Ask us (almost) anything about how we do our jobs, what investigative journalism means to us, the state of journalism (especially in Malaysia), our social impact campaigns, how we use reddit, or what R.AGE will be doing with our profile. Or just chat with us about reddit and the Internet -- we love both things as much as you do.

Here’s who's answering questions today:

Ian Yee (Editor)
Elroi Yee (Producer)
Samantha Chow (Journalist)
Clarissa Say (Journalist)


We’ll be replying as this account, but we’ll clearly mark who’s saying what. Now let’s talk. Ask us anything!

For those of you who don't know what it is we do, you can check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page. Our latest project on refugees is a pretty good representation of our overall work:

This AMA is part of /r/IAmA’s “Spotlight on Journalism” project which aims to shine a light on the state of journalism and press freedom in 2018. Come back for new AMAs every day in October.

EDIT: Aaaand that's it folks. It's 2:20AM here in Malaysia and we've got a big day tomorrow, but if you have any other questions, drop them in the comment section and we'll do our best to reply each one (but maybe not tonight).

Comments: 225 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

jcdish114 karma

Your parent paper, The Star, has long been thought of as a government mouthpiece. You are, after all, owned partly by MCA. I remember back in the early days of the 1MDB scandal, most mainstream papers refused to report anything that implicated Najib and Co., The Star included. What are your thoughts on reporting the news without bias? How do you justify the era of radio silence and anti opposition reporting? Do you think the Malaysian press will have more freedom moving forward?

Edit: I guess the real question is, where do you draw the line when it comes to integrity vs being shut down? The Edge for example stood by their principles, risking the livelihood of their whole staff because they refused to bow to government pressure. It's a tough call to make, but I think when it comes to reporting the news, integrity is probably one of the, if not the most important things to have. With what The Star and other mainstream papers have done in the past, how are we to believe that you will uphold integrity in your reporting? Sorry ya. Macam a bit brutal, plus a lot of this seems directed at The Star.

R_AGE37 karma

Thanks for the question! Ian here. Personally, I don't believe any media can be completely unbiased - but we have to do our best to be fair. What I always recommend is for people to consume a variety of news. If you're following a CNN, make sure your follow a Fox News as well. That will help you form a more balanced opinion for yourself.

To answer your second question: No, we cannot justify it. Most of the journalists in traditional media I know are good, honest, hardworking people who want nothing more than to report without fear or favour. Sadly, the conditions at the time were not favourable for us, and we were often silenced. Could we have done more? Yes. And that's something we'll have to live with, and make amends for with even better reporting now that conditions have changed.

Finally (and thankfully), yes, I think the press will have more freedom now - and it's time for us to show the country what we're really made of.

FireTempest19 karma

Finally (and thankfully), yes, I think the press will have more freedom now - and it's time for us to show the country what we're really made of.

I certainly hope so. You guys definitely have the right stuff to push the envelope of media freedom in Malaysia. I hope the political ownership doesn't come into play and I feel there is a decent chance of that since MCA was basically made into a defunct party last election.

Not to take anything away from you guys but I do want to bring up the fact that The Edge took up the 1MDB case that all other journalists in Malaysia did not dare come near. They suffered dearly for it with their publication suspension but their coverage truly made a mark on the country. I consider it the most heroic piece of Malaysian journalism of all time; setting a standard I hope all media in our country aspires to achieve going forward from May 9th.

R_AGE11 karma

EXACTLY. We should all remember what The Edge did - risking their livelihoods in service of the people. Thanks for bringing that up.

jcdish5 karma

Thanks for the honest reply. I'm sorry some twat felt the need to downvote you.

R_AGE14 karma

Nah, don't be sorry. It's perfectly understandable. Like I said - we can't justify what happened. We can only work to do better.

Cartoonzinho0 karma

Wow. Thinking CNN is the what balances out Fox News, founded as a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, is absolutely why the US is such a mess right now. There is no Democratic equivalent of Fox News, and CNN is the furthest from what it would be.

R_AGE11 karma

Sorry, it wasn't a perfect example, but hope you guys get what we mean.

Simple_Peasant_121 karma

Beaten me to the punch. Well, as an addition, would u/R_AGE like the newspaper to cut ties with MCA to make the paper less of a mouthpiece? The association has made people distrustful of most newspapers in the country. What do you think?

R_AGE27 karma

I think most journalists will agree that political ownership of media is problematic. Personally, I think it's something that should be regulated. - ian

LegionArclight14 karma

Brutal? Not really. It's expected.

After decades of strict censorship and control by the previous government and voluntary/forced propaganda and cynical misquotes/misreporting (Yes, I am looking at your parent company!) by the news publications themselves, surely we (the readers/redditors) will be suspicious and distrustful when an affiliate of the previous government owned newspaper officially appear on "neutral ground" Reddit (of all places!).


Out of the blue, the affiliate established itself a foothold on new territory, slowly and surely building up it's reputation and following, by thoughtful investigative journalism on critical and current issues. Then progressively expend the capital by shaping narratives and funneling thoughts toward issues deemed important by its owners or the previous government.

Sorry ya, macam a bit far fetched but it had been done before, back in 2007/8 by some other party.

  • So what will you do to ensure or prove that you will uphold integrity? (as /u/jcdish asked above).
  • How will you adhere to your journalism code of ethics? Who governs or enforces it?

The brutal part, you are owned by The Star, so how could we take your journalism seriously without assuming and look for hidden motives?

R_AGE23 karma

Seriously, these are really great questions. Here goes:

  1. I think we'll have to let our work speak for itself. We always believe that the people aren't stupid - if we started pandering to certain parties, people (like your good self) will call us out on it. We have been very transparent about our approach and values, so if we ever deviate from it, our audience can hold us accountable.
  2. That's a conundrum journalists around the world grapple with. Should the media be "governed" by the government? Most would say no, so if that's the case, can we trust them to self-regulate? The idea of creating an Media Council independent from the government seems like the best way forward to enforce some ethical standards, at least.
  3. Finally, on the question about us being owned by The Star. Our answer is that you shouldn't stop being skeptical of us. Critique each of our stories and see if our facts are right, if the reporting is balanced, if the presentation is fair. If it isn't, call us out on it.

LegionArclight11 karma

Thank you for the answers, will look forward to your articles.

Just so you know that I am not puffing smoke out of my backside on my alarmist position and thoughts, simply consider the following scenario that happened few weeks back, and the potential actions:

  • The Star misreported the statement and the position of a minister on Khalwat and religious police raids. Many rejoiced on this, the beginning of end for religious policing.
  • Legal threats were issued on the misreporting.
  • Misdirection and regret were proffered but damage had been done extensively, in the public and private spaces.
  • Possible action: Within the same time period or week, R.AGE the social injustice warrior could have published articles on the social injustice of Khalwat and religious police raids and shape public opinion toward policies beyond the minister's and government control while sentiments and feelings were still raw.

This type of scenarios are the ones that worry the skeptical me.

Edit: Why it worries me? When you are a pullout of a newspaper, people won't read your stuffs if they do not buy The Star. People may not actively search for you even if you have an online presence (maybe they don't know or don't care), if you are not on their read list. But when you post on Reddit, everyone on Reddit would know about it.

