In our Selected Exhortations category, we republish interesting stuff such as must-read articles and essays not originally written exclusively for the blawg, and which have come to our attention. Please feel free to email [email protected] if you would like to reproduce your writing, but first follow our Writer’s Guide here.
This post was published on Sabrina Aripen’s blog. It is reproduced with her kind permission, following some possible inception-mind-control thingamabob by Lord Bobo.
Busy weekends are here to stay, it seems.
The weekend of the 24th to 25th March was no exception as I went to not one, but two workshops. It is one of my new interests – to gain more knowledge especially on voter education, upholding democratic principles, blah blah blah.
As an activist (what I claim myself to be anyway)), I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to educate myself, and then to spread awareness to others. Maybe spark an interest in others as well? Hopefully.
For the first ever #IdolaDemokrasi in KK, the facilitators – Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar and Edmund Bon – had flown down from KL especially for the two days. The first session on Saturday was conducted at the Youth-PREP Centre and was attended by very young participants. A contrast to the more seasoned group that came on Sunday, the one I went to.
First thing that was handed to me at the workshop – a questionnaire to fill out in our own time. The Laporan Rakyat.
My thoughts: “Geez! There’s, like, soooooo much I don’t know! And why didn’t I bother to know before this?” Seriously, I felt like a Barbie. Or dingbat. Seriously failed big time. Couldn’t answer 99% of the questions. And they were important questions, too. Questions like “Who is your ADUN (Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri) and MP (Member of Parliament)/”, “How long have they been in their position?”, and “Description?” all had me completely stumped.
Ok, so I’m new to this whole thing. But I felt dumb.
[Check out the full list of questions here: http://max-cdn.undimsia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Scorecard2.pdf and test your knowledge.]
It was sort of an awakening. And I’m actively involved in activism too – imagine those who’re not and who’re in that sort of position! It’d be, like, just vote (or not vote) without really knowing who you’re voting for, and how your vote can actually impact a society’s well-being
Anyway, I felt that the facilitators were really great and entertaining, which really helped in getting the message across. It sure didn’t feel like some boring workshop where the facilitators just try to drum the information into your head. It was all very hands-on and participative. The hours simply flew by. Just like they do when you’re having fun.
If I were to describe it, #IddolaDemokrasi is a first-of-its-kind, 4-hour interactive GameShop that engages citizens to analyse local/national problems, find solutions, and take effective and impactful action to implement those solutions.
How? #IdolaDemokrasi is typically energetic and fun but practical, as it challenges citizens to act, and take real and tangible actions regarding the problems that affect them or others. For the action to be accesible and effective, guidance is provided through a unique D-I-Y ToolKit and a platform of numerous Youth Action Groups (YAGs) around the country.
The session started with a few ice-breaking games to give participants a feel of what democracy is about, and help them realise that everyone holds a different perspective on today’s issues. For example, some may view undocumented migrants as a pressing problem that needs to be resolved immediately, while some may take a more relaxed approach, or not care at all.
But the objective was really to help everyone relax around each other.
The first activity we did was called ‘Spaceship’. If you found out that planet Earth was about to be destroyed, and there’s an inhabitable planet not too far away, what are the 5 things you would bring with you on the getaway spaceship?
At first, we each made our own individual lists. Then we shared our ideas with a partner and made another list. Then finally we were put into a group of 5 or more.
At this point, we realised that with more people, deciding what’s truly important became more of a task. Some had pretty out-of-the-world ideas, for example, the ‘Doraemon pocket’ which definitely was a source of amusement, especially for me!
The second activity we engaged in was creating a ‘Problem Tree’. The basis? For every problem that we encounter, there’s always a root and the consequences (branches). It was pretty interesting to see the process of how one could tackle a problem just by analysing its root causes as well as its impact.
Through this activity, one would learn to criticise the issue, and not the leaders (personal attacks). To address the problem at hand by referring to the correct measures, rather than settling for the role of armchair critic. This was the main message of the activity.
Later on, we discussed plans on how to take action as per the Problem Tree we created. A rally? A strike? Who is the target?
I came away feeling a little bit more enlightened. I’m still far from being any sort of expert, but taking the initiative to start is way better than not at all. I definitely recommend this GameShop for everyone. It’s totally non-partisan and focuses on overcoming issues.