Being in a prestigious international competition with co-finalists coming from different ages and backgrounds, Wira Gregory from Brunei Darussalam cannot help but feel small.
Despite this, if you ask him about the most rewarding experience he had during the competition, he is proud to say that it is the connections he has made during the contest.
My name is Wira Gregory, from Negara Brunei Darussalam. Finding the right words to describe my time with and under the ASEAN Foundation is somewhat difficult— but hardly in a negative sense. If I had to pick out the most memorable experience that I took away from it all, it would be establishing connections through experiences. Being from the host country did not limit my overall experience because I still made a lot of friends and connections throughout the workshop.
The term “Social Journalist” may seem like something of a daunting, if not overawing, as first impressions. But the title remains to be just that—a title. It’s about what one does with the experience that actually makes a difference in what you do. Being 19 years old at the time of the first AYSJ, I found that I was vastly outclassed by some of the resumes and ages of the other international finalists, yet I eventually found myself, connecting with most of them in the end. Even the ASEAN Foundation staff and facilitators ended up being important mentors that I’ve always been thankful for being able to confide in.
As for the workshop itself, I found myself thrust into a whole new dimension of technology, specifically the utilization of social media and its vast coverage over the internet to bring awareness and spread campaigns for good causes. At the time, I was undergoing preoccupations that prevented me from fully devoting my time to the post-project campaigns, but I still felt that the lessons learnt throughout the workshop were more than enough to open a whole new window of possibilities for future campaigns.
The one blessing that I have always remembered from my time as a finalist in the AYSJ would be how I, despite being nothing more than a mere college student, found my experience enhanced through the connections I made. Through collaboration with the representatives from other countries, I found myself not only comprehending the content of the workshop with much better perspective, but I also found myself making friends from across the ASEAN region. As cliché as the latter sounds, it truly has been one of the best rewards that have come out of participation in the AYSJ workshop. Despite the relative gap in age and experience, I still found myself making the best of friends who I respect with all my heart. From Indonesia to Cambodia, I find myself extremely thankful to and for the connections, bonds, and companions that were founded through being a participant and finalist in the ASEAN.
Got an idea that can help the community? Join ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021 and share us your essay and campaign idea!
This contest is open to ASEAN youths. Make a team of 2 and submit your idea before 14 February 2021 at this link.
Top 20 selected teams will participate in a virtual social journalism workshop to finetune their strategy plan, and receive a USD 200 stipend to support the implementation of their campaign. The best performers will be awarded USD 1,000 for the first winner, USD 750 for the second winner and USD 500 for the third winner to maximise the reach of their campaign!