REPORT: Forum Kanak-Kanak 2003

BY: SARAH CHEN (Nov 3,2003) 

“Children: the voice of tomorrow”. Indeed, this has been a common phrase used in today’s world of globalization. As the truth holds, the children today are the future leaders of the globe and thus, it is of great importance that all essential needs are met: education, health, dietary needs, a healthy environment and the right upbringing filled with love. 

In conjunction with this year’s World Children’s Day Celebration, the Ministry of Unity and Social Development organized a children’s forum with the theme, “Listen to our voice: Appreciate and Protect our rights” on October 2-5, 2003. This time around, it was a 3-day forum involving approximately 300 participants from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur at the Corus Hotel. Six YA’s got the opportunity to participate in the event, with hope of contributing their opinions towards bringing the forum to a success.

Serious discussion regarding three main issues began on the second day (4th of October), after a series of debriefing sessions the night before. With young moderators and facilitators from various schools in the district, pupils’ discipline in school, social integration and the convention on the rights of a child were the subject matters brought forth. 

Inevitably, we were bombarded with information and statistics, which opened all our eyes. Though the presentations were commendable, the real lesson only began when fellow participants were divided into groups to discuss what was advocated and come up with mind maps based on our own interpretations. It was shocking to discover that discrimination of skin color was still happening within the lurks of Kuala Lumpur. Even the younger ones had a say about the situations different parts of the community were faced with from day to day. 

Later, few among us were selected to perform for the closing ceremony as based on the three themes given. Within a mere half an hour, a powerful drama on social integration was produced, awaiting to stun the audience with well-versed messages. A team of frustrated yet resolute individuals, our team was determined to show the audience the real vicissitudes of life today- how schools practiced unfairness towards students which were socially different for example. Indeed, the crowd was astonished that night. We were glad that we played a part in spreading the awareness and taking a firm stand. 

The final activity was the making of a scrapbook about what we wanted from the world, and for those who took it earnestly, it was a self-realization process: where we stand in the globe, our visions and our hopes. 

An overall success, we obtained wonderful experiences and gained much awareness. Discipline, CRC and social integration should be given serious attention by everyone, YA’s foremost. Discrimination and racism has to end for us to achieve our dreams.

 “ Tolerating isn’t enough, let’s start understanding”.