Friday, June 10, 2011

My Brat-tastic Experience! (Part 1)

Before Going to BRATs:
It was a typical day in the month of May when my handphone rang to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are”. I picked it up and here came this message:
“Dear Chosen Star Brats 2011 Participant, you have been selected to join our next coming workshop @ Alor Star from 1/6 to 4/6. Full details of the programme will be email to you in due course…”
I was surprised. What? I was chosen as a BRAT? Before I elaborate further, bear in mind that this BRAT is simply not any hooligan or anyone who is up to no good. In fact, it is the acronym of “Bright Roving Annoying Teens”, which is the name of The Star Young Journalism Workshop. I was uncertain about it at first, until I checked my e-mail and called the number provided.
I never expected even in my wildest dreams that I was chosen. (Seriously, I want to join this activity badly! It is a healthy activity, right?) I sent in an essay with about 800 words about myself in February. I got it, I GOT IT…!!!
Alor Star, wait for me…!!!

My First Day at BRATs
It was an exhausting two-and-half hours drive from my hometown, Taiping to Holiday Villa, Alor Star where the workshop was held. I arrived at 11.25 a.m. and entered the Langkawi 1 Meeting room at around 12.00p.m. When I opened the door of the meeting room, a cold wind blew past me. I was greeted with a chorus of “Hi Sharon…”
That was warm. Thanks guys! =)
We had an activity where the reporters and Senior BRATs introduced themselves. The Senior BRATs were Ben-jie, Amy Lim, Pau Ling and Jason Lioh who was a professional blogger cum photographer as well. The reporters and editors were Niki Cheong, Melody L. Goh, an entertainment (fashion) writer and Ian Yee, the editor for the Football section in R.AGE.
Later, it was the turn for the eager BRATs to introduce themselves. My goodness, I was the only participant from Taiping! Most of them were from Petaling Jaya and Penang. One of us by the name of Serena even flew all the way from Sarawak to Aor Star for this activity. Anyway, the girls dominated the population as there were only seven boys.
Our first activity related to journalism was a test to determine if we can follow instructions. We were supposed to read through ALL the activities listed before we begin any actions. My goodness. I did almost all the activities when another BRAT called me to sit down… That was because the last instruction was “Ignore all the instructions above and sit down.” Many of us did the activities like crazy until some of the seniors were stunned! It was all about how observant and obedient you were.
We had buffet lunch at 12.45 p.m. at the Szechwan Restaurant in the hotel. I actually PIGGED OUT! Well, it was a large scoop of rice with about 3-4 dishes and a wide array of dessert. The food served was oh-so-delicious. My diet plan FAILED… XP
After that, we had many workshops on journalism. We were taught on the basic skills to interview people. Later, we were divided into three groups. My group interviewed Melody L. Goh. I chose to jot down the notes. Poor Melody! She was fired with lots of questions from us. The same went to the other groups as well. They interviewed Niki Cheong and Jason Lioh.
Our interview did not turn out very well. We were taught on the basic skills on interviewing and writing. The writing style used in journalism differed completely from that used in the typical essay writing. We had to form short sentences and include quotes from the interviewee. The language used should not be too bombastic as well.
We had a tea break at around 4.00p.m., where we were served with tea, coffee, doughnuts and curry puffs. It was very comforting as the meeting room was really cold. Some of them almost froze…
Later, there came the photography workshop from Jason Lioh. We were lectured on the basics of photography used in journalism. Well, obviously I had often done a huge mistake by taking photographs with only one hand! According to him, the type of camera did not count: it is the skill that counts. We had our first photo assignment, which was to take ANYTHING in green around the hotel. My pictures were just okay-ish for me.

We were then given our rooms for our stay. I was in the same room with Samantha from Petaling Jaya at the 18th floor. It was spacious and comfortable. The high location of our room gave us the opportunity to have a bird eye’s view of Alor Star. Well, the view of the city at night was really spectacular!
Day view.
night view.

Later, we had dinner at 7.00p.m., in the same restaurant where we had lunch previously. Here is the slide show of it...

After dinner, it was some games before the Editorial activity began. We had a game of “New Friend Found” where everyone danced while singing and they kept twirling to different partners. We were then divided into another three groups of 13 to 14 members. My group was Team X and was led by Amanda Ng from Penang. Among the members in my group were Xing-Yi, Joash, Serena, Angeline, Jasmine, Azureen, Constance, Jia En and Natalie. We had to do two videos and several articles on the making of “dodol” and the fishing village in Kampung Cina, Kuala Kedah. I was assigned the job of taking notes. The other groups were Team HIMYB (How I met your BRAT) and Team WHAT? .
I just cannot wait for the next day to witness the making of “dodol” which was one of my local favorites…

P/S: I will tell you more about the workshop in my next posts, because this post is freakingly long. Stay tuned guys!

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