On the 11th of February 2006, the Young Leaders International (YLI) organized a creative workshop, “It’s Really Ok to be Me” for youths aged 13 and above at MPH, 1 Utama. About 40 youths including underprivileged ones were present. It was especially valid for youths as most of them think nothing of themselves. So it is to help them learn & accept themselves through creative and fun ways. We had these three categories:

• Creative Me
• Colorful Me
• Natural Me

At first, we were thinking what would these events do to us, or maybe some might not want to come but forced to for fear of boredom. But Ms Ong Eng Eng, the Founder of YLI made sure that none of us was bored to death. She started by asking us to play the blanket game, which we have to identify the opponent. This was to make us know each other better instead of being strangers. We even had the TV3 crew to shoot the whole event!! All of us appeared on TV, what a once-in-a-lifetime experience... wow! The TV crew even remarked that the value of this workshop was almost equivalent to their own corporate training!

We started off with “Natural Me”. We had to choose a leaf from the pile that was given to us to represent ourselves. The sharing by the youths were really interesting, for example, Balkis chose a leaf which has a lot of little leaves on it which symbolized her love to make many friends. She is outgoing and truly she is one of the most caring persons that you’ll ever met. And then there was Daniel, who was the hit of that event; he chose a long leaf and said that it meant he has a long way to go and he wanted to grow as tall as that leaf (kinda puny guy) and he had that “cool” attitude that made everyone laugh, nearly set us rolling on the floor!

And then the activity of “Colorful Me”, we used some kind of decoration and picked them to tell what we like about those colors. Some of us chose our favorite colors and some even chose the color that represented their religion. While some others chose to say that white for world peace. A youth chose a mixture of green and red and that represented Christmas for unity. We actually had a group who sang all the Malaysian festive songs using all the different colors! Truly, creatively “muhibbah’.

Last but not least we had the last activity, “Creative Me”. We had to choose something that we hated about ourselves and then turned it into something that became a positive value. A girl named Diyana said that she hated her large eyes because it just scared the hell out of people but she turned it positively by saying that if without those eyes to help her see, life wouldn’t be much of a meaning.

So today’s program taught us that we have to love and accept ourselves even though we think that we are ugly and all that, but deep down inside we are special in every way. This gives us a good-feel comfort. Lastly, besides Aunty Eng Eng, we would like to thank all our facilitators who are Uncle Bakar, Ming and Ridvan.

Reported by Abir Balkis & Amy Yap

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