Inspiring the young to write about deepening democracy


What happens when you put a group of youths in a room over the weekend, with plenty of coffee, and ask them to come up with an article ready for publication? Not just on any topic but on issues facing the nation. How do they grab the readers’ attention from the first paragraph and ensure that their writing is coherent, concise, engaging and readable?

Aliran held its first Young Writers Workshop last weekend with the support of the Canadian High Commission. Twenty budding writers sacrificed their weekend to participate in the two-day session bearing the theme ‘Writing about Good Governance and Democracy’.

We had no idea what to expect but in the end, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the participants’ writing, the range of topics covered (from the “feudalistic” YB culture to the design of public toilets) and the potential waiting to be tapped!

It was an interactive, hands-on experience, with each participant expected to produce an article for publication on the Aliran website.

The four workshops we have planned are targeted at youths (up to 35 years) with the hope that they will one day enrich the discourse on the issues confronting the nation through their writing.

If you missed the first workshop in Penang, don’t worry; the second one is coming up this weekend. But hurry, only limited seats are available and these are being snapped up.

Workshop 2 (Penang)

24-25 January – Writing about deepening democracy: Creating space for youth in federal, state and local governments

Venue: Rainbow Paradise, Beach Resort, Penang

Lead facilitators:

Dr Francis Loh – Aliran president, political scientist, researcher and writer

Nicholas Chan – Aliran member, Aliran TA Online writer and researcher

In this workshop, participants will distinguish between the various levels of government. We will explore the centralisation and decentralisation of government and its impact on civil society, in particular, the youths. Participants will then be better equipped to engage with different levels of government to effect change and to write about their aspirations.

Lunch and two tea breaks will be provided free. (A nominal registration fee of RM10 per workshop will be collected.)

To register, fill up the form here. For details on Workshops 3 (PJ) and 4 (Ipoh), visit the Aliran website.

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gk ong

According to EIU’s survey, Malaysia is considered to have ‘flawed democracy’ in 2014.

Don Anamalai

It is relevant since you are talking about democracy.
Flawed democracy certainly is more relevant here than deepening democracy.

I suggest you have a prominent ‘red button’ on top of your blog for easy access to ‘Reader’s Alert’.


Gk ong, never argue with retards… let them be, let them be happy and wish them all the best !!!


…. Ok smart guy Still unable to digest that Kangkung has come down to reasonable level. Let me give you another one. 2 weeks ago timun was about 2.90 per kilo.. Now go to Econsave, its only 88 cents per kilo. Don`t believe and don`t want to go down to Econsave. Then read Kwong Wah paper. Its all there. You see smart guy, … i can rebut with facts and figure. Can you !! You want to know about democracy. Ask Putin. Get out of that coconut shell and wake up please.


Ananars, here’s a new terminology applicable (naturally) to the ‘pandai-pandai’:
Sai-ko-fan (in plain sounding English – sycophant).
Use it in fine-weather Penang only to suit the occasion & no copyright applicable.
It sure will fire-up ‘naik-garam-kencang-angin’.


It sure will fire-up ‘naik-garam-angin-kencang’.


Sai-ko-fan terminology explained in 2 parts:
‘Sai’-ko = psycho your mind …
fan = spread hatred for anything or anybody of anti-CAT or more to the point anti-CAT Deity or more recently anti-Te Huat-Tien Kong.

There are many cat-purring minion examples with penchant to tear you to pieces here in

Benar kronik case tu Sai-ko-fan.

Mat Sniper

Jangan alih dengan cerita timun.
1MDB dah meletop sekarang MyEG pula ….
RM38 monopoli kroni cepat kaya lagi

Phua Kai Lit

1. There is a group of intellectuals who came up with the idea of “Radical Democracy”

2. There’s also the concept of “Economic Democracy”
In fact, I read a book by this name way back in the early 1980s.
Written by Martin Carnoy and Derek Shearer.

3. Then there is Social Democracy, which is working reasonable well in Scandinavian nations such
as Sweden.

gk ong

What about Kangkung democracy?


GK ; Don`t try to politicize something that what has been said by t he PM is true that prices of vegetable will go up and down on depending on demand and supply. Most vegetable prices have now come quite substantially including Kangkong from a high of 7.00 to about 3-4 ringgit


Phua : Radical or economic or social democracy it all come down to 1 person 1 vote. In any concept there is nothing fair be it democracy or no democracy when you do not abide by the rule of law. Even then there is no fairness or perfection in the rule of law.


Esp ruled by a CAT that cannot tolerate the slightest criticism for ‘its’ own good.
Rather, it ‘naik angin kencang’ to admonish others for attacking ‘its’ wife & maybe ‘its’ mother.
What a hypocrite when ‘it’ can conveniently call other racist grandmother.

Sama-sama perangai sai-ko-fans yang cuba hentam orang lain yang berfikiran bertentangan dengan Kucing Halus Komtar.


Before these young people start to write or come out with any ideas about democracy, they must first understand what democracy is, is it fair or not and how it will affect the people and country. Some quotes to enlight some of you. 1. Democracy is a socialist form of government whereby 51% of the people elect a representative to rob and oppress the other 49% of the people. — How very true. Which ever sides win, the winner will always suppress the other sides that lose. 2. Democracy fails all the time, and with it freedom too. — How… Read more »


It would not be fair if 89 representatives tried to usurp the power of 132 representatives. This is definitely undemocratic. They should wait for the next GE. If this is allowed to happen there will be chaos and would set a very bad example that will set a precedent for others to illegally occupy public premises and institution which is happening right now

gk ong

Gerrymandering via unfair electoral delineation makes mockery of one man one vote democratic system.


Gerrymandering is an intuition of the opposition of trying to make something out without proof or evidence when they lose.


iSuperconfused please do not alk rubbish!


No happy? Go on a hunger strike lah.
MIC also do that what!


I somewhat agreed with Super. One example is how the opposition try infuse into the mind of the people that there are more than 40,000 illegal Bangla voters which we now know its not true. If Najib is using Kangkong as an example of luring voters in a democratic election, he is at least using somewhat a kind of an honest intuition instead of false intuition like 40k bangla voters which does not exist. My comments above shows that I am not wrong. These young people when writing about democracy must look at every angle without any bias at all.

gk ong

Can you Putin elaborate on the media and internet proxy wars between Daim and Najib? Is Mahathir involved too?

Ed G

History has proven that the ones holding power have a tendency to, but not always, suppressed or even oppressed those whom they ruled for social, economic or political reasons. The democratic system is not without flaws; no system created by man is. Which is precisely the reason that the minorities be accorded constitutional protections by the judiciary and the likes of opposition political parties, civil society groups, social activists etc. For such a protection to be effective, the freedom to voice or protest peacefully against perceived injustice has to be allowed unless under very special and specific circumstances. And the… Read more »


Beware of the Sai-ko-fans trying to ‘tim-sai’ at others’ genuine motives for the betterment of CAT regime. Their so-called bersih-democracy is but a Cat’s wowing call full of cat’s kutu after the fact. For aspiring writers, develop your young minds with fresh individualistic thinking rather than adopt wholesale, cat-herd mentality of shiok-sendiri to emo-sycophant for their idol / deity. At the end of the day, what you will get from this Cat saga is self-deceiving. Oh, I must remind myself the above comment will be construed by the sai-kos as mid-life crisis. Can’t blame them for their twisted mind of… Read more »

Don Anamalai


Do you play any role in the workshop?
You can be a good facilitator.
Do encourage the young writers to read your blog and provide constructive feedback too.

gk ong

True. This blog could do with new batch of young readers to provide Gen Y input in the comment section.