HOW many times have you thought  of an idea that could change the world? The best invention since 24-hour mamak stalls, perhaps? Now, how many times have you actually voiced out those ideas? Probably not as often as you hoped.
I still remember my first assignment as a BRAT, where we had to come up with story ideas and I fell silent. It was strange to me, because I was brimming with ideas but I was just too shy to voice them. Sure, my ideas weren’t going to reinvent the wheel, but they weren’t going to go anywhere if I wasn’t going to share them.

If you have something to share, you should just do it – with respect, of course. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not. At least you’ll get to learn from it. You might discover what made it good or bad, and then you can improve from there.

Being “outspoken” usually has a negative connotation among young Malaysians, conjuring images of overeager know-it-alls or that one person who just argues for the sake of arguing.

This should not be the case.

By speaking out, you’re not just proving a point; you’re opening yourself up to new ideas or discussions. There are limits, of course. Sometimes you may say things that can be hurtful. As such, speaking out is just as much about knowing how to judge a situation as it is about freedom of speech.

In my opinion, being able to share your views is one thing, but it is a greater sign of maturity if you can consider views that differ from your own.
It would be so easy for me to sit here and write about something controversial, something which young people now are unafraid of given how much they share on social media. But we need to realise that our views can have a significant impact, and we should learn to consider the consequences.

Nevertheless, I remember covering a press conference featuring an international band with a bunch of BRATs, and the BRATs ended up asking more questions than some of the seasoned journalists in the room! Yet at the same time, we were very careful to consider what we were asking as well, because we didn’t want to say anything stupid and get ourselves kicked out of the BRATs programme …

So in a nutshell, what I’m saying is never be afraid to speak up, but keep a level head. So what if someone calls you a brat for speaking your mind? We’re pretty cool people, too, y’know?

The writer is a member of the BRATs editorial team. BRATs is a young journalist programme organised by R.AGE. If you have a story or event you want the BRATs to cover, email the team at For more information about the programme, and to apply, log on to

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