Thursday, October 11, 2007

Malaysia: Jobless Malaysians?

Written by Muid Latif, edited by Aniqah Husda

It's pretty sad that albeit the 4,000 thousand graduates
with great untapped talents that were produced annually have not been able to fulfill the relatively few job vacancies from local creative and advertising field. It is with great insult that the nation's best 3D animators, compositors and GUI designers are recruited by international companies abroad such Codemaster, not that it is an insult to the employee or employer per se, but since we have an embedded stigma that the foreign (i.e anything that spells white) is better, we forgo our local talents and lose them out to the big guns overseas.

Same goes with most other professions anyway, but the field of creative multimedia and advertising is uniquely localized and hiring foreigners who have no clue of our circumstantial differences does not really help the country go forward. Hindsight, we are still too far behind and if not well-planned outright, our future talents would just be "born in Malaysia - made elsewhere in the world."

Are the policy makers in this country aware of the following facts?

Did you know
that China is extensively recruiting good designers from Malaysia and now most of them 'migrated' to Shanghai & Beijing to work in a better job opportunities with better payment.

Did you know when I wanted to approach the graduates from local colleges such as The One Academy, all the top students had been booked by other agencies from Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong?

Did you know that to apply for a job in Malaysia is like applying to become a model in a modeling agencies? Local companies are getting more superficial and requires candidates to have looks more important than a portfolio. (I'm talking from experience!).

Did u know that a lot of Art Directors & Creative Directors in local advertising / interactive agencies are 'managed' by expats? It's not bad, but does this prove we have no standards and quality AT ALL to achieve such position? or

Are we that prejudice over our own talents that we bank our trust on the future of the creative and advertising field in the hands of short-term/contract workforce whose loyalty to Malaysian brands are questionable?

Of recent, I was offered a vacancy by few parties (some very famous and popular international brand firms) in China due to my reliable merits, strong work credentials and sound portfolio (hope I don't sound too boastful or condescending but I am fully confident of my work). However, I've decided to remain in Malaysia backed by strong faith that there is hope still for the expansion of local talents. Having said that, my fire is fading fast and I've contemplated moving to greener pastures if things doesn't work out here and the local employees/agencies are still in their post-colonial mentality.

An existing scenario prevails; if all the good designers had received offers to work abroad (Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Canada, etc) that leaves us the mediocre designers struggling for survival and left misguided with the notion they are never good enough in their alma mater.

One last note; I've discovered some good designers (previously evaluated and ranked by qualified professionals back in university) working as Direct Selling Agents, Bank Officers and Sales Assistant in Carrefour, Giant, McDonalds, Starbucks, and the list goes on. People still need to eat yeah? And that Art School Degree is left wasted.

Does anyone really care?

Work Updates: LAMU Project

I would like to thank Wing, Saubin, and the rest of the LAMU committee members including our sponsors and KTM to give us the opportunity to realize the vision of the project that I'm involved with, Let Art Moves You (L.A.M.U) is also on the way, with my newest artwork. It was a great launch. Finally, some exposure! ;)

More photos can be found in my Flickr page here.

Four (4) of my artwork installed in train no. 39 is just mesmerizing. This exhibition also runs until 4th of November 2007 among other artists such as my friend Shieko, Orkibal, Donna and others.

My artwork also mentioned in TheStar Metro Saturday and New Straits Time Sunday. Article 1 via NST Sunday, Article 2 via NST Sunday People, KakiSeni & TheStar Metro.

Personal experimental:

New digital artwork by Muid Latif in collaboration with notable Malaysian photographer, Johan Sopiee. Congrats Johan on his special occasion last week! ;)


A Solitude Mutiny
Thank you to KLFlickr group for making this photo as winner of 10th weekly theme competition.


12 opinions :

Mr.Hafiz said...

that artcle caught me deep man. very true of whats happening in our creative industry.

simonso said...

Very few has the same passion like us towards their jobs. Many seek for better salary and experience(working abroad especially) Why? I heard from a friend and he said ; when i come back to malaysia people will respect me.

... gave him the finger. Then again it is just the real world. There is too few of us left but i am sure this perception will change. Supports your move buddy! Keep it up!

simonso said...

oh one more thing, vb wishes you and your family selamat hari raya aidilfitri man :P


there is a need 2 stop this whole brain drain kan....there should be more recognition towards this field of work

30fps said...

