Youth Leadership Academy – Taking Applications

Just got this from the YLA team:

The Youth Leadership Academy is dedicated to nurturing and building capabilities of future young leaders. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to improve your leadership skills, and be inspired by Malaysia’s most successful corporate leaders and young professionals.

We are looking for a diverse group of 20-30 of the most talented and driven Malaysian undergraduate students in their first or second year of studies at a university in Malaysia. Candidates must demonstrate strong leadership potential, personal drive, and a passion and energy for making a difference in our community and country. The deadline for the application is 15 March.

For more information about the programme, and how you can sign up, visit our website at http://www.mckinsey.com.my/YLA or e-mail us your questions at YLA_Malaysia@mckinsey.com .

National Youth Entrepreneur Convention #2 – Tickets Available Now

The 2nd edition of YouthMalaysia’s National Youth Entrepreneur Convention, held in conjunction with YOUTH’09, is taking place at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur on the 10th of January 2009.

2nd National Youth Entrepreneur Convention 2009

Among this year’s speakers are:

There’s also an opportunity to present your business plan at the convention – sign up and you’ll be in the running for a slot. Registrations are RM80 for individual earlybirds (before 10th Dec) and groups of min 3 people, and RM120 for individuals after 10th Dec.

I won’t be around this time; however, the folks at the NYEC have appointed me as a supporter of the event. As a supporter, I’ve been given a co-branded link that pays EducateDeviate RM10 for each registrant that registers through my link. This would really help cover costs for EducateDeviate’s eventual move (to its own server space & domain), as well as software and design – which costs more than I anticipated! Just so you know.

Register & Support EducateDeviate!

Speaking of design costs: NYEC has asked for a logo to be put on their marketing material. I don’t actually have one. I’m looking around, but does anyone have any logo skills that they’ll like to contribute? Greatly appreciated!

Anyone who goes, please let me know how it went – you can write a guest post here if you wish 🙂

The March Forward: Workshop for final-year tertiary students

The Star’s college youth pull-out R.AGE is organising The March Forward, a workshop-packed day aimed at helping final year students transition into the working world.

The workshops will feature talks by various industry experts on what employers seek in the workforce, developing your resume, branding yourself, and managing interviews. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to ask questions about careers and job-seeking.

The workshops will be held at Menara Star, 15 Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia on the 23rd of November 2008 from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Registration is RM20 and is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Goodies from Clinique and Parkson are provided.

Download their registration form and contact Nelsen at 03-7967 1388 ext. 1456 or Leong at 03-7967 1388 ext. 1432 for more information.

Opportunities: YouthSays Seeks Uncommon Youth, Nescafe KickStart Wants Entrepreneurs, BarCamp Sets Up at JB

1. YouthSays are hunting for more people to join them for future projects, including the YOUTH’09 Festival. They’re looking for a Stats Beast, an Online Community Leader, and a Blogger + Art Director. Get in touch with Joel or Khailee for more information.

2. Nescafe KickStart is up for another season, and this time they’re focused specially on entrepreneurs. Take their entrepreneur evaluation and you’ll be contacted if they find you suitable for the program.

3. Malaysian entrepreneurship advocate Daniel CerVentus Lim of Ideapreneur.net is bringing international unconference camp format BarCamp to Johor Bahru on the 6th and 7th of December 2008. The main idea of unconferences is that participants build the program collaboratively, either online or on the day, rather than the program being set by a committee in advance. For more information and for registration, visit the BarCampJB wiki.

Now Hiring: Press & Partnerships Officer, YOUTH ’09

If you are good with people and connections, and would like to get involved in something for three months, take this opportunity to apply for the role of Press & Partnerships Officer for YOUTH ’09, the second in a series of annual youth festivals organised by YouthMalaysia.

According to Khailee, who is a main player in YouthMalaysia (and various other projects) alongside founder Joel Neoh, this role involves liasing with media partners to handle pre- and post-event publicity and coverage, as well as liasing with program partners that are presenting events at YOUTH ’09. To qualify:

  • You have excellent spoken and written skills in English.
  • You possess outgoing, social, positive, youthful energy.
  • You possess your own transportation
  • You must be available full-time from 15th October till 31st January
  • You are willing to learn, do whatever it takes to MASTER this role
  • Must be not older than 30 years old (this is a youth-for-youths event after all)

Experience in media and public relations is a bonus, but not necessary.

If you’re interested, send your CV to Khailee at khailee@youthmalaysia.com by the 18th of October 2008.