R_AGE8 karma

Yeah, that would actually have been a good follow-up piece! Unfortunately, given that R.AGE focuses on in-depth investigative documentaries, it's not very easy for us to respond quickly to breaking news events. Just to give you an idea, our investigations normally take several months to complete. So our resources are usually quite spread out to cover multiple on-going investigations and productions. When a breaking news issue happens, it can be hard to suddenly switch - and that's where our colleagues in the breaking news sections do their best work.

Thanks for the feedback about our discoverability, too. But just to clarify, we actually don't have a pullout in The Star anymore, because we wanted to focus more on digital media and building our own brand.

LegionArclight9 karma


An add-on: this had been on the back of my mind bothering me for some time.

How would you strive to report news or articles without bias, considering that most if not many of the critical thoughtful issues were caused by poor governance, bad leadership and bad policies inherited from the previous government which your parent company is part of. Reporting on these issues will portray the new government and leadership unfairly, for something they inherited.

Would you be publishing articles with disclaimers or caveats such as "after further investigations, the root cause of the problem was caused by the previous government which R_AGE is affiliated to as part of The Star Media Group"?

R_AGE11 karma

Yes, almost all the issues we cover can be traced back to some form of bad governance - but that never stopped us from reporting them under the previous administration. What we always tried to do was engage someone we could trust in government to work with us on a solution. By focusing on a solution, we avoid this whole "us against them" mentality. And that's something we will definitely continue doing.

Public_Fucking_Media29 karma

Malaysia is literally the only country in the world that still has racism enshrined in it's Constitution, giving special position to Malays in business, education, politics, etc....

Have ya'll done much on that issue? Seems like the social justice issue facing Malaysia, to be honest...

aeon-lakes12 karma

Sad to see this wasn't answered. It's probably the main reason Malaysia has such a large diaspora of educated citizens who've made a life outside of the country.

R_AGE1 karma

Sorry we couldn't answer it! We were getting so many questions - and we were getting so tired - we decided to leave it for today.

Simple_Peasant_17 karma

Not OP but right now, even discussing Article 153 is illegal, under the Sedition Act. Good news is that the new government is reforming that act.

R_AGE2 karma

YES. Let's hope it actually happens.

R_AGE5 karma

As an investigative team, this isn't something we would normally look into. I know - it sounds really bad for us to say that, cos it's clearly an important issue, but please hear us out.

Investigative journalism is mostly about exposing or uncovering illegal activity or social injustices. It's usually something that has been hidden from the public, and requires in-depth reporting to expose.

On that note, Article 153 is an issue that has been around for generations. The people are already aware about it - and there's probably nothing new we can add on the issue through investigation. So it's not exactly "news" (or as people in the industry would say, it doesn't have "news value"), and it doesn't have an investigative angle either.

So, compared to an investigative news platform, there are probably other more conducive platforms to discuss something like this, such as in an academic environment, public forums/debates, or even in Parliament through your Wakil Rakyat.

Having said that, we have in the past taken opportunities to talk about related issues when there's a new relevance (aka "timeliness"). During Merdeka season, for example, we explored how our Malaysian identity is always tied to race, and why it's problematic - that hasn't really been discussed much, so we felt there was still some news value to it.

So that's kinda how we pick what stories to put out. If there's ever something newsworthy we can add to the narrative of Article 153, we'd be more than happy to look into it.

xernyvelgarde23 karma

Which social injustice have you found to be the most prominent?

R_AGE11 karma

Wow, that's a tough one. Right now, we'd say migrant and refugee rights. I think our collective mindset and treatment of migrants has led to all kinds of other issues, like human trafficking, modern slavery, poverty, increased xenophobia, etc. - ian

Roxio8626 karma

What do you mean by migrant and refugee rights? The two groups are not the same so they can't have the same rights. What group of migrants are we talking we about? The legal or illegal kind?

R_AGE-6 karma

We often see similar issues among these communities - they are affected by a lack of proper policy, they are regularly extorted by corrupt officials, they are all in danger of becoming completely undocumented, and they are exposed to (and affected by) xenophobic rhetoric all the time.

Also, we are always careful not to call anyone "illegal". A person's existence should never be considered illegal, simply for where they're existing in. In our many months of research on both refugee and migrant worker issues, we've found that the large majority of them are undocumented (aka "PATI") through no fault of their own. Refugees are undocumented because Malaysia does not recognise them formally. Migrant workers are often trafficked her, exploited, and have their passports confiscated so the exploitation can continue.

So let's avoid framing any discussion on migrant workers immediately on whether they are "illegal" or not. The fact that many of them are undocumented is often the fault of our policies, and the Malaysian employers or traffickers who brought them here. Let's start there instead.

Roxio8610 karma

There are ways of legally entering a country and there are illegal ways. It's that simple. So yeah i ask again are we talking migrants , migrant workers , illegal immigrants or refugee's. Four different groups with different problems. Yet you want to avoid calling someone something because that would give away the exact reason why there is a problem.

But i figured since you guys are social justice warrior's this was the case. A shame i would expect a group of journalists to be straight.

R_AGE10 karma

What group of migrants are we talking we about? The legal or illegal kind?

You asked us which group we're talking about, so we told you - we're talking about those who are undocumented, but not through any fault of their own. Many of the immigrants you call "illegal" are actually in such situations, exploited and cheated by Malaysias, so we just wanted to correct your definition. And this isn't something we made up - we've spent over a year investigating this, talking to experts, victims and even the traffickers, while undercover. This is reality.

So, now that we've answered your question, is there anything else you'd like to discuss?

Roxio865 karma

No we can stay on this topic if you'd like. I'm open to other ideas. I'm just used to not getting more than one response so my other one was a bit short and cranky. Haha sorry for that.

Okay let's go: on the topic migrant workers being undocumented because of trafficking. These people even when taken advantage of are still illegal workers and they know it. It's sad and terrible but it started with traffickers. They are the ones that need to get caught. Besides that there should not be a climate to create this. And how big is this group. Again this is one group. You started with two groups , after explanation there are four groups and now we are focussing on one group. Not calling someone illegal becase no one should be illegal no matter where they are is a dangerous statement. If some broke into your house they are nit there legally and you want them out , right?

By bypassing a word used to determine something you create a dangerous precedent. By that logic you could apply the same to road rules and laws and we have chaos. I could get caught driving dangerous and in court claim that i don't want ti use the word reckless because i don't feel anyone at any time is reckless because of where they are.

Keep in mind i'm European i know nothibg about the situation in Malaysia or your work. I,m just trying to figure out how everything works with the way people want do describe things. I'm all for solving the world's problems but i'm sceptic due to my own personal experiences.

R_AGE15 karma

Thanks for your eagerness to find out more. We're more than happy to give you our insight into the situation here in Malaysia.

If you don't mind, here's a more suitable metaphor to explain the situation: Let's say a homeowner tricked someone to go inside their house, by offering the victim tea and biscuits. And then, the homeowner decides to lock the victim up, and force him/her to work as a slave. You'd blame the homeowner, right?

That's actually kinda what it's like here for many migrant workers. Malaysian employers and traffickers are the ones that bring them over with all kinds of promises, but then treat them like crap once they're here.

