Suffian Hakim woke up one day to discover that he had inadvertently grown into an adult. In the ensuing panic, he became a writer. This is his official website, though he does an alarming number of unofficial things here as well, such as writing an introduction much longer than instructed by his manager.
Conversations: SABRINA ZOLKIFI/Deputy Editor, Human Resources Magazine
She’s one of the youngest deputy editors among Singapore’s numerous trade magazines, confidently stepping up to the role of journalist since her graduation from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s prestigious Mass Communication course. Her meteoric rise from writer to Deputy Editor can be attributed to her ease in making connections with people, a trait made possible by an open, analytical, intelligent mind. She’s brilliant to work with as a fellow writer, but I know Sabrina best outside of the office.
Ladies and gents, I invite you to join me as we step into the mind of my friend Sabrina Zolkifi, Deputy Editor of Human Resources magazine.
So tell us about your job.
SABRINA: “As the deputy editor of the magazine, I create online and offline content for the magazine, host panels and events within the industry and get to drink as much coffee as I want at my desk. It’s all very grand.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your job?
SABRINA: “Challenges typically revolve around deadlines. It can be tough managing personal deadlines while chasing other people for stuff as well. And getting a bit of work-life balance going. It gets too easy to stay in the office and churn out a feature or article you’re excited about (or just work a couple hours more in a quiet, empty office), but I’ve gotten better at this.”
What projects are you currently working on?
SABRINA: “Being the start of the year, the team is very busy putting out the magazine and producing a few events we’re hosting in the first half of 2014. Out of the office, to be honest, I’m still getting my 2014 bearings so nothing is in the works yet, but I do hope to get a second script started at some stage this year.”
Tell us 5 useless skills you have.
“-I can pick locks. Not very quickly so I’ll be useless in a robbery or an escape, but if you have time, I might be able to help
–I can recite the NATO phonetic alphabet by heart, and always do so when I need a breather or time out
–I can eat an ice cream cone and drive a stick at the same time. Magical
–I know the all words to the rap part of Blue’s All Rise
–I can still type a text on a non-qwerty phone without looking at the keypad #madskillz”
Why should guys date writers?
SABRINA: “Mik Everett once said: “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” And because writers are very conscious of and notice everything, they see stories and magic in the ordinary. “
Tell us your current or favourite read.
SABRINA: “I’m currently juggling Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated (two of my favourite authors) and have also just started on George Orwell’s Animal Farm. But one of my favourite books of all time is An Autobiography of a One-year-old.”
If you were to write a novel, what would it be about?
SABRINA: “I’m currently working on a very skeletal draft about the balance between the ordinariness and chaos of mental illness, particularly between two lovers. It’s starting to get a bit intense so I’m taking a break.”
Favourite music video. Tell us more about what it means to you.
This Train is Bound for Glory – Big Easy Express. It’s part of a tour by a few of my favouritest favourite bands, and the song and video and everything is just so full of love and passion and humanity. It makes me happy just thinking about it. This is also the song I want playing at my funeral. Watch here:
Your aspirations for the future.
SABRINA: “I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, which is a bit worrying considering I turn 25 in three months. I do want to keep writing and telling stories. I want to continue working in a space where I’m able to do that while being surrounded by people I love, trust and want to collaborate with.”
Let’s get existentialist! What is the meaning of life?
SABRINA: “I don’t know what existentialism is. Why are you asking so many hard questions so early in the morning? But if you’re asking about the one thing I really believe in right now, it’s that you have to be your own person before you can be someone else’s. I am a firm believer that you will only be able to understand the meaning of life once you’re done with it and am about three seconds away from death. Stop stressing out trying to figure out the meaning of life – just live it please, thanks.”
What, to you, is Singaporean culture?
SABRINA: “It’s something that is still trying to figure itself out, but I think Singapore has the privilege of being a place where people get to meet. Be open minded enough, and honestly, this city will charm you. We do have our moments where we’re less than perfect, but by and large, I think the society is shaping up to be one that is independent, bold, globally aware, and just so welcoming to the world. But I would be lying if I didn’t throw in the word kiasu somewherein here.”
What do you want to bring to society, as a journalist?
SABRINA: “I’ve always wanted to be a journalist because it helps me tell stories on a higher, more societal level. I know the HR industry may seem pretty niche and dry at first glance but it’s one that’s been growing and developing so much in the last three years I’ve been in it alone, and I am very blessed to have been able to help share some of those accomplishments with the larger society as a whole.”
Suffian Hakim woke up one day and discovered that he had inadvertently grown into an adult. In the ensuing panic, he began a career as a writer, contributing articles and scripts to local magazines, advertisements and television shows. Had he not chosen writing as a career path, he would have been a satay connoisseur, or a botanist.
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