Here’s what went down at a panel discussion on the viability of pursuing a creative career in Singapore featuring singer Narelle, journalist Dewey Sim and radio DJ Germaine Tan.
The type of education that young Singaporeans need to thrive in an ever-changing media landscape was among the issues panellists discussed during a panel session on the long-term viability of Singapore’s creative industry.
Underpinning the development of the media sector in South-east Asia, a region recognised by international industry leaders as one that is primed for growth, the discussion underscored the importance of receiving an education that is as globally recognised as it is comprehensive.
The panel session was hosted by ZYRUP, and was supported by Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) and lyf Funan, and featured media and creative industry professionals who are also alumni of the school.
Topics broached during the session, titled Creative Careers, The Practicality of “Breaking the Mould”, included the continual creation of new jobs in the industry, the importance of knowing one’s strengths and the challenges faced in the media industry.
A Rapidly Evolving Industry
One of the main areas the panel session touched on was how the advent of social media and new technologies paved the way for new and diverse jobs to be constantly created in the industry.
Musician Narelle Kheng expanded on the viability and sustainability of pursuing a career in the creative industry. She said that in her field, she was aware of the many new positions that were being developed, and that the broadening industry meant that everyone can find a job they feel comfortable in.
To be able to take on new opportunities, young Singaporeans should develop and hone in on the skills they wish to be known for. Panellists noted that WKWSCI’s curriculum develops skills that are evergreen, allowing students to navigate such an industry that is ever-changing.
That said, the consensus was that opportunities are aplenty no matter the industry they are in, whether that was journalism, radio production or a career in music.
The panel session, held at lyf Funan, was targeted at junior college and polytechnic students who have an interest in creative industries. It is the first event of ZYRUP’s Foreseeable Futures initiative, aimed at empowering young Singaporeans through workshops and talks.
Defining One’s Own Journey
For radio personality Germaine Leonora Tan, the decision to continue on with university life as a polytechnic graduate was one that she had to think hard about.
While she felt that going to a media course in polytechnic did give her edge over her peers then, courses at WKWSCI and NTU were varied enough for her to be kept on her toes.
She mentioned that WKWSCI gave her unparalleled knowledge about the different sides of the media and the ecosystem of the media industry, something which greatly benefited her when she entered the workforce.
This was on top of NTU’s various elective modules that she greatly enjoyed, such as silkscreen printing and forensic sciences.
Panellists also shared about how WKWSCI allowed them to chart their own path, giving space for them when they needed to figure out what they want in their academic life.
Facing Resistance and Taking the Road Less Travelled
Support from parents and peers was also one issue that came up during the discussion. While most of the panellists had supportive parents, panellists noted that pushback should always be expected no matter your discipline.
Dewey Sim, a journalist for South China Morning Post, highlighted that though his parents were approving of his career choices, they had their doubts when he told them he was going to cover the 2019 Hong Kong protests.
He said that he managed to calm them down because they saw how passionate he was.
Panellists also agreed on the holistic alumni network of WKWSCI, which meant that no matter where they went around the globe, whether it was media events or press conferences, they were able to connect with seniors or juniors over shared experiences.
In terms of global recognition, WKWSCI was ranked 8th in the world in 2019, in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, for the study of Communication and Media Studies, jumping 4 spots from the previous year.
The discussion concluded with a lively networking opportunity for the audience to mingle and chat with panellists, as well as WKWSCI staff to find out more about course details.
From the in-depth discussions to meaningful stories shared, young Singaporeans have plenty to look forward to should they decide to pursue a career in media and the creative arts.
Watch the full stream of the panel discussion below: