MEET THE INTERN: SYAFIQ NOOR
Syafiq Noor has been interning with us now for a couple of months. His calm and laid back demeanour is a comfort on busy days and he's always around to lend a helping hand. We've loved having him on the team!
Describe yourself in three words
Introspective, quiet, laid back.
What am I studying in University and what has been your favourite unit/subject to date?
I am currently doing a BA in English and Creative Writing at Murdoch. One of my favourite units to date definitely has to be this unit called Telling True Stories, a specified elective I took in my first year. That unit taught me the basics and foundation of writing creative non-fiction, a genre I really enjoy. Also, for my final project, I had to get myself involved with an interesting scene outside of school and write a piece about them, so I ended up getting involved with the bboy (breakdancing) scene. That was an experience I'll never forget. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the process of interviewing and writing about them, we all became good friends and still keep in touch today. If I had the chance to re-do the unit all over again, I would.
What is your role at the Centre For Stories and what does a typical day at the Centre involve?
I am an undergraduate intern at C4S. A day will typically start out with the usual morning commute in the train with a coffee in hand. Once I’ve reached the office, I will go to my usual spot at the shared desk, set up my laptop and catch up with Sisonke and Caroline about any projects that I am currently working on and their developments. There’s much work to be done with regards to this, so I’m usually just typing away at my desk or scribbling down ideas throughout the day.
On top of this, I also help out by doing some event promotion on the various Perth event websites. This goes on untill lunch, where I will (usually) head out to Subway for a quick sandwich (mainly because they sell the cheapest sandwiches in Northbridge). Sometimes I’ll also go around taking photographs for the Centre’s Instagram account (and for my own too! Northbridge is beautiful). Once I’m back, I will continue with scheduling posts on social media for the following week. The day usually ends with me planning my activities for next week with either Sisonke or Caroline.
What is your favourite part of the job?
The people - I love the fact that everyone who works here are approachable, friendly and more than willing to help me out. Everyone’s really passionate about what they do as well. This makes the environment at work super conducive and inspiring for me. I also really enjoy the fact that I am given full autonomy for projects – meaning I get to go out and choose the people I want to write about as well as developing my own style of writing. The fact that I get to get my work critiqued by professional writers and editors is something that I value highly too.
I feel that what the Centre For Stories is doing, providing a platform to share the stories of ordinary and everyday people in Perth, migrants and locals alike, is important for the community as a whole. Giving power to the voices of common people is truly something which I feel is necessary for the long-term growth of any modern society. It really excites me that I am able to be part of this initiative and that I have the opportunity to contribute. The fact that I get to go to work every week feeling optimistic is, to me, one of my favourite parts of the job.
What is your favourite way to consume stories (i.e., novels, podcasts, talks, etc.)?
Well, I think it depends on the situation that I am in. If I find myself in need of a good story when im all alone at home, I would grab myself a good novel or indulge in a piece of writing online. If I am out at a social setting, I would prefer to just talk to people and listen to what they have to say. I also do enjoy listening to stories through song and lyrics – especially during my solo daily commute on the public transport, where I am hardly without my earphones on. I guess I don’t exactly have a favourite way, so long as the story’s good, I’m all ears!
Do you have a favourite story?
Though I have read much fiction in my lifetime which have pleased me, I have to say that the stories which stick out to me are usually from those that I have spoken to personally – real stories of strife, struggle and overcoming the odds. I have a lot of friends and family back in Singapore who face various challenges and struggles everyday just to get by, and their own personal stories really motivate me to push harder with where I am now.
My father, for example, was forced to give up his personal dream of being a musician (despite his dedication and passion for the craft) and had to teach himself many skills, just to remain employable - simply because of the lack of paper qualification. Who and where I am today will always be a testament to the challenges that he had to endure in his work life, and his story is just one amongst the many. I hope that maybe someday there will be a platform in Singapore, much like the Centre for Stories in Perth, for their stories to be shared and heard.