So it's not just about avoiding the word "illegal" just to be nice - it's about making sure we focus on who the real criminals are in these situations.

That's what we've been trying to show the Malaysian public with a few of our projects so far - that many of these migrants are actually victims of syndicates, unscrupulous employers, inadequate policies, and inadequate enforcement. Get this - over 600 immigration staff at our largest international airport were investigated for being involved in human trafficking! That should give you an idea of who the real victims are here.

Roxio862 karma

That's insane indeed about the 600 workers. . And tbf it happens all over the world. We have this issue with young girls from eastern europe , russia and africa they are shipped in to Belgium and are put to work as sex workers. It's disgusting.

I get who the victims are. But we are not living in the dark ages. You know when you are involved in something shady. What we are basicly talking about is current day slavery. Don't get me wrong this should be handled and swiftly. And i think that your problems with victims of this kind of trafficking is much worse than we have here. We have "illegal" or undocumented seasonal workers in aggriculture fields but it's not a group bigger than a 100.000 and most of these people don't even live here they usually migrate for the season. I have no answer to this. What i do see is huge problems with high influx migration without a reason. The people coming to Europe right now are not undocumented workers and they are not refugee's. What i see happening is that the issue you describe is intertwined with the issue we are having. And that is just wrong. I am not saying we should do nothing but uphold the law but laws are a in place for a reason.

R_AGE8 karma

Yeah, I get what you mean. Our authorities struggle with that too. On one hand, we believe many officials are sympathetic, but on the other, if the enforcement officer finds someone who doesn't have documents, they don't have much choice either. The government has to be seen as being tough on the issue.

dcx19 karma

Fan from r/Malaysia here - thanks for doing the AMA! For non-Malaysians, FYI R.AGE is doing some of the best journalism work in the country right now. These guys were actually nominated for a Peabody in April. We're sorely lacking in this class of undercover and investigative journalism in Malaysia - I'd encourage anyone to check out their work which is available on their Youtube channel, especially around human trafficking and refugees (example).

I had a similar question to u/jcdish - given your ownership by The Star and therefore government-affiliated institutions, how much freedom do you guys have on stories, or positions to take on stories? Is the culture of self-censorship still alive and well? Do you see much editorial pressure in terms of what you're allowed to pursue?

Also I've been wondering for a while: What actually is your revenue model?

Edit: I'd also be interested to know more about your social impact campaigns as this is the first I've heard about them. There's no separate classification for this on your website / youtube channel that I can see.

R_AGE9 karma

Hello u/dcx, Sam here. Thanks for having us!

As a multimedia journalist who has been with R.AGE for the last three years, I have been very lucky to be able to work on stories of my choice. I think most of us do, mainly because we work on human stories and social issues, and so our jobs have been to investigate the story, and tell them well.

This is actually how we "pick" our stories: At the start of the year, our team gets together and we each pitch a few (well-researched) stories that we want to work on, and based on that we make a general editorial plan for the year. Then, it all comes down to how well the journalist(s) pursue the story. Of course, the pace at which we produce the stories, and the amount of focus we put in depends largely on its news values.

I do agree that self-censorship is pretty much the worst thing a journalist could do to him/herself. Personally, I do find that to be a challenge because I'm just naturally a cautious person. (Fortunately?), I have bosses who constantly force me to push the boundaries.

Our revenue is mostly from "sponsored projects", which are social campaigns we develop and pitch to corporates. We're usually quite fussy about which corporates we work with, because we want to make sure we're working with organisations who are serious and committed to the issue, and aren't just in it for the branding. We also do some video production jobs once in a while, just to make some extra money for our operations.

Social impact campaigns: We've had three major ones so far - one on child sexual grooming laws, one on the student trafficking issue, and the #StandTogether National Kindness Week campaign in schools. We've done some minor, ad hoc ones like our sex education campaign, too.

dcx3 karma

Very nice of you to reply this late at night! That's a super interesting revenue model, I'd never have guessed. And thanks for the insight on the first point as well!

R_AGE2 karma

No worries, we're a bunch of night owls here. Thanks for the question!

TreeAndPlants19 karma

Hey guys! Thanks for doing this AMA and welcome to Reddit!

The Star were forced to shut down in 1987 because of the content they put out. Is the R.AGE team (and the rest of the Star for that matter) afraid that this might happen again? A lot of the content you publish is pretty risque, especially in terms of R.AGE and what you guys create.

ALSO! Do you guys hope more people will come to journalism and if so, how (besides Bratz)? How would you guys make Malaysian youth more interested in newswriting and journalism?

Thanks again for doing it, all the best!

R_AGE14 karma

Honestly, not so much these days! But at the end of the day, media should always self-regulate. We'll continue to put the same pressure on ourselves to get our facts right, and to be as fair and balanced as possible.

As for your second question - YES! We've focused on so many causes in the past, it's time we take on our own industry as a cause, right? We're working on something (can't say what yet), but hopefully it'll take off and start developing good young journalists for the whole industry.

Again, it's not something we can do alone. If there's no political or public will for it, it just won't happen. And that's just our shameless way of guilting you into supporting our upcoming campaign when it finally launches.

TreeAndPlants3 karma

And that's just our shameless way of guilting you into supporting our upcoming campaign when it finally launches.

Well I'm sold!

I'm glad that you're doing a lot to promote journalism. In many ways I think people view journalism (especially print journalism) as more or less dead (which is why I was forced to a Law and not Journalism degree) but I think the world needs journalism now more than ever in a world so full of misinformation.

media should always self-regulate. We'll continue to put the same pressure on ourselves to get our facts right, and to be as fair and balanced as possible.

That's amazing to hear. Me and a friend were talking about the startling fact that freedom of speech and press were so recently violated in Malaysia. I hope The Star and all of Malaysian journalism is fair and has integrity, as is needed in a healthy democracy.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions guys!

R_AGE2 karma

Your very welcome! Thanks for joining.

Redxer14 karma

Fellow BRATs here from 2012 . First of all , its amazing seeing how RAGE evolves from Youth centric news to investigative journalism . Especially your work on Child Grooming .

My question is , what convinced you guys to turn RAGE into a investigative journalism ? How was the process like when starting this journey ?

Lastly , im typing this on my phone at a mamak now and I was wondering if theres any opportunity to get into fake beggars that plagues public places(especially in KL ) and taking advantage of our generosity .

R_AGE14 karma

Hello BRAT!

Why did we do it? We were just tired of people saying young Malaysians don't care, that they don't want serious news. People said we should just do what all the other "youth news" portals were doing. "R.AGE always very serious lah", was the common refrain. So, we decided enough is enough - we would ditch the traditional "youth news" model, and just do damn good journalism. We would prove them all wrong.

But it was a VERY difficult journey. It took us nearly two years to convince our management that social justice-driven investigative journalism would work, especially with younger audiences. But we kept working on it, sending proposal after proposal, budget after budget, pilot project after pilot project, learning as we went along.

And mind you, we were still full-time print journalists at the time, doing a very high volume of stories for our section in Star2 (while running BRATs, and CHEER). So we were doing a lot of this in overtime, staying back after work to figure out our plans. There were just five of us in the team back then.

