Category: Inspiring

Penggal baharu persekolahan yang bermula pada Rabu masih mengekalkan kaedah pembelajaran secara dalam talian ekoran penularan pandemik Covid-19 yang semakin serius sehingga memaksa kerajaan menguatkuasakan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP).

Situasi berkenaan memberi kesan kepada pelajar di kawasan luar bandar yang berdepan dengan capaian internet rendah sekali gus merencatkan kelancaran operasi pembelajaran mereka.

Bagi mengatasi masalah itu, seorang penduduk dari Kampung Banggol Pak Esah di sini sanggup mengeluarkan duit poket sendiri dengan mendirikan antena bagi membantu meningkatkan capaian internet di kawasan berkenaan bagi membolehkan pelajar di kawasan itu mengikuti pembelajaran dengan lebih mudah.

Azrin Mohamad, 42, berkata, inisiatif tersebut diambil bagi mengelakkan hampir 1,000 pelajar di kawasan berkenaan terlepas mengikuti sesi persekolahan secara dalam talian bagi penggal baharu tahun ini yang bermula pada Rabu.

“Usahkan capaian internet, talian telefon pun susah hendak dapat di kawasan ini sehingga ada penduduk terpaksa keluar ke tempat lain untuk mendapatkan akses itu.

Memikirkan masalah itu saya mengambil keputusan mengeluarkan wang sebanyak RM2,500 bagi menyediakan antena ini,” katanya kepada Sinar Harian pada Rabu.

Menurutnya, dia sudah mengemukakan aduan secara berterusan kepada Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM) berhubung masalah itu, namun sehingga kini tiada sebarang tindakan diambil.

“Semua ‘username’ dan ‘password’ saya telah tampal pada tiang antena itu bagi membolehkan penduduk menggunakan kemudahan itu secara percuma.

“Seramai 50 orang boleh menggunakan akses tersebut dalam satu-satu masa,” katanya.

Menurutnya, dia menggunakan perkhidmatan jalur lebar yang berkapasiti tinggi untuk memudahkan lebih ramai menikmati kemudahan itu.

Seorang murid, Adam Darwish Zuradinata, 10, berkata, dia teruja dapat menikmati kemudahan itu yang membantu proses pembelajaran secara ‘online’ di musim Covid-19.

“Cucu suka menggunakan panggilan video untuk berhubung. Bila susah nak dapat capaian internet maka sukarlah untuk saya dan isteri berhubung dengan mereka yang tinggal jauh dan tidak boleh merentas negeri kerana PKP.

“Tapi kemudahan ini membolehkan kami berhubung sekali gus melepaskan rindu dan bimbang apabila berjauhan,” katanya.

-sh

There’s nothing quite like a generous smear of fig jam to go with your cheese and crackers. The touch of sweetness elevates every bite.

But fresh figs? Fresh figs can be an entirely different proposition, especially if you’ve encountered imported ones that are mushy and tasteless. You reckon this is why folks make fig jam, no?

Lawrence Yew and Cheah Zhao Yan would beg to differ. The two long-time friends turned business partners are counting on Malaysian palates craving something new, specifically fresh figs grown on local soil. Figs that are ripened on the branch and taste right.

But Yew and Cheah are not farmers, but auditors by training. Surely starting a fruit farm — much less growing a fruit many of their fellow Malaysians still find unfamiliar, at least in its fresh form — is a huge risk?

Yew shares, “Born and bred in KL, we met in high school as we were in the same classes then. During that time, both of us were studious. I was from the school band and Cheah was a Scout. Entrepreneurship was never something I thought I would be doing, as I was more academically inclined and always thought that I will be climbing the corporate ladder.”

The pair both later became auditors but the desire to start their own business was never far away, especially for Yew who was always interested in agriculture. However, farming is capital intensive so it wasn’t until 2019 when Cheah left his job that the two friends decided to pool their savings to start a fig farm.

Yew first chanced upon figs during a meeting with one of his clients: “I discovered that figs were viable in our tropical climate. Previously, the only figs that I knew were dried figs that were used to boil soup or those chewy seedy ones eaten as snacks.”

