In June 2023, Farah Allisha began an internship with the Malay Heritage Foundation (MHF) while studying Psychology at the Singapore Management University (SMU). We interviewed Farah to learn more about life as an MHF intern after she completed her internship in September 2023.
Q: How did you learn about this internship programme with Malay Heritage Foundation (MHF)?
I learned about this program with MHF while sourcing for an internship that I could do over my summer break and while in school once it started. While looking for an internship, I decided to look for internship programs that would interest me. Because I recently started becoming more active in the Malay community, I thought the internship program with MHF was a good fit for me.
Q: How well did you know about MHF at that time?
I was unaware of MHF and had a misconception that MHF and the Malay Heritage Centre were the same things, but upon googling; I learned that the organisations were different. However, they both shared the same goal of sharing knowledge about the Malay culture and community.
Q: Could you share with us your experience and role as an intern at MHF? Some memorable moments?
As an intern at MHF, I wrote programme highlights and articles, created posts on MHF’s website and social media accounts, and emceeing at an event.
Most of these tasks were new experiences for me and while I was scared to embark on this journey at the start, my supervisor, Mr. Fadli, gave me constant reassurance and guided me along the way whenever I had any doubts or questions. His guidance and directions allowed me to have more confidence and courage in the work that I’m doing.
A memorable moment while interning at MHF was emceeing for the twelfth session of the Cendekiawan Lestari Series with Guest Speaker Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim. I have had many experiences emceeing for events before this. Still, most of my experiences consisted of emceeing at school events or club events, so it was a first for me to be emceeing at such a formal event with a very honourable person as one of the guests. I was nervous before the event started and kept practising my lines to ensure I was saying the words correctly and at a good pace for the audience to follow. Mr. Fadli and the General Manager, Mdm Asmah, helped me gain confidence when they shared their feedback after a few trial runs before the event started. Although the event was nerve-wracking, I felt like my experience benefited me as I managed to emcee at an event different from what I am used to. After the event ended, I also got compliments from the team about my performance, which made the experience worth it.
Q: What have you learned during your 3-month stint in MHF?
In my three months at MHF, I learned a lot about the hard work and dedication required to be involved in the culture and heritage sector. While working at MHF, I saw the hard work and continuous efforts that my managers put into maintaining the Malay community and heritage. Their hard-working attitude inspired me to work harder in my current role as President of SMU’s Malay Language and Cultural Club and to ensure that the knowledge of the Malay culture and heritage is kept alive among the youths.
Additionally, while working at MHF, I picked up a myriad of skills that I believe will benefit me outside of my internship journey, such as creating content for social media, writing programme highlights and articles. I would say writing articles and programme highlights that would be published online on MHF’s website was scary to think about initially because it was out of my comfort zone. However, through this internship, as the opportunity to write up social media posts, programme highlights, and articles was a lot, I grew and honed my skills with each deliverable. Hence, this internship allowed me to leave my comfort zone and experience a working environment I was not used to.
Q: What challenges do you face at work and how do you overcome them?
A challenge I faced at work was transcribing the twelfth session in the Cendekiawan Lestari series (CLS), where Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim spoke as a guest speaker. Having never had any experience transcribing and writing a programme highlight, I was unsure how to start. However, I managed to overcome the uncertainty by looking back on past published programme highlights on the MHF website and taking references to the formatting of the write-up. As for the content, it took me a lot of time to consider what was important to fit into the programme highlight as a lot of the information that Prof Muhammad Faishal shared felt was very interesting and essential to be included, so I sent a draft over to Mr. Fadli to get his opinion to which he helped in making sure the programme highlight was excellent and accurate to what was discussed at the lecture for those who missed the event.
Q: As a Psychology student from SMU, what piqued your interest in pursuing Psychology? Can you apply any takeaways from this internship to your studies?
I was first introduced to Psychology when I was doing the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme in 2018 and took it as one of the six subjects I had to choose. As I was studying Psychology in school, the topic of social psychology and criminal psychology piqued my interest the most and got me more enthusiastic into wanting to learn more about the subject. Trying to understand human behaviours and their motives made me keen on the subject as I am inquisitive and always want to know why people do what they do.
Thus, some takeaways I received from this internship that I can apply to my studies is a deeper understanding of the Malay community as well as its heritage and culture and how this plays a part in an individual’s life. An example of this would be how Prof Muhammad Faishal shared about the importance of a community supporting drug abusers trying to rehabilitate into society. As I am more interested in social and criminal psychology, I believe that this opportunity to be a part of the CLS has given me insight into potential research and areas of interest I may venture into in the future when doing Psychology.
Q: Going through the internship, does it help shape and further reinforce your interest in learning more about our Malay Arts, Culture & Heritage?
Yes, it definitely did! Going through the internship definitely exposed me to many influential people in Malay Arts, Culture and Heritage that I did not know of before and the efforts to recognise these people, such as through MHF’s Hadiah and Tunas Warisan Awards. As I was tasked to make posters and posts about the nominations for 2023’s Hadiah and Tunas Warisan Awards, I managed to learn more about the past award recipients and look at the work that they have done, which then inspired me to continue my efforts in my journey of learning to play Malay musical instruments. As a Malay percussion ensemble member at SMU (SMU Rentak), I was allowed to write a feature article on one of my instructors and a prominent figure in the Malay music scene, Riduan Zalani. Interviewing and speaking to him further reinforced my interest in learning more about our Malay Arts, Culture and Heritage, especially as he shared his journey in the industry and how he believes the traditions and culture must be passed onto future generations to keep it alive and relevant.
Q: What do you intend to do after your graduation?
I intend to continue my studies if given the opportunity. Still, I also believe that gaining experience is also essential. Hence, I hope to find work that aligns with my interests, such as working at the Ministry of Home Affairs under their Psychology department. At the same time, I hope to continue to hone my skills in Malay percussion music and contribute to the Malay community in any possible way.
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
Outgoing. Passionate. Thoughtful
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