4th World Summit on Media for Children and Adolescents
19th to 23rd April 2004, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Time: 4:40am (Malaysian time)
Location: Somewhere past India, over the sea, on the plane
Feeling: Hungry and sleepy

I think its day one or day two of our trip to Rio…so far, everything is going quite smoothly, and it has been quite a comfortable flight. The air stewardesses aren't as friendly as the MAS airlines one. The seatbelt light is currently on; therefore I cannot leave the seat to wash my face. Sarah is sitting next to me. She's fiddling with her CDs and split some water on her seat. Something went wrong with the in-flight entertainment system, so, we didn't have any videos, movies or games during the entire flight. However, the both of us, still somehow managed to entertain ourselves during the 13-hour journey. It's really dark outside but the view here is beautiful. There are stars all over the sky! YAY! We are reaching Paris (I think). I can't wait to be there.

Time: 10:45am (Malaysian Time)
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Feeling: I still can't believe that we are still flying!

I think its Day Two; all this flying got me really confused. We have not yet reached Paris yet, but all in good time. YAY! I think they are serving us food. I am really hungry now!! Just realized that we aren't going to see any sun until we land in Paris…still waiting for the plane to land though!

It's FREEZING here!!!! I feel so numb (I don't think I can feel my fingers) the weather here is seven degrees Celsius. Horribly cold!!! Well, as for Sarah, and me we have started filming outdoors already, with the help of Uncle Sabri as the cameraman!! We found it quite difficult to actually communicate with the taxi drivers as they speak French, and well, we don't really know French but we gave it a shot anyway! We managed to get a cab right to the Eiffel Tower, which was utterly amazing, because I have only seen it on TV and in pictures but to see it real life…as a solid…was definitely amazing! Both of us, was oohing and ahhing at the sight of it, typical tourist J When we wanted to get a rid up there, it wasn't opened yet because it was pretty early in the morning.

So, we took a quick detour and went for breakfast in PARIS!!! YAY! So, our friendly cab driver took us around town and there wasn't anyone out on the streets taking a stroll or just walking because mainly it's freezing outside and it was a Sunday morning, everyone was happily tucked in their warm beds at home! We ate breakfast at a quaint restaurant, with a very nice old man serving us. The food there was definitely delicious!!

After eating our fill, we got unto a cab again, and this time, went around Paris for a quick look-see. We got on and off the cab quite a number of times just to take a quick picture of this and that, and of course to do some filming too! When we reached the Eiffel tower, there were loads of people already there. There was a light shower, and it made the weather really cold (I actually felt it was going to start snowing). Sarah and I still decided to take a ride right up to the top. So, we took a elevator up. We thought the weather on the ground was cold, when we got up, I thought we were going to freeze to death! As usual, we took LOADS and LOADS of pictures and filmed ourselves too!! The view from the tower was amazing; we could see the whole of Paris from up there. By the time, the both of us managed to squeeze our way down, we had to go to the airport already. So, that was our delightful trip to Paris.

FINALLY!! TOUCHDOWN!! We arrived safely! It was a really tiring flight and I can't wait to get back to the hotel to take a long hot bath but first to have dinner. It was a good flight though, but nevertheless, all of us were happy to have finally reached our destination. Soon, we were standing outside our hotel, Hotel Bandeirantes, meeting up with the cherry gang from Malaysia, Amanda, Marisha, Abang and Uncle Sonny!!

While we checked in, Uncle Sabri and Aunty Wati went to check into their hotel and we were to meet later for dinner. We excitedly went up to our room, 1006, and it was cozy and just about the right size for the both of us! Marisha, Amanda, Abang and Uncle Sonny excitedly started telling us all about the new friends they have just met, the places that they went to, the things that they saw, their flight and basically just about everything! Sure enough, however tired the both of us were, we ended up chatting animatedly the whole walk to the restaurant. That night, we had a very nice dinner and everyone turned in early, as the next day was THE DAY!!!

The next morning, Sarah woke up as early as 4am, she was feeling jet lagged still. As for me, she soon woke me up too at 6am. We got dressed and hurried down for breakfast. During breakfast, we saw many of the other delegates from other countries. I was bubbling with excitement as I saw the many different kinds of friends that I will be making during my stay there. We had breakfast together, and since we were staying pretty close to the beach, we decided to go check the beach out. The four of us, got ready in our beachwear and set out for the beach. Well, we didn't exactly informed Uncle Sonny where we were going, so that was actually a mistake and we learned our first lesson there in the beautiful city. The weather there is beautiful, just nice for a stroll on the beach!

