Growing up, I was very reserved and encountered frequent language barriers which impacted the way I communicate with others. Hence, I turned to the only way I knew how to express myself, which is writing. Although I managed to better my communication skills over the years by self-learning Malay and taking up more leadership roles (even though they were outside my comfort zone), writing was still something that I could never quite turn away from.
As such, upon entering college, I joined Sunway’s official student publication—Sunway Echo Media—and was eventually elected as president. Many people might question what tangible change media content can create but its impact is not only within the messages and information it spreads, but also how it affects individuals. As president, I witnessed how creating a safe communal space for my members to create and express themselves brought joy and a sense of accomplishment of creating something that mattered. Most importantly, the safety of creating freely allowed for more representation for those who lacked it or were often misrepresented, shone light on important social matters, and told stories that touched hearts. It was never about giving people a voice; it was always about creating a safe space for people to find their own voice and amplifying it. Although our community was small, we saw it blossom before our eyes, as our content ended up engaging with thousands of monthly viewers across several countries. Alongside my team, I also had the opportunity to head our event committee and organise Sunway Echo Media’s first ever physical event, which constituted of creative writing, journalism, graphic design, and videography workshops. With these fields not being that prominent in Malaysia, especially amongst youths, it was a chance to actively interact with those who had a calling for it and learn from talented industry leaders.
My experience taught me a lot, but mainly that you don’t necessarily have to be an orator an excellent public speaker because we all play different parts in imparting change, and even if it is a quieter one, it doesn’t undermine the impact and value of your creation and action. So, create and write about things that matter to you and to your community, because one idea can spark a lot of deliberation which can trickle down to much larger societal impact.
In truth, my actual transformation story isn’t about how I overcame communication barriers and took up leadership roles, it’s about how these steps led to more fulfilling opportunities, which is connecting with others and engaging with the needs of my community. I learned that my transformation journey isn’t just my own, but it intersects with that of others. Thus, instead of only focusing on your own story, it is always worthwhile to learn from others and build each other up in a community, no matter how small.
Hi Julia! You may not realise this but you’re such an inspiration to me. You’ve always strived to be a better person and I’m proud to see where you are now. Keep it up and good luck!!
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