Capital FM deejay Xandria Ooi joined the BRATs in 1999 when she was 16. She went on to become a VJ for Astro’s Hitz.TV when she won the music channel’s UVJ Search in 2005, all the while writing for The Star as a BRAT.
She now has her own column in StarMetro called Sights & Sounds, and you can listen to her in the morning on Capital FM’s Breakfast Show (88.9 FM).
Why did you join BRATs?
I have to admit – rather sheepishly – that my reasons (for joining) had nothing to do with journalism and everything to do with adventure. When I was 14, I saw the write-ups and photos of how fun the workshops were – trekking, camping and the lot – and immediately submitted my application the year I turned 16!
What is your fondest memory from your time with the BRATs?
Hands down, it has to be the Sarawak year-end trip the year I joined BRATs. We stayed at the longhouse with the Ibans and it was an experience I’ll never forget. We cooked bamboo rice, bathed with rainwater and in the river and interviewed the locals!
Do you still keep in touch with your fellow BRATs?
Once you’ve been to a BRATs workshop with someone, there’s a bond that never really goes away. I haven’t seen many of my fellow BRATs for ages but when we do catch up, it’s good fun reminiscing!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from BRATs?
That journalism is as much, if not more than, about curiosity and interest as writing skills.
What kind of impact has the BRATs had on your life?
The impact has been tremendous. BRATs was more than a platform to voice our thoughts and opinions, it was a constant test of how far we could push our own limitations and boundaries. I found that when I was given assignments I had no idea how to execute, I still somehow always managed to step up and complete the tasks. This realisation was an important one. It gave me the courage to try new things without the fear of being ridiculed for failing.
To apply to join one of the three BRATs workshops this year, download an application form at facebook.com/starbrats. Deadline for applications is Feb 22.