Want a recap of what went on in the world of Malaysian youth over the past year? Well here at R.AGE, our goal has always been to be the young people’s paper – to write about your stories, your issues – so this list of our top ten cover stories of 2013 should do the trick.


Guilty as shared, Jan 11

A set of photos accusing a 13-year-old boy of attempted rape went viral on Facebook, complete with the boy’s full name, home address and MyKad number even though the boy was obviously a minor, and the case was completely unverified at the time. Our question was whether this mob mentality Malaysians had on social media was getting out of hand. One user had even commented on the photos asking people to harass the boy’s family. Digital media consultant Niki Cheong said at the time: “People are not aware of the laws. Protecting the identity of minors, for instance, is something journalists are familiar with. But now everyone is a publisher, but not everyone is equipped with this education or knowledge.”


I do, I guess…, Feb 1

Shotgun weddings. Pretty much every young person knows someone who’s had to jump the gun and get hitched, and considering the statistics we found, it’s not surprising either – 10% of secondary school students in Malaysia are sexually active. Given the lack of sex education in Malaysia, that’s bound to lead to a lot of unplanned pregnancies and, unfortunately, shotgun weddings. We spoke to a few couples who’ve been through it, with varying degrees of success. Shotgun weddings often leave couples with unfulfilled dreams, and unresolved issues. The key to making it work, according to psychologists and family counsellors, is to always put the child first.


Trolling for votes, April 12

R.AGE broke the story on the war of the political “cybertroopers” ahead of the 13th general election, after discovering campaign volunteers (from both sides of the political divide) were being paid several thousand ringgit to create hundreds of fake social media accounts, with the sole purpose of attacking rival political parties. It all descended into an ugly battle of personal insults, character assassinations, foul language and threats of violence and rape. But when we took the story to our Twitter account for a #RAGEchat, we found young Malaysians to be completely unmoved by such tactics. They’re smarter than that – a million trolls aren’t gonna convince them to vote for you if you don’t walk the talk.


Party starters, May 3

What’s it like being a young person contesting in the 13th general election? R.AGE spoke to a few of them – Yeo Bee Yin, Ting Tai Fook, Daniel Wa, Arif Bahardin and Tan Kok Eng – to find out. The story we got from Yeo, who eventually took the Damansara Utama state seat, was particularly inspiring. The Cambridge graduate left a lucrative career in engineering to enter politics, and when asked how she handles the pressure of being in the public eye, she said: “I still go to hawker stalls and ‘yum cha’ at night. It’s just a bit more visibility and that is not a problem for me because I have nothing to hide.”


Youth tsunami, May 10

In the aftermath of the most fiercely contested general election ever seen in Malaysia, hope sprung for an unlikely source – the youth of the nation, who helped spread messages of empowerment, patriotism and unity through initiatives like Jom Balik Undi, the “Malaysian Spring” campaign, Kita Kawan Mah and Saya Mahu Picnic. The fact that there were 2.6 million first-time voters also proved the Malaysian youth of today are no longer politically apathetic – and we believe they’re only just finding their voice.


Assuming responsibility, May 31

A few months after an Indonesian worker suffering from a stroke was left ignored for hours at a university cafeteria, we did a story on diffusion of responsibility theory, otherwise known as the bystander effect – the more people there are in a crowd, the less likely we are to help a person in distress. The experts we spoke to said young people’s preoccupation with social media will only make this phenomenon worse. Moral of the story? If you see someone in trouble, help first, tweet later.


Baring it online, June 21

Confession pages were probably the biggest campus trend of the past year, and we managed to track down some of the super-secretive “admins” behind these scandalous pages. Their job is to manage these pages, where students can submit anonymous confessions, which range from innocent confessions of unrequited love to the more raunchy tales of sexual escapades. According to one admin, the success of the page he created shows just how much young Malaysians need an outlet to express themselves. Food for thought.


Seeing Red, Aug 2

Hong Yi, an insanely talented artist from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, has been featured by CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, but she was still kind enough to call our cover story on her the best she’s ever read (#humblebrag). Hong, also known as Red, has continued to amaze the world with her unique works of art, created (and documented on YouTube) with the most unusual materials – socks, blooming flowers, food, etc.


R.AGE Against Bullying, Oct 15

There are no two ways about it – Malaysians teens are being bullied, and they have no one to turn to. Statistics show over 80% have been bullied, and things are only just getting started with cyberbullying. So we at R.AGE decided to come create the R.AGE Against Bullying campaign to spread a little hope and positivity to those currently struggling with bullying. To find out more, go to


Do or die, Dec 24

We know this follow-up to Indonesian copywriter Mita Diran’s death, apparently from over-working, was only published last week, but as you start the new year, we thought you could use a reminder on how important it is to not over-work yourself. Statistics from 2011 showed that 15% of Malaysians work over 11 hours a day, compared to the global average of 10%. So this year, learn to work smart, be effective, and find ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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