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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org– 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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