Young people often claim that their voices go unheard by adults, the people in charge, the Government, parents, teachers, peers and so on.
Two weeks ago, some of these youths had the opportunity to be heard. Loud and clear.

The #R.AGEchat: Youth Inter-Generational Dialogue between youth and adults took place at the launch of UNICEF’s 2011 flagship report, The State Of The World’s Children (SOWC), Adolescence: An Age Of Opportunity.

* The panelists *

Six young Malaysians sat on the panel representing Malaysian youths, and were given the opportunity to talk about their hopes and dreams and what they are doing to make them happen.

One of the key findings in the SOWC report showed that “entrenched practices and attitudes, as well as political and economic barriers, continue to impede adolescents’ right to be heard – especially for those who may have difficulties expressing themselves, including adolescents with disabilities and minority, indigenous and migrant children.”

The #RAGEchat: Youth gave Faezlan Angah, 16, (from the Department of Orang Asli Development Malaysia); Hazrul Syafiq, 18, (Asian Football Confederation); Jayasamint Savinder Singh, 20, (special Olympics); Noor Diyana Sharifudin, 16, and Qistina Danisyah, 13, (KL Krash Pad); and Sofia Ong (Petaling Jaya Child Council) an opportunity to use their voices.

The adult panel consisted of Senator Datuk Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (Women, Family and Community minister); Hans Olsen (UNICEF representative to Malaysia); Hanim Hassan (excecutive committe member, Community Social Network Selangor); Muhammad Zarif (Assunta Primary School Petaling Jaya Parent Teacher Association president) and Anant Kaur Hardyal Singh (Assunta Primary School Petaling Jaya Pupils Affair senior assistant).

The panelists discussed Youth And Adults: A Collaboration Of Forces For A Better World and the discussion did not only stay within the four walls at the Annexe Gallery in Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.

Young people took to Twitter to share their opinions and give their point of views as well.

Adult panel
If young people want to be heard, they need to speak up! Communicate in order to be heard.
@cuddyjah: There really should be a youth parliament. At least we’d have a say as well. We are the future leaders after all

@danesh9: Schools should not be exam based. Instead, more debates and other activities should be organised to encourage youth

Youth panel
Most of the decisions made for young people are made without consulting them.
@cikxai: parent shud allow youth to have mind of their own, makin their own choice in university for eg. Sum parent just dont trust kid
@deheroo: adults have experience,whilst youths have fresh brain n spirit.Bring us along, n we’ll be a greater nation.

Adult panel
Children today are given so many opportunities. Today’s lifestyle is all abt laptops and computers. We didn’t have that before.
@Archuroxx: Times change, we can’t be living backwards all the time. Without laptops and computers, we can’t even be tweeting right now.
@tania_ravin: Because we’re given with all this. We’re presumed to be arrogant & imprudent. But yet again, not all youths are the same.

Youth panel
We are often stereotyped as spoiled. When we consult adults, they don’t think our opinions are valid. They don’t listen to us.
@NathalieTXL: We don’t speak, they think we have no opinion. We speak, they complain that we’re rude. Where’s the sense in that?

Youth panel
When young people speak up, the adults claim that we are “Kurang ajar.”
@AbigailChhabra: Adults always perceive us as rude, but talk abt pot calling the kettle black!
@zhexue11: I agree with this, cause some parents don’t think that kids seen enough to give comments
@SpiderSofia: thats what they say, no matter how polite we point their mistake out,most of them say that we are rude to them

Adult panel
If you can get your voices heard, do it. Get the rest of the youths to join you to make your voice louder.
@sapp1600: What’s saddening, is that our little voices are never interpreted into actions. Loud isn’t the point.
@aimansjaafar: in rgrds to community involvement, youth should not always look to adults for answer, they should be the solution themselves.
@manokzunlimited: because if we dont get involved now, we won’t be better adults or improved adults compared to before.
@inbarajs: it’s a choice we have to make. Not all youth can afford to be an “agent of change”

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