For Cheah, his first impression of figs was hardly encouraging — “imported figs from Turkey during my job assignment in Dubai; they tasted bland” — and it was only later, when he tasted fully ripe locally farmed fresh figs in Malaysia, that he saw an opportunity.

He recalls, “I then realised that fresh figs could be sweet and with a special distinct taste for each different variety, and with great potential to be the next Malaysian home-grown superfruit.”

And thus Figara11 was born.

With their fortuitous change in career circumstances and renewed appreciation for the fruit, Yew and Cheah got cracking on their fig farm. Their mission? To bring fresh figs ripened on the tree to Malaysians, one household at a time.

“Most Malaysians do not know what figs should look or taste like,” says Yew. “Those who are fortunate enough to try them overseas get very disappointed with the ones found at the premium supermarkets. You see, imported figs have to be picked at semi-ripe state to last longer on shelves. The main trade-off will be the lack of flavour and sweetness.”

Figs, unlike some other fruits, do not ripen off the tree. They may become softer but not sweeter, according to Yew.

He says, “Once it is picked semi-ripe, it stays that way throughout. With that knowledge, we believe Malaysians deserve better. As figs are less well known, we need to educate customers of what to expect; what is ripe, semi-ripe and over-ripe; and what should be the right taste and texture.”

Thus, to distinguish their figs from that of other fig producers, Figara11 focuses on fresh figs that are ripened on the tree. Using a business-to-consumer (B2C) model, the fruit are picked and sent to customers within 24 hours, ensuring freshness , what the duo terms as #FarmToPalm.

Customers place a pre-order with Figara11 via their website (figara11.com/pre-order). Harvesting of figs is done daily to ensure the optimal freshness and ripeness, but the duo admits it can be a struggle to ensure every single fig bought by customers lasts more than five days. Zero waste is a constant goal.

Yew shares, “Customer satisfaction is our mantra, so we have a money back guarantee or replacing figs that are not satisfactory. Our pre-order model is very important to ensure figs are delivered fresh and routes to customers are optimised, as we want to keep delivery costs for customers low, to the extent we have our own delivery team instead of using delivery partners.”

Figs are fragile and proper handling is critical. Cheah explains that above a certain purchase — currently set at RM100 — Figara11 will absorb the delivery fees.

He says, “This is something other players are unable to do. Every decision that we make, it is to ensure customers get the best experience.”

Moving forward, Yew notes that their goal is to produce the highest quality figs all year round and to send fresh figs from the farm directly to customers.

He adds, “After a few months of selling the figs, we found that our market is of the more affluent consumers. We are sold out almost every day, and our lower grade figs are well received for business use.”

Figara11 also transforms their fresh figs into products such as fig jam, fig leaf tea and prebiotic beverages. They are also exploring dried figs and other products.

Yew explains, “For our fresh figs, some customers request a specific level of ripeness. With our fig jam, we slowly developed other variations based on customer feedback. As we do not wish to compete with overseas fig producers, we are trying to avoid going into dried figs but who knows, one day we might because there are requests for them.”

The latest result of their painstaking development process is Gugu Guts — a prebiotic drink created with the notion that the fig itself is a prebiotic as it is rich in pectin, a soluble fibre. The name is partly derived from ichijiku, which is Japanese for figs.

Other “super fruits” such as pomegranates, goji berries, cranberries and mixed berries are added, as well as prebiotic extracts from chicory roots.

Yew says, “Gugu Guts help people with constipation or digestion issues, and improve conditions that arise from leaky guts. These are all due to the imbalance of the gut microbiome, where bad bacteria thrives over the good bacteria. Introducing prebiotics is essential due to the lack of a balanced diet nowadays, allowing the fuel to be given to good bacteria to flourish.”

As they are mainly an online outfit, expanding Figara11’s business-to-business (B2B) base would allow for a greater diversity of fig products in the market. Cheah says, “We are very keen on collaborating with brands that are looking for the same outreach, and believe that farm produce should be as fresh as they can be to be delivered to customers.”

The duo is also looking to gradually expand their farm, due to the delicate nature of figs and their short shelf life. Yew says, “Consumer education is crucial. As much as we like to have it done faster, we are likely only able to do that once the customer base is solid to ensure zero waste.”

