BRATs: Lim Su Ann


  • Nation
  • Friday, 02 Sep 2016

Since 1993, The BRATs programme has been training aspiring young journalists. It has now grown to encompass three camps held every year in different cities, and social media skills, photography and online video production are among the skill sets deemed necessary for the modern journalist.

Lim Su Ann, 28, industry manager at Google Malaysia

BRATs 2004, 2005 & 2006

I grew up reading about the BRATs in The Star. They always seemed to be doing meaningful things in their communities, driven by a common quest to explore. I felt that I could relate to their perspectives, and yet always learn something new from their thoughts. Ultimately, as someone who loved writing, I wanted to be friends with people who also did.

I attended many BRATs workshops and camps. The best experience was an ecology-centered camp in 2005, when we traveled around Pahang and Selangor exploring environmental issues. That eight-day camp blew my 17-year-old mind; to this day, it has left a large imprint on who I am.

We went to a landfill and learnt how much trash Selangor generates in a day, while standing amid mountains of filth. And to Kuala Selangor, where I saw fireflies for the first time, and learnt how each year their numbers dwindle due to pollution.

I learned so many things at that camp – collecting information, framing stories, working in a team of brilliant teenagers, assessing environmental impact, canoeing, how to get leeches off... but most of all, I learned about my own country and the role of its people to keep it beautiful, vibrant and alive.

One facet that sticks with me is having met Tan Ju Eng, who was StarMetro editor at the time and the mother of BRATs. She was with us at every single camp, thoughtfully carving out what the takeaway of each experience should be, while leaving room for adventure.

Shortly after my time with BRATs, I was awarded the John Jay scholarship to Columbia University where I majored in Economics and Political Science. Time spent at university was rigorous, but I had behind me everything I had learnt from BRATs. I went on to hold several leadership positions at university and was awarded the King’s Crown Leadership Award upon graduation. I also continued to write – I kept a blog (now defunct) through which I expressed myself. The dream is still to write a book one day.

I grew up reading about the BRATs in The Star. They always seemed to be doing meaningful things in their communities, driven by a common quest to explore. I felt that I could relate to their perspectives, and yet always learn something new from their thoughts. Ultimately, as someone who loved writing, I wanted to be friends with people who also did.

I attended many BRATs workshops and camps. The best experience was an ecology-centred camp in 2005, when we travelled around Pahang and Selangor exploring environmental issues. That eight-day camp blew my 17-year-old mind; to this day, it has left a large imprint on who I am.

We went to a landfill and learnt how much trash Selangor generates in a day, while standing amid mountains of filth. And to Kuala Selangor, where I saw fireflies for the first time, and learnt how each year their numbers dwindle due to pollution.

I learned so many things at that camp – collecting information, framing stories, working in a team of brilliant teenagers, assessing environmental impact, canoeing, how to get leeches off... but most of all, I learned about my own country and the role of its people to keep it beautiful, vibrant and alive.

One facet that sticks with me is having met Tan Ju Eng, who was StarMetro editor at the time and the mother of BRATs. She was with us at every single camp, thoughtfully carving out what the takeaway of each experience should be, while leaving room for adventure.

Shortly after my time with BRATs, I was awarded the John Jay scholarship to Columbia University where I majored in Economics and Political Science. Time spent at university was rigorous, but I had behind me everything I had learnt from BRATs. I went on to hold several leadership positions at university and was awarded the King’s Crown Leadership Award upon graduation. I also continued to write – I kept a blog (now defunct) through which I expressed myself. The dream is still to write a book one day.

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