At around 11 or so, we left the hotel for the Naval Academy (it was THE PLACE). I was bursting with excitement by the time we got to the place! First things first, we all went to register ourselves. We were all so excited. There were so many youth delegates from all over the world there. The registration bit was quite confusing and it took us quite a long time, standing around in the now-very-hot sun before all of us got our nametags. After registering, we sat around the curb chatting and waiting for the van to come pick us up, with our new found friends from Tanzania, Khadijah, Brian and Husna. They were extremely warm and friendly. We soon left for lunch at the cafeteria where we will be eating for the following week. There we met more friends and soon after lunch, we went to the adolescent forum area. The building was impressive; it was huge and had separate rooms for each of our workshops. The center was 'alive' with lights, music and of course teenagers from all over the world chatting along with their chaperones.

The icebreaker was fantastic; we didn't even realize it was an icebreaker. They just started playing music, and all of us, not even minding what country we were from, what language we were speaking, what color our skin was just started holding hands and dancing to the beat. We just went round and round and not realizing swapped places with other people. When the music stopped, we introduced our country and ourselves. After doing so, we all made a long worm and started moving into the youth auditorium. There we had more mini icebreakers, which were equally as cool. Without us realizing, we already made so many friends just by introducing ourselves to the people next to us.

After the icebreaker, we heard a few quick speeches from the organizers. It was pretty tough to understand as there wasn't a direct translation but thankfully the message still got through. Soon, we were separated into our workshops where we finally met our moderators as well as our group members. I was in the Internet Workshop, Marisha was in the Audio-Visual Critique Workshop, Amanda was in the TV Workshop and Abang was in the Youth News Agency Workshop. When we got settled down in our workshops, we set out to paint our workshop shirts! I really enjoyed my new company. Although, we hardly spoke a word of any of our languages, we somehow managed and we turned out to click well too!

Our main objectives are to discuss on the themes and to create a Multimedia Charter. During my workshop, we were supposed to come up with a website about the whole forum. As soon as we met up, we began our planning immediately. We decided to separate ourselves into groups and started work like, taking photographs, writing reports, searching the other websites and interviewing people. It was definitely quite tiring because we all wanted so much to put everything into the website! Our moderators were fantastic! They gave us their full support and taught us all the way. It was also during these workshops, when we got closer to one another, started to speak each other's languages as well as to gain more information about the internet and so on.

Besides this, we also had parallel sessions that go on during the last hour of our day at the academy. These parallel sessions was together with a few adults from the adults forum, to just have a chat with us on what they are doing, and during this hour and so, the youth could ask the adults questions concerning media and youth. This I felt, was very interesting, and we had loads of interesting questions. However, it was disappointing when not all of us could ask questions due to the lack of time, but we still learnt a lot anyway. It was quite a heated debate, as many of the questions being asked concerns the attitude of the adults towards children, for example, stereotypes.

Even though, everyone was enjoying themselves and having fun and learning, we still felt that what was going on, is not really achieving the objective of discussing the themes and creating a Multimedia Charter. So, some of the youth including us decided to voice out and to actually try and make a change. This was already the third day of the whole forum; therefore not many changes could be made. But still, all of us were not ready to give up, so we continued to discuss and made plans to improve what was going on.

Some decided to join the adult forum and bring back information there to the others. Some of us still went on with the workshops and some of us also sat down in a group to plan the multimedia charter. That was what my workshop decided to do. So, all of us did sit down together and managed to come up with very good conclusions to be placed in the Multimedia Charter. Everyone did their part in contributing to the list of statements to be made in the Charter. It was definitely a job well done. The discussion was very interesting as we all had different opinions on certain statements and there was a variety of youth from different parts of the world, so we all had a different perspective on how we see the advantages and disadvantages of Internet in our different countries.

Each workshop also decided to select a representative from the workshops, to present what we came up with for the Charter, during the Youth Plenary session. We selected Yulievy from Venezuela from our group to present. She did a very good job and made our group proud. The representatives also had to stay back to complete the Charter until 2am in the morning! Besides contributing to the Multimedia Charter, my workshop also managed to come up with a website for everyone to keep track of the follow-ups of the Multimedia Charter and to store memories of the Summit even after the Summit. Besides that, in the website, we also stressed on the cultural diversity that was present during the Summit. During this period, our moderators coached us.