With figs this fresh and this sweet, one wouldn’t be surprised if a clean plate is all that is left.

-malaymail

Ikea Malaysia turned a mistake into an opportunity after a batch of its reusable bags sported a glaring printing error.

The home furnishing store’s Klamby reusable bags were meant to feature the URL ‘www.ikea.com.my’ but what got through the printers was ‘www.ikea.co.my’ instead.

The missing ‘m’ could have spelled disaster for online shoppers.

Following the typo, Ikea Malaysia has rebranded the bags as the ‘alamak’ bag which have earned them single batch status thanks to the slip-up.

Alamak is a reference to the Malay phrase typically used to express shock or dismay, similar to ‘oops’ or ‘uh-oh’ in the English language.

Malay Mail found the erroneous bags were being sold on Ikea Malaysia’s website after the same mistake that befell Ikea Singapore made headlines.

Just like Malaysia, Ikea Singapore’s URL was incorrectly printed ‘www.ikea.co.sg’.

The URL typo across the Causeway was spotted by Facebook user Alicia Cho at an Ikea Singapore store.

“I wonder who approve the design before printing…how can make such a mistake (sic),” she wrote.

Taking the boo-boo in their stride, the Swedish brand got creative and decided to sell the bags as a limited edition item with the description “limited, unique, alamak”.

Ikea made up for the oversight with a witty sales pitch that will no doubt amuse many.

“At Ikea, it’s OK to make a mistake,” the message to customers read.

“We printed the wrong website address on the Klamby reusable bag but because it’s reusable we won’t scrap them.

“They’re limited edition and they won’t be back!”

Cho’s Facebook post came with a snapshot of the clever copywriting in-store while the same disclaimer is spotted above the product page on the Malaysian website.

In Malaysia, the Klamby reusable bag is priced at RM4.90 while Ikea Singapore is selling it for SG$1.90 (RM5.77)

-malaymail

No matter the weather, delivery riders are always “on the job” as they ride around tirelessly every day to earn a living. 

When Ipoh food delivery rider Mohamad Amir Hazim Zamzuri finally had some time to take a short breather during his busy day delivering orders, he didn’t think twice when an elderly man on a faulty motorbike came to him for help.

Amir, 19, said in a post uploaded onto his Twitter page last week that the old man, approximately in his 50s, asked if Amir could escort him to the Baitulmal office located nearby, as the man was on his way to apply for financial assistance. 

Amir told mStar that he had just stopped to take a break at a car park in Ipoh, when the elderly man — who was covered in sweat — approached him. 

“It was around 2:40pm when I saw the old uncle. He looked tired and seemed to be in a rush as he asked me if I could give him a ride to the Baitulmal and Zakat Collection Centre office in Ipoh because he had a punctured back tyre,” said Amir. 

“I wanted to help him, but I couldn’t take a pillion rider with me while on duty and my bike didn’t have much space because with the food delivery bag on it.

“I felt really bad for not taking him on my bike because he looked so tired and sweaty, and was probably riding for a long time before meeting me.”

Despite not being able to offer him a lift, Amir said he didn’t feel right to just leave the man to continue his journey by himself. 

“At first, I told him that I would escort him to a workshop so that he can fix his tyre but he was more concerned that he wouldn’t make it in time to apply for aid.

“So I told him that I would ride behind him all the way to his destination to ensure that he has a safe journey,” said Amir. 

“His bike is still okay, it’s just that the back tyre isn’t really stable. So I figured that I could guide him on which roads were safer to use since I ride around Ipoh all the time for work.”

Amir, who has been working part-time as a food delivery rider since July last year said that he didn’t mind accompanying the elderly man as it only took about 10 minutes with the Baitulmal office being only four kilometres away from where they met. 

“Luckily, the journey there was smooth and the old uncle reached safely. Even though he looked tired, he seemed relieved that he got there in time,” he said. 

“Thankfully I didn’t get any orders coming in while escorting him. I only got a notification for an order when we were reaching his destination.”

Amir, who hails from Bota, Perak, added that he didn’t have time to properly talk to the elderly man either, as he was only worried about making it to the Baitulmal office in time. 

“I didn’t ask him much because he was flustered. 

“His clothes were shabby and it seems like he is more underprivileged than most. 

“I think that without the aid, he wouldn’t be able to fix his bike which is why he was so determined to get to the office in Ipoh,” said the 19-year-old.

“When we reached, I checked my wallet and gave him what I had. It may not be much but I hope and pray that he gets the aid he desperately needs.”

Amir’s post has since garnered over 4,000 likes and shares on Twitter, with many social media users praising the teenager for his willingness to help the old man.

Amir’s act of goodwill also got the attention of Grab Malaysia, who commended the rider for his kindness.

-malaymail

Penglibatan golongan muda dalam rantaian penanaman padi dan beras adalah antara tujuh pendekatan baharu dilaksanakan Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Makanan (MAFI).

Timbalan Menteri I MAFI, Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah berkata, ia dilakukan melalui pelaksanaan pertanian moden untuk meningkatkan pengeluaran padi.

Menurutnya, secara purata keperluan tahunan beras bagi rakyat Malaysia adalah kira-kira 2.5 juta tan metrik manakala pengeluaran beras negara sekitar 70 peratus daripada keperluan tersebut.

“Jadi negara masih mengimport 700,000 hingga 900,000 tan metrik beras setiap tahun atau 30 peratus.

“Kementerian komited meningkatkan pengeluaran beras negara sehingga tahap sara diri SSL mencecah 75 peratus seperti yang digariskan dalam cadangan Kertas Strategi RMK12 bagi industri padi dan beras untuk mengurangkan import sebanyak 5 peratus,” katanya menjawab soalan Senator Datuk Paul Igal di Dewan Rakyat.

Ahmad berkata lagi, kementerian juga memperkenalkan penggunaan teknologi moden dalam mekanisasi dan automasi.

Katanya, penggunaan jentera moden, berkeupayaan tinggi seperti dron dan jentuai mini dapat mengoptimumkan hasil dalam keseluruhan rantaian industri.

“Pendekatan Sawah Berskala Besar (SBB) iaitu melibatkan peranan entiti swasta sepanjang rantaian penanaman padi dan pengeluaran beras juga dilakukan.

“Kementerian juga melakukan peluasan kawasan jelapang padi dan menggunakan benih padi sah yang berkualiti,” katanya.

Terdahulu Paul mempersoalkan rancangan kementerian untuk meningkatkan pengeluaran beras negara.

-sinarharian

Syarikat pengeluar kicap dan sos masakan buatan Malaysia, Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd menyumbangkan bantuan sebanyak RM15,000 menerusi inisiatif ‘Ikhlas untuk Sabah’ bagi membantu rakyat Sabah yang terjejas akibat pandemik koronavirus (Covid-19).

Ketua Komersil Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd, Mohd Jazri Ikmal Hijaz berkata, pihaknya menyasarkan untuk menghulurkan bantuan barangan keperluan asas kepada kira-kira 300 ahli keluarga di sekitar kawasan Sandakan dan Semporna.

“Barang keperluan asas untuk program ini dibeli dari kedai runcit tempatan di Sabah dan diharap ia juga dapat membantu industri runcit tempatan di negeri itu.

“Kami berharap sumbangan ini sedikit sebanyak dapat membantu warga asnaf di Sabah,” katanya kepada Sinar Harian pada sesi penyerahan cek di Wisma Tune di sini semalam.

Sementara itu, Ketua Ikhlas, Ikhlas Kamarudin berkata, pihaknya menyambut baik dan berterima kasih kepada Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd atas sokongan dengan turut menyumbang dana bagi menjayakan program tersebut.

Menurutnya, inisiatif ‘Ikhlas untuk Sabah’ dilancarkan pada 27 Oktober lalu, khusus bagi membantu rakyat Sabah yang terjejas teruk akibat Covid-19.

“Semua dana yang diperoleh menerusi program ini akan disalurkan sepenuhnya kepada rakyat Sabah.