Thankfully, our management was really supportive (it helps that we had already won a few awards for our print journalism), but they really wanted us to get off on the right foot - in a way that would allow us to be financially sustainable in the long run.

Finally, in late 2015, we had accumulated enough funds (and proven our potential for financial sustainability) to get a full green light for what was then codenamed "R.AGE TV". But, as you know, we simply rebranded R.AGE altogether.

We immediately started work on our first documentary - The Curse Of Serawan, which set the tone for the rest of our work:

fazleyfadzil5 karma

Man, really glad that the board accepted your plans to make R.AGE a reality. Thought I'd never see quality journalism in Malaysia till I found you guys.

R_AGE4 karma

Thanks, but there's actually plenty of good journalism here in Malaysia - and it looks like it'll only get better!

douglasmorray12 karma

Will there be any chance for the Malaysian media to cover the topics of religious freedom in Malaysia, in the near future, say in coming 2-5 years? If not, why?

R_AGE5 karma

Yes, we think so. The early signs under the new government are promising - but it's still early days.

fazleyfadzil11 karma

What programs and applications do you use to edit all of your content? It's surprisingly high quality compared to other Malaysian news websites; even the hipster ones (WoB, SAYS, etc.)

R_AGE16 karma

Wow, thanks! We use the stuff in Adobe Creative Cloud. That's Premiere Pro for video editing, and AfterEffects for our motion graphics.

But I think the quality comes all throughout the production chain, from pre-production, to shooting, to post-production. It's a lot of moving parts, but with a hard-working team, where everyone's motivated to do good work (and for good causes), it's not hard to keep the quality up from start to finish.

cahaseler11 karma

Hi guys, thanks for joining us today!

So, what is the state of journalism in Malaysia? Do you face severe restrictions on press freedom? Or is it more like the issues we're struggling with in the US?

R_AGE25 karma

Hey /u/cahaseler funny you should mention that, I've been developing a story on exactly that. In a nutshell...thing's aren't great. Demonetization of news has been hitting our news publications hard, like it has been all over the world.

Like the US, different publications are trying out different ways to keep our work sustainable, ranging from sponsored content, paywalls and and subscription models. It's still considered relatively early days for us so it's hard to tell what's working and what's not.

As for press freedom, Malaysia has had a complicated past with press freedom prior to our latest general elections (where previous government Barisan National lost after an unbroken 61 years as the ruling coalition). Newspapers, including ours, would be shut down for reporting on unflattering stories.

Things are supposedly better now, but it's been less than 6 months since the former opposition party, Pakatan Harapan took over, so fingers crossed. But (and you knew that was coming), there's still a long way to go, cos the PPPA, Anti-Fake News Act, Sedition Act, etc. all still hang over our heads. And that's not fun.

SamwiseSHJ9 karma

Malaysia up top in green on Reddit!

Really enjoy your work!

What would you say to hopeful wannabe journalists out there? Both in Malaysia and everywhere else?

What do you need to make it as a journalist in Malaysia? What skillset is a prerequisite?

R_AGE11 karma

Woot woot! Also, thanks!

To all those considering being a journalist, I'd say don't go into it for the money (because there is none. HAH.) There has to be a part of you that wants to save the world almost, or else burnout is a big possibility.

To do journalism, it's no longer enough to just be good at writing. In order to stay relevant, I'd say pick up coding or production related skills (or both!). Social media management, case in point, is a plus.

- Clarissa

Duke_Paul8 karma

Hey team, thanks for doing an AMA!

Lots of people in the US have a pretty visceral and negative reaction to the term "social justice," to the point of forming some fairly extreme political movements (forgive me for oversimplifying). Is there a similar reaction in Malaysia? Additionally, do you find that there are parts of the Malaysian population that ignore your reporting, actively contradict it (like calling you "fake news" or something similar), or even threaten to harm you simply because of what news you cover?

Thanks again!

R_AGE8 karma

Oh yeah, we feel that reaction all the way here! The term "social justice warrior" seems to have become a derogatory thing, which is weird.

Thankfully, no, the reaction hasn't been the same here. There does seem to be a generational divide sometimes, with older generations seeing the younger ones as overly-idealistic, but generally speaking, the response to our campaigns have been mostly positive.

I think our approach of always offering solutions to the problems we expose is key to that. It gives people a very clear way forward which they can all rally around. As R.AGE journalists, we always believe that our research should be thorough enough that we don't just understand the problem, but the solutions as well.

TwoSizes7 karma

Super late to the party, but I'm going to throw this out there anyway -

Thanks for all the work that you do! It's amazing so see this energy and desire for transformation in Malaysia.

As a Malaysian who is no longer living there, how can I help? I'm a mental health professional who lives in Canada and issues of health inequalities, social justice, equity, etc are very much my ballgame.

There's a huge number of us outside the country - young, educated Malaysians who have emigrated but nonetheless care about issues back home. How can we help your work? How can we help the country?

R_AGE9 karma

Oh man, first of all thanks for noticing us! Okay, so as crude as it sounds, in order to sustain what we do, we need money and exposure. Mostly money. Some of our funding comes from sponsored content but we prefer to stay accountable to our readers and not our advertisers.

There are plans in the pipeline of coming up with a crowdfunding model that'll keep our content independent, but in the meantime (and I know it sounds cliche) do help like, comment and share our work so we break past Facebook's evil algorithm. Jk.

kingshmiley6 karma

Did Malaysian media cover the missing airliner as much and as long as CNN did? It was at least a year of coverage for us.

R_AGE9 karma

Yeah, I think we covered it for a solid year as well. There was quite a lot of coverage during the anniversary, I remember. We did a documentary on it too, and we still share it once in a while cos the story's still relevant:

R_AGE5 karma

Pretty much, it's not everyday a plane vanishes with barely a trace.

birelbirel5 karma

Hey guys, Just wanted to ask as I was aware of the pedophile expose that you guys were doing from a couple of years ago that I also think helped push the whole issue to the public!.. so were there any moments you guys felt that you had pushed the envelope too far or felt that you had put yourself or any employees in a dangerous position and if there were any contingencies you guys had planned out?

R_AGE3 karma

There was one undercover sting during Predator in My Phone [] when the hidden mic receiver fell out of our undercover journalist's back pocket. Thankfully, Clarissa kept her calm, picked it up, and walked to the toilet. He must not have known the receiver for what it was because he went on to tell her everything you see in this video here:]

But we do make sure we take as many security measures as possible, during and after our operations. This includes planting journalists in every sting and having a backup plan for the worst possible outcome.

But yeah, that one has to take the cake.

birelbirel2 karma

hey thanks for the reply! hope to hear more from u guys :)

R_AGE1 karma

Anytime :) Feel free to drop us a message!

Swanswag5 karma

Hi! Firstly, thank you all so much. I'm a massive fan of what R.AGE is doing for the community, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been inspired by R.AGE's hard work. I have a number of questions, so let's get to it. I apologise in advance for referring to the collective as you, and realise some of these questions might be more relevant to The Star as a whole than to R.AGE.

  • May I ask what project you're working on right now?
  • What drives all of you to do what you do, and how did all of you get into investigative journalism in the first place?
  • How much influence does the government have over what's published? Is there a difference in how much influence our previous and current governments had/have?
  • Have you ever struggled with government censorship or been prevented from publishing something that reflects badly on them?
  • What's your biggest concern regarding the state of journalism in Malaysia?

And as an aspiring writer:

  • What makes a good journalist?
  • What makes a good newspaper article?
  • How do you identify a talented writer?
  • What's the most important trait/virtue a writer can have?

Edited to add:

  • Is there anything you think Malaysian journalism lacks? (I realise this is rather open-ended; feel free to interpret it however you wish.)
  • On behalf of someone I know: "There's this group of young child rights advocates called vanguards4change and they're proposing the idea of a child parliament in Malaysia. As journalists who mainly focus on social causes, what are your thoughts on this?"

Thanks once more!

R_AGE7 karma

Hello, Sam here. Thanks for your kind words! I will try my best to answer all your questions...

  1. We are a team of only 15 (including editors, producers, video editors, journalists and operations), but we do have multiple ongoing projects. Let's see - our latest one is on refugee rights, and we have upcoming stories on child marriages, the drug trade... aaaand that's all I'm allowed to say =P Oh and we're really excited to have our first FEATURE film, coming to a cinema near you in 2019!
  2. Personally, I still have no idea how I ended up here. The initial batch of the current R.AGE-rs (can we call ourselves that?) were mostly print journalists who came in around 2015, and were thrown into the deep end by having to produce videos. We even hired a senior video producer (he's still here today - hi Elroi!) who taught us all we know today. Only a few months after we switched gears to focus on videos, we decided to put our newfound video skills to produce hard-hitting stories, and that's how Predator In My Phone came about. And the rest, as they say, was history.
  3. As R.AGE, we came from publishing print content for youth to producing hard-hitting documentaries on social issues. So, we're quite lucky in the sense that we were pretty much allowed to do almost anything we wanted. I guess human stories and social issues resonate across the board most of the time, so there weren't much, if any, censorship in the stories that we produced. If there were, it's purely for legal reasons concerning the people involved in the stories. On the other hand, there WERE topics where we had made editorial decisions to "soften" the final product - namely on LGBT topics and stories on government responses. With the current govt, I admit that many of us now feel that there's a certain amount of transparency and press freedom that we previously lacked. But honestly, it's a lot more than that. As someone once told me, the worst thing a journalist could do to him/herself is self-censorship.
  4. Personally, throughout my three years at R.AGE, I have only encountered a few occasions where we had to angle the story differently to focus on the responses by certain people. Not my proudest moment, but there you have it.
  5. The fact that many people do not seem to think that news is worth paying for :( This is a challenge we are working on at the moment, so do stay tuned!
  6. IMO, a good journalist is someone who is curious, persistent, and hopefully has good grammar.
  7. A news report would have to be factually accurate, balanced, and fair. Sounds simple, but it's actually quite challenging. Our hats off to the daily news journalists!
  8. Before hiring a journalist, we meet them at least three times - and then we give them take a 3-hour test, which is often personalised to each role we're hiring for. That's enough to put off anyone who isn't serious about it... That's PROBABLY more important than inborn talent. (Right, boss?)
  9. Be curious, observant, and empathetic. I find that these skills help me a lot in telling stories.
  10. I think that in Malaysia, there is a huge, untapped potential in collaborating with other media platforms, even if it's with a "competitor" organisation. We strive so hard for exclusivity that sometimes I think we forget we can do so much better, together.

mx3655 karma

If we're talking about social injustices, would R.AGE be covering issues about animal agriculture? All of us would like to think that our food is killed humanely, but that's unfortunately not economical for a RM5.5 chicken rice. Or mcValue meal cheeseburger. Modern countries' citizens are acting, but Malaysians would rather think it's not our problem.

Live grounding male chicks aside, animal agriculture is also incredibly taxing on our environment which the government has failed to address. The UN has given us a rather critical deadline before our average temperature increases(12 years), and has also stated that we need to decrease our meat consumption immediately... Our people, despite being taught about climate change in primary school, believes that climate change doesn't exist in Malaysia. It's just the monsoon season, they'd say, while the government scrambles to mitigate floods.

Would R.AGE cover these issues? Or is it too controversial/sensitive even for R.Age?

R_AGE2 karma

Yes, that does sound like something we would cover. However, the perennial problem here at R.AGE is resources - we simply don't have enough people.

As an editor (Ian here, btw), I'm always incredibly proud of the amount of hard work my team puts in. It's really quite legendary. Samantha (who has also been replying tonight) sent me a cover story the night before her wedding. One of our producers left a funeral to do a sting operation. Stuff like that. All the time.

So we always have a list of stories and leads we want to follow up on, and in the end, we just have to do what we can. Investigative journalism requires a lot of resources. A lot of time. A lot of rejection. A lot of things going wrong. A lot of energy just to make sure all our facts are right, and all our bases are covered.

Having said that, environmental stories don't necessarily need to be investigative in nature. In fact, many breaking news sites have been publishing stories on climate change recently - and long may that continue.

mx3651 karma

I'm glad that it's considered to be covered then. I do know how resource-extensive these videos can be, as I know you all strive to be as factual as possible...and it paid off.

Most of your works make people gasp in disbelief, and your videos are seen as reliable. Trustworthy. However, the past stories were all about obvious villains. People they obviously vilify.

It is a genuine question whether or not this matter would be too controversial or sensitive, because if you were to cover this, you'd be painting your audience as the villain. You might not be explicitly doing so, but many people would feel personally attacked. Or, well, for better or worse, just ignored because they know your story would make them feel bad. A small team putting all resources on a story that gets ignored or worse, anger half of their audience("vegan agenda! i'm not following your works ever again!"), doesn't seem like the best course of action.

But it is a real issue, and one that needs to be addressed. So far, Malaysia is pretty clueless about the impacts of animal agriculture. One can say they may not care about animals bred for food(they should be grateful to even be born, am I right?), but most don't even know we're eating our way to global warming.

International news don't seem to affect Malaysians much, as we have this mentality that we're not part of the international community. The "12 years" deadline can easily be interpreted as "12 years for Americans, not us". You can see this at work when people start their counter arguments with, "Malaysia so small, can't do anything to affect anything on a global scale".

That's why I think despite all the breaking news about climate change, Malaysia needs a more 'local' news source feeding it to them. That's R.Age. It helps that most of your stories are local issues, so if one were to see your videos on something foreign like 'global warming', it may finally make it click that they are part of the problem, and also the solution.

R_AGE1 karma

International news don't seem to affect Malaysians much, as we have this mentality that we're not part of the international community.

I think that's quite true, and it's probably human nature, too. If the issue is not framed in terms of how it matters to us (even though it clearly does), we're more likely to switch off.

So yes, we'll definitely take this under consideration, and Clarissa was telling us last night that she would love to see if there are any environment-related stories or investigations we could undertake. We'll see what we can do!

deputypresident5 karma

Are you guys even old enough to vote? jk

Serious question. Have you watched the movie Spotlight? If done correctly it would be an interesting movie about a resolved investigative piece featuring young people.

R_AGE7 karma

Clarissa here!. Actually...I joined when I was 19 so you're not that far from the mark (also, ouch).

And yes, everyone here's seen Spotlight.

libcaps5 karma

Hi Clarissa and the R.AGE team, good evening to you all. I hope it's not too late to ask another question! Right now I am 19 years old too. May I ask what qualities you (Clarissa) have in yourself that impressed and got you into the R.AGE team? Were they concerned about your qualifications?

I am an upper form 6 student who would really be honoured to be a part of your team, if I had the chance that is. As someone who has always been concerned of human rights, social justice, equality and acceptance, ever since I stumbled upon R.AGE's Facebook page I've become a huge fan of your award-winning work. I was glad to find that there is a progressive voice in our nation. Our country needs it so much, so thank you so much for doing all that you have done so far. :D

R_AGE8 karma

I hope it's not too late to ask another question!

Not at all! I can't say for sure what it was that got me hired, although Ian says it's my writing. Good news is, I only have a diploma, so paper qualifications don't seem to trump skill in the hiring department.

Bad news is, that was when R.AGE was still a print newspaper pullout. Since we transitioned to video, it's been a steep learning curve in learning how to shoot and edit.

I'd say pick up some production skills if you're interested in being a part of media. Learning how to code and manage social media platforms helps as well. And if you master these three, you should be good no matter what field you end up in as they're all highly relevant (for now).

xaladin4 karma

Thanks for the breath of fresh air in tackling thorny issues throughout the years.

Really curious on how you guys came about and at which point did you guys realise - 'Hey, are we really doing something that different compared to others?'

R_AGE3 karma

That's a long story, but we'll give you the bullet points:

- We decided sometime in early 2014 that we wanted to stop doing "youth news", whatever that means.

- We decided to do investigative documentaries instead, using multimedia (video, social media, interactive tools, etc.) to draw a new generation into investigative journalism.

- After almost two years of non-stop pitching and proposing and budgeting, our management finally caved and gave us the greenlight.

We pretty much knew from the get-go that what we were doing was unique, cos clearly, no one else was doing investigative multimedia documentaries for younger audiences. I guess we saw the opportunity and took it!

xaladin1 karma

Thanks for the asnwer, pretty cool to see you guys already set out to make a difference, fighting for the chance and kudos to The Star for getting behind it!

R_AGE1 karma

You're very welcome! Thanks for asking, and hope you'll continue supporting our work.

krorphish4 karma

What makes you guys different from other local news sources that have online presence such as Cilisos, World of Buzz etc?

In other words, why should I, an average Malaysian internet user, check out your page/website?

(I must admit I have never seen you guys on the net prior to this.)

R_AGE3 karma

Well we focus on investigative journalism, which means our journalists go really deep into uncovering hidden issues, including through undercover operations. On top of that, we also run campaigns to help solve some of these issues by mobilising our online audience. Here's an example:

So in terms of the type of content we produce, it's quite different. Breaking or daily news and investigative stories are two different genres, so to speak.

However, we must also bring up the difference between primary and secondary news sources. Primary news sources are organisations that send journalists to the group to collect the news, or in our case, investigate. But over the past decade, we've seeing a huge increase in secondary news sources, particularly in the form of websites that copy stories from primary sources, and regurgitate them on their platforms.

In our view, this is not very ethical, because well, the journalists on the ground worked really hard to get the story, only to have it "stolen". We've had journalists spend months undercover only to have one of these websites essentially copy and paste the entire story. And since they have more money to spend on digital marketing (cos they didn't have to pay the journalist), their copied version of the story usually gets more traffic, and hence more ad revenue. Their headlines are usually more sensational too.

This practice weakens the industry, and the profession. The harsh reality is that primary news sources start losing revenue, so their operations suffer, journalists on the ground don't get paid enough, journalists get fed up and leave, the quality of journalism goes down, people start complaining about the lack of good journalism.... It becomes a spiral.

kcannon1084 karma

Have you guys had any success exposing the current Rohingya genocide in Western Myanmar? Are there any campaigns to aid the Rohingya that are finding much success?

R_AGE4 karma

No, we have not produced any stories on the Rohingyas, but just a week ago we released a multimedia story and documentary series on ethnic Myanmar Chin refugees:

The Rohingya genocide definitely deserves coverage and we will look into that, but for now, we chose to focus on the Chins because they are a huge community in Malaysia who are being forced into a difficult situation as their refugee protection comes to an end.

EDIT: Actually, we have produced something on the Rohingya, but it seems like Clarissa here forgot... Have a watch:

joeisnotsure4 karma

Hello R_Age. First off, I want to thank you for highlighting the plight of refugees and undocumented people in the country as being allow to stay don't mean you are safe from harms way... you just trade for a different danger.

So here's my question. Do you have news staff in Sarawak and Sabah that would keep you updated about what is happening to these regions? It appears that these states, being so far away, have little to no oversight in their dealings and are accountable to no one.

R_AGE3 karma

No, thank YOU for caring and staying informed. And thanks for the question!

Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, R.AGE isn't large enough to have bureaus outside of KL, so we rely on the help and knowledge of NGOs and activists who are on the ground to pass us leads.

Also, our journalist Johenson is from Sabah so he pitches stories from East Malaysia as well.

x69pr3 karma

Hi, thanks for the AMA!

  1. How would YOU rate the freedom of speech/press in Malaysia?

  2. Do you find that you have to "tweak" or filter what you want to actually write/publish/broadcast in order not to upset some people?

  3. How easy is to report on real SJ issues that touch government politics when Malaysia is not the most free country press wise?

Thank you!

R_AGE1 karma

Sorry for the late reply! We were getting really tired last night after a long day, and we just wrapped up another one today. Here goes:

  1. Before GE14, I'd say 3/10. Now, I'd say 6/10. PPPA, Anti-Fake News, Sedition Act, etc. are all still in effect, so I wouldn't go higher than 6. And I believe there's a huge cultural factor as well, where the public still expects the media to "self-censor" and not touch on various "sensitive" issues.
  2. Honestly, yes. Comes back to the earlier point of having to self-censor sometimes, just to avoid creating a controversy that will overshadow the actual issues we're trying to discuss.
  3. It's not easy, that's for sure. But our approach has always been to find a solution to any issue we're exposing, and makes it easier for us to engage the government. We're not just always exposing their mistakes, but we're giving them a proper opportunity to rectify it too, for the good of the people. Everyone wins.

Stormhound3 karma

  1. How do you choose your investigative reporting themes? e.g. the focus on sexual predators, or the challenges that trans people face, etc.
  2. With the current focus on mental illness, if you choose to cover it, how will you approach this?
  3. What sort of topics will you not cover? That is, besides fluff pieces and race/religion/etc subjects.
  4. If you could be your own publication, would you choose that path, or is being under the umbrella of a "big brother" a better choice?

R_AGE6 karma

  1. Most of our stories come to us through leads. Contacts are everything for a journalist. Most of us have built up a network of sources who every once in a while highlights something which they feel might be of interest to us. Honestly, 90% of the time, it doesn't pan out. We look into it, and realise there's nothing there, and we move on. But the 10% of the time, we're usually looking at some form of social injustice. That's usually when we know we have to do our part and tell the story.
  2. We have actually been working on something, so we can't really talk about it.... Sorry.
  3. To be honest, nothing. As long as there's a story worth telling, we'll try to find a way to tell it. When we did our documentary on transgenderism, we simply found an angle that we felt could resonate with most people, cos it's such a polarised issue here, we didn't want people to completely shut off before even hearing the story. You can check it out here:
  4. Good question. Being under a "big brother" has it perks - we have access to more resources from other sections, we get to "borrow" more contacts, and - most important - our funding is stable. On the other hand, would we be more independent if we were on our own? Probably not much more. Star has always given us a lot of autonomy.

awkwardlyword3 karma

Hello, came here to ask...Why no Hansel Khoo? Nak kirim salam.