    EducateDeviate on the Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition

    Check out EducateDeviate on Staples

    Check out EducateDeviate on Staples

    The Staples Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition, hosted by Ashoka and Youth Venture, provides young people and youth organisations the chance to showcase their project online around the world. Projects will be evaluated and voted on, and the best projects go on to win a variety of prizes.

    EducateDeviate is one of the projects listed for this competition – check out our application page and leave us some comments! You can see all the other projects (from 46 countries) here.

    If you have a project and want to give this a shot, you have until October 15, 2008 6:00 pm EST (21:00 GMT) – which isn’t long!

    Young Malaysians – how can we support you?

    Hey EducateDeviate readers – especially from Malaysia – I need your help.

    I’m planning to apply to the Sauve Scholars program, a one-year fellowship based in McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where you are given full support and resources to research, study, and work on a project of your choice.

    I would like to use the year to come up with a project plan for resources that help young people find support for their passions and interests – mainly from a Malaysian perspective, as there’s nothing there (as you probably know) but involving research into how young people are supported in other countries. To do that, I first need to know what Malaysian youths need in terms of support. So:

    Young Malaysians – how can we support you?

    Do you need a space for support and advice?
    Do you need more information about what’s out there in Malaysia and beyond?
    Do you need more money?
    Do you need changes in your school?
    Do you need a mentor or a support group?
    Do you need a club or society?

    Whatever it is you want or need, feel free to comment below or email me. Anything from “I would like a personal counsellor to tell me what options I have” to “I would like a million dollars and stuff for my rock band” works. Anything at all.

    If you’re not a young Malaysian but you still have ideas, feel free to contribute too. The more I know what to look for, the better I can be at making this project plan. And even if the Sauve Scholars thing doesn’t work out, I still have some concrete starting points to do something back home.

    Please also forward this post to your friends and peers – the more ideas the better!

    p.s. If you’ve done an undergrad degree, you’re under 30, and you have strong passions for any field of your choice, feel free to apply to Sauve Scholars too 🙂

    Be at the 2008 Global Youth Forum in Armenia – here’s how

    My sister alerted me to ASTRO’s competition to send a young Malaysian to the 2008 Global Youth Forum:

    We are banking on you, the country’s youth population, to generate fresh and innovative ideas to win a berth at this year’s United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) Global Youth Forum to be held from 21 – 24 October in Armenia! This competition, The Malaysian Chapter, is open to all Malaysian youths aged 18 – 25 years (individual or two members per team), who would have to select one or incorporate all of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals in a written document, a 3 – 5 minute video, or an active electronic presentation demonstrating their strategies, plans and solutions in addressing and achieving these goals.

    The Eight UN Millennium Development Goals are:

    1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
    2. Achieve universal primary education
    3. Promote gender equality and empower women
    4. Reduce child mortality
    5. Improve maternal health
    6. Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases
    7. Ensure environmental sustainability
    8. Develop a global partnership for development

    If your entry is selected, we will then award you and/or your team a paid trip to participate and showcase your work at the 2008 UN GAID Global Youth Forum in Armenia!

    So hurry, think of how you can save the world today. And together, we could make a difference!

    Let’s make Malaysia proud! Enter THE MALAYSIAN CHAPTER of the UN GAID Global Youth Forum 2008, TODAY!

    Entries* must be submitted together with the Registration Form via post to the following address or email to yd@astro.com.my and all Contest entries must reach Astro on or before 11.59pm on the 25th September 2008 to be eligible for the contest.

    *Maximum file size 10MB

    Astro Youth Dynamics Division
    Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd
    Ground Floor Wisma Penyayang
    No 6 Jalan Equine
    Taman Equine Bandar Putra Permai
    43300 Seri Kembangan
    Selangor,
    Malaysia

    I’m glad that companies like ASTRO are completely on board in supporting young people. This is a great initiative (don’t get scared off from “Armenia”) and I truly encourage everyone to give this a go.

    Writers for Women’s Rights 2008 – Applications Open

    Thanks Dina:

    Are you a young woman between the ages of 18 to 32? Are you interested in what’s happening around you? Do you have a passion for writing? Do you want your voice heard in the mass media? Have you been thinking of getting involved in activism but not sure where to start?

    If you are, then the Writers for Women’s Rights Programme may be just what you have been looking for.

    Organised by the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), the programme will help develop your understanding of gender and social justice issues, writing and analytical skills, and media relations.

