The Youth Engagement Summit 2009 was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last November 16-17 at the PICC–an extremely special and exceptional venue to house world class speakers from all across the globe. The PICC in Kuala Lumpur has been a very memorable place for hundreds, if not thousands of youths from all across the South East Asian Region who had little hopes of having one of the most powerful personas in the world right now–the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

After dozen of scratch and drafts, I decided to write down my thoughts freely. With no bearings, no guidelines–nothing limiting me to stick to the topic. So once again, I am one of the lucky 500 South East Asian Youth Delegates who were sponsored by Air Asia and (major sponsor) Sime Darby to join the Youth Engagement Summit 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last November 16-17, 2009.

I was part of that memorable and fruitful two-day affair with 56 other delegates from the Philippines who won their round trip from Manila to Malaysia back and forth, hotel accommodations and allowance free of charge by participating in the SEAChange Movement also known as the South East Asian Youth for Change.

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this event and truthfully, there are no sufficient words that can describe or characterize the excitement that I felt the moment I saw my name in the list of winners that won a trip to Malaysia.  Think how much more excited I was when I met the fellow Philippine Delegates at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 up to the thrill and excitement we all had when we first set foot at the Summit itself.

I learned numerous lessons which could already fill a chapter of a huge novel by now. Lessons that I’ll carry on with me day in and day out from now on. The Summit taught me a lot of things about my fellow youth from the Philippines, from Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries in the South East Asian region as well. It has been truly a once in a lifetime experience which not even a second more grandiose visit to Malaysia could replace it.

Like every child, like every human being, we need food to survive.  And eventually, our parents (specially addressed to the youth who don’t live by themselves yet) are there to provide the food that we are eating. It isn’t all about food where the word feeding may be applied, but it can also be used in other more philosophical terms.

To cite a parallel example, I have been just an ordinary blog owner prior the whole SEAChange Movement–someone who tried to promote change in his very own sort-of-unique­ way through his blog. My mind was full of ideas that only I could truly apprehend and understand until I met the people behind the whole SEAChange staff, before I met our speakers, who are global leaders in their respective fields. All those people have fed me with knowledge that are irreplaceable–as well as the experiences that they have made me feel–experiences so unforgettable that I have been thinking about everything that happened at the Summit for days now.

I ain’t the little foolish blogger before YES2009 anymore. I took something from the Summit–like I believe everyone has taken something from it, and that is to continue facilitating and even further strive for change in our very community, in our country, and most importantly within ourselves. You and I, must change first.  I believe this is a pre-requisite before we start to change the way of the people around us.

Even an ordinary teenager or young adult could bring about change in his own way, at his own surroundings. It just takes a little patience, a few connections here and there and a few other, extremely important pointers:

  • The need to focus on whatever you do and to stick to the plans as much as possible.
  • The will to pursue your plans and make them really happen.
  • The acceptance of critics even if they sound so, so odd.
  • The help of one another to unite and fight for the common good. A change that doesn’t just benefit the majority, but if possible, all.
  • A peaceful mind, which enables you to think properly and do accordingly
  • Also, a simple plan that you need to execute strategically to perfection just like in a game of chess.

Of course, time comes when you feel like life is unfair and sometimes there is no other way but to rebut and refute the ones who hit you first as you need to stand firm on your ideals, your dreams, and your objectives.

The Youth Engagement Summit opened up various gates for me, and most especially it opened up Pinoy Teens Online to the world, probably not that significant like some of you have thought, but that doesn’t matter. You need to grab all your chances, even if the hopes of getting what you want is slim, you’ll never know.

Well, I never imagined to make it to the Summit. But hey, I have been there, and my name will always be among those to have attended it first, the first Youth Engagement Summit 2009.

More photos available for public viewing at Picasa Web

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