MAGAZINE

I am proud to announce that HK MEDIA & COMMUNICATION, a writing team that I found, has been appointed as the content manager for PERAK INSIGHTS.

PERAK INSIGHTS is a magazine that is published by Institut Darul Ridzuan, a public policy think tank for the Perak State Government. The magazine aims to bring greater insight and in-depth understanding on current issues and development that shape the nation.

As a think tank for the Perak State Government, IDR has a large store of resources from research papers, data and feedback from its partners that include universities, government agencies, civil societies, NGOs and the public. Hence, the magazine provides a platform for the think tank to connect with its audience while publishing its findings and policy recommendations.

Click on the cover photo to read the full magazine. We welcome feedback and opinions, so please feel free to send your say to perakinsights@idrperak.com or to hana.hkmediacom@gmail.com. Selected letters and views will be published in our next issue.

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Newsletter

Here are the two of my latest works for a state government think tank in Malaysia. The April edition was published in two languages – English and Malay. I can create and manage your company’s publication content on a regular basis. Contact me at wfarhana@gmail.com for more information.

IDR NEWS MARCH 2014 IDR NEWS APRIL 2014 Cover

 

 

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Conference daily : World Innovation Forum Kuala Lumpur 2013 (WIF-KL 2013)

I was tasked to manage the editorial component of WIF-KL2013‘s daily newspaper, last week. WIF-KL2013 is a three-day international forum that provides a platform for the discourse and events related to innovation. It is organised by Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Malaysian Innovation Foundation (YIM).

The content of each daily was structured to provide information on news, happenings, activities and highlights of the forum. The target readers are delegates, exhibitors and speakers of the forum. In this type of work, speed is very important, as I had a short window of time to write and edit, before we sent the final artwork for printing at 9 pm, every night.  Click on the images below to view the dailies.

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WIFKL 13 Nov 2013WIFKL 14 Nov 2013

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Writing in Malay

I’ve ventured into Malay writing. I see this as an opportunity to tap into a growing market of Malay audience. For example, I recently worked on writing a TV Commercial script for a prominent medical product that wanted to reach the predominantly Malay Muslim market in Malaysia, for the upcoming Ramadhan festival. Ramadhan is the month where Muslims fast (no eating and drinking) from dawn till dusk. This year, it’ll start in mid-July. Hopefully, I’ll be able to embed the TV commercial here once it is broadcasted.

Most of my work in 2013 has been more about crafting messages for specific audiences, which is significant and positive for my career as a Public Relations professional. But alas, my portfolio as a writer has suffered as none of these works are publishable for this website.  This post is to assure my visitors that I am still active as a freelance writer.

If you are looking for a professional writer to craft your content, please do not hesitate to contact me at wfarhana@gmail.com / +60129031921. 

Have a good Sunday!

Hana Kamaruddin

Menulis dalam Bahasa Melayu

Sejak kebelakangan ini saya sudah mula menjinakkan diri dalam penulisan Bahasa Melayu. Saya kira ini adalah satu peluang untuk menulis dan menyampaikan maklumat kepada golongan besar pembaca Melayu di Malaysia. Sebagai contoh, saya baru sahaja habis menulis skrip untuk iklan TV bagi satu produk kesihatan terkemuka negara. Klien ini berhasrat untuk menjual produk mereka kepada masyarkat Melayu Islam yang merangkumi golongan konsumer terbesar di Malaysia dan ingin menyiarkan iklan ini di waktu Bulan Ramadhan yang bakal tiba pada bulan Julai. Pembaca bolehlah nantikan siarannya di TV tidak lama lagi dan jika ada peluang, saya akan paparkan di dalam laman sesawang saya. 

Kebanyakan kerja saya pada tahun 2013 lebih menjurus kepada membina dan mencipta kandungan penulisan untuk audiens yang spesifik. Ini tentunya positif untuk karier saya sebagai PR Professional, namun hasil-hasil penulisan ini tidak dapat saya paparkan di dalam laman sesawang ini. Di sini, saya ingin menguar-uarkan yang saya masih lagi aktif sebagai penulis bebas (freelance writer). 

Jika anda mencari penulis bebas, baik dalam Bahasa Inggeris ataupun Melayu, bolehlah menghubungi saya di wfarhana@gmail.com atau +60129031921. 

