A Journey Beyond Writing: My Cemerlang Experience

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In February 2021, Cemerlang took the liberty of releasing a poster in search of a new editor.

In February 2021, I saw a poster about an opportunity to finally add something to my unattended Linkedin profile. After all, how hard could writing articles be? 

…turns out, it can be very hard indeed. 

I remember it like it was yesterday. I congratulated Azeem on his appointment as Cemerlang’s Advisor at the end of April, he chuckled then texted back:

“Haha. You ready to join Cemerlang?” 

Azeem Abu Bakar

Just like that, we had our first meeting and I received my first task. I can still recall the rush of excitement to imprint a good first impression accompanying me the entire week. After multiple edits, I was prepared to finally share my final draft with Azeem. It was then that I discovered how difficult it was to write articles when I saw the number of comments made for me to improve on. 

The next articles required the use of KYSER elements. I remember having to contact my super-seniors for interviews and then nervously conducting the interviews myself. I had to pretend that I was a veteran and a confident interviewer while being genuinely confounded by their colourful journeys and experiences. 

Virtual interview with Aishah and Esmat for Power Couples article
Virtual interview with Hazim for Cemerlang feature

Everyone I had the pleasure of either working with, interviewed or even encountered has taught me valuable lessons that I hold dear. And if there is one thing in common with each of them, it has to be the fact that you will always feel yourself developing as a person as well.

From Suhanraj, I discovered that life is not always a straight road. 

On the other hand, Hazim taught me that it is okay to start over. 

The three power couples made me realise that we need to know our priorities before stepping into a relationship. 

And now, I know that I should dream big just like Hamdi.

As I reflect on the past four months, I recognised that my biggest challenge was telling their stories. I wanted to ensure that my words could fully convey their valuable experiences, hence a deep sense of responsibility, diligence and determination needed to be cultivated. Although I did not have the luxury of weeks to finish one article, I learnt that it does not matter how much time you have – it is simply what you do with it. So I took it as a challenge, digested as much feedback as I could and questioned myself frequently whether the sentences that rolled out on the screen did the stories justice.

Then the webinars came – and I remember the waves of butterflies in my stomach that came each time. Conducting dry runs with young professionals and experienced people can be quite nerve-wracking. However, you would be surprised at how much knowledge one can learn from a single conversation during sessions like these. Organizing a webinar is not as easy as it seems. Through Cemerlang, I was able to push myself and take up the challenge of organizing and moderating while simultaneously handling the technical aspect of Zoom all from my bedroom. 

I also recall getting the first few questions from the audience and my face completely lit up because it was a sign that the aim of the webinar was achieved. 

Working with Cemerlang was truly a chance for growth. An internship or a position is not meant to make you comfortable with your own stagnation, it is supposed to help you grow and that was what I could feel myself doing. 

With a thankful heart, I express my sincere appreciation to my advisor, Azeem Abu Bakar, who has helped me tremendously and guided me throughout this entire journey. As someone who manages Free Malaysia Today, to be able to make time for Cemerlang is just such an amazing feat. If only Cemerlang had, not even 10 but 2 Azeems, it would be enough to make Cemerlang one of the best sites in the country, if not the world.

Azeem Abu Bakar, Free Malaysia Today’s Managing Director and Cemerlang Advisor. Photo by C. Cletus, FMT.
Virtual meeting with Azeem

Thank you to my predecessor and friend, Muiz Zafri, who was the first person who approached me to be a writer for Cemerlang. I would also like to thank all my friends and family who have supported me all the way and sent screenshots of them joining the webinars or reading my articles – it really warms me.

Personally, the rewards of this experience have been significant and pleasant. From writing articles to managing the site and organizing the webinars, I can proudly say that the initial thought of decorating my LinkedIn profile has evolved into a very humbling and eye-opening adventure. And the greatest prize of all, my beloved and appreciative audience.

In light of Malaysia’s Independence Day or ‘Hari Merdeka’, I want to make one thing indisputably clear; every ending is just the beginning of something else. So here’s to moving on to the next chapter in life and writing my own story – my mini Cemerlang Merdeka.

Thank you, Cemerlang. You will be missed!

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