“Alhamdulillah, setakat ini jumlah sumbangan hampir mencecah 70 peratus sasaran dan kita yakin dapat mencapai sasaran sebanyak RM250,000 sebaik sahaja kempen ini berakhir pada 30 November ini,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, sumbangan dana oleh Mahsuri Food Sdn Bhd akan digunakan untuk pengagihan barang keperluan asas oleh Ikhlas dan Kawasan Keselamatan Khas Pantai Timur Sabah (ESSCOM) pada hujung minggu ini.

“Disebabkan fokus bantuan kita untuk penduduk di kawasan yang agak pedalaman dan banyak tidak diketahui oleh pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), maka kita memerlukan kerjasama daripada pihak ESSCOM,” kata Ikhlas.

-sinarharian

Former job recruiter Abdul Khaliq Putra Abdul Rahman Putra, 32, was laid off from his talent recruitment agency in March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 32-year-old, who has eight years of experience in the recruitment field, decided to start his own agency after consulting his friend.

“My friend who is a lawyer advised me that I could still contribute my interview technique skills and resume writing skills to many who are unemployed amid the pandemic.

“I thought about it and it dawned on me that I could help many graduates get jobs although many companies and businesses were hiring in small numbers, especially in the conditional movement control order (CMCO) phase.

“Initially, I started taking donations of any amount from my students, but then many started joining and that was when I needed to collect commitment fees to avoid last minute cancellations for my online classes.”

He said that about 500 students have signed up for his classes since May this year and over 200 students have already been called up for job interviews.

Asked as to what modules he focuses, Abdul Khaliq Putra said he specialises on making personalised resumes to increase their visibility in the eyes of recruiters.

He also conducts online sessions on career advice lessons and interview preparation modules for graduates.

“Sometimes graduates add in a lot of technical terms to their resume and that makes it difficult for hiring managers to understand their learning experience.

“And terms and descriptions written on their resume may not fit the designated job requirements, which is why I conduct lessons on resume writing so that graduates can amend and take note of these aspects.”

He said that while many businesses are cutting down on hiring new recruits especially amid the pandemic, many are also selective in choosing the right people into their company.

“That is why unemployed graduates need to tailor their resumes accordingly to fit the job description and I’m able to assist them with choosing the right words for their resume because of my experience in recruitment.

“This is because many graduates assume that recruitment officers know what they mean when they incorporate certain words and jargons relating to their field of study which many hiring officers don’t understand.”

Abdul Khaliq Putra told Malay Mail that 66 of his students have received offer letters to selected companies and that many graduates have been joining his group online sessions.

Abdul Khaliq Putra also said that since many unemployed graduates have been participating in his online coaching sessions, he has also roped in a few of his friends who have had experience in the recruitment field to help him with my online classes.

“My only goal is for my students — unemployed graduates, to get jobs amid such trying times. And I want to help them using my own experiences and to impart relevant knowledge using these experiences.

“Apart from resume writing modules, I’ve also been conducting interview preparation classes and career advice sessions with a minimum commitment fee to avoid last minute cancellations.”

-malaymail

The Methodist Boys School Kuala Lumpur (MBSKL) is a place full of fond memories for Yum Kin Choong and his friends from the class of 1987.

When they found out that their beloved alma mater was in need of assistance—to keep up with the Covid-19 health safety procedures—Yum and his friends jumped in to help.

“Everyone that comes out of MBSKL is very proud of their school. I feel like being at that school has helped all of us a lot in life and it has taught us many good values and morals.

“So when they are having a tough time, we feel like we have to do something to help them out,” said Yum in an interview with Malay Mail.

The 50-year-old, and his team of former MBSKL boys, banded together to raise funds to purchase temperature scanners, hand sanitiser dispensers and any other equipment the school needed.

“Some of our seniors reached out to us when they heard that we were helping out MBSKL.

|They donated 760 litres and 240 litres of AnGuard hand sanitiser and shampoo respectively.

“The problem was that the school had trouble making the sanitiser accessible to everyone,” he said.

“So, we decided to raise the money and get the dispenser machines for them.”

Yum, who is the Palm Garden Golf Club marketing manager, added that he and his friends purchased 60 wall-mounted hand sanitiser dispensers and installed them in every classroom earlier this week, to help keep over 1000 students and teachers at the school safe.

Since the start of the movement control order (MCO), Yum and his friends have also donated over 1,500 face masks, five temperature scanners, two floor stand sanitiser dispensers and have even helped to personally disinfect the entire school building.