Terima kasih. 🙂 

Hana Kamaruddin

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Universities engage in sustainability projects with industry – Case study – University World News

Universities engage in sustainability projects with industry – Case study – University World News.

ASIA
 
UNIVERSITIES ENGAGE IN SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS WITH INDUSTRY – CASE STUDY
 
Hana Kamaruddin Issue No:222

 

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Sustaining university-community projects is a key challenge – University World News

Sustaining university-community projects is a key challenge – University World News.

ASIA
 
SUSTAINING UNIVERSITY-COMMUNITY PROJECTS IS A KEY CHALLENGE 
 
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Leading light of university engagement outlines vision – University World News

Leading light of university engagement outlines vision – University World News.

ASIA
Leading light of university engagement outlines vision

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be a deputy vice-chancellor,” said Saran Kaur Gill, who fulfils just that elevated role at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where she runs industry and community partnerships. She is also executive director of the regional university network AsiaEngage, which was launched last week.

Gill, a professor in the school of language studies and linguistics at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), started out some 30 years ago as a basic language instructor, and reflected modestly on her impressive career progression: “If I can do this, then anyone can,” she said.

Her role is unique, though. UKM, sited on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is one of five universities in Malaysia with a deputy vice-chancellor in charge of civic engagement. The post was created by the Ministry of Higher Education in September 2007 to link the university with industry and communities.

The wider Asia region is the beneficiary of this and of Gill’s strong belief in what she is doing.

Among other high-powered international roles, she has been the originator and driving force behind AsiaEngage, a platform by means of which a group of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) universities as well as Asian higher education institutions, regional networks and programmes share expertise, knowledge and experience in community engagement.

The aim is to replicate successful models and best practices existing in universities in order to strengthen the civic role of universities across the region.

AsiaEngage’s first “Regional Conference on Higher Education-Industry-Community Engagement in Asia: Forging Meaningful Partnerships”, held from 7-9 May, was hosted at UKM.

Speaking to University World News at the conference, Gill said: “As long as a university shows an interest in community engagement, we will bring it on board to AsiaEngage so we can help with capacity building and the development of its community engagement initiatives.”

Working with industry challenges academics to come up with original and attractive ideas and proposals, she added. “You have to talk to industry about ideas that will really excite them.”

UKM strives to ensure that the knowledge of its academics is applicable to and benefits communities, and is also aligned with the university’s overall mission to contribute to nation-building.

Gill talks enthusiastically about case studies, including the Green Rose programme, a university collaboration with the PINTAR foundation to communicate the impacts of climate change to primary-school children. PINTAR is the philanthropic arm of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s national investment holding arm.

She cites leadership as key to successful partnerships. “An opportunity can only be translated into concrete reality if the leader is flexible, adaptable, able to meet tight deadlines, take instruction and develop a relationship that encourages knowledge sharing.”

Leaders must also be able to express knowledge with technical accuracy and in ways that have an impact. “It is essential to be sincere and giving, and to be able to develop trust and forge relationships with confidence,” Gill added.

“After all, as pointed out by the ministry, my role is to integrate engagement with communities and industries, to enrich and support the research, education and service missions of the university. And it is extremely valuable that we do this by giving with our hearts, hands and minds, back to society.”

“Because it was a new portfolio, no-one knew what to do with me, and neither did I have a clear direction. I also did not (at the time) have clear lines of authority over any of our students, researchers, staff or communities.”

Speaking of the management challenges, she said: “When you are given a new portfolio at the highest management levels, and the other portfolios have been in existence for over 20 years, you have to work collaboratively.”

But she defines her role as being a supportive one in which the industry and community engagement side of the university supports and engages education, research and services. However, “walls and territories need to be swept away and multidisciplinary and multiresponsibility initiatives built,” she said.

“I had to convince and persuade academics of the value of this field. I had to show them what we could do for them. It was not a situation of ‘Do as I say’. Instead it was ‘Work with us and we will be able to add value and strength to what we can do for you and society.’”

ENDS 

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Universities link to industry regionally to benefit the community – University World News

Universities link to industry regionally to benefit the community – University World News.

Hana Kamaruddin Issue No:221

University partnerships with industry can be scaled up across national boundaries in a wider region to benefit communities, a conference on academic links with business and populations through Asia heard on Monday.

Corporations “do not seem to serve society at large”, Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Wan Noordin conceded at the AsiaEngage “Regional Conference on Higher Education-Industry-Community Engagement in Asia. Forging Meaningful Partnerships”, being held from 7-9 May at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

“But there is a way for the two to work together to fulfil the corporate social responsibility objective,” said Wan Zahid, a member of the governing council of the Sime Darby Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group – a major, government-linked corporation focused mainly on the palm oil business.

“Universities are also enthusiastic to reach out to communities,” he said, citing his foundation and UKM as an example of a fruitful university-industry partnership.

They are working together on innovative palm oil milling technology whose goal is zero emission of greenhouse gases and, ultimately, more sustainable practices in the industry.

UKM provides research capacity. The foundation is providing MYR15 million (USD4.91 million) funding in line with its preferred policy of backing studies based around the parent company’s core business strands.

Although companies responsible to shareholders were driven by profit motives, some aspects of industry required a great deal of research and universities have an army of researchers to do that, Wan Zahid noted.

Sime Darby Group commits at least 3% of its profit to the foundation’s corporate social responsibility initiatives and has already pledged MYR99.2 million this year, he said.

Its ongoing Zero Waste Technology project for palm-oil milling has now transcended regional boundaries and received support from the Netherlands, which has agreed to fund a European scientist to join the project, he revealed.

The project was “a wonderful example of a university-industry partnership,” said Professor Saran Kaur Gill, UKM’s deputy vice-chancellor for industry and community partnerships and executive director of AsiaEngage.

AsiaEngage is a platform for regional cooperation under which a group of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) regional networks and programmes share expertise, knowledge and experience in community engagement across the ASEAN region and Asia in general.

They include the Asia-Talloires Network of Industry and Community Engaged Universities, the ASEAN University Network’s thematic university social responsibility and sustainability network, and the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme and its associated universities.

AsiaEngage is driven by UKM through its office of industry and community partnerships and is supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education.

“AsiaEngage aspires to use the same working model [as Sime Darby and UKM], but with industry players with regional business,” said Gill. “We want to jointly develop a model that can be replicated in the region.”

A global computer firm with a strong regional presence might be one example, she suggested. “They have the capacity to provide computers to regional communities but they can also forge a more meaningful and productive relationship with these communities. And I believe that this can stretch out to many areas.

“Given that they have a regional presence, they can then also work with different universities to jointly develop a workable private-partnership model.”

ENDS

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“Baby Hatch” provides help for desperate mothers

A Malaysian non-profit works to end the tragedy of baby dumping.

By Hana Kamaruddin for Khabar Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur

May 02, 2012

By day, Zuhri Yahya is an executive at a bus advertising company. In his spare time, he works feverishly to save unwanted babies.

  • The Baby Hatch in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, is a place where individuals can anonymously leave an unwanted baby. A sensor under the mattress immediately alerts an on-site caretaker to retrieve the baby; the closing of the door triggers lights and ventilation inside the hatch. After a week, babies are turned over to the State Welfare Organisation to start the adoption process. [Hana Kamaruddin/Khabar]

    The Baby Hatch in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, is a place where individuals can anonymously leave an unwanted baby. A sensor under the mattress immediately alerts an on-site caretaker to retrieve the baby; the closing of the door triggers lights and ventilation inside the hatch. After a week, babies are turned over to the State Welfare Organisation to start the adoption process. [Hana Kamaruddin/Khabar]

  • Zuhri Yahya, centre, leads a group of children in a singing activity at RumahTitian Kasih shelter in Kuala Lumpur, where he teaches English on Sundays. Zuhri also heads the Abandoned Babies Awareness Project, educating young people about alternatives to abandoning unwanted babies. [Photo courtesy of Zuhri Yahya]

    Zuhri Yahya, centre, leads a group of children in a singing activity at RumahTitian Kasih shelter in Kuala Lumpur, where he teaches English on Sundays. Zuhri also heads the Abandoned Babies Awareness Project, educating young people about alternatives to abandoning unwanted babies. [Photo courtesy of Zuhri Yahya]

It all began in September 2010, when he was going about daily business in his car and encountered a big crowd at the roadside.

“When I stopped at the traffic light, I had the chance to see what was going on in the centre of the commotion,” Zuhri, 31, told Khabar Southeast Asia.” It was then when I saw a dead baby, covered in flies, being taken out of a garbage can. I just broke down and cried.”

Most people in such situations wipe away their tears and move on, but Zuhri took action, launching the Abandoned Babies Awareness Project (ABBA).

He was already volunteering at OrphanCARE, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation established in 2008 by the late Adnan Mohammad Tahir to expedite and de-stigmatise the adoption process.

In 2010, OrphanCARE opened its Baby Hatch, where unwanted babies can safely and anonymously be passed into state care.

The one-of-a-kind facility is located in OrphanCARE’s operations centre in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Petaling Jaya, about 30km east of central Kuala Lumpur. These days, Zuhri spends much of his time telling people about it and explaining how it works.

“A young, desperate mother comes to OrphanCARE with her newborn baby. She approaches the hatch, opens it and places her baby inside. A sensor immediately picks up the baby’s presence and triggers a buzzer and strobe light in the caretaker’s room,” he says.

The caretaker checks a closed circuit TV to confirm the presence of a baby and to check whether the woman has left, to ensure her anonymity. Then, the caretaker retrieves the baby.

“We then usually keep the babies for about 7-9 days until they are given to the State Welfare Organisation to start their adoption process,” Zuhri says.

Nine babies have been placed in the baby hatch since it was launched in 2010. Zuhri and other volunteers hope to save many more.

With mothers fearful of stigma, infants are left to die

According to data from the Royal Malaysian Police, 396 babies were abandoned in Malaysia between 2005 and 2011. In January 2012, 19 babies were abandoned; 13 of them survived, police say.

Shame or fear of punishment over a baby born out of wedlock is one cause of baby dumping, according to former minister of women, family and community development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. In addition, babies born with disabilities are sometimes abandoned.

“The lack of religious education; no knowledge of available support services such as counseling services, being abandoned by the father of the baby, and mothers who are illegal immigrants with no proper documentation are some of the reasons why most people who resort to abandoning their babies do not seek help from the authorities or welfare departments,” she said.

“These babies are sometime left at waste dumps, drains, toilets and other unimaginable places,” says Zuhri.

Meanwhile, compounding the tragedy, around 1,000 Malaysian couples are currently waiting for adoption requests to be approved, he says.

“ABBA Heroes” educate youth

To bridge the gap, Zuhri organises what he calls “ABBA heroes” to speak to young people about baby abandonment and the existence of the baby hatch, and to provide a place for young people to talk about subjects like sex education and to seek help.

For funding and volunteers, Zuhri taps the Young Muslim Project, a group he belongs to where young people discuss life and faith and launch service projects and social events.

Last year, at a youth carnival, the ABBA team left baby dolls at several sites of the carnival. On the baby doll, it was written for the finder to return the baby doll to ABBA’s tent and its mock baby hatch.

“Once we got people to the booth, we explained about the existence and the mechanism of the baby hatch and informed them on the rampant case of babies being abandoned. Some of those who came also had a chance to consult with our volunteers and ask questions.”

Besides participating in youth events, ABBA also gives talks in schools. “Sometimes we talk about advocating abstinence and other times we talk about sex and the consequences. Yes, most of these kids don’t know that having unprotected sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy!”

Zuhri would like to see baby hatches set up in other locations in Malaysia and possibly in other countries.

“Baby abandonment is not an issue that is confined to Malaysia. Last month, two Sudanese students approached me about setting up a baby hatch centre in their country,” he said.

“I do hope that ABBA can grow and potentially save the lives of many innocent babies.”

*This article can be read at Khabar Southeast Asia

 
 
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Malaysia Islamic group encourages discussions on faith – Khabar Southeast Asia

Five years after its founding, the Young Muslims Project is giving Kuala Lumpur’s youth a platform for discussion on faith and life.

By Hana Kamaruddin for Khabar Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur – 09/03/12

In Malaysia, a young man had trouble finding answers to questions that always bothered him about what he should or shouldn’t do as a Muslim in this deeply religious nation.

“Growing up in Malaysia, you are not allowed to talk about anything in Islam, let alone query about it,” Muhammad Al-Amin bin Abdul Rahman told Khabar Southeast Asia. “Questions like ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Why do we have to pray?’ are often answered with a ‘You shouldn’t ask that!'”