Well as you said, you are well-known internationally than you are locally. It's sad but true, that's how I came across you! And that's why I am not going back home to Malaysia - I love my home country but until I see some changes, I am staying put.

Muid Latif said...

Thanks for your p.o.v guys. Truly appreciate. I feel that if there's an opportunity given to me that I find positive (for my future), I should go for it too if things doesn't go well. The TVC scene is also getting ill with Yasmin Ahmad-wanna be producing tons TVC 'attaching' too much emotional and drama, which bores me to death, not because of the value but the idea that people kept on following others and not make it by your own.

A part from that, if you guys notice, local companies are 'injecting' too much policy and rules that somehow trying to prove to people and the industry that we are so well-organized and systematic (when most just playing God or try to justify a point to gain 'respect' for a system, unfortunately not all people can cope with policies within companies, giving troubles such as:

1. Banning streaming media (like QuickTime trailers, radios, Instant messenger)Although mostly work related, to increase productivity and creativity.
2. Decreasing space in email bandwidth so u can't even receive any large .ai, .psd source files.
3. Design must follow brand guide, forced to follow or they will issue new policy.
4. Most websites are blocked or monitored (even you cant download any fonts or 3rd party softwares)
5. Increasing more timeless effort in trying to build a team when at the end of the day, credit only goes to one particular individual.
6. No future advancement for employees thus all the good ones will definitely left to another foreign firms or agencies.

Does Policy makers creating territory to abuse create?

I should say how delightful to see such great development keeps on coming in this 'small' industry :)

Now we can see even politicians even want to involve in local industry prestigious creative events. That's where we see how 'ill' the industry is. Literally.


Shamir said...

Okay.. nice.. and impressive.. huhu

Tenno Miyake said...

your masterpieces..

are so marvellous dude..

Khairul said...

Believe me when I say that I do understand where you come from expressing your frustrations. However, I do think some rules and regulations exists for a reason. Particularly the use of Design Guidelines. Practicing such actually makes me a better designer because we as designers are encouraged to expand our creativities without losing the brand's heritage and identity.

Working within constraint pushes me further as a designer. The problem with our design industry is the lack of thinking designers. Most of our local counterparts produce weak logos and identities because they do not consider its long term goals. How will look like in black and white? How will look like if its the size of a stamp or blown up on a billboard. Will it remain legible in a faxed document? All these were not placed in consideration to begin with. Which is why most designers are frustrated with the 'guidelines' provided. They are working with bad design guideline. I have a feeling you've had first hand experience which would explain your frustrations?

A designer who does something without reason is an artist. Which brings us Malaysians to this question, what is a designer?

My approach as a designer is to communicate. That is my job. To organize and deliver information. Within that pool is where our creativity swims. To create beautifully structured information without losing interest and more importantly, its legibility. Look at how our government or local brands produce its logos, corporate literature, etc. Its so badly designed because it just doesn't work. Its often filled with photo montages and feathered effect layered on top of colored backgrounds with more that 3 typefaces and they forget that it actually confuses its targeted audience. Sometimes, less is more.

Consider the impact of you work. Not just how pretty it looks.

A lot of education is needed in regards of graphic design. Its not just for designers. Its for businessmen and decision-makers alike. In the UK, they have a body called The Design Council to counter such problems. They make case studies on the effects of how design influences local businesses, social environments and all the way to its use to counter crime. They implement graphic design as part of its education in high schools for future entrepreneurs to understand the importance of design and marketing. These are the science in design. Without logic, there is no design. Just art.

Angelia said...

hey muid. Unfortunately also the creative industry is not helped by the way things are taught at the universities (in terms of arts/animation/related stuff), kepala pening lah.. I've seen some really talented folks get rejected by local agencies so they also seek greener pastures.. a big shake up needs to be done lah.. then things will pick up!

seen this more now cos trying to hire etc..

The Training Guy said...

There is something fundamentally wrong in the Malaysian education system.

If all goes well, then we hope to exact change in the way our young are educated. Gone will be the memorise and spit it out at exams type of system. In with the creative and idea generating systems.

Things will change soon. Within the next 5-10 years. You'll see.

The Training Guy said...

There is something fundamentally wrong in the Malaysian education system.

If all goes well, then we hope to exact change in the way our young are educated. Gone will be the memorise and spit it out at exams type of system. In with the creative and idea generating systems.

Things will change soon. Within the next 5-10 years. You'll see.