A scholarship has been set up for aspiring journalists to emulate the late writer’s vision.
ASPIRING journalists, take note!
This year, the Soo Ewe Jin Scholarship will be sponsoring a deserving undergraduate pursuing a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
“In September, we will have the first student who will benefit from the scholarship. We would like the student to have a balance between character and knowledge.
“At the end of the day, it is what it takes to be a responsible citizen in the future; a responsible reporter and someone who can give back to society,” said USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail.
The scholarship was set up on April 7 under the umbrella of the Star Education Fund and Yayasan Universiti Sains Malaysia in memory of late columnist Soo Ewe Jin, who passed away due to cancer last November.
His column, “Sunday Starters” garnered a large fan base throughout the years and has touched the lives of many with its strong message of compassion, kindness and charity.
Prof Asma said the scholarship was to find “the next generation of Soo Ewe Jins” who stand by the same values as he did.
“I was very touched to find out what kind of man he was. Unfortunately, I did not have the benefit of meeting him.
“But from listening to what has been said about him when he was an editor, I think I would want future journalists to also reflect his way of thinking, and his kind of lifestyle which embodies 1Malaysia- by having friends from across the races,” she said.
The recipient of the scholarship will be an undergraduate in USM’s Bachelor of Communication who majors in Journalism.
The scholarship was established using RM50,000 collected from friends and supporters during Soo’s wake, as well as another RM50,000 contribution from USM.
Prof Asma announced that USM would be matching the original RM50,000 seed funding for the scholarship, doubling the fund available to sponsor aspiring journalists.
She said she hoped the public would chip in so that the scholarship would be able to support more who aspire to follow in Soo’s footsteps.
Aiming to inspire
It was an overwhelming demonstration of generosity from his friends and supporters that made the Soo Ewe Jin Scholarship for aspiring journalists a reality.
Hundreds of friends and those who followed Ewe Jin’s weekly Sunday Starters turned up at the wake and contributed money.
“I don’t think Ewe Jin expected his wake and funeral service to be so well attended,” said his widow Angeline Lim.
“He was a humble person. We collected quite a sum – RM50,000, as you know. Soon after, friends proposed that either a foundation or a scholarship be set up in his name.
“So, I pursued the scholarship suggestion and when I approached The Star, they were very, very receptive and here we are,” she said.
Lim’s request set the ball rolling and an arrangement was soon made between The Star and USM.
On April 7, a trust deed was signed by Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Prof Asma and Lim at Menara Star.
Wong described Soo as a colleague and a comrade as well as his mentor and a personal friend.
“He was the man who edited my weekly columns, making it look good with his linguistics skills,” he said. Wong, who writes a column called “On The Beat” on Sundays, described Soo as a “true moderator” with a calm voice in tumultuous times.