In August 2012, Annas Mahmud began his internship at the Malay Heritage Foundation (MHF) while pursuing his undergraduate studies at National University of Singapore (NUS). Currently serving as an executive officer at Yayasan MENDAKI, we got in touch with Annas to find out more about his previous 10 month journey as an intern at MHF.
Q: Why did you choose to intern at MHF?
It sounded like an interesting opportunity to learn how to write beyond the academic way. We were also offered to be trained in basic photography as part of our internship journey.
Q: Before taking on the internship, how aware were you in relation to issues/matters relating to Malay arts and cultural heritage?
I was relatively aware as I was involved in Malay dance and Silat, and I was quite interested reading on some parts of our cultural heritage, especially relating to the traditional language (e.g. peribahasa, pantun).
Q: What is something new you’ve discovered about Malay heritage at MHF that you didn’t know before?
As part of our journalistic journey during the internship, I learnt a lot more about the struggles of Malay craftsmen like the carpenters to survive in Singapore.
Q: How has the internship changed your perception of Malay arts and cultural heritage?
I feel that I was naïve before, thinking that as long as people are practicing Malay arts and cultural heritage, these will survive. However, I learnt that in some cases, practical reasons may still cause the fading of our arts and cultural heritage.
Q: What are some of the skillsets you’ve learned at MHF that are applicable to your future?
Perhaps the most important skill I picked up was the interviewing skills. Having to embark on the mini-journalism projects, we were taught in detail on how to conduct interviews, from the usual listening skills to more specific points like how to sit and face the interviewee. We also learnt basic photography while learning how to write in less academic form. The coaches Zakaria Zainal and Huzir Sulaiman were very helpful and skilled.
Q: Share one memorable experience from your time as an intern at MHF.
My most memorable experience came after my time as an intern. However, it was a result of the internship. Two of my articles were picked up by National Library Board (NLB) to be published on their iremember.sg site (the actual site is now defunct). These articles picked up quite a following and raised awareness on the struggles of keeping the Malay cultural heritage of carpentry alive in Singapore.
Q: What and how do you aim to contribute to our Malay heritage after your internship at MHF? If you have already done this, please share with us!
After I graduated from NUS, I was given the opportunity to be a temporary assistant curator at the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC). There, I assisted on exhibitions like the Minangkabau exhibition, and Budi Daya exhibition, among others. I feel that these exhibitions raised further awareness on the Malay arts and cultural heritage, not just that of Singaporean, but also regional.
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