Just over six years ago, I was walking out of Menara Star after using (paying, mind you) the library to research for an article I was working on as a freelancer.
I bumped into two people – Michael Aeria and Tan Ju-Eng – both of whom I had met 10 years before that, when I was a member of the BRATs (Bright Roving Annoying Teens – The Star’s young journalist programme).
A hello and short casual conversation later and I found myself returning to The Star for a few days after to do some work (which, by the way, I never ended getting paid for!). Everything happened so quickly in those few days:
Within a few days, I had signed a three-month contract to help create and put together a new youth pullout. At that stage, it was still unnamed. In less than a month, we had brought together a myriad of people from different sections – Daryl Goh from Entertainment, sub-editor Melody L. Goh, Gordon Cho from Galaxie and Star2’s Izuan Shah – to work on this pullout. We had even hired one person, Yam Phui Yee, to work with me.
In one of those meetings, Daryl suggested the name “Rage”. And on Sept 12, 2005, we launched the eight-page pullout (special edition just for tertiary institutions and selected secondary school with sixth formers) at Taylor’s College in Subang Jaya.
My three-month contract got extended twice and just as I was going to extend it once more, I decided that I would join The Star full time. Yes, I love R.AGE that much.
Fast forward almost six years and I left The Star as Editor of the platform around the date I started working on R.AGE (surprised? Read this post! :P). And today will be the first time R.AGE will celebrate it’s birthday without me. 🙁
The last six years have been filled with lots of ups and downs. From eight pages to 12 pages; from being a college/uni-only publication to a daily (once a day) in StarTwo; from being a sister youth publication to rebranding Youth2 and finally now as a 12-page weekly pullout on its own. Along the way, there were many events – Spirit of KL (and Melaka and Penang), Trailblazer, My 2Sen Worth, Mobifilm Challenge, Dodgeball, Cheer, My Challenge and more. Then there were the various online incarnations – from the first blog in 2005 to the new look we just put in place last month.
Not to mention the million of people who joined us as columnist including many of my friends (or have become friends) Zain, David, Rusyan, Su Ann, Jason Goh, Jason Lioh, Grace, Joyce, Vivy, Wai Min and Natasha. Oh, and the 20 million interns we had too.
What a ride!
I have many, many favourite moments (yes, I’m Mr. Nostalgia) including our special 24-hour youth survery, our special World AIDS Day supplement which won the Red Ribbon Award, running the BRATs workshops and some of our charity projects.
I am also very grateful for the many opportunities I have gotten from working at The Star – my The Bangsar Boy column, attending the Grammy Awards, trips to New York, LA, South Africa, Egypt and more.
I have also had the opportunity to learn from and work with so many bosses, colleagues, editors and friends including Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Datin Linda Ngiam, Ann Marie Chandy, June Wong, Lim Cheng Hoe, Alistair Tan, Ju-Eng, Michael and many others from other departments of the paper.
I’ve had the chance to meet so many young people from all walks of life both through the paper and our online networks as well as face to face during our events.
That said, for me, the best part about my stint in The Star and R.AGE has to be the amazing team that I have worked with until my finals days with the section – Melody who was there right from the start, Nasa Maria Entaban who joined us soon after, Sharmila Nair who is a little bit mental (IMHO, please don’t sue me) and Ian Yee, who helped add some male testosterone to the desk. There’s also Ivy Soon who was a dream boss (most of the time), and one whom I learned so much from.
It has been an honour, guys, to work with a bunch of amazing people who were not just colleagues, but good friends as well.
Good luck, take care and have a very happy 6th birthday. Here’s to many, many more! 😀
8.30am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)