On one of the days as well, we launched MCTF (Malaysian Children Television Foundation) with the presence of Reggina de. Assis and our Brazilian buddy, Natalia. Uncle Sabri gave a quick speech on the subject and then showed our videos. She was so touched and was very happy for us. Our launch was completed with the singing of her signature and Natalia's signature on the MCTF banner. We were really happy with how everything went and showered them with gifts from home. J We were also very excited with our new 'baby' and definitely hope for a bright future for everyone.

During the past few days, national as well as international reporters were all over the academy interviewing the delegates and capturing the moments. The Malaysian delegates sure did appear in the news a lot. We were interviewed day after day by a lot of reporters and even appeared on national news!! Press kits were all given out to the press.

Besides the work that we were assigned to do, we had some FUN too!!! On one of the nights, there was a samba dance concert held in the academy. It was a real party time for all of us; we danced and danced the whole night through!

We also took time off to get to know some of the participants better by hanging out with them by the beach and we even played handball on the BEACH! We were also taken on tours to famous tourist spots in Brazil. We managed to go up Sugar Loaf. The view there was spectacular! We went up by using the cable cars and took loads of pictures.

Time really flies when we are having fun. Soon enough, it was already time for the closing of the Summit. Our hearts were heavy, as we had to leave our newfound friends, our coordinators and our moderators. They were just so nice and warm; we knew we would be missing them.

During the closing, the Malaysian delegates were given the opportunity to give a short presentation. When we heard the news, we were completely taken aback. Wow! The closing! So, on the night before the event, all of us were working very hard to make a good impression.

Abang gave his speech in PORTUGESE and even got a standing aviation!! We again received a standing aviation after everyone saw the Iraq video, and not only that, they were all so touched, as we looked around the auditorium, most of them had tears in their eyes and some were crying. After the video, each of us was given the opportunity to give a short speech. It was a GREAT JOB and we received tremendous support from the crowd!

After our short presentation, was the presentation of the new MULTIMEDIA CHARTER! All the youth present there was sure to be feeling proud of our BIG achievements in the past few days that we were in the Summit. Everyone was satisfied with what we achieved after all the hard work. Then, the moment we were all waiting for, the announcing of the 5th World Summit. Everyone was keeping an ear out for the announcements. The 5th World Summit on Media for Children and Adolescents is going to be held in South Africa!! Everyone applauded and congratulated the South Africans!

Towards the end, we each said our goodbyes, got our shirts signed and hugged every single person we could meet before leaving for the hotel. We took one last look at the entire academy, waved bye-bye and got onto the bus TOGETHER for the last time. We wished we didn't have to leave so soon…

A New circle of Friends
We knew we had to leave Rio whether we liked it or not, it was definitely sad, and even though we were at the airport, we already begun to missed each and everyone of the people who left footprints in our hearts. It was surprising how we got close and attached to them. They hardly speak English, and we hardly speak a word of Portuguese and yet, some how, we just clicked. It's like a miracle happening in front of our eyes, we were not aware on how close we got to them, until we had to leave the country, not until we said bye-bye. Goodbye is probably the hardest thing to say when you know you will hardly get to meet the friendly face that you just met anymore. It's hardest to say when you live half-way-round the world apart from each other.

Although we still have Internet and phones, it's till not the same as seeing the person face to face. Now, I truly know what it is to feel the person's 'being' because that was what got us to click with them. Even though, we were terribly sad, but every cloud has a silver lining. Even after saying bye-bye, the circle of friends that we now have will forever be treasured! Who knows? We might just one day see each other and probably be working with one another again! I learnt a lot form this trip. I learnt whole new different cultures from the friends from other countries, I also learnt about the way media is being handles in other parts of the world and I gained so much from the trip! I gained the experience, the values, the knowledge, the exposure and the new friendships.

This all wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the organizers who organized the event, if it wasn't for the moderators, who were ever so patient with us, the translators, who never fail to try their best in getting the message across, the adults who were present during the Summit, who are here to give their full support to the youth, the canteen operators, who never fail to feed the hungry children, hotel managers, who were friendly and kind, and last but not least the youth who were present there, who showed the world what we are made of! A BIG thank you to all of you for making this happen! But before I end my report, special thanks to the one and only Uncle Sabri and Aunty Wati for being with us and supporting us all the way!! OBRIGADA! Without you both, we would never have had the opportunity. Thank you also to our very dear chaperone, Uncle Sonny, for putting up with us for TEN whole days. And thank you to my fellow friends who went along. We made it! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

Report by YA Jennifer Guan