23 February 2006

"Pandangan Kau Ni Bahaya, Kau Tau Tak???"

There's a thing about being patriotic and a thing about being parrotic (as in, being a parrot). What one person calls necessary is what some other person calls crazy, and vice versa. We all know that.. but sometimes.. it SUCKS..

[all the following paragraphs of this post - on race relations, prejudice and politics -have been DELETED...]

[Note added on 26/1/2008: The title of this post was actually what someone said to me on the day of this post, yet to me, I should have been the one saying it to him...]

14 February 2006

Asia-Pacific Youth Forum 2006, Japan

I’ve realized that sometimes when I have so much to write and share about a certain experience; I stupidly end up not writing or sharing about it at all. Take the Asia-Pacific Youth Forum recently, for example. Not only have I got so much to say about the intellectual discourses as well as travels & adventures we had in various islands in Japan; I have also discovered (in a “oh wow, that’s conscientious AND cool” kinda way) how my career resolution for the future can fit in with all that’s happening in the world today.

But, in the end, I purposely don’t find myself the time to write about all that because I just want to move on to the next adventure. Geesh.. Whatever it is.. I’ll just quote a very on-the-surface and short news-like description of this year’s programme:

What this programme was about:

The Asia-Pacific Youth Forum (APYF) 2006, a meeting of young leaders aged 25-35 from all across the Asia-Pacific region, was held very recently for a span of two weeks; 13th-27th January. Fully sponsored and organized by the Japanese Government under the Japan Foundation. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Negotiating Diversity: Challenge to Global Citizenship”.

Who took part:

Almost 20 countries in the region took part, with one representative from each country. The representative for Malaysia in this year's Forum is Wira Budiman Azizan. He was a Broadcast Journalist before being called to the Bar as an Advocate & Solicitor.

Selection process:

Selection of participants was based on the nomination of candidates by various local activists and a further short-listing by the Japan Foundation headquarters in Tokyo.


The programme was held at various places, and was a combination of intellectual discourse as well as an island-hopping and cultural experience for the participants; flying from Tokyo to Okinawa, then Ishigaki and Taketomi, then back again to Ishigaki, Okinawa and Tokyo.

Content of discussions:

- Included many universal issues relating to identity, cultural diversity, globalisation, violence & reconciliation, the understanding of media advancements and limitations as well as alternative efforts in promoting social changes.

Scholars, journalists and social activists from Okinawa also enlightened the participants on the US Military Bases issue that has been affecting the people of Okinawa until today.

I’ll just add, the fun parts included a rather grand cultural event (performances by local people/villagers of a certain island done specially for us) and all the traveling/sightseeing we went for in Taketomi, Okinawa as well as Tokyo. As I mentioned earlier, I can go on and on about the experiences during APYF 2006 but what’s more important, I guess, is what do I do to follow-up such a programme.

The Japan Foundation (International Headquarters) seemed VERY SERIOUS in wanting to collaborate with APYF Alumni members, and the “big boss” of its Intellectual Exchange Department (Mr. Jun'etsu Komatsu) was personally inviting us to come up with proposals for future programmes that can be done together (and sponsored by them, I suppose). He was happy with our discussions.
So, if you’re reading this post and you have ideas of future programmes to share with the Japan Foundation, just let me know. If it’s worth considering, I’ll propose it to Mr. Jun'etsu Komatsu. Oh yeah, don’t worry, I won’t take the credit for other people's ideas.