Also how is reddit so far?

R_AGE6 karma

Hansel's in Singapore last we heard, I'll kirim your salam.

Honestly? Reddit's nice! It's refreshing to see a community so engaged and willing to challenge and keep us on our toes. It's what all press need in a healthy democracy.

Simple_Peasant_13 karma

I didn't quite get a chance to welcome you guys to Reddit (had to reset my account) so i would like to do so now. Pleasure having you here. Now, allow me to ask some somewhat personal questions:

  1. What was your guy's reaction concerning the fall of the previous BN government. I don't want any corporatised statement. I want the personal view of all of you. As pointed out by others, your paper was partly owned by the government, and I somewhat suspect received funding from it a la Utusan Malaysia. However, R_AGE seems to be quite liberal-leaning. It would be interesting to know.
  2. Just looking at the people on your team, it seems there is a bit of a racial representation problem. Most people working on R_AGE seem to be Chinese with only minimal Malay and Indian representation. It seems to be the same for a lot of English newspapers. Is there a reason why this is so? Is it because Malays are not interested in journalism? If you think that this is a problem, what should we do to stop it?

R_AGE6 karma

Thanks for the welcome! Feeling the love.

  1. We were elated! What happened on May 9 was absolutely incredible - a peaceful transition of power after 61 years, powered by the people's determination to exercise their democratic rights. That's a win for democracy EVERYWHERE, not just Malaysia. We were up all night texting each other in our WhatsApp group. Still gives me goosebumps. - ian
  2. Actually, we've had quite a diverse line-up over the years, but right now, slightly less than half of us a Chinese, so we see what you mean. We do try to make sure our team is diverse (because diversity enriches our work), but with such a small team, we can only afford to hire the best person for each job. Can't comment on a macro level cos we hire on such a small scale, but almost everyone we've hired from every race has brought something to the table, and contributed to making R.AGE what it is today.

malaysianzombie3 karma

Serious question, what is your favorite breakfast and why is it social justice?

What will you do during a zombie apocalypse?

How many of you were redditors before you decided to create this account?

R_AGE3 karma

  1. Already answered!
  3. None.

potongsteam3 karma

Hi there! I vaguely remember you guys way back when you all hosted a singing competition of sorts and my friends participated in it. That was my first impression of R.AGE as an "entertainment company" but look at you guys now! What a drastic change and for the better too.

Have there been any topics you guys have covered/wanted to cover specifically because of a personal experience?

R_AGE5 karma

I remember those days too! It was fun, but we always had that feeling like, "there must be more to journalism than this!" And indeed, there was. So, so much more.

But to answer your question, no, that doesn't happen very often with investigative journalism. Personally, I can't think of the last time something happened to me and I decided, let's turn this into a R.AGE story!

Our stories usually come from leads from our contacts, who kinda tip us off on certain issues, then we go investigate and see if it's worth a story. 90% of the time, it isn't, and we just have to move on. It's a lot of work, but it always pays off (eventually) when you do it right. - ian

iamtheflyingmonkey2 karma

Clarissa, can you explain this?

R_AGE3 karma

Explain what though?

bankholdup52 karma

All of it? It all!

R_AGE8 karma


malaysianzombie2 karma

Serious question, what is your favorite breakfast and why is it social justice?

R_AGE5 karma

You're wrong. Our favourite breakfast is equality with a side of human rights.

Jaeburwahkei2 karma

u/R_AGE are you against the machine?

R_AGE6 karma

Yes we are. #Testify

papiavagina2 karma

any worries about fake news laws in malaysia?

R_AGE3 karma

YES. We hope the new government will stick to their promise of repealing the Anti-Fake News Act. That would be a great step forward for everyone.

ftrnh2 karma

Mental illness is still seen as something out of the norm, even for the simplest case of depression or anxiety. Why do you think it is the way it is and how is it possible to raise awareness on it without just ‘dumping’ a load of information onto a person and now they’re ‘educated’ on it?

R_AGE3 karma

Hi /u/ftrnh, Sam here. Thanks for asking this question.

Personally, I think that more people are speaking up about mental health issues, and it’s great because the conversations help dispel the notion that it is something “out of the norm”.

A few of us at R.AGE are currently working on stories relating to mental health, and we hope that in telling these stories (whether through videos, articles, or a social campaign), we will get to achieve the things that you said - educate, raise awareness, and also perhaps instigate positive change in society.

Jingaku2 karma

Would you guys rather fight a horse-sized duck or a duck-sized horse?

R_AGE4 karma

Horse-sized duck sounds terrifying. Ducks can be brutal.

awkwardlyword-1 karma

Asking the real question here.

R_AGE1 karma

We live for these tough questions.

UnjustStonecutter2 karma

How has journalism changed under the new pakatan harapan govt?

R_AGE1 karma

Journalists have been given much more freedom, that's for sure, but many of the institutional issues still exist - Printing Presses and Publications Act, Anti-Fake News Act, Sedition Act, OSA, etc. are all still there.

So the early signs are encouraging for the profession, but we've got a long way to go to rejuvenate the profession.

mimranj1 karma


R_AGE3 karma

Not exactly, but if an exceptional candidate comes along, we'll always make an exception.

servantofcats1 karma

How big is the team and how did you managed to find such a talented and committed bunch?

R_AGE2 karma

I think it's all about being committed to a cause. We have people here who would earn waaaaay more working outside of journalism, but they're here because we give them a platform to help others with their talent. Plus, we screen our candidates pretty carefully.

We're a small team, so we have to make sure everyone we hire fits in well, adds value, and can immediately take our work to the next level. We've had vacancies that have been left open for YEARS because we didn't want to just settle on hiring someone. We'd rather have nobody if we can't find the right person, cos there are times when we have to trust each other with our lives.

The unintended consequence is that we have a group of people with very similar values and a special bond. So yeah, we're a pretty happy family. #RAGEfam

EDIT: Just noticed we didn't properly answer the question - there are 15 of us on the team now.

AligatorArnold1 karma

Who would play you guys in the movie about your group?

R_AGE1 karma

Brad Pitt. - ian

metidder1 karma

Do you fear for your lives when exposing injustices in Malaysia?

R_AGE3 karma

Investigative journalism will always come with a certain amount of risk, so we're very, very careful. We have our security protocols (which we can't discuss), but the main thing is to always work with trusted figures in law enforcement. We're always in contact with the relevant authorities during an investigation. Our work with both government and opposition politicians over the years also helps.

But moving forward, we really do need a shift in the public mindset. Right now, Malaysia is still in this mental space where we're always afraid for the people who are exposing wrongdoing. That culture of fear causes the general public to stay away from these issues, to not get involved, to "mind their own business".