    If selected, you will attend a live-in workshop from the 13–16 November 2008, where you will receive training from experienced AWAM writers and trainers on those areas. You can look forward to connecting with a motley crew of inquisitive young women who are passionate about social justice and social  transformation.

    Keen? Apply now!

    Write or email a short statement (500 words) explaining why you are interested in the programme and what you hope to gain from it. Include a brief biodata or CV, write ‘WWRP’ as your subject heading and send it before 30th September to:

    Snail mail: AWAM, 85 Jalan 21/1, 46300 Petaling Jaya (fax: 03-7874 3312)
    Email: advocacy-programs@awam.org.my

    Applicants may be asked to attend an interview. Selected applicants will be notified by 15 October 2008. Selected participants are required to pay a workshop registration fee:
    Students or unemployed: RM 50
    Others: RM 100

    If you need a waiver or a reduction of the fee, please write to us explaining your circumstances with your application. Waivers or reductions may be granted based on the discretion of the organizers.

    I did this program two years ago and it was fantastic. It introduced me to the idea of writing Letters to the Editor to create change, and the people that run it are passionate and knowledgable about feminism in Malaysia. Give this a go.

    National Service = Racial Segregation

    Ethan’s experiences at his National Service term strongly reveals just how racist the system really is – and how it’s institutionalised:

    We were asked several times to line up according to race (Malays here, Chinese here, Indians here, Dan Lain-Lain here) in order to distribute the races equally when it came to sorting us into classes, companies, and dorms. There are Wakil Bangsa (race representative) members for feedback about the food we have in the canteen. We are to see our respective Wakil Bangsa if we have any comments or complaints. The basketball team has a race quota: two Malays, two Chinese, and, if I’m not mistaken, room for one Dan Lain-Lain. The week before we were due to return home for holiday, they picked a representative from each race and announced that if we had any questions regarding the traveling arrangements we could talk to our Wakil Bangsa.

    A friend of mine missed roll call one night because he wasn’t well. When the head of his dorm reported it to the trainers, they didn’t even bother to inquire about what he was down with, they only wanted to know his race. The following day he was sent to the medic. He had dengue.

    One trainer told us that everyone had a religion. No, he corrected himself, everyone should have a religion. If you didn’t have a religion, you might as well climb up a building and jump. What was the use of living? And so, if you had a religion, you’d better do as your religion dictated. If you’re Buddhist, go to the temple. Hindu, go to the temple. Muslim, go to the surau. Christian, go to church. We nodded. One can’t argue with such logic.

    Ethan stood out as a Christian Chinese (and the sole Christian), which caused some problems when he tried to go back for the Hungry Ghost Festival:

    The Hungry Ghost Festival is that time of year when Buddhists, or Taoists, or maybe just Chinese, go back home to pay respects to their ancestors. So all the Chinese in camp were given a few days off. I’ve never cared about the Hungry Ghost Festival before, and I can assure you that I had no intention of praying or doing anything for the sake of my long-gone ancestors. My fellow yellow were puzzled when they heard I was planning to take off with the rest of them.

    “You’re going back?”

    “Sure, if I can go back I’m going to go back.”

    “But,” – cue the frown – “but you’re not Buddhist.”

    “I’m Chinese. Teacher said all the Chinese could go back.”

    “You can’t speak Chinese, you aren’t Buddhist. You’re not Chinese. You’re Christian.”

    I had a bit of a problem explaining the difference between race and religion and, of course, no problem whatsoever explaining simple opportunism.

    And this is supposed to encourage national unity?

    You only get national unity when you stop caring about races and treat everyone as equal. Having “race representatives”, insisting that people follow set boxes (and have no provision for non-boxed people), and only caring about race when emergency issues come up completely go against national unity.

    This is a huge reason why I am a strong opponent of National Service. I would at least be empathetic if it was truly national and not segregated.

    Brightest Young Minds – Malaysia?

    I just came back from 5 days of the Brightest Young Minds summit in Sydney. The general idea of the summit is to get motivated and passionate young people together to learn about creating initiatives, while also developing actual workable projects to be pitched to potential sponsors.

    Brightest Young Minds

    It started in South Africa and it’s now that country’s most prestigious and well-known youth-based development initiative. It recently arrived in Australia and within the two years has created a lot of good.

    I love the idea and I think it should be more widely available. I was wondering if people were interested in doing a BYM in Malaysia.

    While there are people trying to encourage young people to form initiatives, such as BarCamp and Young Entrepreneur summits, there isn’t really any clear support and education system that’s comprehensive. Also, information on actually STARTING and getting legal/financial support for your project is pretty low. There are plenty of youngsters with ideas…just no idea how to get them off the ground.

