If you’ve been following us for a while now, you’ll know The Level hasn’t been what it’s supposed to be for a few months now. There’s a very simple reason for that – we’re pulling the plug, folks. There’s no easy way to eulogize your work, let alone an effort that began at 3am in a little Bandar Utama house, to a 5-man team that tried to do work that mattered, to a youth portal read by nearly 500,000 people monthly. Millions (I mean this literally) of you over the past two years made this dream possible, and to you, the team and I give our biggest thanks. It has been your enthusiasm, your debates, and your opinions that have driven the team ever forward, and you’ve been a part of our team this entire time.
We first started The Level because we wanted to see a portal speak to our generation, in our voice. That, to us, meant taking your interests, your victories, and your challenges as serious news because our generation of young people is the single largest voting block in history, and your interests should be taken seriously instead of being sneered on by some greying geezers. I like to think we did just that, even if you sometimes haven’t agreed with us, we’ve tried to have a space of dissenting opinion because discussion and debate is needed so that we aren’t just stuck in our echo chambers, and we learn a little more about each other.
I have had the privilege of watching so many talented young people walk through our doors, as colleagues, as interns, and eventually walking out as family. It’s been refreshing to know that there is so much talent in this country, capable of performing at such a high level. It just takes patience and a little bit of time – and sometimes a little excessive honesty. If you’re reading this as a member of the family, just know that what you did mattered, what you learned will serve you well, and I know you’re doing great out there.
I also have to thank all the PR partners out there who’ve worked with us. It was always going to be a longshot that a distinctively punk, anti-authoritarian youth interest portal would find it’s feet to become one of the most established and credible youth media out there, but thanks to your help and your choice to believe in us, we did just that. Thank you for the opportunities and invites, and sorry you’ve had to chase us around so much – hopefully, you’ll be seeing us still here and there.
The title of this article is ‘The Long Goodbye’, but it really is going to be a short one. The two years I’ve spent working on The Level have been some of the most rewarding in my entire life. I don’t think I can encapsulate what that means right now, but all things come to an end, and when they do, you have to put them to rest. There’s a list of people to thank – Nelson Fernandez of Free Malaysia Today, who first believed in this project, our managing directors, who remain anonymous but enabled us to take a step further than we could have on our own, Stephen Francis, for believing we would eventually establish ourselves and giving us opportunities beyond what a tiny startup could ask for. The editorial team – Shazwan, Jeremy, Nabil – thank you for giving it your all and it has been my singular honor to have seen you all grow. The video team – Zikri, Mahesh, Azaad, Hakim, Amir – your dedication and late nights – and excellent results – say more about the kind of people you are than any other tribute I could give. Our army of Dobbys (or interns, if you will) and part-timers – just to name a few because I don’t think I can get you all right off the top of my head – Yasmin, Marissa, Adani, Prasad, Salihin, Lynd, Caylee – thank you all for the time you’ve spent with us, and I look forward to seeing where you all end up. My partners in crime, Hafiz and Matt – it’s been a good run, lads.
And finally, thank you, dear reader. If you’re one of the near 500,000 who came to this page every month, your support meant the world to us. We’ll see you on the other side, and we hope you enjoyed your time with us as we enjoyed our time with you.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie The Pooh