Joint article : “What Say Youth” Townhall – The Untold Stories of the Few
Much has been said about the “What Say Youth”Townhall that took place on the 21st of November which featured two political heavyweights – Tun Dr Mahathir and Mr Lim Kit Siang. Most, if not all that has been said showed that many are sceptical to Pakatan Harapan’s formation or, more precisely, its leaders.
Were those stories that appeared on media representative of what happened at the Youth Townhall? To a certain extent, admittedly so.
But allow us to tell you the stories of the Few. And in doing that, we begin with the story of the Few who want to make a difference.
The conception of this townhall began with a few young people under 35 years old who believe in a better Malaysia. We believe that a better Malaysia comes about through policy making, and in order to get involved in policy making, politics is fortunately or unfortunately – a reality.
Having said that, we realised from our peers that they might not necessarily share the same dream as we do. Statistics show that 70% of young people are not interested in politics.
There lay our problem – a better Malaysia is contingent upon the people of our future. Yet, those who form that future do not seem to want to be a part of it.
To bridge that gap, it became apparent that two things needed to be done – engagement and empowerment – hence the Youth Townhall.
Did we achieve these objectives? Quite so. We will tell you why through the stories of the Few who chose to instil hope.
Amongst the criticisms hurled at the new opposition alliance and of the past of Tun Mahathir was a young man who took the microphone, and who said this:-
“(It) starts with us…all of us are youngsters, we should step up, join politics to do…our part to bring unity…if we have people who step up for truth and justice, I think whatever it is, whoever becomes the Prime Minister would be able to lead (the country) properly.”
A few others who did not take the microphone that night but whom we had private conversations with told us that they still believe in Malaysia; that to not vote is a waste of democracy and that they are expecting change.
It’s totally a youth thing to question things that raise their curiosity, let alone issues that will directly decide their future and the nation’s wellbeing. It however doesn’t stop any of them from believing in and fighting for a better cause.
There lies empowerment. There lies engagement. But more importantly, there lies Hope.
According to, Malcom Gladwall, the author of The Tipping Point, "The Law of the Few" provides that any kind of social epidemic depends on the Few. In other words, the 'work' will be done by 20 percent of the participants.
So here’s to the untold the stories of the Few who choose to instil hope. Our stories do not make headlines – but our hearts and efforts collectively will be the unseen winds of change.
Michelle Ng is a practising lawyer and the Legal Bureau Secretary of the DAP.
Kerk Chee Yee is the political secretary to the DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang.