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SundayStar

28 May 2006

National youth act:

Addressing youth issues


G

UESS what? A new Act is


coming to town. No, not the
gig with guitars, hot musicians, colourful lights and blasting
amplifiers. Were talking about the
National Youth Act that is due to
be tabled in June. Fear not though
because the content of the Bill is,
for the moment, unknown.
The couple of things that has
been hinted at is, one, the definition of what constitutes a youth
as well as the proposed age limit
for leaders of youth organizations
to be capped at 40 years old.
Youth Minister Datuk Azalina
Othman Said has also previously
highlighted another key point,
which is mandatory registration
for youth organisations.
But thats all we know so far? So
what do young people think about
such legislation? What are their
hopes for it?
For some young people, the
National Youth Act is an issue that
they are not sure about. When
asked on whether he knew what
the Act is all about, Edmund Wong
Jun Mun, 20 was unsure.
I don't really know about it. Is
there even such a thing? he asked.
Another student, when asked,
mistook the Act for a youth organisation.
The National Youth Act is, I
guess, a body that helps prepare the
younger generation to be good
leaders, 18-year-old Veenamalar
Krishnarajah said.
However, although some young
people are still in the dark, they
were pretty sure about the need for
young people to have their say on
such an act, which, in the words of
Nicholas Yip, 23, assumingly, is
about legislating the actions and
rights of young people.
Edmund, an intern with a law
firm, would like to see a copy of the
Bill once it is tabled.
The youths are an important
bunch of people so Acts that concern them should be made clear.
Since now we don't have a proper

Datuk Azalina Othman at last years casual dialogue with a young focus group addressing several youth-related issues.
and clear guideline to everything
for young people, this act would do
us good.
As for what they hope to see in it,
Veenamalar would like the Act to
include an avenue for youths to
express their say on certain issues.
Even issues like the increase in
electricity tariff, people should at
least listen to our say in the matter.
Sixteen-year-old Roselyn Melinda
Mervin added that she is tired of
being a part of the community that
experiences everything but are not
given the privilege to voice their
opinions on the issue.
All we ever hear of is this being
amended and that being changed.
We have a different perspective
compared to adults so we may see
certain things that they don't.
Charan, a student at a private college said that the National Youth
Act should include in its framework

the revamping of the education system, so as to create a more proactive learning environment.
The current system that we have
is what I call the linear style of
teaching that allows little leeway
for creativity. Its only fair for the
government to encourage thinkingout-of-the-box culture among
youths when there are provisions
made in the education system, said
Charan.
Another aspect that should be
considered is the values being
imparted unto the youths. Moral
values and principles need to be
inculcated in order for the youths to
mature and grow up, Charan said,
adding that these morals and values
need to be in the modern and current context so as to maintain relevancy with youths, as should the
National Youth Act itself.
Otherwise, it would be just
another piece of paper with a bunch

of big words on it.


Another youth, only identifying
herself as CJ, said that there are a
number of issues concerning the
youths that should be dealt with in
the Act. She works in events management and the nature of her job
is such that she frequents bars and
nightclubs to oversee the events
taking place.
Nowadays, there are so many
youths around the ages of 19 and
20 entering the nightclubs. Heavy
drinking often takes place and after
a few drinks, they tend to misbehave half the time, CJ observed.
She also feels that there is a correlation between the age of drivers
and the speeds at which they drive.
I dont want to generalize but
there seems to be an inverse relationship in that as the age of the
driver decreases, the higher the
speed of the cars that they drive.
While there are age limits and

other restrictions imposed on the


youths, a better way needs to be
found in order to enforce these
restrictions under the Act.
CJ feels that the moral fabric of
the youths in Malaysia needs to be
kept intact to save society from its
downward spiral and decay in the
future.
The National Youth Act should
not only be relevant to youths within the urban and developed cities
but also to those who are currently
living in the rural areas. The onus
should be on the government in
reaching out to the rural youths in
providing equal opportunities in
education and other socioeconomic
endeavours.
The elected representatives need
to be more sensitive towards this
group of youths, said a college student who only wants to be known
as Wong.
However, not everyone was
thinking in terms of such perceived
serious topics. Other youths are
hoping for more specific things like
transport concessions for students,
more open forums and performing
spaces as well as sporting activities
for young people.
Many people, I feel, have a great
interest in sports but do not get the
opportunity to participate because
they dont feel good enough, Hiew
Chiu Yin, 24, said.
While I was studying in
Australia, Saturdays were big days
for sports. Almost all the fields and
courts around the city was hosting
an activity because there were
leagues and competition for people
of different skill levels so basically,
everyone can play.
It does seem that all the young
eyes are on the new Act as the
youths wait in anticipation for the
Bill to be tabled. Its already the end
of May. Guess well find out soon
enough when the Bill is tabled in
Parliament come June. So keep your
eyes and ears open for the latest
developments. - By Niki Cheong,
Alvin Oh and Tiffany Marie Mervin.

Breaking Into Music


BY ANGELREENA LIM
BRUMP... brum... brumph! Is this a
new song from the Backstreet
Boys? Or is that the sound coming
from my stereo set? Like most
people, I use to think that a capella
music was simply singing unaccompanied by music in a formal
structure. However, after meeting
up with The Breakers, thanks to a
masters' class session organised by
Nokia, and seeing them performed
live at the International College of
Music (ICOM), my perspective
towards vocal bands has certainly
changed.
The Breakers, a five-man vocal
group, enthralled us at the very
beginning with their version of a
Michael Jackson cover, Billy Jean. It

brings forth the ambience of a real


live band accompanied with their
instruments - except no actual
instruments were used, it was all
their voices.
Brought together by one passion; Chris Wildeman, Andy
Goldin, Greg Pratt, Steve
Engelbrecht and Malaysian born
Adam Farouk, realised that they
wanted to do something different
and came up with a band. They
initially met at a mens choir, The
Hangovers in Cornell University,
USA. Thats where it all started for
them and soon they started
exploring into a world of different
style and sounds of music.
We really enjoy working
together as a team, says Pratt
referring to his friends whom he
has known for seven years.
During their performance, Adam

and Wildeman were the vocal percussionists while Tenor singers


Goldin, Pratt and Engelbrecht further impressed us with their abilities to imitate a wide variety of
instruments such as the tuba, electric guitar, trumpet, turn table and
many more.
Despite the fun they were having, their biggest challenge has
been to meet up and to put their
music together. Staying in five different areas in New York, while
juggling full time jobs, they travel
long distance at least once a week
just to craft and work on their version of songs with the help of
actual instruments. Once they
have decided on the arrangement
of the piece, they usually practice
it at home.
The beautiful thing about a
capella is that you can bring your

New York-based The Breakers performing their a capella set during a


performance in Kuala Lumpur.
voice and performed it anywhere
you are, says Adam said.
Also, in their excitement, they
told us that that they are about to
released an EP in August. The five
tracks in the album will feature
hits from the '60s till today.
This album is entirely produced
and directed by us. We really want
to evoke all kinds of emotion to
the listeners whether its happy or
sad, Goldin explains.
With overwhelming responds
from the audience, The Breakers

gave an encore performance of


their improvise version of St.
Louise Blue together with the participants of the master's class.
Finally, they sang Galileo by the
Indigo Girls as they wrapped up
the music session, that was organised in conjunction with the
release of Nokia's new N91 mobile
phone.
The guys left with an encouragement for aspiring singers,
which I gladly quote, Get on
stage, take risk and just sing!