“More Opportunities” says the sub-headline of today’s Star RAGE section covering #WhatYouthWant from the government, and goes on to share what I feel what youths want most in this country. Unfortunately, that small little space isn’t enough to express completely on what I want to share about this topic I feel so closely about. Read on for the full length interview and do share if you agree, or comment in my blog if you disagree.
Let us work towards bringing forth the best of every driven youths there are, a move towards a #betterMalaysia!
To theStar RAGE:
Let’s start off with a general question, what do you think youths want most in this country?
Being around today’s youth all the time, from those who lead to those who just want to have fun, the one thing they want most in this country are opportunities, opportunities from the government to play a larger role in their own discipline either for recognition or for money. Unfortunately most of them are afraid of taking risk & only the few will take it up, but the rest will definitely cheer on as one of their own is truly represented as a voice for the youths.
What do you think about the freedom of speech of the youth of Malaysia? How can it be improved?
My personal opinion is that the youths of today has total freedom of speech, thanks to their exposure to the internet and access to all social networks, unlike some other countries who regulate the networks, like Iraq or North Korea. They can say whatever they want and would not fear repercussions, unless of course they are bounded by laws that comes with privileges such as scholarships, in which case it is perfectly normal that they can’t simply say what they want. How can it be improved? Allow even more accessibility to the internet to the youths living in rural areas so that they gain exposure to what is being said out there & be able to educate themselves. However, we do have to ensure that youths observe certain netiquettes just like how Malaysians generally are in real life, as it seems like the freedom of speech has enabled youths to be, at times, “melampau“.
What do you think about the education system for youths? Are they being taught well? What do you think youths should focus on learning (in addition to their current education)?
As one of the co-founders of EYE Project
, our believe is that while the education system promotes academic achievements in a competitive space, resulting in hardworking, top graded youths – we are constantly forgetting the fact that certain necessary life skills in the form of basic soft skills are the ones that really prepare them for the life of independent adulthood – and are sometimes non-existent throughout their learning period. Together with our partners like TalentCorp
& PwC Malaysia
, EYE aims to instill some form of leadership in our youths based on their passion, so that they will pick up skills like communication, critical thinking, decision making, being resourceful & so much more, turning them into high valued, driven & ambitious youths ready to offer more to themselves & the country.
How do you think the youth can be empowered in society?
As mentioned previously, our youths in general, not just the ones obtaining high scores in their academic papers, should first believe that they are not an inferior species. They first need to be confident in order to have a personal belief that tells them they are ready to lead an independent life of a fully working adult. This can only come if they explore outside of their comfort zone, out of university space or even within their office table for older, working youths. In order for this to happen, they can start doing one of the following: apply for internships, join a non-profit organisation that allows them to meet like minded people, or join EYE’s many events through their platforms, the Student Engagement Center (SEC)
for university students, or Young Corporate Malaysians (YCM)
for young corporates where they are able to meet same aged youths to connect, collaborate & communicate. All of these methods are FREE & only require time & effort – just be a fan of their Facebook channel first
What do you think is lacking in our youth today? What is it they do not yet have knowledge of but should look forward to?
The one thing that is lacking with our youths of today is the drive to explore & equip themselves with general knowledge beyond their education materials. Without these, complacency becomes their biggest enemy, and therefore stopping themselves from fulfilling their true talents, becoming a producer rather than just a consumer. We know they are capable, but it dies with the unlit explosives within them, due to their fear of failure instilled throughout their lives.
As the next generation of leaders, what is your advice for youths today?
My advice for the youths is to
- start thinking big – be ambitious, do not be afraid to dream and believe in yourself when others do not.
- start small – while you’re young & invincible, don’t try to attempt initiatives beyond what you’re capable of at the start, or that failure will not only cause you to stop believing in yourself, but gives others a negative perception that is hard to come out of.
- move fast – don’t wait for some opportunity to come before you embark on your journey, or for that funding to come before you begin an initiative. What you can do today you do it first, and the momentum will naturally take you somewhere towards achieving what you aim for.
And of course, with this advice hopefully we’ll have a new generation of youths who look towards a positive development and being part of the solution rather than just sitting on their bums complaining like a keyboard warrior. We can demand all we want for change, but the real change happens in the heart first – and usually the most difficult hurdle of them all.