But in reality, it's those who are being exposed who should be worried. If Malaysians were to banish those fears, and work together against those who are perpetrating these injustices, they wouldn't stand a chance.

That's a cultural shift we hope to create through out work. We want to empower Malaysians to collectively stand up against injustice. If a bunch of young journalists can do it, everyone can.

tktktk123aiyo1 karma

Why come to Reddit? Mainstream folks

R_AGE9 karma

We're MAINSTREAM?? Thanks!!! We never thought this day would come.

But seriously, Reddit just seems like the kind of place to discuss the kind of topics we usually do - like migrant rights, LGBT rights, indigenous rights, refugee rights... A lot of it comes back to rights, apparently.

K15H3N1 karma

what inspired you guys to use Reddit?

R_AGE3 karma

Honestly, the quality of the discourse here is crazy good - especially compared to some of the other social media we're on.

Pancernywiatrak1 karma

What motivates you to keep going and to fight the (these) issues that are neglected by the majority?

R_AGE3 karma

Ian here. Personally, it's the victims. The kind of injustice that I've heard some of them receive is just heartbreaking. It really is. I know as journalists we're not supposed to get emotional about these things, but it's difficult sometimes, and that's where I think my motivation comes from. I wouldn't even say "motivation"; it's more of a moral obligation to use this platform, this privilege I have as a journalist, to help.

dcx1 karma

What story/video of yours are each of you most proud of?

R_AGE3 karma

This is like asking which of your children you love most! But I'll always have a soft spot for The Curse Of Serawan - our very first piece as an investigative documentary team. For the team to be able to pull off something like that, first time around, and actually create a bit of change for the orang asli in Sg Kejar - that was really remarkable.

I remember just the logistics of it was scary. We were sending a young crew three hours into the jungle by boat for a week, where there would be no cell phone signal. We had to manage food supplies, battery packs, video production equipment, etc. On top of all that, we had a very tough story to investigate - the reported deaths of orang asli children.

Thanks for the great question! Always nice having the chance to reminisce. - ian

douglasmorray1 karma

The journalists/media agencies that you guys look up to?

R_AGE2 karma

Plenty! Malaysiakini, AJ 101 East, Vox, Vice, Rappler, AJ+, NYT, Highline by Huffington Post...

DrStrange471 karma


R_AGE1 karma

Honestly, we're not really up to speed on this stuff.... Sorry.

InVINCEab131 karma

Hey there!
My question is do any of you guys know a good way to help calm down a triggered SJW so they can express themselves more rationally and peacefully - without coming off as to much of a jerky jerk-person?

R_AGE2 karma

I'd say we should avoid "anger policing". Ugh, I know, another SJW buzzword - but it makes sense. It's just never fun when you've experienced some form of social injustice, and you're passionately calling for attention towards it, and someone comes along and says "maybe you should stop yelling so much? It's very unbecoming."

Acknowledge their anger and frustration, try to see where it's coming from (it's usually from a good place), and that should help you engage them better in discourse.

In our case here at R.AGE, we get a lot of "Why do you guys always have to be so serious? Lighten up!" which is really annoying.

Personally, I don't like how the term SJW is being turned into a three-lettered four-letter word, y'know? It's like it's a bad thing now to be outspoken or up in arms about social issues. You might have an issue with the way they express it, but given the way the world seems to be edging slowly towards self-implosion, surely they're entitled to get a bit overzealous now and then. - ian

InVINCEab131 karma

Yeah I hear ya - SJW is certainly becoming curseworthy, although we both knew exactly what I meant when I said it, so... effective word :/
I've found the empathic approach to understanding their passion/anger to work well with reasonable people.

I suppose I'm asking if you have any clever strats to calm a person that just enjoys being angry, and in a public setting, i.e my college class (engineering). Everyone hates when they 'go off' and aren't as tact in silencing the rage as I wish to be.

R_AGE1 karma

Actually, we've found that our approach works remarkably well - just acknowledging and accepting why they are so angry allows you to focus on the facts. But when you start getting into an argument on whether they are entitled to be angry, that's totally subjective, because everyone's experience is different - and it tends to make people even more angry.

Of course, it won't work on everyone, but more often than not, the approach creates a much more constructive conversation that leads to greater mutual respect among the people in the room. So give them the benefit of the doubt, and be patient. That's my advice. Hope it works for you! - ian

customer_service_guy1 karma

Coke or Pepsi?

R_AGE1 karma

Coffee. Copious amounts of it (except for Claire and Natalie. They somehow DON'T drink coffee).

And when the occasion calls for it, which is often, something much stronger.

jcwenger1 karma

Why does the word "justice" need a modifier?

R_AGE1 karma

As in "social" justice?

gozieson1 karma


What do you guys observe with regards to the current state of media and free speech in Malaysia? What differences could you make out with regards to the past and present situation of the media in Malaysia and what do you guys hope to see heading forwards?

P.S. Should have PM'd me about my inadvertent ticket to GoT-Malaysian edition C:

EDIT: Damn, not actually first :C

R_AGE5 karma

With regards to freedom of the press, things have obviously been better since May 9. But (and you knew that was coming), there's still a long way to go, cos the PPPA, Anti-Fake News Act, Sedition Act, etc. all still hang over our heads. And that's not fun.

What we hope to see moving forwards is for the people to start believing in us again. The last couple of decades have been tough for journalists, but it's our job to win the people's trust back. On that note, we hope Malaysians will give us journos a chance, and support good journalism whenever they see it.

As they always say in the industry: The people get the media they deserve.

sickedhero1 karma

Apa khabar?

R_AGE2 karma

Khabar baik!

papiavagina0 karma

Would you lose any sleep if we traded your current prime minister with the usa president?

R_AGE1 karma

Not sure if we'd ever sleep again...

OBstaxs0 karma

Why do you feel like you need to be so angry about this stuff ? I have never even noticed the stuff you’re talking about

R_AGE2 karma

Actually, we're all pretty chill in person! We have a lot of fun around the office and when we hang out outside, but when it comes to our work, it's hard not to feel strongly about it sometimes.

We've spoken to families who have been torn apart, young men and women forced into modern-day slavery, rampant child sexual abuses, etc. When you speak to the victims of these injustices, it's hard not to be affected sometimes.

viviannaniesha0 karma


I just wanted to say that I've been following R.AGE's work ever since the sexual grooming series and I personally wanted to thank the team for their efforts & for getting the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill passed! I majored in education and I used to work closely with young children and I'm just very appreciative for the efforts and lengths R.AGE has gone to protect our children. But now, I'm currently pursuing a degree in mass comm to hopefully manage events that advocate for social issues & I have been so inspired (still am!) by the work the team has done. It's really shown me that anything is possible if you believe it will work out and if you put effort, heart and your mind into it. I was just wondering are there any future plans to hire interns from mass comm/uni students to work with the team part-time/full-time or maybe any future workshops/volunteering work? I would definitely take part in it!

Thank you!!

R_AGE1 karma

Hey! Thanks for following our work, we really, really appreciate it. And yes, we do take interns - just drop us an email at [email protected].

Kenakalan-1 karma

Najib, Jho Low, Rosmah

Fuck, kill, marry. Which is which?

R_AGE14 karma

Well I know which is witch.

- Clarissa