Now Amin, as his friends call him, is happy to have a forum that has provided him with a platform for open discussion on these subjects, considered taboo among the religious conservative elders and parents.

Begun five years ago in Kuala Lumpur, the Young Muslims Project (YMP) has given young urbanites the opportunity to gather in a safe space where their fellows are “sincerely open to accept as well as to embrace anyone who is interested to bridge a link with Islam”.

Amin is one of the founders of YMP – an organisation that aims to develop an open and thought-provoking environment, particularly for urban youths who are interested to learn about Islam.

Their website says “in mobilising youths towards a better understanding of Islam as a way of life, YMP strives to be the leading platform to have their voices heard and inspire others to be better Muslims”.

According to Amin, before the creation of the YMP, he was confronted with uncertainties about Islam. But more frustrating was the lack of an outlet or avenue in which he could discuss them.

It was this experience that drove him and his friend Kat, to start YMP five years ago.

The inaugural gathering drew fewer than 10 people. Since then, the group’s regular bi-weekly meetings, dialogue sessions and volunteering programmes have drawn more than 4,000 members.

“It was a great start to creating a platform and environment where young urbanites could ask questions and challenge each other, in hopes that it will enable us to understand more about Islam,” Amin told Khabar.

The group hosts four kinds of programmes to cater to different interests – Funtivities, Intellectual Discourse, Open Circle and Community Service.

The Funtivities and Community Service programmes bring the members out into the community for group activities. Funtivities consist of activities like scavenger hunts, paintball, ultimate frisbee and tea parties. The latter provides a platform for youths interested in volunteering for programmes like the Soup Kitchen, held four nights a week, to help feed KL’s homeless population.

The Intellectual Discourse and Open Circle programmes, on the other hand, bring YMP members together to discuss pertinent issues of faith and everyday life. During Intellectual Discourse sessions, speakers are invited to discuss issues relating to Islam. Past speakers have included marriage counsellors, life coaches, authors and religious leaders.

During Open Circle, YMP members can continue discussions from Intellectual Discourse or start new ones in an open and non-judgmental environment.

YMP also hosts “Ladies Only” activities. During a recent Open Circle Ladies Only discussion, a large group of YMP young women opened up about hardships and confidence.

“Life seemed surreal last Sunday. Like many at the event, I hadn’t even contemplated the existence of such a welcoming and intellectual group of sisters gathering for the purpose of self-betterment,” one participant wrote on the website’s blog.

Amin said although the gatherings are open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, they are particularly targeted to non-practicing young urbanite Muslims.

“We see this as a form of dakwah [preaching] to spread the virtues of Islam in a non-authoritative and non-condescending way. We want to lead by example and the best way is to assimilate into these youngsters’ way of life,” he added.

Since he started YMP, Amin said he has found peace with those internal conflicts over faith he once experienced. The resolution he sought in the first place wasn’t in the answers, but in the journey of seeking them, he said.

“The purpose of the YMP is not to give answers but to keep on questioning in a space where you won’t be judged or put-down for your different views. In fact, it is a place where you are free to make mistakes and learn from them.”

For more information on the group, visit their Young Muslims Project BlogSpot or Facebook page.

  • Amin, a dancer for Madonna, entertains members of the Young Muslims Project (YMP) at an Open Circle event held by the group. Amin, a Frenchman who converted to Islam, claims to have had discussions about faith with the singer. [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project] Amin, a dancer for Madonna, entertains members of the Young Muslims Project (YMP) at an Open Circle event held by the group. Amin, a Frenchman who converted to Islam, claims to have had discussions about faith with the singer. [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project]
  • In a typical setting for Open Circle, youths gather at a follower’s residence and discuss topics related to Islam.  [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project]  In a typical setting for Open Circle, youths gather at a follower’s residence and discuss topics related to Islam. [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project]
  • At a FUNtivity event, YMP followers fly kites at a park north of Kuala Lumpur. The organisation also has Intellectual Discourse discussions and Open Circle keynote speaker events, in addition to performing community service activities. [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project] At a FUNtivity event, YMP followers fly kites at a park north of Kuala Lumpur. The organisation also has Intellectual Discourse discussions and Open Circle keynote speaker events, in addition to performing community service activities. [Photo: Courtesy of Young Muslims Project]

This article can be read at Khabar Southeast Asia.

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