Mohd Khamsya, one of Transient Workers Count Too’s volunteers at our Cuff Road Project, was featured in Berita Harian on Monday, April 2, 2012. The Malay-language newspaper however, omitted mention of Sya’s involvement with TWC2, though he had told the reporter about it.

Below is an English translation of the news feature, translated for TWC2 by Bashir Basalamah. To see an image of the page as printed, click the protrait at right.



A Drive to Spark Change

Mohammad Khamsya shares study secrets, how to overcome stress and a desire to understand the community better


For 11 weeks, the Mendaki Excellence Awards Series has profiled scholars who achieved top or first-class honours at the bachelor’s degree level.

From heart-breaking stories about a humble origin, to tips on bolstering one’s spirit, the series certainly shows the mettle of our featured scholars.

As the curtain falls on the Mendaki Excellence Awards Series 2011, we cast the spotlight on 25-year-old National University of Singapore Master’s degree student, Mohammad Khamsya Khidzer.

This sociology graduate feels driven by the current status of the Malay community to strive towards sparking positive change, no matter how small.

Let’s listen in to Ekstra’s interview with him.

Your personality: I’m inquisitive by nature; I want to know more about whatever is happening around me. And I love learning about others, their cultures, their stories.

You cannot live without: Family. They are very important to me. They have been very supportive of me and have given me everything I needed as a student. I think it’s important when we’re doing our studies that nothing interferes with our focus. My family has also been supportive of my chosen field.

But I cannot live without my hobbies and my buddies either.

I play soccer. The sport gives me a break from the shackles of work and studies.This is important too because you can’t just study all the time. Study is important, but we must know when to rest. This has always been my message to my brother Mohd Azhar, a second year student at JJC. If we neglect this, we’ll be ruled by work and we’ll become boring people.


Name: Mohammad Khamsya Khidzer

Age: 25 years

Education & Achievements:
– Currently pursuing a master’s degree at NUS- Bachelor’s degree in social science majoring in sociology with first-class honours, NUS (2007-2011)- Distinction for bachelor’s degree dissertation at honours level

– NUS Dean’s List in three different semesters (2007-2010)

– SingaporePolice Force Commissioner of Police Study Award (2010)

– Prophet Mohamad Memorial Fund Scholarship (2009 and 2010)

– GCE ‘A’ Level Arts,JurongJunior College(2003-2004)

– GCE ‘O’ Level,BukitPanjangGovernmentHigh School(1999-2002)

Other involvements:

– Vice-President and joint-manager, Malay drums troupe Al-Baikz (2004 to date)

– Tutor, Mendaki Foundation Tuition Scheme (2008 to date)

Family: Eldest of three siblings

My buddies too provide me support. I have friends not just from the university, but many others, like from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). We exchange ideas, and at the same time I get to widen my horizons.

Your source of inspiration: The teachers I meet all along my journey. Like my secondary school teacher Mr Salim Akbar. He was the one who instilled in me the importance of being inquisitive.

The lecturers at university played a big part too. University education exposes me to a diversity of ideas which then influences what I do and changes my perceptions of the world.

Your study secrets: Always be open to learning from a variety of sources. I believe there is a lesson in everything we encounter, like, when you chat with someone, or what you might find in a book or magazine. On that basis, learn from as many sources as possible.

How do you handle stress: Take for example when I was doing my thesis – by starting the research work well ahead of time, I gain more room later to do a thorough job.

During National Service, I was exposed to lots of difficulties. But I was brought together with seniors who were able to guide me in coping with the demands of studying at the university.

Make sure that you have a hobby, good time management and discipline as you go along.

How would you spark a change: My motivation for continuing my education and getting a master’s degree is to better understand the community.

I achieve this through the field work, which requires me to go down to the ground and engage with the man on the street.

Through all these efforts, I hope to be able to change the approach to problems faced by the Malay community. There have been many proposals to resolve them, but I feel we must always question the effectiveness of these solutions, for the good of the community.

Your principles: Do the best whatever you do.

Go into something you love, because if you deepen that interest, you raise your chances of success in that field.

And, build a network to help you rise up the social ladder. You need to know people or to have a group of friends that you can bounce ideas off of. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in music, art, or sports. You’ll never know how the relationships you have built might benefit you some day.

Note: The writer is a communications student of RMIT Unversity