Is BFM On The Right Track?

An anonymous email alleging sexual harassment misconduct at Malaysia's widely followed radio station BFM is sent out to various media houses and simultaneously as the story breaks on December 1st 2018, the station issues a statement and also uploads it onto its social media platforms - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Did BFM handle this crisis well to start with?


BFM responded immediately and took the bold decision to share its statement on social media. Not many organisations would have done so. In fact the normal modus operandi by most organsations when hit with a crisis of such nature would be to respond as and when required and not to spread the net of possible exposure too wide. So I have to say bravo to BFM for being transparent and forthcoming in acknowledging this email and assuring its stakeholders of its commitment to investigate the allegations and intent to provide a safe environment for employees.

Various people within BFM have also said that when it had got wind that the email was in circulation with the media, the organisation had addressed its employees in small groups to inform them of what was happening and that it will look into the matter seriously. Once again, this was a proactive move on the part of BFM and one that should be commended. Furthermore, instead of taking the easy route by holding a town hall style meeting with one message to fit all, the approach of group sessions allows for more discourse and gives the organisation a chance to show its concern in a more personal manner.


In the space of five days, BFM has issued two statements.

The first went out on December 1:

It is a fair albeit non-committal statement that I personally cannot fault as an immediate response. It does four things:

i) Acknowledges that certain allegations have been made

ii) Alludes to a probable internal investigation

iii) Commits to ensure a safe and fear-free environment to enable reporting of misdeeds

iv) Claims reviews of its existing reporting processes

While the media have practiced ethical reporting by not publishing any of the names contained within the rather explicit email, the same cannot be said for netizens who are sharing the email in its totality via WhatsApp and on their feeds. Some of them have even shared the email on official social media sites belonging to news portals and newspapers. In these instances I believe the media should practice its discretion as owners of such sites and either take down such postings or blank out the names of the alleged victims.

In fact, I call on anyone who feels the need to share any content that contain names of sexual victims to at least black out their names before posting it. Every time it is posted and shared, you too are harassing these victims who are already vulnerable, and victimising them further.

The next statement from BFM appeared on Dec 3, this time saying that it has started investigations, and that it will be appointing an independent party to assist in the investigations.

Does this statement say enough though?

Many individuals and groups have called for proper investigations and transparency into how the matter will be handled. Perhaps it is time for BFM to share the process it will initiate, a timeline of when it expects to conclude investigations and share findings, and who will be assisting in this investigation. All those following this story are hoping for fair and just actions to be taken, should the allegations prove true. Eyeballs are on BFM to see how they will conduct themselves.

"purpose is to build a better Malaysia by championing rational, evidence-based discourse as a key element of good policy decisions"

In fact this is an excellent opportunity for BFM to lead the way in putting together a tighter zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and assault at the work place with a better plan for enforcement and reporting of misconducts. Media houses can be a hot bed for harassment as there are many people who are in powerful positions, who can get carried away with assumed god-like powers. When there are people who are powerful, there are people who will feel powerless.

BFM has been known to discuss matters often shun by other mainstream media and has on numerous occasions over the years invited guests to discuss both workplace and domestic sexual harassment and violence on its talk shows. It should now prove that it can walk its talk and even better its own sexual harassment policy over the slim protection provided by our current legal system. BFM describes that its "purpose is to build a better Malaysia by championing rational, evidence-based discourse as a key element of good policy decisions".

So, use this crisis BFM, and show us what you can do in "building first-world mindsets" as you claim on Facebook.

Written by Janitha Sukumaran, Founder of Rantau Golin

The language of wonder has no words – Just Joy

“To All Who Come To This Happy Place


Here you will discover enchanted lands of Fantasy and Adventure, Yesterday and Tomorrow. May Tokyo Disneyland be an eternal source of Joy, Laughter, Inspiration and Imagination to the people of the world…”

My Disney adventures began when I was two – the moment I could sing, my sister and I would be kept occupied repeatedly watching Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and not to forget, Mickey Mouse and friends.

On my maiden outing to a cinema as a five-year-old, my father took my older sister and me to watch the premiere of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast back in 1991 – and this has remained my favourite Disney movie ever since. It also inspired my performance and recording of the “Belle” soundtrack – one of the toughest musical pieces I’ve ever played – for a school concert at the then Sekolah Sri Inai (now known as Beaconhouse Sri Inai). It’s one of my most accomplished musical pieces to-date, although sadly, the audiotape that captured it has been lost.

Despite being a Disney kid all my life (yes, I still watch all things Disney at my age, and there’s no good reason for me to stop), it never crossed my mind to visit a Disneyland, oddly enough.

So, when I was assigned to manage the media trip taking Malaysian journalists to the 35th anniversary celebrations at Tokyo Disney Resort, it didn’t quite strike me that I was heading to a place of my childhood dreams until I slid into my seat on the plane in the early morning of 12 April 2018. It might sound clichéd to say the feeling was surreal, but truly, it was. I was still reeling from disbelief that I was on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Tokyo. In my prayers right up to that point, I asked, like a child, “Why Disneyland? Why Tokyo?” The answer wasn’t clear to me – until I got there.

My Disneyland experience began on the second day in Tokyo, the first day being just a day of rest once I checked in our Malaysian media entourage into Urayasu Brighton Tokyo Bay Hotel. The hotel was indeed classy, and this added to the magic right from the start of my stay in Tokyo. Knowing that my itinerary was going to be full that day, I loaded up with a classy but hearty breakfast before our group was due to set off on our tour.

Our first stop of the day was at Tokyo DisneySea. The air was crisp and clean, with a brisk and chilly wind that felt almost like winter without snow. We had the company of media from other Asia-Pacific countries – Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and more. The members of the media were efficiently grouped according to their country for the tour. Our tour guide, a staff representative from Oriental Land Co Ltd (owners of the Tokyo Disney Resort) was Miki Fujiwara. Seemingly reserved at first, she was easy to warm up to later on, despite the language barrier, and was ever patient with us as we stopped numerous times at various places for the obvious touristy thing – taking photos. This time spent was indeed crucial for the media to capture just the right images they needed to complement their storytelling.


A pit stop to say hello to Mickey Mouse

The first show we watched was “Disney’s Happiest Celebration on the Sea”, specially produced for the anniversary celebrations. Mickey Mouse and his friends – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and the rest of the gang – greeted us from aboard a golden ship cruising around the lake, decked out in all its glory. I was just tickled that Mickey Mouse and his friends spoke in Japanese! I have never heard Disney characters speaking in any language other than English so that was simply amusing. This show lasted about 10 minutes, then we proceeded to walk through the other areas of DisneySea.

Four hours was certainly not enough to cover the 175-acre DisneySea, but we had to move on to Tokyo Disneyland, which itself covers about 115 acres. That said, one of the perks of wearing the “press” pass meant that we got priority access to catch selected performances or parades, or go on the rides ahead of the public. The sight of throngs of visitors at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea is certainly testimony that the 494-acre Tokyo Disney Resort is rightfully one of the top three Disneyland destinations in the world.

Allow me to share with you some of my experiences at Disney and immerse yourself in a little Disney magic ☺ (because words can’t describe all of this, you’ll see!)


Little Hawaiian figurines dancing to “It’s a Small World”

Caption: Dreaming Up Parade – the main highlight of Disneyland, where you meet all Disney characters!


Disney Princesses: Snow White and Rapunzel

If there was one place that truly makes you feel like a child again, this was it – Disneyland. The “adult me” struggled to behave (for lack of a better word) while managing both the media and the client. However, inside, my heart was skipping around like Bambi! Oh, the music all around just made me melt and I couldn’t help but sing along to all the familiar Disney tunes I knew by heart! And boy was I glad to find a singing partner in my Japanese counterpart, Miho, who sang along to the tunes, too. So, I wasn’t the only crazy one who knew all the Disney songs by heart ☺


Miho and I sharing a self-absorbed but totally cute bunny moment!

By the end of the full day at Tokyo Disney Resort, we were all beat. But my heart was full, and I’m pretty sure it was the same for the members of my group too.

Pic5Our team, including Miki (second from left) and Miho (front) – exhausted, but all smiles ☺

The entire Disneyland experience is a pretty spectacular affair. What I found truly impressive is how every element – music and acoustics, character livery, monuments and fabrications adorned and decorated with finesse, garden after garden filled with beautiful flowers in a myriad of colours, parades, performances and attractions that make your heart go wild – was well thought out and close to perfection, and truly brought Walt Disney’s imagination of happiness to life. If you want to feel enchantment, look no further than Tokyo Disney Resort. People find it so enchanting that they even have Disney-themed weddings here, and we were lucky to witness one!


While it is a Japanese thing to provide top-notch value-for-money attractive service and hospitality, it is a Disney trademark to consistently deliver an all-encompassing childhood experience of creativity, imagination and enchantment that can’t be matched, ever since Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse in 1928.

