Saturday, 1 March 2014

Landmark stories

From Section 2 to Star2, the feature section has published some humdingers in its lifetime. Here are eight articles and projects that we've heard the most about from you. 

Mar 6, 1995: Ad-libbing for a change

This was an attempt to draw attention to sexist advertising – you know, when you have a woman in a tight-fitting outift draped over a sports car for god knows what reason. Reporter Andrew Sia managed to persuade some very sporting fellow male reporters to pose according to some really sexist ads. What fun!

Oct 16, 1995: Taking a hard look at the force

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We first ran a survey over a few weeks asking readers what they thought about our boys in blue. This was, of course, in the days before the Internet so people actually had to snail mail or fax in their replies – and would you believe we received almost 3,000 responses? Wah.

Then we took the answers to experts – statisticians and sociologists – for analysis and published our four-page story on the results along with interviews with top cops. The cops actually came to our office and were closeted for a long time with then-Section 2 editor June HL Wong, who had come up with the idea for the story, and the editorial section’s top management. 

Us writers and copy editors hung around with fingers (and toes) crossed, hoping the story wouldn't be yanked out. It was quite the triumph when we got the go-ahead.

May 16, 1996: Youth2 is born

Section 2 wanted its readers to grow up with it. We already had Starchild to get the little ones involved, and now we wanted to reach out to teens and young adults. Youth2, which was supposed to be a working title, soon became the coolest spot for teens to hang out at, with articles and interviews that talked about their lives. Youth2 also had popular agony uncle, Big Bro, and as soon as the country went online, we introduced Purple Sofa, a digital hang-out spot.

We must boast about one of our Youth2 columnists, Adele Lim, now lives in Hollywood and works as a TV writer and producer on shows like One Tree Hill, Private Practice, Las Vegas and Life On Mars, as well as this year’s Star-Crossed. And to think we knew her when!

Nov 25, 1998: Stop violence against women

Section 2 had for many years supported women by addressing issues that touched their lives. This campaign shone arguably the brightest spotlight on the issue of violence against women with 16 continuous days of articles discussing every form of violence against women.

The campaign began on Nov 25, the UN-declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ended on Dec 10, World Human Rights Day. The articles covered the gamut from domestic violence to using rape as a weapon of war against women.

Oct 9, 1999: The great Youth2 sex survey


Sex was – and still seems to be – a taboo subject, especially in relation to teens. But while adults might have thought their kids were blissfully ignorant about the birds and the bees, we knew better from the letters coming in to Big Bro, and from the teens we spoke to for our articles. So we came up with our own sex survey, conducted with the support of the government’s family planning agency. 

Boy, did we touch a nerve! We received over 3,000 responses (pre-Internet days, mind you) and the results were eye-opening: Kids as young as 14 admitted being sexually active and hardly anyone having sex was using protection. Rather creepily, we also received some porn – a few people sent us some very graphic articles and pictures.

Aug 24, 2000: Cheering on cheerleading


Cheerleading wasn’t well known in Malaysia at the time, but after Youth2 reporter Beverley Hon conducted an informal survey among Klang Valley schools, the idea of a competition was greeted with great excitement, and we began organising what has become one of The Star’s most popular events among young adults.

Cheer 2000 was held in Stadium Juara in Mont Kiara, KL, and by the following year, the competition grew so big we have to graduate to a bigger venueto accommodate the growing number of teams and supporters. Ministers who have attended the prize-giving ceremonies are always amazed at the sheer spirit Malaysian teens exhibit in support of their teams – the noise is awesome!

Since then, our cheerleading competition has grown to have qualifying rounds in Penang and Johor, and there's even an official, government-endorsed cheerleaders group, the Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (CHARM).

Mar 5, 1996: In perfect pitch


Former Section 2 editor June H.L. Wong gained unprecedented access to Datin Seri (now Tun) Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali for this two-part story. The popular but very private Dr Siti Hasmah opened up for the first time about her personal life and her relationship with then-PM Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This was the cover for the second half of her story – note the autographs!

Sept 12, 2005: R.AGE takes over

R.AGE, a new pullout catering to teens and young adults made its colourful debut, where it was circulated only to colleges in the Klang Valley. But it soon takes over from Youth2 as The Star’s main youth section within Star2. R.AGE has grown to become the country’s top young adult read and works with The Star’s young journalists programme BRATs (Bright, Roving, Annoying Teens) as a platform for young writers. This on-trend, cool section also addresses serious issues that affect young people, such as bullying, depression, suicide and peer pressure.

Dear readers, we’re inviting you to leave us a note, a picture or a memento about your time with Star2, or how Star2 has made an impression on you. Click on the link 30 Years Of Star2 to post your comments, or email your photos and images to star2@thestar.com.my and we'll post them in our Facebook photo album for the entire month of March 2014. Come on, we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Lifestyle , Star2 Anniversary , 30 Years Of Star2 , Thirtylicious , Star2 Turns 30


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