By Hakim Mahari
“I am Hakim Mahari, reporting live from London for TV3, back to you at the studio.”
The above mock-up statement of an eleven-year-old seems to keep running in his mind while he watches news bulletin on television. He promises to himself that his parents would proudly see him on national television channel doing stand upper reporting news on television one day.
Known for always being optimistic, Muhammad Luqman Hakim, born in Besut, a district located on the border between two East Coast states -Terengganu and Kelantan – is always firm with his own choice to explore the field of journalism.
He, who also goes by the byline Hakim Mahari, now in his third year of studies in Communication, would not expect to be where he is today – managing the campus online news portal, and producing the political knowledge-based talk show weekly, amidst struggling to finish his degree remotely during this COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked, “Why did you choose communication?”, “How can you ensure your future is secured by working as a journalist?” he gave this answer: “There is no absolute answer for that, but the Communication field has been in my mind for quite some time. My passion for writing started to blossom when I spent one and a half years in the Malay arts stream at high school.”
As an active introvert and a reserved student, Hakim Mahari sometimes spends his leisure time writing Malay poems that usually come to his mind in the form of Syair, Gurindam, Pantun, which are among his forte.
Hakim Mahari also spent his childhood days growing up with his favourite entertainment show Macam-Macam Aznil, and Akademi Fantasia that made him start to know a popular celebrity, Datuk Aznil Haji Nawawi, and this has opened his eyes about broadcasting industry.
His passion for furthering his studies in Communication started to evolve as he finds that both writing and broadcasting can make a good living.
However, as he discovers the other side of journalism – broadcast journalism – a combination of both his interests in writing and broadcasting, he now sets his mind to become a broadcast journalist. Well-known broadcast journalists like Haliza Hashim and Hilal Azmi are the role models he looked up to.
Recently, Hakim Mahari was appointed as a student managing editor of IIUMToday, the online campus news portal. His role is significant as he is responsible for managing the portal, editing news of his fellow student journalists, and teaching them essential principles of news writing.
Admitting the fact that his journey as the new managing editor is challenging, he said he had to learn to adapt fast to the new situation and adjust to the routine to get his job done efficiently. Often, there is the urgent need for him to proofread and publish news and articles, and to ensure that they are written based on the in-house style.
Citing the common phrase “Effort sown today results in success reaped tomorrow”, Hakim, a dedicated reader of news sites such as Malay Mail, Bernama, The Star and Astro Awani, has something to be proud of – that he is able to work under pressure, good in time management, and independent in character.
The word “independent” has been a mantra that keeps him moving forward in surviving life through the shadow of anxiety and cruelty of the world, where he experienced the bitterness and sweetness of life since his early childhood days, seeing his family struggling to make ends meet. He felt grateful for what God has planned for him.
He said, “Without all those tastes of life, I wouldn’t be where I am today – stepping forward independently chasing my dream for a better future.”
The turning point started when he realised the need to be independent when he has to change from science to arts stream. The decision significantly impacted his high school journey as he needed to stand up for himself and strive to excel in examinations without support of his former friends and classmates.
Reminiscing the days before the COVID-19 pandemic, Hakim Mahari spends his free time between classes during weekdays working as a helper at the Café in campus to support himself. The paths that he took on his way back to his hostel after the shift ended at 10 p.m. are still fresh in his mind.
His freshie year as a Communication student at IIUM may be full of bitterness and sweats while others from big towns enjoyed their happy moment as students. But the journey he took made him stronger and become more independent.
Besides that, his interest in advocating for youth on political literacy and awareness has brought him to produce Political Insights, a political knowledge-based talk programme aired on IIUMtv YouTube channel every Wednesday. He was able to create good contents which brought him to a casual reading of the piece written by Dr. Maszlee Malik, namely, Memori Bukan memoir and Orkes Masyarakat Manusiawi.
As life wouldn’t be as perfect and flawless as one would expect, Hakim found out that he always put high expectations on everything, and the disappointment would slap him if he couldn’t achieve that expectation. This behaviour is likely to have a negative impact on him as it would drive him to push himself beyond the limit.
“Like the wind that carries one ship east and another west, the law of autosuggestion will lift you or pull you down according to the way that you set your sails of thought.” — Napoleon Hill
Hakim Mahari believes that in making his dream become a reality, the weaknesses he spotted now will bring him to an excellent state in writing. His strengths and weaknesses will further be a focal point for him to strive to become a better person, especially in news writing and editing skills, to prepare himself for his career in journalism.
In ensuring that he is able to reserve a spot in the newsroom, he wishes to sharpen his journalistic skills to ensure that he can master the Mobile Journalism (MOJO) skills and to be able to make use of news editing skills he experienced in IIUMToday.
For Hakim, the next five years would be crucial for him in his journey to chase his dream to be a journalist. As he is left with two more semesters before going for internship, he wishes to polish up and prepare himself with good journalistic skills to help him become an efficient journalist in the future.
Apart from that, through his involvement in IIUMtv’s knowledge-based talk show called Political Insights, he hopes that the knowledge and skills he acquired would further benefit him.
This is the journey Hakim Mahari is taking in efforts to make his dream come true. It might seem complicated, but somehow, he believes that God has something better for him. ***
(This article is written as part of the individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)