But, here's the catch.

For a truly immersive experience, you have to allow yourself to look through the eyes of a child. That is exactly what this trip was about for me, personally – humbling myself to see beauty and wonder as a little boy or girl would, and to feel what no person, adult or child, should ever be deprived of – true happiness.

As adults, we often forget to look up and around, to be in awe of the beauty present all around us. We’re probably too caught up on the road to success or living in the moment in a fast-paced lifestyle full of challenges, which tends to make us disconnect from the childlike nature within us that wants to experience true joy. I believe this is what Walt Disney wanted to achieve from the beginning – to put a smile on every face in the world, a smile that is priceless and radiates joy.


The joy that filled me during this trip was indescribable, and it’s an indelible experience etched in my heart and memory – a truly magical experience. Beyond Disney, the remaining days of my adventure in Tokyo were spent discovering more of this city that took me away from the buzzing life of KL for a week in the land of the Rising Sun, a place I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams plan visiting, but nevertheless may be one very special stop on my way to other dreams. ☺


“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” – Walt Disney

(And I hear that the Tokyo Disney Resort will be expanding by 30% in the early 2020s. Imagination has no limits!)


   Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse – immortalised


Time To Reboot – You Are Now Pro-Gov

By Janitha Sukumaran
Founder & Consulting Director
May 2018

Reform is multi-fold.

When a new government is elected, there are numerous changes that need to take place. It is not just a question of who will make up a new cabinet and what existing systems and processes need to be looked into. A bigger and more immediate issue is ensuring that the newly-elected government and all its coalition partners and members understand the process that will take place in the formation of this new entity and appreciate the need for a singular front.

The Pakatan Harapan consists of four member parties, each with its own game plan. Many of its members have always played the opposition and the rule of thumb in this position in politics is clear – challenge the government.

As much as all opposition parties aspire to be the governing party, the question remains if they are ready to take this on with a new mindset.

A government is like an organisation, and getting the right public perception from the start is key to creating trust and credibility, thus building customer loyalty. The main customer segment of a government is the people, the rakyat.

Internal Communications
In public relations, organisations are always advised to ensure that it practices what it preaches and this starts from within the organisation. The success of any external communications depends on how well members of the organisation understand what the organisation’s vision, mission and promise are. They need to be aware of the direction the organisation will take. They must respect that the decisions made by the leadership of the organisation is in the best interest of its members and customers.

The same goes for the government. All members of each party within the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which is now the ruling government, must appreciate the importance of the aforementioned, and this is achieved through real-time communications by each party secretariat to its members.

Lapses, or even worse, non-communication will result in confusion and dissident operators who will unhinge the unity that needs to be maintained post-elections and beyond the first 100 days.

One Voice
Once members of an organisation have been updated on the position of the organisation, it is then necessary for each member to adhere to the communications protocol of spokespersons. There is usually one key spokesperson, in this case the Prime Minister, and then secondary spokespersons, we can call them the Ministers, who are sanctioned to speak on behalf of the government on pre-determined matters.

The one thing that all these appointed spokespersons agree to undertake is to speak in One Voice. This means that spokespersons are unified in appreciating what the end result of their actions and communications is.

When you have every single member of the organisation assuming the right to speak and comment, then you have a fractured organisation that creates confusion amongst customers, which then leads to a question of credibility and trust for this organisation that is visibly broken.

Challenge Internally; Project Solidarity Externally
The best of organisations invites its members to challenge it, but it also stresses on the need for this to be done in a respectful and structured manner. These organisations learn to improve themselves to become stronger and better based on internal feedback. Such exchanges take place within the organisation. Once decisions are reached, all members must stand in solidarity in the eyes of its wider audience. Any show of discord in public is a show of weakness within the organisation.

Members of Pakatan Harapan must realise that it is no longer acceptable for individual members to publicly voice their dissatisfaction on decisions made by leaders, to demand punishments for organisations and individuals and to make independent comments that can and will threaten the coalition. It is time to rein in individual ideologies now that they are on the other side of the fence.

Pakatan Harapan should also seriously consider the need to train and mentor its newly-elected Members of Parliament and future ministers, many of whom are taking public office for the first time, on rethinking their future positions. Training and mentoring are offered in any credible organisation for new and even existing members to ensure that they have the support, tools and acumen required to be successful in their positions. So why not offer this to the newly minted MPs, who need to reboot their mindset in appreciating how to change their playbook as a government official and advocate.

Pakatan Harapan members need to realise that they are now pro-government and any challenge against their coalition must be done within the boardroom. This is new unchartered territory for all, but the need for a fresh approach is imperative. While going rogue on social media as the opposition was necessary, these members must now understand that such behaviour against the decision and direction of the coalition is neither valid nor attractive. Just like how organisations have communications policies in place, which includes rules for social media speech and interaction to protect its reputation, so should political parties, especially the ruling government.

Pakatan Harapan is like a quadripartite joint-venture and like all JVs, it will face many teething issues. However, there can only be one clear leader and a new set of rules to adhere to. It is important for all members to quickly appreciate that they are now pro-government and to be successful, they must now heed their own call for reform.

The Malaysian voters who gave Pakatan Harapan the mandate to rule, with the hope for change, must believe that they made the right choice. It is Pakatan Harapan’s task as the ruling coalition to now ensure that this change begins from within.


The WhatsApp Elections

by Gogulan Dorairajoo, CEO, Rantau
WhatsApp Image

Just like me, most of you, or nearly everyone reading this, will have had their overload of election messages on their group chats streaming in daily since the date of the election was announced.

Never before have we been inundated with so many messages from the various quarters from every conceivable chat group. The information more often than not is always false and most of the time dates back from 2013 (the time of the last election). This of course will not stop supporters of both sides sharing wildly and without checking, the authenticity of said messages. This is why I believe - where the last election was the first one to be fought on social media, this election will be fought via the more “personal" social media channel, WhatsApp.

The WhatsApp chat group has penetration far beyond what traditional or even electronic media can reach and its impact is even more pervasive and instant. It also allows for the recipient to forward ‘breaking news' to the other chat groups in an instant, which is gold in this age of instant gratification.

Now you can watch ceramah after ceramah online and then instantly forward the clip, thus making it viral in a few minutes. Imagine the reach in the rural areas where a data plan, Facebook and WhatsApp are basically your everyday entertainment.

Now we all have our right as voters to be informed as much as possible before we cast our vote. Unfortunately most of the "news" on social media and WhatsApp remain largely false and without substance. This is dangerous in a society where we are not mature enough to handle such incorrect information, leading to incidents started just by WhatsApp rumours.

Information is the key to any electorate and we are in an age where we are either blessed or cursed by the amount we are exposed to.

Vote wisely my fellow Malaysians, we have only one country.

The Millennial In The Office, That’s Me.


Hi, my name is Lynn and I’m a millennial.

I’m here to share my views as a millennial in the PR industry today; looking at things from a whole new perspective, sharing my trail of thoughts on being a millennial, and what I face when I’m out and about on the job as a PR consultant. 

Millennials – born in an era when social media grows together with us; the Internet is part of our everyday life; the mention of Apple refers to the most sought-after brand and not the fruit; and Google is our bible, where you can find just about anything and everything with a few taps on your keyboard.

I am of this era; I am blessed in every way. My seniors keep harping on how things were so different back in the 90s, where workspaces were private cubicles and open concepts were unknown, and how technology was an assistant not the principle of work life. Nevertheless, nothing can stop society’s desire to achieve greater goals given the many channels of access within reach today. We, the millennials, want things fast, easy, stress-free, simple. A good income to support our lifestyle is a high priority, hence perhaps why there are so many start-ups owned by young people who want to do things their way, the new way, and also why younger employees demand high salaries.

Taking a different approach though, I would like to emphasise the importance of acquiring experience and not to focus on the salary. With experience, one will be able to climb higher, by going through various levels within the industry, working with a variety of personalities, appreciating the ins and outs of different tasks and consistently learning from mentors along the way. I believe in taking every opportunity as a chance to learn: if you fall, get back up and move forward to more opportunities, this is a mantra I have implanted in my mind for the longest time. We are not 100% perfect, so it’s okay to make mistakes. What is important though, is that I learn and make mental notes for self-improvement along the way and remind myself not to make the same mistake again.

Work is where I face many challenges. We are constantly bombarded with negative references and images such as “Millennials can’t work”, “Millennials are so full of themselves”, “Millennials... etc., etc. This negativity is reflected in almost all blogs and articles about work cultures written by our predecessor generations. You hear this lament from people around you and on talk shows. I almost think that it is what most of our colleagues believe, and it is always on the tip of their tongues. I mostly fear that if I fail to deliver in my work, then my paranoia takes over and I imagine those phrases running through their minds.

It makes me pause, whenever someone picks on the negative instead of looking at the bright side of millennials, and trust me, I may be young, but I’ve encountered a lifetime of instances whereby we are criticised and chided for our lack of everything, and here I am, standing in front of you, a 21-year-old millennial.

