By ELIZABETH ONG
The moment I received the email from The Star BRATs informing me that I had been selected as one of the participants of BRATs Raub, I was screaming and dancing alone in my room. Screaming to myself, “Such things don’t always happen to me! I can’t believe it! Somewhere in this world cows turned purple! (quote my best friend, Sarah)”.
The primary reason why I joined this journalism camp was because I believed I needed some excitement and exposure to other fields and careers. So when I discovered this camp (on Twitter hehe), I thought I’d give it a shot since I’m still keeping my options open. Sending in that essay was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made yet. However, I really doubted I would have been chosen. But I was, so, many thanks to BRATs and R.AGE! (And the Big Man watching over me).
As you can see from the title, there were indeed many blessings that came along with quite a number of firsts. It began with emailing and making friends with more than 30 people of my age group whom I have never met in my entire life (I can’t believe they replied to me within the hour so I was extra excited/nervous for the camp, especially when Yohendran created a WhatsApp group for all of us to chat), travelling to Kuala Lumpur alone (it’s never too late to try something new :P), travelling to Raub with five of the participants (Nathan, Arun, Cheng Yew, Yohendran and Amanda) who were complete strangers to me (but once we met, BOOM- friends), and last but not least, participating in actual journalism. BRATs Raub was a package of many, many, MANY firsts.
Deadlines and teamwork. Those weren’t new to me, but the patience and tolerance everyone had for each other simply amazed me. I have rarely been in a group with members who had the ability and maturity to accept criticism without snapping at each other or blaming each other for any mishaps. Everyone had one same goal, to finish the assignment PERFECTLY and in time for the deadline. And I guess that’s what bonded everyone.
Despite the stress, I’m really thankful I had such unique, loquacious, and high-spirited members, especially those who could bring about laughter throughout the assignments. Even though I didn’t really have the knack for journalism, I was really blessed for Kenneth, Clarissa and my team members for being so patient with me, teaching me and correcting me.
My favourite field assignment was the trip to the elephant sanctuary in Kuala Gandah. Journalists get to grab opportunities which not everyone can experience, like getting up close and personal with elephants! This field assignment was an added bonus for me. For as you can see, I have this thing for elephants. Yes, it was another first for me – visiting elephants in an elephant sanctuary, getting to follow up with interviews for the trainers with my team members, finally being able to snap decent photos of my subjects of the assignments and bro-fisting three elephants (inspired by Jade).
I am happy to say that I learned more than just journalism for those five days. I’m glad for every single experience that came along with this journey. May it be good or bad, I’m glad for it because it was all truly a blessing. This is probably one of the highlights of my 2015. I’m even happier to say I regret nothing.
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