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Youth campaign aims to keep drugs out of Kuala Lumpur clubs

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006
Popular Malaysian singer Ferhad and youth rapper Danny performing a rap to ‘keep the music clean’ in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 10 August 2006 – Concerned about the increased availability of so called ‘feel-good’ drugs such as amphetamines and Ecstasy, the popular Zouk dance club in Kuala Lumpur and UNICEF have launched a campaign designed to educate young people on the dangers of drug use.

The Keep the Music Clean campaign is a communications partnership between the club, the Grey Global Group advertising agency, Hitz.fm radio and UNICEF. It takes anti-drug messages to the physical and virtual spaces frequented by young people – such as clubs, radio and the Internet – to create safe environments in which they can enjoy good music and quality DJ’ing without the harm caused by drug abuse.

“We know that ‘clubbing’ is part of contemporary social life for young people in many parts of the world, including in Malaysia, and we welcome ‘clubbing’ as a positive activity,” said UNICEF Representative in Malaysia Gaye Phillips. “It brings young people together to socialize and express themselves. And we believe this shouldn’t be compromised by the threat of drug abuse.”

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006
UNICEF Representative in Malaysia Gaye Phillips launching Keep the Music Clean 2006 in July.

Choosing to act responsibly

So far, the campaign has resonated strongly with many young people who have attended events such as a special gig by anti-drug activist and internationally renowned DJ Paul Van Dyk. A three-month pledge drive resulted in approximately 2,000 clubgoers signing on to commit to ‘keep the music clean’.

“The 2005 Keep the Music Clean campaign was so successful, we agreed to make it an annual event,” said Ms. Phillips. “We are especially pleased with the response from clubgoers to the pledge drive. It’s clear that, given the opportunity and the correct information, young people choose to act responsibly and not take part in risky behaviour.”

Keep the Music Clean 2006, which was launched at Zouk Kuala Lumpur last month, also supports another UNICEF initiative, UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS, the global campaign launched in October 2005.

The connection between the two campaigns is clear: Besides the other health risks they face, young people under the influence of drugs may engage in risky behaviour such as unprotected sex – increasing their chances of contracting HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases.

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006
Participants carrying placards with positive messages at Keep the Music Clean 2006.

Clear and in control

Since Malaysia’s urban youth spend much of their time surfing the Internet, two young designers from Grey Global Group created a Keep the Music Clean website promoting the campaign’s key messages.

“There are many good reasons to party without drugs,” said Ms. Phillips, summarizing those messages. “Most important is independence. Without drugs to cloud judgment, young people themselves, and not drugs, are in control of their lives. From the day we are born, we struggle towards adulthood and yearn for the independence it brings. Why throw it all away to become a slave to party drugs?

“It’s much more attractive and chic to dance to your own rhythm,” she added, “rather than the downbeat of someone else’s profit-making from the sale of drugs.”



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