of a BRAT as well as how much time do we need to commit to BRAT? Thanks.

  13. heang lee: Sorry this is a late reply, but typically you would apply for Junior BRATs through your school. Your English teachers may know details.

    Winson: BRATs are typically expected to be enthusiastic, driven, imaginative, and open to new experiences. They should also have a great sense of initiative, as you are responsible for coming up with your own article/project ideas. As for time commitments – that’s really up to you. The initial workshop lasts 3-4 days, and after that you can choose your own pace. I haven’t contributed to BRATs in a while, but there are people who are prolific and contribute articles nearly every month. Depending on the article, this would probably take up between 2-5 hours a month. There are also various community service activities that the BRATs participate in, so if you want to do any of that, expect another 2-5 hours a month or so. Again, you can choose how involved you want to be – some projects last weeks, while others are one-off. There is also the End-Year workshops, which last about a week if you’re picked, and opportunities to be a Senior BRAT at the initial workshop. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  14. i would love 2 b able 2 join… will i b 2 old 2 join??
    i m 21 dis year n i feel i need 2 do sumthin dat will make my life more livelier…

  15. Hey Antony,

    I think the cap is 19 but there was a 20-year-old in my program. You could write for the press (Star, NST, Sun, etc) or for magazines as a regular journo – I know KLUE Magazine holds 3-months paid internships. Try contacting them and seeing what your options are.

  16. Hi everyone!
    Thanks for the help! Especially to Tiara..(if you do not remember me, I am the girl you added in Friendster). I’m joining this year! Actually, I went for the Youth to Youth HIV/AIDS Workshop last year, and it was FANTASTIC! Those BRATs really are friendly people. And wacky, too..=P Please tell me if there are any upcoming events! Thanks!

  17. Is there a page or site where BRATs or The Star post news or any upcoming events for BRATs ? Which are updated regularly, of course.. Thanks!

  18. Hi Kah Yan,

    There isn’t a website, but there is the BRATs mailing list, which you should already be invited to. Email brats[at]thestar[dot]com[dot]my if you haven’t received your invite.

  19. hey tiara!

    just wondering, since I’m a 2007 BRAT. how exactly do you get selected to be a senior BRAT?



  20. Melissa:
    I don’t think you get “elected” as such – once you’re a BRAT you’re always a BRAT. If you mean being one of those BRATs that help out with the workshops – every so often Ivy or Niki will put out a call for help on the BRATs mailing list. All you have to do is respond πŸ™‚

  21. oops my bad! Yeah, I meant the BRATs who help to facilitate the workshops. =) Thanks Tiara!

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