The Malay Heritage Foundation

Sembang Ilmu Series #04 – “ARTS & HUMANITIES IN COMMUNITY BUILDING: THE YOUNG PERSPECTIVE”

In a joint collaboration with NUS Malay Studies Society (NUS MSS), the fourth instalment of Malay Heritage Foundation’s (MHF) ongoing Sembang Ilmu Series (SIS) discussed Arts & Humanities in Community Building: The Young Perspective. The event was joined by a panel of six individuals from different fields of study, together with both MHF Chairman, Dr Norshahril Saat and MHF Vice-Chairman, Dr Azhar Ibrahim, in attendance.

MHF Chairman, Dr Norshahril Saat announcing the launch of Hadiah Warisan and Tunas Warisan in his opening address. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Saturday, 3 April 2021 — For this edition of SIS, the 2-hour forum was moderated by a representative from NUS MSS. There were at least 20 participants sitting in for the event at Malay Heritage Centre’s auditorium. Starting off the event with an opening address, Dr Norshahril Saat officially announced the inaugural launch of Hadiah Warisan and Tunas Warisan Awards by MHF.

Norasiken was the first speaker to deliver her presentation. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Norasiken Mohamed Noor, a recent SUSS graduate with a bachelor in Malay Language & Literature was the first speaker to present. Norasiken is an educator who believes in the importance of nurturing critical reflection in order to develop a community of thinkers. In her presentation, she touched on the roles of language and literacy in our community as well as the importance of literary and linguistic appreciation. Norasiken stressed that taking ownership of one’s culture, language and heritage is imperative in moving forward as a community and she concluded her presentation with an inspiring quote from Syed Hussein Alatas.

Khairi engaging the audience with his presentation. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Our second speaker, Muhammad Khairillah Muhammad Irwan, is a 2nd year undergraduate at Yale-NUS College pursuing a major in Literature and a minor in Anthropology. Khairi has a strong interest in exploring how pedagogy informed by literary and historical frameworks can help us imagine alternative modes of being. His thought-provoking presentation greatly reflects on his background and interests, citing several quotes and poetry to explain how literature shapes our imagination and in turn, determines our reality. Khairi ended his presentation with an open-ended question reflecting on how we can expand spaces for imagination and critical interpretation in our society.

Abdul Qayyum sharing his perspectives on community building from an IR perspective. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Abdul Qayyum, currently a 3rd year undergraduate studying International Relations (IR) and Arabic Studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, is up next. His interests lie in critical International Relations theory, regional studies and civil-military relations. Abdul Qayyum shared his views on community building from an IR perspective, even bringing up the ongoing and heated ‘Nasi Lemak debate’ on the dish’s true origin amongst our community and neighbouring countries that has become a widely discussed topic.

Asyraf setting the context of his presentation. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Asyraf Jamil, a 3rd year undergraduate in SMU pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, majoring in Sociology and Political Science, was the next to present. Driven by the ideal of a cohesive society, he is working towards contributing to the public sphere. In his presentation for “Sociology in Action”, Asyraf highlighted our technology driven future that is affecting the troubling constant in University’s enrolment for the Fine & Applied Arts. He indicated the pressing need and pertinence for social reflection within our Arts & Humanities community.

Afiqah presenting her thoughts on digital spaces. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Coming in next is Afiqah Syalwani, a 3rd year NUS Sociology undergraduate with an interest in pursuing a career in the communications sector. Afiqah hopes to inflict positive change on societal issues pertinent to the Malay community today. Her presentation on “The Sociology in New Media” discussed the significance of today’s digital age in community building. Afiqah concluded her points with some examples of a stronger bond built through current trends such as podcasts and TikTok videos, highlighting that digital communities create space for change.

Azad addressing a question during the Q&A segment. (Credit: Malay Heritage Foundation)

Last but not least the final speaker for the event is Shaik Azad, a 3rd year Malay studies undergraduate from NUS who is a believer in the importance of discussions in public spaces; whether to empower the masses or to engage in meaningful discourse. Azad began his presentation by citing works from iconic Malay authors, Syed Hussein Alatas and Shaharuddin Maaruf together with a quote on amateurism. He ended the presentation by stressing the importance of being an amateur because a crucial aspect of Malay studies is about responding to social issues.

The forum session concluded with a routine Q&A session where panelists answered several questions from the audience. Dr Norshahril Saat then awarded a participation certificate for all the speakers. SIS is part of an ongoing initiative that provides a discursive platform for our youths and young professionals to deliberate and discuss issues relating to the socio-cultural development of the Malays in Singapore with MHF. To be a part of our next SIS or other programmes, view our upcoming events or follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

Useful Links

Video
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Media Coverage
1. Berita Mediacorp (3 Apr 2021) – Dua Anugerah Baru Dilancarkan bagi Sektor Kesenian & Warisan Melayu
2. Berita Harian (4 Apr 2021) – Dua Anugerah Perkukuh Seni Melayu

Papers
1. Literary & Linguistic Appreciation – Why & What’s Next: Norasiken Mohamed Noor
2. Literature & Its Afterlives Or: Why Should We Keep Reading & Writing: Muhammad Khairillah Muhammad Irwan
3. Community Building from An International Relations (IR): Abdul Qayyum
4. Sociology in Action: Asyraf Jamil
5. The Sociology in New Media – Digital Spaces – Medium for Positive Change: Afiqah Syalwani
6. Malay Studies in Community Building – Critical Diagnosis for Reconstruction: Shaik Azad Abdul Jabbar

Media Release
1. Media Release (3 Apr 2021) – Launch of Hadiah Warisan Award

Launch of Hadiah Warisan
1. Chairman’s Speech (3 Apr 2021) – Announcement of Hadiah Warisan
2. Main Site – Hadiah Warisan & Tunas Warisan

English (UK)
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