It isn’t just their former school that they’ve helped out either, as Yum and a group of his associates have also actively sought to help out underprivileged communities around Kuala Lumpur that have been affected by the pandemic.

“Since the first day of the MCO, we’ve been trying to help as many underprivileged people that we can,” said Yum.

“I used to work at a children’s home for eight years, so I know the struggles they go through.

“If breadwinners had a tough time during the lockdown, what more places like orphanages or homeless shelters? There’s no way they could have surviv on their own.”

Yum added that this thought led him to initiate the “Donate Mask” project, with the aim of donating 2,000 face masks to underprivileged communities around his home in Cheras.

“Within three day of reaching out to people, I received 3,000 face masks and donations from my friends and the public.

“So I decided to keep doing this and get more people to help out to donate in any way they can, whether it be in cash, in-kind or with their time.”

Yum and his team of around 50 people—made up of his former schoolmates, church friends and neighbours—also donated hand sanitisers, floor disinfectants and daily provisions to the homes.

He also said that they have assisted more than six children homes and old folks homes including Yayasan Sunbeams Home, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Yesuvan Mahligai in Kajang and Desa Amal Jireh orphanage in Semenyih, and have helped to disinfect the buildings of over nine homes around Selangor.

The “Donate Mask” group also helped out at six temporary homeless shelters located in Cheras, Sentul, Gombak and Setiawangsa, donating daily provisions like toothbrushes, soap and face masks.

According to Yum, his movement has raised and donated over 20,000 face masks and over 900 litres of hand sanitiser to date.

Yum said that he doesn’t plan to stop helping people any time soon either as he will continue to “do what he can” to aid those in need.

“I won’t let anyone or anything stop me. If we can extend our help or lend a hand to people, even during tough times like this, it makes a world of difference to those less fortunate than us.

“So, whenever my friends and I meet for a drink, I’ll make sure we all take out some money and plan on what we can do with it to help communities and people that are struggling.”

If you’re interested in joining Yum’s cause or want to help out in any way, you can contact him at +6012-228 6643 or surf over to the “Donate Mask” Facebook page.

-malaymail

Amid all the pandemic-related stories in the past few months, you’d be forgiven if you missed the announcement that local artist Erica Eng has become the first-ever Malaysian winner of an Eisner Award, the comics industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Eng, who is based in Batu Pahat, won the Eisner for her webcomic Fried Rice. The story is ostensibly one of a wistful young burgeoning artist named Min, who just happens to be from Batu Pahat too.

The protagonist of Fried Rice is an author surrogate, of course, and readers are immediately drawn into a series of mundane yet whimsical scenes of simple everyday life.

Eng says, “I loved writing little stories and illustrating them. I don’t think my drawings were any special, but I kept going at it when most of my friends had stopped. Mostly because I liked drawing a lot, and I can’t remember ever being sick of drawing.”

Family features greatly in Eng’s webcomic, which is no surprise as she recalls her family supporting her passion for drawing since she was only two years old.

She says, “Another childhood hobby that never died is my love of reading. I’d read everything as a kid: cereal boxes, milk cartons, signboards, encyclopaedias, restaurant menus, novels, etc.”

As Eng grew older, she became more serious about art and began following tutorials, joining online artist communities and dreaming of going to art college.

She says, “Webcomics sort of came later… I’ve always thought of my writing skills as sub-par at best, so comics were a good way to bridge the written word and the thing I knew better which was to draw.”

Publishing on the internet meant Eng was inspired by fellow online creatives such as other webcomic creators, vloggers, writers, filmmakers and musicians. Everyone of them is a storyteller.

She explains, “Usually, the stories that move me are honest, have a good sense of humour and are sincere and unafraid. A lot of the time, stories can become a mirror for where you’re at, what your values and priorities are. Heart posture is crucial when you’re learning from somebody else who is probably very different from you.”

The lack of a barrier to entry was also appealing. She says, “When it came time to make Fried Rice, I thought a webcomic was the way to go, especially since I didn’t know anyone in publishing, and because posting it online kept me accountable and forced me to be consistent.”

