The Malay Heritage Foundation

Nur Elyna Zulkifli: MHF Trainee 2021

In March 2021, Nur Elyna Zulkifli began her traineeship at the Malay Heritage Foundation (MHF) under NYC’s The YouthTech Programme, which aims to offer young graduates and working adults full-time traineeship opportunities in the area of technology and digitalisation. We recently reconnected with Elyna to learn about her 1-year traineeship stint here at MHF.

Q: How have you been, Elyna?

I’ve been doing very well.

Q: How did you come to know about The YouthTech Programme?

I stumbled upon a Facebook post about open applications for the YouthTech Programme, so I signed up in hopes of securing a job after about a year of being unemployed due to the pandemic.

Q: You have prior working experiences before joining MHF. Could you share more about your work background?

During my first interview at MHF, I spoke to MHF’s General Manager, Mdm. Julina Khusaini and Assistant General Manager, Mr. Fadli Idris. I had a positive first impression of the organisation from this meeting because I could communicate well with them. Still, at the time, I was able to understand the organisation’s goals from the get-go, and I knew what and where I could contribute. Additionally, Mdm. Julina was able to share her knowledge of Malay heritage well. I felt her passion for her duty to safeguard and promote our Malay heritage, and as a Malay myself, I knew that it was my responsibility to help the MHF in any way I could.

Q: How well do you know about MHF at that time? 

At the time, I always thought that the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) and MHF were affiliated. I was surprised to understand that this was not entirely true. Upon realising this, I asked myself what can I do to show the public what sets these two organisations apart. MHF focuses on encouraging discourse revolving around the progression of Singaporean Malays through their webinars and lectures. In contrast, the MHC holds exhibitions and programmes catered to educating the public on the history of Singaporean Malays. Upon realising this, it was easier for me to work on a digital marketing strategy to promote MHF’s efforts.

Q: How do you feel about being the pioneer batch of trainees under this programme?

I feel grateful and honoured to be one of the pioneer trainees under this programme. (Note: Elyna was one of the two trainees that came onboard under NYC’s YouthTech Programme. The other trainee was Muhammad Najib Abdul Rahman, who joined MHF as a Digital Designer.)

Q: Could you share your experience and role as a trainee with us? What are some of your memorable moments?

As a digital marketing trainee, my daily tasks at the MHF were to maintain the organisation’s social media, website, email marketing, and assist in events, on top of other responsibilities. My one-year experience at the MHF had been a smooth journey filled with a lot of learning curves. One of my memorable moments at the MHF was being a part of Hari Warisan (Cultural Heritage Appreciation Day) with the President as Guest-of-Honour.

Q: What have you learned during your 1-year stint in MHF?

I was extremely thrilled to be involved in MHF’s hybrid events behind the scenes. Working through a pandemic for the first time, I was exposed to a bigger-scale event live stream for the first time as well. From this, I had to learn how to work with our vendors on-site to ensure everything went smoothly. I also had to assist with moderating live comments and Q&As. Aside from this, MHF’s lectures and webinars were always filled with exciting themes and topics that I benefitted from writing programme highlights.

Q: What are some challenges you faced at work, and how did you overcome them?

One of the challenges I faced at work was using the Malay language more frequently in writing and conversations. Being around well-spoken Malay professors and thought leaders at MHF’s events was intimidating, so I took it upon myself to listen and learn more ways to speak fluently in Malay through viewing MHF’s webinars and lectures.

Q: Going through the traineeship, does it help shape and further reinforce your interest in learning more about our Malay Arts, Culture & Heritage?

Yes, through MHF’s inaugural Hari Warisan, I am exposed to some of our lesser-known arts practitioners, such as Mr. Idris Ali and Ms. Shaza Ishak. MHF’s Chairman, Dr. Norshahril Saat, often emphasised the need to give our lesser-known practitioners a spotlight for the community to acknowledge all their effort contributing to our heritage. His words made me think about how there are probably more of our unsung heroes in the Malay arts, culture, and heritage industry who should be acknowledged for their contributions.

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

  1. Honest
  2. Introvert
  3. Observer

Q: What are your hopes for the art scene, especially for heritage organisations such as MHF?

I hope to see more collaborative effort and gotong-royong spirit in the art scene. Heritage organisations such as MHF needs the art scene just as much as the arts scene needs heritage organisations like MHF. We can only go far if we do it together, and I think that is something that we need to see more consistently and frequently. I also hope that more funding can be given to the arts, culture, and heritage sectors.

Follow MHF on FacebookLinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube, as well as newsletter, for regular updates on all MHF events, webinars, lectures, and more interesting news on the Malay arts and heritage scene in Singapore. If you would like to consider supporting the foundation’s initiatives to ensure that the heritage of the Malay community in Singapore continues to be protected, preserved and promoted as part of the national agenda (Singapore story), you may support us through a one-time or monthly donation here.

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