By NURFAATIHAH NORHAZI
Photos by KELVIN YEE
FORGET Twitter rants, Facebook posts the length of an essay and Instagram pictures captioned with entire songs. A group of five students from the International School of Kuala Lumpur has come up with a much better way for young people to speak out and express themselves.
On February 22, they held the very first SpeakOut@ISKL, an event where young people are given a platform to, well, speak out.
One of the organisers, Daniel Subramaniam (who happens to be a member of the BRATs), said: “There’s always a big age gap between the speakers and audience at youth talks. For our event, we wanted to let young people speak to young people.”
The idea is pretty simple – anybody aged 13-21 can sign up to speak on the SpeakOut stage by informing the organisers of their interest and the topic they want to talk about.
In the end, the organisers narrowed it down to eight speakers, with another two invited speakers.
“We left the topic open, but we required the speakers to send brief summarise to prevent any clashing topics and to see how developed their ideas were. We didn’t want speakers who would just ramble or rant for the 12 minutes,” he added.
The first speaker during the event was Brickfields Asia College law student Mark Johnson, who talked about pop culture.
“Public speaking is something I enjoy, and I decided to sign up to do this as a show of support for the event, as well as its goals,” said Mark.
“What sets SpeakOut@ISKL apart from other talks is the student involvement. Most talks encourage students to simply be observers, and they overlook the fact that they sometimes may have something to say. This event encourages students to step up to the plate and share their stories.”
Another person to speak out was BRATs editorial team editor Denielle Leong, who spoke about the importance of responsible journalism in society.
Slam poet Jamal Raslan was one of the invited speakers, and he performed a few of his works. The other invited speaker was 17-year-old entrepreneur Joe Kit Yong.
Unfortunately, four of the selected speakers had to pull out ahead of the event, but Daniel still has high hopes for the future of the event. He is already sure that there will be another SpeakOut@ISKL next year.
“The speakers pulled out because of scheduling conflicts. They seemed quite eager to speak, actually. But I think now that the first round has happened and the feedback, especially on the speakers was good, we’d get a better response and commitment from speakers.
“Also, we hope to get more participation from students who are still in school. Most of our participants this year were students who’d left school already,” he said.