The Eisner win has made Eng busier than ever, to the extent she needed to overhaul her entire schedule last month. She says, “It has taught me how to say no and, more importantly, why to say no to certain things. Sometimes it’s better not to be available to certain folk, you feel me?”

On a lighter note, however, she shares: “The Eisner trophy itself is completely unassuming; it switches place about my bedroom, out of sight most of the time.”

What has become increasingly important for Eng is the need for meaningful connection: “I’ve just been thinking of what that means in storytelling, and how that applies in comics.”

Crafting a comic, from thumbnails to the final artwork, is a well-thought out process for Eng. She tries to put everything in their rightful place — such as the script in a document file, thumbnails in a sketchbook and her final drawings in a separate folder — so keeping track of what she requires at any time is a breeze.

Work is not limited to merely producing her webcomic, however. Eng has also experimented with fan support platforms both as a method of sharing and selling her artwork as well as gauging reader interest.

It took some adjusting though to find the right platform.

She says, “Patreon required me to fulfil and tick off goals every month for supporters. In the end, I didn’t want Patreon to be my job, I wanted the webcomic to be the actual job, and making paid-for posts was subtracting from the time I spent on the comic.”

Ultimately, Eng shifted to Ko-Fi, which she describes as “just an online tip jar for people who want to show their outright support for Fried Rice, a more time-friendly way of interacting with supporters. I’m thinking of expanding my shop on Ko-Fi when I have the time.”

Creating comics during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been an experience like none other. Eng says, “It has taught me what things die in adversity, and what things stay vital. My relationships with close family and friends have mostly flourished, and social media in the way I used to view it has mostly died.”

Unsurprisingly, Eng’s schedule in the coming months is already packed. Besides speaking at the Georgetown Literary Festival, she will also participate — virtually, of course — in the “Sustained Creativity in Web/Digital Comics” discussion panel at the Singapore Writers Festival in early November.

She adds, “I’m always writing and I’m thinking of making a season-themed collection of short stories if I have the time. I’m looking for a literary agency to represent me at the moment. Hopefully that means Fried Rice gets published someday.”

Until then, Eng is helping to broaden the scope of what Malaysian comics can be, which is anything at all, limited only by one’s imagination. From fantastical warriors to gamers and giant geeks, the spirit of our country’s sequential art is absolutely “Malaysia Boleh!”

A line from Fried Rice — “Life is more than that” — reminds me of what Eng and her peers are creating. Malaysian comics are more than that, too, and can be much more in time to come.

-malaymail

Ubah suai motosikal cara Ju Korox

October 23, 2020 | Inspiring | No Comments

Marang: Kreativiti pemuda dari Kampung Rhu Muda, di sini dalam mengubahsuai motosikal menjadi tarikan malah, dia pernah menjuarai beberapa pertandingan anjuran Terengganu sejak 2007 lagi.

Raja Junaidi Raja Embong, 37, berkata, dia aktif dalam bidang itu sejak 2004 dan sudah menyertai lebih 50 pertandingan ubah suai motosikal.

“Sebelum ini saya bekerja sebagai pembantu kedai makan tetapi kerana minat dalam ubah suai motosikal, saya berhenti kerja dan mendalami kemahiran itu sehingga mampu membuka bengkel sendiri.

“Saya tiada asas dan tidak mempelajarinya secara formal tetapi menerusi YouTube, selain amalkan kaedah cuba dan belajar,” katanya ketika ditemui di bengkelnya dikenali Custom Jukorox di sini, hari ini.

Raja Junaidi atau lebih dikenali sebagai Ju Korox berkata, dia menawarkan beberapa pilihan kepada pelanggan untuk mengubahsuai motosikal mereka namun, paling mendapat sambutan adalah jenis ‘bobber’ dan ‘cafe racer’ yang harganya boleh mencecah antara RM5,000 hingga RM10,000.

Katanya, menerusi YouTube juga dia belajar menguasai teknik cat jenis semburan selain turut melukis mural.

Menurutnya, walaupun bidang berkenaan belum meluas, dia bersyukur kerana karyanya diiktiraf peminat dan komuniti penunggang motosikal seluruh negara.

hmetro

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