I have officially been in the PR industry for only five months, where everything is about perception. I, however, have decided not to let this affect me. After all, the PR industry has seen the need to go digital and the advantage of being a tech savvy millennial has saved the day for us.

No one will be more familiar with social media than us, considering we grew up with it. I’m of the habit of checking all social platforms every 1 to 2 hours to ensure that I’m updated on the latest trends or news, which plays a big role in the PR industry today. Social media is transforming the newspaper business, making it easily accessible to view and carry around. Advertisements are all paid-to-go on social platforms and advertisers, influencers and blogger reviews are considered news. All these with the help of social media have really turned the Public Relations industry 180 degrees.

From reaching and hitting our target PR Value via hard copy news, to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook postings and simple write-ups from the online media that are now considered hard news, the audience that individuals and organisations are targeting are all on social media platforms, 24/7, and that’s where we millennials are.

What would happen if the PR industry does not change together with the digital world? All I can say is, you’d be missing out on a lot, and it’s time to step up the game. Coming from a Public Relations background, as I look at how social media has a place in almost everything we do, I am beginning to understand that millennials, like me, are lucky enough to have everything within the reach of our hand. We are given the opportunity to get data and information within hours, where before, the research would probably take days to be completed.

In many ways, it is really going to take a few more years for employers, the industry, and the rest of society to adapt to the ease that technology can provide. It may seem unbelievable but it’s happening right now. Look at how the world is evolving and evolve around it; don’t get left behind and do find a way to let us millennials make a change. We need you, and vice versa, you need us too.

Speaking on behalf of millennials around the world, please don’t pre-form your opinion and perception of us the way many others do. Instead, appreciate our ability and embrace our difference. Communication barriers may be a challenge but we are not aliens. We are the future of a global nation.


Top 5 PR Truths To Keep In Mind With The FB-CA Scandal

Written by Janitha Sukumaran, Founder & Consulting Director of Rantau PR Malaysia

Mark- FB Businessinsider

Top 5 PR Truths To Keep In Mind With The FB-CA Scandal

Brand Guardians will tell you that nothing kills a brand faster than a damaged reputation. Yet here we are with front row seats to the Facebook debacle involving privacy and public trust of its 50+ million users, whose information were misappropriated by political research firm Cambridge Analytica.  Popcorn will come in handy as you watch the screens as Facebook’s shares plunge (down by 18% on March 27 since the data breach news broke on March 16) and users contemplate whether to stay or leave with the #DeleteFacebook campaign gaining traction online.

So are we learning anything as we discuss this growing scandal over drinks and via social media. Well here are 5 quick reminders from a public relations perspective.

#1 If you are aware of an escalating and potentially scandalous problem within your organisation or as a result of a business practice, then fix it immediately. With social media being the biggest gossip medium, your problem will soon become everyones business, more so if everyone knows your name.

#2 Do not lie when reality and truth is staring you in the face.  If you have tried to ignore this problem all this while, it really is time to speak up when the proverbial s#$! hits the fan.

#3 Respond fast. It shows an actual concern about the problem and a sincere desire to resolve it. The longer you sit on it, the more you lose credibility as a spokesperson and as a business.

#4 Shelve your pride. Relearn the feeling of being humble and the art of apologising, especially if you think you are on top of your game and may start mistaking yourself for god. It is not difficult to say “I am sorry”. Try it today.

#5 Be forthcoming about how you are going to fix the problem. What is your strategy to ensure that it does not happen again; how important are your customers to you and your business; what will you do to make things right again and re-earn your customer’s trust. Do not let it all be just talk; put it to action immediately.

If none of these steps resonate with you and show you how to navigate through your minefield of shame, then your business really deserves to be blown up and your customers should shun you.  

After all, “You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them.” – Stephen R. Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


Real Grads. Real Advice. Real Stories.

IMG_2158Aida Yasmin

Life is a bit like a rollercoaster. It has its ups and downs. But as a person with dyslexia, that rollercoaster is not an enjoyable ride. Not initially anyway. The world can be a really terrifying place for a person with a learning disability.

I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in primary school. My mother saw the signs as I was struggling desperately to recognise the letters of the alphabet, struggling with reading and spelling, and getting tripped up by numbers in Maths.