    Having 100 other energetic young people, plus the support and knowledge of people in their field (we had Hugh Evans, who is pretty much THE MAN when it comes to youth development in Australia) would go very far in getting these ideas into reality. There would also be actual opportunities for delegates to create and develop those ideas before they leave – thereby avoiding the common youth conference problem where people are so motivated to crate change during the conference, but afterwards their energy drops and nothing gets done.

    To get BYM in Malaysia we need to know the following:

    • Legal aspects of using the BYM name and concept – is there some sort of “franchise kit”?
    • Finding and recruiting young people to be part of BYM(M) 1
    • Partnerships and sponsorships with companies and organizations
    • Convincing people that BYM as a structure can work in Malaysia
    • Getting BYM(M) off the ground and sustainable
    • Creating a team of people interested in getting involved with BYM(M) behind the scenes
    • Connecting BYM(M) to BYMs in SA and Australia
    • Timelines – when do we start work, and when do we have our first BYM(M)?

    If you’re interested, or know other people who are, leave me a comment or message.

    SOLS 24/7 – Education & Support for the Marginalized

    The SOLS (Science of Life) 24/7 organization, founded by the family of young Malaysian social entrepreneur Raj Ridhvan Singh (recently shortlisted as one of KLue’s Blue Chillies) builds boarding schools across Cambodia, Timor Leste, and Malaysia for marginalized young people. In these schools, students learn 2 years of English, maths, business, leadership, character, and volunteering skills, amongst others. This enables them to reintegrate with the rest of society, obtain jobs, and support themselves.

    Malaysiakini also has an interview and video profile with Raj about the SOLS 24/7 school in Malaysia.

    I’ve met Raj briefly and heard him speak about his project, and I find him really passionate and sincere towards his cause. I do have some questions about the Science of Life system itself (some of the students talk about it being an actual subject, but there’s no actual information on it specifically) but overall this initiative is doing a lot of good to those that really need the help.

    SOLS 24/7 is in great need of funding, support, and volunteers. If you can help, contact Raj at +6012 6398 442 or email him at raj@sols247.org.

    Indie Youth Fest – Celebrating youth creativity

    There’s a vibrant indie creative scene amongst Malaysian youths; however, it doesn’t often get much respect due to the conservative media and politicians’ insistence of painting indie youth culture as frivolous, dangerous, or rebellious.

    The Indie Youth Fest, sparked by Doppelganger Open Mic, is an opportunity for young Malaysians involved or interested in indie culture to showcase themselves and check out other budding talent. Held between 4-6th July 2008 at One Utama, the Indie Youth Fest includes:

    and much more to be announced.

    This is a refreshing change for a Malaysian youth festival. Most other “youth festivals” so far have been corporate-organized, which often means they’re usually there as subtle advertising for the company instead of actualy supporting youth initiatives (see my experience with Levi’s 501 Day). The Indie Youth Fest, on the other hand, is youth-run and youth-managed, which means that the core crew are more attuned to the needs and capabilities of young people. Instead of exploiting their talents, they are appreciating and showcasing them in a manner that respects everyone.

    I can’t make it to the Indie Youth Fest as I’m flying out to Australia on 4th evening, but good luck and have fun! Hopefully this will be the start to even more youth-organized events.

    Is dropping out necessarily a bad thing?

    I just saw these series of ads today and, as odd as it may seen, the sentiment portrayed here rather annoys me:

    I completely agree that education is important, and as the ad says, it’s good for everyone. (After all, that’s what guided the formation of EducateDeviate.) However, what annoys me about campaigns like these is the false dichtomy that they set up – it’s either school, or nothing.

    Not everyone thrives, or even survives, in a traditional school setting. Most schools around the world focus on mathematical and verbal intelligence, judging competence through written examinations. There isn’t as much respect or attention given to those who express their intellengences in other ways, such as through the arts or mechanics (see Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligences). For instance, in Malaysia, vocational and trade schools, as well as business and humanities streams, are usually seen as being for “under-achievers” – those who could not score well in exams. Taking up vocations or trades (or indeed, anything that’s not the Pure Sciences) by choice is unheard of, as it does not carry the same prestige as being in the Science stream.

    Why have we developed this pro-Science-anti-anything-else mentality? Life consists of all sorts of knowledge and experience, and education comes in different forms. Just because someone cannot cope in the cut-throat academic environment of traditional school, and has decided to drop out, does not mean they are automatically a failure in life.

