Name: Sulyn Chong
Bachelor of Communications (2008)
Tell us briefly about your work or role in your current organisation.
I’m currently a features journalist in the Art, Literary & Living desk at News Straits Times where I cover a wide range of topics and stories from heritage to culture, art to design, and even literature to high-end lifestyle. From time to time, I’m also required to attend and cover events, neighbourhood happenings, and of course interviews of various personalities and heads of corporations. On top of that, I’m also required to be alert of interesting topics and stories happening in Malaysia as well as overseas. I’m assigned outstation or overseas to cover relevant stories as and when necessary.
How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?
Monash Malaysia is an institution which requires its students to think quickly on their feet and have a rounded as well as in-depth view of the world. It has sharpened my critical thinking skills and gave me my most precious weapon as a journalist – to be absolutely vigilant in observations of what’s happening around me.
How did that change (or reconfirmed) during your experience at Monash?
My two years in Monash were exceptionally wonderful (I got a year exemption due to my diploma cert and grades). Through those two years I slowly began to figure out what my strengths were (writing, observation, and critical thinking skills) and I began sharpening as well as honing them. You can say it was pretty much a revelation as to what I could achieve and I had some great help from amazing lecturers like Dr. Yeoh Seng Guan, Dr. Sharon Bong, and Dr. Julian Lee. My years in Monash pretty much moulded me into who I am today. I may have had it in me before, but it was something I was never privy to, not in our ‘grades only’ public school system. It was only in Monash that I figured out what works and who I’ll be in this huge world.
If you didn’t have a clear picture of your future, was there a moment at Monash that made you change the direction you would like to take in life?
Yes! In Search of Cambodia - Dr. Yeoh’s study trip that not only opened my eyes to the troubles of the world outside of our little bubble, it also gave me a taste of conveying what I saw without frills. The trip gave me a taste of wanderlust while at the same time, provided me a stepping stone to weave a readable story that will not only appeal to readers but also tug at heartstrings. I would like to believe that it was that program which lead me to where I am today.
Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it made a difference to your own life or the life of others around you? Did it consolidate what you have learnt from your undergraduate course?
No, I did not. I only had industry exposure/placement during my diploma years. But what I’ve studied in Monash has always been relevant to my working world.
What do you love most about your student life at Monash?
Freedom and attentiveness. Freedom to be who we want to be, who we can be and invaluable attention from our dearest lecturers and professors who are always there to guide us to be the best of who we truly are.