Not that I am a motivational speaker or anything, but I came to share my experience as a reporter and my work in the media.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect as I was given only a few days notice, thanks to my friend Juh.
When I arrived, I was told to conduct a mock interview with the attendees. These people are ready to share their story with the media as some of them are running their own shelter homes or organizations. At the same time, MAC think that they need some media training just to know the Do's and Don'ts when dealing with the media. That's where yours truly and another reporter from a print media share our experiences.
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
My message to the attendees was simple: SHARE your STORY! Be heard!
It's all good to be media-trained but I told them avoid giving "safe answers" like how some politicians and celebrities do.
I told them to think of the media as the mediator between their story / message AND the readers. Some of us might think that our stories are not valuable but if you have a genuine and life-changing story to share... it could potentially make a difference.
REJECTION, STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
Even though it was a mock interview, I often hear stories of rejection, stigma and discrimination.
Some people are afraid to shake hands or hug a PLHIV. They're afraid that they could get HIV, too. It was during our info-sharing session that we discussed the importance to correct the public.
Yes, despite the countless stories on HIV in our print and digital media, some people still have a slanted viewpoint about PLHIV and that's where stigmas and the act of discrimination come in.
Even during the interview, one participant told me that one of her former colleague didn't want to share the same locker after they found out she's HIV+.
It's important to share such stories and experiences so that the public will know what PLHIV are going through.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE
As much as it was for the participants to learn how to interact with the media, it was also an opportunity for me to learn as well.
For example, I learned that the correct term to use was person/people living with HIV (PLHIV). In Bahasa Malaysia, it's Orang Yang Hidup dengan HIV (OHHIV).
I learned that a PLHIV just look like YOU and ME. At the event, I was surrounded by a tudung-wearing kakak, a young executive in his 20s, a pakcik, a makcik... At the end of the day, we wouldn't know, right?
It was great to share and learn from each other. Their friendliness and openness to me made me feel just at home.
They even took turn to take pictures with me (I'm not even a celebrity) but it was a fun photo session.
I had a blast, so much so I told my editor that I wanted to write a story on one of the participant. I got the green light and two days later, I went to Sungai Buloh to interview a very famous blogger.
Visit motivationMY.com at 4pm today for the story!
*NEW* The motivationMY Show