The stress of dealing with schoolwork left me crying and begging my mother to let me stay at home because my teachers were scolding me for being slow compared to my classmates. I didn’t sleep well at night. I would stay up all night worrying about what tomorrow might bring. I had no one to talk to and instead I was in a constant battle with myself. I saw no future for myself. Every time I thought I had hit rock bottom, I discovered that I could still go lower. I kept falling, but the bottom was fast approaching.

Dyslexia is primarily associated with difficulty in reading but it can also affect writing, spelling, and even speaking. To make things worse, dyslexia had stripped me of all my self-confidence, self-esteem and also my social skills.

Dyslexia is not a condition that can be cured with a pill or medicine – in other words, there is no easy fix. I took special classes in school which had reading specialists working with me one-on-one to help me focus on improving my reading skills.

Today, I am a PR consultant with a communications degree, which has been and is a huge challenge for me because it can be difficult for me to express myself clearly through communications.

How I got here was not a straight road. I was full of energy when I started my studies in TESL. There certainly was excitement in wearing my baju kurung every day, teaching in front of the class, pretending to be a real-life teacher. During the foundation level, I learnt about the unique interdisciplinary learning experience, focusing on the main components of English – Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking and Grammar as well as Literature. But there was a time when I had no idea what I was doing. It was definitely not like how I had thought it would be back in school. Quickly I learnt that I needed to swim, for if I did not, I would sink.

Instead of pursuing my degree in TESL, I switched to Public Relations. Why? It all started when I desperately wanted to do sports PR because of my passion and obsession towards sports. Despite having a learning disability, I never let it hold me back.

I learnt the most through my PR internship with daily tasks given to me. That’s where I developed my love for PR. From writing to handling a variety of responsibilities that were not confined to just one account, PR is a great opportunity to experience a high-energy environment.

During my internship, I did not mind leaving the house at 6am every day and join other commuters on our morning routine to work. It was intense and sometimes a little depressing but it was exciting because I loved what I was doing.

But if you think a person like me doesn’t belong in this industry, you couldn’t be more wrong. The most important thing to know about dyslexia is that being dyslexic does not mean one has low intelligence. Dyslexia doesn’t make you weak, but it makes dealing with certain situations a bit more difficult. Going through it, I gained the ability to better deal with adverse situations and it became part of my journey of self-discovery.

The question now is, are the communication grads like myself ready for the real world?

My answer is simple. It is either you want to be in your comfort zone or you go out and challenge yourself. We all have experiences and talents exclusive to ourselves, so trust them and find strength from them. Use them to improve upon many insights in life. Act upon life, attach yourself to meaningful and uplifting purposes and rejoice in every moment of life, whether it is good or bad.

Also, there’s a lot of discussion about modern youth being less ready for adulthood than their parents’ generation. Do you think that today’s teenagers are less prepared for the real world than ever before? Of course, living in today’s world can be challenging with a tough job market out there – as the research by shows, 74% of the young talent polled had left their jobs due to lack of development, while 43% wanted a higher salary. But there’s a piece of advice coming from real- world experience which helps me get through challenges.

“Always take your schooling and responsibilities seriously because that is what a future employer is going to judge you by. You might be able to ‘get by’ in the university, but in the real world, that doesn’t cut it if you want to succeed. Never ever expect things to be handed to you on a golden platter as earning them will be a lot more valuable.”

Never expect your degree to get you anywhere unless you have the applicable work experience and skills to go with it, and above all, put in the effort and be willing to continue learning. Formerly an intern at Rantau, I rejoined the company as I’m looking forward to pursuing a career as a consultant and to get into a little bit of everything. I’ve learnt that it takes more than a degree to land a job and build a career.

If you ask me about the critical 21st century skills every fresh grad needs to survive and succeed in today’s world, what are the abilities and traits that will serve them in a time that’s changing and developing so rapidly? Again, my answer is the same – go out, challenge yourself, show some effort and be willing to learn.

I look back on my childhood and I am now thankful for it. It was a blessing in disguise as it has defined me and made me the person I am today. I somehow feel stronger than I was before, with greater confidence. What I’m trying to say is, if you have dyslexia or are going through some hardship, don’t fight it. Embrace it, because eventually, it will lead you to incredible things. You just have to learn, like I did. Remember, don’t make people who are struggling feel worthless.


About Aida

Formerly an intern at Rantau, Aida rejoined the company after a stint in event management and publicity. Aida's experience in the professional world has also covered social media management, design, raising sponsorship and serving as a media liaison as well as community liaison for grassroots programmes. To date, Aida has done work for a variety of clients in sectors such as technology, F&B, healthcare, sports, home appliances, transportation, logistics, construction and property development.