    It would be better if campaigns like the above didn’t just say “dropping out is EVIL” and actually gave you concrete options for those who can’t cope with normal schooling and feel the need to drop out. Sometimes students are facing immense social issues, such as bullying (see my last entry) and can’t concentrate on education when their peers or teachers are acting against them. Some want to learn something that their school system does not offer, or even learn best in a style not offered by their schools. Some are facing major personal and family issues, such as poverty or ill-health, and need to prioritize those above school work.

    Some suggestions of those options would be:

    • Homeschooling or distance education, which would allow students to learn at their own pace (is it really such a terrible thing if they graduate high school at 20 instead of 17? At least they’re learning) and receive personal guidance, which is often missing from traditional schools
    • Alternative school systems such as Sudbury Valley/Summerhill or Waldorf-Steiner, which focus on students’ democratic rights to choose their own education, as well as a more holistic form of learning
    • Vocational or trade schools – Australia is really good with encouraging and supporting trades education, providing apprenticeships and other education+career pathways without the stigma
    • Schools like the Albert Park Flexi-School which are specifically formed for those who could not function in traditional school (for various reasons), letting them learn at their own pace while still providing structure and emotional support
    • Taking a break from school, and coming back to it later (also following the “at your own pace” idea)
    • Taking college/university classes while at school – some students feel like dropping out because they don’t find school challenging enough and get really bored
    • Providing real-world experiences with education, such as internships or projects, which get them engaged in their education
    • Providing support for student welfare to cover needs that are of a higher priority than school – for instance, nutritious food, health-care, and family support

    In the same vein, campaigns that encourage high schoolers (especially those from at-risk backgrounds) to aim for college need to be carefully examined to make sure they don’t make college the only option. While those programs certainly mean well, and are needed to show that college is an option for anyone (not just for a select few), my concern is that they unnecessarily stigmatize those that can’t, or have made the choice not to attend college. Not having a college degree does not doom you to a life of failure.

    Many of the above options apply at the college level – personal and alternative education, taking a break (one big reason some students don’t thrive at college is because they aren’t prepared enough and just need some transition time), getting involved in the real world. As I’ve mentioned earlier, while college is certainly a form of education, it isn’t the only one.

    The macro-reason for campaigns like these is that the world has been set up so that one would find it hard to move forward without some level of formal education. But is that fair? Should people be denied employment, sustenance, or personal development just because their education and life experiences are uncertified? Doesn’t this create a stigma against non-academics who have opted to learn from experience (or are forced to by life circumstance)?

    In some places of the world, valuable educational experience is set at a very high premium, causing elitism and class divides – people can’t afford university, so they can’t get the paper that would help them earn more money to help them get into higher education. It’s a vicious cycle. A better solution, then, is to widen the scope of education to include all forms of learning – academic, vocational, humanistic, holistic, and so on – and create pathways for people to get involved in life and their community, welcoming all forms of learning.

    Everyone’s educated in their own way, and we all need each other. Telling them that if they opt out of one form of education, they won’t succeed in life at all, is misguided and unhelpful.

    The Scholar Ship suspends operations

    I am very sorry to hear that The Scholar Ship, a floating university that teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level subjects on a worldwide sea voyage, has shut down due to financial difficulties. I had been accepted into the program and would have travelled on it this year if I was allowed to by my university (international students in Australia are only allowed to go on exchange with their university’s partner institutions).

    This reminds me of Up with People‘s shutdown in 2000, also following financial difficulties, and its rebirths in 2003 (as WorldSmart) and 2006 (back as Up with People, but with a more WorldSmart-esque structure) thanks largely in part to new leadership and the strong efforts of UWP’s alumni.

    I am heartened to see both would-be students and alumni of the Scholar Ship coming together on Facebook and Ning to find solutions for reviving the program. Semester at Sea, another floating university, is also offering spaces to students that were accepted into The Scholar Ship but whose voyages were cancelled.

    It disturbs me to hear that a major reason for The Scholar Ship’s financial troubles was the withdrawal of its biggest sponsor (and provider of the vessel) Royal Caribbean International. Apparently this took The Scholar Ship’s crew by surprise, and so far no explanation was given for their change of mind (they’re still promoting the program online). A program as beneficial as The Scholar Ship should not have to die due to the lack of one sponsor. However, this is a situation I’ve seen in quite a number of Australian non-profits, where one funding body makes the difference between staying up or shutting down.

    How will The Scholar Ship fare in this turbulent time? With the current worldwide recessions, are other educational programs also at risk?